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Posts Tagged ‘streetwalkers’

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…

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When will we begin viewing women as human beings capable of making decisions for themselves?  –  Neha Choudhary

All-Purpose Excuse

In the West, “trafficking” rhetoric is used to block immigration. But in the East

…the government [of Nepal] has introduced a new rule, [requiring] women under 40…to produce consent from the family and permission from the ward office to travel abroad…Tek Narayan Paudel, a spokesperson with the Department of Immigration, [said]…“Women under 40 are at a higher risk of trafficking and other abuses. Therefore, the new rule is proposed for their protection”…Nepalis on social media were quick to slam the move, calling it a regressive rule that deprives women of their agency and curtails their constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

In the US, this is now illegal thanks to FOSTA:

Thanks to a $1-million…donation from the Law Foundation of BC and an anonymous donor…sex workers and provincial organisations are building a province-wide “bad date” reporting system….[so] sex workers will be able to report their experiences…in an online database in order to warn others…Going to the police…isn’t an option, given the ongoing stigma and criminalisation of sex workers in Canada…sex workers across British Columbia have typically relied on more localised methods of reporting bad dates.  In Victoria, PEERS…relies on…re[ports]…to staff, who then…share the information with other sex workers in the area.  At SWAN Vancouver…warnings are passed along via text.  But, these methods have their limitations…which is why the launch of the database is so crucial…

A Woman’s Point of View

As with cannabis legalization, if enough of these are thrown at the wall one may eventually stick:

Mariah Grant…[of] the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center…[is] hoping Oregon will become the first state to decriminalize sex work statewide…state Rep. Rob Nosse…filed a bill at the request of the Sex Workers Project…[which] would invalidate the state’s prostitution statutes, decriminalizing those engaged in selling sex, their customers, and third parties…Similar bills have been filed in New York and a handful of other Northeastern states in the past few years.  None has passed…[but] the legal sex industry already operates more freely in Oregon that anywhere else, thanks to the state’s…relative lack of an organized religious…lobby…HB 3088 would implement what advocates call “full decriminalization”…not…legalization…or…the “Nordic model”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

[Information] about a [pogrom] against a small chain of massage parlors in [Alabama] has [been suppressed by the police]…The owners, Yuping Tang and her daughter Jiao Liu, had their assets frozen and their string of businesses shut down in April 2019.  But the Alabama Supreme Court [has] ruled…the state failed to carry its burden of proof on [any] part…of its case…the testimony gathered from witnesses and [cops’] victims…conflicted with…the claims [made]…by [cops]…who went into the parlors [to rape the staff.  Woman infantilized by cops and prosecutors as]…human trafficking victims actually testified on behalf of the owners saying they were not kept against their will, and they always had access to their money, passports, and freedom of movement…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Remember when Clearview claimed it would no longer sell to entities that do not claim the “right” to a monopoly on violence?

Clearview AI…has proposed applying its technology to everything from policing to retail to dating, according to a[n August] 2020 patent application…[which] describes ways to apply…facial recognition…to…identify [homeless] people…drug…[users or] “a sex offender”…CEO Hoan Ton-That…has [a habit of publicly sharing his fantasies]…of child sex trafficking…

Devil’s Advocate (#1073) 

The absurdity becomes more obvious when we substitute “toaster” for “sex doll”:

South Dakota [politicians]…are considering criminalizing the selling, making or owning of a [toaster shaped] like a child…[by] a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison…[the psychologically illiterate] bill [declares such toasters]…a “gateway” into [eating] real children…The bill’s proponent, Sen. Jessica Castleberry…said the [toasters] create a market and demand for [cannibalism].  The [devices], which have [a plastic shell and a spring to pop up toast when ready]…make [burning people alive] easier…”It normalizes and desensitizes [cannibalism],” she said…[prohibitionist] Carrie Sanderson…said the [toasters] that look like children allow for inappropriate [cooking and eating] behaviors to fester…Justin Bell, lobbyist for the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said…the bill’s language was too broad and doesn’t have a victim…

Winding Down

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

After turning to the courts to stop voters from legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem says she’ll also veto attempts by [legislators] to give voters what they’ve demanded.  Noem said…at a news conference that she would “not be inclined” to sign a bill legalizing marijuana…just days after a judge, as part of a legal challenge Noem supported and helped fund, ruled that a ballot initiative approved by 54 percent of voters was unconstitutional and subsequently voided it.  So, to be clear, Noem will listen to neither the lawmakers…nor the actual citizens of South Dakota…she’s even trying to force delays in the implementation of a medical marijuana program, which was approved in a separate November vote and has not been struck down.  Medical marijuana is supposed to launch in July, but she’s trying to…delay it until next year…

Quiet Genocide (#1100)

Fascist corporations are happy to assist in a genocide:

Amazon…faces questions from [politicians] over a reported contract with Dahua, a Chinese security camera company…[whose] facial recognition software [alerts the cops when it] identifies members of the Uighur ethnic group…Dahua product support documents [state]…that suggest the company’s technology can sort passersby by race…[to] track “Uighurs with hidden terrorist inclinations”…Dahua is among the Chinese companies included on the Commerce Department‘s entity list for its ties to “human rights violations and abuses”…The U.S. doesn’t restrict American companies such as Amazon from buying from businesses on the entity list, though it urges caution…Dahua sold 1,500 thermal imaging cameras to Amazon in a deal estimated to be worth close to $10 million…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill has already failed in over a dozen states:

The Iowa House of Representatives’ Commerce subcommittee declined to advance a bill that proposed blocking adult content on electronic devices by default, as well as creating a special $5 tax on adult entertainment to fund initiatives against “human trafficking”…The bill is a version of one recently re-introduced in Utah, part of a “Project Blitz”  campaign by evangelicals to pass “copycat legislation” restricting adult content on a state-by-state basis….representatives of ATT, T-Mobile and CenturyLink pointed out that several content-blocking apps are already available and “the use of those apps is at the discretion of parents…rather than the internet provider”…

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The current way of handling sex workers is dangerous.  –  Eric Gonzalez

The Proper Study (#897)

Academics keep “discovering” what we’ve been saying for decades:

A new study shows nearly a third of all sex workers are unable to call 911 for help…due to fear of [arrest or attack] from police for themselves, their coworkers and managers.  The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Sciences, is based on community research conducted in Surrey, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Sudbury, Ont., from 2017-18…[project lead] Dr. Anna-Louise Crago…said the current [Canadian] legal framework…places emphasis on criminalizing clients…and…sex workers[‘ friends and associates]…“The stated aim of the law…has clearly, clearly failed…sex workers are forced to choose between accessing help…or protecting their coworkers or their managers from [cops].”  The data shows the current [Swedish criminalization] framework…creates an obstacle to safety, and is harmful, said Crago…Another key finding…is that when sex workers needed help escaping a situation of violence or confinement, some 40.5 per cent were assisted by other sex workers; 29.7 per cent by friends, family or partner; 24.3 per cent by clients; and only 5.4 per cent…[by] police…

Safe Position (#928)

Finally, a politician supports sex worker rights with deeds, not mere words:

More than 1,000 open cases related to prostitution and loitering — some dating as far back as the 1970s — will be dismissed in Brooklyn, [said] District Attorney Eric Gonzalez…The news is a part of a formal announcement that Gonzalez’s office now plans to decline to prosecute or dismiss cases on both charges.  It is part of an effort to keep sex workers and other marginalized people — particularly people of color on low incomes — out of court…Gonzalez said his office has been rolling out a program to dismiss all prostitution cases over the last year, along with arrests under the loitering statute, which he said it has declined to prosecute since 2019…Sex workers may still [not be able to beat the ride], but Gonzalez [promised they’ll beat the rap]…he…said…fewer than 30 cases [were] processed last year…

Quiet Genocide (#1002)

The few Western articles about the Uighur genocide usually ignore the rapes:

First-hand accounts from inside [Chinese concentration] camps are rare, but several former [prisoners] and a guard have [reported]…an organised system of mass rape, sexual abuse and torture.  Tursunay Ziawudun, who fled Xinjiang after her release and is now in the US, said women were removed from the cells “every night” and raped by one or more masked Chinese men.  She…was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men…a Kazakh woman…who was detained for 18 months…was forced to strip Uighur women naked and handcuff them, before leaving them alone with Chinese men.  Afterwards, she [was ordered to] clean…the rooms… “My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move,” said Gulzira Auelkhan …”Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter – some Chinese man from outside or policeman…when the man left…I took the woman for a shower…[men] would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates”, she said…Some of the women who were taken away from the cells at night were never returned, Ziawudun said.  Those who were brought back were threatened against telling others in the cell what had happened to them…”It is designed to destroy everyone’s spirit”…

I Spy (#1011)

Despite claims of “wing” fetishists, the worst US tyranny is always bipartisan:

A new bill revitalizes the war on terror’s favorite slogan in service of forcing tech companies to turn over more user data to the government.  The “See Something, Say Something Online Act,” introduced by [Democrat] Joe Manchin…and…[Republican] John Cornyn…is the latest attack on…Section 230 as well as freedom of speech and…privacy.  The legislation says any interactive computer service provider…will lose Section 230 protections if they fail to report any known user activity that…government officials [retroactively declare]…suspicious…services must submit a Suspicious Transmission Activity Report (STAR) within 30 days, providing the user’s name, location, and other identifying information, as well as any relevant metadata.  Those submitting the user surveillance reports would henceforth be barred from talking about or even acknowledging the existence of them.  STARs would also be exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests…

Remember that the government pretends that sex work is “sex trafficking”, and declares that a “major crime”, which means this law would compel webites to rat sex workers out to the feds.

Worse Than I Thought (#1025)

Another politician with a minuscule particle of human decency:

…Last month, the Casper [Wyoming] City Council began revising their prostitution ordinance after the [local cop shop began touting fantasies about supposed]…“human trafficking” [in the city of 58,000]…City Manager Carter Napier [admitted]…that the main purpose was to further criminalize sex work by…creat[ing] the new crime of “performance prostitution,” which it defined as “any touching, manipulation or fondling of the sex organs and/or aerola [sic] by one person upon themselves or…another, whether by touch or the physical use of other items, for the purpose of sexually arousing…the person who paid for…the sexual arousal”…But…Council Member Kyle Gamroth [delayed the vote after] point[ing] out that the definition would criminalize online sex work in the city…Local publication Oil City News added anti-sex work editorializing to their report by…connect[ing a Julie] Bindel…[screed published in the] UK [to] creat[e] a made-up panic around OnlyFans…[as part of] their ongoing series on “human trafficking in Wyoming”…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

Dozens of rapists rewarded with paid vacations:

Dozens of [screws] at New Jersey’s only women’s prison have been [rewarded with paid vacations for]…brutally beat[ing] and [raping defenseless women.  In the most recent reported incident, on January 11th, screws handcuffed]…Ajila Nelson…and others, before punching, kicking, stripping and [rap]ing [them in] a shower [to wash away evidence.  In another case]…a transgender woman…was beaten by a g[ang] of [screws] and three of…[them] stomped on her head…her…knee was so badly damaged that she’s now…in…a wheelchair…[some of] the attack[s appear to be]…retaliation for complaints…

Bread and Circuses (#1053)

Texas courts have never seen police-statery they won’t hand-wave through:

Another constitutional challenge to FOSTA has failed, at least for the time being…Last summer, the DC Court of Appeals…said the law was littered with broad language that could be construed to target legal actions and behavior.  It particularly had a problem with the terms “promote” and “facilitate” when used in conjunction with the law’s sex trafficking language…Unfortunately, a federal court in Texas has come to the opposite conclusion about the same terms…It…[claims]…the terms…are narrow enough to limit collateral damage to free speech and other protected activity.  This challenge was filed by Wilhan Martono — the operator of CityXGuide, someone the DOJ finally used FOSTA against more than two years after it was signed into law…[but] sex workers who moved to CityXGuide after the shutdown of Backpage were nonetheless collateral damage, even if the law…supposedly…[does] not [target] consensual sex work…the court [also]…equat[es] the hosting of ads for sex work with the act of pimping...Even [though] the government didn’t argue Martono was engaged in…pimping.  There are no charges related to that…

The Next Target (#1099)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

[A Canadian Parliamentary] Committee…held a hearing…concerning the allegations made against Pornhub…by Nicholas Kristof…[and] Exodus Cry…parent company MindGeek…is headquartered in Luxembourg, although many of its operations are run from Montreal and the…owners are Canadian…The[re were]…only two witnesses…[an] American [professional “survivor”] and…a NYC-based [shyster], Michael Bowe, who has previously represented disgraced evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr. and Donald Trump…Bowe…showed no professional understading of the technical issues around online platforms, algorithms or moderation, or…to basic free speech issues…[and] told the MPs he didn’t “have time or full understanding to explain [MindGeek’s business model]”…

Stupor Bowl (#1110)

One of those rare occasions when I’m actually less pessimistic than others:

…the now-routine round of warnings about sex trafficking around the big game has once again surfaced…So, here is your annual reminder that there’s no truth to the idea that forced and underage prostitution pick up around the Super Bowl (or other big sporting events), nor that “human traffickers” will descend on the city where it takes place…and we can all marvel at the persistence and audacity of this myth… “Alleged attempts to tackle #humantrafficking in response to mega sporting events are too often based on conflating #sexwork in general…to crack down on consensual sex workers trying to make a living,” tweets U.K. writer Emily Kenway, author of the new book The Truth About Modern Slavery…claims of an influx of Super Bowl sex traffickers has helped the feds put a positive spin on security theater around the event, while giving local cops an excuse to do vice stings and call them rescue missions

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Fuck Polaris.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

Tales from the Dark Side

It’s a bad idea to even discuss such fetishes in writing with any amateur you don’t literally trust with your life:

…unverified screengrabs of…lurid text messages allegedly sent by actor Armie Hammer between 2016 and 2020 were posted by the Instagram account @houseofeffie…In one, Hammer professes his desire to “bite pieces off of” the recipient and eat her heart; in another, he says, “I am 100% a cannibal. I want to eat you. Fuck. That’s scary to admit. I’ve never admitted that before”…the screengrabs have not been verified, and Hammer himself has denied that they are legitimate…[NYC dominatrix] Empress Wu says…she was relatively unperturbed by the alleged…sexts: “they seemed pretty typically male dom-y, if not a slight bit extreme.”  (For what it’s worth, Hammer has talked openly about his fondness for kink in a 2013 Playboy interview, and was [criticiz]ed for liking a rope-play tweet in 2017)…But…[because] Hammer’s exes have come forward to allege inappropriate or nonconsensual behavior…Empress Wu says that the discourse surrounding [his] transgressions should focus less on his alleged kinks and more on the alleged consent violations

Original Sin (#321)

This steaming pile is such a sad regurgitation of all the usual anti-porn nonsense that I’m not even going to bother to quote it, but the link is there if you want to look for yourself.  It’s all there: the claim (rooted in US Evangelical Christianity, as you can see by clicking on the subtitle for the state of this propaganda eight years ago) that “sex trafficking” is caused by porn; the numbers pulled out of some prohibitionist’s rectum (though, interestingly, not up to date with the latest impossible “Walk Free” fantasy); the cop sharing his misogynistic masturbatory fantasies with anyone gullible enough to listen; the claim that all sex workers were molested as children (or that we still are children, sometimes both); the uniquely Floridian innumeracy (such as referring to two cases as “countless”); the mindless repetition of the latest high-profile propaganda from some arch-prohibitionist; the quotation of obscure fanatics in non-peer-reviewed publications as “experts”; the wholesale infantilization of adult women and the accompanying invalidation of our economic, sexual and psychological agency; and of course the usual list of astonishingly-vague “signs of trafficking” that could apply to half the human race.  For more of the same, peruse the tags “The Puritan Recrudescence” and “The Pro-Rape Coalition“.

Safe Position

Though this is becoming a safe position, we still have a long way to go:

[Politician] Tishaura Jones…in…her campaign [for mayor of St. Louis]…said she wants to “destigmatize and decriminalize sex work.”  Her campaign political director, Matt Rauschenbach…[appears to think all sex workers are drug-addicted, homeless survival workers; her opponent Lewis] Reed [shared his disgusting sexual fantasies about]…children…[candidate] Andrew Jones [bloviated about]…human trafficking and [compared women to inanimate objects, and]…fourth candidate…Cara Spencer, said [consensual sex is]…a serious problem [and emitted Swedish-smelling mouth farts]…

Held Together With Lies (#996)

Cathy Reisenwitz on the awfulness of Polaris:

Polaris is a Washington, D.C.-based [NGO that]…operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline (est 2007) which ostensibly exists so that sex trafficking victims can call for help and rescue.  In reality, the majority of the calls to the hotline are from “community members”…[and] most…are either nothing or adult, consensual prostitution.  When Polaris gets a tip…they send the information to [cops] and ICE.  Every “rescue” of sex workers through Polaris is an arrest by police or federal agents…Polaris forces women to stop doing sex work through arrest and the threat of imprisonment or deportation…Polaris [has] claimed, without any evidence whatsoever, that “all” of the 9,000 [Asian] massage businesses across the US “have some element of trafficking”…This is part of a growing racist assault on Asian business owners in the US…Polaris…“strongly opposed” a bill to decriminalize sex work in DC…Not only are they lying about their actual goals, but their tactics actually work at cross purposes to their stated goals…

Incidentally, this heading was rather arbitrary; Polaris is one of the most aggressively dangerous of the rescue industry propaganda mills, and its “National Human Trafficking Hotline” generates the absurd numbers quoted extensively in copaganda and puritans’ wanking fantasies by the simple expedient of counting every single call, whether from a cop, prohibitionist, reporter, hysteric, or anybody else (no matter what the reason for that call), as a “sex trafficking case”.  It’s also one of the chief culprits in promoting the racist myth that sex work is somehow akin to historical black chattel slavery; its name derives from the fact that escaping slaves in the antebellum South followed the star Polaris to keep moving northward toward freedom.  If you’ll search “Polaris” on this blog you’ll get scores of hits across many headings.

Stupor Bowl (#1017)

This pathetic public promotion of misogynistic masturbatory material appears to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth:

[Lying pigs] in West Florida have a[bduc]ted more than 70 people [over the past] month…[using the bogus excuse of] human trafficking …[they absurdly claimed it had something to do with] next month’s Super Bowl game [even though that is still weeks away]…the sting…[involved male cops fantasy-role-playing female sex workers] online…and [sows badly cosplaying] as prostitutes, resulting in the arrest of 71 men who [failed to exercise due diligence in seeking consensual adult] sex…[Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad] Chronister [then embarassed himself by loudly oinking creepy sexual fantasies involving women]…”forced to sell their bodies against their will”…[and made furtive movements in his pants while talking about] sex workers…being raped [but omitted the fact that most such rapes are committed by his own herd of swine]…

Winding Down

France becomes the first European country to start this conversation:

France is Europe’s biggest cannabis consumer, despite having some of the continent’s toughest laws against the drug…[so] a group of [politicians]…have launched an initiative to…encourage the French political class to be more open to the idea of legalising [it]…a citizens’ consultation [was] launched on January 13…[and] more than 175,000 people responded…compared to an average of 30,000 responses to such consultations…[the] objectives…[are] to better understand the French public’s views about cannabis, and to understand what government policies on the drug people want…

Social Distancing (#1094)

Another example of how “lockdowns” cause far more harm than good:

In Colorado’s three largest cities, rising number of homicides…attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic…tell a startlingly grim story of domestic violence…More than a quarter of those who died in Colorado Springs were victims of domestic violence…In Denver…aggravated assaults tied to domestic violence jumped more than 40%, totaling more than 1,000 in 2020…New Orleans-based data consultant Jeff Asher analyzed crime rates in more than 50 [US] cities.  Using data through September, he saw a 36.7% increase in murder rates…the largest one-year increase in murder in the nation’s history…

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Margo might be the single most important sexual liberationist and feminist revolutionary who ever slapped society upside its head.
–  Susie Bright

R.I.P. Margo St. James

The founder of the US sex worker rights movement, Margo St.James, died Tuesday at the age of 83; she had been in an assisted living facility in Bellingham, WA (her home town) for several years now due to dementia, but from the ’70s to the ’90s she was involved to one degree or another in practically every major national and international push for sex worker rights.  It’s impossible to overstate her importance to sex workers all over the world; you may get some idea of why by reading this essay I published on her almost eight years ago, and more in the linked obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle.  But so many 20th-century activists knew and loved her, there will no doubt be many articles and memories; I’m going to link every single one that comes to my attention over the next several weeks.  Farewell, Margo; not a one of us could have done it without your amazing example.

Dysphemisms Galore 

“The pimps who sell sex” may be one of the most clueless headlines ever:

Two…Southend [politicians bloviated about]…street prostitution…[with a plethora of ridiculous terms and phrases] in[cluding]…notorious hotspot…emotional effects of prostitution…“sexual harm”…urgent action to finally get street prostitution under control…“The psychological impacts of [consensual adult] sex are immense”…[they also bloviated about “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”]…high levels of anti-social behaviour…pimping…drug-dealing, hazardous litter and noise nuisance….end the harms caused by…sex…sexual exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls…trauma-informed support…and holding organisations [who actually assist sex workers] to account

I can’t help imagining these politicians wanking furiously while vomiting out these sexual fantasies.

Traffic Jam (#443)

This isn’t a “documentary”; the only thing it “documents” is Jones’ creepy fantasies about other women’s lives:

Sarah Jones is about to [present her ugly fantasies about] the sex industry…[in what she claims is a] documentary [even though it’s merely an expanded adaptation of her one-prohibitionist propaganda vehicle] Sell/Buy/Date…[s]he [dazzled a Deadline reporter with meaningless wokespeak about “]how the sex industry sits at the intersection of race, feminism, power and economics in our current cultural climate[” and dropped three big Hollywood names as executive producers:] Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep and Laverne Cox…[other idiotic belching included] “Is sex work exploitative or empowering?” [and “]The sex industry is hiding everywhere in plain sight during the pandemic[“]…

To her credit, Cox listened to sex workers’ complaints about this revolting propaganda (click on the subtitle link for a description) and has already withdrawn her support. The same cannot be said for the clueless Streep, and Rashida Jones is prohibitionist trash with a long history of endangering marginalized women with her videotaped hatespew.

The Prudish Giant (#897) 

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

When [Facebook-owned] Instagram introduced [censorship] guidelines aimed at stopping “sexual solicitation” in December, sex workers were the first to raise the alarm…But [of course they] aren’t the only ones with cause for anxiety.  A whole swathe of sex-related accounts, including those of certified sex educators and sexual wellness brands, are now being [censored]…sex educators [who couldn’t be bothered to stand with sex worksers now realize] censorship on Instagram has gone too far, with some calling it an all-out ban on sex

Pyrrhic Victory (#1030)

Useful idiots destroying any possibility that the facial recognition djinni can ever be rebottled:

After the Capitol riot, Clearview AI…has seen a spike in use…The F.B.I. has posted the faces of dozens of [rioters] and has requested assistance identifying them…Clearview, which is used by over 2,400 [cop shops to violate citizens’ privacy]…relies…on a database of more than 3 billion photos [stolen] from social media networks and other public websites…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m sure you feel safer now:

…a…woman [was brutalized and abducted] by four [costumed thugs for] sitting on a bench.  [Video shows] the woman…protesting…”I was sitting on a bench” as she is surrounded by [pigs]…in Bournemouth, Dorset…A furious woman filming the…disgrace…shout[ed] at [pigs]: “What side are you on?”…

Between the Ears (#1081)

“Smart” devices are not, part umpteen:

A hacker took control of people’s internet-connected chastity cages and demanded a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin to unlock it…a security researcher [who] goes by the name Smelly…obtained screenshots of conversations between the hacker and several victims…he…demand[ed] a payment of 0.02 Bitcoin (around $750 today) to unlock the device…These hacks show once again that just because you can connect something to the internet, it doesn’t mean you have to…It’s incidents like these that make some people think the Internet of Things is just a marketing term for the Internet of Hackable Things, as we call it, or even the Internet of Shit, as others call it.  Qiui, the Chin[ese] manufacturer of the device…did not respond to a request for comment…

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Kristof…has never found a victim of a sexual crime that he cannot “humanize” by going through their ordeal in exploitative detail.  –  Gustavo Turner

Policing for Profit (#816)

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

…under…a s[cheme politicians] and top cops have touted in recent years [as a way] to combat [imaginary “]human trafficking[“, gangs]…of NYPD [vice pigs] have descended on minority neighborhoods, leaning into car windows and knocking on apartment doors, trying to get men and women to…agree…to exchange sex for money.  These arrests are based…entirely on the word of cops, who…are incentivized to round up as many “bodies” as they can.  Some of their targets were selling sex to survive; others were minding their own business.  Almost everyone arrested for these crimes in the last four years is nonwhite…89% of the 1,800 charged with prostitution; 93% of the 3,000 accused of trying to buy sex…People living paycheck to paycheck lost their jobs over [imaginary] crimes…[because] facing multiple court hearings and the threat of jail time, they took quick deals to move on with their lives.  [One] former [vice sow admitted to]…ProPublica she participated in false arrests…Eighteen current and former [vice pigs admitted that]…overtime has motivated them for years.  The hours add up over the drive to the precinct, the questioning, the paperwork…

Choke Point (#847)

Since “Choke Point” was never banned or declared unconstitutional, there’s currently nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back:

…the…Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…led the charge with Operation Chokepoint.  [But] under the leadership of acting director…Brian Brooks, the OCC has proposed a rule change that would make government-supported financial suppression much harder legally….[by] mak[ing] use of an Obama-era law to stave off future Obama-style injustices.  The Dodd-Frank Act…authorized the OCC to ensure that nationally chartered banks provide “fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers.”  The intention was that minority customers be evaluated for creditworthiness on [their] own individual merits rather than the attributes of their broader group.  In other words, a creditworthy individual shouldn’t be punished because they belong to some group that is considered “high risk” in the aggregate.  The OCC would like to apply this thinking to industries through the proposed “Fair Access to Financial Services” rule.  The largest banks in the country..would be prohibited from red-lining politically disfavored industries just as they are prohibited from red-lining politically oppressed populations.  Rather, a gun manufacturer or pornography company or payday lender must be evaluated on the terms of their individual creditworthiness…Large banks will not be allowed to cut off financial access for disfavored industries just because the government or some other powerful group leans on them to do so…

Watershed (#941)

This article doesn’t contain anything that sex worker activists haven’t said, and journalist allies haven’t reported, a thousand times before.  What makes it notable is that it appeared (albeit as an op-ed) on the website of CNN, the TV news-entertainment-product purveyor which has done more than any other to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria since the days when Craigslist was supposedly run by Satan’s personal pimp.  Biden & Harris are both arch-prohibitionists with zero interest in making things better for sex workers, and the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria won’t do anything to remove all the oppressive, racist, misogynistic, anti-sex laws which were enacted under its aegis.  But it will mean we don’t have to listen to quite so many cops, politicians, religious fanatics, profiteers, and other (barely) human garbage vomiting out their wanking fantasies of enslaved pubescent girls being raped a physically-impossible number of times per day any more.  And it will also make it possible for more activists and allies to speak out about decriminalization without being drowned out by a flood of lurid tragedy porn, and for politicians in search of an angle to file bills to mitigate some of the damage.  And that is at least a good start.

Panopticon (#1030)

The article omits to say that these spy devices were designed and built in China:

…the Chula Vista [California] police…can dispatch a flying drone with the press of button…to…[spy] on…[people] and…[catch] everything [they do] on camera…Each day, the Chula Vista police respond to as many as 15 [informant] calls with a drone, launching more than 4,100 flights since the program began two years ago…Over the last several months, three other cities — two in California and one in Georgia — have followed suit…the latest drone technology…has the power to transform everyday polic[e surveillance]…even small [cop shops] could operate tiny autonomous drones for a relative pittance.  That newfound automation, however, raises civil liberties concerns, especially as drones gain the power to track vehicles and people automatically.  As the police use more drones, they could collect and store more video of life in the city, which could remove any expectation of privacy once you leave the home…Jay Stanley…[of] the American Civil Liberties Union..[said] “Drones…are…sensors that can generate offenses”…

Just wait until they start combining this with “deepfake” technology to manufacture any kind of “evidence” they like.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Dangerous puritan Nick Kristof and his enablers, the staunchly prohibitionist New York Times, have launched yet another pro-censorship crusade:

Nicholas Kristof [has] published a sensationalistic call for state censorship and financial strangulation of Pornhub…Kristof actually had the reporting to write a nuanced piece about the substantial problems with content moderation that plague all platforms that depend on third-party content, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, [etc]…but that’s not what Kristof and the editors of the New York Times chose to do, instead turning the piece into a manipulative attempt to insert themselves in the complex debates around Section 230…free speech online and sexual expression among consenting adults…Everything about “The Children of Pornhub” is exploitative, from the testimonials, to the absolutely misguided photo essay taking advantage of a homeless teen…As of this writing, Kristof continues to tweet the victim’s photo at public officials in the U.S. and Canada to manipulate them into “doing something about” Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1088)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Portsmouth, Virginia [cop] Cleshaun Cox…abduct[ed and raped a 17-year-old girl] on May 27, 2019…she was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of…[an] apartment…[complex] when [the rapist and a crony showed up, claiming they’d]…responded to a noise complaint…Cox…told…he[r]…that she was out past curfew…and told her and [her] passenger…that they needed to drive home immediately…Cox followed her…[stalking] her [as she got] gas, then…[after she dropped] her friend [off at] home…he [began threatening her, then]…tried to persuade…[h]er to have sex with him [via a combination of promises and threats.  Eventually] he drove her to another location…[and] raped her…

Winding Down

It’s unlikely this will pass the Senate, but it’s a big sign of change nonetheless:

…the [US] House of Representatives voted to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, which was originally imposed 83 years ago in the guise of a revenue measure. The vote was 228 to 164, with five Republicans …joining 222 Democrats and [Libertarian] Justin Amash…in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eliminate federal criminal penalties for cultivation, distribution, and possession…In addition…the MORE Act would require automatic expungement of federal marijuana convictions…prohibit the denial of federal public benefits because of convictions involving cannabis consumption and eliminate immigration disabilities based on marijuana-related conduct…

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If there was a real problem we would know.  –  Maxime Maes

Japanese Prostitution (#410)

The Japanese get very touchy when anyone memorializes their victims:

Because of the “considerable strain on German-Japanese relations”, the Department of Roads and Green Space Management in…Berlin demanded the removal of a sculpture called “Peace Statue” by October 14th.  The bronze statue, which symbolizes a Korean [“comfort woman”] in World War II, was erected on September 28 by [a private] organization [named] Korea Verband…on a street corner in the Moabit district…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#722) 

Maybe the Church should delineate acceptable ways for priests to meet their sexual needs:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has removed and burned the altar…of Sts. Peter and Paul church in Pearl River after a priest was caught filming sex acts on the altar with two women.  Archbishop Gregory Aymond…called Rev. Travis Clark’s acts “demonic…I am infuriated by his actions…and…will consecrate a new altar”…Clark was arrested for obscenity, along with the two women involved, because their sex acts were…visible [to a trespassing parishioner who peered into the window]

Men’s fantasies get more extreme when they’re deprived of sex.  It really is that simple, but people prefer to imagine otherwise.

Pyrrhic Victory (#898)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

…Clear’s vision for its fingerprint, iris-scanning, and facial recognition business goes beyond kiosks in airports or sports areas — it wants to be a holistic identity verification platform, covering more intimate moments in our everyday lives.  The company has already amassed troves of personal data on its customers, especially for Clear customers who use the service to buy concessions and enter sports stadiums…in return for cutting to the front of the line unimpeded, customers handing over vast swaths of biometric and travel data…When the company verifies a person’s identity, whether that be to enter an airport, a stadium, or buy a beer at a concession stand, Clear is affirming that they are who they say they are.  Right now, this verification process means priority access to an airport or stadium security [theater] line as a trusted Clear member.  But in the future…Clear plans to be the company that verifies your identity every time you would have swiped a credit card, shown your ID at a door, or handed over a health insurance card…

Guinea Pigs (#968) 

In case you had forgotten that banks are actively looking for whores to rat out to the pigs:

…a study of hundreds of professionals working in anti-money laundering, risk and fraud roles across financial, business, banking and insurance industries reveals shocking gaps in their capabilities.  More than 80 per cent [fantasize] that money laundering is currently happening in their customers’ transactions but two in five aren’t confident they can [tell dirty whore money from righteous people’s money]…more than one in 10 financial institutions still don’t have an a[pproved set of tricks for stealing clients’ money under color of law]…despite it being a legal requirement.  Even if they do, just one in five in-house experts are confident they can [detect the sex rays from whore money]…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#982)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

A man was arrested…after police [stopped his car on an invented pretext, got permission from a dog to rip his car apart, then] found hundreds of pounds of THC-infused candy during [their rooting]…

It’s interesting that neither cop nor yellow journalist tried to use this as an excuse to spread Halloween hysteria; maybe they’re waking up to the fact that nobody is going to give expensive cannabis edibles (which can cost $2 to $3 or more per piece) to strangers’ brats for free.

To Molest and Rape (#1066)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…on September 3, 2019…a 14-year-old girl was visiting [Missouri cop Joshua] Skaggs and his wife…[when] she was awoken around 5 a.m. by Skaggs touching her bare chest…her shirt had been pulled over her bra, and the light from Skagg’s cell phone had been turned on…possibl[y to]…take…a photo of her…[in another assault, a]…13-year-old was visiting Skaggs’ home in July of 2019…she woke up…[to find him] lifting the waistband to her pants in an attempt to get inside them.  Both girls…were terrified of telling anyone because Skaggs was a cop and he would try to hurt them…Skaggs denied one incident and [claimed] the [other was somehow] an accident…he…should have done a minimum of 5 years for each of the charges…[but the judge gave him a mere] 60 days in jail…

Social Distancing (#1080)

Once in a while, whores win a small victory:

The Council of State has overturned a ban on street prostitution [imposed o]n Brussels-City…by mayor Philippe Close…[because] a municipality does not have the authority to order such a ban, which can only be done by a regional or federal authority.  The Council of State is the legal body which deals with cases questioning the legality of the decisions of all levels of government.  Normally, governments also submit their legislative proposals for scrutiny before they become law…[but] Close [rushed the proclamation through using the excuse]…of…coronavirus…

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American cops seem to have become dissatisfied with merely brutalizing their victims; now, it seems, they feel they have to humiliate them as well.  A few years ago, Reason‘s Elizabeth N. Brown noticed that when cops hunt street workers, they often offer fast food so they can then make fun of these desperately-poor women by telling reporters (who obediently regurgitate whatever the pigs vomit into their mouths) that they requested to be paid in nachos or chicken McNuggets or whatever.  Or, they invent some ridiculous request so they can mock the sex worker trying to cater to it.  They also give their “stings” idiotic names so as to invite ridicule of those entrapped by them, and now they’re incorporating humiliation directly into their jailhouse torture:

Two [typical and representative screws] and their supervisor were charged…after an investigation found inmates at the Oklahoma County jail were [subjected] to the popular children’s song, “Baby Shark,” on a loop at loud volumes for extended periods of time.  At least four [prisoners] were subjected to the “inhuman” [torture] in an attorney visitation room of the jail last November and December…[while] forced to stand [for hours], hands cuffed behind them and secured to the wall…[the screws] were Gregory Cornell Butler Jr….[and] Christian Charles Miles…and [their supervisor was] Christopher Raymond Hendershott…District Attorney David Prater charged them with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy…Miles confirmed that he and Butler…”used the…attorney booth as a means to…’teach [prisoners] a lesson’…the music was said to be a joke between Miles and Butler”…[but] put “undue emotional stress on the [prisoners] who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors”…Hendershott learned of the mistreatment on Nov. 23 but “took no immediate action to either aid the inmate victim or discipline the [screws]”…

Ha, ha, ha, so funny.  It has long been known that loud, repetitive noise is a kind of psychological torture; the US armed forces have used it in siege situations since the ’80s.  The fact that the weapon was in this case a ridiculous children’s song doesn’t change that fact that their victims were forced to endure the racket while restrained in a position that could cause serious physical damage, nor the reduction of human beings to playthings for the sadistic amusement of thugs whose moral development is on a similar level to their chosen song’s intended audience.  This year, Americans are finally beginning to notice the wanton savagery police inflict upon people unlucky enough to fall into their clutches; it won’t surprise me if the increased attention also reveals many, many more cases of brutal clowns trying to rob their victims of even the slightest shred of dignity.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy]…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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Collaborating with the police is not something…a mathematician should be doing.  –  Jayadev Athreya

Fallen Idol (#792)

These charges followed the accusations by almost three years:

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women on four separate occasions dating back to 2014…Jeremy…is accused of sexually assaulting two women at a bar in West Hollywood in 2017, and of forcibly raping another woman at that same bar during the summer of 2019.  He is also accused of forcibly raping a woman at a home in West Hollywood…In 2017…more than a dozen women had come forward accusing [him]…of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, nonconsensual digital penetration, and sexual assault.  Most of the women accusing him were in the adult industry…[one of them,] former adult performer Jennifer Steele, [said]…“[He] know[s] if someone’s a porn star and they say they’ve been raped, people aren’t gonna take it seriously”…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously…to repeal the law [against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution]…following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration.  “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said [politician Andrew] Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances”…

Welcome to the Future (#916)

I’m afraid they’ve discovered their moral compasses at least 20 years too late:

…A group of mathematicians in the United States has written a letter calling for their colleagues to stop collaborating with police because of the widely documented disparities in how US law-enforcement agencies treat people of different races and ethnicities.  They concentrate their criticism on predictive policing, a maths-based technique…[that pretends to be able to] stop…crime before it occurs.  The letter, dated 15 June, is addressed to the trade journal Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and…more than 1,400 researchers have now joined the call.  In recent years, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists have been developing algorithms that crunch large amounts of data and [pretend] to help police reduce crime…the mathematicians write in the letter. “It is simply too easy to create a ‘scientific’ veneer for racism”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives aren’t a bug; they’re a feature:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit [cop shop demanding he] come to the station to be arrested.  He thought…it was a prank…[until] he pulled into his driveway…[and] a p[igmobile] pulled up behind, [vomiting out]…two [pigs who then insulted] and [brutalized] Mr. Williams…in front of his wife and two young daughters…[before dragging him] to a [cage and putting his biometric information into a database from which it will never be removed despite the fact that they were trying to frame him for grand theft based on]…a still image from a surveillance video…[which] was clearly not Mr. Williams…his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm…

Working From Home

Most porn performers have long had to supplement film income with outside work:

…When COVID-19 shut down the adult entertainment industry, performers fell back on many of the things they were already doing, creating and selling content directly to their fans.  Realizing professional porn isn’t necessary for a lucrative career, many performers are now making even more money in a safe environment they control…the promise of [higher] payment may not be enough to entice performers back to set.  Three years after allegations of sexual assault enveloped the reputations of James Deen and Ron Jeremy, arguably the most iconic male performers of their generations, new alarms are being raised among female performers…women in the industry are speaking out on social media, exposing a rash of predatory behavior from companies, directors, and in some cases their agents.  Liberated from institutional misogyny, performers are creating content and cashing in on themselves for once, and not without a discernible sense of schadenfreude…

To Molest and Rape (#1047)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A…Harris County [Texas cop attempted to molest]…a teen girl he was assigned to investigate after she was reported as a runaway.  Aaron Isaac Mayes…went to the [girl’s] home…in March…to speak with the girl’s mother…[and] discovered the girl was at home and not missing…the mom [later] told investigators Mayes seemed interested in [her daughter], but [idiotically] believed he simply cared “beyond the scope of the law enforcement duties…in a healthy way”…[but her] daughter…[showed her] screenshots from Instagram conversations…[with] Mayes, which included [dick pics and]…an exchange in which Mayes offered her $80 in cash…[which] Mayes [claimed was] trying to…help her avoid…prostitution [by paying her for sex]…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

A few statistics to further dispel the myth of heroic cops:

…Americans have witnessed video after video of cops assaulting unarmed demonstrators and even bystanders unlucky enough to cross their path…Many try to explain away cases like these as “isolated incidents” carried out by “bad apples”…[but] if anything, most public discussions may be too narrow and myopic to capture how extreme, pervasive, and multifaceted police abuse of power actually is…So far this year, 481 civilians have been shot to death by police in the United States…Since 2015, cops fatally shot at least 352 people who were unarmed (that is, not even possessing a toy, blunt object, or other instrument)…hundreds more civilians are killed by cops every year with taserspepper sprayrubber bulletschokeholdspositional asphyxiablunt force trauma, [pigmobiles] and other causes…Deaths…only represent a small fraction of overall police violence…at least 985,300 Americans experienced non-lethal threats or use of force from police in a single year:…There are also widespread…rapes, sexual assault, and sexual harassment incidents [committed by] on-duty cops every year…many more cases likely go unreported…cops also regularly commit crimes, and carry out violence, when they are off duty.  For instance, rates of domestic abuse are as much as four times higher among law enforcement than in the broader population…The level of aggression cops deploy in an area seems to have no correlation with that area’s level of violent crime—nor does it seem proportional to the actual danger law enforcement agents face on the job…the overall line-of-duty law enforcement homicide rate…[is] 9.74 per 100,000 officers…the homicide rate for men…[in the general population is] 9.5 per 100,000.  That is, police officers were just a little more likely to be a victim of homicide in the line of duty than the typical American male living his day-to-day life…

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