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Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Be mindful of your surroundings and don’t feed sharks.  –  Melissa Brunning

Mocking brutal dictators is a long tradition, exemplified by Spike Jones’ “Der Fuhrer’s Face“.  But due to his megalomania and bizarre antics, the monstrous Idi Amin was an especial favorite of comedians from Peter Cook & Dudley Moore to Richard Pryor.  This is a song by the British comedian John Bird, which I first heard on The Doctor Demento Show when Amin was still in power; I thought of it last week when I realized that Trump is a lot like Amin in many ways.  The links above it were provided by ClarissaPhantom JokerScott GreenfieldKevin WilsonNun Ya, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence.
–  Jude Faccidomo

It Looks Good On Paper

Remember that I’ve been a harsh critic of these do-nothing law for 7 years:

Under Ohio’s safe harbour legislation – and similar laws across all states…[women can] request that criminal charges…accrued while [coerced into prostitution be]…expunged from the public record.  Yet [prohibitionists] across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation…means that many other victims will now struggle to get their expungement cases into a courtroom…the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision [even though they still support]…deny[ing]…the…legal rights [of sex workers who aren’t poster children for prohibition]…

Far be it from me to say anything good about the orange-utang, but these laws actually help nobody but “perfect victims”; defunding them will change essentially nothing.

With Friends Like These…

If you can’t write a pro-decrim article without saying that you wish whores didn’t exist, don’t write one at all:

…there’s not much that’s more misogynistic than blaming women because they fulfill the needs of men.  It’s all very well to insist that women make this choice because of patriarchy and false consciousness, as some feminists do, and are called “whorephobic” for their pains.  But…feminist theory doesn’t pay the bills.  I’m not pretending that there would be prostitution in my ideal world.  There wouldn’t.  I like neither the idea nor the reality of prostitution.  But I also know that the world isn’t, and can’t be, arranged around what I like…I know as well, or think I know, that “free choice” is merely a concept and that human beings have no more free choice than foxes or dolphins or butterflies.  We have loaded choices, all of them dictated by our upbringing, our finances, our cultural landscape and our genes, in that order…

In my ideal world, hypocritical apologists for feminism like Deborah Orr wouldn’t exist; I like neither the idea nor the reality of them.  But I’m an adult who understands that the concept of an “ideal world” is childish nonsense, and that one whose “ideal world” doesn’t include free choice is a pompous asshat.

See No Evil (#136) 

Seven years in a cage for drawing a fictional character:

Christopher John Czarnik…is serving time on a 2014 plea for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children.  He was then charged again with child porn in prison….[after] guards found a drawing of a young girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male…Czarnik then showed [screws] more pictures and writings of this own creation.  That was deemed possession and creation of child porn…Czarnik entered a guilty plea with the condition that the legal issue be allowed to be litigated over…”cartoon characters.”  That plea limited the added sentence to seven years…

A Broker in Pillage (#406)

It’s not often a judge rules against cops in favor of a sex worker:

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that [cops] illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns…the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates…Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May.  [Cops pretended to] smell…marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops [claimed] to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse…[cops bragged as though] it [were] a major bust…[but] prosecutors dropped the charges…when body-cam footage showed police didn’t have permission to search the couple’s trunk.  The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the su[ppos]ed codeine…Batista had explained…why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway…[pretend]ing it was dope money…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of “authorities”:

Yan Liu, originally from China and now a resident of New York City, was charged [in Maine] with engaging in prostitution.  No other people were charged in connection with her arrest, including a man and a woman [imagined] by the motel employee as coercing Liu back into the room, or a client [of hers]…Liu, who does not speak English and communicated with police and court officials through an interpreter, posted a $1,000 cash bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge…but she has been unwilling to [tell] her court-appointed attorney, Merritt Heminway [what he wants to hear]…She did, however, tell him she arrived in the United States last September and has applied for asylum…After a June 27 hearing…Liu and the state filed an agreement that if she remains out of trouble for one year, her case will automatically be dismissed.  She was not required to enter a guilty plea…Destie Hohman Sprague…of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, [complained that pigs and politicians did not overrule Liu’s agency]…to protect Lui’s safety…But Liu’s defense attorney criticized the district attorney’s office for prosecuting the case at all, contending Liu is a victim of sex trafficking…He speculated the rational [sic] for applying charges was to convince her to identify leaders of a [fantasized] trafficking ring…[the DA bloviated that] prosecuting such cases is sometimes the only mechanism the court system has of [maintaining surveillance] on people who[se agency it wishes to deny]…The [pompous ignoramus who acts as] prosecutor said nearly all women involved in prostitution have been trafficked at some point in their lives…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, cannabusiness:

Every municipality in San Diego County that limits or bans the sale of marijuana has cited public safety as the justification…[then-police chief] Shelley Zimmerman’s testi[lied] in September 2017…[that] 272 police radio calls for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings, just to name a few,” at medical marijuana dispensaries over a two-and-a-half-year period [constituted] evidence of the kind of activity such facilities invite on a neighborhood…Zimmerman’s [lies] appeared in a memo written by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy to the City Council, which decided — against the recommendations of a subcommittee — not to allow retail shops.  Her remarks were also cited by anti-pot activists in Imperial Beach who helped slow down  marijuana regulations there…Diane Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant, analyzed the records, which were made available on the city’s website in March.  She concluded that the Police Department’s presentation was “sloppy, unprofessional and based on ideology”…The address listed on more than a quarter of those reports were to neighboring business, not a marijuana facility.  Several of the city’s legal dispensaries existed then — as they still do — within shopping malls or office complexes…

To Molest and Rape (#756) 

Rapist cop escapes consequences for his actions by croaking:

Troy Allen Large…died earlier this year…Large, a…sex-crimes investigator, is accused of using his “position of power to [rape]…female victims of violent crime” and then…coercing them into participating in video-recorded, nude catfights…police officials were aware of the accusations…and [did nothing]…

Saving Them From Themselves (#764)

Adult woman magically turns into “child” via the power of a magical camera:

A Cleveland man who testified in defense of his roommate in a child pornography case admitted on the stand to taking sexually explicit pictures of a…girlfriend…Edward Marrero, 27, said…he took the photos in April 2011…[when] she was 17 years old and he was 20…The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18…He is now charged with producing child pornography.  If convicted, he faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison…

“Child” pornography.  Of a consenting woman it was legal for him to fuck, who is now 24 years old.  But it’s to “protect the children”!!!!

Checklist (#796)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

Last year, 276 [phone calls were made from Georgia by hysterics]…to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Georgia law requires airports, train stations and emergency rooms to post [magic anti-pimp signs] in public restrooms…[spokespig Brian] Johnston [oinked that] Savannah’s highways and interstates…mak[e[ it easier to move people quickly to another city or another state…St. Joseph’s/Candler [hospital forces]…staff to [attend indoctrination sessions on]…the [mythical] signs…[social worker and fabulist Jessy] McMullan said she already knows it works from a friend who works as an ER nurse in Atlanta and had similar training.  “Within two weeks of the training, she identified two child victims that came through the emergency room…They were reunited with their families.  It gives you chills”…

Urban legends are always said to have happened to a “friend of a friend” (FoF); in this case it’s the supposed patient of an unnamed friend.  So where are the links to the news stories where the pigs grunt about these “child sex trafficking victims” they “rescued”?  Because you know that if this had actually happened it would’ve been big news.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean…is helping the Libyan coastguard return migrants to rape, slavery, torture and murder in local camps…Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), citing accounts from its staff in Libya, says…when migrants could not pay for their release having been captured by the authorities, some had their genitals cut off…Others said there had been routine rapes at camps to detain migrants.  MSF says that it sends 50 body bags a week to one camp…“Under the pretence of saving lives and disrupting the business model of smugglers and traffickers, the Libyan coastguard are supported and empowered by EU states to intercept people at sea and send them back to the very conditions they were trying to escape”…

Backwards into the Future (#827) 

Another victory for feminism against jobs for women:

The Dutch brewer Heineken is suspending the use of ‘beer girls’ in Mozambique due to allegations of sexual harassment from customers …NRC Handelsblad…published…research by Partner Africa showing that…there were “revealing short skirts” in…Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda.  It has introduced a new code of practice for its third party partners, who employ the women to sell the beer to bars and restaurants in Africa, including safe working practices and “decent uniforms”…NRC [also] claimed…some prostitutes combined beer promotion with their Heineken work, to get more clients for both.  No evidence of links with prostitution was [provided]…But the Amsterdam-based brand was under pressure from other businesses, including the Global Fund international health organisation, which had suspended its partnership with Heineken and urged it to protect women beer promoters from [gainful employment]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

Where “cutting-edge” is used to mean “hopelessly inaccurate”:

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police force has defended the organization’s ongoing trials of automated facial recognition systems, despite legal challenges and criticisms that the technology is “almost entirely inaccurate”…Police commissioner Cressida Dick said…the public “expect[s]” law enforcement to test such cutting-edge systems…The London force is one of several in the UK…deploy[ing the surveillance system] at public events like concerts, festivals, and soccer matches.  Mobile CCTV cameras are used to scan crowds, and tries to match images of faces to mugshots of wanted individuals…According to data released under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws, 98 percent of the “matches” made by the Metropolitan’s AFR system are mistakes…The Met [claims]…that no individuals have [yet] been arrested because of a false match…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Evil douchebags trying to criminalize Nevada brothels fall on their faces:

Opponents of legalized prostitution in Nye County had been trying to put the issue to voters in a referendum in November. But county officials said Monday the effort had failed to turn in the required 1,963 signatures. The deadline was [June 29th].  The only recourse for proponents of the brothel elimination measure is to get county commissioners to agree to put it on the ballot…Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said the board’s chairman had already indicated he would not bring the item forward…That leaves [prohibitionists] needing at least two other commissioners to call a special meeting…The group had also targeted Lyon County…But the county’s Board of Commissioners decided in June to take a different approach to the issue by placing an advisory question on the ballot in November…ask[ing] voters whether the board should end legalized prostitution in Lyon County…

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This is bigger than us…it’s a world wide crackdown on freedom of expression.  –  Vex Ashley

Real People 

I suspect this sort of story isn’t all that unusual:

There’s a misconception that sex work only entices clients who are entitled, disrespectful or predatory, yet this wasn’t my experience…phone sex…attracts some of the most struggling and deeply hurt clientele: people with agoraphobia, people with intimacy issues, other sexual assault survivors…as my friendships with my clients continued to progress, I learned I was more like my regulars than I wanted to acknowledge.  My clients and I had arrived on the opposite ends of phone sex — me as a sex worker, and them as a patron — but we sought similar resolutions.  Sex work…was quietly contributing to my healing…I realized I gravitated toward the sex industry in part to reprocess my trauma in an environment that was safe, to redevelop a way to have a healthy connection with men, and to explore my sexuality…

They Still Don’t Get It

This vile farrago of lies appears to be an attempt to slander the good work done by SWOP Behind Bars:

Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release…Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.  Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention.  Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail…Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor for the district attorney’s office in Orlando, Florida, said the bail bond system was routinely exploited by traffickers…Once they have identified a potential target inside a prison or jail, traffickers will try to establish a relationship by using letters, phone calls and promises of money and housing when the victim is released.  Prison bank accounts are also used to send money to women, establishing a debt that is used to coerce them into prostitution on their release…Pimp-controlled prostitution is now [fantasiz]ed as one of the most brutal and pervasive forms of human trafficking in the US…

The notion that clients would go to this kind of trouble, when most of them can barely even handle the normal screening and booking process, would be hilarious if it weren’t being used to undermine human rights.

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

A Columbia University student whose global campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children earned him berths to speak alongside [politicians]…was himself charged…with a series of sex crimes against children…Joel Davis…[faces] a series of sordid allegations, including an admission by Mr. Davis that he had sex with a 13-year-old boy in his New York apartment.  The complaint also outlines text messages Mr. Davis sent undercover F.B.I. agents seeking sexual images of children as young as 2.  “The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening,” [a prosecutor bloviated]…

This is only “unfathomable” to idiots who neither understand psychology nor read the news.  The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.

Welcome To Our World (#600)

Welcome to our world, infertile women:

Five people in Cambodia were arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police found 33 pregnant women during a raid on a…[banned] surrogacy operation…Cambodia is one of four Asian countries — along with Thailand, Nepal and India — that have banned commercial surrogacy in recent years.  Experts say the bans have pushed some surrogacy agencies underground while also fueling demand for the practice in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where local regulations are more welcoming.  “Most bans don’t…work”…said Sam Everingham, the founder of Families Through Surrogacy, a nonprofit based in Australia that provides advice and support for people seeking surrogacy arrangements…

Shame, Shame (#649)

“Revenge porn” laws keep getting struck down because their proponents refuse to tailor them narrowly, insisting instead on unconstitutional broadness:

[Censors, prudes and showboaters] blamed [Google] for helping to…kill a [FOSTA-like] bill in New York that would have [allowed opportunists to sue web hosting companies for]…nonconsensual…sexually explicit images [found on their site.  The censors wanted to also expand mass incarceration]…by making the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail…[but] the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google and other web companies,  stepped in…to [point out to] lawmakers [that] language in the legislation that would have allowed [opportunists] to sue web companies [is unconstitutional and violates section 230 of the CDA]…Mary Anne Franks…began working with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein on New York’s bill back in 2013.  That original version…was…one of the [most mindlessly-draconian revenge porn laws in the country…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…police in Pennsylvania who are using the state’s hate crime statute…against people who [insult] them.  On Sept. 23, 2016, Robbie Sanderson, a 52-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was arrested for retail theft…During the arrest, Sanderson [correctly] called police “Nazis,” “skinheads” and “Gestapo”…For that, he was charged with a hate crime.  “This is completely ridiculous,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “This is not what the hate crime statute was for.  This is criminalizing pure speech and that violates the First Amendment”…

Does someone need to explain to Mary that all “hate speech” laws criminalize pure speech?

The Prudish Giant (#787)

Once Patreon started caving in to PayPal, this was inevitable:

Adult content creators on crowdfunding site Patreon are facing a sudden spate of suspensions, with many reporting “implied nudity” as the reason their pages are shut down…”We have been ramping up the [censorship] of content on Patreon due to requirements from our payment partners,” a Patreon spokesperson [said]…Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have [in the past few decades] faced discrimination from payment processors and banks…Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but [like PayPal and so many others, they are throwing sex workers under the bus now that they’re successful]…

The Punitive Mindset (#790) 

In which two groups of warring scumbags pretend to be unable to understand that locking human beings in cages tends to induce pathological behavior:

A federal judge refused to dismiss lawsuits from female public defenders and [screws] who claim Cook County, Illinois, inmates have been exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them, a problem they say was exacerbated by a program rewarding detainees with pizza for not engaging in such behavior…the women…alleg[e]…that Dart had created solutions to the problem only to reverse them…[so as to support his] proposed legislation that would [subject] inmates [to more time under Dart’s control] for sexual [behavior]…

Soap Opera (#809)

A functioning police state needs no police:

…Kent Couch, owner of Stop and Go in Bend, Ore., was skeptical that human trafficking was happening in his community.  Then three years ago, he met Nita Belles, founder…of In Our Backyard, a [rescue industry profiteer group]…She asked him to display a [magic] sticker in his store’s bathroom that offers…a toll-free number to call [for women too stupid to remember the numbers “911”]…Couch put the sticker up and covered it with a frame so that it wouldn’t attract graffiti…“A week later, the frame was ripped off the wall and thrown in the garbage and the sticker taken…I hung up a new one, and the frame was again broken and the number scratched out.  So that was a heads-up to me that in fact we do have human trafficking here”…Employees are instructed to alert him if they’ve seen anything suspicious…Recently, a woman came into the store with black-and-blue eyes, making no eye contact and with her hood up.  “We called 911 right away and gave [her] license-plate numbers,” he says…

He put a frame on the sticker because he has a problem with vandalism in his bathroom, so when more vandalism happens that “proves” it’s “sex traffickers”?  And they turn customers into the pigs for having injuries?  Are these people living in reality at all?

Disaster

Since the UK is becoming a colony of the US, this “monkey see, monkey do” was inevitable:

Ministers…[came] under intense pressure from a [prohibitionist] group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning…[sex work advertising] websites amid [repetitious and unsupported claims] that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.  Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to [criminalize] websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork [if they remain on UK soil]…

India and Israel have also introduced FOSTA copycat laws.  Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Too Close To Home (#830) 

A pet judge isn’t going to be able to make this scandal go away:

King County…Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (“KCPAO”) entered into a funding agreement with an organization called Demand Abolition that channels funds from the Hunt Alternatives family foundation…KCPAO and other local law enforcement agencies have garnered a great deal of positive publicity in the past few years for…saying that they are aggressively tackling sex trafficking.  In reality, their efforts target buyers of sex who purchase from adult consensual sex workers…Why did Satterberg describe this as sex trafficking when there was no evidence of trafficking? Don’t prosecutors have to follow rules and be careful about how they describe arrestees’ alleged criminal conduct in the media? (Short answer: yes)…Public records show that [Val] Richey made a sustained effort to…push the tactic of targeting sex buyers.  He also encouraged a shift in how prosecutors handled defendants’ cases after arrest, halting the diversion that they typically offered to first-offender buyers and instead imposing fines and fees while requiring enrollment in a buyer intervention course (that just so happened to be offered by an organization that also received funding by Demand Abolition).  Richey also worked closely with Demand Abolition and with consultants hired by Demand Abolition throughout the time he received grant funding, including to craft communications efforts that deliberately conflated adult consensual sex work and trafficking…

To Molest and Rape (#846) 

Oregon’s just full of rapist cops lately:

Michael Goff, a parking [cop] for the City of Newport, was [arrested]…a day after…Newport police sergeant [Brad Purdon] was [also] arrested  on sex abuse charges…involving the same [underage] victim…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#850) 

Total number of frogs in Lisa Lewis’ self-destructive chorus: 3.

…By presenting…Lisa Lewis as the voice of sex workers, [The New Zealand Herald] allowed a nuanced issue to be hijacked by a small group with an axe to grind.  It claimed that New Zealand sex workers rejected the NZPC’s support of migrant sex workers, based solely on a letter written by Lewis, signed by two other sex workers and backed by a member of Family First — an organisation that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers…Of the hundreds of escorts in my community…not one shares Lisa Lewis’ vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC.  The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which…come from non-sex workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers currently active in New Zealand would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful…The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers”, as Lewis’ letter claims.  They are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry…

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Mike Siegel is a professional astronomer who has been one of my online friends for about six years now; he has helped me analyze bad studies and calculate statistics, given me advice on scientific points in some of my stories, and even been featured here as a fiction writer himself.  I’ve also linked to some of his articles, and right now he has an excellent demolition of FOSTA and the evil mindset which spawned it on the group blog Ordinary Times.  He was kind enough to allow me to publish this excerpt, but you really ought to read the whole thing.

…We are in the midst of War on Sex Work that is largely becoming a replacement for the War on Drugs…A war on sex work would be difficult given that about half of Americans think prostitution should be legal.  And so this war has built on a tissue of falsehoods to claim that it is actually a war on “sex trafficking”.  We are constantly being told — by politicians, by the media and by the entertainment industry — that there is a national crisis of sex trafficking and specifically a crisis of child sex trafficking.  But the evidence to support this claim, when you dig into it even a little bit, turns out to be a ziggurat of garbled statistics, junk social science and outright lies.  My friend Maggie McNeill has devoted an entire page to debunking claims that are so common and oft-repeated, they are taken as gospel: that the average age at which a woman enters sex work is 13 (it’s mid-20’s); that there are 300,000 child sex slaves in the US (there are at most a few hundred), that sex trafficking and consensual sex work are inextricably linked (they aren’t); that the Super Bowl or other big events are magnets for sex traffickers (not at all).  It goes without saying that forced sexual servitude is an abomination…but if that’s what you’re concerned about, it seems like a good first step would be to decriminalize sex work for adults, as organizations like Amnesty International have advocated.  Doing so would free up law enforcement resources to work the real problem rather than being devoted entirely to routine prostitution busts.

Let’s illustrate that with one example: about every year, the federal government runs a program called Operation Cross Country — a vast multi-agency operation to crack down on “sex trafficking”, at the end of which they will claim to have rescued something on the order a hundred underage sex slaves (which alone should tell us that we do not have anywhere close to 300,000 of them).  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has done amazing work sifting through the propaganda and found that these operations typically arrest over a thousand consenting adults.  Mixed in with those adults are usually a few dozen to a hundred underage sex workers, but most of these are doing it not because of enslavement but because they have run away or been thrown out of their homes).  The operations also arrest a couple of hundred “pimps” but these are often people whose pimping consists of driving their girlfriend to an incall or processing credit card payments…

…I have seen how the case for prohibition is supported by lies…[which is] what has drawn me into this debate so keenly.  It offends me as a scientist…FOSTA was ostensibly proposed to allow the federal government to crack down on online sex trafficking.  This promise was predicated, like most of the War on Sex Work, on dubious stats.  Sex workers vehemently opposed it but their voices were drowned out by supporters misrepresenting the law and celebrities making bizarre claims like ordering a sex slave was as easy as ordering a pizza…Sex Worker rights advocates, digital freedom advocates and libertarians made dire predictions about what was going to happen…So what has happened over the last three months?  Exactly what was feared…and as the weeks have rolled on, it has become painfully and immediately obvious that FOSTA has made things far far worse for sex workers…what FOSTA has done…[is] just as bad as the sex worker advocates warned us it would be…

…wars on sin have often engaged in what I call “harm enhancement” (as opposed to “harm reduction”).  During the War on Drugs, we banned the sale of certain chemicals to Colombia that were used to facilitate drug manufacturing; the result was drugs that had carcinogens in them, which politicians hoped would persuade people to stop using them.  A similar controversy erupted over paraquat pot, herbicides sprayed on marijuana that found that their way into people’s lungs.  During prohibition, industrial alcohols were deliberately poisoned in an effort to stop people from drinking them.  And there is little doubt that the War on Sex Work has frequently seen increased danger as a deterrent.  In many states, a woman simply having condoms on her is considered evidence of prostitution.  Sex workers have reported being pulled over by cops and watching them poke holes in condoms.  The closure of MyRedBook and Rentboy and Backpage did little to stop sex work but plenty to prevent sex workers from screening out dangerous clients.  When a movement engages in policy after policy designed to increase the danger, I think it it reasonable to assume that it is deliberate…this even goes beyond sex work, however.  Our political class has long had a hatred for Section 230 of the CDA, which they see as protecting speech they don’t like.  The last year has been filled with attacks on Facebook and other social media for allowing “fake news” to percolate (the effect of which is very unclear).  The effects of this bill go even beyond the impact on sex workers, bad as that has been.  It is the camel’s nose in the tent of undermining Section 230 and turning the internet into a “safe”, controlled, gated, milquetoast community.  And what better way to get the camel’s nose in the tent than through “solving” a vastly exaggerated crisis?…

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You’re going to jail. Have a seat in my car. We’ll make shit up as we go.  –  John Kovach Jr.

Sometimes YouTube does an OK job of “suggesting” things that are actually interesting.  Sometimes.  The links above the video were contributed by Mike SiegelFranklin HarrisTim CushingTracy Clark-FloryJesse WalkerDave Krueger, and Angela Keaton, in that order.

From the Archives

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of women less “oppressed” than sex workers.  –  Sharanya Gopinathan

Saving Them From Themselves

Pigs shouldn’t be “investigating” sexting at all, but at least this is a start:

The Nashua, New Hampshire, police received word in May that 10 or 20 students at Bishop Guertin High School had been snapping and swapping sexts.  But then, rather than arresting these kids for making child porn, or threatening to register them as sex offenders, the police did something outrageously reasonable.  They opted not to charge any of them…

Worse Than I Thought

Virginia passes law to indefinitely detain the associates & loved ones of sex workers:

…the law…adds four offenses…to the list of crimes in which [innocent people accused of crimes] can be denied bail…[including] Receiving money from the earnings of a prostitute…[politician] Michael Mullin…was the chief patron of the bill.  He’s a prosecutor…[who says] he has seen people make bond, then post bail for sex workers and take them out of town…

Rough Trade (#345) 

Not as bad as calling rape “theft of services”, but bad enough:

Sex workers in Spain have protested the acquittal of three men accused of raping a sex worker.  24 hours after being arrested, the three men accused of rape had been released…The men denied the rape “because the woman is a prostitute”…The woman told the court she already knew the men, and that they gave her a strong tranquilizer which left her in an incapacitated state.  She underwent medical tests the next day which confirmed that an assault had taken place.  The judge released the men with charges of sexual abuse, but not rape, which means lesser punishment…

To Molest and Rape 

A typical hero cop, bravely protecting and serving:

A Texas sheriff’s deputy…sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl and threatened the child’s undocumented mother with deportation if she reported the abuse…Jose Nunez…is a [screw in San Antonio]…the victim’s mother took her daughter to a local fire station for help.  He was charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child, a class one felony that carries a minimum 25-year sentence…the girl and her mother are relatives of the [rapist]…

Taking the child to a fire station rather than a pigpen was an absolutely brilliant move on the mother’s part.

Torture Chamber (#656)

Despite current posturing by Democrats, abuse of migrants has been a bipartisan policy for quite a while:

…[young people] at an immigration detention facility…were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells…They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center [in Virginia.  Boys]…as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads…The incidents described in the lawsuit occurred from 2015 to 2018, during both the Obama and Trump administrations.  Many…were sent there after U.S. immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs…But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the [young people] did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries — problems the detention facility is [totally un]equipped to treat…Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling…

An Example To the West (#715)

In India, mainstream feminists support sex worker rights and prohibitionists are a crank minority who can be individually called out:

The women and child development minister of Karnataka, Jayamala, has instructed her department’s officials to henceforth refer to all sex workers as “damanitra mahila”…the Kannada term for “oppressed women”…The strides sex workers have managed to make over the last twenty years…are by no means an easy feat.  Sex workers have made truly remarkable achievements, like collectivising and organising under the uniquely dangerous circumstances they live and work in, thanks to a tangle of Victorian laws, carrying out their work with agency and ingenuity while protecting themselves from goondas [hired thugs], police, and misguided do-gooders.  They have also played a crucial role in implementing a roster of remarkable socio-political and legal changes for themselves in the face of shocking persecution, all in just two decades.  These are simply not  achievements a singularly oppressed group of people could pull off.  And now that these strides have indeed been made, and continue to be made, where do we get off calling these women, of all women, oppressed?…This pushes back [their] struggle for the rights of sex workers by decades; for dignity and rights rather than pity and victimhood…

Dutch Threat (#789) 

Dutch authorities’ attempts to Disnify De Wallen are failing:

Amsterdam has not succeeded in its efforts to clean up the city’s red light district…The old city centre still contains a “monoculture” of tourist shops and low-value cafes and bars…nor have officials been able to [find any of the] human trafficking and forced prostitution [prohibitionists fantasize about]…Project 1012 had two main ambitions; to replace cannabis cafes and souvenir shops with restaurants and galleries and to [persecute]…sex [workers] by closing brothels and stepping up [harassment]…Nevertheless, the “desired economic upswing” has not happened.  Officials may have closed 48 coffeeshops but they have been replaced by waffle shops and mini supermarkets.  And the combination of rising property prices and tourism has created a great deal of unhappiness among locals and local businesses…the closure of more than 100 brothel windows and [harassment of] brothel owners have not led to [the discovery of fantasized]…human trafficking…

Checklist (#812) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

This week…about 500,000 people globally – 75% them women and children – will be abducted or lured into a life of prostitution and/or slave labor.  And perhaps as many as 300,000 of them will be transported this month to their new, horrible living and working conditions aboard a commercial airliner.  That’s why the world’s airlines have launched a global awareness and industry-wide training program called #EyesOpen…aim[ed at indoctrinating] flight attendants, gate agents and other airline personnel [in anti-whore propaganda]…

So Forbes is not only claiming that half a million people a week (ie 26 million per year, or 4% of the entire world’s population every decade) magically vanish without anyone noticing, but also that 300,000 is 60% of 2 million (500,000/week x 4).  And people trust this magazine to give them financial advice?

Disaster (#832)

FOSTA is so blatantly unconstitutional this is bound to win; I just hope it’s quick:

Two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to block enforcement of FOSTA, the new federal law that silences online speech by forcing speakers to self-censor and requiring platforms to censor their users.  The plaintiffs are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.  In Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States, the plaintiffs argue that FOSTA is unconstitutional, muzzling online speech that protects and advocates for sex workers and forces well-established, general interest community forums offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability for things their users might share…plaintiff[s include] the Woodhull Freedom Foundation…Human Rights Watch…and…The Internet Archive…

License to Rape (#836)

“When the bad guys at Rikers are the guards”, meaning “always”:

…about 50 of the 800 women [caged] at [Rikers Island] at any one time are being sexually victimized by staff — which puts [it] among the top-12 worst jails in the country.  Rikers’ reputation as a brutally Darwinian, scandal-ridden “torture island”, where people who can’t afford bail spend months — and occasionally years — awaiting trial, has been well documented….Although it’s part of the same story of corruption and violence, sexual assault and harassment at Rikers’ women’s facility has received relatively little attention…

Comfort Zone (#844)

Sometimes they don’t even bother with the “sex trafficking” excuse any more:

Police detained 35 foreign nationals suspected of prostitution during a raid at a hotel and bar in central Trinidad…ten men and 25 women, were held…while police suspect they were all engaged in prostitution, they could not charge them for that offence as no one was caught in the act.  Instead, the foreigners, who are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica, were charged for various immigration offences including overstaying their time and entering the country illegally…

All-Purpose Excuse (#846)

Trump’s saying stuff like this will hasten the collapse of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…President Trump [claimed] that the media is enabling human trafficking at the southern border during a speech to a small business group in Washington.  “They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe”…he said, citing no real evidence.  He also [claimed] that human traffickers are using children as “a ticket to getting into the country” and as “passports”.  As is often the case with Trump’s statements, it’s unclear exactly what he meant or how these alleged human traffickers are supposed to be using these kids.  Regardless, it’s the latest in a long line of dubious attempts to tie social and political controversies to human trafficking using weak or non-existent evidence.  [Father]land Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed the president’s hysteria…saying, “We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are in fact a family”…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Ron Weitzer debunking prohibitionist bullshit:

…legal prostitution is not a crazy, fringe idea.  In fact, the American public is much more sympathetic to the idea of it than is commonly believed.  Recent national polls show…support for legalizing prostitution increased from 38 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2016.  And legalization bills have been recently introduced in Hawaii, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.  Anti-prostitution activists claim that legalizing prostitution will increase sex trafficking.  This notion defies all logic.  Organized crime thrives where an activity is criminalized and clandestine, not where goods and services are lawfully exchanged.  The history of alcohol and drug prohibition offers overwhelming proof of this…UNLV…research shows that brothel workers are generally satisfied with their working conditions, do not consider themselves victims, rarely experience altercations with customers, have freedom to choose the kinds of services they provide and are working in healthy conditions…

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The 4th of July is now a memorial rather than a celebration, and the Spirit of ‘76 is nothing but a ghost.  –  “The Spirit of ’76

Humans have a rather pathetic tendency to mistake form for substance, and to confuse symptoms with causes.  So if I had thought about it hard enough, I probably would’ve been able to predict that eventually Americans would realize they were living in a fascist police state, but that they’d do so long after such a state was established and reach the conclusion for completely wrong reasons.  It’s become fashionable to refer to Donald Trump and his government as “fascist” due to his openly-racist rhetoric, but the US government has always been racist since its inception, and as I wrote almost a year ago,

…fascism has a specific meaning, namely rule by a coalition of political, corporate and military or paramilitary interests.  [Americans] seem to think US fascism started with Donald Trump, which is patently absurd.  Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Lawrence Britt’s seminal article on the 14 defining characteristics of fascism; you’ll note that most of these describe American government as far back as the Reagan administration, and a few of them as far back as the FDR administration.

I might also point out that FDR openly admired Mussolini, and Hitler openly praised FDR, right up to the point when that tyrant historians celebrate as one of the “greatest presidents” decided US interests would be better served by joining the Allies.  Furthermore, though the anti-Trump crowd loves to style themselves “The Resistance”, they also unironically talk about government officials committing “treason” (you know, the charge used by tyrannical governments for executing actual resistance members), obsess about Russian agents more than Joe McCarthy did, and blindly support candidates every bit as fascist as Trump (though, admittedly, saner and more polished).  Moronic blue hat/red hat partisanism has rotted Americans’ brains to the point where they actually blame the other party for every ill they can identify, even when a few minutes of research on the internet will demonstrate that our current tyranny is solidly bipartisan.  Our idiotic, shallow, appearance-obsessed culture is long overdue for collapse, and when it does “the ash left behind [may] provide…fertile soil for new (and gods willing, healthier) growth“.  The moribund American Empire will produce no more good in the world except by its collapse and replacement, and though I grieve the innocent blood which will be spilled, it isn’t like US policies aren’t spilling rivers of innocent blood right now.  The sooner it happens, the better for the world; the end of this monster who once promised so much can’t possibly come soon enough.

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