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Archive for November 2nd, 2016

This is neanderthal policing based on hysteria and headline-chasing.  –  Alex Feis-Bryce

Real People 

What’s “shocking” is that some people are so ignorant they actually think it’s “shocking” that sex workers are mostly normal people with mostly normal lives:

Jess Lang…talks about her life before becoming an escort — twice divorced, former fundamentalist Christian.  She…admits most people who know her wouldn’t be surprised to learn of her profession.  Jess seems like the furthest thing from a desperate girl selling her body under the coercion of a pimp.  She is…a middle-class escort who loves what she does and makes good money doing it…a growing international alliance of sex workers [is] calling for the rest of society to understand their work, decriminalize it, and give them the same labor rights as people in other jobs…

Bottleneck

The narrower the neck, the more “illegal” sex work there will be:

In the 2015–2016 financial year, five of Queensland’s brothels shut their doors, bringing the number of licensed brothels down to 22.  This is the lowest it’s been in a decade…it’s not just the state of the economy that’s affecting sex workers.  It’s the way Queensland licenses its brothels…Annual license fees…are…about $35,000, and each manager has to be licensed up as well, which costs $1,000 each…brothels can only have a maximum of five rooms and eight workers on shift at any one time.  In comparison, the limit is six rooms in Victoria, but brothels that were established before 1995 are allowed to have more…Not only are Queensland’s brothels paying more, with less staff to make money, but they’re also prohibited from offering…outcall…services, losing a large proportion of business to private sex workers.  Victorian brothels are allowed to offer such services.  So while Queensland’s licensed brothels are closing, more and more workers are turning to private work…

Monkey Business capuchin-monkey-tools

So much for human uniqueness:

Monkeys have been observed producing sharp stone flakes that closely resemble the earliest known tools made by our ancient relatives, proving that this ability is not uniquely human…archaeologists…can no longer assume that stone flakes they discover are linked to the deliberate crafting of tools by early humans…Unlike early humans, the flakes produced by the capuchins were the unintentional byproduct of hammering stones…the monkeys appeared to be seeking out the quartz dust produced by smashing the rocks, possibly because it has a nutritional benefit…monkeys…selected rounded quartz hammer stones …[then] pounded their chosen stone on embedded quartz cobbles and then licked the quartz dust that this produced.  They made no attempts to use the sharp fragments and showed no interest in them…

Blunt Instrument

I wonder how many happy endings these brave heroes got during their “investigation”?

Hollywood [Florida] police arrested 24 women at 20 different locations this week in a prostitution sting targeting massage parlors.  During the five-month investigation called Operation Red Light, undercover detectives said they found evidence that the women were performing sexual acts on customers in exchange for payment.  All of the women face charges of prostitution, practicing without a license and misrepresenting themselves as a licensed massage therapist.  Two of the massage parlor owners, Giselle Guo…and Yan Zheng…also face bribery charges…Hollywood police Chief Tomas Sanchez [vomited onto reporters]…”These massage parlors breed other criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, drug sales and money laundering”…

The End of the Beginning 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether North Carolina can ban registered sex offenders from using social media websites and other sites that allow minors to have accounts…Lester Packingham…was…found…guilty [of violating the ban] in May 2012…He appealed, and in 2013 the North Carolina Court of Appeals vacated…[the] conviction…finding…the law…unconstitutional…[then] a divided North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the appeals court a year ago…

Secret Squirrel (#421)

Conditioning kids to accept intrusive monitoring of every aspect of their lives:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…is pushing to develop…biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students [to] identify which classroom moments excite and interest them…Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out…Skeptics…call the technology creepy and say good teachers already know when their students are engaged.  Plus, they say it’s absurd to think spikes in teenagers’ emotional arousal necessarily correspond to learning…

I don’t usually feature four-year-old items, but I made an exception in this case.

Worse Than I Thought (#597)

Backpage’s loss here may actually be a kind of win, since the court specifically stated that the SAVE Act doesn’t apply to regular escort ads:

A federal judge…threw out Backpage.com’s claim that the U.S. attorney general is enforcing an unconstitutional law against [sex work] advertising…Backpage challenged the constitutionality of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act…[because] it feared prosecution if it did not comply with the law by removing the “adult” category from its website…U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton…said the company lacks standing.  “Backpage.com has not presented evidence that Congress sought to eliminate all advertisements of a sexual nature…through the adoption of the SAVE Act; rather, the legislation is directed only at those advertisements concerning illegal sex trafficking”…Backpage has said it screens, blocks and removes such content…[so] it cannot allege that it would be burdened by compliance measures in this case.  Backpage attorney Robert Corn-Revere portrayed the ruling as a sort of win for his client.  “We are gratified that the court recognized that prosecution…requires actual knowledge that criminal activity is going on”…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops sue news media for revealing that they’re rapists:

A year after CBC Radio-Canada reported allegations of police sexually and physically abusing Aboriginal women in Val-d’Or, Quebec, the broadcaster is getting sued for $2.3 million…forty [cops] have filed the defamation lawsuit claiming [that the truth]…reporting upset their relationship with the community and tainted the reputation of the [cops] who [didn’t get caught]…The Provincial Police Association of Quebec [is] funding the lawsuit…The report uncovered two decades of…sexual abuse against…women [who]…were beaten and raped by the [cops]…

The Course of a Disease (#663)

Truth from a politician is even rarer than a denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

A Fine Gael minister has caused outrage by [stating] there is nothing wrong with lonely men finding affection in the arms of a prostitute…And he dismissed Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s plans to criminalise hookers and clients as something that “doesn’t work…We don’t have the resources to police the women and certainly don’t have resources to police the much larger number of men…where you are talking about a lonely chap who wants to go out and spend his money to have a physical relationship because he’s got a need, there’s nothing wrong with that’’…

It’s a measure of the sickness of Western society that such an obviously-true statement could cause “outrage”.

Send In the Clowns 

We’re probably nearing the end of this year’s clown panic, and that’s kind of sad:

On 12 October 2016, the Facebook page “Clown Hunters” published a post warning that clowns may be “planning their own purge the night before Halloween…Stay inside, keep all pets inside and keep all doors and windows locked”…Despite having all the hallmarks of an opportunistic social media hoax predicated on contemporaneous purported clown sightings, close to half a million users directly shared the post within 48 hours of its appearance…Missing from most versions of the rumor were details about how information on the clown purge was obtained, how the clowns might be organizing among themselves, whether the clown purge threat was localized or widespread, or indication that any credible entity believed such a thing was possible or likely.  The rumor was a variation on cyclically viral general “purgerumors spurred on by social media panics in specific areas, often occurring around Halloween…no outbreak of widespread crime has ever followed them…Unlike previous viral purge panics, we haven’t been able to find any indication that police in any jurisdiction have even bothered to address the clown purge rumors…

Whatever They Need To Say (#684)

Frankie Mullin on the recent Soho & Chinatown raids:

…A [cop mouthpiece pretended]…that the operation was “launched specifically in response to concerns raised by sex workers themselves”…[but in reality it was] “concern”…from…[prohibitionist NGOs masquerading as] charities…In 2013, the justification for the raids was, again, trafficking.  But no evidence of trafficking was found.  After a series of court cases and public outcry, 18 of the 20 closed flats were reopened…definitions of trafficking conflict with common sense understandings of the term.  It’s deemed “irrelevant whether the victim consents to the travel”.  No coercion is necessary, meaning any undocumented migrant worker in the UK is fair game to be “rescued” as a trafficking victim…the Met…confiscated £35,000, bagged it up and, in the style of the best teenage Instagram gangsters, released trophy pictures to the press…

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