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Collaborating with the police is not something…a mathematician should be doing.  –  Jayadev Athreya

Fallen Idol (#792)

These charges followed the accusations by almost three years:

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women on four separate occasions dating back to 2014…Jeremy…is accused of sexually assaulting two women at a bar in West Hollywood in 2017, and of forcibly raping another woman at that same bar during the summer of 2019.  He is also accused of forcibly raping a woman at a home in West Hollywood…In 2017…more than a dozen women had come forward accusing [him]…of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, nonconsensual digital penetration, and sexual assault.  Most of the women accusing him were in the adult industry…[one of them,] former adult performer Jennifer Steele, [said]…“[He] know[s] if someone’s a porn star and they say they’ve been raped, people aren’t gonna take it seriously”…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously…to repeal the law [against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution]…following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration.  “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said [politician Andrew] Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances”…

Welcome to the Future (#916)

I’m afraid they’ve discovered their moral compasses at least 20 years too late:

…A group of mathematicians in the United States has written a letter calling for their colleagues to stop collaborating with police because of the widely documented disparities in how US law-enforcement agencies treat people of different races and ethnicities.  They concentrate their criticism on predictive policing, a maths-based technique…[that pretends to be able to] stop…crime before it occurs.  The letter, dated 15 June, is addressed to the trade journal Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and…more than 1,400 researchers have now joined the call.  In recent years, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists have been developing algorithms that crunch large amounts of data and [pretend] to help police reduce crime…the mathematicians write in the letter. “It is simply too easy to create a ‘scientific’ veneer for racism”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives aren’t a bug; they’re a feature:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit [cop shop demanding he] come to the station to be arrested.  He thought…it was a prank…[until] he pulled into his driveway…[and] a p[igmobile] pulled up behind, [vomiting out]…two [pigs who then insulted] and [brutalized] Mr. Williams…in front of his wife and two young daughters…[before dragging him] to a [cage and putting his biometric information into a database from which it will never be removed despite the fact that they were trying to frame him for grand theft based on]…a still image from a surveillance video…[which] was clearly not Mr. Williams…his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm…

Working From Home

Most porn performers have long had to supplement film income with outside work:

…When COVID-19 shut down the adult entertainment industry, performers fell back on many of the things they were already doing, creating and selling content directly to their fans.  Realizing professional porn isn’t necessary for a lucrative career, many performers are now making even more money in a safe environment they control…the promise of [higher] payment may not be enough to entice performers back to set.  Three years after allegations of sexual assault enveloped the reputations of James Deen and Ron Jeremy, arguably the most iconic male performers of their generations, new alarms are being raised among female performers…women in the industry are speaking out on social media, exposing a rash of predatory behavior from companies, directors, and in some cases their agents.  Liberated from institutional misogyny, performers are creating content and cashing in on themselves for once, and not without a discernible sense of schadenfreude…

To Molest and Rape (#1047)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A…Harris County [Texas cop attempted to molest]…a teen girl he was assigned to investigate after she was reported as a runaway.  Aaron Isaac Mayes…went to the [girl’s] home…in March…to speak with the girl’s mother…[and] discovered the girl was at home and not missing…the mom [later] told investigators Mayes seemed interested in [her daughter], but [idiotically] believed he simply cared “beyond the scope of the law enforcement duties…in a healthy way”…[but her] daughter…[showed her] screenshots from Instagram conversations…[with] Mayes, which included [dick pics and]…an exchange in which Mayes offered her $80 in cash…[which] Mayes [claimed was] trying to…help her avoid…prostitution [by paying her for sex]…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

A few statistics to further dispel the myth of heroic cops:

…Americans have witnessed video after video of cops assaulting unarmed demonstrators and even bystanders unlucky enough to cross their path…Many try to explain away cases like these as “isolated incidents” carried out by “bad apples”…[but] if anything, most public discussions may be too narrow and myopic to capture how extreme, pervasive, and multifaceted police abuse of power actually is…So far this year, 481 civilians have been shot to death by police in the United States…Since 2015, cops fatally shot at least 352 people who were unarmed (that is, not even possessing a toy, blunt object, or other instrument)…hundreds more civilians are killed by cops every year with taserspepper sprayrubber bulletschokeholdspositional asphyxiablunt force trauma, [pigmobiles] and other causes…Deaths…only represent a small fraction of overall police violence…at least 985,300 Americans experienced non-lethal threats or use of force from police in a single year:…There are also widespread…rapes, sexual assault, and sexual harassment incidents [committed by] on-duty cops every year…many more cases likely go unreported…cops also regularly commit crimes, and carry out violence, when they are off duty.  For instance, rates of domestic abuse are as much as four times higher among law enforcement than in the broader population…The level of aggression cops deploy in an area seems to have no correlation with that area’s level of violent crime—nor does it seem proportional to the actual danger law enforcement agents face on the job…the overall line-of-duty law enforcement homicide rate…[is] 9.74 per 100,000 officers…the homicide rate for men…[in the general population is] 9.5 per 100,000.  That is, police officers were just a little more likely to be a victim of homicide in the line of duty than the typical American male living his day-to-day life…

Diary #522

We spent the past week working on Chekhov’s cottage;  yeah, the bathhouse posts are a little behind, because I knew there would be a lot of fiddly bits that wouldn’t really show in photos that well (and they look like they’ll be catching up pretty soon).  Anyhow, last week we did the floors and doors, then over the weekend we shingled the roof; as I said last week, I’m not especially fond of roofing, and I was even less fond of this one than of the metal ones I’ve mostly done in the past, both because it was multiple stages (boards, underlayment, shingles) and because the roof, designed for Baltic winters, is much steeper than what I’m used to.  So while I usually just use the safety harness as a precaution, this time I could barely move around the roof without it.  But we finished yesterday, and my back is mighty glad of it.  This isn’t to say it was a total slog; on Saturday I even took a short break to socialize with a tiny visitor to the construction site.

Back Issue #84

Many cops are simply not afraid of the consequences of their actions.  –  “LicenseTo Rape

Links #521

I can’t breathe.  –  Javier Ambler

Sometimes it’s difficult to choose which of a musician’s songs to use as a memorial, but this time it was a no-brainer.  The links above the video were provided by I Am Curious Blue, Mark Draughn, Furrygirl, Popehat and Walter Olson, Kevin Wilson, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

Men…want sex. And I want their money.  –  Maggie, a sugar baby

Whimsical Notions

It’s difficult to tease out what actually happened in this incident due to all the dysphemisms, racism, agency denial, “American exceptionalism” propaganda, and pretenses that healthy young men can be ordered to be asexual:  “While the [NCIS] investigated numerous sailors for crimes involving sex trafficking and prostitutes in Bahrain in recent years, Navy prosecutors have struggled at times to win criminal convictions…due to a recurring problem:  the [refusal of] the Thai prostitutes at the center of the cases…[to pretend to be] victimized women…

Drawing Lines

Amateurs’ attempts to draw lines between different “types” of pragmatic sexual behavior are even more absurd when the amateur in question has a PhD:

Although sex is indeed common in sugaring, not all sugar daddies seek such intimate relations.  Similarly, although most sugar babies engage in sugaring in order to meet their expenses, some are hoping for a serious relationship…Self-esteem can be a tricky issue for both sugar babies and daddies.  A sugar daddy does not want to feel like he is a john and a sugar baby does not want to feel like she is a prostitute.  Accordingly, sugaring aims for mutual respect between the partners.  This is reflected in the sugaring terminology of “partner” rather than “worker” and “client”…while people speak about “ordering,” or “going to,” a prostitute, they speak about “meeting” or “dating” a sugar baby.  Maren Scull (2020) has identified a range of sugaring types: at one end of the continuum there is sugar prostitution, and at the other end there is sugar friendship and sugar love.  Scull further claims that 40% of women who have sugared do not have sex with their benefactors—and that those who do often have genuine connections with the men…

“Ordering”.  Like a pizza, presumably.  The later parts of the article reveal that this dude seems to have derived most of his “information” about sex work from prohibitionist talking points rather than by consulting sex workers.

Bread and Circuses

The owner of CityGuide was a fool for not moving both his websites’ and his own domiciles to somewhere outside of the violently-prohibitionist US:

A Bay Area man is…awaiting extradition to Texas, where he is set to face federal charges that [describe ordinary escort advertising sites as “]sex trafficking websites on an international scale[” and include federal prosutors’ disgusting wanking fantasies about…“numerous child trafficking victims”…[Wilhan] Martono first purchased a CityXGuide domain in 2004, but in 2018…he…purchased a domain called “New Backpage”…The websites were set up with physical addresses listed in a Hong Kong apartment, and phone numbers that went back to a property management company there…[but the dumbass sent] wire transfers [back to the US, so]…the U.S. Department of Justice is moving to [steal] the contents of 12 bank accounts…[and] an undisclosed amount of silver bullion…

Business As Usual

All sex workers victimized by cops should sue if at all possible, especially now:

SWOP Behind Bars…caught up with Donah Sandford regarding her federal case against Missouri law enforcement, where [rapist cop] Leon Pullen eventually pleaded guilty to robbing and sexually assaulting escorts…Previously interviewed by FOX Files investigator Chris Hayes, Donah…shares the full story…of her 2009 experience with…law enforcement in St. Louis…

Pyrrhic Victory (#915) 

The word for authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”:

…all-expenses paid [junkets] for [boss pigs and bureaucrats] is one of the ways Nextdoor has been looking to promote its network of online communities to government agencies.  It reflects a trend that’s worrying to civil rights and government accountability experts:  that local [cop shops] and other types of government officials are closely collaborating with private companies whose interests don’t…align with the public’s…Nextdoor and the [pigs, bureaucrats and politicians] it [colludes] with say that close ties between the social media platform and the government can help them [build a more pervasive surveillance system]…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#943)

It’s good to see a lockdown house getting some well-deserved pushback:

…a…lawsuit claims that Sheri’s Ranch misclassified its [legal prostitutes] as independent contractors, and should have instead classified them as employees and paid them in accordance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The [petitioners] claim that Sheri’s Ranch owes unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation to them and…other[s] who join[ed] the case, as well as portions of their tips they were required to give to the Ranch.  Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Sheri’s Ranch filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that its business is not covered by the FLSA because it does not operate in interstate commerce.  The Court rejected this argument, finding the allegations in the complaint that Sheri’s Ranch’s annual sales exceed $500,000, and that its sports bar sells food and beverage products produced outside of Nevada, sufficient to bring the Ranch within the coverage of the FLSA…

Lack of Evidence (#991)

Where “rescued” means “arrested” and “safety shelter” means “deportation prison”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Three addresses in Luton suspected of housing brothels…were [raided] by police…All of the women, who were from Romania, have been [infantilized] as victims of modern slavery and taken to a safety shelter…[pig] Jim Goldsmith, who led the [raid, admitted]: “It can take up to 10 e[pisodes of harassment by] the police…before [women break down and accept the label of] victim…[to make the persecution stop.  Cops] lie to, bully and exploit…sex [workers to destroy their livelihoods], all in the name of [“rescue”]…

You’d be traumatized too, if a gang of rapist thugs invaded your place of business, stole your money, and abducted you.

Bathhouse 5

I guess it’s kind of a tease to share this picture of the foundation of Chekhov’s cottage with you today when it was taken two weeks ago and only looked like this for a couple of hours.  But I wanted to create a buffer against possible delays in the process, and also chronicle every stage of the process.  The cottage kit came with its own foundation joists, and since it’s a European company those boards were of a metric size; we therefore had to set the beams below those joists at the correct height to be flush and level with the framework around it.  We had the first course of logs laid down that same day, but that’s a picture and tale for next time.  What I will tell you is that by the time this is published we’ll have the cottage basically finished and the next set of posts ready to go in so we can get started on the deck proper.

Zeitgeist

As I’ve repeatedly stated over the past ten years, cops are not only not protectors of women; they are an active menace to women.  They regularly stalk and sexually harass women, and that often escalates to rape, a crime for which they only rarely face any consequences even when they don’t claim the rape was “consensual sex“, a “search“, or a “prostitution investigation“.  They beat their wives with horrifying regularity, and have apparently no compunctions against violently attacking or restraining women who pose them absolutely no physical threat.  And yet probitionists want to give these deranged perverts even more power over women’s lives.  For four decades I’ve talked about this, only to be repeatedly dismissed as a crank, a political extremist, or simply a whore with an axe to grind (sometimes all three).  But thanks to the current zeitgeist, it has now become possible for a woman whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill to publish something like this:

…the notion that abolishing the police will have negative repercussions for women radically misunderstands both American policing and sexual violence.  Police abolition need not be considered an abdication of the responsibility to protect women, but rather a way to fulfill it…police…frequently use the privileges and protections of their job to hurt women with impunity.  Police households have dramatically higher rates of domestic violence than other homes, with approximately 40% [beating their wives], compared with roughly 10% of the general population.  Worse, women beaten by cop partners often have no one to call:  the very people they are told to seek help from are the friends and colleagues of their abusive husbands and boyfriends.  And if their abuser is a cop, he has a gun, knows the locations of women’s shelters, and knows how to shift the blame to his victim if she seeks help…The police also have a tendency to commit sexual violence on the job…sexual violence is the second most commonly reported kind of police misconduct…A large, unaccountable group of primarily men, empowered to commit violence to maintain existing hierarchies of power, is not going to end the scourge of sexual violence against women.  As feminists, we must recognize that the police are more likely to hurt women than to help us…

If “feminists” had spent more time listening to sex workers and less gazing into their own navels, they’d have understood that 50 years ago instead of conspiring with armed rapists against other women.  But you know what?  I’m not actually bitter.  I’m just glad these dumb bunnies are beginning to wake up, albeit decades too late.

Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

Diary #521

Last Wednesday we did the roof of Chekhov’s cottage, which is to say he handed the boards up and I screwed them in place with my trusty cordless Hitachi power drill.  I’m going to need to go up there again this week to do the shingles (and you’ll see those pictures in the Bathhouse column, eventually).  I’m not exactly fond of doing rooves, but since we first moved to Oklahoma I keep getting elected to do them because I’m the smallest and lightest.  So, I’m actually kind of an old hand at it now, and I’ll try to get some good pictures when we do the bathhouse roof.  But the really good news from last week is that I was able to get my hair and nails done Saturday!  My own nails seem to have mostly recovered from the weeks of being unprotected by a layer of acrylic, because they’ve finally stopped hurting and I can use them normally again, without having to worry about breaking them or snagging them in my hair or clothes.  And now that we’re in the most anxiety-inducing part of the summer, I need all the help I can get to keep my nerves in order.

Links #520

I can’t breathe.  –  Derrick Scott

A Brave New World radio play narrated by Aldous Huxley himself?  With a Bernard Herrmann score?  Yes please!  The video was contributed by Anarras Ansible, and the links above it by Stephen Lemons, Conner Habib, Popehat, Mark Bennett, Mama Tush, Radley Balko, and Amy Alkon, in that order.

From the Archives