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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

Every so often I like to present a short collection of tweets that you didn’t see unless you follow me on Twitter.  If you enjoy them, you may wish to rectify that situation.

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Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence in March. and the one before that from last December.  But since the US has just seen two unrepentant prohibitionist authoritarians elected to the presidency and vice-presidency – the latter of which founded her national-level political career on censoring sex workers’ advertising and demonizing those who provide our advertising platforms  –  your support is now more important than ever.  If you generally support the “red hat” crew, I don’t need to give you extra reasons to oppose the new regime’s policies; if you generally support the “blue hat” crew, you probably don’t need my urging to oppose policies that give cops more money, power, and excuses to lock people in cages for consensual sex; and if you recognize that the two crews don’t differ by much other than the color of their hats, you’re probably already opposed to the abominable concept that peaceful, consensual acts of any kind can be crimes.  Most of the recent pack of Democratic presidential wannabees, including the new vice-president elect, pretended to accept the need for deciminalization of sex work (even though they really support Swedish criminalization); over 50% of Americans support true decriminalization, and the same elections which resulted in a new president also resulted in a wave of drug decriminalizations and legalizations in many states.  Governments sending brutal thugs to inflict violence upon those who enjoy themselves in ways their overlords dislike is less popular in this country than it has been in a century, so now is the time to push even harder to chip away as much of the edifice of prohibition as possible before the pendulum inevitably begins to swing the other way again.

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It is time that we all listen to the…voices…[of] sex workers. – LaLa Zannell

Paint By Numbers

A permanent dumb “awareness raising” stunt:

Lykins Square Park [in Kansas City]…will be the site of what is likely the first memorial in the nation to victims of sex trafficking…glass artist Hasna Sal dreamed up and executed the memorial, called “Into the Light”…[after] hear[ing and masturbating to]…sex trafficking [fantasies]…Kristy Childs…runs [prohibitionist group] Veronica’s Voice…[and admits] she…calls [all sex work by the dysphemism]…trafficking [but still repeated the Shahada anyhow]…the memorial…is made up of four stained glass panels [which reveal their Christian religious nature by their titles]…Damnation, Isolation, Redemption, and Salvation…

Note that this is just a fancy version of the tired old racist “black man’s hand over white woman’s mouth” image so beloved by the fetishists. Also note (at the link) the pretense that strip clubs only employ girls below 18, and that they “age out” as soon as they’re legal.  These people really do live in an ugly fantasy world.

Legislators Gone Wild (#1028) 

Nevada politicians have accomplished by royal decree what they couldn’t accomplish legally:

…hundreds of legal[ized] sex workers in [Nevada] lost their major source of income when brothels and other businesses [were forcibly] shut down mid-March.  While most other industries have been [allowed by politicians] to resume some level of operations, Gov. has indicated that the state’s brothels are “not on his radar” to reopen [even though other] services allowing physical contact…[such as] tattoo shops, estheticians, and massage parlors [were allowed to] open since May.  Women who work in Nevada’s legal sex industry…[are] being [persecuted] not because of the risk their business poses but because of a bias against their industry…

Social Distancing (#1031)

Swedish criminalization harms sex workers by creating a climate of fear:

It’s a common misconception that Canadian sex workers cannot, or should not, file taxes on their income because their industry exists in what many consider to be a legal grey area, with fears over arrests and other reprisals…[as in the US,] even income from illegal activities is taxable…This year, only those who were able to navigate the tax filing process had access to critical financial support…[but sex worker activist] Valerie Scott…[explains that] the current legal status of Canadian sex workers makes it feel too risky for many in the industry to file taxes at all.  “To be known as a sex worker, to file taxes as a sex worker, to have any information with the government in any form [is] exceedingly dangerous…There are so many ways we can get caught up.  We’re sitting ducks”…

Nonessential

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

Supermarkets in Wales will have discretion to sell [items declared by politicians to be] non-essential…in “exceptional circumstances”, the Health Minister has said, following a major public backlash.  Vaughan Gething said supermarkets would be able to sell non-essential items to customers “in genuine need” during the so-called fire break lockdown…[politicians had at first arbitrarily proclaimed] that retailers allowed to remain open could not sell goods [politicians arbitrarily] deemed non-essential…such as bedding…children’s clothes…and…sanitary products…Gething [bloviated that] allowing non-essential retailers to open would “undermine” [politicians’ totalitarian power to declare some human beings “nonessential”]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#1048) 

45 years after it became their official position, ACLU finally bothers to call for decriminalization:

The…ACLU…[has] released…a comprehensive review of over 80 studies about sex work…show[ing] that full decriminalization has the greatest benefits for public health and safety…The [report]…analyzed studies on…full decriminalization…“Nordic” models…[and] legalization models that require sex workers to register or impose other regulations…ACLU’s [LaLa Zannell said]…“millions of people are asking what we can do to reduce abuse by law enforcement, racial disparities in our criminal justice system, and our overall jail and prison populations…One policy that can achieve all of these goals…is to recognize that sex work is work and treat it like any other industry”…

Quiet Genocide (#1050)

A firsthand account of China’s torture of Uighurs:

Ӧmir Bekali…a…Kazakh [businessman, was]…visit[ing]…his family in…Turpan…[when cops unexpectedly] showed up…to arrest him…he…was thrown into a small…cell…for a week…with no explanation…the room…contained more than 36 others, who, like him, had their arms and legs constantly shackled…“My feet and my hands were tied up with iron shackles and they beat my hands…feet…back and…stomach…They put needles [under] my nails and…iron sticks into my sexual organs”…Police also hung him from the roof of the cell by his wrists so his feet could not touch the floor, and later smashed his knuckles with hammer-like instruments…he…was [then] moved to a…prison camp…[for] seven months…with no access to lawyers, phones to contact his family with, nor any real explanations for his arrest.  In November 2017, he was transported to…a…”re-education camp”…there are 40 people to a 16 square-metre room…Twenty-four hours a day, prisoners are shackled.  Iron chains are tied around their necks, fixed to loose iron blocks that…weigh around eight to ten kilograms, forcing [them] to always be hunched down…prisoners…are woken up at 5am and given a meagre serving of bread and soup.  They are then forced to repeatedly sing songs which praise the Chinese Communist party…and…Xi Jinping personally…As Ӧmir often expressed his discontent with his arrest, he found himself tortured once again.  He…was beaten “half to death” and made to stand facing a wall for twenty-four hours without food or drink on some occasions…After 20 days, Ӧmir was finally released…[thanks to] his wife…pressur[ing] two Kazakh Ambassadors to finally [intercede for him]…

Lack of Evidence (#1051)

The only “evidence” these racist sociopaths need is being Romanian:

The trafficking of Romanian women into the UK sex trade has reached an “industrial scale”, [prohibitionists fantasize]…Scottish Community Safety Minister Ash Denham…[participated in a circle-jerk] with Romanian…[prohibition]ists…[misogynist] group UK Feminista…[prohibitionist politician] Diana Johnson…and [other assorted masturbators, fascists, control freaks and busybodies from both] the UK and Romania…[The participants shared a lot of nonsensical claims supported by bogus] research.  Last month 24 people were arrested in the UK and Romania in a Police Scotland-led operation.  Dawn raids [and massive robberies] were carried out [and justified by calling the victims a] gang…

Sometimes prohibitionists openly admit that “sex trafficking” is nothing but a dysphemism for “sex work”.

I Spy (#1057) 

Remember, Twitter claims this surveillance isn’t surveillance:

Dataminr aggressively markets itself as a tool for…police[-statery]…using sophisticated machine-learning algorithms…[tha]t company insiders say…[a]re often nothing more than garden-variety racial profiling, powered…by a small army of human analysts conducting endless keyword searches…Dataminr…has…relied on prejudice-prone tropes and hunches to determine who, where, and what looks dangerous.  Through First Alert, its app for public sector clients, Dataminr has offered a bespoke, scariest possible version of the web:  a never-ending stream of notifications of imminent or breaking catastrophes to investigate.  But First Alert’s streams were assembled…by teams of “Domain Experts”…hunting social media for danger and writing alerts for cops’ iPhones and laptop screens…these staffers…were pressed to search specific neighborhoods, streets, and even housing complexes for crime…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#1083)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

Indiana State Police [once again tried to foment hysteria by telling] parents [there might be] marijuana edibles in their children’s Halloween candy…Police [pretend] that [adults never like sweet things] so…marijuana…candy…is [therefore some kind of intentional deception intended to ensnare penniless brats for some inexplicable but nefarious reason]…

Once again: nobody is going to give expensive cannabis edibles (which can cost $2 to $3 or more per piece) to your spawn for free.

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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The law punishes sex workers…and…turns us into criminals.  –  Mai Junta

The Immunity Syndrome (#318)

Don’t try to imagine this in the US; you’ll overload your brain:

On a stage…in Copenhagen stood five adults in bathrobes…Facing [an audience of] children…they stood completely naked, like statues, with their hands and arms folded behind their backs.  And so began a recording of the latest episode of an award-winning Danish children’s program, Ultra Strips Down, which is shown on…the…children’s channel…the program is meant as an educational tool to fight body shaming and encourage body positivity…The program is now in its second season, and…is highly popular in Denmark…[except for the usual puritan minority.  Most] Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life…

Dysphemisms Galore 

When the topic is sex, Philippine reporters seem even less able than most to write In normal adult sane-person language:

With nightclubs closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus…there has been a dearth of customers for commercial sex workers, according to [Iloilo City’s] Task Force on Morals and Values Formation.  Suffering a heavy economic beating from the pandemic, this city’s prostituted women and men…have left, said task force chief Nestor Canong…Workers in the flesh trade were suddenly faced an awful choice between livelihood and health…[blah blah] sex workers…spread…[disease]…

What kind of mind thinks a busybody brigade called “Task Force on Morals and Values” would have anything worthwhile to say about people whose lives are so alien to them they need to make up silly fantasies about them?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#1017)

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sex workers in Thailand have launched a petition calling for prostitution to be decriminalised and urging authorities to remove all penalties for selling sex.  Empower Foundation…said it hoped to collect 10,000 signatures and present the petition to parliament…More than 1,000 people had signed the petition [in its first three days]…activists say the current law, which made prostitution illegal in 1960, [harms]…sex workers…w[ith] repeated arrests and fines [that]…drive…them further into poverty.  The women’s affairs department at Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security said it was in the process of amending the prostitution law and would launch an online public hearing next year, without giving further details…

Disqualified

A report by Hacking/Hustling on shadowbans and similar policies:

Content moderation, censorship, and shadowbanning facilitate sex worker erasure and normalize the digital and physical oppression of sex working and [activist] communities.  Sex workers are disproportionately losing access to social media platforms, having bank accounts seized, being banned from major payment processors, and being used as test subjects for facial recognition databases…This research shows how communities are negatively impacted by content moderation practices, and how surveillance technologies disrupt their ability to both earn an income and organize…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Trumpists are completely taking control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

…the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target [migrants and sex workers for increased persecution using the same old excuse of] human trafficking.  The money will [mostly] go to [vice cops]…and…[prisons.  Attorney General William] Barr made the announcement…with pr[ohibitionist] Ivanka Trump and [infantilized sex workers as] “boys and girls”…

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Of course, the non-wealthy victims of this illegal surveillance still had their lives ruined:

After nearly two years, Florida prosecutors are finally giving up on prosecuting…Robert Kraft for [consensual sex]…Florida cops had pretended to be hunting a “human trafficking” ring in order to get a warrant for the secret surveillance cameras…authorities went forward with the “trafficking” lie…and…a…local sheriff called the [arrest of adult women]…”a rescue operation”…now, those “rescued” women may be the only ones still in legal trouble…Hua Zhang, the 59-year-old owner of Orchids of Asia…41-year-old Lei Wang…and…60-year-old Shen Mingbi…[are still] charged with…[various] prostitution[-rated “crimes”]…Zhang and Wang [were] also [robbed by cops using “asset forfeiture” laws]…

Tissue of Lies

Looks like Michael Hobbes has joined the debunkers’ club:

The biggest problem, I’ve found, is the definition of “child sex trafficking” itself. Under the law, anyone under 18 who trades sex for money, drugs, a place to stay or anything else of value is a victim of trafficking.  They don’t have to be recruited by a pimp, moved across state lines or forced into prostitution.  A homeless runaway having sex with some sleazeball in exchange for a warm bed is a tragedy, but it’s a less salacious one than the Taken myths that trafficking memes circulating on social media imply…The internet is awash in exaggerated, misleading and downright fabricated numbers about how many children are forced into the sex trade every year.  This is my attempt to debunk all the false trafficking numbers…

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It’s awful to think how disposable [migrant] women are.  –  Linda Corchado

To Molest and Rape (#996)

The state is more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman:

The family of a woman whose [corpse was molested] by an…L.A. [cop]…is suing [both] the [molester] and the city of L.A.  The family of Elizabeth Baggett notes that [necrophile cop] David Rojas already has been charged criminally in the case, and that his own body-camera footage…captured him in the act…the lawsuit…[was filed by celebrity] attorney Gloria Allred…

Torture Chamber (#999)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

[Screws] in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and [raped] inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation…the [screws favored attacking women]…in areas of the [cage stack] not visible to security cameras…[any] complaint…[results in faster] deportation…[three] women [so far]…have come forward with abuse allegations [and]…at least one [more] was deported after [reporting] a [screw had raped] her…the[se]…are [only] the latest…sexual abuse complaints related to [cage stacks] run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year…About 14,700 [of those caged people reported] sexual and physical abuse…between 2010 and 2016…in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman [reported] that she…and two [other] female [captives] were moved to an isolated cell…[where] they [were] raped and beat[en by masked screws, then]…bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault…one…wom[an who escaped the cage]…because of a medical condition…told an attorney that…guards encouraged women to sign up for anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area [where they can rape them]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1017) 

Remember this when cops start bloviating about how they use the technology to catch “dangerous criminals”:

The NYPD [em]ployed facial recognition technology in its [recent st]unt [targeting] a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, whose home was besieged by dozens of [pigs] and…dogs…Derrick Ingram, the 28-year-old co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, was targeted by [thugs] in riot gear during an hours-long NYPD raid on August 7th…[using the excuse that a sow’s dewicate widdle ears got an ouchie from his using a bullhorn] during a June protest against police brutality.  More than 50 [pigs mobbed] his…apartment, shutting down his street and urging him to voluntarily surrender [for beating and caging], as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead…a spokesp[ig oinked]…that facial recognition software was used…to…”compar[e] a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos”…[but] the NYPD’s photo of Ingram appears to be taken from his Instagram page.  It’s unclear how a social media post would constitute either a surveillance video image or an arrest photo…“the tools that are sold to the public as a way to fight terrorism and violent crime [are] being used to silence dissent,” said Albert Fox Cahn…of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “We would never have seen this level of police response for using a bullhorn if the message hadn’t been one opposed to the NYPD”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1019) 

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

…ICE [recently] signed a contract with…Clearview AI…[in order to expand its] use [of] facial recognition technology…the agency, along with the FBI, ha[s long] accessed state drivers’ license databases…without the knowledge or consent of drivers…Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That…[responded to requests for comment by vomiting up wanking fantasies about “sex trafficked”]…children across the country”…Federal records also show Clearview signed a $50,000 contract with the US Air Force in December…Several tech companies have sent cease and desist orders to Clearview requesting it remove any data culled from social media posts. And the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1021) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

On July 31, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)…Campbell…was hired to work at Centerfold [in 2018] as an independent contractor, but weeks later the club management discovered her blog, stripperlaborrights.com, and the cases she’s brought against multiple past clubs where she worked.  Management fired Campbell for violating “no touching” laws—which courts later decided was a discriminatory firing…

Working From Home (#1031)

Indian sex workers, like their US sisters, are going online to survive:

…”floating” sex workers…used to travel regularly from the hinterland to Asia’s biggest red light area–Sonagachi–in north Kolkata…But in the past four months since the Covid-induced lockdown began, these floating sex workers have been reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence.  Trains are yet to resume services and travelling in private vehicles like vans and buses is expensive.  The brothels too are yet to resume business; the 7,000-odd sex workers who live in the red light area are managing somehow by providing “virtual” services online and with rations and other assistance from sympathisers…[but] for the…4,000 or so who commute to the city, their lives have become [more] challenging…The “high-class, A category” sex workers, who used to charge between Rs 25,000-30,000 a night, are now happy to negotiate for Rs 5,000 for it is important for them to stay in the business, pamper the clients.  They have spacious rooms and independent arrangements and can cater to whatever the clients demand…But for the “floating”…getting an independent space to operate is difficult…

Social Distancing (#1044)

New York apes Scotland’s approach to “helping” sex workers:

The [New York] City Council tucked $4.1 million in the 2021 pandemic-influenced budget to “support people involved in the sex trade.”  But sex workers [won’t]…see…any of the funds…none of the groups and agencies [receiving the largesse]…are run by sex workers.  And [in fact most are prohibitionist gangs]…that…don’t [even] recognize sex work as legitimate employment…As COVID-19 disrupted the industry and forced would-be customers to stay home and social distance, sex workers were left without…income and [deemed] ineligible for government unemployment relief…The organizations that got funding, ranging from $85,000 to $650,000…[largely] focus on [working with cops to harass]…sex [workers]…and [target them for arrest and forced brainwashing]…

Social Distancing (#1055)

A “compromise” only bureaucrats and politicians could find reasonable:

Berlin’s brothels were [finally] allowed to reopen…months [after similar businesses such as hairdressers, massage parlours, gyms, tattoo shops, and saunas] – but [intercourse] is [still verboten by diktat]…clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with [hand jobs] until regulations are further relaxed in September…In July…[sex workers] staged a protest outside the Bundesrat upper house of parliament in Berlin, complaining that [discriminatory] restrictions were preventing them from making a living [legally]…

To Molest and Rape (#1060)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

The former head of the Boston police union…sexually abused a girl over five years, beginning when she was 7.  Patrick M. Rose Sr…[repeatedly molested] a [now] 14-year-old girl…from the time she was 7 years old until she was 12…Rose…[tried to] flee…[but was caught when] State Police [used software to access the location data from] his phone…and [caught him at] a Needham [Massachusetts] hotel, where they arrested him [last week]…Judge Kathleen Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered that Rose wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from the alleged victim and other children under 16, and surrender his passport, any guns that he might have and his license to carry a firearm…

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What seems obvious to citizens is far too often deliberately unclear to government agencies.  –  Tim Cushing

Negative Secondary Effects

Busybodies are trying to ban dancing by cribbing language from the federal “obscenity” test:

The city council of Drain, Oregon passed new regulations…with the specific purpose of outlawing a…[strip club by] introducing business licenses to the city’s Code of Ordinances…[and adding a] new pro-censorship ordinance [featuring nonsense about]…”public morals, public safety, public health and public convenience”…and…“public nudity…appeals to the prurient interest…and…lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…Ray Hacke, an attorney with the…religious [pro-censorship] group Pacific Justice Institute [bloviated that]…“an adult entertainment business has no business…next to a church…[or] any place where children congregate…These places do [magically] attract sexual predators”…

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

Last month Kiwibank rolled out a “responsible banking policy” stating that it would no longer deal with any companies involved in [fossil fuels] and blacklisting the adult entertainment industry, casinos, military grade weapons, synthetic drugs, palm oil, tobacco and predatory lending.  But after representations from the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Kiwibank agreed to work with strip clubs and brothels that could demonstrate good practice.  The NZPC argued that banning brothel owners would have a flow-on effect to the people who worked for them.  Since then, [prohibitionist group] Wahine Toa Rising has written to Kiwibank applauding its initial commitment to [misogyny and discrimination]…and asking them to reconsider.  Kiwibank is still considering its response…

Even in New Zealand, the yellow press colludes with prohibitionists.  From the headline claiming that bigotry and dicrimination are “principled”, to the mischaracterization of a rescue-industry organization employing paid “survivor” shills as a legitimate sex worker group, to the prohibitionist propaganda which makes up the bulk of the article, to the Swedish criminalization snake oil, to the ugly prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies such as “the majority of sex workers…[were] sexually abused as…child[ren]”, this garbage would be more at home in a US tabloid than a New Zealand website purporting to be a news magazine.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#938)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

BammRose…is…the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry. In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against…racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to…hire Black dancers…and give them profitable shifts…At the root of the strippers’ strike is a demand for better, safer working conditions, fair wages, and protection from sexual assault…

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

[The Michigan supreme] court…[ruled in favor of] two plaintiffs suing…Oakland County…[over its] forfeiture policy…a…tax lien…[was] put on [Uri Rafaeli’s] property when…he…[underpaid his property taxes by] “$8.41 in…2011, which grew to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees. Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew Meisner…foreclosed on Rafaeli’s property…sold [it] at public auction for $24,500, and retained all the sale proceeds”…the county turned less than $300 in delinquencies into a $24,200 profit…Another property owner, Andre Ohanessian, saw $6000 in taxes, fines, and fees turn into a $76,000 net gain for the county when it auctioned his property for $82,000 and kept everything…

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

I can’t tell you how satisfied I am that Trumpaloons are taking over “sex trafficking” hysteria:

a [Facebook] post shared over 1,000 times reads…“Did you KNOW that a child in AMERICA is over 66,000 x more likely to be human trafficked than to get COVID-19?”  Similar [Facebook] posts contend that upwards of 800,000 children go missing every year, and that mask-wearing makes a child more likely to be trafficked.  These posts also criticize government officials and businesses for promoting mask use, [fantasiz]ing they are endangering children.  “We have now COMPLETELY taken away identifying our children’s faces.  We’ve made it much easier on these child abductors and human traffickers!” a post shared almost 8,000 times reads…“A child is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19,” another post shared 2,000 times reads. “In addition, your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone”…

Best part: the article then goes on to attempt to debunk these hysterical fantasies while simultaneously wallowing in other claims nearly as wacko as “masks cause sex trafficking!”

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

A would-be class action lawsuit alleges that the Macy’s department store chain violates Illinois law when it identifies customers recorded on its surveillance cameras by using facial recognition software…the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…bars some private companies from obtaining scans of facial geometry without written consent.  Macy’s uses software provided by Clearview AI Inc., which scrapes data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other internet platforms…Clearview…provides facial recognition services to more than 200 corporate clients, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart.  Some of the companies used the software on a trial basis, but Macy’s is a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000 searches…

Top Cop (#1062)

This psychopath is only two steps from the power she so desperately craves:

Joe Biden announced [last week] that he had picked [Kamala] Harris to be his running mate as he seeks to become the next president of the United States.  The good news is that it keeps Harris—who has a long and authoritarian history on criminal justice issues—far from the [post of] attorney general…[where she] would have the potential to do much more damage than as vice president.  The bad news is that it puts Harris next in line for the presidency should anything happen to [the man who would be the oldest ever elected to that office] and sets her up nicely for a future presidential run.  In Harris, we would get a leader with President Donald Trump’s penchant for unchecked executive power and modern Democrats’ tendency to consider no issue outside the reach of government.  The pick is somewhat surprising…[considering] Harris’ backhanded busing stunt during the Democratic candidate debates last summer, and…[her] troubling history…[on] law-and-order issues [for which she] is despised…by many young left-of-center voters…That’s a particular liability as Americans streets are still erupting with protests over police violence and calls for criminal justice reform…

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Diary #527

Are you familiar with the Ameraucana breed of chicken? It’s an ornamental variety, bred because it produces blue- or green-shelled eggs.  When I was buying chicks a few months ago, Jae wanted one, and she finally started laying last week (a month behind the layers, but that’s not surprising because that’s what they’re bred for).  It’s so nice to have fresh eggs again; we’re up to about a half-dozen a day, enough to have all we want and still give plenty away.  And until they reach full maturity, there’s all kind of crazy variation in size, shape and even contents (we’re getting several double-yolked ones a week, and they’re always obvious because they’re much larger than other eggs).  A few green apples are starting to fall off the trees, too, and Orville seems to like them; I’ll wait until they’re ripe to eat any myself, thanks.  And I think I’m going to get a cider press this year, too.  Right now I’m really busy with building the extension, but that should (knock wood) be mostly done by the end of the year, and then I can settle down into a mostly sedate rural life, running into town for appointments with regulars and continuing my writing and activism from here.  It’s not really a lot to ask for the latter days of a very tempestuous life; I only hope the gods, the Fates and the world agree to let me have it.

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I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  –  “Ninth Anniversary

Ten years is a long time for one human to do anything without a break, much less publish a blog post without missing a single day.  But then, I’ve never been one for taking breaks; I’ve always considered them little more than a delay in whatever it is that I’m doing.  And when that “whatever” is fighting a war for self-ownership and human rights…well, as the epigram says, I’m not sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  Certainly, I’ve slowed down; when I first started this blog a decade ago, I used to publish an all-new essay every day, and the essays were much longer on average.  But as I exorcised at least a little of the righteous fury which fuels my activism, and my other activities expanded to take up more of my time, I was forced to fill an increasing number of daily slots with shorter, easier-to-write posts.  Only two days in the average week now see original essays, and I feature a lot more of what most would consider typical blog posts than in the past.  On the other hand, I’ve written lots of non-blog articles for magazines, books, etc, and I’m about to publish my fifth book; I’ve also got a documentary called The War on Whores and I give dozens of interviews for articles, radio, video, and TV every year, plus more public appearances than I can count.  So even though my blog isn’t growing as quickly as it once did (and, thanks to Google’s censorship, is seen by fewer new readers than in times past), my public presence is still growing.  And given that all of that public presence is dedicated toward fighting for my cause, I would consider that a win.

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