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Posts Tagged ‘You Were Warned’

Last Friday was the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which roughly 3000 people were brutally murdered by the totalitarian government of Communist China.  Of course, the exact number will never be known, because the tyrants memory-holed the truth and have over the past generation methodically buried any and all references to the massacre accessible to their subjects, to the point that few young Chinese today can even recognize the iconic “tank man” photo.  But if it were only their own subject population the Chinese were trying to bury in suffocating ignorance of their rulers’ atrocities, there would be no point in writing about it because that has been the playbook used by every oppressive government since the invention of mass media.  However, while past regimes were mostly limited to spewing propaganda via press releases and useful idiots (just as all governments do), the Chinese have taken their misinformation campaign into the 21st century by sending out swarms of social media “bots” to interject themselves into conversations featuring certain keywords, no matter which language those conversations occur in or what the nationality of the participants; after I retweeted a tweet about the “tank man” on May 28th, a short thread formed which has been repeatedly interrupted by tankies and bots, mostly during business hours in Beijing, and despite the thread having little engagement from real people.  I’ve also seen similar harassment of threads about the genocide against the Uighurs, the suppression of Hong Kong, and the mere mention of Taiwan; furthermore, the Chinese are using their economic power to force Hollywood to make its spineless denizens dance like marionettes to whatever tune Beijing calls, no matter how transparently stupid, even to the point of publicly humiliating themselves by “apologizing” for merely stating plain facts.  We’re not yet to the point of watching the same crowd of celebrity halfwits who have proven so useful to “sex trafficking” fetishists singing “re-educational” songs about how much they love Xi Jinping, but what we are seeing, especially in light of Western governments’ concurrent crusade to destroy the open internet, is more than horrifying enough, and does not bode at all well for the future.

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The…state may not obstruct those who wish to participate in lawful transactions nor…those who wish to help them.  –  Justice Hayden

Droit du Seigneur

If a non-cop did this, do you think the court would simply ask his employers to demote him?

A New Jersey police chief…[who] offer[ed a cop] a promotion in exchange for sex with his wife and [underage] daughter, should [merely] be demoted, a…judge [declared]…Rudy Beu…was [found] guilty of…[a few status] charges…Beu…has been [on paid vacation]…since Feb. 26, 2020…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops often target sex workers for exactly this reason:

…on May 24, 2020…[sex worker and activist Jay St. James] was stalked and raped by Christopher Drumm, a [typical and representative Eugene, Oregon cop]…after the attack, she and her family were harassed by other [cop gang] members…No charges have been brought against Drumm—but St. James is now facing charges of her own after protesting her assault…three days before the a[ggravat]ed rape…Drumm responded to a domestic violence call at St. James’s house…St. James requested a mental health professional, but [of course they sent the pigs]…instead…the [cops refused] to make a report…about the abuse…[but instead reported her to] Child Protective Services…because [she had not magically teleported] her children [away the instant the] …domestic violence [started]…Drumm and his colleagues [also] sexually harassed her…For the next three days…Drumm continued to show up at her house unannounced…[then] on May 24…[he] returned…and raped her twice…

The Proper Study (#897)

Another study proves what sex workers have been saying all along:

Our research provides new causal evidence on the impact that criminalizing sex work in a lower‐​income country has on the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by exploiting a natural experiment in which commercial sex work was unexpectedly criminalized in one district in East Java, Indonesia, while it remained noncriminalized in neighboring districts…criminalizing sex work increases STI rates among sex workers…by 27.3 percentage points, or 58 percent, from baseline…the main mechanisms driving the increase…are a decrease in access to condoms, an increase in condom prices, and an increase in sex without condoms…women who…leave sex work because of criminalization have lower earnings than those who leave by choice…children of [these] women…are more likely to work to supplement household income…criminalization [also] results in substantial increases in the probability of STI transmission to the general population…Understanding the impacts of criminalization…in lower‐​income countries is arguably even more important than in higher‐​income countries…

Skin To Skin (#980)

Wise judge refuses to allow prudish paternalism to trump human needs:

A senior judge has ruled it is lawful for carers [of people with mental disabilities] to help clients find and pay for sex…[but entitled busybodies plan] to appeal the judgment because of its implications for policies on [sending violent thugs to attack people for desiring consensual adult sex]…The young man…known only as C, is fit and healthy but…needs daily help with many parts of his life. He has autism and a genetic disorder – but [the judge]…found that he was happy and well-supported…C knew he would probably never find a girlfriend but he nevertheless wanted to experience sex – and so he had asked his carers if they could find him a sex worker…[but] C’s carers w[orried] they would [be]…legally [classified as “pimps”] if they agreed to help…Justice Hayden ruled that…If the law banned the carers from helping C, that would be discrimination because anyone else without his condition could lawfully pay for sex…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1052)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives are a feature, not a bug:

In February 2019, Nijeer Parks walked into the Woodbridge…New Jersey…[cop shop after] receiv[ing] a frantic phone call from his grandmother telling him that p[igs]…had come [root]ing for him…Parks had trouble with the law…on drug-related charges, [but]…was now working a steady job as a carpenter…Parks [unwisely walked into the cop shop without a lawyer in an attempt] to clear his name…[but was instead arrested on bogus charges of] aggravated assault, unlawful possession of weapons, using a fake ID, possession of marijuana, shoplifting, leaving the scene of a crime, [and] resisting arrest…he spent 11 days in jail…[before] learn[ing t]hat the evidence against him was…a facial recognition scan of…[the] fake ID…What followed was a year-long legal nightmare for Parks, who faced years in prison and the potential of additional time due to his prior convictions…

Disaster (#1115)

Canada is following Australia and the US in trying to destroy the internet:

Canadian Senate Bill S-203…is another woefully misguided proposal aimed at regulating sexual content online.  To say the least, this bill fails to understand how the internet functions and would be seriously damaging to online expression and privacy…S-203 would make any person or company criminally liable for any time an underage user engages with sexual content through its service…unless the person or company “implemented a prescribed age-verification method”…[it] would criminalize the acts of independent performers, artists, blogs, social media, message boards, email providers, and any other intermediary or service…that is in some way “for commercial purposes”…The only meaningful defense…would be to verify the legal adult age of every user and then store that data…The sheer amount of technical infrastructure…would be costly and overwhelmingly complicated….[and] introduce many security concerns that weren’t previously there…the financial burden would only advantage the largest players online…the bill would likely force many companies to simply eliminate sexual content instead of carrying the huge risk that an underage user will access it…

You Were Warned (#1131)

Puritans never quite admit they want to destroy the internet, but this comes close:

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty…has unveiled a [scheme] to repeal Section 230…and replace it with something he calls “Section 232.”  His [Orwellian-named] “21st Century FREE Speech Act“…would change the nature of online communication as we know it…the…bill…attempts to establish as U.S. federal policy the act of “facilitat[ing] the…blocking…[of] objectionable or inappropriate online material”…[and to] redefine “the major internet communications platforms” as “common carriers”…In quite explicit terms, Hagerty’s bill establishes a protection from censorship of “religious and political speech” while at the same time encouraging the censorship of “objectionable and inappropriate online material”…the…bill…would essentially enshrine a peculiarly vague notion of sexual content (i.e. “signifies the form of immorality which has relation to sexual impurity”)…an[d] active[ly] call for state and corporate censorship…

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

Crying Wolf

This tendency has only worsened over the past decade:

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

Checklist (#986)

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

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

A Moral Cancer (#991)

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

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

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

You Were Warned (#1108)

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#1128)

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1129)

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

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

Predictable Consequences (#1130)

Prohibitionism is an inherently violent belief system:

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

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[Internet censorship] legislation…is not about protecting people.  –  Mariah Grant

Monsters

Violence against trans people is finally starting to get mainstream attention:

Police and LGBTQ+ groups in Charlotte [North Carolina]…say…an unknown person or…person[s] may be targeting transgender women with deadly violence…two…have been killed in recent days…the body of Jaida Peterson…[was found] in a hotel room…on Easter Sunday…the identity of the second person…[was] not immediately available…[but] both victims were shot to death in hotel rooms and…both were [trans] sex workers…

Welcome To Our World (#938)

Female victims of violence are increasingly treated like criminals:

Lawanna Belgard, of [Kansas was abducted by state-employed thugs and locked in a cage for]…a week…[because] prosecutors [knew] she didn’t want to be in court [and decided to force her]…a [so-called] victims advocate [who actually works for] the county attorney’s office…[made excuses for the violent abduction of an innocent person using]…the Sixth Amendment [as an excuse]…the…prosecutor [lied even more outrageously, referring to the violent abduction and caging of a traumatized woman as]…”safety measures to protect the witness”…According to…[actual victim advocates rather than state functionaries pretending to that title], stories like that of Belgard have a chilling effect on the abused — it makes it less likely that someone will report abuse and start a legal proceeding…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…a [typical and representative cop murdered] three people…in…Austin [Texas last] Sunday…[murderer] Stephen Nicholas Broderick…is “armed and dangerous”…A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to his arrest…Broderick…was initially [rewarded with a paid vacation last June for raping] a child…he…resigned from the sheriff’s office [a few days later and]…it is not known if th[e rape] is connected to [the murders other than being committed by the same psychopath]…

Social Distancing (#1063)

Pro-Swedish criminalization politicians will lose their shit over this:

A sex worker denied access to a government business loan because of her occupation is calling for a change in [anti-discrimination] law…Charlotte Edwards applied via Santander for the Bounce Back loan after being unable to work due to the pandemic…The escort’s request was initially declined due to the “nature” of her job but later approved after intervention from a group of MPs…Ms Edwards…said she had been an escort for more than five years, but Covid had prevented her working due to…travel restrictions…She was granted a mortgage payment holiday by her provider, but…had to “survive on Universal Credit” due to her working situation…she said…”I’m trying to have the [Equality Act of 2010] amended…[to include discrimination on the grounds of] occupation”…

The Course of a Disease (#1074)

Sociopaths claim this is what sex workers want:

…the coordinator of the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI)…Kate McGrew said the pandemic, coupled with the impact of the S[wedish criminalization imposed on them in] 2017, is making life very difficult for sex workers here.  Gardaí regularly [steal] condoms, lube and phones at premises from which they suspect sex work is taking place…This “disruption” model of policing has become “par for the course” in the last four years, she added…Very few buyers of sex have been prosecuted since then, but a number of women have been arrested and deported for [so-called] brothel-keeping offences…

Social Distancing (#1118)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

While casinos and other businesses reopened after the…coronavirus shutdown…strip clubs have struggled under [puritanical] state rules that prohibit its core attraction — nude or topless women and lap dances.  Starting May 1, the state ban will be lifted…a Clark County “mitigation plan” would allow for topless dancers, [bu]t would still prohibit lap dances, as entertainers would have to maintain a 6-foot distance from patrons…Some strip clubs are open, operating mainly as bars and restaurants.  Dancers can work onstage but must wear bikinis or pasties [because everyone knows that nipples spray viruses over everything in the area]…

You Were Warned (#1125)

Hey lede writer, the word you’re looking for is “abolish”:

Supporters of the SAFE TECH Act want to further [undermine] Section 230, making companies responsible for policing user speech on online platforms…But sex workers and free speech advocates warn that eliminating these liability protections means greater censorship of online platforms as companies try to reduce the risk of landing in legal trouble as a result of third-party user content…sex worker[s]…could easily be sued for…content on websites, have to attend court, and pay for an attorney…digital rights advocates…[also] warn of broader free speech consequences if the bill were to pass…

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

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

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

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

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

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

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

Social Distancing (#1025)

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

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

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

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1122)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1124)

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

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

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

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

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

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

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

Caring Professionals (#138)

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

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

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

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

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

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

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

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

Traffic Jam (#1107)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1112)

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1114)

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

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

Predictable Consequences

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

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

And Liz Brown:

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

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

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

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Expungement…is an intentionally fairly hard process.  –  Sasha Naiman

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Ally Deviant Ollam on internet security for sex workers:

End Demand (#586)

A thorough analysis of the awfulness of “end demand” policies from the superlative Savannah Sly:

Combined with fear and ignorance, simple stories can be powerful propaganda vehicles used to justify state oppression…End Demand suggests that cutting off cash flow to the sex trade economy will discourage profiteering exploiters, and force sex workers to find “real” jobs.  However…sex workers…don’t respond to a reduction of business by simply deciding to “quit the industry” and go get full time corporate jobs with a company car and a full benefits package.  The notion that tough times will motivate people who sell sex to simply move on to greener pastures is absurd, privileged, and fails completely to comprehend the reasons why people become sex trade involved in the first place.  In reality, End Demand is a form of economic siege that’s had catastrophic consequences on sex worker welfare.  Ham fisted and reckless, End Demand tactics have increased instability and scarcity in the sex trade, fostering circumstances ripe for exploitation…

It Looks Good On Paper (#746)

This time they actually admit this shit law is designed to put people through hell:

Bipartisan bills about to be introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate would allow [people branded] sex trafficking victims [by the state] to [beg] courts to expunge past crimes even if they had not been convicted of prostitution or related offenses…[bill sponsor] Teresa Fedor [bloviated nonsense about being]…“forced to steal or sell drugs for their trafficking”…and [seems to imagine that]…use of the internet, cell phones, and massage parlors [have only become part of sex work since the last Ohio bloviation about the topic in 2018.  Another bureaucrat]…noted applicants must [somehow] prove they had been trafficked and that the crimes they are seeking to have expunged resulted from that…“Frankly, it’s a fairly heavy burden on the survivor, but [we want them to prove that they are inert dolls without agency rather than bad girls who had bills to pay]”…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

This pro-censorship screed is so larded with dysphemisms barely any escaped my editing:

Bristol is set to become the biggest city in the [UK] to ban lap-dancing clubs in a move [prohibitionists] claim will [magically rewrite the neural pathways in human brains.  Politicians bloviated a lot of tabula rasa nonsense about sex rays causing]…violence against women…Not Buying It, which [publishes revenge porn of sex workers], said councils had a duty to pr[event consensual] sex…

Torture Chamber (#1039)

Your regular reminder that rapist screws are not confined to the US:

Canadian prisons…do…not keep track of employees [who rape prisoners]…The problem is also fueled by the [refusal] to believe prisoners when they [report rapes]…In recent years [only] three guards have been charged with sex crimes a[lthough the actual number of rapes is dramatically higher]…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists’ next target isn’t just Pornhub; it’s all online sex work:

Germany’s most vocal proponent of state censorship, an obscure local bureaucrat named Tobias Schmid who serves as the head of the State Media Authority (LMA) of North Rhine-Westphalia, has announced…his [animosity toward]…OnlyFans…“We are registering that OnlyFans…are [sic] increasingly attracting erotic providers…and we will take care of it,” Schmid ominously warned…Schmid…like…fellow War on Porn crusaders worldwide, claim[s] his campaigns have a purpose to “protect the children,” although with the German twist that he is proudly an obsessive of “Ordnung” (order)…

You Were Warned (#1108)

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

…a California judge ruled that, although the contracts signed by a former [porn] performer were valid, the arbitration agreements that were part of them should be disregarded…Judge Michael Anello denied a motion by porn studios to implement the arbitration clauses in the contracts signed by a Jane Doe for scenes they had distributed…Doe…briefly worked in the adult industry around 2009-2010.  At the time, she alleges, she was represented by someone named Cissy Steele…[whom she apparently was also involved in an abusive] relationship with…[the pro-censorship group Morality in Media is behind the suit, which]…names a number of adult studios and sites active a decade ago…as co-defendants on the basis that they distributed scenes…Doe [contracted with them to distribute]…

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The younger generation…don’t understand at all how the government could ever enter your bedroom and tell you what to do.  –  Mandie Landry

Creating a Monster

There really is nothing new under the sun:

Neither Craigslist’s personals nor…US [censorship of] the sexual commerce they make possible are uncharted territory.  Reading…coverage of…FOSTA–SESTA, gives me a sense of déjà vu.  I have spent the last several years researching how, more than one hundred years before Backpage opened its online classifieds—well before the rise of the internet…lonely hearts [and] sex workers…had access to Parisian “back-page” classifieds.  Then as now, [politicians] scrambled for ways to stop them from using this new, democratizing print technology to “immoral” ends.  The largely unsuccessful, often counter-productive, and oppressive solutions they came up with during the French Third Republic (1870–1940) look strikingly similar to those the US legislature is testing out now…

This article is three years old, but it’s about century-old events anyhow.

Safe Position

This might fly in New Orleans, but it’ll definitely be uphill in the rest of the state:

Sexual acts between consenting adults should remain just that, state Rep. Mandie Landry said, regardless of whether they involve a financial transaction.  She said she will author a bill in the Louisiana Legislature that would do away with the state’s existing laws that outlaw prostitution….“If two people engage in a relationship in their own home, whether they exchange money or not, it’s between them”…Prostitution involving minors will remain illegal because minors cannot give consent, she added…

False Witness (#920)

Texas cops routinely destroy lives with the same method used to create the Satanic panic:

…a vast body of research shows hypnosis does not increase the chance of retrieving accurate memories.  In fact, it may implant imaginary ideas or distort recollections.  At least 21 states ban evidence in court that was gleaned solely through hypnosis.  Yet a Dallas Morning News analysis found Texas law enforcement has used the dubious method nearly 1,800 times over 40 years, sending dozens of people to prison — and some to their deaths.  After one week of training, any Texas [cop]…who passes an exam can attempt to use hypnosis in a criminal investigation.  Hundreds…have been certified to practice it in Texas since 1988…

The Scarlet Letter (#941)

Why do puritans pretend the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to harming people for having sexual urges?

The Alabama House of Representatives…approved legislation that would post pictures of men a[ccus]ed [o]f…solicitation…to shame them…f[or having]…sex[ual needs.  Bill sponsor] Merika Coleman…[bloviated a lot of disgusting sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…an[d]…argued that the state needs to attack the de[sire] for sex…Coleman said [she doesn’t care that]…posting the picture of a person who was arrested…harms those individuals who are not found guilty for the rest of their lives.  [She said it’s OK that] they are not able to get jobs…

Japanese Prostitution (#950)

Japanese attempts to suppress and hide sexuality prior to the Olympics will never be sufficient to please puritanical gaijin:

Social pressure surrounding the upcoming Tokyo Olympics has resulted in distribution troubles for traditional Japanese adult magazines, which have drastically harmed the already dwindling sector…[using the excuse] “that the magazine covers were offensive to women and inappropriate in front of children”…In the years leading up to the games’ original date of Summer 2020, “some of the country’s biggest convenience store chains…said they would stop selling the publications altogether”…Akira Ikoma, editor-in-chief of the porn magazine My Journey…said Japan is “hiding this part of the culture because they’re embarrassed”…

Torture Chamber (#950)

“Packed” = “concentrated”. And the concise word for “tent facility” is “camp”:

Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been [imprisoned] at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough mats…Some [are locked up]…for a week or longer, despite the agency’s three-day limit for detaining [minors]…they…a[r]en’t…allowed to phone their parents or other relatives who may be wondering where they are.  Despite…coronavirus, the[y]…are kept so closely together that they can touch the person next to them…Some have to wait five days or more to shower, and there isn’t always soap available, just shampoo…Biden’s administration denied the lawyers access to the [camp because]…attorney visits to Border Patrol [camp]s [have] revealed severe problems, including dozens of children held at one [camp] without adequate food, water, or soap…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

I love that Trumpists are holding onto the “sex trafficking” narrative like grim death:

On March 8th, the Lifeboat Project had the opportunity to host [politicians] and [profiteers trying] to stop [sex work using propaganda about] human trafficking…it was also a…[photo] opportunity for Ivanka Trump and [a payday for professional]…trafficking survivors…the…Founder of The Lifeboat Project, Jill Bolander Cohen…[introduc]ed the [fantas]y of having a universal signal that could be used world-wide…[instead of other folk magic] such as [wa]ving [red paper birds around like a semaphore flag]…or [activa]ting…[a super-duper anti-pimp tampon found in a public] bathroom…Jill be[lieves the stupid trope that]…victims [are literally “voiceless”]…so…[she proposed] flashing the letters “H” and “T” in American Sign Language…

Winding Down (#1101)

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

…Mexic[an politicians]…approved a bill…to legalize recreational marijuana…The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis…the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.  The measure…would allow adults to [us]e…and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home.  It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop…

You Were Warned (#1119)

Unless some country makes a policy of providing a safe haven, the open internet is doomed:

The Russian government’s internet regulatory agency, Roskomnadzor, has announced it will be slowing down Twitter…in the country, alleging that the platform has “ignored requests to take down material harmful to children,” including adult content.  Regional experts [say]…“that the Twitter slowdown was just the start of a large-scale offensive by authorities to assert control over — and ultimately block — social media”…Like many American crusaders against Section 230…Roskomnadzor claims this attack on free expression [i]s…to “save the children”…

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Socializing is not a luxury.  –  Zeynep Tufekci

Maggie in the Media

Torture Chamber 

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

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

The Enlightenment Police (#884)

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

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

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

You Were Warned (#926)

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

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

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

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

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

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

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

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

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

Social Distancing (#1082)

Far too many people adore authoritarian public health schemes:

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

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

A False Dichotomy 

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

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

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

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

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

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1040)

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

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

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

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

Torture Chamber (#1093)

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

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

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