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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

[Politicians want] a whole community of people [to] just cease to exist.  –  Jenn Clamen

To Molest and Rape

Cops still believe “a woman wanted to be raped by a random cop” is credible:

A Chicago cop…[raped] a woman hours after he responded to a burglary at her home in the spring of 2016.  The woman came forward years later as she struggled with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide…[after] Daniel Otero…returned to her studio apartment, had drinks with her and then [raped] her…C[ops assigned to investigate themselves] ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to prove…her allegations…and Otero…[claimed] that she wa[nted it, but at least]…Chicago Police…agreed he should be fired…Early on April 3, 2016, Otero…responded to a call of a “peeping Tom”…[who apparently stole] her cellphone, wallet and purse [after she fled to her neighbors’ and]…apparently left a door unlocked…Otero…asked for her email address since her phone had been taken…he…Otero emailed a few hours later and came over…they shared a few drinks…[and] she was already feeling drunk when he “guided” her to the bed…[and raped] her…she was left feeling “confused, in disbelief and ashamed,” but it wasn’t until early January 2019 that she…had a “mental breakdown” and was hospitalized…

Rescued To Death (#900)

So much for San Francisco’s pious bullshit about no longer sending cops to assault sex workers:

In response to [complaints from bourgeois women], San Francisco’s [cops]…promised t[o send thugs and rapists to attack sex workers on]…Capp Street…[Boss pig] Gavin McEachern acknowledged…that, for the most part, the police department has [actually left women unmolested]…over the past two years in the Mission District.  “We’re looking forward to changing that” [he gloated.  Another pig then oinked]…”Let the games begin”…

Whither Canada? (#1126)

Sex workers ask the Canadian Supreme Court to uphold its own judgment:

Sex workers are being harmed and exploited, not protected, under the current laws, a coalition of sex workers and sex worker-led groups…argue[d] Monday at a landmark five-day Superior Court hearing — the first step in what they hope will lead to sex work being fully decriminalized in Canada…the 2014 [Canadian version of the misogynistic Swedish model]…is…intended to discourage and ultimately eliminate sex work…The Attorney General of Canada argues that the law should remain in place because it…give police[s] the [power] to…[deceive sex workers and barge into their workplaces to harass and intimidate them.  Th]is [creates] a “culture of fear” for clients who need to avoid detection by police and, as a result, sex workers are forced to operate in unsafe locations, with limited communication and with no ability to work together to improve their working conditions without risking being charged with third-party offences, the coalition argues…with support from organizations including Amnesty International Canada, LEAF and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association…this lawsuit differs from previous constitutional challenges because it does not target just the third-party offences, but the key foundational provision: that purchasing sex is illegal…it is about changing the government’s ideological position that sex work is inherently exploitative…

You Were Warned (#1201)

Given this court’s behavior so far, we might be about to see the end of the open internet:

The Supreme Court…agreed to hear a challenge to…Section 230…[the law which] protect[s] free expression on the internet by shielding internet companies from liability for much of the content their users post on their platforms.  The law also protects the companies from lawsuits for removing content that violates their policies.  But the law has drawn [attacks] from both Democrats and Republicans [because it keeps politicians from exerting the kind of centralized control over the internet they lust for]…

To Molest and Rape (#1233)

In case you’ve ever wondered where the good cops are:

LAPD [cop] Houston Tipping…died during police training [because] was targeted b[y]…fellow cops for [reporting that they committed] a…gang rape…the…fatal spinal cord injury…[was] ruled…an accident [by the coroner]…but Brad Gage, the attorney for Tipping’s mother Shirley Huffman, [explained] that [Tipping] was a whistleblower in [the gang rape] case that involved four other [cops]…one of the [rapist]swas present when he died…[though] the department…[claimed] Tipping…was injured while “grappling” with another [cop, an independent invstigation revealed]…he was “repeatedly struck in the head severely enough that he bled”…[and also] suffered broken ribs…LAPD [also appears to be hiding the]…video taken of the training…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1269)

Cops vomit out the same nonsense in the approach to Halloween every year, this time with “fentanyl” inserted in place of “marijuana” or other drugs:

Despite a lack of evidence, urban legends about drug-laced Halloween candy keep circulating, aided by feckless reporters.  This year, it’s “rainbow fentanyl” that has the press repeating unfounded tales of deadly drugs disguised as candy.  While the narrative around rainbow fentanyl and children…is bunk, journalists just won’t stop peddling the story…[last week], Good Morning America connected the myth to a recent seizure of 15,000 fentanyl pills, which were smuggled in a Lego box…

Thought Control (#1277)

Authoritarians are working to spread support for worldwide criminalization of speech:

…New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is trying out her professional scold routine in front of a world audience, perhaps preparing for a role at some international body.  Key to that shift is her belief that this whole free speech thing is a menace, and something should be done about it, preferably around the globe…she has a whole pro-censorship project ready to go for a career reboot after electoral politics…Ardern…[talks about] the dangers of unregulated speech…[a] category encompass[ing all]…ideas the powers-that-be find threatening…she demands “international rules, norms, and expectations” comparable to those applied in weapons control…

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so very much!

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It’s very frustrating to be a gynecologist in Texas.  –  Dr. Lauren Swords

Bad Girls

It’s an extremely bad idea to try to do the work of a professional, whether dominatrix or lawyer, without any training in the field:

After three days of often graphic evidence, sex worker Madeleine Joan Lewin offered no explanation about what happened…the night Brisbane businessman Anthony Brady died…the 34-year-old, representing herself at her manslaughter trial…sat…silently throughout the proceedings…she did not cross examine any witnesses and did not give evidence or make a closing statement to the jury.  It took the 12 jurors less than an hour to return a unanimous guilty verdict…Brady…[died] during a consensual bondage activity on the evening of August 12, 2020…[apparently from positional asphyxia as he] was found face down on the bed with a hood over his head, and handcuffs and bindings around his wrists and legs…Some of the bindings were difficult for police to remove…[and] Lewin had [fled the scene]…in a hurry…

Property of the State (#1149)

Women of childbearing age should avoid Alabama entirely if at all possible:

…Several pregnant women and new moms accused of exposing their fetuses to drugs have been [caged] for weeks or months in…Etowah County [Alabama]…under special bond conditions that require rehab and $10,000 cash…As a result…Etowah County…often [cages] several pregnant and postpartum women [at a time], against the advice of experts on maternal and fetal health…“The stress and conditions in jail and prisons, including lack of consistent access to standard prenatal care and mental health care, poor diets, poor sanitation, infestations with bugs and vermin, poor ventilation, tension, noise, lack of privacy, lack of family and community contact, can be detrimental to physical and mental health which can result in poor pregnancy outcomes for both the mother and the baby,” [said prominent OB-GYN Dr. Carolyn] Sufrin…It’s difficult to know how many…women…Etowah County [victimizes in this way.  Reporters]…found seven pregnant or postpartum women in a recent investigation of the jail log…National Advocates for Pregnant Women…have tracked more than 150 chemical endangerment cases involving women in Etowah County since 2010…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1198) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, now with the financial backing of Morality in Media:

…one of Las Vegas’ premier strip clubs, Sapphire Las Vegas…[and] the Chicken Ranch, an unrelated…[Nevada brothel, have been targeted by a nuisance law]suit [filed by]…Morality in Media…and [fanatical anti-sex lawyer] Jason Guinasso…[with the help of two professional “survivors” who hope to profit from the dying “sex trafficking” hysteria by pretending they were] “sex trafficked in Nevada through legal strip clubs, including the Sapphire Gentleman’s Club”…Conflating all legal sex work with “sex trafficking” has been one of the key strategies used by [Morality in Media] in its ambitious quest to outlaw all consensual sex work, one of the group’s core goals…the organization…also planned to sue Steve Sisolak, the governor of Nevada; Aaron Ford, the state’s attorney general; the city of Las Vegas; and Nevada’s Clark County and Nye County.  However, the court ruled that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue those parties…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1199) 

The latest chapter in this nasty, twisted saga:

The FBI announced…that it had placed GirlsDoPorn owner Michael Pratt on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, and doubled the reward for information leading to his arrest from $50,000 to $100,000…On July 26, Matthew Wolfe, Pratt’s second in command for the shuttered GirlsDoPorn website, pleaded guilty…to a single count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…Pratt, a New Zealand national, escaped the U.S. before federal charges against the company and its employees were unsealed in 2019…

The Cop Myth (#1236)

Why are people shocked when men paid and encouraged to behave violently, behave violently?

A…[typical and represntative] California [cop] has been charged [for] murder[ing]…a married couple…Devin Williams…was allegedly dating the female victim…Maria Tran and [murdered] her [and her] husband…Benison Tran [when he discovered she was married]…the pair’s 14-year-old-son…walked in on the crime in progress…Williams fled…but…turned himself in nearly 11 hours later…

Property of the State (#1259)

“Hard cases” are more common than forced-birth proponents want you to believe:

Kristina Cruickshank…lost her unborn baby…in her 15th week of pregnancy…[she] was frail, vomiting and in pain when she and her husband, John, arrived at Houston Methodist Sugar Land on…June 3.  She needed an abortion…but…it…was not clear whether Kristina was exempt from Texas abortion laws, which threaten providers with felonies and lawsuits for performing abortions except to treat a miscarriage or a loosely defined “medical emergency.”  Her fetus still had a heartbeat, and she did not yet need life-saving care…So over the next three days, a sick and distraught Kristina was stuck in limbo, waiting…while an ethics committee reviewed the case…

Winding Down (#1265)

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

Arkansas is one of a handful of states, and the only Southern state, that allows voters to directly pass laws and amend the state constitution by ballot referendum.  Placing an initiative on the ballot requires collecting signatures from registered voters equal to 8 percent of the total votes for governor in the most recent election.  Currently, that number is 89,151.  In July, Responsible Growth Arkansas…submitted a [legalization] measure with over 190,000 signatures, more than twice the necessary number…[but] the State Board of Election Commissioners…denied the measure’s title and, therefore, its ballot eligibility…Responsible Growth Arkansas sued Secretary of State John Thurston…The Arkansas Supreme Court preliminarily ordered Thurston to certify the measure for November’s general election ballot but noted that it would not ultimately be able to hear arguments on the case until September…

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One of the titles by which the 20th Century will no doubt be known to future historians is “the Prohibition Era”.  The concept of Prohibition first started to take root in the diseased brains of control freaks in the late 19th century; it was an outgrowth of the broader “Progressive” philosophy which held that ordinary people cannot be trusted with our own lives, and must therefore be ruled by “experts” who decide for everyone how the human race should be “improved”, and enforce their diktats with violent thug armies whose actions cannot easily be reconciled with the concept of civil rights.  The first prohibitionist laws date to the late 19th century, but it was in the 20th that the concept not only reached full flower, but also successfully penetrated the minds of the general public so thoroughly that most took it for granted that for governments to tell people what they could consume, what they could own, and even what thoughts they could have while agreeing to consensual sex, was not only normal, but desirableFull alcohol prohibition lasted barely over a decade, but it left in its wake a patchwork of local prohibitions which have only very gradually eroded (and in some ways worsened again toward the end of the century).  And the failure of this one form of prohibition to thrive probably has a great deal to do with the fact that virtually no other country was willing to follow the American example; in most other cases, prohibitions which started in the US (such as drugs and prostitution) spread like a plague over the rest of the world.

But as the 20th century recedes into the past and the number of adults who can’t even remember it grows with every passing year, what Josephine Butler called “the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force” has gradually become less popular.  The once-global “War on Drugs” is beginning to wind down, and the full or partial criminalization of sex work is increasingly recognized as an abomination by those with healthy minds and respect for human rights.  New South Wales decriminalized “prostitution” in 1995, followed by New Zealand in 2003; many other countries at least loosened their laws on the subject around that same time.  Unfortunately, the prohibitionists recognized the trend before it could snowball, and began a propaganda campaign to convince the world that adult women are universally too weak-minded and spineless to be allowed to run our own sexual affairs, and that phenomena which had previously always been recognized as the pragmatic sexual decisions of individual women were in reality the result of the machinations of a vast cabal of “sex traffickers” abducting hundreds of thousands of “children” into literal slavery.  But moral panics have a very limited lifespan, and this one is already long past its heyday of the early ’10s.  It is now in the process of imploding in a rather spectacular fashion, and opposition to the continued criminalization of sex work has become a safe position even for US politicians.  The temporarily-delayed process of decriminalization got rolling again over the past few years; Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalized near the end of 2019, and Victoria state followed suit just a few weeks ago.  And now the first country outside of Oceania is set to join them:

The official green light has been given to Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne’s proposal to reform Belgium’s sexual criminal law…[by] remov[ing] sex work from the penal code…The Federal Parliament still has to approve the proposal but that is not expected to be more than a formality.  “This is a crucial leap forward. We are finally giving sex workers what they are entitled to: recognition and protection. Something they have been asking for decades,” Van Quickenborne said…Under current regulation, sex work is allowed, but third parties involved with sex workers are committing a crime.  The law [cl]aims to target pimps but in practice impacts other people…from book-keepers and web designers to drivers, landlords and even banks…

The importance of this move is difficult to overstate; the “sex trafficking” myth has provided a convenient cloak for Europen racism, and European chauvinism made decriminalization easy to ignore as long as it was strictly a “Down Under” practice (the same chauvinism has given the toxic “Swedish model” undeserved credibility).  But if Belgium follows through, Europe can no longer dismiss recognition of the sexual rights of adult women as a provincial abberation, and it’s entirely possible others may follow its example.

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By and large, the [state’s] reaction is, “Who cares? A child is dead. Let’s put her in prison for the rest of her life.”  –  Karla Fischer

Bad Girls

I don’t usually think ages are an important detail, but this is an exception:

…two Thai sex workers…Nualpan Coxon, 67, and Pornthip Phonkoed, 63, both of Auckland, have been on trial…[for defrauding] and…blackmail[ing three elderly men]…between August 2015 and February 2018…prosecutor Rebecca Mann…described the pair’s behaviour as “psychological coercion”…but…defence counsel Russell Boot told the jury…”They were not deceived in any way…It wasn’t until their wives and daughters found out … that it became an issue”…

Micromanagement

Any information you give to cops can and will be used against you:

The San Francisco police crime lab has been entering sexual assault victims’ DNA profiles in[to] a database used to identify suspects in crimes…District Attorney Chesa Boudin…said his office was made aware of the practice last week, after a woman’s DNA collected years ago as part of a rape exam was used to link her to a recent property crime.  If DNA from a rape kit was used without consent for purposes other than investigating the underlying rape case, it may be a violation of constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures as well as California’s Victims’ Bill of Rights, Boudin said.  Such a practice could also create another deterrent to sexual assault victims coming forward…Boudin said his office was investigating the scope of the practice…the database potentially includes thousands of victims’ DNA profiles, with entries over “many, many years”…

For comparison: roughly 60% of prostitution charges in the US result from the charged sex worker becoming the victim of some crime.

Property of the State

The state wants vengeance for the loss of future tax revenue:

[On] New Year’s Eve…2019, Rebecca Hogue, then a 28-year-old cocktail waitress, arrived home in Norman, Oklahoma, around 4 a.m. and went to check on her 2-year-old son…Ryder…her boyfriend, Christopher Trent…had put him…in his crib, where he appeared to be sleeping…when she woke up again a few hours later, Trent was gone.  And her toddler, still in the crib, was…dead…Days later, [police] found [Trent] hanging from a tree in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, where he’d killed himself…he’d [apparently] beaten the boy while Hogue was away at work…[because] they found the words “Rebecca is Innocent” carved into a tree…But in the ultimate act of victim-blaming against a grieving mother, the state of Oklahoma…convicted [her] of first-degree murder, even though she never laid a hand on the boy…Hogue was convicted under Oklahoma’s “failure to protect” law, which requires parents to [magically] shield their kid from physical harm if [a jury decides] they…[“]should[“] have been [clairvoyantly] aware…that another adult [wa]s abusing the child…

Broken Record (#747) 

There’s something especially pathetic about a politician who fails to realize a prohibitionist trope is long past its sell-by date:

…In a city council video that reads like sketch comedy…[Hudson, Ohio] mayor [Craig Shubert]] warns that if you open up the lake to ice fishing, ice shantytowns will follow, and the​​n commercial sex…”If you open this up to ice fishing, while on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year—does someone come back and say I want an ice shanty?…And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem: prostitution.  Just data points to consider,” he added. (Apparently, Shubert doesn’t understand what “data points” means)…

At least Shubert had the sense to realize he had become a laughingstock, and resigned the following week.

I Spy (#1154) 

The government thinks you shouldn’t be allowed any privacy whatsoever:

…the U.S. Postal Service…is violating the privacy and civil liberties of the American people by using sophisticated tools to break into hundreds of citizens’ cellphones and collect their social media posts…the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) admitted in its 2020 annual report that it not only employed top-of-the-line technology hundreds of times to hack into mobile phones but also planned to expand its use of…Cellebrite…and GrayKey…to break into phones, unscramble otherwise unreadable encrypted data, and copy it for [pigs] to [root] through.  This technology is dangerous and prone to abuse…

The Implosion Begins (#1189)

Everyone who spread “sex trafficking” hysteria contributed to this atrocity:

…Troy Burke…admitted to killing his wife, Jessica…by shooting her three times in the head in their [Michigan] home…a judge allowed Burke to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, after psychiatric evaluations by both the state and independent experts concluded that he was not fit to stand trial…Burke believed his tablet device was sending him signals from QAnon members who told him that his wife was working for the CIA…the messages directed him to kill his wife to save the world from child sex trafficking…it’s unclear if the messages Burke was speaking about were real or imaginary, but…QAnon…was built on…false claim[s about]…child sex-trafficking [spread for the past two decades by politicians, cops, the news media (including Vice), sex work prohibitionists, and amoral profiteers]…

Permanent Record (#1200)

Coverage of these incidents is growing more sympathetic:

Cami Strella…tried to tune out distress about being outed until a classmate who discovered her online identity broached a conversation about sex and Strella’s online content.  That encounter signified to Strella that her time as a student in occupational therapy with a neurological rehabilitation track was nearing a close…she…sought the advice of a trusted academic adviser who told her it would be best if she left the program…[so] she followed that advice and submitted her intent to unenroll from the only graduate program to which she had been accepted…Lutheran-affiliated Lenoir-Rhyne University has no policy against digital sex work, [and] a university spokesperson…said the school encourages Strella to communicate her concerns to university leadership…

“Communicate her concerns”?  What sanctimonious bullshit.  Note also that despite the generally-sympathetic tone, writer Lateshia Beachum still felt compelled to include dysphemisms such as “earning a living in society’s underbelly” and sophomoric tee-hee attempts at wit such as “pull themselves up by their garter belts to attain financial stability”.

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The federal government is literally paying state and local police to circumvent state law.  –  Justin Pearson

To Molest and Rape

If only there were a concise word for “coerced into having sex”:

An Elk Grove [California cop], along with [his cop shop] and city of Elk Grove, are being sued by a woman who…was [raped by]…the [cop, whose identity the state is hiding so he can continue to prey on other vulnerable women]…in April, the woman called 911 to report the theft of her vehicle’s catalytic converter…When the [rapist, who was among the responding cops, discovered]…she was single, he took her number and [claimed] it would be used for the investigation…[but in actuality] he [used it to harass]…her…th[reatening] her son…if she did not [submit]…she complied [due to reasonable]…fear of retaliation…[but] called [a different cop shop]…to…report…the…rape [afterward]…

Thou Shalt Not (#642)

New Zealand cops apparently lack sufficient reasons to brutalize people:

New Zealand is [criminaliz]ing young people [who]…buy cigarettes in a rolling program that aims to make [every]…smoke[r in the country a criminal] by 2025…Each year the age limit will be increased until…[all Kiwis who smoke are criminalized]…As part of the strategy, cigarette prices have [been artificially] increased by 10 per cent every year for the 10 years between 2011 and 2020, but…the price hike has…creat[ed] a black market for cigarettes…

But just in case you thought politicians were capable of logic:

New Zealand has become the first country in the world to permanently legalise drug checking services, which will allow individuals to test the safety of illicit substances at festivals and other locations without the fear of legal repercussions…

So will services checking the safety of black market cigarettes be legal?

Policing for Profit (#924)

Until there are criminal penalties for this behavior, cops have no incentive to stop:

In [2016], Florida passed a law [intended to] reform…the state’s civil asset forfeiture process…But despite t[his]…Florida remains one of the most prolific practitioners of [legalized robbery, because]…local and state police can evade the new restrictions by [simply] working with the federal government [to divvy up the take]…In 2012, the Justice Department demanded that the police department in Bal Harbour, Florida—population 2,500—return $4 million in forfeited assets after audits showed the department had been misusing funds for lavish expenses, vehicles, payouts to snitches, and first-class travel…Bal Harbour police had been running a [so-called] task force…[which actually] laundered $56 million for drug cartels through undercover police bank accounts…police in the suburb of Sunrise, Florida…raked in millions by using well-paid snitches to lure cocaine buyers into town from around the country…and s[teal]ing their cash…a dozen members of the…vice squad had each made hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay through the stings…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1102) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, now with the financial backing of Morality in Media:

[A professional fantasist] and two…unnamed…[collaborators, backed by anti-sex extremists Morality in Media, have re-]filed a [previously-dismissed] lawsuit…against Nevada’s Governor [and others, seeking]…to put an end to legalized…prostitution in the state [because of their fantasies about it]…The lawsuit [bizarrely claims]…that…legalized prostitution…[is] “violating the thirteenth amendment’s ban on slavery”…Guinasso [also] argues that…prostitution [should be further criminalized because]…it…[allows women to] make a good living…

The Mob Rules

A district court judge has to do SCOTUS’ job because it won’t:

S.B. 8, the Texas law that bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, relies on a novel enforcement mechanism…It authorizes lawsuits by “any person” against “any person” who performs or facilitates a prohibited abortion and promises plaintiffs at least $10,000 in “statutory damages,” plus reimbursement of their legal expenses, if they win.  That “unique and unprecedented” arrangement …violates the state constitution’s standing requirements for civil actions, the separation of powers, and the right to due process…[ruled] Travis County District Court Judge David Peeples…His 48-page order emphasizes how the law’s “completely new” enforcement mechanism favors plaintiffs over defendants and warns that the same strategy could be deployed against all sorts of politically disfavored constitutional rights…”It is one thing to authorize taxpayers or citizens to file suits against government officials to make them obey a law, and…quite another thing to incentivize citizens or persons to file suits against other private citizens to extract money from them, with no pretense of compensating the claimant for anything”…

Since IANAL, I can’t judge whether SCOTUS arguments supporting its continued refusal to take action are specious or not.  But they’re certainly convenient.

Torture Chamber (#1189)

Arizona screws think they can cure mental illness by torture:

Day after day…Rahim Muhammad slammed his head into the prison cell door…[because he] heard voices that told him to harm himself.  But instead of providing counseling…Arizona prison staff repeatedly gassed Muhammad with pepper spray…more than 40 times over eight months [in the past year]…In one two-week period, Muhammad was pepper sprayed 15 times.  Sometimes [screws] gassed him twice a day…[or] shot him at close range with a pepper ball gun…The treatment…was recently highlighted in the [class action suit over medical neglect in Arizona prisons.  Screws]…have no psychiatric training, but nevertheless told Muhammad that his frequent self-harming behavior is a choice…and…”We’ll gas you, we’ll shoot you, and we’ll tase you until you stop”…Muhammad has spent the majority of the past seven years in…[solitary confinement]…causing [even more] harm…

Creepy Coppers

Setting an example for his underlings:

The [typical and representative] East Helena [Montana] chief of police…admitted…that he distributed child pornography in 2019 using [Facebook]…William Daly Harrington…faces a mandatory minimum five years to 20 years in prison…[and] a $250,000 fine…[he was caught] in September 2020…[after] Facebook Messenger [told cops]…that the Facebook Messenger account…belong[ing] to Harrington….sent…child pornography…[to another] account…

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The people having the greatest sexual fulfilment were [those] who…discarded the entire package of paint-by-numbers ideas about sexuality.  –  Peggy Kleinplatz

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false rape accusations:

Alice Sebold’s bestselling 1999 memoir Lucky tells the story of a young woman raped by a stranger…Sebold went on to write the bestseller The Lovely Bones, a fictional account of a teenage girl raped and killed.  But last week Anthony Broadwater, the man who served 16 years in prison for raping Sebold, was exonerated.  Timothy Mucciante, a producer working on a film adaptation of Lucky, was fired after raising questions about inconsistencies in Sebold’s story…[and] discrepancies between the memoir and the facts of the case, to the point where he…ended up hiring a private investigator [who]…broke the case.  Broadwater’s conviction…rested on shaky evidence: Sebold had…initially picked a different man out of a lineup—and the only forensic evidence was a form of hair analysis that [even] the government now [admits is] junk science…Broadwater was [condemned to] the New York Sex Offender Registry after his 1999 release, and…remained on it until a few days ago.  His case starkly highlights the needless cruelty of sex offense registries

Between the Ears (#322)

Professionals have been telling y’all this for decades:

…truly magnificent sex has very little to do with daring feats of seduction or screaming orgasms…erotic intimacy is more a state of mind than a physical act.  In a recent study, Magnificent Sex, psychologist and sex therapist Dr Peggy J Kleinplatz and her colleagues at Ottawa University…recruited people from around the world across the age, gender and sexuality spectrum – who self-reported having had, at some point in their lives, truly mindblowing sex.  Through a series of interviews, researchers began to build up a picture of what “the best sex ever” looks, feels and sounds like…Despite the different ways each participant actually had sex, at the very peaks of the experience, everyone was feeling the same kinds of things: total absorption in the moment, deep connection with their partner, and openness and a willingness to take a few emotional risks…

The rest has the same kind of advice sex educators have been giving people for as long as there’s been such a thing (see the subtitle of this item?) but it won’t do any good, because most people just want a magic pill.

Checklist (#685)

Thought you could avoid the “sex trafficking” Gestapo by taking a bus rather than a plane?  Think again:

Denver [cops swarmed]…a Greyhound bus [on November 29th]…[they delayed the bus for hours, interrogat]ing…passengers and [root]ing [through people’s] luggage [without their consent, using the excuse of “]a possible human trafficking situation[” reported by a busybody indoctrinated by government “signs of trafficking” propaganda]…an adult female was [on the bus] and…The Denver Police Human Trafficking Unit is investigating [why she was traveling without a male]…no one has been arrested at this time…

Monsters (#863) 

All internet “porn” censorship schemes have similar endgames:

A powerful Russian [politician]…unveiled…a bill proposal that would classify all depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships in the same banned or restricted categories as pornography…[while] another [politician announced]…he had prepared a catalog of “toxic content,” using a system that labels content from “completely banned” to “simply undesirable”…Vitaly Milonov…[said] “the state…[should] not allow the broadcast of films with LGBTQ+ content”…and…Igor Ashmanov… “would flag topics such as radical feminism [and] ‘child-free’ lifestyles, as well as the promotion of homosexuality and bestiality”…Last month, an[other politician blathered toxic nonsense about]…“the rights of law enforcers [to inflict violence upon individuals for their thoughts]”…

Winding Down (#1114)

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

South Dakota voters made history last November by simultaneously approving ballot initiatives aimed at legalizing recreational and medical use of marijuana…Amendment A…prevailed by an eight-point margin in a state that is…largely conservative.  But thanks to…legal [obstructionism]…by [prohibitionist] Gov. Kristi Noem, Amendment A was almost immediately tied up in litigation, and…[now] the South Dakota Supreme Court [has] definitively overturned it…[on a technicality the amendment’s backers called “a far-fetched legal theory”, an assessment the dissenting judge agreed with]…unless the state legislature independently implements the policy embodied in Amendment A, the ruling means supporters…will have to try again next year with an initiative that addresses the court’s legal objections…

The Crumbling Dam (#1153)

Will the feds interfere with this as they did in Philadelphia?

In an attempt to curb a surge in overdose deaths caused by [street drugs made] increasingly potent [by the iron law of prohibition], New York City will authorize two supervised injection sites in Manhattan…New York…will become the first U.S. city to open officially authorized injection sites…other cities including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle have taken steps toward supervised injection but have [been blocked by prohibitionists both in and out of government]…Mayor Bill de Blasio…sent a letter to the providers promising “not to take enforcement action” against their operations and…four of the city’s five district attorneys — [in]cluding [crypto-prohibitionist]…Cyrus R. Vance Jr

I Spy (#1173)

I’ll believe Facebook is actually going to do this when it actually does it:

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s parent company…doesn’t plan to roll out end-to-end encryption…by default on Messenger and Instagram until 2023…Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, attributes the delay to concerns about user safety…[which does not]…mean…[actual safety, but is in actuality an Orwellian euphemism for copsucking]…UK…[politicians are trying to criminalize encryption in their fiefdom] and…the US…Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan…all [subscribe to mathematically-illiterate lawhead beliefs that it’s possible]…to give [pigs and spooks a “backdoor” to root around in people’s private affairs while magically preventing thugs and busybodies who don’t work for the State from exploiting the same intentional gap in security]…

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It was not just that their perspective was discarded. Their perspective wasn’t even heard.  –  Ro Khanna

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

…in…March 2014…19-year-old Nimali Henry was booked [into the St. Bernard parish jail] on charges of simple battery, disturbing the peace and unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling…she was living with a rare…blood disorder and…in desperate need of her medication…[but] did not have [it] with her [when arrested and screws made no effort to obtain it for her]…Two days later, other [prisoners tried] to…talk…to the guards on duty about her.  In a…video from March 31, 2014, Nimali [can be] seen stumbling and…barely [able to] walk as…guards [shout “stop faking!” at her].  Later that same day, another video shows her lying on a prison bunk with no mattress covered with what appears to be nothing more than a blanket…[she] died hours later…[as the direct result of] jail…[staff refusing to obtain] her medication and [intentionally leaving her] in excruciating pain for 10 days.  The[y]…never [even] called an ambulance….St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann [called the willful murder a “]shortfall[” and]…declined….to look at the video [because “he does not want to see anyone…die in jail”]…Four jail workers pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges…Andre Dominick…Timothy Williams…Lisa Vacrella and Debra Becnel…

What the story doesn’t tell you:  St. Bernard dramatically expanded its jail around 1990 so it could make money warehousing human beings for other parishes who lacked the room to cram any more people into their own cage stacks.

Don’t Take My Word For It (#541)

When a “study” makes silly claims like this, look for the reasons:

…Some researchers…seem obsessed with the idea of proving that sex work isn’t gendered and that women pay for sexual services in increasing numbers…from men…This…claim [is]…based on the number of profiles on [adult service websites, but]…most of these male-owned accounts have no feedback which suggests that they’re not escorts, but fantasists who set up a profile pretending to be an escort as part of their fantasy.  They’re attracted to the idea of anonymous sex as well as the misguided belief that someone would be interested in pursuing them sexually and even paying for the privilege.  Men who typically pay for sex are turned on by the idea that someone might want them enough to offer them money for it.  The male-owned profiles which do have feedback often have it because they pay for sex, get feedback from sex workers, then switch their profile around so it looks like women have paid for their services….client posing is commonly known amongst sex workers; if sex workers had been consulted on the research, that claim would have been contested…

This is an excellent article which explains a number of other silly “study” claims as well.

Full of Themselves (#831)

Racist persecution of massage parlors is a popular pastime for California “authorities”:

…the [victim of California] officials[‘ crusade against mundane businesses they ludicrously defamed as] “an organized crime sex trafficking ring operating across California” has been sentenced to 10 years and 8 months in state prison…Jing Chiang Huang was also ordered to pay $557,391 in [back taxes] to the California Franchise Tax Board [thus revealing the true motive behind the joint pogrom]…by federal, state and local [cop shops]…More than a dozen [employes] were [arrested and deported] in the process, according to a press release [calling the violence “rescue”]…

Uncommon Sense (#898) 

The Spanish high court says the government has no power to suppress a sex worker union:

Spanish sex workers have the right to form their own union, the Supreme Court ruled…overturning an earlier court decision ordering [its] dissolution…OTRAS…was discretely set up in August 2018 but was [attacked] three months later by…[prohibition]ist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez….and [his Swedish-criminalization cultist followers even though the law clearly states] that sex workers “have the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to form a union”…

Imaginary Victims (#902) 

A celebrity accomplished what do-nothing “safe harbor” laws couldn’t:

…in…April of 2020…Ohio’s governor…grant[ed] the release of a 22-year-old…Alexis Martin…[from prison] after Kim Kardashian visited [her there]…after six years, five months and 13 days…she…wi[ll]…be…track[ed by ankle monitor]…every second…[and] on parole, being [spi]ed on and drug tested until at least 2034.  Her record w[ill] always show a murder conviction, [with] all the limitations [that] bring[s]…

The article has some good information, but you’ll need to pick around the wads of ugly prohibitionist propaganda and chunks of infantilizing, agency-denying language as you would pick around slimy green things in a casserole that’s otherwise edible.

Rough Trade (#923)

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested:

Jessie Campos was found guilty of raping a sex worker in a [New Zealand] brothel in late 2018, and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison…he was made aware on several occasions a condom was legally required and he agreed to use one…but…the[n]…removed [it]…The woman indicated he had acted inappropriately and made him put the condom back on.  Without her knowledge, Campos again removed the condom and ejaculated inside her.  The woman ran to her manager’s office and the police were called…Judge Stephen Harrop…rejected the defence claim that the stealthing was not premeditated and that cultural factors [Campos emigrated from the Philippines] were relevant to the sentencing…

Yes, this is rape.  No, I don’t want to “discuss” it.

Safe Position (#991)

Even journalists are beginning to recognize what a huge backfire FOSTA was:

Sex workers have gained the backing of a small group of Democratic [politicians] after…being [entirely] shut out of the policymaking process [for decades].  The turning point was…FOSTA…also referred to as SESTA…which was [intended] to punish online platforms facilitating [sex work]…Despite the best efforts of sex workers to dissuade [politicians], the bill passed through both chambers easily…in 2018…“until very recently [no politician] wanted to be seen as facilitating…or encouraging sex work,” said Mike Stabile…of…the Free Speech Coalition…[anti-FOSTA politician Ro] Khanna [said]…his colleagues “didn’t even want to take meetings because of the possible images or pictures” with sex workers that could have been taken.  Stigma also hurts [civol rights] organizations’ funding because consumers of pornopgraphy are “embarrassed” to publically back them, says sex worker and writer Cathy Reisenwitz…

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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[Kamala] Harris is basically a QAnon cheerleader for people who fancy themselves too sophisticated for that crap.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

A Moral Cancer (#790)

Crypto-moralists always pretend their lust to ban things is about “health” or “safety”:

Critics are lining up to blast a report, issued by [the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory] Committee earlier this summer, that urges the government to make steep cuts to the definition of moderate alcohol consumption…DGAC…policies include everything from recommending how many servings of vegetables people should consume in a day to determining what foods to serve to troops, schoolchildren, and prisoners…The report seeks to halve the DGAC’s longstanding definition of moderate drinking for men—no more than two drinks per day—to no more than one drink per day.  (The recommendation for women, set for years at no more than one drink per day, remains unchanged)…five Harvard Medical School faculty doctors—including three who served on one or more prior iterations of the DGAC…argue the…slash…is a “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic treatment of alcohol consumption” that is based on “limited, arbitrary, and unsystematic evidence”…the DGAC appears to have “ignored” three decades of research…in…[order] to support claims made by members of the DGAC prior to appointment…In other words…anti-alcohol DGAC members focused only on research that supports arguments those members wanted to make all along…

Comfort Zone (#839)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A spike in migrants moving north through Panama has [cops fantsizing] the country will become an international center for human trafficking.  Last year, nearly 22,000 migrants from Haiti, Cuba and a number of African and Asian countries were [arrested] after crossing the perilous Darién jungle along the Panama-Colombia border…The journey of a migrant…isn’t cheap or easy.  Migrants usually learn of the method from friends or family members who made the trip before them, or find instructions posted online…Often, migrants pay for smuggling through what analysts call “sponsors,” usually family members or friends already in the United States…

Down Under (#890)

Swedish model regimes would’ve instead targeted the victim for surveillance:

Michael Donald Grout attempted to blackmail…a…sex [worker], then followed through on his threat and [out]ed her [to her parents]…he…was sentenced in…Palmerston North [New Zealand]…to four months’ home detention…The victim was 18 at the time, more than 40 years Grout’s junior…Grout [claimed in court that he] became fearful for his own health after reading…an…advertisement that said the woman provided unprotected sex.  This was confirmed through an interaction with another of her clients…[but rather than distancing himself from her to protect his supposedly-compromised immune system] he obtained nude photographs of the woman and…[demanded she submit to rape or] he would send the photos to her parents…she…then…blocked the [anonymous] account [from which he was sending the threats, and he retaliated by sending]…a courier package [which] arrived at the home of [her] parents [on December 19]…her mother opened it and found several naked photos of her daughter.  Attached was a note wishing the couple a Merry Christmas and happy New Year.  “You must be proud of her,” Grout wrote…

Disaster (#1009)

The FOSTA challenge is proceeding again:

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation is suing (again) to get FOSTA ruled unconstitutional…[on the grounds that it] violates the First and Fifth Amendments…Woodhull’s motion for summary judgment…also takes aim at the law’s retroactive scope—FOSTA says you can be punished for violating it even before the law went into effect [even though such laws are prohibited in Article I of the Constitution]…

The Course of a Disease (#1020)

Maltese prohibitionists are strikingly loony, even for prohibitionists:

Malta’s Prostitution Reform Technical Committee excludes [prohibitionists] who [persecute and infantilize] sex workers, [prohibitionists] w[hi]ned….“Nordic model” [fanatics are upset that]…the state [is instead considering]…decriminalisation…[the prohibitionists vomited idiocy about “]sex hub tourism[” (whatever that is supposed to mean)] and “European Thailand”…[and also] called for [persecution of] strip clubs,  a…police [rape gang, and forcible “conversion therapy”]…for…victims of [the police]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1040)

I only hope this turns out to be true:

Ongoing tests of facial recognition technology continue to show that the technology is baffled when people wear masks of the sort that have become widespread (and even mandatory) in some places during the current pandemic. Forty-one newly tested algorithms—some of which were designed to compensate for face coverings—show the same dramatically elevated error rates as those examined earlier.  The tests have important implications for privacy at a time…of political instability and growing concern over law enforcement excesses, when people may have a strong interest in making identification of opponents and protesters difficult for the powers-that-be…

A Broker in Pillage (#1068)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

What happens when innocent people stand up to government bullies who use civil forfeiture laws to steal their property?  In many cases, the bullies, unaccustomed to such resistance, fold like a cheap suit…the government returned Kevin McBride’s Jeep, which…the Pima County Attorney’s Office was demanding a $1,900 ransom for the safe return of…But the day after the Goldwater Institute threatened to sue on McBride’s behalf…prosecutors changed their tune…

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What seems obvious to citizens is far too often deliberately unclear to government agencies.  –  Tim Cushing

Negative Secondary Effects

Busybodies are trying to ban dancing by cribbing language from the federal “obscenity” test:

The city council of Drain, Oregon passed new regulations…with the specific purpose of outlawing a…[strip club by] introducing business licenses to the city’s Code of Ordinances…[and adding a] new pro-censorship ordinance [featuring nonsense about]…”public morals, public safety, public health and public convenience”…and…“public nudity…appeals to the prurient interest…and…lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…Ray Hacke, an attorney with the…religious [pro-censorship] group Pacific Justice Institute [bloviated that]…“an adult entertainment business has no business…next to a church…[or] any place where children congregate…These places do [magically] attract sexual predators”…

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

Last month Kiwibank rolled out a “responsible banking policy” stating that it would no longer deal with any companies involved in [fossil fuels] and blacklisting the adult entertainment industry, casinos, military grade weapons, synthetic drugs, palm oil, tobacco and predatory lending.  But after representations from the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Kiwibank agreed to work with strip clubs and brothels that could demonstrate good practice.  The NZPC argued that banning brothel owners would have a flow-on effect to the people who worked for them.  Since then, [prohibitionist group] Wahine Toa Rising has written to Kiwibank applauding its initial commitment to [misogyny and discrimination]…and asking them to reconsider.  Kiwibank is still considering its response…

Even in New Zealand, the yellow press colludes with prohibitionists.  From the headline claiming that bigotry and dicrimination are “principled”, to the mischaracterization of a rescue-industry organization employing paid “survivor” shills as a legitimate sex worker group, to the prohibitionist propaganda which makes up the bulk of the article, to the Swedish criminalization snake oil, to the ugly prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies such as “the majority of sex workers…[were] sexually abused as…child[ren]”, this garbage would be more at home in a US tabloid than a New Zealand website purporting to be a news magazine.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#938)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

BammRose…is…the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry. In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against…racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to…hire Black dancers…and give them profitable shifts…At the root of the strippers’ strike is a demand for better, safer working conditions, fair wages, and protection from sexual assault…

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

[The Michigan supreme] court…[ruled in favor of] two plaintiffs suing…Oakland County…[over its] forfeiture policy…a…tax lien…[was] put on [Uri Rafaeli’s] property when…he…[underpaid his property taxes by] “$8.41 in…2011, which grew to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees. Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew Meisner…foreclosed on Rafaeli’s property…sold [it] at public auction for $24,500, and retained all the sale proceeds”…the county turned less than $300 in delinquencies into a $24,200 profit…Another property owner, Andre Ohanessian, saw $6000 in taxes, fines, and fees turn into a $76,000 net gain for the county when it auctioned his property for $82,000 and kept everything…

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

I can’t tell you how satisfied I am that Trumpaloons are taking over “sex trafficking” hysteria:

a [Facebook] post shared over 1,000 times reads…“Did you KNOW that a child in AMERICA is over 66,000 x more likely to be human trafficked than to get COVID-19?”  Similar [Facebook] posts contend that upwards of 800,000 children go missing every year, and that mask-wearing makes a child more likely to be trafficked.  These posts also criticize government officials and businesses for promoting mask use, [fantasiz]ing they are endangering children.  “We have now COMPLETELY taken away identifying our children’s faces.  We’ve made it much easier on these child abductors and human traffickers!” a post shared almost 8,000 times reads…“A child is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19,” another post shared 2,000 times reads. “In addition, your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone”…

Best part: the article then goes on to attempt to debunk these hysterical fantasies while simultaneously wallowing in other claims nearly as wacko as “masks cause sex trafficking!”

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

A would-be class action lawsuit alleges that the Macy’s department store chain violates Illinois law when it identifies customers recorded on its surveillance cameras by using facial recognition software…the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…bars some private companies from obtaining scans of facial geometry without written consent.  Macy’s uses software provided by Clearview AI Inc., which scrapes data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other internet platforms…Clearview…provides facial recognition services to more than 200 corporate clients, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart.  Some of the companies used the software on a trial basis, but Macy’s is a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000 searches…

Top Cop (#1062)

This psychopath is only two steps from the power she so desperately craves:

Joe Biden announced [last week] that he had picked [Kamala] Harris to be his running mate as he seeks to become the next president of the United States.  The good news is that it keeps Harris—who has a long and authoritarian history on criminal justice issues—far from the [post of] attorney general…[where she] would have the potential to do much more damage than as vice president.  The bad news is that it puts Harris next in line for the presidency should anything happen to [the man who would be the oldest ever elected to that office] and sets her up nicely for a future presidential run.  In Harris, we would get a leader with President Donald Trump’s penchant for unchecked executive power and modern Democrats’ tendency to consider no issue outside the reach of government.  The pick is somewhat surprising…[considering] Harris’ backhanded busing stunt during the Democratic candidate debates last summer, and…[her] troubling history…[on] law-and-order issues [for which she] is despised…by many young left-of-center voters…That’s a particular liability as Americans streets are still erupting with protests over police violence and calls for criminal justice reform…

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