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Posts Tagged ‘asset seizure’

Hotel…staff are being told to imagine that sex slavers lurk behind every pair of big sunglasses.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Wise Investment 

Even though we’re going to lose many of these, lawsuits are for the present our best weapon against prohibitionists:

A Colorado industrial hemp company filed a federal lawsuit…against the Idaho State Police after its 6,701 pound shipment was seized during a stop in Boise…The company’s driver was…arrested for…trafficking marijuana from a farm in Oregon to a distribution center in Colorado…the seizure and arrest were both unlawful due to the 2018 federal farm bill and that the goods being transported were hemp and not marijuana…Both plants fall under the cannabis family, though Congress approved the industrial use of hemp last year in products such as clothing, biofuel, building materials and paper…a…spokes[pig bloviated that]…Idaho law recognizes both hemp and marijuana as illegal…[but] “The 2018 Farm Bill prohibits states from blocking the transportation of industrial hemp in interstate commerce…states cannot prohibit the shipment of a legal good through interstate commerce”…

The More the Better 

Every debunking of anti-whore BS helps:

Misha Mayfair, a former cam girl turned porn performer…struggles with the discord between what she sees in the media, and what she experiences on a day-to-day basis.  “People really have this strange, falsified fantasy world that they think porn exists in,” she tells me. “They think it operates in this world where Taken has happened: they imagine that it’s all blonde girls who have been dumped into car boots and stolen by local Albanian men… It’s like: do I live in the same reality as everyone?”  Mayfair debunks some of the most frustrating myths she’s come across so far…

The Missing Word 

That word appears only in a tag hidden way down at the bottom:

The Telegraph talked to 22 Nepali and Bangladeshi employees of Karex’s condom and catheter factories…Despite the products they produce being supplied to some of the world’s biggest and most “ethically conscious” brands, all told similar stories…workers were living in cramped and undignified conditions, housed up to 12 in a room in damp and unhygienic dormitories.  For £9 a month deducted from their wages, workers in Pontian received half of a steel bunkbed – but no mattress – a piece of string on the grimy wall for a wardrobe, access to a filthy, broken toilet, and a kitchen consisting of two gas burners…In Port Klang, a dormitory of 12 workers seen by the Telegraph was more hygienic, but still devoid of basic facilities.  In one corner stood a makeshift dining table crafted out of scrap plywood, with upturned buckets as chairs…Karex produces five billion condoms a year, accounting for roughly 15 per cent of the world market.  It has a turnover of nearly £70 million and it’s senior director, Goh Siang, is listed as one Malaysia’s richest men…On the company website, a corporate video claims the firm is “helping humanity one condom at a time”.  It describes itself as a “champion social responsibility and sustainability”…

Schadenfreude (#766)

“Elijah Rising” profits from anti-sex hysteria by taking busloads of yokels around Houston to gawk at street workers and the outsides of strip clubs:

…Elijah Rising…lead[s an] hours-long [expedition to annoy sex workers]…once-a-month…[one of them fantasized] “A lot of these women here are being trafficked…They came over (from Asia) and they were expecting a job…But now because of the papers they have, the person who brought them here is kind of in control of that whole situation.”  Vanessa Forbes, inter[ference] coordinator at Elijah Rising, said…”Everyone goes out of their way to find the missing 17-year-old suburban white girl, but let’s talk about the women who are here in the middle of our neighborhoods who [do really mundane work]…They are hidden in plain sight.  They are [not] overlooked [by cops looking for low-hanging fruit].”  While efforts by community groups to bring [foment hysteria around imaginary] human trafficking…have been successful…not all law enforcement believe the [propaganda they’re continually fed]…

Most of the story is just pigs oinking about their fascist collaborations with private companies and other pig gangs.

Disaster (#844)

I love seeing tyrants hoist by their own petard.  Due to the omniprevalence of the “sex trafficking” paradigm, cops are forced to call ordinary street work “sex trafficking” and thereby admit the dismal failure of prohibition:

Violent crime is way down in San Francisco…But…police recorded a 170 percent jump in reports of human trafficking in 2018.  The huge spike appears to be connected to the federal shutdown of sex-for-sale websites…But [using prohibitionist lies that] Backpage was linked to sex trafficking of underage girls, [politicians] in Washington voted almost unanimously to [give themselves the long-desired power to censor the internet]…“It has suddenly re-empowered this whole underclass of pimps and exploiters,” said Pike Long, deputy director of St. James Infirmary…Long estimates the number of street-based sex workers has tripled…

The article also features a spokespig making the outrageous lie that “abatement” means helping the thing that is supposed to be “abated”.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#867)

Yet another “Uber for escorts” app; I’ve never heard a single good thing about any of these:

Escort booking app Smooci is finally coming to the UK…London will be the seventh city in which it operates…[starting] on 14 February.  Other cities…include Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Manilla.  Currently the only European city covered is Berlin (and there are only three escorts registered there so far) but Amsterdam will also follow suit with its own launch in February.  The app promises to make escorting safer for both parties, using a two-way rating system…Buyers can see when escorts are available, check their ratings, chat to them and negotiate service requirements…Smooci does not take a cut from the transactions.  Instead it’s primarily by a premium membership tier, functioning in a similar way to many dating apps…

Micromanagement (#881)

Any new technology which can be used to spy on you, will be:

Family Tree DNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives, is working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database…Federal and local [cops]…have used public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases, including the landmark capture of the [cop who was the] Golden State Killer, but the cooperation with Family Tree DNA and the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to voluntarily allow [pigs to root through] its database…

Hard Numbers (#884)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

July 3 this year will be the 30th anniversary of the release of the final report from the Fitzgerald Inquiry, a judicial inquiry that found systemic corruption among Queensland Police in relation to organised sex work…The now infamous report concluded that arguments by police for special powers and a sex work-related police squad were unjustified.  Yet, 30 years later, Queensland Police…still ha[ve]…extreme powers in relation to sex work…Imagine running an independent business where it’s illegal to contact a colleague to let them know a client has arrived or left.  It’s also illegal to work with another colleague, employ a receptionist to manage your calls, use a driver that a colleague recommends, or describe the services you provide in your advertising…Every day we choose between working  safely or legally…Police look through sex worker advertising…searching for an incorrect word or banned acronym.  Finding such a breach triggers their ability to gain a warrant, set up a stingpose as a client, make a booking, turn up at a sex workers’ workplace,  pressure sex workers to agree to sex without condoms or other protection, and seek evidence for further charges.  The evidence they are looking for includes: text messages to other workers about clients or bookings, proof of assisting colleagues with advertising, evidence of a receptionist, or the sharing of phones or accommodation…

Pyrrhic Victory (#885) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

Municipal [politicians] in San Francisco unveiled an ordinance proposal…that, if passed, would make the city the first in the country  to completely ban government use of facial recognition systems.  The bill would also establish an audit system for agencies acquiring any surveillance technologies.  “The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring,” the proposed legislation reads…

A Mound of Filth (#907) 

“Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s creepy, racist BDSM fantasies are getting out of control:

Cindy McCain was heard in a radio interview…claiming she stopped a human trafficking incident at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, but Phoenix police has debunked that claim…“I spotted…a woman of a different ethnicity than the child…[so] I went over to the police and told them what I saw, and they went over and questioned her, and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”  McCain [also fantasized] that she discovered the woman was waiting for the man who bought the child to arrive from his flight…Phoenix police said…that while [cops] did respond to the Jan. 30 call…they were able to determine “there was no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment”…

In McCain’s world, mixed-race families deserve to be harassed by cops for making racists uncomfortable.

Signs (#909) 

The unsinkable Liz Brown with a deep dive into hotel “sex trafficking” surveillance:

…the surveillance tactics that have been adopted by hotel chains are part of a disturbing partnership between hospitality businesses, federal law enforcement, and rent-seeking nonprofits that increasingly seeks to track the movements and whereabouts of people, especially women, all over the country.  Under pressure from the federal government and driven by persistent myths about the nature and prevalence of sex trafficking, hotel chains like Marriott have become the new frontiers of the surveillance state.  Like the indiscriminate spying campaigns that grew out of the 9/11 attacks, it’s an effort based on panic, profiling, and stereotypes, and it is nearly certain to ensnare more innocents than it helps…these efforts have largely wound up as law-enforcement-driven attacks on sex workers and their clients, on immigrants, and on other members of marginalized communities…Many of these efforts fall under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Blue Campaign,” which has been in place since 2010…as an update to the war-on-terror surveillance systems developed under the George W. Bush administration.  It relies on tactics adapted from “If You See Something, Say Something“…

Stupor Bowl (#909)

As the myth implodes, you’ll see ever more rats deserting this sinking ship:

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said that…claims of multiple sex trafficking arrests in the city of Atlanta during that period were not…true…the Department of Homeland Security announced that 33 people had been arrested for sex trafficking in the Atlanta area.  When asked about those arrests…Shields was far more particular with her wording. She pointed out that the APD works with the FBI on the Match Task Force to arrest sex [workers]…on a year-round basis…”it was not sex trafficking victims in Metro Atlanta, because I think that label is unfairly applied to this city”…

A Woman’s Point of View (#910) 

More on the new organization “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

In response to the new federal law that resulted in widespread censorship of websites…a new national organization has formed to repeal this law and decriminalize sex work nationwide.  The mission of Decriminalize Sex Work – a new national organization with offices in AustinNew York City, and  Washington DC – is “to end the prohibition of prostitution in the United States.”  The…national strategy is to inform the public about the harms caused by prohibition, with a focus on lobbying state governments to remove penalties for adult prostitution and all other forms of consensual sex work if conducted in private… “Dozens of allied organizations are already doing great work advocating for decriminalization,” said Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for Decriminalize Sex Work. “What makes our organization different is that Donald Trump’s new law inspired a California philanthropist to donate sufficient seed money to pay for a full-time staff and lobbying firms”…

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Bounty-hunters can buy information about where we are, in real time…and come after us.  You don’t need to be a replicant to be scared of the consequences.  –  Thomas Rid

A Broker in Pillage

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Chicago…regularly pulls residents into a nexus of ticket-related debt and car seizures that is stunning in its scope.  In 2017 alone, Chicago booted more than 67,000 vehicles for unpaid tickets.  In about a third of those cases, the driver couldn’t afford to remove the boot, and the vehicle was later towed to a city impound lot…[and] sold off, with the owners receiving none of the sale proceeds…the city and its towing contractor pocketed millions of dollars, while residents were left with ticket debt…there have been nearly 50,000 of these sales since 2011…the vast majority…from low-income and minority communities…The city…[calls] those who owe ticket money…“scofflaws”…conflating the inability to pay debts with criminal activity…workers or contractors sometimes [illegally] issu[e]…multiple tickets on the same day…[and] just two or three outstanding tickets will prompt the city’s revenue workers to boot a car.  Owners have just 24 hours to pay $100 to remove a boot…if the window’s missed, the car’s towed, and the owner [is also assessed]…a $150 towing fee…cars can [then] be sold in as little as three weeks, but not before drivers rack up [daily] storage and other fees…

Buried Truth 

Not quite an example of the McNeill Rule, but close:

Donnie Romero, a Baptist pastor in Texas who has a history of making…anti-LGBT…[remarks], told his congregation last week that he would be resigning from his post…Though Romero did not provide details to his congregants…[another preacher] Steven Anderson…weighed in on his “grievous sins” in a [YouTube] video…“The major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling”…Romero, who has called gays “scum of the earth,” also came under immense scrutiny in 2016 after he said he was praying that victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando who were injured would not survive “so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children”…

Sex Rays

The puritanism just keeps increasing:

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show…in Las Vegas selected a sex toy called Osé as one of a handful of honorees in its robotics and drones Innovation Awards program.  But two weeks later, they disqualified the device and banned its exhibition at the event — because it’s an adult product…Osé…(formerly called Vela) is a sex toy developed in partnership with an engineering professor at Oregon State University that uses “biometric mimicry” for hands-free vaginal and clitoral stimulation…It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision…The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years…

Bottleneck (#414)

Canberra is infested with prohibitionists, many of them in the police.  Articles like this one typically spout similar “rescue” and “sex trafficking” nonsense; the rebuttal from actual experts is way down at the end:

…Jules Kim from the national sex worker’s union, The Scarlet Alliance, doubted that human sex trafficking was as widespread in Canberra and Australia as police claimed…a 2017 federal government inquiry…found no sex workers were tricked into the job out of the 14 sex-work-related trafficking convictions nationally since 2004…despite this, there [i]s “a continued focus on framing issues” in the sex industry, particularly those involving South-East Asia migrants, as trafficking…”police raids…ha[ve] been proven to create worse conditions for sex workers, resulting in…barriers to accessing police in the event of a crime“…Ms Kim said the “illegal brothels” police referred to were often situations where more than one worker was working from a premises in order to share costs — which is illegal in some states and territories, including the ACT…


The Last Shall Be First (#785)

Anti-trans bigots often claim transwomen will sexually assault ciswomen in public toilets:

Two North Carolina women…were charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexually battery of a transgender woman in a ladies room of a Raleigh bar…the…victim had just entered the women’s restroom at the popular Milk Bar when Amber Harrell…and Jessica Fowler…followed her in and locked the door….[then] verbally and sexually assaulted her…Both women are also accused of exposing their breasts and genitals to the victim, who eventually escaped the bathroom.  The two…then followed her to the bar and continued the abuse, a bartender testified to police…

It’s not coincidental that this happened in a state where politicians openly encourage such bigotry.

To Molest and Rape (#842) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

In one of the first releases of records under a new [California] law that [removes the previously-existing laws which allowed]…police [departments to hide] misconduct, documents show the Burlingame Police Department fired a [rapist cop] last year after…he [pressured] a woman [for sex by claiming he would interfere] with [her] DUI [case] if she would [not]…David W. Granucci…was later found to have made similar proposals to two other women, one [of] who[m submitted to letting]…him [rape her]…Granucci…obtained her phone number and address and went to her house the…day [after she was arrested] and made the [threat]…She rejected Granucci’s advances and reported him to police.  Granucci was [miraculously] fired [probably because Bay Area police departments are covering their arses due to the Celeste Guap affair]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#864)

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

Whereas it’s common knowledge that [pigs] can track phones with [stingrays or] a warrant to service providers…at least one company, called Microbilt, is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters…this spying capability is also being resold to others on the black market…mobile networks and the data they generate are…open to surveillance by [cops], stalkers, and [other] criminals, and comes as media and [informed citizens] are paying more attention than ever to how location and other sensitive data is collected and sold

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#879) 

Truly dedicated prohibitionists never let the fact that a thing doesn’t actually exist stop them from banning it:

…Bryan [Texas]…put…the definition of a sex robot into the city [zoning] ordinance….[so] any [sex doll arcade]…would be required to be located only in the area of the city that’s zoned for adult-type businesses.  The move comes mostly as a precaution after someone tried to open a similar type of business in Houston…

Censor Chic (#894)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor…Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block.  He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath.  He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders and scandals, or the memes that touch on subjects the Chinese government doesn’t want people to read about.  Mr. Li, who [has been well-brainwashed, believes]…his job…“helps cleanse the online environment”…For Chinese companies, staying on the safe side of government censors is a matter of life and death.  Adding to the burden, the authorities demand that companies censor themselves, spurring them to hire thousands of people to police content.  That in turn has created a growing and lucrative new industry: censorship factories…

Imaginary Victims (#896)

Naturally, he had to show how big his dick is by delaying her release for seven months:

Cyntoia Brown…is due to be released on Aug. 7…She has [been kept locked in a cage] since she was 16…Gov. Bill Haslam…granted Brown a…commutation to parole…for 10 years…Brown will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth.  She also will be required to get a job [with a murder conviction on her record].  Her Aug. 7 release marks 15 years since the date of her crime.  Brown’s attorneys said 15 years is a typical sentence for a second-degree murder conviction…

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They couldn’t have designed a law better to make it less safe.
–  Canadian sex worker

The Proper Study

Academics keep “discovering” what we’ve been saying for decades:

[Street] workers are more likely to suffer poor health, violence and abuse in countries where their trade is criminalised, a major review…from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…found…sex workers suffering repressive policing – including arrest, imprisonment and extortion by officers – were three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence from a client and were twice as likely to have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection as those who lived in countries where sex work was tolerated.  Sex workers who fear that they, or their clients, may be picked up by the police are more likely to engage in risky encounters, unable to take the time to talk to a client before getting into a car or negotiate terms in advance…Their health and safety were at risk not only in countries where sex work was [fully] criminalised, but also…[those with] the “Nordic model”…

Imaginary Evils

I don’t know which is more exploitative, the “authorities” who want to deport migrant women, or the “advocates” who want to cram their experiences into the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A worrying number of vulnerable Chinese women, many of whom are trafficking victims, are being detained under threat of deportation…the women have been picked up in immigration raids on restaurants, brothels and massage parlours…[and] held in detention…with no legal representation or access to interpreters…“These women are…still in fear of their traffickers,” said Natasha Walter, director of Women for Refugee Women…Many of the women do not [claim to be]…victims of trafficking until [they realize it might protect them from deportation]…Shalini Patel…said that late disclosure was…recognised [in “sex trafficking” dogma as a] symptom of trafficking…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

…The youth director, Dave Hyles, was the son of the charismatic pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, considered at the time the flagship for thousands of loosely affiliated independent fundamental Baptist churches and universities.  At least [four] teen girls would accuse Hyles of [rape or] sexual [assault], but he never faced charges or even sat for a police interview related to the accusations.  When he got in trouble, Hyles was able to simply move on, from one church assignment to the next…For decades, women and children have faced rampant sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country.  The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders…The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada…the number of abused is [probably] far greater because few victims ever come forward…

The Mote and the Beam (#561)

Instead of chasing ambulances, these shysters are chasing the “sex trafficking” bandwagon:

…Among the worst forms of modern day slavery is sex trafficking, a heinous crime that disproportionately affects women and children.  It may even be happening in your city.  Hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, and other [deep-pocketed] establishments [are fantasized by prohibitionists to] play an important role in sex trafficking, because sexual exploitation of trafficking victims often takes place under their roofs…hotels and motels have a financial incentive to look the other way and may not be in a rush to offer the necessary training.  At Morgan & Morgan, we find this unacceptable.  No one should look the other way when it comes to sex trafficking and we want to hold those who enable it accountable for their inaction.  If you are a victim of sex trafficking, we may be able to help.  Contact us today…for a confidential, free discussion.  You may be entitled to compensation…

“Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by authoritarians 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”.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#577)

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

…Bella Vendetta…founded the Western Mass –based advocacy group, Team Clearheels 413, to address issues faced by local dancers…many dancers…are dependent upon club managers’ integrity, which leaves them vulnerable to predators in many of the same ways as are those in the broader sex worker community…exotic dance may be legal, but the social stigma attached to the profession discourages performers from seeking assistance for a number of issues…Vendetta was able to start putting together a loose organization of dancers and advocates to address some of the most immediate needs…

Still a Child (#721) 

Louisiana somehow got a federal court to reverse its own decision striking down a bad law:

Stormy Daniels joined strippers and club workers in a call to repeal a Louisiana law that prevents women between 18 and 20 years old from dancing in clubs, a measure they argue endangers and discriminates against women while failing to combat “trafficking” that its proponents have propped up as a defense for the law…Speakers argued that the creation of another barrier — following club raids that led to forced closures and significant restrictions on dancers — merely limits legal work opportunities for many women and potentially could force others into more dangerous sex work.  New Orleans club workers estimate the rule will impact dozens of dancers in their clubs…the [law was passed] in 2016…After several legal challenges, a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed its own decision and decided the state can enforce the law…

Lack of Evidence (#868) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted six suspected brothels and…discovered 16 women who were believed to be working as sex workers and safeguarded them…Police also found 14 women hanging around streets and [demanded they go]…to Changing Lives project, which…[harasses] sex work[ers] as well as [subjecting them to anti-sex propaganda]…women could face court if they ignore the [brainwashing] and are found [walking on public] streets [as though they were real people.  Then a pig oinked a lot of nonsense about]…”the illegal sex trade”…[and fantasized that] “Brothels can be linked to other wider organised crime”…

They “discovered” them, like inanimate objects hidden in a box.  The cop lies in this one are especially egregious, give that the “sex trade” isn’t illegal in the UK, and that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Widening Gyre (#871) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

Crystal Blanton, [chief propaganda officer] of the Marion County Human Trafficking Task Force, said…”Thousands of people are being human trafficked.  Right here in Marion County and across the state of Florida…it’s the internet…Social media has grown the field of human trafficking.  It’s easier for these traffickers to make contact with victims…There are recruiters, juvenile recruiters in the schools, working with a pimp of some kind, and they are sent out in the schools and given a job to bring other minors on board,” Blanton [panted as she fingered herself frantically]…

A Broker in Pillage (#874)

Here’s more detail on Philadelphia’s scam to steal citizens’ property:

…A forfeiture petition for one property lists one gram of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and some over-the-counter pills as justification…In one case recently settled in a $3 million class-action lawsuit, Norys Hernandez nearly lost the rowhouse she and her sister owned after police arrested her nephew on drug dealing charges…Another family named in the suit fought to save their house from [cops]…after their son was arrested for selling $40 worth of drugs outside of it…None of the homeowners were themselves accused of committing a crime…The money made off of the seized homes went to buy wish list items ranging from new submachine guns to custom uniform embroidery…at least 11 properties…were sold [directly] to [cops]…looking for a side hustle…the Philadelphia Police Department refuse[s] to disclose any information…and…the DA [claims to have] not kept records of…how many properties were sold…These seizures were notably focused in black and Latino neighborhoods with high rates of poverty…

Pyrrhic Victory (#878) 

This is a type of surveillance the Stasi would recognize:

…the US…DEA…awarded a contract to an American defense company to build a vacuum cleaner for surveillance purposes….Special Services Group, LLC  received a $42,595 contract on November 28 to manufacture a “custom Shop Vac concealment with Canon M50B”…the DEA expects delivery of the spy vacuum on January 01…the DEA [also]  purchased an undisclosed number of secret surveillance cameras that are being disguised as streetlights

Pyrrhic Victory (#882)

TSA’s specific plan is to help DHS build a giant biometric database:

The Transportation Security Administration has set out an alarming vision of pervasive biometric surveillance at airports, which cuts against the right to privacy, the “right to travel” and the right to anonymous association with others.  The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018…included language that…provide[s] implied Congressional endorsement to biometric screening of domestic travelers…TSA…plans to work with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to roll out increased biometric collection and screening for all passengers, including Americans traveling domestically…it provides no strategy for dealing with passengers who are…misidentified…

Whither Canada? (#888)

It’s good to see a prohibitionist forced to admit that Canada’s new prostitution laws were specifically intended to harm sex workers, not “protect” us as prohibitionist propaganda claims:

News reports frequently claim that Canada’s criminal prostitution laws are failing to achieve their goals.  These articles often suggest that the laws were implemented to make sex work saferhealthier and  less risky for those who engage in it.  Despite these…assertions, these outcomes are not what the laws aim to achieve…On Nov. 29, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice…upheld the constitutionality of these laws…[however,] the Court specifically rejected the applicants’ argument that an objective of PCEPA is to enhance the safety, security and dignity of people involved in sex work…

The Prudish Giant (#896) 

I’m glad people are beginning to realize how dangerous Facebook is to freedom:

FOSTA became law almost entirely because Facebook did an about-face on its position on the law — which only recently was revealed to have happened because COO Sheryl Sandberg decided it was important to appease Congress on something, even against the arguments of Facebook’s own policy team.  As we pointed out at the time, this was Facebook basically selling out the internet…not only will it not help clean up the mess it caused, it’s leaning in on this new puritanical internet that it wants to create…it has…put up a bunch of new guidelines in its “community standards” document, under the head of “sexual solicitation” that ban a wide variety of things from naughty words to expressing a sexual preference…

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In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Spain:

The Spanish government is proposing a spate of new legal measures to [persecute] prostitut[es].  These include penalizing clients who solicit for sex and punishing landlords who make properties available to sex workers.  Further measures would also look to prosecute [people cops decide to label] traffickers…and…decriminalizing [sex workers, even though they are not currently criminalized]…Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Prime Minister Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly [misogynist] agenda and promising to fight the e[mployment and sexual autonomy] of women…

Traffic Jam (#694) 

24 years of state-inflicted torture finally end for the San Antonio 4:

…Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl handed out orders…expunging the records of Elizabeth Ramirez…Cassandra Rivera…Kristie Mayhugh …and Anna Vasquez…all government agencies that house information on criminal charges, indictments, arrests or convictions related to the cases in which the women were found innocent must seal or destroy the records.  The women consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit…After the women served nearly 15 years in prison, one of the nieces publicly recanted.  She said family members upset that her aunt had come out as a lesbian told her to lie.  So did her father, who…was upset that Ramirez had spurned his advances…it was also shown that [bogus] science helped support the charge…each of them…[has] receive[d] state compensation of about $80,000 for each year they were imprisoned — a little more than $1 million apiece…

Too Close To Home (#760)

Another exercise in cop-fellation and myth-regurgitation masquerading as journalism:

…Charles Peters…[of] the self-titled “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after a jury convicted him in October of nine counts of second-degree promoting prostitution.  Peters…is appealing his conviction…[and free on] $75,000 bond while his appeal is pending…

Though she didn’t write that moronic headline (“Ringleader”?  Who the fuck uses that word with a straight face any more? Has the editor been watching ’30s gangster movies?), Sara Jean Green still needs to be ashamed of herself for this garbage, especially considering that I know for a fact she has the phone numbers of several prominent Seattle sex workers (including mine).  Prohibitionists claim what I do for money is “demeaning”, but I don’t have to infantilize peaceful women, demonize peaceful men, or lionize violent thugs.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Despite some conciliatory language and ground-ceding, this is a good article:

…the Tucson Weekly accessed a spreadsheet of all [Southern Arizona “sex trafficking”] investigations in the three years since the beginning of the grant and found 10 people who were convicted of trafficking and related crimes.  Out of 516 investigations…[only] 23 people were categorized as arrested for trafficking…of those 23…[only] 14 were [actually] charged with trafficking [or] other sex crimes…Of the 14…10 people were convicted or took plea deals, three have ongoing court cases and one committed suicide after being released on bail…[only] two cases resemble the mainstream narrative of a…[woman] forced to commit commercial sex acts against her will…In one case, a drunk, 71-year-old registered sex-offender in a wheelchair persistently and crudely offered a 14-year-old girl money for sexual favors at a bus stop…In another case, a man offered to pay three 15-year-old boys and one girl to [perform] sex acts in front of him.  Some of the cases involve runaways…In other cases, the…[so-called] trafficker [was the sex worker’s] friend or boyfriend…The spreadsheet indicates 52 misdemeanor arrests related to prostitution or not having an escort license…

Traffic in Nonsense (#831)

Anti-whore indoctrination has wholly infested the US trucking industry:

…Kendis Paris…of Truckers Against Trafficking…is one member of the 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in October.  The group’s goal is to develop strategies for [encouraging truck drivers to snitch on sex workers]…The committee includes leaders of [rescue industry] organizations…[anti-whore propagandists] and representatives of the trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port industries…Truckers Against Trafficking leads [indoctrination] programs and distributes [propaganda] materials to various sectors of the industry…About 40 states have adopted aspects of Truckers Against Trafficking’s [indoctrination] model.  The group has worked with [pigs] who give [propaganda] wallet cards to truck drivers…

Imaginary Victims (#839)

Even by despicable modern US standards, this is an incredibly evil ruling:

A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who [assaulted] her…must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court…The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a…[client] in 2004 when he [roughed her up and]…she feared he would kill her…Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution…

Brown’s only chance now is the outgoing Tennessee governor, who can pardon her and commute her sentence.

Shame, Shame (#853)

New York just won’t stop trying to subject nude-pic-posters to police violence:

Under [New York politician Joseph] Borrelli’s measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense “to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,” punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Sexually explicit means anything showing “genitals, pubic area or anus of any person”…It’s already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors…[and] already illegal…to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them.  So sending sexually explicit images “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.  What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image…The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges…The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week’s so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement…

A Broker in Pillage (#858)

With any luck, SCOTUS will shut down this extortion scheme and others like it:

A Detroit woman [named Crystal Sisson] is suing Wayne County, Michigan, after police [stole] her car [because she bought] $10 worth of [legal] marijuana…[from] a [licensed] Detroit medical marijuana dispensary…the sheriff’s deputies cited her for “illegally occupying a place where controlled substances are sold” and seized her 2015 Kia Soul…To get her car back, Sisson had to pay the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office $1,200 to settle the forfeiture case, a typical practice in the county…the Supreme Court is currently considering a similar asset forfeiture case, Timbs v. Indiana, that revolves around the case of Tyson Timbs, whose Land Rover, worth $41,000, was seized after he sold two grams of heroin to a [narc]…Court watchers strongly suspect the Supreme Court will incorporate the Eighth Amendment, making the Excessive Fines clause apply to states.  Sisson is only one of hundreds of Wayne County residents who’ve been surveilled, pulled over, had their car [stolen], and been forced to pay out more than $1,000 to get it back, all for visiting legal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries…

Banishment (#870) 

Caging people permanently, without trial or sentence:

…William Welsh has a number of convictions for child molestation and sexual abuse dating back to 1979.  In 2011 he was no longer in custody, having served his required prison and probationary sentences. He was, however, required to register on Oregon’s Sex Offender Registry because of his prior convictions.  When he traveled to Belize in 2011 and failed to update the address listed on his registration, he was charged, and pled guilty, to violating…registration requirements – a felony – and he was sentenced to 673 days in prison.  A few weeks prior to his release, the Attorney General designated him a “sexually dangerous person”; the reviewing court agreed, and he was [indefinitely] committed…In 2016, however, his conviction (for having failed to update his registration) was vacated, after the Supreme Court, in US v. Nichols, 136 S.Ct. 113, held that SORNA did not require a person to update his registration when he was traveling to a foreign country.  So he petitioned for a release from custody, arguing that because he had not lawfully been “in custody” of the Bureau of Prisons…he could not, lawfully, have been subject to the commitment proceeding for “sexually dangerous persons” in the first place.  But his request for release was denied, first by the federal district court and then by the 4th Circuit

Surplus Women (#873) 

Let’s play a game:  Is this a rationalization of cop behavior or serial killer behavior?

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with capital murder after telling investigators he killed four female sex workers because he considered them worthless and that he thought he was doing something good for his Texas border city…[the] prosecutor said…he will seek the death penalty if Juan David Ortiz is found guilty…

Feminine Pragmatism (#892) 

Dreams“. How old is the imbecile who writes this shit? Eight?

…Escalona was one of at least 41 Venezuelan women murdered abroad from February 2017 to this November.  They had fled Venezuela’s economic turmoil. They left their homeland with dreams.  Some were forced into prostitution.  All met death…

No.  These women weren’t “following dreams” like refugees from a fucking Hallmark card; they were trying to survive by fleeing a collapsing socialist dictatorship.  They were not naive children like so many American women; they were adults who had to take risks thanks to authoritarians criminalizing their pragmatic choice to cross borders to work.  And since criminalization attracts criminals, sometimes they lost those gambles.  The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell.

Disaster (#893)

I’m not sure how much this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt:

…the new platform Tribunus has allowed web users to weigh in on critical issues when petitions and digital comments are no longer viable steps.  On Tribunus’ simple site, US residents can contact legislators directly by placing a phone call, sending them a fax, or — if their fax machine is turned off — quickly sending them a paper letter instead.  Tribunus’ creator, a Bay Area programmer who asked to be identified as Michael, said he first launched the platform to help defeat a legal measure threatening California sex workers (successfully, after protests and hundreds of letters).  Later on, he added pages addressing immigrant family separation and net neutrality…

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Facebook turns the dial on its anti-sex “standards” up to 11:

Facebook just…adopted…new “sexual solicitation” rules…[that] ban “implicit sexual solicitation”including the use of sexual slang, the solicitation of nude images, discussion of “sexual partner preference,” and even expressing interest in sex…the new policy [even] bars “vague suggestive statements, such as ‘looking for a good time tonight’”…discussion of sexual exploitation is allowed, but discussion of consensual, adult sex is taboo.  That’s a classic censorship model: speech about sexuality being permitted only when sex is presented as dangerous and shameful…such…rules can incentivize abuse from…bad actors…[including] state actors…This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.  Given the rules’ focus on sexual interests and activities, it’s easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets:  sex workers…[and] members of the LGBTQ community…

From the way these rules are worded, they seem to even ban bland statements like “I’m lesbian” (which is “expressing sexual partner preference”).

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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 first thing that [repressive regimes] try to do is control the communications network.  –  Margaret Atwood

As veteran journalist A.J. Liebling once observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  So when media conglomerates started buying up all the presses in the 1980s, censorious politicians were probably very happy: when 90% of the media in a country is owned by only five mega-corporations who are all part of the fascist establishment, it’s very easy to control the message.  No wonder they were so disappointed when the internet derailed that concentration process by making literally anybody with time and a high-school level of technical savvy into a publisher.  By 1996 perceptive control freaks were already trying to strangle the infant internet in its cradle via the Communications Decency Act, only to be thwarted when a few politicians with a particle of actual decency managed to smuggle Section 230 into what was intended to be a massive censorship law, and courts struck down all of its censorship provisions within a year.  Naturally, the Puritans never abandoned their sick dream of censoring the internet, and in just a few years they had created “sex trafficking” hysteria, a resurrection of the moribund Satanic Panic using parts recycled from the “white slavery” hysteria of a century before; the synthetic moral panic caught on, and less than 20 years later the busybodies and thought-controllers had what they wanted:  a means of bringing the most powerful tool for the dissemination of information ever created completely under government control.  Where bogeyman tales of devil worshipers and “terrorists” had failed, kinky fantasies of millions of 13-year-old “sex slaves” chained to radiators and raped by literally every single adult male in the US finally succeeded:  the useful idiots gave politicians the power to “protect” them from nonexistent bogeymen by destroying the laws which restrained government censorship, and handing control of the internet to cops, politicians and a few powerful corporate members of the fascist oligarchy.

Every totalitarian movement needs a bogeyman, and since the few escort service owners and small-time pimps the inquisitors were able to lock in cages were insufficient to sustain the required level of mindless hysteria, Backpage was chosen for that role after Craigslist took a dive.  Unfortunately for legions of busybodies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were veteran newsmen of the old-time free speech variety, who insisted on defeating every single attempt to destroy them.  So naturally, the government simply changed the rules (egregiously violating the Constitution in the process) to make it impossible for them to win again, and hedged its bets by literally stealing everything they owned, setting a trial so far in the future anything that was missed in the raid would be used up, and even trying to deprive their victims of legal counsel.  But they’re not going down silently; Frontpage Confidential, the inheritor of Lacey & Larkin’s journalistic legacy, has been covering their fight, and last week Tom Finkel (formerly one of the duo’s top editors) delivered this broadside; he tells me they will soon publish an essay from Lacey himself, which I’ve been privileged to see a preliminary draft of.  Stay tuned, because no matter how this goes we need to remember that some things are worth fighting for, even against implacable and obscenely-powerful enemies who will do anything to win.

 

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Do you think I want to shoot an 11-year-old?…Don’t make me.  –  “Officer” Peter Casuccio

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I find the psychedelic videos from Sesame Street quite entertaining when I’m high; here’s another one, which was clearly inspired by Yellow Submarine.  The links above it were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingJesse WalkerZuri DavisScott Greenfield, and Jacob Sullum, in that order.

From the Archives

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