Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Predictable Consequences’

Eradicating harm—[as now] redefined—may only amount to performance art, in which the semblance of action is all that is needed.  –  Eric Smith

Crying Wolf

This tendency has only worsened over the past decade:

The standard definition of harm has undergone concept creep…Where once the potential for harm existed in contact sports, accidents, physical altercations, traumas and so on, one might now find it while reading a question on an examlistening to a recorded debate in a classroom or encountering an opinion on social media…the broadening meaning of harm…can cause activists to spend so much time on relatively innocuous actions that they have none left for the arduous task of dealing with real societal harms like housing and food insecurity, failed educational institutions, violence in inner cities and disproportionate mortality rates…Defining harm as shallowly as many modern activists do leads them to mistake symbolic gestures for concrete strategies for change…the redefinition of harm [also] infantilizes people of color…I don’t think a world in which people of color give their power away so easily is one any self-respecting person of color would want to see…

Checklist (#986)

Your periodic reminder that Uber encourages its drivers to spy on riders and rat sex workers out to the pigs:

Uber…hire[s former pigs and spooks]…to help police catch suspected [sex worker]s…[by turning over their] uploaded information…[and] account identifiers…to…the…[pigs, referring to sex work as] human trafficking [equal to] carjackings…Uber works with the [rescue industry giant] “Polaris”…[to indoctrinate] Uber drivers [with absurd and overbroad “signs of] human trafficking[“]…

A Moral Cancer (#991)

It’s unusual for prohibitionists to admit they’re openly targeting black people:

[Prohibitionist] groups are applying…pressure on the Biden administration to institute a nationwide ban…o[n] menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products…precisely because of [their] popularity with African Americans…[even if] the law [is only] enforced against sellers…entrepreneurs would still have ready access to both cigarettes and menthol flavoring…[and] combin[ing] the two…[is a fairly simple] process…Unless the federal government attempts to turn menthol itself into a controlled substance, there will surely be many small-time sellers of menthol cigarettes meeting the demand of the millions of Americans who smoke them, including at least 77 percent of black smokers, but possibly as high as 88 percent (and around a quarter of white smokers)…Recall that Eric Garner’s [murderer used]…the petty crime of selling loose cigarettes a[s an excuse, and]…Garner’s mother, Gwendolyn Carr, became a vocal opponent of a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes in New York City [as a result]…in Massachusetts, which banned menthol cigarettes in 2020, at least one [black market]  seller is facing prosecution…the brunt of enforcement [will certainly] be borne by [black] people…

This is, unfortunately, par for the course; “progressive” campaigns to “improve” people against their will always ignore the fact that their moralistic crusades always disproportionately harm minorities, especially black people.

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A woman has sued Reddit [because] ex-boyfriend…repeatedly post[ed nude] images of her as a 16-year-old.  The lawsuit applies controversial measures instituted in 2018 under FOSTA-SESTA…The resulting case will test the limits of platforms’ legal shields amid ongoing efforts to [destroy] the law behind them.  The woman…[claims] that “Reddit knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content polices, including for child pornography”…She’s accusing Reddit of distributing child pornography, failing to report child sexual abuse material, and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act…

The Widening Gyre (#1128)

It’s ironic that the newest target of “sex trafficking” scarelore is Target:

A…Reddit…user…who writes under the username Peeky-Lou…[and is so obsessed with] human trafficking…[fantasies that] she…[carries “]several legal self-defense items[” to go shopping at Target predictably imagined that]…three men…[in the store were] follow[ing her]…“It felt as if I was being surrounded like a wild animal —hunted, even,” she wrote…The…[nitwit spent] an hour…wandering around the store, [scaring herself silly with melodramatic fantasies of]…“darkness in his eyes…an eerie smirk [and]…sinister gaze”…[when] a male employee…walk[ed] her to her car…[she] saw [something that]…”solidif[ied] all of my suspicions…A white windowless van was parked in the lot“…

To Molest and Rape (#1129)

Rapist cops are sometimes treated like other rapists if their victims are prepubescent:

A [typical and representative] Louisiana [cop] has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and sexually assaulting three girls, all less than 11 years old…David Monceaux [was sentenced] to…two life terms and a 50-year sentence consecutively…without probation, parole, or suspension of sentence…his youngest victim was 4 years old…

Predictable Consequences (#1130)

Prohibitionism is an inherently violent belief system:

A mansion owned by Feras Antoon, a Pornhub executive, was torched in an apparent arson last [week].  Police…were initially called to [the Montreal] property…at 11:30 P.M when two people were spotted trespassing…when [they] arrived…shortly thereafter they found…a…fire…so massive that more than 80 firefighters were called in and the neighbours were forced to evacuate…

Read Full Post »

[Prohibitionists] are to blame for the fear sex workers live with, and the deaths that follow.  –  Mary Moody

The Course of a Disease (#342)

Business As Usual

Wow, a headline writer without a boot permanently lodged in his mouth:

…[a typical and representative New Haven] cop [named] Gary Gamarra [claimed that his rapes of] two different…sex workers [were OK because they wanted it]…Gamarra resigned from the force after [lying about] the [rapes, but]…now he’s seeking to have the resignation rescinded [so he can] get…back [to raping again].  The police chief, meanwhile, is seeking to have the state bar Gamarra from ever serving as a police officer in Connecticut again.  And the state’s attorney’s office has decided…[not] to pursue a criminal case against Gamarra [because whores.  Other “officials” thought it was much more important to note that he was not wearing his magic clown costume at the time of the rapes]…

Disaster (#974)

It’s just going to keep getting worse:

…the gaming chat platform Discord [has] quietly updated its guidelines to restrict adult content, issuing a ban on users accessing NSFW servers…on iOS devices…entire servers, as opposed to individual channels, are…designated NSFW if the community “is organized around NSFW content or whose content is predominantly 18+”…It will still be possible for Discord users to access NSFW servers on its desktop version, and on Android…[because] the…policy shift was intended “to comply with Apple’s policies”…

See also “The Next Target” below.

To Molest and Rape (#1066)

Just protecting and serving:

…the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against [rapist cop Patrick Rose]…for sexual assault on a 12-year-old [boy], and…an internal investigation…concluded that he [was] likely [guilty, but he was allowed to]…ke[ep] his badge…for another 21 years, and rose to power in the [pig] union…his [victim grew up and lasy year discovered that] Rose [had been raping his daughter since she was 7]…The department’s cover-up]…left Rose free to [rape] again and again, from one generation to the next…

Quiet Genocide (#1118)

China is ramping up its propaganda campaign against those who tell the truth about the ongoing Uighur genocide:

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced more than a dozen [people who escaped]…Xinjiang…as liars, criminals, terrorists, and persons of “bad morality”…in a bid to undermine reports of abuses that have led…Western nations to [recognize that China is conducting] …a campaign of genocide.  [The propaganda also claims that of about 12,000 known victims listed in several]…database[s]…nearly 1,350 were “fabricated”…nearly 7,000 are “living a normal life,” while some 3,250 “have been convicted and sentenced for crimes of violent terrorism and criminal offenses”…[and] another 500 had either died of diseases or are living in foreign countries…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against all adult material online continues:

Mastercard Inc. is “[tightening] the requirements it sets for banks that process payments for sellers of adult content”…the company will demand “clear, unambiguous and documented consent…[and] document[ation of] the age and [government-approved] identity of anyone depicted in pictures and videos as well as those uploading the content…the banks…will need to certify that the…sites have a review process prior to any content being published, as well as a system for complaints that addresses illegal or non-consensual activity within seven business days…[including] an appeals process that allows for anyone depicted in adult videos or photos to request that the content be removed”…

Predictable Consequences (#1126)

I’ve been pointing out the inherent violence of prohibitionism for years:

…While Exodus Cry has largely tried to get Pornhub shut down using political and social media pressure, its rhetoric is used by people who want to take matters into their own hands.  Sex workers and organizations targeted by those people believe that the rhetoric is going to lead to real world violence, and say that several high-profile mass killings can be traced back to anti-sex worker rhetoric more broadly…these groups have used extremist language and tapped into QAnon sentiment toward child trafficking, so it…is…not the least bit surprising, to see extremists using Nazi paraphernalia, death threats and photos of weapons alongside Exodus Cry’s Traffickinghub logo

It seems as though Vice is now trying to distance itself from this evil hysteria, which it has always tacitly supported via its credulous attitude toward “sex trafficking” propaganda.

Read Full Post »

A lot of…urban legends [are] old wine in new bottles. – Benjamin Radford

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

Go on, keep giving governments more excuses and powers to literally rob people.  I’m sure you’ll never regret it:

South Korean prosecutors have sold bitcoin…[stolen from people they branded] criminals…turn[ing] a profit of around 12.3 billion won (around US$10.9 million)…the [excuse used for the robbery was that the victim was]…”the operator of [an] illegal pornography site”…While the U.S. government has been auctioning [stolen] bitcoin since 2014, Korean prosecutors have held on to the [stolen] bitcoin for the past four years…[until] March 25, the exact day when the country’s [politicians]…classifie[d] crypto as “virtual assets”…

The Notorious Badge (#976)

Twitter’s connection to movies exploiting sex workers isn’t usually so direct:

After receiving rave reviews at last year’s Sundance festival, the full trailer for Janicza Bravo’s Twitter-storm dramedy Zola is finally here…the film follows Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress who strikes up a friendship with a customer named Stefani (Riley Keough). Together, they head to Florida to earn some money stripping at a club where Stefani has heard dancer tips are excellent.  As the trip progresses, Stefani puts Zola and herself in more insane and dangerous situations, including run-ins with a nameless pimp and some Tampa gangsters…Zola is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King…detail[ing] a weekend of debauchery that quickly descends into a hellish whirlwind of sex, murder, and near-suicide…

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

Since their “bathroom bills” kept getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by controlling doctors:

Arkansas [politician]s passed a bill…that would flatly prohibit medical professionals from providing any sort of gender transition treatments to minors…the…act…forbids the prescribing of puberty blockers to suppress hormones, bans genital reassignment surgeries, and bars any medical treatment that would “alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics or features for the individual’s biological sex” or “instill or create physiological or anatomical characteristics that resemble a sex different from the individual’s biological sex”…[it] further forbids medical professionals from referring minors to any doctor who could provide the forbidden treatments…says that public funds may not be granted to any entity that provides trans treatments to minors, declares that medical transition treatment procedures are not tax-deductible forms of health care coverage (regardless of age), and prohibits the state’s Medicaid program from providing coverage for these treatments for minors.  Medical professionals who defy the law could lose their licenses to practice in the state…

It’s impossible to miss the resemblance of this strategy to that of imposing arbitrary restrictions on abortion providers.

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

…a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a defense petition that the court order federal Judge Susan Brnovich’s recusal from the Lacey/Larkin case…due to an “appearance of partiality” created by prejudicial statements made by the judge’s husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, concerning…Backpage…The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 23

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” scarelore invaded TikTok:

“OK, so I saw this TikTok that Target is the new sex trafficking hub”…Makenzie Jade says in her video.  She then tells a story about being followed by a man…in…her local Target, then being circled by two additional men with nothing in their shopping carts…Over the past week…there have been dozens of [similar] videos, some with millions of views, in which young women from all over the country describe being followed by strange men or women in Target in what they [fantasize is] an attempted trafficking operation…what[ever] that…means…experts are highly skeptical of these reports.  “I have never heard a case of anyone being abducted from Target in my 20 years in this field,” says Jean Bruggeman…of Freedom Network USA, [the largest coalition of groups actually concerned with exploitation rather than simply using it as a cover for persecution of sex workers]…the TikTok rumors…adhere to a familiar pattern of…urban legends intended to spread hysteria…Dubious rumors purporting to raise awareness about the “realities” of sex trafficking are nothing new…

In a sign that the hysteria is dying, note that even the perennially-clueless Rolling Stone bluntly calls this what it is (“hoax”) rather than deferentially referring to it as a “mistake” or the like.

Predictable Consequences

Oh look, somebody at Washington Post realized how tone-deaf their initial coverage was:

[When cops raided] three massage businesses…they [branded with the moralistic epithet “]illicit[“, they vomited out a lot of filth about]…“human trafficking and child exploitation” [to]…cover [up the fact that the disguised cops raped sex]…workers, then arrested them…local media outlets…[then abetted the outrage by outing the cops’ victims, complete with names and] photos of their mug shots on the evening news…[barfing up the magic word “]illicit[” has for decades given disguised, lying thugs a court-approved pretext for raping]…spa workers…[none of whom were inter]viewed by The Post…[but after decades of these repeated atrocities, a few politicians] are [finally] beginning to propose new limits on [rape] by police, which [any person with a functional moral compass should understand] serves to dehumanize — and [deepl]ly traumatize — the very women the raids are [claimed by psychopaths] to help.  The…[rapists in] law enforcement, experts said, [nearly always] go unpunished…

As you can see, the article is still replete with copsucking, but some editor appears to have at least some inkling that maybe they’re on the wrong side.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

Still think this djinni can be crammed back into its bottle?

A…facial recognition tool designed [to give government even more power over individual lives] has been quietly deployed across the [US] with little to no public oversight…more than 7,000 individuals from nearly 2,000 [government] agencies nationwide have used Clearview AI to search through millions of Americans’ faces, looking for p[otential victims]…BuzzFeed News has developed a searchable table of 1,803 publicly funded agencies whose employees…used…the [surveillance] tool before February 2020.  These include local and state police, [ICE], the Air Force, state healthcare [bureaucracies], [politicians’] offices…and even public schools.  In many cases, [bureaucrats] at these agencies [claimed to be] unaware that employees were using the tool; five [lied]…in response to questions about it…210 organizations denied any use…1,161 [others ignored] questions about whether they had used it…Hoan Ton-That, the company’s cofounder and CEO, [expressed glee that his invention has done so much to undermine privacy and empower cop shops]…

What makes it worse is, cops just keep blatantly lying about it:

Despite statements from the NYPD in early 2020 stating that it had no relationship with…Clearview AI, documents…reveal that the company was an acknowledged vendor to the department from as early as 2018, and that it continue[s] to enjoy a congenial relationship…that [has] included in-person meetings and customer support from Ton-That [himself]…

Read Full Post »

If there is one thing more powerful than shame, it is the need to find someone else to blame.  –  David Flint

It Looks Good On Paper

Yet another state touts bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

The Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed two bills to [pretend to] help [wwomen labeled] sex trafficking survivors [when it’s convenient for the state.  The bills will]…allow…[“perfect victims”] to have convictions related to [sex work] removed from their personal records…[if they can jump through enough hoops to] prove t[o authoritarian busybodies that they were passive, doll-like “victims”] forced…to commit crimes…

Send In the Clowns

Not a clown, but still about kids hoaxing credulous adults:

Merseyside Police ha[d]…to reassure [gullible parents th[at no]… “plague man”…dressed in all black and wearing a crow-like mask similar to that of a 17th-century plague doctor…was…[lurk]ing in parks…to kidnap [their brats]…the sightings…turned out to be…a…hoax…[perpetrated by] students [falsely] reporting sightings…

To Molest and Rape (#956)

At least the BBC uses the word “rape” when a cop is the rapist:

A [typical and representative cop] has been charged with rape and sexual assault…Ben Lister…has been suspended from [West Yorkshire Police]…

Whither Canada? (#1017)

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

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform — an alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups across the country led predominantly by and for sex workers — along with several individual applicants, have filed a Notice of Application seeking to strike down the [laws establishing Canada’s Swedish-style] sex work prohibitions…because they violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality…National Coordinator Jenn Clamen [said] “This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”  In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled three prostitution prohibitions in criminal law to be unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened sex workers’ rights to liberty and security.  This was the federal government’s opportunity to recognize sex workers’ rights and well-being by decriminalizing sex work.  Instead, the government…created a set of laws…that reproduce those same harms…

Rotting Fruit (#1055)

Given the filth spewing from every aspect of this affair, there’s no way to tell whether Maxwell’s conduct could legitimately be considered “sex trafficking”:

Prosecutors added two charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in a case accusing her of grooming and abusing young women and girls for Jeffrey Epstein…The new counts against Maxwell now include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor…the new charges…prolong…the length of the alleged conspiracy and adds a “Minor Victim-4”…

False Witness (#1121)

Sunlight really is the best disinfectant:

…Texas [pigs have been shamed into]…end[ing]…the [monstrous] practice of using hypnosis to [manufacture “evidence”]…more than forty years after its inception…The decision [seems to be the result of unwel]come…[public attention due to]…The Dallas Morning News…series, “The Memory Room,” which [showed how]…Texas…repeatedly doubl[ed] down on the practice despite scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort witness memories and lead to false convictions…Texas officers continue[d] to [use]…the debunked technique…[t intentionally] send…dozens of men and women to prison and some to their deaths.  The Texas Rangers are among the most [egregious offenders]…performing at least 1,700 hypnosis sessions since the 1980s.  The…[most] recently [w]as October 2020…Even without the program, local police departments may still be using hypnosis to [manufacture]…evidence [which Texas law still allows] to be used in courts…

Predictable Consequences

I wish I could believe that this tragedy would finally put a stake into the heart of the “sex addiction” myth once and for all:

…the press and the authorities…have spent years not only pushing the idea of sex addiction…[but also] portraying…sex workers and…sex-positive academics as evil, corrupt enemies of the state, traffickers and the wreckers of civilisation…they are complicit in crimes like this…[because] their constant demonisation of consensual sex between adults…has stoked the fires of hysteria, anger, social shaming and violent retribution…men who visit sex workers or masturbate to porn and then feel disgust afterwards are going to hold the sex workers…responsible, because it deflects blame from themselves…Often, this transferred disgust and unwillingness to accept responsibility for sexual desire shifts into campaigning against the sex industry…We see this in assorted anti-porn, NoFap, incel and rescue movements, dominated by very angry and aggressive men who want to punish women (and men) for giving them erections.  Are we surprised that some people are taking this anger beyond online rape and death threats and into the real world?  Yet these people have been indulged, encouraged and supported by politicians and the media…Set yourself up as anti-porn, anti-trafficking or anti-sexualisation, and you can pretty much say whatever you like without having to provide evidence, while your aggressive and exploitative responses to anyone who questions you will be glossed over…

Read Full Post »

There’s no public safety value in prosecuting these low-level offenses.  –  Marilyn Mosby

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

In a t[oxic] essay for the [carceral] feminist website 4W, Donna M Hughes wrote that the “belief” that a person could change their gender was a “trans-sex fantasy”.  She went on to equate followers of QAnon, [the latest form of the “sex trafficking”] web of lies that [Hughes vigorously supports]…to people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth…Her inflammatory comments were called “beyond the pale” by Annie Russell, the director of the [University of Rhode Island]’s Gender and Sexuality Center…Russell said the diatribe had also angered students at the university, which [also employs Hughes as a tenured professor]…The University…put out a statement distancing itself from Hughes’s comments…In response Hughes said her right to free speech was being trampled [even though she was neither fired, nor censored, nor arrested as she wants others to be]…

For those who don’t recall: Hughes considers herself a political conservative and was the architect of recriminalizing sex work in Rhode Island in 2009.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

I haven’t seen this once-popular fantasy since 2018:

A recent 60 Minutes+ episode cites a dubious claim that “up to 100,000” children are sex-trafficked in the U.S. each year…the inimitable Maggie McNeill once wrote that there are “lies, damn lies and sex trafficking statistics.” Now 60 Minutes+, a streaming version of the venerable news program, is helping to make McNeill’s point by highlighting an oft-debunked sex trafficking factoid…in the show’s March 21 episode, “Taking Facebook to Court”…

Social Distancing (#1025)

When this was announced a year ago, prohibitionists claimed it would be a disaster:

…[When] the coronavirus pandemic hit…State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that [Baltimore] would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus.  And then crime went down in Baltimore.  A lot…This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants…So…Mosby is making her temporary steps permanent …Baltimore…will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car…

Let’s hope this “aggressively reaching out” doesn’t involve surveillance or “diversion”, which is just another form of state control.  But in any case, this is becoming a trend.

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

Everything I read about modern corporate work makes me happier I became a whore:

Amazon delivery drivers nationwide have to sign a “biometric consent” form…that grants the tech behemoth permission to [monitor]…drivers’ location, movement, and biometric data.  If the…drivers…refuse to sign these forms, they lose their jobs.  The…[surveillance includ]es…facial recognition…The company [claims the surveillance is] being used to improve “safety” and the “quality of the delivery experience.”  But…some drivers are quitting their jobs…because…the [surveillance device even records]…when a driver yawns, appears distracted, or isn’t wearing a seatbelt…and monitor[s] drivers’ body and facial movements…

Torture Chamber (#1122)

If only there were a concise word for “systematically forced to have sex”:

The [murder] of a 19-year-old woman [by] Venezuela[n] police [in a] holding cell has revealed that women in the jail were being systematically forced to have sex with [cops]…On March 13, Daniela Geraldine Figueredo Salazar died from [being]…shot [in] the face…by [a cop]…several of her fellow [prisoners] reported [to investigating officials] that they were being [systematically raped]…the…abuse was being coordinated by a [typical and representative cop] who is also currently jailed…This is not the first [time news] of sexual violence [has leaked out of] the country’s [filthy cage stacks]…In 2018, it was reported that women in Venezuelan prisons were being forced to [submit to rape] in order to be released for court hearings…in 2019, a report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights pointed to…various forms of sexual violence [committed by cops, screws and spooks]…

You Were Warned (#1124)

Cathy Reisenwitz examines a power-hungry politician’s lies about the internet:

…The SAFE TECH Act would…hold companies liable for their users’ behavior…[an]d force small websites to spend $1 million or more…to prove to courts that users aren’t causing any one of nine new types of broad, ill-defined harm…Only the wealthiest, most powerful companies would be able to afford setting their own content moderation policies.  Everyone else would run the real risk of being sued into oblivion by wealthy people who don’t like what people are saying about them online…Like SESTA/FOSTA, the SAFE TECH Act would make it easier for those in power to stifle unpopular speech across the web.  It would strip away Section 230 protections for any web service that “has accepted payment to make the speech available.”  While many believe the law applies only to paid advertising, it’s written so broadly that it would apply to all content on any platform where money changes hands, including…all paid web hosting and even nonprofits or activist groups that sell merch or accept donations…

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

While it’s easy to repudiate th[e Atlanta shooter]’s actions as that of a monster, he isn’t alone in his views.  Many Americans feel only disdain toward these businesses, and have little respect for the women who work there…On Piedmont Road in Atlanta, where Long shot customers and workers at Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa, church groups previously gathered to protest this so-called red-light district, demanding the shutdown of the sex shop across the street…many Asian street-based sex workers…in [Red Canary Song’s] outreach said some of the religious anti-trafficking groups…can be even more hurtful than the pedestrians who call them names…[besides] collaborat[ing] with police…[one said] they were “nagging her and wasting her time” when she needed to work…Long’s extreme actions are a consequence of the way we treat all sexuality in society…and…the people who are tasked with undoing the harms are often infected by the same dangerous ideas…

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

…anti-trafficking organizations…have [repeatedly] called for the increased surveillance and policing of massage businesses, and the result has been hundreds of raids across the country which have terrorized and criminalized massage workers.  These systemic forms of violence cannot be divorced from the brutal killings of massage parlor workers in the Atlanta area on March 16…When my colleagues and I talk to Asian massage workers, they often share stories of [cops] entering their workplaces at random under the guise of stopping sex trafficking.  When they don’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, they demand to see massage licenses.  Workers tell us they are frequently arrested if they don’t produce a license, or are hit with building code or public health violations.  Those who are arrested are often funneled through special courts and programs where workers, seen as morally flawed and traumatized victims, are offered programming framed as rehabilitation…[including] everything from religious proselytization to “recovery-focused yoga” to unpaid labor, when what they really need is economic security…

Read Full Post »

Sex workers are a gift to people who stir up fake outrage for a living.  –  Mistress Matisse

Caring Professionals (#138)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this topic addressed so well:

Both…my stylist…and…microblade artist…are care workers.  Their bodies—their hands—are necessary to their labor.  Massage parlors…exist in a similar realm of personal care, like hair salons and permanent-makeup studios.  These are all places where clients can pay for the intimacy of touch, the pleasure that touch affords.  The difference, of course, is that what we call sex work—a kind of care work that is criminalized and socially opprobrious—happens here.  And because it is labor that carries the threat of penalization, the burden of stigma and illegitimacy, the women who do this work become simultaneously more vulnerable, while their essential contributions to society remain invisible, devalued…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

There’s a reason I’ve repeatedly called this cult “dangerous”:

I had been leading an independent lab for nearly 10 years studying various aspects of genital responsiveness, but the death threats first came when I published a study that did not support [the notion of] pornography addiction.  The death threats were thick with misogyny and anti-semitism, which seemed bizarre as they simultaneously bragged that they were liberal bastions for equality.  I went quickly to being physically stalked, moving my home multiple times, and now living in address protection…the Atlanta murder[s]…seemed to manifest the incredible vitriol I have watched grow.  All of this occurred through “pornography addiction” forums on the Internet.  Scientists have started studying these communities…as a part of a new anti-sexuality movement, which includes (1) anti-pornography feminists, (2) Internet porn addiction activists, and (3) religious morality groups…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

I hope Pasco County, Florida is bankrupted by this lawsuit:

…a group of [Pasco] county residents, represented by the Institute for Justice, is suing the county over…years of harass[ment]…by cops…because [a “predictive policing”] system identified them as potential offenders.  When the residents lost patience with the continued police presence in their lives…the red tape of the endless regulatory state [was used] against them to encourage compliance or to simply cause pain…In [one] case, deputies cited [their victim] for tall grass, but failed to notify him of the citation.  Then, when he failed to appear for a hearing that he was never told was happening, they arrested him for failure to appear…The slow torture of tickets, arrests, and disrupted lives drove some to pick up and move out of Pasco County to avoid harassment…

Traffic Jam (#1107)

Mistress Matisse on why even not-quite-prohibitionist sex work documentaries are not quite good:

There are some hard-working sex workers in Hulu and ABC News’ new documentary, Only Fans: Selling Sexy, and I respect them…being in a documentary about doing sex work is a gigantic leap of faith.  We’re rarely treated with respect, and sometimes not even with much humanity…such filmmakers favour drama and controversy, and choose to sensationalise the lived experiences of myself and my sex work peers…Hulu/ABC News did better than most with their documentary – it’s smoothly made, and it only made me wince a few times.  But…in media, anyone who does sex work is deemed not to be a credible witness to their own life, so there are always non-sex workers in these documentaries who serve to confirm (or more often deny) what we say is real.  Irony in 2021 is watching a glossy TV show inspired by a sex work website, which features non-sex working actors saying to the camera, in serious tones, that giving sex workers “all this attention” might make us “go too far”.  Ask yourself: why does that sound a little hypocritical to me?…

You Were Warned (#1112)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

Senator Mark Warner[‘s]…SAFE TECH Act…is one of the worst 230 bills I’ve seen and would effectively end the open internet…Warner doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.  At all…He…doesn’t…understand how 230 works…or how…websites actually handle content moderation …[he keeps] claiming that Section 230 has “turned into a get out of jail free card for large online providers”…Yet…this bill would help Facebook and Google by basically making it close to impossible for new competitors to exist, while leaving the market to those two…many critics have noted that smaller platforms would inevitably be harmed by Warner’s bill…Warner…[claims] he’s open to talking to smaller platforms, which is kind of laughable, considering that his staffers have been going around…lying about people…that have pointed out the problems with his bill…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1114)

The NY Times pretends to be critical of mass surveillance, yet opens this article with copsucking:

Clearview…deploy[ed its software by stealing]…billions of photos from the…internet…After Clearview’s activities came to light, [politicians bloviated for the cameras and passed do-nothing local laws easily circumvented by cops]…It seemed entirely possible [to the hopelessly-naive] that Clearview AI would be sued, legislated or shamed out of existence.  But [of course] that didn’t happen.  With no federal law prohibiting or even regulating the use of facial recognition, Clearview did not…change its practices…it [has] continued to acquire government customers…[and] is valued at nearly $109 million…it [has over]…3,100 [cop shops and other purveyors of organized violence as]…customers [including the military and]…ICE…The legal threats to Clearview have [only just] begun to move through the courts…civil-liberties advocates fear the company will prevail, and they are aghast at the potential consequences…

Predictable Consequences

Two more of my friends have thoughts on this tragedy. Kaytlin Bailey:

There are a over a hundred years of propaganda and policy behind the idea that sex workers and immigrants “infect” communities.  Asian women in particular have been fetishized and demonized, becoming the first targets of anti-prostitution and anti-immigration laws in the United States…In 1875, the Page Act barred Asian women from entering the country, for presumed “lewd and immoral purposes,” and police…began arresting droves of Asian women for prostitution.  US officials openly hoped that by driving out Asian women, they could prevent Asian people from settling and starting families here…

And Liz Brown:

…Blaming women for male lust is an old and all-too-common trope among those who commit or excuse violence against women.  And it’s a trope thoroughly rooted in common cultural messages about sexuality…we may have come a long way from the assumption that all sexy women are “asking for it,” but holding women responsible for men’s sexual urges and actions is still far from a fringe attitude.  And again and again, we see the milder version of this distorted by the minds of self-loathing psychopaths to hold that women deserve to pay for the desire men feel toward them.  Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to this type of misogyny.  Which is why it’s especially clueless and crass for certain media to be blaming sex work in the wake of the Atlanta massage parlor shootings…

But the big news this week is Polaris’ tacit admission of blood on its hands:

…following the attacks…anti-sex work organization Polaris Project deleted multiple pages that made claims about massage parlors as dens of sex trafficking…Polaris removed its page for “human trafficking in illicit massage businesses”…According to an archived snapshot of the site, the…page was up as of March 18, two days after the attacks…by the next day…the page returned a “not found” error.  The [memory-holed] page…featured a series of grainy images of massage parlors overlaid with titles like “Massage parlor trafficking networks and organized crime,” and “Your role in ending massage parlor trafficking”…

Read Full Post »

This guy lay in shit and…died in [a] cell that looks like a friggin’ horse stall.  –  unnamed investigator

Imagination Pinned Down

Like seeing pictures in clouds or inkblots:

When the unrecognizable body of Jeannette DePalma…was found atop a…wooded hill…called the Devil’s Teeth in 1972, rumors spread quickly that the [16-year-old] was killed in some sort of satanic rite…Police…[claim]ed…they had found signs they thought might be related to the occult, including crosses made of sticks and branches arranged in a coffin-like outline around her body…But crime scene photographs released for the first time [last month]…debunk those claims, showing that DePalma’s body was simply lying in a dense, brushy area…facedown with an arm draped over a downed tree branch…Jason Coy, a history professor…who researches witchcraft…said he can’t find any sign of the occult or any other symbolism in the jumble of brush and branches.  It suggests that investigators, looking for something sinister, saw patterns that weren’t there…“Everything in th[e police] sketch that was marked out as a cross, in these crime scene photos just looks like a pile of underbrush…it’s a perfect example of how…i[f] someone…[has] the idea that something could be occult, they remember things that way”…

The Naked Anthropologist

Here’s Dr. Laura Agustín with GAATW on the rescue industry:

Torture Chamber 

For a change, this journalist doesn’t refer to torture as “correction”:

…Reginald Wilson spent more than 1,300 days in and out of jail since 1997 for charges often related to his fragile mental health…in December 2018 [Georgia cops abducted and caged him] for a probation violation…[dur]ing a mental health crisis…he was [lock]ed in a padded [cell and given no professional help, even after]…he smeared his own feces on the wall.  “He never slept. He was constantly just up, doing almost like gymnastics when you watched the video,” one [screw admitted to]…investigators…Wilson stopped eating, drinking and refused to take medication…[yet] the jail’s psychiatrist never saw [him].  In[stead,] staff [just repeatedly yelled “stop faking” at]…him…[and cop]s tased him at least tw[ice].  After… eight days…a [screw] found Wilson not breathing…[and] covered in…feces…[he had] died from…dehydration…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a little boy picked a flower”?

[A] 6-year-old…was accused of picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop, his attorney Julie Boyer said, and…was on trial…for injury to real property.  The boy’s attention span was too short to follow the proceedings…[so] Boyer…handed him crayons and a coloring book…she…and others [explain that] children that age don’t have the mental capacity to understand the juvenile justice process and…can’t make informed decisions…[yet at present North Carolina]…expect[s them to]…”Should a child that believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy be making life-altering decisions?” asked…Judge Jay Corpening…[local] advocates…recommend…the age be raised to 12…The National Juvenile Justice Network recommends 14…

End Demand (#893)

It’s good to see a story like this quote at least one knowledgeable person:

Columbus [Ohio politicians] are weighing changes to local solicitation laws that would emphasize pu…shing [propaganda about] those who pay for sex [in addition to propaganda about] those who sell it…[politician] Mitchell Brown [vomited out popular nonsense about]…sex trafficking…chief [copagandist and rape apologist] Jennifer Knight…[salivated about forcing people into “re-education”] sessions…[but actual] researchers like Jennifer Suchland argue “end demand” policies often backfire…“Because there’s now substantial evidence to show that they are, one, not actually reducing the amount of exploitation, and two, they are increasing the precarity of those people who are in the sex trade”…Suchland says…the “end demand” model is based on a faulty assumption…

Knight is the sow charged with making excuses for the Columbus rape gang, and claims the way to “build trust” with women is to hunt, rape and cage them.

Safe Position (#1058)

Don’t be deceived by Katz, a duplicitous proponent of Swedish criminalization:

Queens, New York, District Attorney Melinda Katz moved…to dismiss nearly 700 cases against people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution…[on] the same day…Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed [Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation]…The…law was repealed last month out of concern it too often targeted…people…based solely on their appearance…Katz [followed up by bloviating about]…sex trafficking…

Katz is dismissing these cases because she has to, since the law they were charged under was repealed.  This isn’t some kind of personal move on her part toward sex worker rights, despite claims to the contrary.

Predictable Consequences

Lots of sex workers are quoted in this rebuke of prohibitionist yellow journalism:

The New York Times re[acted to]…the recent slayings of eight persons at three “Asian” spas…by a deranged religious nut…with a self-[indulgent article]…adopting the rhetoric…of…sex work…pro[hibitionists], painting the spas as havens for sex trafficking…without one quote from sex workers or sex worker rights advocates, the Times piece [claim]s that “experts say there are more than 9,000 such businesses” in the U.S. which are “fronts for prostitution,” and that “many of the women working there are being exploited.”  That dubious statistic hails from a particularly odious non-profit, the Polaris Project, which has long conflated consensual adult sex work with sex trafficking and has a history of dealing in fake statistics and urban legends…Massage workers…have no agency, nor any voice, in this scheme or this article…

Read Full Post »

All too often, human tragedies are wholly predictable.  Busybodies, control freaks, and social engineers, in and out of government, create an elaborate propaganda narrative around people and things they want to control, and then some weak-brained individual or gang (usually young, male, and maladjusted), with or without magic government costumes, go out and inflict violence on strangers (usually minorities of one kind or another and often female) using that propanda narrative as an excuse and framework.  Then those with blood on their hands start victim-blaming or otherwise pointing fingers at others, while politicians use the tragedy as an excuse to increase state power and violence, and the hopelessly clueless wring their hands and cry, “How did this happen?”  This formula, with few variations, has repeated itself throughout history on a smaller or larger scale.  Sometimes the tragedy is so awful the instigators are hoist with their own petard and public opinion turns against them and in favor of the people they’ve worked so hard to demonize, but more often the dimwits continue to believe the opportunists’ lies and the violence simply grows more deadly and general.

The tragedy at hand exploded on Tuesday of last week at three Asian massage parlors in greater Atlanta:

[Robert Aaron Long] targeted th[ree massage] businesses because he had “issues” with sexual addiction and had been planning to commit more shootings before he was captured…Long…targeted businesses that he had been to before…A total of eight people were killed and another was injured…The shooting began just before 5 p.m…at Young’s Asian Massage…Two Asian women, one white woman and one white man were killed inside the spa.  Another man…was walking out of the store next door when he was hit by a bullet.  He was rushed to the hospital…[Long] then drove into the city of Atlanta, where he…killed [three people] at Gold Spa and one…at Aromatherapy…all four [of those] were Asian women…Long was on his way to Florida to carry out more shootings [presumably at other parlors he had previously patronized, but his]…family [recognized him from publicized surveillance images]…and [gave cops his phone number so they]…were able to track his phone…and…[stop him by ramming his] car…Long [has already] confessed to the shootings…[saying] he blames the massage parlors for providing an outlet for his [imagined] addiction to sex…[he] said…he wanted to “eliminate the temptation”…

Of course, politicians, cops, and others who have promoted hysteria around sexuality in general and paid sex in particular for this entire century so far don’t want you to think too hard about their role in spreading the manure that this evil took root in, so they’re trying to frame the attacks as based in race-hatred rather than the obvious (he didn’t shoot up nail parlors & Asian restaurants) and self-admitted motive of whore-hatred.  Lest you are tempted to give that narrative even a particle of credence:

Robert Long…had attended rehab for sex addiction and felt extreme guilt about his sexual urges, two former roommates said…Long has…[admitted] he committed the shootings because he [imagines he] has a “sex addiction” and wanted to eliminate his temptation…Tyler Bayless…spent months living with Long in an Atlanta halfway house named Maverick Recovery [a year ago]…He said Long was being treated for [so-called] sex addiction and felt an overwhelming sense of guilt over visiting massage parlors “for explicitly sexual activity…[which] he…[called] ‘relapses’…He would have a deep feeling of remorse and shame and say he needed to return to prayer and to return to God”…Bronson Lillemon, a second former housemate of Long’s, echoed Bayless’ account…Both housemates [said] that they never heard Long use racist language and had no knowledge that he ever visited racist message boards online…

Some media outlets appear to understand that this is about sex work rather than broad racism or misogyny, but want to shift the blame for creating Long’s sick weltanschauung from their aggressively-promoted mythology to the victims; this strategy is so utterly vile I’m not even going to quote it, but here are three examples, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Washington Post, and the arch-prohibitionist New York Times.  Instead, here are quotes from three articles by people who actually know what they’re talking about:

Cathy Reisenwitz:

…By perpetuating the myth of sex addiction and conflating sex work with sex trafficking the anti…sex worker movement has convinced men that they’re not responsible for their behavior and that sex workers…aren’t deserving of basic human dignity…“The modern sex addiction dialogue doesn’t encourage people to understand, accept and manage their sexual desires,” Dr. David Ley said of the attack. “Instead, it teaches people to hate”…By pushing the sex addiction myth, anti-sex worker, Evangelical groups like ExodusCry, [Morality in Media], and Polaris teach men that they aren’t in control of their sexuality.  Rather…the[y]…teach people, especially men, to feel ashamed of and hate both their own sexuality and the people and media they find sexually arousing.  They teach men to blame sex workers for their own feelings and behavior…Polaris, for example, spends millions pushing racist stereotypes.  Their express purpose is to use state violence to deprive Asian massage owners and workers of their businesses and jobs…

Tracy Quan:

…Despite my Asian background, I find [Long’s] disavowal of racism strangely credible.  Like a lot of people, I’ve experienced bias and ethnic profiling, but I’ve also been a sex worker, and I have encountered more prejudice, more name-calling, more fear, anger and hostility in connection with my sex work than regarding my race…Mainstream Americans, including many Asian Americans, are quick to blame racism yet unready to discuss an older hatred — what my French friends call “la putophobie” (a term more pleasing to the eye than the clunky compound “whorephobia”).  It’s the last acceptable form of hate speech…Speculation about the spas…is fed by prejudice.  Amplified by so-called antitrafficking voices, this prejudice is dangerously toxic.  Fueled by religious fanaticism and illiberal forms of feminism, by punitive laws and tabloid headlines, this bias breeds self-loathing in young men who should be learning how to nurture, not extinguish, the varieties of human connection…

Religion writer Chissy Stroop:

…The moment I read that [Long] was the son of a youth pastor who told police he had a “sex addiction”…According to [psychologist Joshua] Grubbs…“conservative religious values are strongly linked to feelings of sex addiction…men…interpret normal sexual urges as pathological and then act on them in ways that they find to be problematic”…In evangelical…churches and…schools, discussions of sex are usually steeped in purity culture…a complex of beliefs and practices associated with an unhealthy fear of sexuality and intense pressure to remain…sexually inexperienced…before marriage…victims of…sexual assault in evangelical communities are often blamed for “tempting” the perpetrators…

I’ll leave the last word for Red Canary Song, the Asian sex worker organization; if you feel moved to donate to help the victims’ families, you can find links to do so at their website.  There’s also an NPR interview here, and as usual, further updates will appear in subsequent news columns under this heading.

…We are concerned that many of those calling for action in this moment have and will continue to endorse violence towards Asian sex workers [and] massage workers…We reject the call for increased policing in response to this tragedy…[and] rising anti-Asian violence…Policing has never been an effective response to violence because the police are agents of white supremacy.  Policing has never kept sex workers or massage workers or immigrants safe.  The criminalization and demonization of sex work has hurt and killed countless people — many at the hands of the police both directly and indirectly…Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves.  Decriminalization of sex work is the only way that…anyone criminalized for their survival and/or livelihood will ever be safe…

Read Full Post »