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Posts Tagged ‘Thou Shalt Not’

There [is] a culture of impunity for…police officers.  –  Harriet Wistrich

Divided We Fall (#736)

Contrary to popular belief, “conversion therapy” has never been banned anywhere in the US; most states merely restrict its use to sex workers and clients:

[Politicians] in Wisconsin voted to strike down a ban on [using] conversion therapy [against LGBT people]…effectively making the practice legal.  Conversion therapy is a broad term that can describe many practices that generally involve trying to force…sexual…[minorities] to [stop whatever sexual practices those with power over the victims dislike].  The methods involved in these practices are highly discredited by medical professionals, and those who have been victims of conversion therapy have described it as torture

The Widening Gyre (#928)

People interpreting a domestic violence incident as “sex trafficking” is basically a microcosm of the whole moral panic:

Bangor [Maine] police sa[id a] kidnapping [from a Target parking lot] is not part of a larger human trafficking ring, despite claims to the contrary on Facebook…Colby Cooper…arrived at the store with the unnamed woman[, but when she broke up with him while there] he…forced [her]…into a U-Haul rental van…[and] fled…police spotted Cooper a short time later…and…arrested [him]…The department cautioned people to refrain from believing everything they read on Facebook…

To Molest and Rape (#1212)

Just a few isolated incidents:

A [London cop] who used his [job] to put fear into his victims has admitted [to] dozens of rape[s] and [highly abusive] sexual [relationships with] 12 women.  David Carrick…who met some victims through dating websites, pleaded guilty to 49 offences across two decades.  The [police bureaucracy] has apologised after it emerged he had [been reported for rape]…nine [times]…between 2000 and 2021.  A [boss cop attempted to downplay the pervasiveness of rape among cops by uttering the obvious lie that] his [behavior] was “unprecedented in policing”…His offences spanned 2003 to 2020 and most took place in Hertfordshire, where he lived.  [In his abusive relationships] Carrick…would control what the women wore, what they ate, where they slept and even stopped some of the women from speaking to their own children…

Thou Shalt Not (#1227)

Prohibitionism is a dangerous mental illness:

Bringing cake into the office should be seen as being as socially unacceptable as inflicting passive smoking on your colleagues, Britain’s top food [nanny]…said…[Nutrition cultist] Susan Jebb…said it was not enough to rely on…personal [responsibility and free choice]… “If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them.  Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub”…

The Punitive Mindset (#1243) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

Florida’s prison system has banned more than 20,000 books — the most tracked in the U.S., according to a new study from The Marshall Project…[which] published a database…of about 54,000 titles banned by [human-caging bureaucrats] in 18 states with such records…Most prison systems ban…books containing content related to violence, [criticism of the carceral system], sex or nudity…But…other books banned in Florida prisons include: adult coloring books, French language textbooks, [and] How to Make Money in StocksIn Texas, The Color Purple is banned, while Dungeons and Dragons books are prohibited in Michigan

Guinea Pigs (#1260) 

Alabama discovers the secret to detecting “sex trafficking” in ordinary escort ads: label everything “sex trafficking” and arrest all the women:

Computer modeling developed by…University of Alabama…collects data from online sex ads…[in order to] help…[cops] locate…and arrest s[ex workers]…the modeling has…[led to] over 100 arrests since February 2021…

The article goes on to dredge up lots of moldy decade-old “sex trafficking” propaganda, including the claim that half of all sex workers are children; “Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprisebring[ing] in as much as $150 billion…a year“; the claim that someone other than gibbering idiots calls I-20 the “sex trafficking superhighway“; and the utterly-absurd fantasy of “6,000 human trafficking victims per day in Alabama alone.

The Mob Rules (#1303)

Laws enabling nuisance lawsuits will keep multiplying until they’re ruled unconstitutional:

Utah may follow Louisiana’s lead by requiring residents who want to access pornographic websites to verify their age first….[pro-censorship politician] Todd Weiler…[bloviated a lot of nonsense and dismissed] privacy concerns…[which should come as no surprise given that he’s the jackass who sponsored the bill]…declar[ing] pornography a [“]public health crisis[“ and also tried to establish a state internet censor]

 

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They’re basically training us for a fake world.  –  Lucas, high school student

Zeitgeist

It’s slowly dawning on “feminists” that getting in bed with cops was a bad idea:

Many tend to think of police as the first line of defense for women in need of help. But…sexual misconduct is…pervasive throughout the profession, despite receiving relatively little attention.  After excessive force, sexual misconduct is the second most commonly reported form of police misconduct…and that only includes what’s reported.  “We have no way of knowing how much of this behavior goes on,” [said] Timothy Maher, a criminology professor at University of Missouri… “Many people are [afraid] to report on the police”…[rapist cops usually] target [women]…on the margins of society, such as [sex workers or other] women with criminal records…who[m they know will be dis]believed [by cops and prosecutors] if they do come forward.  While the spectrum of police sexual misconduct is wide, it can include things like unnecessary strip searches or a sexual shakedown, which is when a…[cop demands submission to rape] in exchange for not…arresting the [victim]…[even] female [cops]…can…be victims

A Broker in Pillage (#1145)

Indiana continues to pursue the “right” to rob anyone within its borders blind:

In April 2015…Indiana [cops stole] almost $10,000 from Terry Abbott after [a snitch claimed] he was…selling drugs…Abbott attempted to challenge that action…but he lost his attorney—as the money he would use to pay for that counsel had been [stolen] by the state…The Indiana Supreme Court…rul[ed] that [victims of robbery by cops] have no right to use their s[tolen money] to finance legal [challenges to the robbery]…This means that…the government is able to put defendants in a chokehold by seizing the very assets that they would use to defend themselves…Fighting to get your cash back is a bit difficult when the government has [stolen] all of your cash…

Property of the State (#1149)

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

It’s astounding how many novel ways politicians can propose to invade privacy.  The latest comes from Alabama, where a new bill would require women from ages 25 to 50 to produce a negative pregnancy test from a doctor or medical lab before purchasing medical marijuana.  The test would have to be conducted within 48 hours of the purchase…Pregnant women on the marijuana patient registry would also be required to report pregnancies to the physician who approved their patient status.  Having to go to a doctor or medical lab and pay for a pregnancy test before every medical cannabis purchase would be not only invasive but inconvenient.  In effect, it’s an added tax on…female patients…

Creepy Coppers

Just another cop demonstrating exactly what he is:

A [typical and representative] Perryton [Texas cop] was sentenced…to 17 years in federal prison for child pornography offenses…Aaron Bennett Daugherty…was [caught uploading]…a video file depicting an adult male [raping]…a blindfolded prepubescent child.  “I’m here to look at CP, everybody”…he…posted…

Thou Shalt Not (#1206)

Prohibitionists refuse to understand why their schemes never work:

Karlyn Gorski…[of] the University of Chicago…[studied the] robust black market for snack foods that persists at Hamilton High (not the school’s real name) despite the best efforts by school administrators, security guards, and teachers to stamp it out…Gorski spent 112 days observing students and adults at Hamilton during the 2019–2020 school year…[and] observed a widespread black market for snack sales…beyond the amusing anecdotes about deception and the heroic struggles of would-be entrepreneurs against the school snack cops, the paper contains some serious implications about what the school is teaching its students…Students in a Spanish club selling cookies to raise money for a field trip to Peru were allowed to “carry their wares openly and advertise on posters throughout the school…when…the school retained control over the proceeds…the [sales were deemed] ‘worthy'”…[but]…when students were caught “selling” [on their own]…their motives were “subject to moral scrutiny”…One student, code-named Lucas, told Gorski that “they’re basically training us for a fake world” in which good behavior is rewarded while trying to make a buck is regarded as valuable only if the seller’s intentions are worthy…

Welcome to the Future (#1214)

Conditioning kids to accept constant, intrusive surveillance:

Even before the pandemic,…exaggerated security fears intersected with the declining cost of technology to turn many schools into panopticons.  ID tags tracked students, cameras watched their behavior, and software monitored their online activity.  Then COVID-19 appeared and safety [theater]…overwhelmed civil libertarian concerns about privacy with public health arguments…contact tracing and social-distancing enforcement…became a new way to sell facial recognition systems…and…all of that surveillance technology remains in place even as pandemic concerns wane across the country.  Badges and cameras purchased at considerable expense aren’t going to be put into storage just because COVID-19 fades into the background…And, of course, the federal government is right there to subsidize schools’ purchase of surveillance tools with gobs of cash.  That makes the transformation of supposed learning environments into entry-level police states surprisingly affordable…

A Moral Cancer (#1223)

Prohibition is too useful an excuse for violence for the state to stop voluntarily:

…Tobacco is still legal for adults to purchase and consume in the United States.  But [state] policy regarding nicotine delivery systems is shifting from taxation and regulation to explicit prohibition of many products.  Some jurisdictions already have banned menthol cigarettes, and the…FDA…is likely to announce a similar ban at the federal level this spring.  Local restrictions on e-cigarettes likewise provide a preview of what will happen nationwide if the FDA continues to regulate vaping products in a way that threatens to wipe out nearly the entire industry…As tobacco, e-cigarettes, and e-liquids transition from legal to illicit, [cop shops] will more aggressively interfere with production, distribution, retail sales, and in some cases even individual use.  Every such interaction carries with it the possibility of freedom lost, perhaps violently.  There is a real risk that American tobacco policy will open a regressive new front in the war on drugs, just as the previous crackdown on psychoactive substances begins to wind down…

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America[ns]…associate sin or indulgence with desserts.  –  Oona Hanson

Sisters in Arms

I’m repurposing this disused tag to highlight sex worker activism of this type:

Sex workers around the world, and many of the platforms they use, have spent the last week rallying support for their colleagues stranded on the ground in Ukraine…[sex workers] have developed a strong track record in recent years of mobilising for victims of disasters and ensuring they see the money that has been raised for them…even the platforms Ukrainian sex workers depend on to make a living have made serious efforts to make their support known.  OnlyFans made a donation of 500 Ethereum, equivalent to about $US1.5 million, to UkraineDAO on Saturday, one of a legion of crypto organisations raising millions of dollars…for Ukraine…payment app…Paxum…is currently working…to connect workers with transport at Ukraine’s border with Romania, where they would then be offered free accommodation…On Twitter, sex workers can regularly be seen urging their clients and fans to donate to individual causes that are as narrowly targeted as a life-saving surgery, or as broad as a global campaign to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of bushfires, as was seen in Australia in 2020

The Widening Gyre (#698) 

Long-time readers may recall that I called this a hoax as soon as the story broke:

Sherri Papini, the California [woman] who disappeared for weeks in 2016 and claimed she’d been kidnapped at gunpoint, made up the story and had been staying with an ex-boyfriend…Papini…was arrested for…lying to investigators in 2020 when presented with evidence the kidnapping was faked and of defrauding California out of more than $30,000 in victim assistance money…Papini…[re]appear[ed]…on…Interstate 5 in rural Yolo County, with a chain around her waist and a “brand” on her shoulder she [pretended] was inflicted by her captors…[but] were [in reality] self-inflicted [with a wood-burning tool.  Papini, who had a history of posting on white nationalist sites, pretended]…two [armed] Hispanic women…kept her captive…[but] in 2020, DNA found on Papini’s clothes…led investigators to her ex-boyfriend…[who] told [them] that Papini asked him for help and needed to get away, that he agreed to drive to pick her up in Redding, and that she stayed at his home in Costa Mesa in the Los Angeles area the whole time…eventually she asked to be driven back to Northern California…

Working From Home

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targets for creeps:

A 20-year-old man…hid…in the attic of a [New Hampshire] woman he [followed] online through…OnlyFans…Mauricio Damian-Guerrero…[ha]s [been] charged with…burglary…for…br[eaking] into [her] home multiple times and t[aking] video of the woman’s private areas while she slept…he admitted [to cops that] he [also planned] to tape [a tracking device] to…he[r]…car…he…appeared to have been in the attic for a period of time, as [the woman] found food, a cup with urine in it, and a pair of headphones [in her attic.  He tricked her into giving him]…her address b[y claiming] he wanted to buy her a TV and fireplace…he [also]…admitted…that before breaking into the [house], which is…he[r mother’s] home, he had broken into her Dover, New Hampshire, apartment multiple times…

You Were Warned (#1134)

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

A [cabal] of [ambulance-chasers] currently appealing a dismissed lawsuit against Reddit…[have] renew[ed] their claim that Section 230 protections should not shield the social media platform…from allegations of “profiting off of child pornography” over user-generated content…through an…increasingly…[popular but still legally] novel doctrine of “constructive knowledge,” as opposed to actual knowledge…

Their Own Petard

When we agreed to trick other people into cages with face-eating leopards, we didn’t know the leopards would eat our faces!

Marissa Sanchez [and the other plaintiffs]…in an ongoing lawsuit…against the [Houston, Texas] Constables’ Office…and [several of its boss cops]…They [agreed to participate in an elaborate scam]…in which [cops fantasy role-played as]…partygoers…[and] prostitutes…[in an attempt to ruin the lives of] sex workers [and their partners and friends]…Instead of capturing [imaginary “]traffickers[“]…they were subjected to [the same] sexual harassment…molestation…and sexual ridicule…that [they were happy to inflict on other women who never did them any harm]…

Thou Shalt Not (#1206)

Crypto-moralism rots people’s brains:

Girl Scouts, and the women who lead their troops and volunteer with them during cookie season, say that the…tradition of face-to-face sales is increasingly accompanied by…angry tirades from adults who want to lecture them about [those adult’s beliefs about] healthy eating…or rant about the group’s rumored (and false) link to Planned Parenthood…”I feel like in the last 10 years, and maybe especially since the pandemic, that people are getting even more aggressive”…[said] Oona Hanson, a Scouting parent in Los Angeles…she’s seen [oafs] make comments about weight gain, tell girls they can’t trust themselves to have Thin Mints in the house, or even yell at girls for “poisoning” people…Other [cretins]…have…harassed [girls] for…the use of palm oil in the cookies.  Widely used in commercial baked goods, the oil [has become] controversial [among people who think of themselves as environmentalists] because its production can lead to deforestation and disrupt the habitat of endangered species…a…[rumor started in] 2004…[by] the leader of an anti-abortion group in Waco, Texas…has stuck…among…anti-abortion [fanatics, who act out by] harassing [girls too young to even know]…what an abortion is…

The Cop Myth (#1217)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives; some don’t stop with mere beating:

[Typical and representative Georgia cop] Michael Perrault was found guilty on all counts…in…the Feb. 2020 [murder] of [his wife] Amanda Perrault…he…[was] sentenced to life in prison without parole…Perrault was initially arrested on Jan. 28, 2020 [for] battery on his wife…[and] was released on…bond…Days later…Michael claimed she killed herself in front of him…[but] there…[was] a long history of domestic abuse…[and Sheriff Howard] Sills testified it was obvious [to him] from the jump that Perrault had killed his wife and tried to stage it based on details at the scene.  A neighbor who gave Amanda refuge in their home also testified saying she told them, “If anything happened, she didn’t kill herself”…

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Until somebody figures out a good way to rein-in government snoopiness, it might be better to avoid taking selfies at protests.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Thou Shalt Not (#35)

Prohibitionism is a dangerous mental illness:

Some packets of biscuits will be banned from [certain areas of] supermarkets from 2023…the new law bans [stores] from selling [foods labeled] HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt) [by government-employed puritans from displays in] checkout areas, ends of aisles and store entrances…government…[nannies justified the new law by barfing out the phrase]…childhood obesity [while maintaining laws that keep children from healthy outdoor exercise]…a [government] study [declared that most Britons are far too stupid and weak-willed to make their own food choices, so those choices must therefore be made for them]…

Torture Chamber

If there’s one thing the US needs, it’s more sadistic rapists in the military:

…Brandon Scott Price, a [typical and representative Kentucky] prison guard, was convicted of [a misdemeanor assault charge for anally raping a chained woman]…his…judge…sentenced [him]…to [a mere] 12 months in jail…but said Price could avoid jail time if he [re-]enlisted in the military within 30 days…enlistments are subject to military regulations that would require Price to seek a waiver for his sexual-assault conviction from military officials.  The military has spent more than a decade struggling to limit sexual assault among troops…[on the way back from the hospital after she had suffered] a medical emergency…Price pulled the van…over and [anally raped] the woman…then [claimed she wanted it]…

Choke Point (#611) 

PayPal needs to be buried in similar lawsuits before this will stop:

Three PayPal users who’ve…had their accounts frozen and funds [stol]en by the company without explanation have filed a federal lawsuit against the online payment service.  The plaintiffs…are…proposing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all other users who’ve had their accounts [similarly violated] and are seeking restitution, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.  Lena Evans…[ha]d been a PayPal user for 22 years…[when] the website s[tole] $26,984 from her account six months after…fr[eezing it] without ever telling her why…Roni Shemtov sa[w] PayPal s[teal] over $42,000 of her money and never got an acceptable [or consistent] reason for why her account was terminated…Shbadan Akylbekov…[explained that] PayPal s[tole] over $172,000 of his money without…explanation…[except] a letter that says she “violated PayPal’s User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy”…PayPal has long angered many a user for limiting accounts and freezing their funds for six months or more.  One high-profile case was American poker player Chris Moneymaker’s who had $12,000 [stol]en from his account after six months of being limited.  Moneymaker was already in the process of asking people to join him in a class action lawsuit before his funds were “mysteriously returned”…

Blunt Instrument (#1012)

Oh look, Texas cops are staging pogroms against migrant-owned businesses; what a surprise.  The only thing even remotely unusual about this farrago of loathsome oinking, agency denial, pious bullshit and revolting bootlicking is that the violent racist psychopaths vomit out the word “trafficking” only 5 times in a 21-paragraph copaganda screed.  By contrast, the word “illicit” (a word which characterizes prohibitionist propaganda more than any other) appears 9 times.  But given that this was published (to use the most charitable word possible for this human-centipede excretion) by the Dallas Morning News, a rag so filled with prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies that it’s an embarrassment to the entire state of Texas, that actually counts as a twisted kind of progress.

I Spy (#1086) 

In mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

…[Since] social media an easy and low-cost means of gathering intelligence…cops and their private-sector contractors snoop on us…while fishing for anything of interest…instead of curbing such abuses, many politicians want more.  “Social media has become a significant source of information for U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law noted in a report released last week…Customs and Border Protection…routinely runs the names of people of interest, including journalists and activists, through databases…For years, the FBI used Dataminr, “a third-party service that [surveills]…social media posts”…in 2019 [it switched] to ZeroFox, which offers a similar service.  Some FBI agents blamed their inability to anticipate the January 6 riot at the Capitol on the changeover…and…over the past year, law enforcement has come under pressure to engage in even more monitoring of social media because of its failure to anticipate the…riot…

Stalkers in Blue (#1180)

This disgusting article is loaded with copsucking and emotional manipulation:

A [typical and representative] NYPD [cop], who survived [a 2015 “dismissal probation” after drug paraphernalia and needles were found in his locker], was fired…after he repeatedly [sexually harassed] vulnerable women [he was] arrest[ing]…[including] wom[e]n he believed to be domestic abuse victim[s] and…sex [workers, but who]…were actually [other rolepaying cops]…investigati[ng him due to complaints]…He also used an NYPD computer to [stalk other women] …and [lied]…to [other cops]…about [his predatory behavior]…

Right from the headline on, IB Times attempts to manipulate the reader’s sympathies; the cop who repeatedly tried to get into the pants of women he arrested or “investigated” is described as a “veteran” and a “hero”.  His attempted manipulation and rape is described as “romantic”, his victims’ criminal histories are emphasized, and his other shenanigans are not mentioned until far down in the story.  It’s vile even by the standards of cop stenography.

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1204)

Cops think they can just make up their own pharmacology and demand reality conform to it:

Fentanyl that is about 50 times more potent than “what has regularly been found and tested” in the region has been recovered in Hartford, police [lie]d…[after] find[ing] nearly 40 bags of fentanyl…[near where] a seventh-grader [overdosed.  Though the boy appears to have eaten]…the drug…a…spokesp[ig preferred to oink a bunch of weird cop fantasies about how]…“this product can be deadly to anyone coming in contact with it, including absorption through the skin…fentanyl is a poison”…

Fentanyl is a life-saving synthetic drug, no more a “poison” than any other medicine.  It cannot be absorbed through the skin, and no batch is “50 times more potent” than any other; of course, this confused oinking might be attempting to convey the claim that most heroin cut with fentanyl in Hartford is only about 2% fentanyl, whereas this was nearly pure.  But it’s difficult to tell in proximity to so many exaggerations, cop fantasies and outright lies.

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

To Molest and Rape

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

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

Thou Shalt Not (#642)

New Zealand cops apparently lack sufficient reasons to brutalize people:

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

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

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

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

Policing for Profit (#924)

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

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

Legislators Gone Wild (#1102) 

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

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

The Mob Rules

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

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1189)

Arizona screws think they can cure mental illness by torture:

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

Creepy Coppers

Setting an example for his underlings:

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

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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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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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You can say, “No sex without a condom”. You can say, “No sex until we’re married”.  But you can’t say, “No sex until you pay me”?…that…really undermines what consent means.  –  Katherine Sears

Bad Girls

I guess it runs in the family:

A judge found a[n Ohio] woman guilty of felony theft charges..[for] swindling an elderly war veteran out of tens of thousands of dollars before his death earlier this year.  Latasha Wisniewski, 38, used the false promise of romance to gain the trust of Charles Bauer, an 89-year-old Korean War veteran and widower, then looted much of his life’s savings in a matter of months to purchase botox injections, breast implants and butt implants…Wisniewski and her boyfriend, Daniel Scholz, are also charged with additional felony charges of misuse of credit cards in a separate case…Wisniewski’s conviction was based in part on the testimony of her aunt, 39-year-old Lisa Dotson…[who] was a home health aide charged in a separate case that accused her [of] stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly and disabled clients.  She pleaded guilty to charges in both cases in August and agreed to [snitch on] Wisniewski…

Check Your Premises 

How about “women who were forced to work as cashiers were watched over by security guards so that they didn’t escape”?

South American women who were forced to work as prostitutes were watched over by security guards so that they didn’t escape.  [Cops sexually fantasized that] the 22 women were available 24 hours a day…The[y]…apparently…[worked for] two months [before]…new women would be introduced…

The word for a security guard posted to keep potentially-unruly, possibly-drunk customers in line is “bouncer”.  Bouncers in sex work establishments (such as strip clubs & brothels) are there to protect the workers, not to keep them from “escaping”.

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

…attorney…Katherine Sears…began working as a prostitute three years ago, at…a…Nevada…brothel…By speaking about her experience, Sears hopes to educate people on a taboo topic…her husband John…isn’t bothered by her part-time job…Katherine…works in the brothel for three weeks before coming home to Iowa for a week…“You’re really less likely to get an STD from a prostitute than you are from the general public,” Sears said.  In the past year, she has taken time off to focus on her law practice and her 4-month-old son.  But it hasn’t stopped her from trying to break down misconceptions around prostitution…and…is so passionate about the decriminalization of prostitution, she is willing to take prostitution cases on pro bono…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralism is back in the news again lately:

…Regular consumption of soft drinks — both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened — was associated with a greater risk of all causes of death, according to research…in JAMA Internal Medicine.  Participants who drank two or more glasses of soft drinks per day had a higher risk of mortality than those who consumed less than one glass per month…two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases.  For sugar-sweetened soft drinks, one or more glasses a day were associated with deaths from digestive diseases…researchers cautioned that elevated soft-drink consumption may be a marker for an overall unhealthy lifestyle.  “In our study, high soft drinks consumers had a higher body mass index (BMI) and were also more likely to be current tobacco smokers,” said the study’s chief researcher, Neil Murphy…

Given that 100% of humans die, it’s not possible for anything to lead to “a greater risk of all causes of death”.  Also, this is your reminder that “sugary” is a ’70s-era dysphemism for “sweet”, appearing at roughly the same time as “natural” became an advertising buzzword; note that while the article writer mostly used more objective language, the headline writer couldn’t resist the pejorative term.

Monsters 

This was the 17th murder of a trans person this year; the majority were black trans women:

…Bailey Reeves…A [17-year-old trans woman]…was shot and killed in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend…the…body was found by a 16-year-old who said they heard three gunshots and a girl screaming “My friend! Someone help my friend! Call 911!”…the victim was transported to a hospital where she died…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#699)

Canadians join Americans in filling kids’ heads with anti-sex propaganda:

An Ontario school board is reviewing a new curriculum that would [indoctrinate] Grade 7 and 8 students [in anti-]sex [worker propaganda]…TK Pritchard [dreamed up] the [propaganda, which includes the usual lies about how]…the average “age of entrance” to trafficking is between 12 and 14…[boyfriends are] “Romeo pimps”…love and trust of [anyone who isn’t an “authority” is bad, etc]…”Waterloo region is a hotbed for human trafficking,” said Pritchard [while stroking himself]…”a lot of curriculums [sic]…use [propaganda] from the States…our curriculum is made with Canadian [lies which are exactly the same]…Police say they [wish] more trafficking [were] happening [so they could use it as an]…intimidation tactic…[like US cops do]…

Checklist (#852) 

Though that word doesn’t appear in this story, ask yourself why a racist airline employee was interrogating passengers about a fantasized international criminal conspiracy:

…an Alaska Airlines employee [intentionally set off an alarm and] yelled “evacuate” at [Newark]…airport on Labor Day…sen[ding] 200 panicked people fleeing amid fears of a mass shooting attack…the…employee…[claimed] she believed two male passengers were acting suspiciously…Han Han Xue…was waiting…to board his delayed…flight home to San Francisco….[when] the…employee…[pushed] him from behind…then approached Chunyi Luo, a…student standing near him.  “Are you scared? Are you nervous?” Luo said she asked him.  Luo…said he told her he was feeling nervous because the flight was late…but she stood “too close” to him so he stepped a few feet away.  Then she began asking Xue questions.  She asked if he knew Luo (the two were strangers) and what his itinerary was.  She then asked, “Why are you acting suspiciously?”  Xue said he struggled to know how to respond as the questions…became more bizarre.  “How much are they paying you?…Did they give you a visa?  Did they give your family a visa?  Do you make a lot of money?  Do you work on Wall Street?  Are you on an American visa?”…Xue..a [Canadian] citizen [who] works as a product designer at Lyft…said…he felt like he was being racially targeted and harassed, so he…join[ed] the passengers boarding the flight, hoping she’d bother someone else.  But she followed him, saying, “I’m onto you guys. The cops are already called”…[she then] yelled, “Evacuate, evacuate!” and pressed an emergency alarm…Xue ran with the crowd to another gate and…Luo [did too because he] believed there was a shooter…

The employee didn’t dream up these rude, prying questions herself; they’re the type of questions the mandated “training program” urges employees to harass brown people with in order to “fight sex trafficking”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#964)

The fascist establishment thinks nobody should have any privacy, even in their own thoughts:

A new frontier in lie detection is now emerging…projects are using AI to combine multiple sources of evidence into a single measure for deception.  Machine learning is accelerating deception research by spotting previously unseen patterns in reams of data…The algorithms behind such tools are designed to improve continuously over time, and may ultimately end up basing their determinations of guilt and innocence on factors that even the humans who have programmed them don’t understand.  These tests are being trialled in job interviews, at border crossings and in police inter[rogations]…the frontline for much of the new government-funded lie detection technology has been the borders of the US and Europe…the Avatar unit has a microphone, an infra-red eye-tracking camera and an Xbox Kinect sensor to measure body movement…[the system displays a creep cartoon “agent” to distract and unsettle subjects and] uses an algorithm to combine all of these types of data…to send a verdict to a human border guard within 45 seconds, who can either wave the traveller through or pull them aside for additional screening…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#965) 

Will porn companies be the next to face the music for exploiting sex workers?

…nearly two dozen young women say that they responded to Craigslist ads seeking models and were then tricked into performing in internet pornography…producers behind a website called Girls Do Porn…were seeking women to make so-called amateur porn…Respondents…were directed to innocuous websites, with pictures of clothed women, that asked for their contact information and photographs.  Instead of being offered modeling jobs…they were offered roughly $5,000 to make pornography…[that] producers [claimed]…would be distributed only on DVD outside of the United States and would never be published online…[instead] the videos [were published] online, on Girls Do Porn…[and] also distributed to major sites, like Pornhub.  Shortly after the videos were posted, the women’s names and identifying information popped up on a [now-defunct] site called PornWikileaks, which [doxxes] people who have done porn…The women are seeking $22 million in damages…[and] their videos removed from the website…

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[Emotional] manipulation is where censorship pulls its strength, and keeps the discussion of porn within the realm of saving women and children.  –  Violet Blue

Mea Culpa

I don’t often make errors worth noting in the blog, which may be why I never had this heading before.  But when I do, they’re usually because my VEWWY SEEWEEUSS thought processes failed to recognize a joke or parody as such; that was the case in Sunday’s “Links #308“.  Author Christopher Seaton explains:

When I write at Fault Lines I usually do so from a very serious perspective. This is because keeping the cracks in our criminal justice system visible and educating the public about the law is serious. When the weekend comes, we usually loosen our belts, let our hair down, and have fun. My mischief caught the attention of Maggie McNeill this week, and the whole story is a great lesson in communication…Maggie McNeill is one of the most interesting people on the web, if you don’t read her work regularly.  She’s a writer, an academic, and a sex worker.  This is not someone you want to get into a fight with when it comes to criminalization of conduct in any way, shape, or form.  It’s not that I’m afraid of a good verbal spar with Maggie, I just know my limits…so I tweeted Maggie and told her it was a joke…she replies with an apology and says she had no idea Fault Lines posted anything but 100% dead serious content…I also appreciate Maggie letting her readership know I’m not on the side of over-criminalization…

Aversions

Margaret Corvid asked several sex workers what made their favorite clients special:

…sex work is work, and my favorite clients are like a writer’s, or a plumber’s: they’re the ones who treat me with respect…our favorite clients are the ones that respect our screening processes, that pay us, that don’t bully us or stalk us or subject us to their racist rants while we, on the clock, smile and nod.  My favorites read my website properly, learning my hours, fees, services and how I prefer to be contacted.  They don’t whinge if I ask for a deposit, and they don’t request services I don’t provide.  They respect my time.  They don’t call with cocks in hand for free sexy chat, or show up early while I’m still lacing myself into my corset…

The New Victorianism

So this happened to my friend Maggie McMuffin:

A burlesque dancer from Seattle, Washington, was informed that she would need to change her clothing if she wanted to board a flight from Boston to Seattle because her shorts were deemed “too short” by the flight crew.  The crew felt that the shorts may be deemed inappropriate by families on the flight and should be changed as not to offend anyone…Maggie McMuffin says that she had successfully flown on a JetBlue flight from New York To Boston without incident in the same pair of “too short” black and white shorts earlier in the day.  However, when she approached the gate to fly her second leg of her flight back home to Seattle, she was informed the shorts were not appropriate and that she needed to cover up more, as there were families on the flight that may find the attire inappropriate.  JetBlue says they personally called and apologized to Maggie about the incident and refunded her for the shorts she was forced to purchase in the terminal while also providing the woman with a $200 credit to use on future flights as a “goodwill gesture”…

Mentoring

Paint By Numbers

Why hike or stand when you can motorcycle?

[An Oregon] woman is using her love for motorcycling to spread awareness about child sex trafficking.  Gwen Feero is a special education teacher who is preparing to bike to all four corners of the United States for what she calls the Freedom Ride.  She decided to make the more than 11,000-mile ride after overhearing a sex trafficking conversation in Portland…

I think my profession must be the only one in the world that people think they’re “experts” in after eavesdropping on a conversation between two other lackwits.

Thou Shalt Not (#413)

Because prohibition always works so well:

Six out of ten Norwegians support a proposal from the Norwegian Medical Association…to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone born after 2000…NMA [fantasized] in January that Norway [could] create “a tobacco-free generation” by 2035…NMA president Marit Hermansen said in January that it is not a basic human right to begin using tobacco…Health Minister Bent Høie [said]…the government has no plans to take up any legislation that would lead to a ban of tobacco sales.

Broken Record (#579) 

I’m not sure which part is more pathetic: this ass insisting that there’s rampant “sex trafficking” in South Dakota, or thinking a vacation in Southeast Asia makes her an “expert”:

…you’d be surprised how many people don’t think sex trafficking is a thing that happens here…in South Dakota…one of my favorite things we have done so far is our work with Whittier Middle School…This is how sex trafficking numbers go down. These kids need a reason to believe that they are worth more than a number some trafficker puts on them.  Traffickers only have power when they find those that believe their worth is so small that it can be bought…

Sales Pitch (#626) 

Aphrodite bless Wendy Lyon for enduring Swedish cops’ self-congratulatory pig porn to bring us the parts that most show up their “model” for what it is:

Swedish super cop Simon Haggstrom – you’ll know him from his frequent visits to other countries to proselytise for the sex purchase ban – has now published his memoirs.  Only in Swedish, alas, but that’s why God made Google Translate.  Here are some of his views on how the law actually functions in practice…it provides the cops with “excitement” and plenty of wank material, in which they themselves play a starring role in the action…it hasn’t changed men’s attitudes.  It isn’t deterring them from paying for sex.  It isn’t stopping women from selling sex (indeed, they have to engage in a sexual act before enforcement will take place at all).  It is subjecting them to unwanted interactions with the police, up to and including detention, and deportation for those who refuse to accept the cops’ “help”…even Amnesty might be surprised at the clumsy, cringeworthy porn that Haggstrom illustrates his accounts with..Is it any wonder he’s such an advocate for the law?  Without it, he’d have to get off with only his imagination again.

Among other lovely bits, Haggstrom reveals that Swedish cops harvest sex workers’ used tampons as “evidence”; he includes a photo of such in the book.  Hooray for “feminism”!

Gorged With Meaning (#639)

Articles on sugar dating appear to be starting to shed the moral panic:

“Sugar Daddy” arrangements have existed for ages, and it’s unclear if they are becoming more common because the phenomenon is not well studied.  But experts say at the very least the internet has made these transactions far easier to arrange and negotiate…U.S. undergraduate students last year finished school with an average of $35,000 in student debt — a figure that has risen steadily every year…The average graduate debt load is $75,000, and some longer programs force students into much deeper debt.  Many students say their loans don’t cover the cost of living, and with rent skyrocketing in most major cities, they are left scrambling to make up the difference.  One graduate student at Columbia University in New York had a scholarship that covered almost all of her tuition, but not her living expenses.  She spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the potential impact on her job prospects…she plans to continue “sugaring” after she graduates to buy herself time to find a more traditional job and remain officially unemployed so she can defer repaying the roughly $70,000 in loans she had already racked up.  “There is a lot of moral panic about it,” she said. “But what are the real estate and academic funding situations that led to this?”…

Almost the only negative statement is a quote near the end from a fanatic who claims that violence magically arises from money.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#641) 

Violet Blue exposes the connection between a number of recent anti-sex op-eds:

…under the guise of…objectivity and presenting a range of opposing views on pornography, the [Washington] Post ran its “In Theory” porn series…Out of seven articles, only one presents an opposing viewpoint…When the two essays that could be considered positive or neutral viewpoints were published, they were simultaneously published with anti-porn essays…The Washington Post not only deceived readers about the agenda of its “In Theory” porn series, the outlet also deceived readers about the sources of these writings.  For instance, its final day in the series featured an article by Haley Halverson which depicts the anti-porn movement as a cultural zeitgeist brought on by public common sense, thanks to the good efforts of The National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  What readers are not told is that NCSE is the re-branded faith-based group Morality In Media, Inc., which changed its name in 2015.  Halverson runs its PR department.  This organization is a thread connecting most of the Post’s authors…

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We call on the Government of Canada to join with global leaders, community, researchers and legal experts in rejecting criminalization regimes, including those that criminalize the purchase of sexual services, and instead support the decriminalization of sex work…as scientifically-grounded and necessary to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers.  –  The Gender & Sexual Health Initiative

Maggie in the Media

Here’s an interview with me on the Euvoluntary Exchange podcast, and a guest column I did for Radley Balko’s blog at the Washington Post.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Steve Smith

The Robbinsdale [Minnesota] police chief resigned from his position…after…he was arrested in a prostitution sting…ten people were arrested…including…Steven Smith…

The Scarlet Letter

Richmond, California’s…police department…plans to…post…photos of men arrested in prostitution stings to Facebook and Twitter…even though these men might not ever be convicted of any crime…

And Speaking of Victim Blaming…

It’s blessedly absent from this story:

Two…thugs bound and gagged a prostitute after robbing her — thinking that she wouldn’t call the police.  Jason Barton…and John Coulter…were joined by David Coulter from Northern Ireland, in a sickening attack on the 27-year-old Polish woman…[who] was found in her flat after her muffled cries for help were heard.  She pleaded with the tower block caretaker not to call the police but he ignored her protests…the vile trio…[was] found guilty… Book of Legendary Lands

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Playing the Whore and The Book of Legendary Lands from Korhomme and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection from Gumdeo.  Thank you both so much!

The Sky is Falling!

The arrival of…Seeking Arrangement…has caused…consternation in France…40,000 French “sugar babies” have already signed up…“Seeking Arrangement takes advantage of the financial misery of students.  The site hides violence against women in beautiful wrapping paper,” said Anne-Cecile Mailfert…[of] Osez le Feminisme…“We hope lawmakers will [ban] websites when they…adopt…the law criminalizing the purchasing of sex”…

Thou Shalt Not

Because prohibition always works so well:

Leading doctors have called for a ban on cigarette sales to those born after 2000 in a programme of “progressive prohibition”…They urged the British Medical Association to lobby for a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born in this century…

Above the Law 

Maryland Transit Administration Officer Martez Johnson…[gave a woman] a ride…after an MTA bus hit her car about 3 a.m. March 13…Martez walked the woman to the front door of her home…[then] forced his way inside…pushed her onto her couch and raped her…After he left, she called 911…Earlier this week, a Baltimore City police officer was charged…[with buying sex from] a 14-year-old girl advertising prostitution services online…

Finding What Isn’t There

In science, theories change to fit facts.  In politics, facts change to fit beliefs:

…a law designed to catch human traffickers…has netted few charges and even fewer convictions in Canada, anti-trafficking advocates complain.  There have been [only] 35…convictions since new laws…came into effect in 2005…MP Joy Smith…says more charges and convictions [must be created]…Jennifer Mann, a…Crown attorney, said…it’s…under-reported…But…John Ferguson, a retired RCMP superintendent, says the lack of convictions…may indicate that it is not that widespread…

Only one man is willing to accept that women have agency; all the women interviewed insist that childlike women are “controlled” by evil men.

An Example To the West (TW3 #39) Rajib Boy

The impoverished son of a sex worker in Calcutta…has been selected to participate in a Manchester United soccer training camp…Rajib Boy, 16…will head to the U.K. in April…amid hopes that the sport will liberate them both from poverty…”I am not ashamed of being a sex worker’s son…She is my main source of inspiration.  But I want to take her out of the red-light district as early as possible”…

Buried Truth

[Illinois] State Rep. Keith Farnham stepped down…after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided his home and his state office [for child porn]…Farnham…has…co-sponsored two laws cracking down child pornography [including] one…stiffening penalties for its possession…

Prudish Pedants (TW3 #133)

A federal appeals court…upheld the convictions of…fetish filmmaker…Ira Isaacs…A three-judge panel of the…9th Circuit Court of Appeals…rejected Isaacs’ arguments that the lower court…abused its discretion by excluding [his] proposed expert testimony.  Defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he would discuss with Isaacs whether to file a petition for rehearing before the full 11-judge appeals panel…

The Proper Study (TW3 #319)

Porn Studies has released its first issue:

…In the introduction…editors-in-chief – Feona Attwood…and Clarissa Smith…write:  “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about…pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited ‘sexualisation of culture’”…

Predictably, Gail Dines used the occasion to bark at the moon.

FearusOscillation (TW3 #321)

You’ve probably seen this image floating around the internet, and since it contains the address of a long-abandoned website someone bought that domain in order to debunk the image.  The nutshell version: in the original 1979 survey, students were given a five-point range from “always” to “never”, and this chart counts all responses except “never” as a “yes” response.  It certainly changes one’s impression to know that the “yes” percentages are actually four different gradations of agreement added together, doesn’t it?

Unmentionables

Chase Paymentech…told Lovability founder Tiffany Gaines…that the company considers it a “reputational risk” to handle online payments for condoms, which it classifies as an “adult-oriented product”…Gaines…created Lovability with the goal of making it less awkward for women to buy condoms

Micromanagement

Dr. Feelsad wants DNA surveillance of sex workers because of his sadfeelz:

…DNA…can be a powerful tool in combating human trafficking, according to forensic scientist Timothy Palmbach…[who] set out…to…develop…a DNA database of victims and at-risk persons…Palmbach ventured to a number of places, including Costa Rica, Nepal and Djibouti to see if he could successfully identify and obtain DNA samples from victims and possible perpetrators…in Costa Rica…police asked for help investigating a hotel known for sex tourism… he eventually found himself alone with a 14-year-old girl…[who would have charged him] $400 an hour…Palmbach [said] “I really almost started to cry…I just saw the depravity of the situation and how much it’s all driven by money and demand”…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More harassment of legal sex workers in Canada:

…CEASE, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation…[is harassing sex workers with offensive] texts…Any sex worker with a phone number listed in the Edmonton…Backpage.com has likely received one of [the]…messages…Project Backpage [is] a new collaboration between the University of Alberta, Chrysalis Network…and CEASE…Because the sex industry has mostly moved from the streets to the Internet, [rescue industry] groups are finding it more difficult to [annoy] women…Susan Davis…[of] the West Coast Cooperative of Sex Industry Professionals…takes the view that the texting tactic is a preferable alternative to police raids and sting operations, such as Operation Spotlight…

ritual shaming
Deafening Silence (TW3 #407) 

China aims to prove it can be at least as stupid and brutal as the US when it comes to destroying businesses and hurting the economy through liberal use of cops and dysphemisms:

The vice crackdown that began in Dongguan last month has resulted in the arrest of more than 850 suspects and will expand across Guangdong before it wraps up in May…the three-month campaign against the illegal sex trade has already led to the break-up of more than 60 criminal gangs…[and] cost more than 3,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlours their licences…In addition, some 854 websites and more than 96,000 public instant-messaging accounts have been closed for promoting sex services online…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

Articles like this give me hope that we’ll eventually start seeing similar ones about “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape…Recently, rape-culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners of the feminist blogosphere into the mainstream.  In January, the White House  asserted that we need to combat campus rape by “[changing] a culture of passivity and tolerance in this country, which too often allows this type of violence to persist.”  Tolerance for rape?  Rape is a horrific crime, and rapists are despised…there’s no evidence that it’s considered a cultural norm…Rape-culture theory is doing little to help victims, but its power to poison the minds of young women and lead to hostile environments for innocent males is immense…But now…RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)…repudiates the rhetoric…and…is especially critical of the idea that we need to focus on teaching men not to rape…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410)

A poll…shows that over half the population of the UK is opposed to the criminalisation of prostitution.  Only three in ten nationwide were in favour.  In London it was only one in four…The exact wording for the poll was:  Currently in the UK under certain circumstances, it is legal for men and women to pay for sex.  There are some people that wish to make it illegal for the user to pay for sex.  Do you think such a criminalisation is a good idea or not?…51% agreed that “No, paying for sex should not be criminalized.”  31% agreed that “Yes, it should be illegal to pay for sex.”  The other 18% had no opinion.  There was little difference between the sexes with 53% of men and 49% of women opposing criminalisation.  Under a third of both sexes were in favour…

To Protect and Serve (TW3 #411)

25 exotic dancers filed suit against the [San Diego Police] Department for violating their civil rights…during a routine permit inspection…10 unidentified officers detained the dancers under no stated suspicion and began photographing…[them] against their will for roughly one hour…

Whither Canada? Joy Smith

It’s good to see real information in the public discussion of sex work in Canada:

The Conservatives say they are listening to all the submissions they receive before they draw up Canada’s new prostitution law…But the…government [is using] a report by Conservative MP Joy Smith, titled The Tipping Point, as the intellectual underpinning for…the so-called Nordic model…The problem is much of the research cited in The Tipping Point is highly selective — ignoring truths that are inconvenient or cast the Swedish model in a poor light…The…report contends that countries like New Zealand that have decriminalized…have seen a dramatic increase in sexual exploitation and violence.  But anyone who reads the Prostitution Law Review Committee report assessing New Zealand’s legislation comes away with a very different impression…

And here’s one from the Ottawa Citizen:

…In Canada, we’ve been sold a false dilemma that presents only the possibility of a “Nordic”…regime or…“Dutch” approach…But Canadian sex workers…know that New Zealand’s model…merits much closer consideration…Sex workers in New Zealand are now covered by labour laws…the Prostitution Reform Act has not resulted in any growth of the sex industry or increase in number of sex workers, nor has the sky fallen.  The Prostitution Law Review Committee…found that there has been a marked improvement in employment conditions and a decrease in violence…

And an open letter signed by 300 academics:

We…are profoundly concerned that the Government…is considering …new legislation to criminalize the purchasing of sex.  The proposed legislation is not scientifically grounded and evidence strongly suggests that it would recreate the same…harms of current criminalization.  We join other sex worker, research, and legal experts across the country and urge the Government of Canada to follow the Supreme Court…decision and support decriminalization of sex work as a critical evidence-based approach to ensuring the safety, health, and human rights of sex workers…

Surplus Women (TW3 #412)

What if…Orange County [California is] dealing with a serial killer preying on prostitutes?…Orange County…formed a multi-agency task force when homeless men were being fatally stabbed over a few months…but [are] not doing so now when the victims [are] female prostitutes…Are cops making a judgment call on which type of victims are worthy of their attention?  Anaheim Police Lt. Tim Schmidt…[says] “We don’t have the evidence to say they’re connected”…of the cases involving missing persons Kianna Jackson, Josephine Vargas…Martha Anaya…Tina Hoang and Jarrae Estepp…[rescue industry figure] Lois Lee…of Children of the Night…[says] “It’s just a high-risk job”…

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