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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

We have a culture where men are more embarrassed about paying for sex than having sex with women who are too drunk to consent.
–  Cathy Reisenwitz

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Funny how many cops who are willing to pay prefer underage girls:

Larry Allen Clay…and Kristen Naylor-Legg…were both charged with sex trafficking of a minor [because]…on two separate occasions in June 2020, Clay…the Chief of Police for..Gauley Bridge [West Virginia]…paid $50 to Naylor-Legg to have sex with a 17-year-old girl [who is apparently a migrant because]…ICE [is involved]…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralists love their rats & their subtle dysphemisms:

…researchers…gave adolescent rats free access to a sugar-sweetened beverage [much more concentrated than] those that humans drink and then tested their memories using two methods when the rats became adults…the rats that had consumed [pathologically-]high levels [of] sugary drinks had more difficulty with memory that uses a region of the brain called the hippocampus compared with rats that only drank water…the [excessive]…sugar consumption seems to…[have] change[d]…the gut microbiome…[which in turn seems to] alter the function of a particular region of the brain [in rats]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#851)

“Foreign visitors do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

[UK charity] Oxfam is facing new allegations of…bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following [white saviors’ freakout] th[at some Oxfam employees purchased services from entrepreneurs in] Haiti…The charity has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that allege intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism…[which arose] after…[prohibitionists were disappointed] that…the[re was insufficient hysteria about mundane transactions which brought much-needed]…money…in[to]…Haiti…[politicians bloviated] that the latest allegations strengthened the case for [denying poor countries]…water and sanitation projects [if]…an[yone among]…the emergency [workers has sexual desires]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#991)

It looks as though Boudin is indeed following through with the policies he campaigned on:

Panelists at “Sex Work Decrim 101: Evidence-based approaches to policy”…call[ed] for the complete removal of sex work from the state’s criminal law codes.  One fan of that idea is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin…”I’m a big believer in the decriminalization of sex work, which I think will help us become safer in concrete ways”…Boudin said…”It’s not something I would ever prosecute, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, if it is consensual between adults”…Panelist Maggie McNeill…wanted to impress upon the attendees the importance of the district attorney’s stance…she [also]…explained the distinction [of decriminalization versus legalization] through an analogy to the restaurant business…

Tony Montoya, a gay man who is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, did not respond to a request for comment [on a law forbidding a common pretext for harassing sex workers].

Lipstick on a Pig

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

Two [typical and representative] Texas [cop]s have been indicted fo[r murdering]…a Black man [by] repeatedly…taser[ing him during a pretext]…stop [being] filmed for a [cop glorification] TV show.  Javier Ambler…[was murdered on] March 28, 2019…[during] a…traffic stop…[using the pretext that he] fail[ed] to dim headlights for oncoming traffic…the A&E network show Live PD…was canceled weeks after the killing of George Floyd amid widespread protests over police brutality and racism…Ambler was tasered four times, according to body cam footage of the [murder], despite telling the [pigs] that he suffered from…congestive heart failure…Ambler…can be heard [repeatedly] saying…”I can’t breathe”

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

{sings} One of these things is not like the others

A [New Jersey cop named]…Richard F. Haffner…sexually assault[ed] a girl who worked for him at his…restaurant on numerous occasions starting when she was 15 years old, and then tr[ied] to get her to lie to investigators…Prosecutor[s seem to think it’s important that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…Haffner [w]as…suspended without pay…[because prosecutors also] charged him with…offering an acquaintance money for sex…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against OnlyFans is heating up:

Paul Gosar [a politician from Arizona] sent a[n open] letter…to the Department of Justice demanding that OnlyFans be…prosecuted for “promoting prostitution” under a…Segregation-era law called the “White Slave Traffic Act”…also known as the Mann Act…[apparently because Gosar believes that viewing a picture of a woman taken in a different state is the equivalent of] transport[ing] women across state lines…

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The group should exist for the individual, not the other way around.  –  Remi Adekoya

Tyrants and other violent busybodies simply adore collectivism, the evil belief that individals only have value as part of groups, and that it’s good and moral to crush, process, cook, and compress individuals until they are unidentifiable parts of a homogeneous whole, like individual fruit processed into “fruit roll-up” sheets.  The reason is of course the same for the monsters as it is for the snack companies:  such amalgams are handled, stored and used more efficiently than the individuals from which they’re made.  Caligula is said to have expressed this principle of tyranny as, “Would that the Roman people had but one neck!” and China’s campaign of homogenization is the stuff of dystopian science fiction.  But if you believe such abominations could never happen in the modern West, you haven’t been paying attention:

Polarisation cements groups while pressurising the individual…the stifling atmosphere of our current race debate…submerges the individual in generalisations and elevates groupism…[we are encouraged to use] grand generalisations…[and] sweeping concepts  to interpret our world – a world in which we don’t realistically live as individuals…the desire to be treated as individuals, not nameless members of this or that group, is a pretty universal one.  I find it difficult to imagine there are people of any ethnic or racial background who do not want to be viewed primarily as individuals, including those most responsible for popularising the sweeping groupist language of our times…So why then has language obscuring our individuality taken such a strong hold in what is supposed to be an age of empathy?  After all, to empathise requires, by definition, seeing a human individual, not a group or statistic…

Yet governments are working to pound members of minority groups into uniform sheets, in part by convincing them that individuality is not only bad but characteristic of bigots; meanwhile, members of other groups are coerced and brainwashed into accepting the most odious form of collectivism, collective guilt, and forced to undergo public humiliation rituals in order to be shriven from a form of original sin imposed not on all people by a deity, but rather on only some people by virtue of their sharing some tiny amount of DNA with other deeply-flawed human beings they’ve never met:

…Australia has [adopted] America’s particularly malignant approach to sexual disharmony…Brauer College in rural Victoria [recently] forced its male pupils, some only 12 years old, to stand at a school assembly, face the girls and apologize for rape, sexual harassment and all the other facets of male wickedness…as [part of] some ghastly effort to promote gender reconciliation through gender self-incrimination…
Governments have been working on imposing conformity and groupthink since the latter half of the 19th century, with fascist and communist regimes in particular elevating the process to a science.  It has never ended well for any of those regimes, and it will not end well for the West either; the American prison industry purees and processes wholesome and vile foodstuffs together into a barely-edible mass called “nutraloaf“, and attempting to process human beings together in a similar way will accomplish nothing but turning all of society into one vast prison.

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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”…

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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…

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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…

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Get on your knees or I will shoot you in the fucking face. – Michael Thalken

Since the beginning of the year I’ve featured a “video of the day” on Twitter, and recently I featured this cover of “Sweet Child O’Mine”; reader Miss Tickle responded with another unusual cover of the song.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis (“incident”, “lie”, and “believe”); Radley Balko (“y’all”); President Dawg (“fascism”); and Walter Olson (“dead”).

From the Archives

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Socializing is not a luxury.  –  Zeynep Tufekci

Maggie in the Media

Torture Chamber 

Even journalists reporting on these abuses insist on referring to them as “correction”:

…a [few days after being] threat[ened by a New Jersey screw]…Darrell Smith was…[savagely beaten] twice by a g[ang] of [screws.  He]…was tortured, beaten, kicked, punched, stomped…choke[d], slammed to the ground, and had his head slammed into a glass door…he was [then] “denied…medical care…[despite] catastrophic injuries that left him in an unresponsive and catatonic state” in a prison cell covered in his own feces, urine and vomit…[after being left in this state for] four days…Smith…was transported to a hospital…his leg was cuffed to the bed [for two days despite being]…declared brain dead…the family…[filed a] lawsuit…[after finally getting ahold of medical records showing that] Smith “sustained a severe catastrophic brain injury…[due to] the brutal beatings”…

The Enlightenment Police (#884)

The obsession with controlling women cannot be stopped by a mere pandemic:

Swiss voters have approved a ban on…facial coverings…in nearly all…publicly accessible places, including on the streets, in public offices, on public transport, in restaurants, shops and in the countryside.  The controversial proposal [was] support[ed by only] 51.21% of voters…The only exceptions include places of worship…[or] if worn for health and safety reasons, because of the weather and in situations where it is considered a “local custom” to do so, such as at carnivals…There will be no…exceptions…for tourists…[from Muslim countries]…The proposal, put forward by several [authoritarian] groups…has been criticized by a number of…religious organizations…human rights and civic groups, as well as the federal government…

Switzerland in October:  Everybody must cover their faces in public.
Switzerland in March:  Wait, not like that!

You Were Warned (#926)

Indian politicians are just as eager to demolish the internet as those in the US, Australia and Europe:

The Indian government’s new Information Technology rules…have been sold to citizens and the world as being of a piece with global efforts to [control]…social media…platforms now have to…giv[e] the government details about the “originator” of content [that it dislikes]…effectively breaking end-to-end encryption…The rules…also cover digital news organisations and video-streaming platforms like Netflix…giving the government much more power to…censor…The government has made massive changes to the way the internet will work in India, but without having to take the matter to Parliament at all, by amending the rules under pre-existing sections of the law…the government…is…unwilling…to engage with the stakeholders that matter…the rules create a bureaucratic super-structure that gives the executive much more power over…the internet…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#1074)

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

A Denton [Texas cop]…has been arrested…for distribution of child pornography.  David Schoolcraft…[fell into a trap set by the FBI] Dec[ember]…2020…he [i]s…of…c[our]se [still on the payroll, because cop]…

Since the “authorities” prefer to hide the identity of this child molester, here’s a picture of his boss until such time as a photo of Schoolcraft becomes available.

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

The Chinese are now using a method of subjugation invented by the Assyrians:

Chinese authorities have loaded large numbers of Uyghur workers onto trains bound for factories thousands of kilometres away as part of a plan to [forcibly] assimilate Muslim minorities into mainstream Chinese culture and thin their populations in Xinjiang…the…Uyghur workers…[are then forced] in[to “re-education”] programs…that mix Mandarin lessons with in[doctrina]tion by police and Communist Party cadres…the…policies…are designed to sever them from their homes and traditional way of life, moulding them into state-approved members of the “Chinese nation”…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Far too many people adore authoritarian public health schemes:

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration…One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation…But…instead, the steady drumbeat of good news…has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism…and claims of impending catastrophe…the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants…and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do…Five key fallacies and pitfalls have…played an outsize role in derailing an effective pandemic response…mistrust and paternalism …toward the public…[arbitrary] rules in place of mechanisms…scolding and shaming…absolutism [instead of harm reduction]…and…a poor balance between knowledge, risk, certainty, and action…

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DHS…is spending its time knowingly policing paid sex acts between consenting adults (even though prostitution is not a federal crime).  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Japanese Prostitution

A modern descendant of the walled districts of feudal times:

…In its prime from the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s, Japanese civil servants, policemen, and salarymen from the nearest main island would take a 3-minute boat ride to [Watakano]…where a quarter of its 270 residents were sex workers…girls…could each make as much as two million yen ($19,000), or the equivalent of $26,000 today, every month.  Residents who weren’t sex workers ran grocery stores, cafes, and apartment complexes.  Hidden yet prosperous, Watakano Island enjoyed decades of economic wealth.  But when Japan’s economic bubble burst in 1992…high spenders stopped visiting…the[n]…In 1998, Japan legalized [outcall] escort services…

Rooted in Racism

Anti-sex laws are deeply rooted in racism all over the world:

…law enforcement uses sex-negative legislation to enable harm against marginalized communities…Laws targeting sex work and pornography “have sexist, racist, and classist origins”…and those underlying roots continue to manifest themselves to this day.  For example, “anti-trafficking” organization Polaris works with [cops] and ICE to arrest and deport…sex workers with a special emphasis on Asian sex workers.  Between 2012 and 2016, arrests of Asian people in New York City for “unauthorized practice of a profession” and prostitution rose 2,700 percent.  In 2018 Polaris launched a campaign to close “illicit” massage parlors…thousands of Asian women have lost their businesses and their livelihoods…Laws against loitering for purposes of prostitution…empower police to profile, harass and arrest women for existing in public spaces…[using excuses] such as “wearing a skirt” and “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand” as justification

Think of the Children! (#571) 

No doubt the children were contaminated by sex rays!

A Sacramento [woman’s] three young kids were expelled from a Catholic school because she sells sexy videos online.  The principal…[wo]n’t even [let the children] pick up their things left in class.  Crystal Jackson…is making up to $150,000 a month selling access to photos and videos on her Only Fans account.  [Only] some of the pictures include nudity.  But…a [busybody caught her husband looking at]…her site and started a campaign [with her busybody friends] to get her three kids [expelled by sending poison pen letters including screenshots]…to the diocese and school principal…

I’m sure Jesus would approve of punishing children for the sins of their parents.

Lack of Evidence (#897) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Twelve people have been arrested after…police [staged a pogrom] in Woolwich and Kent…[in order] to…exploit…sex workers [to further racist propaganda]…police st[aged an American-style raid]…on…February 16, by battering down the door and smashing glass as they [chased their terrified middle-aged Chinese victims] down [like animals]…This [pogrom resulted in] the arrest of a 44-year-old woman…a 52-year-old man…a 37-year-old…man…a 59-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman.  Another woman was arrested for immigration offences….and two [other] women were…safeguarded…to [be deported] at a later date.  [Two spokespigs oinked a lot of filthy wanking fantasies about]…modern slavery…organised…crime…and money laundering…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1026)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

…the Guardian and the Observer [have] launched…a two-year reporting project [advertised as] investigating and exposing human rights abuses around the world…[but is in actuality sponsored] by Humanity United…[it] builds on [previously-published propaganda and yellow journalism]…on human trafficking…modern slavery…[and] sex trafficking…

Click on the subtitle link for Gustavo Turner’s previous reporting on the previously-published content mentioned above, which includes “articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn…slant“, including providing “a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…Humanity United…[is] a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…[founded by] a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

Social Distancing (#1084)

While India allows deranged prohibitionists to dictate public health policy:

Bangladesh has started inoculating older sex workers at the country’s biggest brothel…to protect the most vulnerable in the pandemic…“If I don’t reach them, they may not come…It’s important to encourage groups…who are disadvantaged,” said Dr Asif Mahmud of the Goalanda district where the brothel is…Bangladesh…launched a vaccination drive in the first week of February and has since vaccinated nearly 2.5 million people…

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

Hysterical fantasies about normal events seem most common in the South:

Savannah [Georgia] is [becom]ing [a hotspot for fantasies about]…human trafficking.  In one incident, a woman claim[ed] a man…was attempting to distract her at a…gas station so that he could take her children…[in reality, the man she intended to inflict cop violence upon] was actually a gas station employee who was attempting to tell [her] that the pump she was at was inoperable.  The second…post [claimed] an unmarked black car with a blue dome light in the dash attempted to pull [her] over…[she] further [lied that she] called 911 and learned the black car and a blue truck have been involved in local human trafficking incidents.  Police [den]y [that there was any such call or any such]…incidents…[in reality] the post[er]…had [simply] been involved in a confrontation in traffic with the other vehicle…

Loose Cannons (#1109)

Too bad the settlement won’t come out of prosecutors’ and sheriffs’ personal assets:

…one of the…[victims of the 2019 pogroms which entrapped Robert Kraft] has filed a federal civil lawsuit to see that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.  Keith Taig is seeking to obtain class-action status for himself and anyone who was [illegal]ly filmed while visiting the…East Spa…and subsequently slapped with criminal charges…While prosecutors [were eventually forced to] drop…all cases against the men who were surveilled, publicly humiliated, and used to make claims of a sham trafficking bust, the women…[are still being] prosecuted [despite being]…the very people police [pretend]ed…they were in this to save.  Four…have already pleaded guilty to prostitution.  Two…are still staring down serious charges…Some local press continues to report that [Lanyun] Ma stands accused of “human trafficking,” although no such charges exist…and…Prosecutors are still planning to use the [illegal] surveillance footage…

Winding Down (#1114)

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

Efforts to thwart voter-approved marijuana legalization…are evidence of a “playbook” that reflects new legal strategies and greater willingness among [politicians] to [disregard] election results…In Idaho, some [politicians] are…trying to preemptively ban marijuana legalization through an amendment to the state constitution…Utah [politicians] enacted a much more narrow medical cannabis program than was called for by a voter-approved citizen initiative…[and] the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the governor and Legislature were within their legal rights to [ignore the voters because they know better]…The Nebraska Supreme Court shot down a medical marijuana initiative before Nov. 3, saying it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot measures…South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem [used a similar rule] to [ignore] that state’s voter-approved…initiative…and now…backe[rs of liberty are] preparing to appeal to the state Supreme Court…In Mississippi, a constitutional challenge to voter-approved medical marijuana…is based on a signature-collection technicality that would nullify “every initiative in the past two decades”…Montana, which also has faced [authoritarian] legal challenges to its voter-approved recreational marijuana initiative, [is in better shape due to]…having a governor committed to upholding the vote…

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Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.  –  Angelo Quinto, last words

Some weeks I find a video worth sharing in the same way as I find other links, and some weeks I have to turn one up by myself.  Most weeks the videos are fairly substantial, but occasionally they’re just little moments like this very funny one contributed by Emma Evans, who also provided “what they are”.  The other links above the video are from Cop Crisis, Radley Balko (x2), Popehat, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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