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Posts Tagged ‘TikTok’

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

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

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

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

The Notorious Badge (#976)

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

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

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

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

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

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

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

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

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

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

Predictable Consequences

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

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

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

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

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

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

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Hairdressers…would hardly consider their work to be “decriminalized” if it were legal to sell a haircut but not to buy one.  –  Michael Ellsberg

Under Duress 

Are most cops even capable of telling the truth?

Most Americans don’t know this, but [cops]…are permitted by law to outright lie…to suspects…in pursuit of a confession.  Of all forms of subterfuge they deploy — like feigning sympathy and suggesting that a suspect’s confession might bring leniency — this one is particularly dangerous.  In Frazier v. Cupp (1969), the Supreme Court made it lawful for the police to [lie about] evidence.  “The victim’s blood was found on your pillow,” “You failed the polygraph,” “Your fingerprints were on the knife” and “Your friend said she wasn’t with you like you said” are some common but brazen lies told.  There is…no limit to the type or magnitude of deception permitted — one lie or many; small lies and whoppers; lies aimed at adults or anxious and unwary teenagers…the history of wrongful convictions points to countless innocent people induced to confess to crimes they did not commit.  A bill…in New York…would finally put a stop to [permission for] this in the state.  [Cops would of course still lie constantly, but they would no longer have actual permission to do so]…and…courts [would be required] to evaluate the reliability of confession evidence before allowing it to be used…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

This histrionic has-been has made a rotting moral panic her whole career:

Mira Sorvino is developing a [TV] series to…[profit from the dying hysteria over] human trafficking…The series will [exploit] a group of people…using…abused and neglected rescue animals [that Sorvino and her fellow prohibitionists pretend sex workers resemble]…on a…200-acre ranch outside of Los Angeles [being used as a gingerbread house.  Mira’s]…sister Amanda Sorvino is a highly respected animal rescuer and [it seems that Mira believes humans can be “rescued” using the same methods intended for animals]…

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

…Manhattan District Attorney candidate Eliza Orlins is unveiling a comprehensive policy platform calling for the full decriminalization of sex work…Formulated in consultation with many sex workers and…advocacy organizations, it is one of the most detailed policy positions on…decriminalization…ever put forward by a major candidate at any level of U.S. politics…Orlins’ policy platform opens, “As District Attorney I will advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work.  This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.  Sex work is work.  Criminalizing sex work stigmatizes and disproportionately targets people of color and trans women, who are already marginalized members of our community… Decriminalizing is the most effective way to protect sex workers from police violence…It is necessary…to reduce mass incarceration”…recent national polling…shows that 52 percent of American voters support the full decriminalization of sex work either strongly or somewhat…The candidate…emphasized that she will aggressively prosecute sex traffickers…In contrast to [prohibitionist politician Liz] Krueger, Orlins [states that]…“Prohibitionist models (such as the ‘Nordic Model’) continue to criminalize and stigmatize sex workers.  Partial legalization schemes give prosecutors too much discretion”…

Orlins’ clear denunciation of Swedish criminalization (even more explicit in the interview which forms the second half of this article) makes me far more optimistic about her plans than those of either Michigan Prosecutor Eli Savit or presidential wannabe Andrew Yang.

Torture Chamber (#1001)

Virginia screws sexually assault women like this on a regular basis:

In July of 2016, Angela Calloway arrived at the Augusta C[age Stack] in…Virginia, to visit with a…[prisoner]…She left soon after, having been [force]d to remove her clothes and tampon so [screws] could [violate] her vaginal[ly] and anal[ly using the pretext of a “search”]…Calloway has not returned to the prison since.  A federal court ruled…that the guards involved in that [sexual assault] did not violate the Fourth Amendment…upholding a lower court ruling that awarded qualified immunity to the government employees.  Calloway will thus not be permitted to sue over the [attack]…

The judges’ ruling can be paraphrased as, “cops are so barbaric and stupid they can’t possibly know that rape is wrong.”  Presumably, that applies even when the victim is only eight years old.

The Monsters Are Due (#1018)

We haven’t seen a case of white van hysteria in almost a year:

University of Oregon students are [behaving like hysterical idiots about]…sex trafficking…[because] a [delusional busybody posted a] TikTok video…show[ing] a white van and accus[ing its owner] of having girls in the back of it…Brandon Smith…[was simply] driving his van…[when] two girls acting intoxicated [started] screaming down to their friends o[ut of a window]…Police showed up to Smith’s door as he was doing laundry and [harassed and threatened him for hours over the moronic accusation.  Luckily they did not murder or assault him, but]…he…is dealing with people harassing him when they see his van, and it’s taking a toll on his mental health…

Robocops

We need more attention to one of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

Ben & Jerry’s two co-founders want to make it easier for Americans to sue [violent, corrupt cops]…Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield…The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is being championed by Cohen and Greenfield…activist Shaun King…rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render…[politicians] Tom McClintock…Mike Braun…Ayanna Pressley and…Cory Booker…NFL stars Tom Brady and Drew Brees a[nd]…more than 1,500 [other] athletes and artists…[plus] 671 business leaders, according to its website.  “We are…resolved to end this get-out-of-jail free card for bad cops,” Cohen told reporters…

Dutch Threat (#1059)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

The brothel windows of Amsterdam’s red light district will be closed and an “erotic centre” will be set up away from the city centre, councillors have agreed.  A proposal from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema…was backed by a broad group of p[uritans]…The sex workers in the De Wallen red light district will be [forc]ed to move to a purpose-built centre elsewhere in Amsterdam…[or else choose to work illegally.  Politicians pretend]ed that the brothel windows should be closed [to “protect”] women working in the area [by dramatically cutting into their income]…When the idea was first proposed, a…[survey show]ed that 90% of…female sex workers…wanted to work in the windows…of…De Wallen.  [A sex worker called]…Foxxy…told [reporters]: “Relocating…is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Will [politicians] also…organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied?”…A second proposal to ban tourists from buying cannabis from the city’s cafes is struggling to win support owing to [the reality] that it will hand over trade to dealers on the streets…

Stupor Bowl (#1106)

Pathetic public promotions of misogynistic masturbatory material like this appear to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth.  Whereas national media used to prominently feature fetishists stroking themselves in public to the general adoration of gullible nitwits, the coverage is now mostly limited to local papers and TV news stations who consider obedient regurgitation of copaganda, no matter how ludicrous, to be part of their business model, plus fringe sites run by copsuckers and ex-military wingnuts with delusions of expertise unshared by anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the subject.  While the tales used to start appearing late in the preceding summer or even a year or more in advance, they now seem largely limited to a few foul eruptions in the week or two before, like a sudden discharge from a cluster of turgid pustules previously hidden by clothing.  And despite claims of “recent reports” and “new studies” of the fantasy, all of the claims are a decade or more old and still derive from the same grotesque prohibitionist profiteering we’ve seen over and over again (this one, as one might expect from fascist authoritarians, relies heavily on “Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s fevered fantasies from ’14 which imploded in a spectacular fashion last autumn).  In short, there’s nothing to see here that we haven’t seen innumerable times before, and these creeps’ pathetic devotion to their ugly fantasies would inspire pity if it weren’t being used to support calls for mass surveillance, aggressive censorship and state-sanctioned rape.

To Molest and Rape (#1109)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative NYPD cop]…was arrested on child pornography charges…after he repeatedly posed as a teenager online to request and obtain sexually explicit photos and videos from at least 46 minors…Carmine Simpson…is the latest in a string of [cops]…to be [caught committing] sexual crimes involving minors…Simpson told his targets that he was 17…and…some[times]…sent them pictures of himself to which he had applied a filter, making him look younger…In November, [cop] Shaun Frazier…[was caught molesting kids for]…the…third [time]…In July, a [pig known for skulking around] school[s]…Jeanisidor Jean Baptiste, was…charged with…rape and assault against a child.  In March…Yavier Julio, was indicted on child pornography charges…In February…Timothy Martinez was charged with possession of child pornography…In September 2019…Juan Jimenez, was…charged with [molesting]…a child.  And the month before that, John Telesca…was…charged with…child pornography.  Dara E. Purvis, an associate dean at Penn State Law who has studied sexual violence by the police, said this kind of misconduct is vastly underreported…

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“Approved” voices rise to the top of [a social media] feed as if by magic.  –  Josephine Livingstone

Storyville

Half a year old, but since the events were over a century ago anyhow:

Willie V. Piazza, known as “The Countess,” was a successful Storyville madam who reigned relatively serenely over her mansion at 317 N. Basin Street. Hers was one of several so-called octoroon houses in the district which featured light-skinned women of color for white clients…The literature about her depicts a regal woman who lived up to her nickname: sophisticated, intelligent, elegant, and always fashionably dressed, she sported a monocle, smoked Russian cigarettes held in a diamond-studded ivory-and-gold holder, wore a diamond choker, and spoke four languages fluently…Piazza’s legacy grew further when she took a stand against racial segregation in the waning months of the district’s legal existence…Ordinance 4118, proposed in early 1917…decreed that Storyville would be entirely racially segregated…Piazza was disturbed by the prospect of being forced from her Basin Street property, which had been a considerable investment…the Louisiana Supreme Court, in City of New Orleans v. Willie V. Piazza (1917)…ruled in her favor, finding that Ordinance 4118 overstepped the original intent of the 1897 act regulating where prostitutes could live. The Countess and her ladies stayed put…

Permanent Record

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Lonna Wells was [fired from an Arkansas Taco Bell because]…a customer had lodged a formal complaint that there was a woman working the drive-thru who was doing internet porn, and as a [hypocritical] Christian they didn’t feel comfortable [see]ing the [performers from the porn they watch in real life]…

Welcome to the Future (#977)

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

A…silicone wristband…called a Moodbeam…allows your employer to track your emotional state.  The gadget…[currently requires the wearer to] press the yellow [button] if [they] are feeling happy, and the blue one if [they] are sad…employees…can [currently] say no…[but obviously that will change]…Managers can then [snoop into the private feelings of their]…workers…[since they are] no longer able to [spy on them] in p[erson]…

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

The US finally decides to call a spade a spade:

With just one day left in President Trump’s term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…officially de[clar]ed that China’s campaign of [genocide]…in Xinjiang constitutes “genocide”…The U.S. has become the first country to…describe the Chinese Communist Party’s gross human rights abuses [as what they are]…The Biden campaign has previously [recognized] China’s…genocide….[as a genocide but] it had been unclear whether the Trump administration would make this formal determination before Biden assumed office…

You Were Warned (#1097)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

Section 230′s untouched days may be numbered [now that] Joe Biden will be president.  [He has repeatedly stated that he]…think[s] the law should be [repealed]…that…is an extreme — and unlikely — option, but many [politicians]…on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills and pushed for change to the legislation…

From the subtitle link:  “Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and…doesn’t understand what it does…his…top tech policy advisor…published a bizarre and misleading “but think of the children!” attack on [it] that…suggests incredibly dangerous changes…citing FOSTA as a ‘good example’…

R.I.P. Margo St. James

What do you do when you’re a prohibitionist rag which pretends to quasi-official status when the most famous sex worker activist in the world dies?  You do a proper, detailed obituary which nonetheless subtly dismisses her achievements and intentionally confuses decriminalization with legalization.  Hey New York Times, would it have really hurt you to have actually consulted any of the people you quoted from other sources instead?

Traffic Jam (#1104)

Rashida Jones’ sleazy prohibitionism ties into a much bigger picture:

…Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep, and Laverne Cox had all signed on to produce a “documentary adaptation” of Sell/Buy/Date, a one-woman [prohibitionist] play…A few days later, Cox…quit because of pressure from her core fanbase, who took up and amplified the performers’ concerns on Twitter.  If they hadn’t, the complaints would probably have sunk without a trace.  It’s harder now than ever for sex workers to be heard on social media, but even easier for producers like Rashida Jones to tell their stories on mega-streaming platforms like Netflix…Big platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok use proprietary algorithms and shadow banning…to minimize a user’s reach to the community without alerting them…“Rashida Jones can post to her two million followers without worrying about her posts being invisibilized by a platform,” Danielle Blunt, dominatrix and Hacking//Hustling member explained.  “Sex workers can’t.  Jones can buy ads to promote her movie.  Sex workers can’t”…

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When cops came to arrest you in th[e late 20th century], they weren’t telling the newspapers they had saved you.  –  Maggie McNeill

Maggie in the Media

I recently gave an interview for the 30th anniversary of Pretty Woman:

Ten years ago, sex worker, writer, and activist Maggie McNeill wrote…that it was already “nigh-impossible to find an internet discussion on [Pretty Woman] without at least a few would-be critics complaining that it is ‘unrealistic.’”  This, however, is a criticism to which McNeill has long handed down a simple, “No shit, Sherlock.”  “Pretty Woman is a fantasy,” she told Bitch. “It’s not going to be realistic.”  While McNeill herself has no particular affection for the film, she’s never considered Pretty Woman’s lack of accuracy a compelling argument against it, though that argument is common among critics both within the sex-work community and those who are actively working to criminalize sex work…“it amuses me terribly to hear how much the prohibitionists are fixated on it,” she adds, noting that anti–sex work arguments often attempt to paint the film as a dangerously glamorous misrepresentation of a community prohibitionists would rather see victimized, humiliated, and/or punished…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

William Dalton Milam, the pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Milton[, Florida]…was arrested on charges of child pornography…[and “]promoting sexual performance of a child[” after]…a tip…from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…Milam’s home…[held] multiple devices containing child pornography, some depicting children as young as 3…

Disaster (#829)

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…TikTok purge[d sex worker accounts]…en masse in mid-November, all for the same [pretext]:  violating TikTok’s sex and nudity policy.  [None] of the…[victims]…violated TikTok’s policy, but had linked to either their OnlyFans or their websites linking to their OnlyFans in their bios, which they believe led to them getting removed from the platform.  The purge appears to have been in advance of TikTok’s new [terms of service, which ban virtually all]…sexual content…But…many mainstream creators on TikTok post links to their OnlyFans in their bios, including Bella Thorne

Why did anyone ever think a company owned by the Chinese wouldn’t aggressively censor?

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

A group of New York [politicians] are calling on the New York Police Department to stop all undercover operations that aim to arrest sex workers or their clients, after a ProPublica investigation revealed that the busts have [included]…false arrest and sexual misconduct, and that almost everyone arrested was nonwhite.  Assemblyman Ron Kim and four other [politicians] made that recommendation in a letter this week to…the City Council and the state Assembly and Senate.  The letter also asks for an oversight hearing to examine misconduct allegations against the NYPD vice unit…Separate from the letter and the call to end undercover operations, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, two of the city’s most powerful politic[ians], told ProPublica they believe the vice unit should be disbanded altogether…Ten other city and state [politicians]…have expressed support for the same…

Quiet Genocide (#997)

Fascist corporations are eager to assist in a genocide:

…the [Chinese] technology giant Alibaba taught its…[government] clients [how to] use its software to detect the faces of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities within images and videos…The feature was built into Alibaba software that [roots through]…digital content [looking] for material…to [censor]…A social media platform, for instance, could automatically flag videos for additional scrutiny, or even [whistle up] the [pigs], if they contain faces that the software [decide]s are Uighur…the company [has since] edited its website to remove…references to [the feature]…The Washington Post reported last week that Huawei, another Chinese tech giant, had tested software that could automatically alert the police when its surveillance cameras detected Uighur faces…

Served Cold (#1082) 

This megalomaniac’s lies have grown so extreme, even the yellow press can no longer ignore them:

The specific stories that OUR tells are intensely cinematic…and extremely difficult to fact-check.  They are also not the…truth.  An investigation by VICE…found…a pattern of image-burnishing and mythology-building, a series of exaggerations that are, in the aggregate, quite misleading…Multiple law enforcement agencies OUR says it has partnered with or supported describe their relationships as insubstantial…OUR has also declined to describe what precisely it does with the millions of dollars it says it spends overseas…During [a recent fundraiser], Ballard described a rescue in an undisclosed country in which, he [claimed], Jessica Mass, OUR’s director of aftercare, literally wrestled a padlock away from a trafficker as they were running to lock up and re-imprison young girls whom OUR and local police had just rescued*…”This is the [magic] padlock that had been used to lock these girls behind a jail cell [sic],” he proclaimed, triumphantly…Several people familiar with [an ongoing Utah] investigation…[said] it concerns…misleading claims to donors and the public about the work it does…

*Seriously, WTF?  Is Ballard claiming that this “trafficker” had a magical Hollywood padlock which, once locked, magically traps immobile, vegetable-like “young girls” into…I don’t know, an extradimensional space “behind a jail cell”(?) from which they could never have been freed had this liar not grabbed the magical lock in time?  Are these “girls” incapable of locomotion?  Have these people never heard of bolt cutters?  This story makes no sense on any level I can think of.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1090)

Are institutions finally starting to understand the cost of promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Britain’s International Slavery Museum is facing a [righteous] backlash over a “dehumanising” [propaganda] exhibition…which features an image of a naked woman with tape over her mouth and abusive comments plastered on her body.  The museum [took money fror the propaganda display from]…a U.S.-based [pro-censorship] group, Exodus Cry, which seeks to [censor the internet] and s[upport police violence against]…sex workers…dozens of critical responses…[pointed out that] the [“art” is in reality] “trauma porn” [that is] “damaging, sensationalist and dehumanising”…Exodus Cry’s chief executive, Benjamin Nolot, [whined]…that criticism of the exhibition was…”unfair”, and that [sex workers are not allowed to criticize attempts to drive them into poverty and encourage cops to rape and abduct them]…

Torture Chamber (#1093)

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

…the U.S. government sent Mory Keita to a country he hasn’t lived in since he was three years old…Keita lived here undocumented for about three decades and has a daughter who is an American citizen…What makes Keita’s deportation extra jarring is that he was…a…[key witness in a] case…brought by Ahmed Adem and Bayong Brown Bayong…[against] the Butler County Jail, just north of Cincinnati…Bayong [reported] at least three beatings by jail guardsincluding one in August while he was infected with COVID-19…th[e] guards made “threats such as ‘I hope you die bitch’ and, after being pushed down the stairs, ‘When you get down the stairs, I am going to beat all the teeth from your mouth.'”  At one point, the suit says, Bayong was taken to an isolation cell where a correctional officer “punched Mr. Bayong with closed fists all over his face and head” as two other guards watched. Bayong lost a tooth…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politicians] Ben Sasse…and Jeff Merkley…introduced [fascist] legislation, dubbed the “Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act,” [pre]tended to “prevent the uploading of pornographic images to online platforms without the consent of the individuals in the images”…The proposed legislation…would apply to “all online platforms that host pornography [but does not define it],” noted a summary provided by Sasse’s office…A wide variety of intended restrictions…include the [impossible demand that]…platforms hosting pornography [again, without defining the term] offer a 24-hour hotline staffed by the platform…[so] individuals…can request removal of a video that has been distributed without their consent…[within] two hours…

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Analysing the content of all [electronic] correspondence….[is] as if the post office opened all letters in search of illegal content.  –  Patrick Breyer

Unreal Princesses

Pretending to be a sex worker gets attention, without the stigma of really being one:

If you spend a lot of time on TikTok…you’ve probably come across ItsImperial…an 18-year-old with high cheekbones, a septum piercing, and intense, dark eyebrows…[who] has racked up an impressive 1.9 million followers in less than a year, typically posting…wild stories about her [supposed] stripping career…[but] many on StripperTok don’t believe Imperial’s stories are actually true…Jessica Kind…who…has been in the industry for 11 years, says that Imperial’s florid accounts of life as a sex worker facing a litany of abusive or lascivious clients do real harm to an already-stigmatized community…One of the most glaring red flags, says Kind, was the fact that on her TikToks Imperial rarely makes references to the presence of security or a bouncer, which is standard to prevent dancers from being mistreated. (One exception is the TikTok where she discusses having a gun pulled on her, and she says security intervened)…The presence of a bouncer…would theoretically prevent many of the incidents Imperial describes in her videos, such as being pelted with feces or being attacked by a jealous wife who smells her perfume…Imperial [claims]…that she works private parties, not at clubs…[but] most privates are booked through connections made at clubs. Imperial’s website also doesn’t allow potential patrons to book her, and her Instagram, where she has 181,000 followers, doesn’t promote upcoming appearances…She also doesn’t appear to follow the local clubs in her area, nor do they follow her, as is common in the industry. “I don’t see how it would be possible for her to advertise and make money off private parties during a pandemic,” says Bebe Gunn…

Above the Law  

FBI thugs are just federal cops, and behave accordingly:

An assistant FBI director…drunkenly grop[ed] a female subordinate in a stairwell.  Another…sexually harassed eight employees.  Yet another…blackmail[ed] a young employee into s[ubmitting to rape]…An Associated Press investigation has identified at least six s[uch cases]…over the past five years, including two new claims brought this week by women who…were sexually assaulted by ranking agents.  [As is typical for rapist cops,] each of the…officials…avoided…[any meaningful consequences], and several were quietly transferred or retired, keeping their full pensions and benefits…Beyond that, federal [rapist] officials are afforded anonymity even after the disciplinary process runs its course, allowing them to land on their feet in the private sector or even remain in law enforcement…

Pretext

More cops using non-consenting people as props in a propaganda show:

…Instead of writing tickets, some deputies with the Richland County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Department [played a sick practical joke and called it] spread[ing] Christmas cheer.  [Cops] patrolled the Eastover and Gadsden areas, pulling over [people on various pretexts and giving them] gift cards…

As usual, reporters obediently parrot the pigs’ press release without any counterpoint from a lawyer or civil rights advocate.

Torture Chamber (#928) 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

After more than a year of warnings that Alabama’s gore-soaked prison system violates the Constitution, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state…for its failure to prevent violence and sexual assault against…men [it keeps locked in cages]…Alabama’s prison system…is overcrowded, unsanitary, and…deliberately indifferent to the frequent and often deadly assaults against inmates, violating the Eighth Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution…

I Spy (#1000)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

…the European Parliament’s Civil liberties Committee voted to restrict the ePrivacy Directive…[in order to] generally and indiscriminately…screen and monitor all private electronic communications in the absence of any suspicion in order to search for [supposed] child pornographic content and “child grooming”.  On 10 September 2020, it presented a draft law to this effect.  Providers of e-mail, chat and messenger services would be…[forced to] search…the content of all private messages.  Looking for as yet unknown material would mean that even intimate photographs of adults will frequently be exposed.  In addition, error-prone algorithms are to search text messages for “solicitation of sexual contact” with minors.  Supposed hits are reported to the police.  A second law planned for next year will make this mass surveillance procedure compulsory, even where secure end-to-end encryption is [currently] used to protect private messages…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1096)

Prohibition never eradicates the prohibited thing; it just helps shady participants:

…the DOJ helped shut down law-abiding American porn producers, paved the way for Pornhub to dominate the market for online porn, and made the problem of illegal pornography worse…The Bush-era Obscenity Task Force started shutting down American porn companies right and left in 2005.  Pornhub launched in 2006.  The DOJ jailed Pornhub’s competition (and those who didn’t get arrested shut down their sites in fear by the hundreds) while allowing Pornhub to flout copyright and 2257 requirements (which establish that porn performers are citizens and of age)…By doing this, the DOJ helped move the adult industry away from a thriving competitive marketplace of independent American porn producers who were legally required to prove their performers were consenting adults toward three or four offshore tax-evading secretive companies with zero requirements to prove the porn they host is created by consenting adults.  Does anyone seriously think this made the porn industry safer or better in any way, shape, or form?…

To Molest and Rape (#1096)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Mike Wilson, a [typical and representative cop] with the Trenton [Missouri] police department, was arrested…and [charged with] statutory rape…[he is also being investigated for trying to talk a different underage girl into bed]…

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Being freaked out by a van is like being freaked out by a pigeon.
–  Lenore Skenazy

Torture Chamber 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

More than two dozen Maryland [screws]…are being indicted for [beating the hell out of prisoners]…All 25 of the [perpetrators] are part of a special…[gang of screws] which is brought in to [beat the hell out of prisoners.  Other]…charges include…participation in a criminal gang [other than the official one organized by the state]…All 25…have been…suspended without pay…

Maryland apparently doesn’t like it when a gang of thugs specifically organized to beat up prisoners organize themselves in a different way to…beat prisoners up in a different way?

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#626)

The rescue industry loves its sexual fantasies about Cambodian brothels; the truth is more mundane:

Ahya…left Prey Veng for Phnom Penh five years ago to work in a garment factory after divorcing her “lazy and drunkard” husband, leaving her two children and one orphaned niece under the care of her mother.  However, she could not support her family on her salary as a factory worker.  Then, some friends introduced her to her current job in a…massage parlour…providing “what men want”…“People can criticise us, calling what we are doing a deviation in society…But, those people do not feed me and my family”…

To Molest and Rape

Even being dead can’t protect you from sexually-aggressive cops:

An LAPD [cop] has been [rewarded with a paid vacation] after footage captured by a body-worn camera [clear]ly showed him [grop]ing a deceased woman’s breasts…About a month ago…[unelected] union [gangsters who are allowed to control public policy reluctantly agreed to] a protocol in which the LAPD could randomly check video footage from body-worn cameras…[after] a body was found inside of a residence…[two pigs were sent to root around.  While] one…left to retrieve paperwork from [their pigmobile] the other…turned off his bodycam and then [felt up the cadaver.  But even though]…the [creepy cop] deactivated his camera, a two-minute buffer on the device captured [his disgusting behavior and] the…camera…was [later reviewed]…at random…

Interesting that they’re more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman.  I’m sure he’ll claim at the hearing that she came onto him.

Property of the State (#756) 

Evelyn Hernández’ nightmare still isn’t over:

…El Salvador…criminalizes women living in poverty when they have pregnancy- or birth-related complications…Since 2000, at least 129 women have been imprisoned…abortion is totally banned, even when the woman’s life is at risk.  Some of these women have been charged with aggravated homicide and sentenced to as many as 40 years…Many of those women languished in prison…until 2014, when activists requested a presidential pardon for 17 of them and launched a global campaign to demand their release.  But…[in response] the Salvadoran state has…escalated…its criminalization of these women…For Hernández, the nightmare began in 2016, when she delivered a [stillborn] baby…she didn’t [even] know she was expecting…she hemorrhaged severely…and…was hospitalized for six days.  She was accused of aggravated homicide and…in July 2017…was sentenced to 30 years in prison…In December 2018…her [lawyers got her] sentence…annulled, and the judge called for a retrial…she returned to court [last] August for the retrial, [in] which…[she] was [found] innocent…But 18 days later, the attorney general’s office…[announced] it would appeal the judge’s decision, opening the possibility of a third trial…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#855) 

Will “PTSD” replace the thoroughly-debunked “sex addiction” as an excuse for bad behavior?

A Perth [cop] who [claims he] was suffering from undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of his job has been jailed for almost two years for possessing images and videos of “explicit and depraved” sexual abuse of [toddlers]…David Mark Dodson…was working as a detective…when Canadian authorities discovered he had used social media to send an image…of a girl, aged between two and four, being raped.  Australian [cops] then raided his home and found almost 350 images and videos of…girls as young as two being abused by adults…Dodson…[claims becoming a sexual predator] was “a direct result of his occupation”…

Well, I can’t deny that being a cop increases sexual predation, even if it doesn’t actually cause it.

Part of the Picture (#859)

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen the moronic claim that pictures magically “rewire” the brain:

Rachel Anne Barr, a [prohibitionist, pretends]…studies show people who regularly watch adult entertainment often develop damage to the prefrontal cortex…Barr [claims] “adult entertainment may revert our brain wiring to a more juvenile state…porn appears to be hijacking our neural wiring with dire consequences”…when a person uses cocaine, their brains give off a rush of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone…

Yep, despite the sensational language this is just the debunked “dopamine theory”.  Again.  For those unfamiliar with the topic, saying “X produces a rush of dopamine” is the neuroscience equivalent of saying “X is pleasant”.  It means nothing more than that; it isn’t some scary weird thing.

The Widening Gyre (#961)

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

…[viral scarelore] claims that sex traffickers are putting zip ties on cars to make it easier to target victims.  But police say it just isn’t true.  [Scare stories] have popped up on TikTokFacebook and  Twitter over the last year, imploring women not to fiddle with zip ties they’ve found on their cars…Officials in Michigan…liken[ed] the claims to dangerous myth…[while simultaneously pretending that their own equally idiotic  claims about] sex traffickers [pulling screaming childen through the internet are true]…Celia Williamson, [a trafficking fetishist]…at the University of Toledo [added her own weird sexual fantasies about “pimps” and “grooming”]…In 2017, LaFourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana debunked a rumor that human traffickers were placing white stickers on windshields to mark future targets…but…reporte[rs still feel compelled to quote evidence-free claims about tens of thousands of]…victims trafficked in the United States every year…

What makes these especially funny is that there has never been a single case of a woman or child abducted by “sex traffickers” from any public place, much less a crowded shopping mall.  But THIS SEX TRAFFICKING IS OUT OF CONTROL!

Disaster (#975)

A timid but possibly important challenge to FOSTA from inside Congress:

[Politician] Ro Khanna…is drafting legislation that would…call on the National Institutes of Health to study the impact of [FOSTA, which]…enacts steep penalties on any digital actor that “facilitates”…prostitution…Khanna [is] one of just 25 House members and two senators who voted against the legislation.  Sex workers, civil liberties advocates, and many others warned in advance about the dangers posed by [this awful law]…but they were overshadowed by well-funded lobbyists, pandering politicians, and a media more interested in easy narratives…than listening to those most impacted by the legislation.  Ideally, FOSTA would be repealed entirely.  But getting enough votes for repeal right now would be unlikely, so Khanna’s approach might be the current only way forward for reform…

You Were Warned (#976)

These predatory lawsuits won’t stop until FOSTA is repealed:

A[n ambulance-chaser is claiming her client] was sex-trafficked as a result of a…[magical] email sent via Mailchimp, an email marketing platform, [and] is suing the company…in Georgia [in an attempt to destroy Section 230]…Annie McAdams…claim[s] Mailchimp…worked with [Backpage] copycat site YesBackpage.com [in some way that was somehow fundamentally different from other email services]…McAdams is taking aim at Mailchimp with the hope [of a big payout]…she [also vomited out disgusting filth about] “send[ing] a message”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

You know how wannabe “civil liberties advocates” keep bleating that the main problem with facial recognition systems are that they’re less acurate on dark-skinned people?  Yeah, about that:

…AnyVision, an Israeli facial recognition tech company funded by Microsoft, has been wielding its software to help enforce Israel’s military occupation, using the occupied West Bank to field-test technology it plans to export around the world…Microsoft[‘s]…funding…AnyVision…was a shockingly unethical decision by a company attempting to establish itself as a “moral leader” in the tech industry…[last year] Microsoft publicly committed to six principles to guide its facial recognition work.  One of these principles is a commitment to [making surveillance] lawful…for [fascist governments]…Following the [baclsh]…Microsoft announced it would end its relationship with AnyVision if an independent audit finds that AnyVision violates any of Microsoft’s [so-called] principles…[but] on November 15, Microsoft announced that [surveillance fan] Eric Holder will lead the independent audit

Held Together With Lies (#993)

While fascist organs like Time parrot racist government propaganda about how brown people making considered decisions in search of a better life are actually passive, childlike “slaves” in need of deportation “repatriation”, media actually owned and run by brown people are publishing articles like this:

Recent years have seen a huge increase in public, political and media attention…[to] “modern slavery“…understood as analogous to terms like “human trafficking”…the number of institutions involved in [profiting from]…this…has mushroomed, from a handful in the early 1990s to many hundreds todayMillions of dollars have been spent annually…while media outlets have provided…sensationalist…coverage…”Modern slavery”, as a concept, is a recent Euro-American invention.  It sprang up in the 1990s among [racist, prohibitionist] NGOs which found it to be an effective and attractive tool for spreading their [propaganda] and raising funds.  A key figure in this story is Kevin Bales, who established the widely critiqued Global Slavery Index…and…the [very] idea of modern slavery in the public consciousness…[this paradigm] constructs certain non-Western phenomena as problematic (such as the survival work done by poor children in much of the Global South) while excluding from concern Western phenomena (such as migrant detention centres) which are…even more troublesome…[most] poor workers labelled as modern slaves or victims of trafficking [and subjected to]…force[d “rescue”]…underst[an]d themselves as having consented to their work because doing so represented the best of their very limited options.  Rescue was therefore undesired and even abusive

The Monsters Are Due (#994) 

One can hardly blame the hoi-polloi for “sex trafficking” hysteria when “authorities” are vomiting up this kind of idiocy:

White van hysteria has hit a new high, with Baltimore Mayor Jack Young warning his citizens not to even park near a white van [because] people in…these vehicles are coming to enslave young women, force them into prostitution, murder them, and sell their body parts…When asked for the source of his information by the skeptical local reporter Vanessa Herring, he said: “It’s all over Facebook”…This incredibly thorough CNN report tracked down viral postings of the white van story and seems to have found the origin…a November 13 post by a Baltimore resident claimed she had seen two men in a white van outside a gas station who would not stop staring at her…the woman even wrote that she thought other people on social media were exaggerating when they posted about their terrifying white van encounters, but now that she had this terrifying (non) encounter of her own, she was a believer…stranger abductions are incredibly rare.  The number of minors (under age 18) kidnapped and killed by a stranger is about nine a year, in a country of about 65 million minors…David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Resource Center…[has] heard of no cases of a child being snatched from a parent in a public place and sex-trafficked.  Not one…

The Cop Myth (#995)

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

[Megan Montgomery was] found shot to death in…a…parking lot…[months after] obtain[ing] a restraining order against her [estranged] husband, a [typical and representative cop named] Jason Bragg McIntosh…[who] resigned from the Hoover [Alabama] Police Department…[after he shot her in the arm]…on Feb. 23…Montgomery filed for divorce in May…[after which] McIntosh was [arrested] again [for attacking her]

Since the story seems deliberately designed to be confusing, I’ll express it competently: McIntosh & Montgomery were married in February of ’18.  They fought often and separated after he shot her in the arm during an argument in February of this year.  She took out a restraining order in March, then in May she filed for divorce and he was arrested for beating her up.  Then he finally murdered her in a parking lot on December 1st.

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The Uighurs are at the terminus of authoritarianism.
–  Katherine Mangu-Ward

The Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim people who have for centuries inhabited the vast and remote Xinjiang region of China, an area so unknown to Europeans that they often imagined it as the site of mysterious realms, from the Kingdom of Prester John to H.P. Lovecraft’s Plateau of Leng.  Starting in 2014, the conformity-obsessed Chinese government has worked to turn this enormous area – larger than any European country except Russia – into the world’s most tightly-controlled police state, polluted by thousands of roadblocks and checkpoints, infested with cops and rotten with surveillance systems.   Then in the spring of 2017, mere mass surveillance and police harassment turned into a systematic campaign of rounding up Uighurs and condemning them to concentration camps for such “crimes” as having a beard, using Twitter or discussing Islam.  Within a year Western journalists discovered that Beijing had apparently created a file (including DNA records) on every single Uighur, and was in the process of “disappearing” more than 10,000 people per month into a network of hundreds of “re-education” centers where (in addition to brainwashing) they are subjected to monstrous yet childish humiliations such as having their faces and heads forcibly shaved; being given only haram pork to eat; and being forced to renounce their faith, chant moronic communist slogans, and do clownish dances in front of giant Chinese flagsUighur expats search the Chinese social media app TikTok for videos of the horrors which slip past Chinese censors, and a few weeks ago the world at large got to see a small glimpse of what these prisons look like, thanks to footage obtained by spy drones operated by a mysterious human rights group:

…chilling drone footage published online…appeares to show Uighur Muslim men at a train station being transferred…to detention camps…China’s ruling Communist Party…hold[s] up to one million mainly Uighur people in…concentration camps…[though of course] China vehemently denies the allegations…and…insisted its camps are simply “re-education” centres focused on training and skills development…[and that] “members of the public who have been chosen for re-education have been infected by an ideological illness”…

The abominations go far beyond their most visible manifestations, however.  Uighur children are being abducted from their families and confined to state-run orphanages where they are indoctrinated in pro-government propaganda and only allowed to speak Mandarin, and adults are forced to install spyware on their phones.  And the surveillance and harassment is spreading far beyond Xinjiang; “police are now using facial recognition technology to target Uighurs in wealthy eastern cities like Hangzhou and Wenzhou and across the coastal province of Fujian,” and police visited and threatened the family of a Chinese student in Brisbane after he attended a protest against the oppression of the Uighurs.  One doesn’t need a PhD in political science to see what Beijing is attempting:  the methodical and systematic erasure of an entire culture, the flushing of an entire people down the totalitarian memory hole.  And given that the West abandoned its pretentions of being the “Free World” (in anything but name) a generation ago, I honestly can’t see any way to stop this quiet genocide.

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