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Archive for August, 2018

Back Issue: August 2015

I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to remain silent while sleazy douchebags…call for my body and my choices to be “regulated” by the same kind of fucking pigs [the Stonewall] rioters were fighting against, just so middle-class vanilla fucks…don’t have to feel threatened by my unregulated sexuality.  –  “Now They Notice (#567)

On August 15th, 2015 Jaelle the Charming Girl suffered a terrible motorcycle accident in Idaho, and I spent the next month at her side in a hospital.  The event filled the diary columns for the second half of the month and “Jae Q&A“; the other Q&A columns were “Meeting Maggie“, “Body and Soul“, and “Approach Pattern“.  This month’s holiday was Lammas, its harlotography topic Squirrel Tooth Alice, its guest columnist Aya de Leon and its fictional interlude “Heat“.  It also was the month Amnesty International announced its support for decriminalization (the topic of “Amnesty At Last” and “What Were You All Waiting For?“) and the US government raided the gay escort site Rentboy (“Now They Notice“).  The only column that didn’t fall into one of these categories was “The Enemy of My Enemy“, a complaint about activists who foolishly demand ideological purity from people who support decriminalization.

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I’m an 18 year old virgin, barely making ends meet at my dishwashing job; I’m interested in making money with my body.  I’ve thought about stripping but I don’t think I have the body for it and I have self harm scars on my thighs; maybe porn or escorting might be another avenue to explore.  Would it be a good selling point that I’m a virgin?  How would I go about advertising that?

Since stripping and porn performing are more visual than escorting, you may be right about the latter being a better path for you than the former two.  I wouldn’t worry too much about the scars if I were you; I have some fairly noticeable scarring on my left arm, and I know a lady with pronounced Cesarean section scars, and both of us are quite popular escorts.  There are three things in your letter, however, which do concern me and you should consider them deeply before attempting to pursue sex work.

The first is your youth:  while 18 is of legal age and I’ve known some ladies (including me) who did sell sex at that age, the ongoing hysteria over “child sex trafficking” has made being so young a liability rather than an asset.  Advertising sites are going to subject you to extra scrutiny, webcrawling programs run by the government and its prohibitionist cronies will flag you for increased surveillance, and your local cops and/or the FBI may even target you for “rescue” (i.e. arrest and use as a propaganda subject) in one of their pogroms if they decide you might be underage or vulnerable.

The second is your use of the phrase “make money with my body”, which to me indicates you’ve absorbed some harmful myths about sex work.  What you’re doing now is making money with your body; unless commercial dishwashing is very different from the home variety, it doesn’t exactly require a lot of mental work.  Escorting, on the other hand, requires considerable emotional labor; creating ads, screening clients and building a brand also require a great deal of head work.  It may be that you’re up to the challenge; since I know nothing about you I can’t say.  But even some very bright people don’t really like expending the kind of mental and emotional energy necessary to succeed as an escort, especially in these times of vanishing advertising sites and increased screening difficulty.

The third is your virginity.  You didn’t say where you live, but your spelling and word use seem American to me.  So unless you’re planning to go abroad, the only way to openly sell your virginity without bringing down hordes of authoritarians attempting to “save” you from a sensible decision (because you’re supposed to give your virginity for free to some stupid, penniless boy who may inflict an STI or worse, a pregnancy, on you) is to make a deal with a Nevada brothel to market that, and they’ll take 50%.  Furthermore, none of the high-profile virginity sales of the past few years have gone well, which rather makes skeptical of the whole concept in the 21st century (though it worked well in the 19th and early 20th).  Furthermore, I don’t think it’s an especially good idea for a young woman who doesn’t even know how she’s going to feel about sex with men to try to make a living at it from square one.

My advice to you is this:  get a bit of sexual experience under your belt (no pun intended) before considering any kind of in-person sex work.  Try doing phone sex (there are some services such as Niteflirt which are quite popular) and see if you like that, then maybe move onto camming.  Do some research and talk to sex workers, and then after you’ve been doing the not-in-person stuff for a while you can try dipping into escorting if you still want to.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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You can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free.  –  William Ramirez

Rough Trade 

Reporter helps cops add insult to injury by infantilizing a rape victim:

Bellevue police have arrested two men in connection with the rape and robbery of a Chinese woman — believed to be a victim of human trafficking…on July 19…Police say the suspects know these types of incidents aren’t usually reported due to the victim’s fear of being arrested or deported.  These suspects are believed to have committed several similar robberies in the greater Seattle area and Bellevue…

The cops claim they won’t arrest victims who report, but it would be foolish for a sex worker to take the risk.  And even if they don’t arrest her, they’ll deny her agency and use her to advance their anti-whore narrative by calling her a “sex trafficking victim”.

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers and lack of rights for women in general are part of the same ugly scheme:

A friend of mine lived alone in downtown Cairo…One day in 2012, her neighbors saw her heading to the apartment with her boyfriend and two friends, a man and a woman.  Once they were inside, the neighbors started banging on the door, calling her a prostitute and threatening to call the police to arrest them for prostitution…My friend told them that she and her partner were married, through an urfi or unregistered marriage, and the guests were just friends.  Things settled down only after she promised that she would move out of the apartment within days.  Many women have been raised in familial contexts where their mobility and sexuality are restricted…These restrictions have driven many of us to move out of our family homes out of a desire to experience life for ourselves, and enter the expanding ranks of the mustaqellat, or independent women, those who live neither in the home of their families nor husbands.  If we thought that by leaving our family homes we could escape respectability politics, we learn very quickly that this is not the case.  When women live alone, they are perceived as…abnormal subjects, because we are not living with our families, the source of a woman’s identification and social value…a woman trying to live beyond the traditional frameworks of social relationships…is constantly surveilled, and the primary authority over her body moves from the family and its neighborhood to the larger community…

Above the Law  

They always make these cases sound like the bureaucrat was doing his victims a favor:

A…Pennsylvania district attorney who tipped off female drug dealers and gave them lenient treatment in exchange for sex was sentenced to eight years of probation…Bill Higgins…pleaded guilty in May in a deal with prosecutors that guaranteed him no jail time and no additional felony counts.  He was officially disbarred earlier this month…Judge Thomas Ling ordered him to perform over 1,100 hours of community service and pay fines of nearly $10,000…Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged Higgins in April, calling his behavior a betrayal of the community…

Yeah, “The Community” was the victim and not the women he coerced sex from because they were engaged in peaceful, consensual transactions.  It’s enough to make one vomit.

First They Came for the Hookers…

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A British Airways flight attendant has been suspended after putting a video of herself sniffing her tights and unbuttoning her shirt online…While it is unknown whether the flight attendant sold the tights or shoes, there is a growing trend for cabin crew selling their used garments online…

Monsters 

Another trans sex worker murdered, this time in Paris:

On the night of August 16-17, we received several messages and calls…reporting the murder of Vanessa Campos…[by] 7 to 8 men…This…would probably be a gang of men who regularly assault sex workers and their clients to rob them.  This band phenomenon targeting sex workers is currently developing throughout the Ile de France region.  Those who try to organize for self-defense…are then attacked separately…The murders of trans women sex workers are not rare…we regularly try to alert public opinion and the authorities to this violence.  Unfortunately as always, we find ourselves alone…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

…about 100 people…poured into an Ocala meeting hall…to…Talk about brutal abuse, corruption and inhumane treatment behind the walls of one of Florida’s most notorious prisons, Lowell Correctional Institution for women.  For the first time, former inmates and their families were given a voice, and many of them had a lot to say to investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice about how rape [and] assault…by [screws] has become routine…The community meeting was set up by DOJ investigators who wanted to [see if there’s a way to cover up]…civil rights abuses and other unlawful conduct at the prison [which]…the…Florida Department of Corrections has ignored, covered up or dismissed…Laura Cowall, an attorney with the Justice Department, emphasized that the inquiry is not a criminal investigation but rather one that may result in a [useless] report…That prompted one family member to question whether the investigation will produce any substantive changes since it will not hold officers and staff responsible for inmates who have been beaten, raped or died…“They are scared to talk. How can you guarantee their safety?”…shouted one family member.  Cowall [vomited up bullshit] that retaliation would not be tolerated by the Department of Justice [because obviously they’ll be there 24 hours a day and can read the minds of screws with their magic federal powers]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

The shock of last year’s category five hurricane was just a precursor to the radical overhaul of Puerto Rico’s overburdened prison system…Nestled away in [a] 200-page [austerity plan] was a policy to offshore around a third of Puerto Rico’s prison population – 3,200 inmates – to private facilities thousands of miles away within the US…The government insists it will be voluntary…“This is government sponsored human trafficking”…said William Ramirez, executive director of the Puerto Rico American Civil Liberties Union.  “Even if you say it’s consensual, the reality is that you can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free”…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

Citing more than two years of secret bathroom recordings of juvenile victims, federal prosecutors argue that a former Medford [Oregon] youth pastor should be sentenced as a “repeat and dangerous sex offender”.  Prosecutors are seeking…more than 15 years…for Donald Courtney Biggs…who’s been held in the Jackson County Jail since early 2015…Biggs…groomed victims by giving them gifts…and singled out victims for activities outside of church…Investigators have recovered 166 illicit videos recorded without victims’ knowledge, about 80 more than previously reported.  They had been recorded in secret during overnight youth trips that included summer camps and spring break outings, as well as taken at Biggs’ home and at the church…

Business As Usual

Cop murders sex worker for resisting his attempt to rape her:

[Andrew Mitchell, an Ohio cop with 30 years of complaints and reprimands for excessive force, murdered] 23-year-old [sex worker] Donna Castleberry [by shooting her 8] times [at point-blank range after she]…stabbed [him in the hand.  The plainclothes cop, who had parked his unmarked car so close to the wall that the passenger door could not be opened, had apparently forced the un-handcuffed Castleberry into the front seat of his car]…[Though Mitchell claims he] was investigating complaints related to prostitution in the neighborhood [he was probably specifically looking for Castleberry since a warrant had been issued on her the day before for failing to appear in court on a soliciting charge]…

Thanks to Donna’s mother and best friend for the details pointing to the cop’s motives, which of course the cops di not release to the bootlicking local media.  What actually happened is clear: Mitchell, a cop with a long history of brutality, sought Donna out on purpose to rape her, knowing she had a warrant.  He forced her into the front seat of his car without handcuffing her, and when she tried to stop him from raping her, he emptied nearly the whole clip into her 100-pound body at point-blank range.

If Men Were Angels (#586)

The victim can’t get damages in civil court because her rapist worked for the beneficent government:

A…Houston doctor convicted of sexually assaulting a patient while she was tethered to machines…won’t serve any prison time and will instead serve 10 years’ probation…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…acknowledged at trial that he had sexual contact with the woman during the night shift at Ben Taub hospital in 2013 but [like most rapists pretended] it was consensual…[even though] the woman was weak, sore and medicated following several acute asthma episodes.  The victim…tried to summon a nurse with the call button, but witnesses testified it had been unplugged…Sheikh has lost his medical license and must register as a sex offender…

The Widening Gyre (#698)

Hysteria like this is a predictable outgrowth of the “sex trafficking” hysteria politicians, cops & media have aggressively promoted for the past 14 years:

Voodoo Doughnut found itself mired in an online conspiracy theory alleging the famous Portland doughnut franchise is involved in child sex trafficking.  It started when a man identified as Michael Whalen appeared on a YouTube show on Aug. 4, claiming he saw signs of child trafficking [like those “authorities” are always telling people to watch for] during a party he attended at Voodoo owner Tres Shannon’s…house…[like those “authorities”] Whalen offered no…evidence to support his claims, but told the show’s host, Nathan Stolpman, that he had spoken to authorities…Portland police…say no such reports exist…While the original interview appears to have been removed from YouTube, Stolpman has since posted several other videos…that appear to add actor Macaulay Culkin and nearby rock club Dante’s to the list of alleged conspirators…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844)

It may already be far too late to put this evil djinni back in its bottle:

Should the government be able to track your every move when you walk down the street, join a protest, or enter your psychiatrist’s building?  Facial recognition technology may make that a reality for Australians.  Parliament should refuse to expand its use until the government can demonstrate it won’t be used to violate human rights or turn us all into criminal suspects.  [A new] bill would create a nationwide database of people’s physical characteristics and identities, linking facial images and data from states and territories and integrating them with a facial recognition system….[which] would initially enable centralised access to passport, visa, citizenship, and driver license images…government agencies and some private companies would then be allowed to submit images to verify someone’s identity….[or] identify an unknown person…the proposal is too broad, enables using facial recognition for purposes far beyond fighting serious crime, and leaves significant details to departmental discretion or future interpretation.  The lack of safeguards combined with the centralisation of a massive amount of information raises the potential for abuse and ever-expanding mission creep…

Damned Lies

Glenn Kessler located the bogus numbers behind this painfully-dumb claim:

In a self-congratulatory video posted on July 20 by the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Wagner, the key sponsor of FOSTA, made a claim that caught our attention: “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads”…When asked for evidence, Wagner’s office sent a chart that tracked all sex-related advertising, saying that it showed weekly global ad volume dropped 87 percent from January to April.  The chart was generated through a [government surveillance] system called Memex…The biggest drop in ads came after the shutdown of Backpage…a[nother] drop…took place after the laws achieved final passage in Congress on March 21, prompting sex-oriented websites such as CityVibe and the Erotic Review to begin to shut down in the United States…Okay, but what happened after April?  Wagner’s staff refused to share the data, so we asked…[Memex’s managers] Uncharted Software…it turns out that after that initial drop, advertising for the sex trade appears to have rebounded, such as on new websites that mimic Backpage with names like “Bedpage”.  Worldwide ads had a daily average of about 105,000 when FOSTA-SESTA passed on March 21 and had dropped 28 percent by the time Backpage was closed on April 5.  It then plunged another 75 percent and reached a low of 19,456 on April 17, for a total decline of about 82 percent.  But on the day the Judiciary Committee posted the video, sex-trade ads were back at about 50 percent of the daily volume before the law had passed; as of Aug. 11, they were at almost 75 percent…Wagner…celebrated a decline of “sex-trafficking business and ads” but as we noted, the metric she is using is advertising for all sex work.  The actual impact on “sex trafficking” is unknown…

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The Dog Days finally ended on Thursday, and just in time; I was really getting worn out, and the last few nights even cannabis wasn’t enough to give me relatively-unbroken sleep.  But Thursday was a bit darker and a lot cooler, and I slept like a stone, waking up only once during the night (which for me is excellent).  It wasn’t at all a bad week in every way other than neurologically:  I did some self-care; got the car window repair I’ve needed for a while; had several pleasant, easy work sessions; attended a party on Saturday night; and spent Friday afternoon with Paul Johnson recording some b-roll footage and voiceovers for our upcoming documentary, The War on Whores.  And on Sunday I went with Jae to buy this little pony as a companion for my llama Jonathan; Grace and Chekhov will be picking her up today to bring her home to Sunset.  That’s all good, because I found myself with little motivation and less patience as my pineal gland was overloaded by TOO DAMNED MUCH DAYLIGHT and my brain responded, as usual, with restlessness and anxiety.  But the last week of August is nearly always like turning a switch for me:  the days are still much too long, but at least it’s dark by 9 and the weather is usually cooler, and that seems to be enough.  This weekend I’ll be going out to Sunset to inspect the now-complete drainage project and confer with Grace and Chekhov on the footing project, and by next week I might even be able to start on the last phase of The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I.

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Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?  –  John 18:38

I don’t think it’s controversial to state that Donald Trump is widely hated, and with good reason.  But a sizable number of people hate him so much that it becomes a kind of mania that some refer to as “Trump Derangement Syndrome”: they overreact to every single stupid thing he does as though he were literally lobbing grenades into kindergartens; they focus on inconsequential nonsense like his picky eating habits instead of focusing on his actual, dangerous faults; and rather than criticizing awful policies which definitely originated with him (like his disastrous tariffs) they blame him for schemes which originated with Obama, Bush the Second, Clinton or even earlier.  But the scariest and most dangerous symptom of this syndrome is misusing the word “fascist” to mean something like “overtly racist” while simultaneously sanctifying authoritarian terms like “treason” and licking the boots of anyone they think might hurt Trump, even sociopathic monsters like Kamala Harris and police-state organs like the FBI which have caused untold harm to peaceful people (while simultaneously vilifying its sister organization ICE).  Last week I even saw people on Twitter claiming that “lying to the FBI” is an actual moral evil (malum in se) rather than a mere arbitrary law (malum prohibitum), simply because they perceive some antagonism between the Orange-utang and the Spawn of J. Edgar Hoover.

First, let’s get one thing clear: lying to sociopaths who work to destroy people’s lives for violations of arbitrary laws made up by privileged douchebags completely disconnected from those whose lives they presume to micromanage is not a wrong; in fact, it is both a right and a sacred duty.  But even were that not so, the idea that factual truth is some sort of self-evident icon with the magical power to force the powerful to admit its veracity is so incredibly foolish and childish that one can barely conceive of an adult naive enough to believe it.  And yet, my stating that simple truth resulted in numerous attacks from people who no doubt also think that a polygraph is as infallible an instrument as Wonder Woman’s magic lasso.  The actual truth is that, when the government is involved, “truth” is defined by the one holding the gun, as explained in this series of tweets by Ken “Popehat” White:

…A very popular response to concerns about a perjury trap is the response “just tell the truth!”  This is rainbows-and-unicorns fantasy.  Certainly a liar is in jeopardy when testifying before the grand jury or talking to government agents.  But so are you, my friend.  Unless you’re perfect, and very lucky, and dealing with purely ethical and knowledgeable government agents.  Among the MANY dangers: the government is convinced that the truth is false; the government is lying; your memory is faulty; or you panic and make bad choices like some kind of HUMAN.  You might even get prosecuted for a non-answer that prosecutors decide was evasive, even if it wasn’t a lie.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Barry Bonds.  The “just tell the truth” response assumes, without basis, that the purpose of interviews is to gather information.  In fact, using interviews to create criminal liability is a primary feature of federal criminal investigation.  “Just tell the truth” presumes trustworthy questioners with pure motives and enlightened, near-perfect witnesses.  Neither assumption is warranted…

The point of interrogation is not to collect information; it’s to destroy the victim or turn them into a weapon against another victim, or both.  And the only thing you should do when faced with such interrogation is to shut the fuck up except to say, “I want my lawyer”.

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Try to shoot me, I’ll break every bone in your fucking neck.  –  “Officer” Michael Reynolds

I recently reran Rob Hustle’s protest song “Call the Cops”, and noticed he had a sequel; naturally I had to share it with you.  The links above it were provided by Carol Fenton (“does”),  Radley Balko (“finest”), Jacob Sullum (“step”), and Mike Riggs (“people”).

From the Archives

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It’s kind of like the universe conspired for this to happen.  –  Aidan Hill

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Tameika Lovell was retrieving luggage at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when Customs and Border Protection officers detained her for a…search….[after] a short Jamaica vacation.  Lovell, who is black, had been stopped before, but this time a CBP supervisor began asking questions she hadn’t heard previously.  “Don’t you think you’re spending too much money traveling?”…Inside a secure room…a female CBP officer searched Lovell’s belongings, presumably for illegal drugs, and asked if she was using a tampon or sanitary pad…Lovell replied “no” and complied when told to remove her shoes, lift her arms and spread her legs…the officer squeezed Lovell’s breasts, and, “placed her right hand into [Lovell’s] pants ‘forcibly’ inserting four gloved fingers into plaintiff’s vagina” before parting Lovell’s buttocks “for viewing”…Her case is one of at least 11 since 2011 examined by the Center for Public Integrity…The women who’ve brought these lawsuits, including two minor girls, say CBP…subjected them to indignities — such as strip searches while menstruating and prohibited genital probing — despite finding no contraband.  Four women further allege they were handcuffed and transported to hospitals where, against their will, one underwent a pelvic exam and X-rays.  In one of the cases, the woman…was intravenously drugged at the hospital…

Monsters 

The only positive point here is that local politicians condemned the hatred:

A middle school in Achille, Oklahoma is closed following violent threats by parents on social media against Maddie, a 12-year-old transgender [girl] who…used the girls’ bathroom.  Maddie had been using the staff bathroom at her old school but used the girls’ bathroom at the new school because she wasn’t sure where the staff bathroom was.  She was then accused of peeping under a bathroom stall…[and] the threats began on a private parents’ Facebook group for the school.  The parents called Maddie “it” and “thing”, suggested that her genitalia be mutilated to make her female (“a good sharp knife will do the job real quick”).  One said it was “hunting season on them kind” and said there was “no bag limit”…

Deafening Silence (#427)

A fascinating look at male actor/sex workers in 19th century China:

…the theater was a venue of culture but also an erotic space.  Patrons in particular focused their obsessions on the actors – almost always male – who played the dàn, or lead female role in the performance…There existed an implicit understanding of the theater, and its performers, as sex workers.  It was even assumed in [rape] cases…[where] attackers [got lower sentences for raping sex workers]…Following the fall of the Qing Dynasty, modernizers in the government of the new Republic of China and in the city of Beijing began to issue regulations which they hoped would curtail the brothels and theaters…[but] despite…efforts…to destroy the culture of male prostitution in Beijing, the trade continued into the mid-20th century when even more puritanical…politicians in the post-1949 era would employ drastic measures which pushed most prostitution – male and female – deep into the shadows for the next few decades…

The Public Eye (#439) 

Sex workers who are also performing artists are valuable ambassadors for us:

…Kate McGrew hopes her new stage show will make audiences think, by highlighting the dangers of our new prostitution laws.  The reality TV star, who made her name in the RTE show Connected…plans to hammer home the message in…her new production Hookers Do It Standing Up…“It has serious points, but lots of punchlines, humour, and musings on the experiences and struggles of sex workers, and how bad laws and attitudes affect us”…Under her stage name Lady Grew, the singer, actor and dancer is now taking her campaign to the stage in Dublin Fringe Festival…

Little Boxes (#579)

Being forced by a corporation to have undesired sexual contact with strangers is “team building”, but choosing to have sexual contact with strangers who desire it is a “crime”:

We’ve launched the world’s first “Cuddle a Co-worker” event to provide a unique alternative to the standard team building exercises you’ll normally find…the event lasts an entire working day and involves co-workers cuddling in a “relaxation tent” designed to reduce stress and encourage team bonding…skin on skin contact…promotes Oxytocin and Serotonin release.  Oxytocin has physical and psychological effects on the brain, including influencing social behaviour and emotion, whilst Serotonin is the hormone which allows humans to feel happiness…co-workers will be required to cuddle each other in a variety of different positions and will need to switch partners every two hours – so that you have a chance to bond with everyone…there will also be a group cuddling session, as well as a conflict resolution cuddle session…


Real People (#710)

Here’s a look at the stories of three residents of Casa Xochiquetzal, Mexico City’s home for retired sex workers.  The tales are by turns beautiful and sad, and it would do them an injustice to even attempt to synopsize them here; please read them and remember that these are the women prohibitionists want to demonize as criminals or infantilize as permanent victims.

Pyrrhic Victory (#781)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook…to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so [pigs and spooks can eavesdrop on private]…conversations…resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance…The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but…three [whistleblowers reported] that Facebook is contesting the…demand.  The…government [is trying] to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request…If the government prevails…it could…force companies to rewrite other popular encrypted services such as Signal and Facebook’s billion-user WhatsApp…

The Lion and the Ox (#796)

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

…a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that former film executive Harvey Weinstein can be sued under a federal sex-trafficking law by an actress who claims he coerced her to have sex in exchange for a movie role that never materialized…Police have not charged Harvey Weinstein with sex trafficking.  But the judge’s ruling means that the civil suit, brought by British actress Kadian Noble, can proceed…Weinstein’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Welfare recipients are another guinea pig for invasive surveillance methods:

Officials with the Department of Human Assistance, or DHA, in Sacramento, California, have been using license plate readers since 2016 to investigate welfare fraud…DHA violated California state laws dictating that any entity using a license plate database must institute a privacy-and-usage policy that includes regular audits and record keeping…The DHA was using a feature of the license plate reader that collects data about every single vehicle in a particular location, regardless of whether the vehicle belonged to a welfare recipient…and…19 agencies that have been sharing such data with the DHA, including police departments in Texas and Iowa…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#825) 

Texas is replacing Washington and Arizona as the most active producer of “sex trafficking” idiocy:

…Houston…is a known hub for sex trafficking…said Dennis Mark…[of] Redeemed Ministries…As efforts to criminalize prostitution in the city increase, the underground industry is spreading to surrounding areas…he said.  Debi Tengler…[of] Arrow Child and Family Ministries, [which runs a private prison] in Spring, [ludicrously bloviated] “The tighter you squeeze the tube, the more toothpaste squeezes out”…Texas…has the second most of any state…“We…hit…the streets and go…after the prostitutes…and…also online tactics,” [oinked a filthy pig]…Police are also cracking down on brothels disguised as businesses…such as massage parlors and hotels…A December 2016 University of Texas [fantasy claimed]…there were…79,000…juvenile sex trafficking victims [in Texas]…

Disaster (#850)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

SESTA-FOSTA…received bipartisan support [like most truly awful police-state expansions]…Since the law was passed, there has been a swell of protests, political actions and new forms of grassroots organizing among the American sex worker rights community…Perhaps the highest profile efforts to repeal SESTA-FOSTA emerged on June 28th, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government…on the grounds of First and Fifth Amendment violations…

There’s more in this article, which also mentions Salazar’s candidacy (see below).

Safe Position (#851)

If the Democratic Party were run by people who care about human rights, this would be its official position:

Julia Salazar, a candidate for the New York state Senate, is doing what [only a minuscule number of] Democratic politicians have done before:  taking sex workers’ rights seriously.  The 27-year-old democratic socialist, who is shaping her policy by consulting the sex work community, is one of the first candidates to…support those workers, including by proposing concrete steps toward decriminalization…Salazar, who is challenging eight-term incumbent Democratic state Sen. Martin Dilan, has centered her campaign around affordable housing and other policy positions championed by the insurgent left.  But her plan to defend sex workers’ rights has energized a community that has been understandably skeptical of electoral politics.  One hundred sex workers and their allies have signed up to attend a canvassing event in the Brooklyn district for Salazar’s campaign on Sunday, ahead of the September 13 primary.  This follows an event earlier this month, when upward of 120 sex workers and activists hosted a pizza party for Salazar…[whose] platform outlines steps toward decriminalization that include an end to raids on massage parlors; working with district attorneys to stop charging sex workers with crimes; and creating a network of optional social services to address workers’ needs, such as housing, child care, syringe access, and…repealing the exemption for sex workers under New York’s rape shield law…

The Widening Gyre (#864) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; this one’s even funnier than usual to me because it’s from Baton Rouge, roughly 50 miles from where I grew up, a city so cheap and dead it wasn’t even worth keeping an escort service ad posted in the phone book there.  And the mentioned towns are the kind of hick places where the opening of a new auto parts store is the highlight of the season’s social calendar.  One wonders if Kylie and her legion of dumbass retweeters think these “perfume samples” are actually phials of the fabled pimp mind-control philter which will enable them to instantly enslave any hapless girl who whiffs them.

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