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Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category

I’ve been asked to signal boost two messages for sex workers from organizations in our community, both of which provide opportunities to help yourself and other sex workers at the same time.  The first is about an essay contest from the ad website Slixa:

The passage of SESTA/FOSTA earlier this year…threatens the safety and livelihood of providers all across the world.  In an effort to gauge the impact of this law and how targeted communities might be helped, Slixa is announcing a call for essay submissions about the impact of SESTA/FOSTA, and a $10,000 USD total prize to be shared with the winning entrants and advocacy organizations of their choosing…in an effort to call extra attention to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17th), submissions will be open [today], December 14th, 2018, and we are looking for voices like yours to help us raise awareness, both of the International Day and of the profoundly negative impact of SESTA/FOSTA on our community.  You can find details about the call for entries here, and information about Slixa here

The other is from the ever-awesome SWOP Behind Bars, who has made a deal to supply inexpensive cell phone service that also helps SWOP in its important mission to support incarcerated sex workers!

Our Solidarity Network lets you choose the premium network that is best for your area!  It’s the exact same networks as the “big” providers but for a lot less!

    • Bring your current phone or get a great deal on a new phone!
    • No contract and you can leave any time.
    • Unlimited talk, text, and data.on America’s fastest unlimited network.
    • Taxes & fees included.
    • No surprise fees on your monthly plan bill.
    • Texting & data abroad.
    • Unlimited in Mexico & Canada.

The Solidarity Network lets YOU be in charge of your mobile service! BRING YOUR OWN PHONE or choose from a wide variety of phones on sale at Great prices!

Click here to find out more!

I’m not planning to make a habit of promoting projects in this manner, but a chance for a sex worker to win a cash prize and an easy way for us to help less fortunate sisters are both very good reasons to make an exception!

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I am more frightened of the police than I am of [a rapist].  –  Sipho

Surplus Women 

Stick to sex worker victims, and you can murder as many women as you like without cops giving a shit (or even noticing):

Convicted killer Samuel Little, 78, could turn out to be among the country’s most prolific serial killers in history, and one that, until now, law enforcement didn’t even realize existed…after being convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2014 for three murders in Southern California between 1986 and 1989, Little recently began confessing to dozens more [as part of a bargain in which he will be moved to a prison in Texas].  In total, Little has confessed to killing 90 women  across more than a dozen states between 1970 and 2005…and…the FBI…has been able to link 34 unsolved murders to Little’s confessed crimes…While Little is fuzzy about dates, he has a chillingly detailed memory of…what his victims looked like and how they were killed…Little targeted marginalized women, many of them women of color, and the FBI has admitted that many of the murder cases they’ve linked to Little were not just unsolved, but barely investigated; some of his victims haven’t even been identified.  And although Little, a former competitive boxer, usually beat his victims and then strangled them while masturbating, according to the FBI, “many of these deaths were not classified as homicides [because NHI] but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes”…

Secret Squirrel (#344)

How to totally destroy your relationship with your teen offspring:

…“We offer a variety of options for parents whether they are simply looking out for their teens overall safety or concerned for the teen that may be sneaking out of the house at night or at risk of running away,” a sales video for Florida’s Tampa Bay Monitoring informs prospective customers…Frank Kopczynski, the owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring…also runs Action Plus Bail Bonds…“We provide a bracelet that is near-impossible to cut off,” Kopczynski [said]…[a microphone allows] staff [to] monitor the teen covertly…A competing teen GPS monitoring service says of their systems, “This device is also great if your juvenile goes on spring break!”…Tampa Bay Monitoring also offers an “optional, hardened steel encased security cuff for high-risk teens”…

Property of the State 

People with children are uniquely vulnerable to state coercion:

Child Protective Services workers…pressured a Harris County investigator to file charges against the mother whose case prompted a $127,000 sanction against the agency…Dillon and Melissa Bright [sued the state]…after CPS [abducted]…their children…[using invented claims] of child abuse…Following an October court hearing in which a CPS caseworker repeatedly pleaded the Fifth Amendment on the stand [to avoid admitting prior perjury], the family ultimately won back their kids and last month Juvenile Judge Mike Schneider slapped the state with what may be the largest-ever sanction against the agency.  [The pressure to file further spurious charges started soon after]…

Little Boxes (#576)

US media reporting this fail to mention that many US jurisdictions have very similar laws against revealing clothes for women:

An Egyptian actress [was]…charged with public obscenity after she showed up at the closing ceremony of a film festival in Cairo wearing a see-through dress that revealed the entirety of her legs.  Rania Youssef’s trial, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 12, follows a complaint to the chief prosecutor by a group of [busybody] lawyers…Youssef faces up to five years in prison if convicted…

Sex Work is Work (#603)

Amateurs could learn so much about business from whores:

…Why [do] sex workers show so many more leadership attributes than a business leader?  The answer is straightforward—out of necessity.  A business leader has as many leadership attributes as he needs to have, and…just one or two might suffice…Rarely does he have to be an all-rounder…because he has enough people to cover for him.  The female sex worker does not have this luxury.  Her world is far more complex, much more challenging.  She must deal with emotional, health, and financial crises all the time.  There is the constant threat of violence, and her first mission is really to survive.  She has no power, but still must stay in control.  She has no support system, but she must cope.  She simply cannot win with just one or two shots in her game; she needs a whole repertoire…

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

The only “mistake” here was that the victim wasn’t actually trans:

A woman is suing employees of a Florida jail after they…forced her to spend…[many] hours in a cell surrounded by dozens of men, because they suspected she was transgender…Fior Pichardo de Veloz had come to Miami from the Dominican Republic to witness the birth of her grandchild in 2013, when she was arrested at the airport on an outstanding drug charge…Due to her history of high blood pressure, Pichardo de Veloz was examined by a nurse as a precaution.  The nurse saw she had been taking hormone pills and questioned her about her gender.  Despite Pichardo de Veloz’s denial of being a man, the nurse added a note to her file that read: “Transgender, male parts, female tendencies.”  The nurse notified a doctor, who reclassified Pichardo de Veloz as male without an examination…[she] was transferred to…an all-male jail, and shared a cell with about 40 men, who jeered at her…for 10 hours and said she was terrified to go to the bathroom and “urinated on herself instead”…[when] family members [complained]…she was…given a new examination [while]…several male [cops watched]…laughed at her and…took a photo…

Understand what happened here:  the nurse fully intended to put a transwoman into a situation where she was likely to be raped.  She could easily have determined the woman’s genitalia by examining her, but then she couldn’t have claimed it was a “mistake” to put her with men.

To Molest and Rape 

Can you imagine any non-cop getting only three months for aggravated rape?

A Colorado [pig] who [raped] a handcuffed woman…was sentenced to 90 days in jail followed by four years on probation…His victim was left with PTSD…Curtis Lee Arganbright…[was supposed] to take the woman home [after a minor incident at a hospital, for which the hospital declined to press charges]…on the way to her house…he…stopped his…car…and [vaginally raped] her…on the [hood] while she was still cuffed.  He then…oral[ly raped her]…before [threatening her if she told anyone]…She returned the hospital the following day [to report the]…rape…Addressing the incident when it first came to light in August 2017, Westminster Police Chief Tim Carlson [tried to divert attention from the crime by talking about his sadfeelz]…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

Toasters have no “virginity” and cannot “consent” to anything:

Sex robots [do not exist] at the moment…but [that doesn’t stop reporters from calling sex doll rental arcades]…“robot brothels”…feel out the market in the US and Canada.  But if a [doll] hasn’t “had sex” yet, does that make it a virgin?  A crowdfunding campaign to open the world’s first consent-focused [sex doll rental arcade]…launched by Abyss Creations employee Unicole Unicron last month would argue that it does indeed…a $155,000 funding target [failed miserably by reaching only $2659 even though]…backers [could] pledge $10,000 to be the first person to [masturbate with] a [doll] at Eve’s Robot Dreams…in California…is putting a price on a robot’s virginity really the best marketing strategy for a [fake] brothel that’s focusing on the idea of [fake] consent?…

I’m sorry, that’s all  can quote; it’s just all too stupid even with my extensive editorialization.

The Rape Question (#806) 

Why do men not get that an informal contract without a lawyer witness would offer no protection?

…women [are] being asked to record “consent videos” before having [amateur] sex with men who fear they will be accused of assault afterwards…this then allows the person who recorded the video to use it as “evidence” that their partner gave consent before having sex…barrister Kate Fortescue [said]…”In this digital age, a jury is nearly always asked to look at material from phones and computers to help them decide the issue of consent.  Evidence of pre-recorded consent is clearly relevant and something a jury could consider.  However, even if consent was freely given, such recordings could never provide a blanket defence”…

Seriously, guys, if you’re really this worried just stick to pros and leave the amateurs alone.

The Prudish Giant (#818) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

Curator and art historian Ruben Cordova [foolishly] thought that Facebook was the perfect platform to archive the photographic materials equivalent to almost a decade’s worth of his research.  He created a network of albums, links, commentaries, and comparanda online, sometimes using those resources for his lectures at universities and galleries.  This abundance of scholarship even included materials necessary for Cordova’s forthcoming publication.  But…in the early morning of November 16…Facebook…permanently disabled his account due to an alleged violation of community standards banning sexually explicit content…[because an] algorithm in[correc]tly identified the nude woman in John De Andrea’s hyperrealistic Self-Portrait with Sculpture (1980) as a living human being…the image…was just one of about 240…he uploaded from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s popular Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body exhibition…[and even] included a link to the museum website, which would presumably allow a human moderator to fact-check Cordova’s appeal against his ban…when the art historian did try to appeal Facebook’s decision, he found that none of his messages reached the social media giant through his computer, receiving multiple error messages instead…

Disaster (#829)

We did warn you this wouldn’t stop with sex workers:

Tumblr will permanently ban adult content from its platform on December 17th in [celebration of the infliction of violence on sex workers]…The new policy’s announcement comes just days after Tumblr was removed from Apple’s iOS App Store over a child pornography incident, but it extends far beyond that matter alone…Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations…The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted.  Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos…[existing] posts with [censored] content will be set to private, which will prevent them from being reblogged or shared elsewhere…Users who run adult blogs can also export their content before the change takes place in order to save what they have…Since Tumblr was founded in 2007, it has largely turned a blind eye to adult content…[which made it] a safe place [for gender and sexual minorities] to enjoy, share, and discuss…adult content…

Business As Usual (#845)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

One in three of the 57 sex workers surveyed [in South Africa] reported they had been raped by policemen, and more than half said police officers had demanded bribes from them in exchange for escaping arrest or abuse…From interviews with a further 61 sex workers, the Sonke and Sweat researchers documented horrific examples of police forcing the women to have sex with animals, compelling them to eat used condoms and refusing to assist them after they had reported abuse at the hands of clients…in November 2015, [when] a sex worker…was found dead at “The Bush” [a scrub-covered field where sex workers take clients]…police…refused to take…statements [from her friends]…Instead…the police raided “The Bush” two weeks later, setting fire to their shacks and destroying their personal possessions…

Worse Than I Thought (#852)

While Virginia lags in inventing inflammatory anti-whore rhetoric, it makes up for it by inventing truly awful anti-whore laws:

Members of the Virginia State Crime Commission endorsed a package of anti-sex-[worker] legislation…that would…create “John schools” for people caught [in cop stings] and make it illegal to charge for “masturbatory services”…“Happy endings”…are currently not included in the state’s prostitution statutes, but local governments can individually act to define the transactions as illegal sex acts…[prohibitionists quoted some racist propaganda]…from…Polaris Project [that infantilizes Asian migrant women so as to deny them agency]…Another piece of legislation approved by the commission would create a [new anti-whore bureaucracy]…and…proposed “John schools” [to indoctrinate ordinary men in anti-whore propaganda]…Another…would define [any associate of an underage sex worker] as caretakers…and allow social service agencies to take emergency custody of [those declared] victims, [imprisoning them indefinitely under the guise of “protection”]…

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Melissa Mariposa is an escort and owner of Red Umbrella Hosting; she has also established and improved several other sites to help other sex workers, since our options have been steadily shrinking due to the war on whores.  I asked her to write an introduction to these sites because I’ve seen too many shady operators attempting to capitalize on the panic the US government has intentionally sown in our community.

As someone with an IT background, I knew as soon as FOSTA-SESTA passed that our web presence was in trouble.  Many mainstream web hosts have officially prohibited sex work related content while actually looking the other way, but I thought this might cause a shift towards enforcing those policies — as under FOSTA-SESTA, they become liable for that content.  Without hesitation, I cancelled my next 2 tours, acquired an offshore server, and was up and running before the weekend.  I spent most of my spring both migrating and rebuilding sites from the Internet Archive for those that had lost their free sites without warning, and as I was plugging away, I started to notice a change in ad sites.  EROS was making huge policy changes but staying silent (remember they had been raided six months prior by DHS and which we still do not know what is going on), TER had excluded US providers entirely, P411 was announcing “upcoming changes”.  It seemed our ad market was slowly folding one site at a time.

Then Backpage happened; they operated flagrantly with their servers in Arizona and we all paid the price.  While having an offshore setup does not make you immune in itself, there are definitely ways to maintain anonymity — otherwise  Pirate Bay would not have an almost 20 year running time.   There is a right way to do things, and Backpage did not do it.  At all.  And what I’ve since discovered (to my horror) is that none of the big ad sites in our industry were following the path laid out by internet pirates before us; no one is following best practices for a grey market site.  Not one site.  Most of them are hosted in the US, or they use Cloudflare which is a service that is in no way safe for sex workers.  The most well known escort ad sites grossed in the millions; Backpage made $135 million in 2014 alone, and sites like P411, TER, and EROS are also unquestionably in the 7 figure club.  I naively thought that these multimillion dollar businesses that get so much from us at the very least had a qualified IT person who understood the nature of what they were doing; I was wrong — and in retrospect, I was really fucking stupid to think that.  This was a sharp reminder of what I already knew:  No one is here for us, they’re here to make money off of us.  Sex workers aren’t exploited by our clients, we’re exploited by these sites, and some of the worst actors in this industry have been owners of some of the highest grossing sites.  Why do we put our money in the pockets of pimps and panderers?  Because they make us feel like we have to.  They aggregate false ads from our real ads on other sites, draw our clients in, we think that’s where clients like to look, so we make ads there and give them our money.

So I started looking around for legitimately offshore provider-run ad sites.  I was tired of putting my money in the hands of opportunistic dudebros, people who wanted to make a fast buck and should have known better, but didn’t.  I want to put my money in the hands of qualified women in IT who know our industry, know security, and who work to help us.  What I found was Have We Met, which had been around since 2016 (I was a beta tester, as I love the concept) but with strict policies that hindered them in the pre-FOSTA market.  I decided to reach out the owners (a provider and her partner) and they took me on as a silent partner.  I started implementing small changes to policy and pricing, and after a few months they asked if I would be interested in acquiring ownership of the site.  I happily accepted, and after some restructuring, Have We Met became what it is today:  A place where a provider can create a profile with their stats, website, and photos, and list themselves for free in up to 20 areas.  They can also write one single ad which is automatically listed in whatever areas they choose to list their profile; so if you’re touring 10 cities, you just add those cities to your profile, set up your ad, and the ad is automatically listed in those 10 cities when a client searches for providers — no expiration date.  Have We Met isn’t just an ad site — there is also a dual sided verification feature.  The provider and the client  are both asked eight basic, non-intrusive, non-sexual questions about the encounter involving subjects like punctuality, safety, and hygiene.  This is a checkbox only system with no room for textual fantasies of illegal activity.   After the verification is complete, it shows up on the provider’s profile to show future clients that others have found her to be clean, safe, reputable, and pleasant to be around.  Clients can pay a small fee to show verifications on their profile.  The questions clients are asked seem more helpful than what a simple “whitelisting” or “okay” provides, and I also felt this would provide a nice alternative to reviews whilst providing the assurance clients seek from them.  A “review” on the legal exchange of time for money and nothing more.  Verification without incrimination.

Meanwhile, I decided to also build a simpler site, something familiar which everyone knew the feel of, which could be completely managed from a smartphone because I know a lot of providers who don’t use computers anymore except to advertise.  So SWAN was born:  A familiar-feeling classified system where everything from searching to ad building can be done from the tiny computer in your pocket.  Ads are free, and all upgrades are under $10 (and you just so happen to get $10 credit free when you sign up for the site).  Like Red Umbrella Hosting, these sites require no ID to advertise and take no personal information to get started; they both offer free advertising, with optional paid upgrades with three methods of anonymous payment: physical gift card, crypto, and money order via mail.  I do not wish to tie your work life to your real life in any way; I don’t want your drivers license or pictures of your face with your work name written on it.  Those measures, used by other sites, are overly intrusive and unnecessary.  I have tried to approach building these sites from the angle of, “What do I as a provider want?” as well as asking others.  I welcome all feedback — positive and negative — on all of my offerings so I can continuously improve them.  I want to make tools that people want.

When FOSTA-SESTA hit, some of the popular blacklists began “cleaning up” entries that had titles such as “rape”, changing them to “bad date”.  In fear that we would no longer have an unadulterated blacklist, I set up OurList; I also have a site launching this week called Relax With Me, which you’ll just have to wait and see about (I will tell you that it involves advertising and another non-vulgar alternative to traditional reviews, and will also be free for providers).  Coming up in 2019 there are two large projects on the horizon for my company Trystworthy; Michael Fattorosi has speculated that within the next year our social media options will be gone, and I agree.  So I have been working with another developer on how to best start and implement a new social platform (NOT Mastadon) and am hoping to open something by the end of the first quarter at the latest.  The other project is completely under wraps for now, but you should be hearing something soon; it’s completely different and totally unrelated to any other offering I have and I am beyond excited.  My goal going forward is that I want to continue to offer useful tools to providers in this industry affordably, reliably, and transparently; all sites I build are fully functional for providers without a single dollar invested, and optional upgrades are exactly that:  Optional.  Advertising should not be your biggest overhead, a headache, or something you dread thinking about; it should be the easiest part of your job, and that’s what I am striving to do.   These sites are labors of love for an industry that has given me my entire life.  Building tools for the future is the best way I feel I can “give back”, and I will continue working towards this goal for as long as I draw breath.

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It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these shitheads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart.  –  “Officer” Dustin Boone

I’ve never heard of this composer, either, but his (sadly, very small) body of work definitely needs greater exposure.  The article from which I pulled the video was called to my attention by Jesse Walker, and the links above the video were provided by Patrick NonwhitePopehatTim CushingScott GreenfieldMarijke Vonk, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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The U.S. Attorney made it clear that he intends to put us in prison for the rest of our lives.  –  Michael Lacey

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Liu Aik Kang…[of Singapore] hatched a plan with his cousin and the cousin’s friend to pose as [cops] to [rape] a…[criminalized] sex worker and steal from her.  They…[intentionally] sought out their victim because they knew [she] was [doing sex work]…illegal[ly]…Liu…was sentenced to 14 months and two weeks’ jail for his offences…[after raping the victim] Liu, together with his cousin Hu Zhihao…made off with more than S$8,000 [$5850 US]…worth of [their victims’ possessions], including laptops and cameras…

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult sane-person language, she owned four very ordinary massage parlors:

Dan T. Zheng…of Boston was arrested…and charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution and procuring support for prostitution…for [owning] four massage parlors…Six female victims were also located…police learned that male clients were allegedly being offered, and accepting additional services of a sexual nature following their scheduled massage for an additional fee…said District Attorney Ryan…“The defendant in this case was allegedly using businesses in four communities as a front to provide illegal sexual services for a fee while exploiting the women who were employed by her in the process”…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…several [cops] in Northern California [stole] three pounds of legal marijuana from [Zeke Flatten] during a traffic stop, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit…And he’s not the only one who…was…robbed by a group of [profiteering pigs]…three [pigs] from the town of Rohnert Park and Hopland Band of Pomo Indians pulled him over last December while he was driving through Mendocino County.  The[y]…were not wearing name tags or badges, and [lied that] they…[were] federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…Flatten [foolishly] told the [bandits] about the marijuana and offered to show them his paperwork for it, but they [stole] it and left without issuing him a ticket or running his name to check for outstanding warrants…The lawsuit, citing recent local news investigations, says [cops] from the town and tribe have a pattern of using a lucrative civil asset forfeiture program to shake down motorists for marijuana and cash during traffic stops…

Rough Trade (#351)

Politicians will do anything to avoid decriminalizing women’s sexual choices:

When rape shield laws spread across the country in the 1970s to protect sexual misconduct victims from having their sexual histories used against them in court, women could finally come forward without fearing their “promiscuity” would be paraded in front of a jury…But…stigmas…about…sex workers are still etched into the rape shield statute by treating them differently when they suffer sexual attacks…In New York’s legislative bodies, two bills attempt to address New York’s outmoded law.  One…removes an exception that allows the defense to introduce evidence proving the victim has been convicted of a prostitution offense in the three years prior to the alleged sex offense under prosecution…The other…extends the rape shield protection to cover sex trafficking cases…

Because we couldn’t just make sex work not a crime, no sirree.

Rotting Fruit

But please, tell me again about how the political teams are really opposed:

Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, [including] Bill Clinton and Donald Trump…A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida…For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for…sex…with him and others…in 2007, despite substantial evidence…the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire…that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.  Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved…

The Mote and the Beam (#822)

Since Trump has jumped on this bandwagon, perhaps the soi-disant “resistance” types may start listening to the truth, even if only to spite him:

President Trump took strong action…to hold accountable* those governments that have persistently failed to [persecute sex workers sufficiently to sate US bloodlust]…Specifically, the president will limit the number of national-interest waivers and restrict certain types of foreign assistance for nearly two dozen governments of countries identified as “Tier 3” by the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report.  The report, [a political tool used to blackmail poor countries]…places each country in tiers to [reward obedience to US political pressure]…and urge greater action to [persecute adults for consensual sex]…Tier 3 countries are those that have neither [obeyed] nor made a significant effort to [lock human beings in cages for consensual sex]…this administration will no longer use taxpayer dollars to support governments that consistently fail to [satisfy US puritanism]…

* “Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by totalitarians to mean “persecute under guise of some kind of moralistic rhetoric”.  It’s commonly seen in phrases such as “hold sex buyers accountable”, which means “persecute men for wanting consensual sex”.

Elephant in the Parlor (#847)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since almost the beginning of this:

Stormy Daniels…said she’s unsure if [Michael] Avenatti…will continue to represent her.  “I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice…But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.  He has spoken on my behalf without my approval.  He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes.  He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent.  Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”  In response, Avenatti said..that Daniels paid $100 to retain him, and they agreed any money raised in the legal defense fund would go toward his costs…Daniels’ words came after Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence [in November].  Prosecutors in Los Angeles declined to charge him with a felony, and Avenatti denied ever acting abusively to any woman.  After those allegations, Daniels said she did not condone violence against women and would end her working relationship with Avenatti if they were found to be true…

Censor Chic (#861) 

Remember when people used to believe that Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto was sincere?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest employee uprising at Google, against a search engine and other products tailored for the Chinese government called project Dragonfly.  Workers staged a high-profile…protest [on November 27th] against Dragonfly….[and] raised over $200,000 for a “strike fund”.  This came after a new report confirmed the project and quoted ex-Google engineer and company privacy advocate Yonatan Zunger, who said the company’s privacy and security teams were locked out of key meetings.  Most visible amid Google employee rancor is a statement and petition they posted to Medium…[signed by] 628 [employees]…a leaked confidential memo [reported] that in 2016 Dragonfly was originally “developed as an app for Android and iOS devices, and would link people’s search records to their personal cellphone number and track their location“…

Damned Lies (#866)

Remember the government’s boast that it had censored 90% of sex work ads on the internet, which was already 50% false the day it was made?

Online sex ads plunged in April following Backpage’s seizure and [the enactment of FOSTA]…But a new analysis finds the drop in the number of ads may have been short-lived.  According to…[fascist cop-collaboratorsMarinus Analytics, there were about 146,000 online sex ads posted per day in the U.S. on leading escort websites from mid-September to mid-October — and the company expects the total for this month to be even higher.  In contrast, there were about 133,000 such ads posted on Backpage in the month before its shutdown…Instead of backing away amid the government [jihad against sex workers]…some escort websites…[have moved overseas, safely out of the reach of US busybodies,] and see the Backpage shutdown as an opportunity to expand…

Moronic “experts” quoted in the story also think that the lower response to pig-placed fake ads is due to a reduction in “demand”, when in actuality more men are just learning to exercise due diligence.

Changing the Rules

Michael Lacey tells the story of the government’s war on free speech, with Backpage as the bogeyman:

…strong political currents agitated by Senator John McCain, now deceased, and his beer-baroness wife Cindy — with her high-church hair bun and her wildly exaggerated campaign against child sex trafficking — swamped prosecutorial restraint and common sense.  The McCain medicine wagon hauled out roundheads, god botherers, creeping Jesus crawlers, and magical legislative elixirs meant to banish sex workers.  Cindy McCain, in particular, fixated on trafficking.  She has said that she saw the light during a trip to India, after she purchased some gewgaws for her daughter that she suspected — with no evidence — had been made in a sweatshop.  (Evidently, her inherited riches obviated the need for facts.)  The McCains’ fellow carnival barker, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, supervised the inquisition within the halls of Congress.  Even as the government spends millions of dollars trying to put us behind bars, it has not appropriated a penny to aid sex workers with counseling, education, housing, or job training.  The logic apparently hails from an unpublished Dr. Seuss book that begins: “The ‘world’s oldest profession’ exists because of Backpage, which began in 2004”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#885) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

An Amazon patent application…describes how a network of cameras could work together with facial recognition technology to identify people, and re[port them to the pigs, an application already being tested in Orlando, Florida].  Amazon’s application says the process leads to…more [surveilled] neighborhoods, as well as better informed [cops]…The application describes creating a database of suspicious persons.  Unwanted visitors would be added to the list when a homeowner tags them as not authorized.  Other people could be added to the database because they are a convicted felon or registered sex offender…”The patent is a roadmap for Amazon’s disturbing vision of surveillance in the future,” [said] Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union…”People have the right to go about their daily lives without being watched and tracked”…

Forward and Backward (#889)

Kate Lister of “Whores of Yore” interviews street workers in Leeds:

In 2014, Leeds City Council…designated [a] non-residential area [where] between the hours of 8pm and 6am, there would be no police prosecutions for soliciting or selling sex…a small, but vocal group called “Save Our Eyes” is currently campaigning to have it shut down…[by pretending] that some women are selling sex outside the specified time and place.  Under intense pressure, Leeds City Council has now voted to review the managed approach…But the voices of the women working in the managed area are often missing from the debate over its future…The following interviews are with the street sex workers who work, or have recently worked, within the managed area of Holbeck.  The interviews were secured through Basis Sex Work Project…

“Save Our Eyes”.  In other words, these busybodies are implying that human beings are eyesores.

Toxic Entitlement

It didn’t take long for the “thot audit” to move from a foolish game to an actual threat:

…The harassers [have graduated to] taking advantage of user reporting tools made available by companies like PayPal, Venmo, and CirclePay, in an attempt to force their targets offline and freeze their finances…dozens of…sex workers [have] experienced…harassment and expressed outrage over being banned from multiple online payment service providers…Many of the women…have lost…hundreds of dollars, as most payment companies [steal] whatever funds were stored in the reported account.  Participants in the harassment campaign openly discussed tactics and specific attacks in r/ThotAudit, a public subreddit…Users also posted comprehensive “thot auditing field guides,” including a continually updated list of tens of thousands of potential targets, and detailed instructions for getting sex workers banned from PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Circle Pay, Snapchat, and Kik…

Because of these companies’ long history of stealing money from sex workers under the excuse of “TOS violations”, it’s a bad idea for any sex worker who uses them to leave more than a pittance in any of them.  I suggest transferring large amounts out within minutes of receiving them, and don’t let smaller amounts accumulate to over $100.  That way even if your account is closed, at least you don’t lose any money with it.  You might also consider having two bank accounts, and not leaving more than a token amount in the one linked to any payment processor; transfer anything else to the main account ASAP, and do not link it to any online payment processor.

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The issue with filters starts with the fact that their purpose is to block content.  –  Michael Stabile

They Just Don’t Get It

Pittsburgh-area cops are among the most aggressively ignorant and pompously stupid in the US on the topic of sex work:

Prostitution rings are becoming more sophisticated, and that’s creating new challenges for police…Greensburg police investigators say the internet has [magically transformed into] a vast sea of sex for sale [complete with ships and tentacled hentai monsters]…[unusually stupid pig] Robert Stafford [oinked that]…the sites used to advertise such services…“always seem to be the same website…there always seems to be a drug habit involved”…when [sex workers] are [locked] up [often after being raped by cops], there is a genuine effort to save them from the street and in reality from themselves…

So many dysphemisms, so much bullshit.  “Sophisticated prostitution rings” is the most popular cop excuse for raping sex workers, a practice that Pennsylvania aggressively defends.  As for the bizarre cop fantasy that there is only one ad website, this is the first I’ve heard of it; usually the claim is exactly the opposite, that there are dozens or even hundreds in every city.

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

I’m always glad to see this wannabe savior get egg on her face:

Ashley…Judd’s…anti-trafficking activism [ignorantly and intentionally]…conflate[s] sex trafficking and sex work.  Judd also serves on the advisory council of Demand Abolition…[after a series of ugly anti-sex worker tweets last week] Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform…writing…I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful…Buying sex…commodifies…girls and women’s orfices [sic]”…Unsurprisingly, real-life sex workers took issue with Judd’s numerous…assertions…@BrookeBrou was a vocal participant in the thread, tweeting, “You are harming people with your ignorant ideas about what sex work actually is”…Brou…explained that, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting…What is apparent is that Ashley Judd is not only misguided, but also simple-minded…it looks like Ashley lacks the cognitive ability to fully grasp the complexity of…SW voices and experiences”…

That weird sci-fi “body invasion” nonsense was invented by Gloria Steinem; this isn’t the first time Judd has incompetently parroted it.

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

A strip club defeats part of a stupid “sin density” law:

In New Jersey, clubs and restaurants that do not have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages may nevertheless allow customers to bring beer or wine to consume on the premises.  But they [we]re not allowed to tell customers about that option…until…a federal judge ruled that a state ban on advertising BYOB policies violates the First Amendment…Stiletto, a strip club in Atlantic City…[has no] liquor license…[because] strip clubs that feature total nudity are not allowed to have [one]…New Jersey offered no [defense to the club’s suit other]…than boilerplate about “protect[ing] the health, safety, and welfare of the people…through the promotion of temperance.”  It did not explain how letting people know they can bring their own beer and wine is more likely to promote intemperance than advertising the sale of alcoholic beverages, as businesses with liquor licenses routinely do…

Scapegoats (#15) 

Six and a half years after I first heard the tale, and 15 years after it is supposed to have happened, the story of the “prostitute” orangutan named Pony gets enough detail to tip my opinion from “probably not true” to “probably at least partly true”.  This version of the story actually has the name of a Danish conservationist, Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who cared for Pony after she was rescued from a village near a palm-oil plantation in Indonesia; the story talks about a “brothel” but other details seem to indicate that she was the pet of the whole village, and that the men who paid to fuck her appear to have viewed the experience as a novelty.  It’s in The Sun, which is not exactly known for journalistic rigor; however, there are pictures of the ape and quotes from the conservationists explaining the rehabilitation process.  My guess?  Basically true but embellished to increase luridness.

Monsters 

This could also be filed under “Torture Chamber”, but I suspect she was targeted for being trans:

A transgender woman who died [after being caged by] Immigration and Customs Enforcement…was likely physically abused [by screws]…and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration.  Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez…died on May 25…[from] “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection”…the…autopsy…also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object”…as well as extensive hemorrhaging on [her]…wrists, which…[a]re “typical of handcuff injuries”…

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

A former pastor…kidnapped three women and [raped] two…Thomas Bruce…had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”…[he] posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in [Missouri]…When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce…forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint…he ordered them to strip and “perform…sexual acts on him”…One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce…killed her with a shot to the head.  This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled…

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

Sometimes “sex trafficking” bullshit is too much for even politicians to pretend to believe. The Dallas Morning News printed this “editorial”:

A [pig leader masturbated while fantasizing that]…a person trapped into “the life”…is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.  It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will…unveil…a new strategy…to [persecute peaceful adults using the excuse of]…human sex trafficking…On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation…a new philosophy…will [lock up sex workers and call that]…serving the victims…those who [are labeled] trafficked will face prosecution [anyway]…[blah blah] those who traffic in the sale of human flesh…

While on the same day, the same paper printed this:

…The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.  But the…details were a little murky to some members of the [city] council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee…members…wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place…Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues”.  Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were [except vague statements about]…policy violations, accounting discrepancies…and a general lack of accountability.  But [the names of cops]…accused of violations [are still being hidden and there have been no]…criminal charges…The [old vice pigs]…will not be returning to the unit…council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the [supposed] solutions…

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

Sex work is arguably the single most stigmatized profession in the world.  Add pregnancy and motherhood…and that stigma increases one-hundred fold.  Last year, when Summer Sebastian announced that she would be working at the Bunny Ranch…throughout her pregnancy, it made for international headlines.  [Maxine] Holloway hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already been harassed online by people saying that she’s harming her future child.  I visited Holloway at her home in Oakland, California to talk about pregnancy fetishes, mommy role-play, and the stigma of doing sex work while pregnant…

Opting Out (#822) 

UK politicians have been forced to delay their ridiculous censorship scheme again:

For the past year and a half, the UK government has been promising…a nationwide age verification system that would require would-be porn consumers to demonstrate their adulthood before accessing adult content…A few years ago, the country attempted to block adult sites at the ISP level, requiring users to opt in to access adult content…[of course the censorship software] ended up blocking far more than just porn.  The Digital Economy Act…puts the onus on [websites], who must comply with the policy or risk getting banned by major payment processors.  Yet…the age verification system’s rollout — which was initially scheduled for this past spring — was postponed yet again, as [politicians] continued to grapple with the [impossibility] of creating a system that [censors content for people under 18] without [blocking]…other sex-related content…Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised [censorious] parents an easy way to [maintain] their children’s [ignorance about sex]…while allowing them to freely browse the [rest] of the internet…however, these porn blockers aren’t nearly as…effective as advertised, largely because figuring out what is and is not pornography is rarely a simple matter.  Apple’s recently launched…parental controls…produced results that were inconsistent at best…innocent items like a search for a dulce de leche recipe wound up blocked, as did numerous sex education sites.  Teen Vogue’s entire site wound up blocked, as did sites offering assistance to queer youth…

Disaster (#865)

Even the perennially-obtuse Rolling Stone recognizes that FOSTA has galvanized sex worker activism:

…It wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to [participate in activism]…not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly…Christa Daring, the executive director of [SWOP-USA, says]…“SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it…really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing”…“Now you have coalitions rising of people who care about criminal justice and racial justice and immigration issues all working together,” says [activist Lola] Balcon…“I’ve never seen sex workers begin organizing in the way they did following SESTA-FOSTA,” says activist Siouxsie Q. “Enough was enough”…

End Demand (#872)

At least one journalist at the Graun appears to get it:

…Under the guise of “anti-trafficking” efforts, police practices in northern California and a new federal law have broadly affected adult sex workers both online and in the streets.  The result…is…increased violence and suffering for the very women whom lawmakers [pretend] they are rescuing.  There have been two such anti-“human trafficking” sting operations in Sacramento this year, most recently in August, in which [sows role-play sex workers]…16 men were arrested for soliciting…police also arrested 25 women for “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” or “disorderly conduct”…[spokespigs] insisted the women’s arrests were separate from the stings, even though some happened on the same day and location…But Alix Lutnick, a researcher with RTI International…said that there is growing recognition that john stings don’t actually help victims…The crackdown, in a state that pre[t]en[d]s [to be] a progressive leader in social justice and women’s rights, has come at a time in which sex work is being aggressively criminalized across the US…Democrats in California have spearheaded the [persecution]…Kamala Harris, a rising star in the party, fought for the shutdown of Backpage.com…when she was the state’s top prosecutor…For one woman caught up in the [recent] arrests, police cited as evidence that she was wearing a “lace bralette”, “shorts” and “flip flops” and was carrying four “unused condoms”.  Despite the “trafficking” label, the stings have led to no trafficking charges.  [A] Sacramento [spokespig admitted]…the stings were [really] about punishing “males who were trying to pick up prostitutes”…

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Uranus is truly a mystery.

I ran across this video last week and decided to share it, despite one of them being basically wrong (an asteroid needn’t be a world-killer to wreak serious havoc) and a couple of “Yeah, but..” entries.  The links above the video were provided by Dan SavageLucy SteigerwaldJesse WalkerMistress MatisseMark Bennett, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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