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Posts Tagged ‘asset seizure’

It happened again a few days ago:  a local police department (this time in Laredo, Texas) thought it would be cute and heartwarming to pull motorists over, lights flashing, and give them some kind of gift, this time Thanksgiving turkeys.  Other police departments have pulled similar stunts over the past few years, usually but not always at holidays; the gifts have included Christmas presents for their kids, $100 bills, gift cards, ice cream, “good driving” tickets and probably several other things I can’t think of at the moment.  Have you ever watched one of the videos that are almost inevitably released after these stunts?  Despite the carefully cherry-picked and curated results, it’s still possible to notice that some of these people are confused and nervous, and that their laughter is more often the product of released tension or emotional shock than it is healthy joy.  Sometimes the news coverage is honest and reports that some of the victims of these mind games are angry and refuse the “gifts”, but most sources obediently give the cops the publicity they’re looking for by parroting their saccharine statements about how they want to give back to the community, build trust, etc.  But behind the smiles and fake goodwill lies the truth:  that these are nothing but vulgar publicity stunts dreamed up by tone-deaf sociopaths without the slightest clue how upsetting and stressful it is to be pulled over by a pig, or even worse,  by puerile sadists who think it’s funny to pull practical jokes on people who might potentially experience genuine terror from these sophomoric schemes.  If you’re a middle-class white person who’s never had a bad experience with a cop, or known anyone who did, you may be tempted to wonder what the harm is in this; you may figure I’m overreacting (certainly several bootlickers on Twitter did).  But for a lot of people those flashing lights don’t signal a temporary annoyance or slight financial hit; they represent at best the beginning of an ordeal which will inflict serious or even catastrophic financial hardship on them, and could possibly end in prison, the loss of their vehicles and/or jobs and potentially years of legal difficulties.  At worst, a police stop can result in robbery, rape or – if the victim is black – death.  And what do you think would happen if one of these practical jokers smelled weed, or noticed a totally legal firearm, in the car during this “fun” stop?  Life-destroying charges and possibly even being gunned down.  What a clever joke, hardy-har-har.

Others have written about the legal, constitutional and civil-rights issues raised by these sadistic games, but instead I’m going to ask that you try looking at them as what they are:  consent violations, not so very different from the other consent violations powerful men feel entitled to inflict on others.  These cops are using people without their consent as props in a propaganda show, and whatever “compensation” they give is the sucker doctors used to give kids for enduring shots.  If you can’t see this, let me ask you how you’d feel if an armed cop pulled you over and then asked to hug you, or to take you out on a date, or to marry him?  Don’t you feel like the situation is just an itsy-bitsy bit psychologically coercive?  Because I’ve actually been in the second situation, and I’ll tell you this:  when an armed cop pulls you over at 2 AM (albeit alongside a busy interstate highway), tells you how beautiful you are and then asks you for a date, it doesn’t feel like a compliment or a request; it feels like a demand.  And the fact that he’s twice your size and in possession of several deadly weapons and has the ability to destroy your entire life on a whim, turns that demand into a threat.  I honestly don’t recall what I said to get out of the situation, but given that this happened only a few years after I was actually raped by cops, you can probably guess how relieved I was when he took “no” for an answer and let me drive away.  Just like the victims of these “generous cop” scams are.

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Once [the cops] put you in that [sex worker] box…they don’t care.  –  unnamed victim of Oluwatobi Boyede

Bad Girls 

I don’t know who this chick is, and none of the Seattle whores I’ve talked to do either.  But we all know the “oral sex” thing is bullshit:

An escort was arrested on accusations she shot a Washington state man in the head because she thought he was bad at oral sex – and she wasn’t sure how to tell him.  Marissa Wallen, 21, allegedly admitted to shooting her 36-year-old client at his North Everett home last month…she then stole the victim’s wallet, left him for dead and went on a $12,000 shopping spree…Wallen told a detective that the man was “performing oral sex wrong and she did not know how to tell him that” so she grabbed a gun and shot him…He was found alive but unresponsive on Oct. 24, three days after he was shot, when his employer asked police to perform a welfare check…

In recent years, cops have developed a nasty game of tricking sex workers into saying or doing weird things so the story is more sensational.

Gateway

Leave it to the authoritarian mentality to imagine a link between sex work and barroom brawls:

…the Arctic Ranger…pub was at the centre of an investigation into claims a group of Hungarian women were being forced to work as prostitutes inside the bar…no one was prosecuted [but]…the claims [were used as grounds]…for closing the pub in June 2013 [anyway].  A licensing committee hearing was told the pub had become almost lawless after a spate of violent attacks…problems included…a victim suffering injuries to his eye and nose…[and] a fractured jaw…a [cop] suffering leg injuries after being struck by a thrown glass…a woman being assaulted…A fight involving 20 people…a man having his head stamped on…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, and disbelieve us when we try to give them information, then they disclaim responsibility when this happens:

A London [Ontario] sex worker says she warned police someone could die after she was choked, sexually assaulted and held against her will in the home of [Oluwatobi Boyede, who is] now accused of murder.  But police didn’t believe her…and as a result…a second woman was assaulted and a third is dead.  “I told them everything.  They did nothing,” she said…“The cops treated me like I brought it on myself…They didn’t charge him.  They treated me like a piece of shit…They did not want to hear what I was saying.  What happened to the second girl and (homicide victim) Josie Glenn didn’t have to happen.”  Her story may be the most damning indictment of police as questions grow about how…they approach violence against women, especially sex workers…

The Sky is Falling!

I find it difficult to believe that so many women made it through university without knowing anyone who did some kind of sex work:

The student debt crisis in the US has gotten so bad, there’s a growing group of young women…who are taking an unconventional approach to paying for college.  Through…websites like SeekingArrangement, Sugar Babies…partner up with wealthy, often older, men who want to spend money on them.  Some 2.5 million Sugar Babies identified as students in 2016 on SeekingArrangement.com…Sugar Babies go to dinners, attend events, or accompany their Sugar Daddy, or daddies, on trips.  In some cases, they provide companionship or foster a mentor-mentee relationship.  In other situations, the terms of the agreement include physical intimacy…

“Unconventional”?  Really?  Young women having sex with older men in exchange for support is practically the definition of “conventional”.  If anything, it’s the pretense that this is something new and unusual that is “unconventional”.

A Broker in Pillage (#508)

The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”:

Denver cab driver Semere Fremichael got caught up in an undercover prostitution sting.  He was innocent—he thought she wanted a ride, not sex for pay—and was acquitted by a judge.  His taxi, however, got taken for a rough ride.  Denver’s Fox affiliate has an excellent two-part investigation showing how the city attorney’s office is using civil asset forfeiture to cash in by snatching vehicles…for…low-level crimes…even when their owners aren’t convicted.  In 2016, Denver made more than $2.4 million, seizing more than 1,800 vehicles…Denver put the screws to Fremichael…offering him a civil version of a plea deal:  He could get the car back in 30 days if he gave them $1,000.  Or he could demand a civil hearing.  If he lost, it would cost him $6,000 and he could lose the car for a year.  He took the deal, and says he probably lost an additional $2,500 because he couldn’t use his cab for a month, even though he committed no crime…

Subtle Pimping (#587)

When it comes to profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing, fashion designers are among the worst offenders:

…The very prevalence of [stereotyped sex worker] images, overworked as they may be, is a testament to their durability…the clothes we wear, or might like to wear, owe a very real debt to the world’s most ancient profession.  “Fashion…is influenced by hookers,” said Anna Terrazas, costume designer of The Deuce.  “It’s not the other way around”…“There is an untold history of the relationship between sex workers and fashion,” said Rebecca Arnold, a fashion historian…working women routinely took up what their respectable contemporaries shunned as too showy, tasteless or new…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

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

Facebook has blocked the sale of a pack of Christmas cards featuring a robin redbreast because of its “sexual” and “adult” nature.  The artist, Jackie Charley, said she “could not stop laughing” when she discovered the reason the social media company would not approve the product…The bird…was one of three designs painted by Charley of animals in the snow…The others were a stag and a squirrel…Charley said she was sent the message: “It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services”…Charley said…“There’s obviously nothing in the images themselves which is inappropriate.  Similarly, there were no ‘trigger’ words used in the cards’ descriptions that I’m aware of.  For instance, the robin card was simply called ‘Robin’, not ‘Robin Redbreast’ as some people have wondered”…she [has] not had any direct response from Facebook, but the interest generated from the gaffe had led to a lifting of the initial ban…

A Woman’s Point of View (#706) 

Don’t get too excited that the New Hampshire legislature is “Establishing a committee to study decriminalizing sex work“; one of the sponsors has made comments in which the unmistakable stench of the Swedish rot is clearly present.  But we’ll see.

Between the Ears (#722) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense’s remote control vibrator app…recorded a use session without their knowledge.  An audio file lasting six minutes was stored in the app’s local folder.  The user says he or she gave the app access to the mic and camera but only to use with the in-app chat function and to send voice clips on command — not constant recording when in use.  Other users confirmed this app behavior, too.  A user claiming to represent Lovense responded and called this recording a “minor bug” that only affects Android users.  Lovense also says no information or data was sent to the company’s servers, and that this audio file exists only temporarily.  An update issued [last week] should fix the bug…

The Mote and the Beam (#789)

Another probable casualty of the War on Whores:

…The Wikipedia we know today simply would not exist without Section 230.  User-driven projects could not thrive if websites were subject to greater liability for user content, and certainly could not be supported by a small nonprofit organization like the Wikimedia Foundation.  For that reason, we have…serious concerns about…SESTA and other amendments to Section 230.  That’s why our Executive Director emphasized Section 230’s importance for Wikipedia’s hundreds of thousands of volunteer contributors in a recent campaign by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and why we submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee expressing the importance of Section 230 for the Wikimedia projects.  The current bill does not reflect the careful balance that preserves small, nonprofit community projects like Wikipedia…

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

Naturally, because it’s politicians’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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Arresting our way out of the problem is not the solution.  –  David Grosso

Who Did Your Tits? 

I’ve been naked with literally thousands of men over the past 18 years, and I’m here to tell you that 99% of men who claim they don’t like implants are full of shit:

…I still reach for the ubiquitous term “fake boobs” even though I don’t consciously think of them as unreal…advertising tends to prefer “breast augmentation”, a term that…avoids the undesirable connotation of falsity in favor of the language of personal improvement.  Doctors increasingly promise natural looks, feels and shapes…the idea of the “natural woman” is a powerful one.  There’s a whole genre of “natural” porn, which typically refers to women with unshaved armpits and no apparent body modifications.  But…is going to the gym unnatural?…Dyeing your hair?…tattoos or piercings?…The existence of “no-makeup makeup” looks — creating the illusion of facial nudity but concealing blemishes, adding glow and so on — should be evidence enough that what we crave isn’t true naturalness, whatever that means, but our idea of what we should look like…We want to be able to congratulate women on looking “so natural” when they’re wearing $200 worth of makeup…

License to Rape

This will continue for as long as prohibition does:

The Georgia sheriff who authorized intrusive pat downs for hundreds of students at Worth County High School earlier this year was indicted for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violating his oath of office.  Authorities will issue a warrant for Jeff Hobby’s arrest later this week…Two deputies were also indicted…they groped male and female students, touching them inappropriately during the completely pointless search.  No drugs were found on any of the 900 boys and girls subjected to the pat downs…

Saving Them From Themselves

How dare they interfere with the pigs’ “right” to destroy their students’ lives?

…Two members of the leadership team at a charter school in [New Orleans] were arrested Tuesday on allegations they failed to [rat out students to the cops] about their discovery of video clips allegedly showing a student being forced to perform oral sex on a group of her peers in a bathroom…New Orleans police booked Nicole Kusmirek…and Shayla Shane…on counts of possessing child pornography as well as [refusing] to [delegate their judgment to the pigs] despite being required to do so…An attorney for both women, Nandi Campbell, said…her clients’ actions…actually prevented children from being able to go on social media and share a video of the incident…”For NOPD to charge these teachers with possession of pornography is the most obscene thing I’ve seen since I’ve been doing this work,” said Campbell…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

…attorney…Nicole Pittman…has been defending children [from sex-crime accusations]…for 12 years, and says there are…several thousand juveniles on the sex offender registry in the State of Michigan.  Some…[are] on the autism spectrum or struggling with disabilities, but most judges have refused to make exceptions, citing what Pittman describes as a “one size fits all” policy…”Most times with children there is no sexual [motivation]…the moment the touching looks sexual, though, society labels them pedophiles”…Minors are not listed publicly on the sex offender registry, but they’re forbidden from attending school because that’s where children congregate.  Once they turn 18, most states require them to register on the public sex offender list with an identifying photo…”There’s a lot of homelessness and depression [because people can’t get jobs],” Pittman explains. “We have a whole new generation of victims on this law.”  Pittman has interviewed 500 registered kids.  While only some were on the autism spectrum, she says all of them have been victims of abuse…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for over two years now:

Will Washington, D.C. buck national trends and actually take a stand for sex-worker rights and safety?  It will if politician David Grosso gets his way.  The at-large councilmember has just introduced a bill to decriminalize prostitution in the District…The “Reducing Criminalization to Promote Public Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2017” would amend D.C.’s criminal code to make both the selling and the buying of sex legal.  It’s co-sponsored by At-large Councilmember Robert White.  Unlike moves by Canada and many Western European countries, the D.C. plan would not attempt to regulate sex work by setting up red-light districts, providing for brothel permits, or similar schemes…

What’s In a Name? (#572)

Though I’m not personally bothered by the word “prostitute” (though I do think it’s ugly and legalistic), I understand that many of my sisters feel differently:

…Language is fluid and malleable; it drives social attitudes, rather than simply expressing them.  So what is being reinforced when we use the word “prostitute”, and why is it important?…”Prostitute” first crops up in English in 1530 as a verb meaning to sexually dishonour yourself…And…the word has been linked to a state of dishonour ever since…‘Prostitute’ is not a neutral term and it never has been.  It’s a word burdened with considerable historical and cultural baggage.  Lizzie Smith argued, “the term ‘prostitute’ does not simply mean a person who sells her or his sexual labour, but brings with it layers of ‘knowledge’ about worth, drug status, childhood, integrity, personal hygiene and sexual health”…

Morality Lessons 

We’re lucky to have such outstanding moral exemplars to “protect” and “lead” us:

Four…Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operatives face federal corruption and conspiracy charges after…engaging in all sorts of shady behavior, from selling drugs themselves to lying under oath, falsifying records, falsely identifying drug suspects, accepting bribes, and stealing cash and other property from the people they arrested.  In at least one instance, their behavior led to someone being wrongly imprisoned for more than two years…special agent Chad Scott…and…task force [cops] Rodney Gemar, Karl Newman, and Johnny Domingue—worked with the DEA’s New Orleans Division…

Pyrrhic Victory (#765)

The word for collaboration between government & private industry to control people is “fascism”:

…U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd…Prime Minister Theresa May, and leaders in other countries have been fighting to force…social media platforms, app makers, and other tech companies to make it easier for officials to access private conversations on demand…Rudd said she doesn’t understand how encryption works but knows that it can keep the government from accessing data it wants, so Something Must Be Done…It’s particularly telling that Rudd wants to make this a debate about how she’s being mocked even as she yet again fails to show any actual concern about the security of citizen data.  She’s being mocked for a reason (as is Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who responded to the encryption debate by saying the laws of mathematics are subservient to the laws of Australia)…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

Want to know why “sex trafficking” hysteria is so pervasive?  Follow the money:

…a group calling itself the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE)…run[s] the website “End Sexual Exploitation”…[they] are strong supporters of SESTA…the true mission of NCSE isn’t to end sex trafficking… but to rid the world of the “public health crisis of pornography.”  You see, NCSE began its life in 1962 as Morality in Media, and was a reaction to a ridiculous moral panic over “pornographic material” being left outside of a school…The group has insisted that porn is a “public health crisis” and has worked to get states to declare it as such.  It also posts a Dirty Dozen list of organizations that it needs to shame for “perpetuating sexual exploitation“…They include the American Library Association and Amnesty International on this year’s list…They…claim that libraries have been turned into “a XXX space that fosters child sexual abuse.”  It put Amnesty on the list because Amnesty dares to call sex workers “sex workers” rather than prostitutes…

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I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile.  –  Tom Petty

I know that seeing all one’s favorite entertainers die off one by one is part of aging, but damn, Tom Petty now!  His video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is one of my favorite short films, but this video is the one that first made me realize that he was great rather than merely good.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“fascism”, “happens” and “wrong”); Tushy Galore  (“correction”); and Kevin Wilson (“rules”).

From the Archives

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[Current law] leaves the door open for prosecutors to go after any teens who sext.  –  Doug Honig

Saving Them From Themselves

“Progressive” Washington state reaffirms its “liberal” views on sex:

…the Washington State Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a 17-year-old who sent a dick pic.  The court found that state law allows him to be convicted for distributing child porn, even when the photo he sent was of himself.  Legal advocates…[warned] that the ruling…make[s] it possible for prosecutors to charge sexting teens with crimes that will follow them for the rest of their lives…In an amicus brief…the ACLU of Washington, Columbia Legal Services, TeamChild, and the Juvenile Law Center argued that upholding the teen’s conviction is a “strained and erroneous interpretation” of child porn laws that “would jeopardize thousands of minors…by criminalizing…common and normative adolescent behavior.”  The groups said the teenager’s conviction runs counter to the [supposed] intent behind the law, which is to [supposedly] protect children from exploitation, not convict them for taking pictures of their own bodies…

The civil rights groups’ statement is highly disingenuous; the intent of such laws isn’t to “protect” anyone, but to punish people for sexual behavior of which “authorities” disapprove.

Surplus Women 

When a sex worker dies, the media treats it as a form of lurid entertainment:

Sarah Woods…of Portsmouth, [Ohio]…[was] found dead [on August 22nd]…Wood’s death was quickly a popular topic on social media…Woods had a long history of drug abuse and prostitution.  She had also lost many of those closest to her to drug abuse…Woods was still actively prostituting and using crack cocaine…[family members] saw Woods leave with an unidentified man that had helped set up clients…for Woods…

Legal Is as Legal Does

The difference between legalization and decriminalization cannot be stated too often:

…campaigners for criminalisation…often use the terms “legalisation” and “decriminalisation” interchangeably as if ignorant of their enormous differences.  Legalisation holds sway in Nevada, Amsterdam and Germany, automatically criminalising any who do not comply with the regulatory regime – this may include those unwilling to register with the state, undergo high cost compulsory frequent medical checks or who wish to work in their own premises rather than large venues controlled by someone else.  Decriminalisation, the removal of laws relating to consensual adult sexual behaviour, has been instituted nationwide only in New Zealand…

Signs (#650)

Beware of hotels eager to suck the cocks of “authorities”:

…two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix [are] routinely sending in leads to…Immigration and Customs Enforcement…”We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front-desk clerk told the [Phoenix] New Times…court documents show that “between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6s, showing up roughly every two weeks” while there was a distinct lack of “records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other local motels during this same time period”…Motel 6 has a history of nationwide narc-ery, as documented by the American Civil Liberties Union in a 2015 statement about the chain’s habit of collaboration with local police…

One Born Every Minute (#685) 

It’s always a pleasure to see whore-raping scum thrown in prison:

Mario Ambrose Antoine, a Kansas City-area man who posed as an adult producer and talent agent to [rape] women…and film them, was sentenced…to 10 years in federal prison without parole…Antoine told the women, who signed contracts and modeling release forms…that they would be paid thousands of dollars for their auditioning and modeling activity…when the women complained about not being paid, Antoine forwarded images of their sexual activity to their employers or significant others…

Wise Investment (#717)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

…An arbitrator has awarded $17.5 million to a former Swedish Health neurosurgeon who says he was fired in retaliation for questioning the practices of another top surgeon.  Dr. David Newell lost his job a year ago, and Swedish contends he was fired for failing to notify the organization that he had been arrested and jailed in a Seattle prostitution sting…“For this arbitrator to award Dr. Newell $17.5 million — at a time when…there is a [moral panic about imaginary]…sex trafficking and…[adult] women [are making their own sexual decisions] — is unconscionable and outrageous,” said Swedish’s CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson…Newell contends the prostitution issue was used as cover to get rid of him after he had raised internal concerns about Dr. Johnny Delashaw, a star surgeon who…had his state license suspended

Until the Establishment suffers more from each “sting” than the victims do, such evil scams will never stop.

Too Close To Home (#729)

I hope this rapist spends the rest of his life on the “sex offender” registry:

For five months, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray rejected calls for his resignation [after it became known that]…he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics.  But…he announced his resignation [last] Tuesday…after news emerged that a younger cousin was publicly accusing Murray of molesting him in…the 1970s…Since the [facts] began to emerge in April, Murray has continued to [pretend] he is innocent…

Yes, this is the kind of sociopath who thinks he has the right to persecute adult men for seeking consensual sex.  If there’s any justice in the world John Urquhart, Dan Satterberg and Val Richey will be joining him in the same prison.

To Molest and Rape (#731) 

When the molester is a cop, sexual assault becomes “interfering with civil rights”:

Cleveland [cop] Kenneth Bolton Jr. pleaded guilty to charges including gross sexual imposition as well as misdemeanor interfering with civil rights in a plea deal that allowed a kidnapping charge to be dropped…Bolton pulled over two women…after [being tipped off about their looks by]…another [cop]…Bolton used a sex toy [that he found by illegally searching their car] to rub their genitals over their clothing…he will now have to register as a sex offender.  He will also no longer be able to serve as a [cop in Ohio, though he’ll probably be hired elsewhere]…

At least he’ll be on the “sex offender” registry, which rapist cops usually escape.

A Broker in Pillage (#750)

It looks like Congress is split on whether it’s OK for pigs to rob citizens blind:

…the House of Representatives…approved an amendment to [an]…Appropriations Act that will roll back Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s expansion of asset forfeiture.  Amendment No. 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members, led by Rep. Justin Amash…Sessions revived the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, which allowed state and local police agencies to [steal] assets and then give them to the federal government — which would in turn give a chunk back to local police.  This served as a way for these local agencies to [openly violate] state laws designed to limit asset forfeiture…Rep. Don Beyer…[said] “Civil asset forfeiture…creates a perverse incentive to seek profits over justice.”  The amendment passed with a voice vote, meaning it had overwhelming support…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

What might the internet look like if SESTA isn’t stopped?

…With the threat of overwhelming criminal and civil liability hanging over their heads, Internet platforms would likely turn to automated filtering of users’ speech in a big way.  That’s bad news because when platforms rely too heavily on automated filtering, it almost always results in some voices being silenced.  And the most marginalized voices in society can be the first to disappear…The modern Internet is a complex system of online intermediaries…which we use to speak out and communicate with each other.  Those platforms are all enabled by Section 230, a law that protects platforms from some types of liability for their users’ speech.  Without those protections, most online intermediaries would not exist in their current form; the risk of liability would simply be too high…SESTA would…shift…additional liability to intermediaries.  Many online communities would have little choice but to mitigate that risk by investing heavily in policing their members’ speech…

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My business was…illegal, but it shouldn’t have been.  –  Jeffrey Hurant

Safe Targets 

Naturally; they can steal more money from whores, and we don’t shoot back:

…Scotland Yard has been…threatening to prosecute women who work in brothels rather than pursue an armed gang of robbers who have been repeatedly targeting premises used for sex work…The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer…has written to the Metropolitan police in support of one of the victims…who is a constituent of his…Starmer said letters sent by the Met threatening women with prosecution…“could make it more difficult to stay in touch with victims of violent crimes”…The Met denies there is evidence of connected attacks on brothels and [pretends] that criminalising prostitutes is not a priority…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A huge human trafficking ring that has been flying hundreds of Iranian migrants, some as young as five, into Britain has been smashed…The alleged leader of the criminal gang was detained at Heathrow as he tried to escape justice by flying to Brazil.  Another 14 gang members were held in Malaga…more than 200 people a year had been smuggled by the gang for around 10 years…Europol said the gang had run a “perfectly structured” criminal operation in which each migrant was charged around £22,000 and provided with accommodation, transfers and flights.  There was no immediate information from the Home Office about how many Iranians have managed to enter Britain illegally or whether any of those detained have been removed from the country…

Notice the use of “ring” as dysphemism for “business”, and “gang members” as dysphemisms for “employees”; note also the pretense that just because a business violates stupid laws makes it somehow surprising that it’s well-run.  Nobody would consider it newsworthy that an ordinary travel agency had only 200 customers a year; if anything, that qualifies as a rather small business.  Note also the phrase “as young as five”, borrowed from “sex trafficking” propaganda; why are we supposed to be shocked that people moving to another country would take their children along? Personally, I think it’d be more newsworthy if they left them behind.

Dutch Threat 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam’s policy that prostitutes must share personal information with brothel owners, is in violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, the court in Amsterdam ruled…The court was dissatisfied with Amsterdam’s policy on various points, especially on the intake conversation brothel operators have to have with prostitutes before they start working there.  The municipality made this intake conversation obligatory in 2013, with the idea that operators will notice [magical] signals of human trafficking during the talk…The intake forms also contain information about the sexual life of the sex worker and operators must store these forms and present them during inspections…

Policing for Profit

Almost nobody still believes cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit:

…Adrienne Chapa was arrested [in Minneapolis] and spent a few days in jail before she went home to Las Vegas…[but] the Hennepin County attorney’s office filed a lawsuit to keep [her] money through [legalized robbery]…It took two years to resolve the legal cases, and $21,000 is finally getting distributed [among various pigpens]…Minnesota legislators outlawed civil forfeiture in 2014…[but Chapa eventually plead guilty on condition that the conviction will be erased in two years]…her attorney, Avery Appelman, said seizing the cash was a “large motivating factor” for her prosecution and that police use forfeited property as a “slush fund”…

What’s that word for men who use force to take money that a woman earns via prostitution?

Lack of Evidence (#678) 

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

…New York Penal Law Section 240.37 has criminalized loitering in a public place by anyone the police determine is present for the purpose of prostitution.  “Purpose” is not defined…thus the reason for one’s presence is ultimately decided by the opinions of arresting officers…A woman may be surveilled, searched, and detained, in part because an officer takes issue with her clothing…pre-printed affidavits…include “indications of prostitution,” such as:  the defendant was standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand; the defendant was carrying money or “sexual paraphernalia”; the defendant was with someone known to have been previously arrested for prostitution-related offenses…The…N.Y.P.D…Patrol Guide…offers no objective criteria on what attire is suspect, thus failing citizens the ability to anticipate how their fashion could establish cause for their arrest…From 2012 through 2015, nearly 1,300 individuals were arrested in New York City under the law…85 percent of them were black or Latina.  According to a class-action lawsuit filed September 30, 2016 by the Legal Aid Society of New York…transgender women are especially victimized…

Now They Notice (#680)

It’s sick and sad how, after an initial show of calculated outrage, Gay, Inc abandoned him to the government:

A federal judge…sentenced Rentboy.com founder Jeffrey Hurant to a six-month prison term…Federal authorities [had] already [stolen] about $1.5 million that they claim was laundered money from Hurant’s company…[but] did not pursue a seizure of $101,000 from Hurant’s personal bank account…the…judge…also fined him $7,500.  After sentencing, Hurant told reporters…that…sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized…

Backwards into the Future (#743)

Virtually no government “commission” will ever suggest taking power away from government:

…the South African Law Reform Commission chose fiction over facts…After taking two decades to draft its final report, it has recommended the continued full criminalisation of consensual adult sex work…The commission also included a last-minute secondary option of [The Swedish model]…These recommendations were made despite mounting evidence that shows that the full decriminalisation of sex work is the most effective and respectful model to ensure improved access to health, justice and support services for sex workers…We have had this apartheid-era model in South Africa for a long time now.  What have the results been?  High levels of violence and abuse, stigma and discrimination when sex workers attempt to access basic services, and high rates of new HIV infections…And this violence is most often committed by police officers, as illustrated by a review by the Women’s Legal Centre of cases reported between 2011 and 2015.  Of the abuse reported to the centre by sex workers, more than 60% of cases identified the police as perpetrators…

The Widening Gyre (#756) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

A Facebook post [reporting] illegal immigrants are trying to kidnap young girls for human trafficking…[states] Mentor [Ohio] Police are aware…that men are sitting in parked cars in…parking lots…Police [claim] they have received no reports of any human trafficking or related suspicious behavior.  Police also [allege] they’ve reached out to security at Great Lakes Mall and the mall has not received any reports…

The War Goes On (#757) 

If Backpage is so awful, why do politicians need lies to attack it?

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claimed he has “new evidence” showing that the classifieds site “Backpage has directly and actively promoted illegal sex trafficking.”  But the only thing new is Hawley’s level of desperation and deceit…Among the “new” evidence…is a January report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Despite the senators having access to all of the internal Backpage data and hosting a theatrical in-person inquiry, they found nothing sufficient to spur a criminal investigation or any charges.  Hawley also submitted the transcript of an audio recording seized from Philippines company Avion, in which an Avion employee contacts a London sex worker…A state attorney general cannot attempt to prosecute foreign contractors for ads created and posted in foreign countries.  And it is legal for Backpage contractors to generate adult ads abroad, where the rules governing web-publishing platforms and legal liability for content vary (and prostitution in certain forms may be legal).  Hawley’s actions here should be seen for what they are: a sneaky attempt to build credibility in his illegal crusade…

The Mote and the Beam (#762) 

The Unsinkable Liz Brown with more on the censors who want to destroy the internet in the name of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…The underlying reason why no one’s been able to pin criminal charges on Backpage isn’t a “loophole” in federal law that lets Backpage knowingly profit from human trafficking but the fact that the evidence doesn’t support claims that it does so.  If it did, Section 230 would be irrelevant, and Backpage execs could be charged under a number of laws—including one 2015 law crafted for just this purpose. The Stop Advertising Victims of Sexual Exploitation Act specifically prohibits the knowing advertisement of sex trafficking victims, under threat of a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence…Section 230 doesn’t apply to content that a platform has itself created “in whole or part,” nor to one that…”is directly involved” in the alleged crime.  But a website operator “who edits user-created content… retains his immunity for any illegality in the user-created content”…If Backpage is more like the first category, it’s already punishable under criminal statutes and subject to civil claims.  If it’s only the former, than opening up Backpage to criminal charges and civil payouts opens up all of the internet to the same…

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