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Posts Tagged ‘Censor Chic’

Authoritarians are apparently unable to conceive of any solution to any problem that doesn’t depend upon some kind of enforcers using violence to impose “regulations” conceived of by the ruling elite, with any deviation punished by still more violence.  It doesn’t matter whether the problem is man-made or natural, intentional or unintentional, widespread or sporadic, common or rare, or even real or unreal, because the point of the proposed “solutions” isn’t actually to solve anything, but rather to seize more power for the rulers and their enforcers.  If anything, real solutions (however brutal and destructive to human rights) are far less desirable than busywork “solutions” (preferably involving a massive, unaccountable bureaucracy and a boatload of new criminal laws) which do little if anything to solve the problem and therefore result in a new, permanent way to subjugate and bleed the peons.  And wholly imaginary problems are superior (in the short run) to real ones, because without a real subject to examine, it’s harder for foes of the regime to collect actual facts with which to undermine the supposedly-benevolent tyranny.  Reason‘s J.D. Tuccille has recently published two articles on the subject, one about tyranny imposed using a real problem as an excuse, and the other about similar tyranny justified by an imaginary “problem” that mostly exists in animal fears and petty intolerance.  And as you might expect, there isn’t a lot of difference:

We’re told that life is never getting back to normal, so we need to suck it up and accept a world of mask-wearing, economic disruption, and social distancing…government responses to COVID-19 are pushing the world toward authoritarianism…dressed up as if that’s a good thing.  That’s unfortunate, given that less-intrusive responses to the pandemic are proving at least as effective as heavy-handed ones…authoritarian tools may become permanent because government officials are rarely punished for doing something, even if the something is awful and counterproductive…In addition…crises are excellent excuses for accumulating unprecedented authority and using it in novel ways.  “For authoritarian-minded leaders, the coronavirus crisis is offering a convenient pretext to silence critics and consolidate power,” Human Rights Watch cautioned in April.  “The ‘lockdown measures’ adopted by many European states have disproportionately impacted racialized individuals and groups who were targeted with violence, discriminatory identity checks, forced quarantines and fines,” Amnesty International reported in June…”Governments…have exploited [the pandemic] to crack down on journalism and silence criticism,” the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression noted in July…Public health excuses continue to ride roughshod over protections for individual rights…

Compare with this:

…as the world wrestles with a pandemic and overbearing public health measures, [politicians] are taking the opportunity to tighten the screws on speech they don’t like…the French National Assembly…[tried to] give companies [only a single] hour…to [censor] content [it] alleged…to glorify terrorist activity or to constitute child pornography…France’s Constitutional Court struck down the vast majority of the law as an unconstitutional threat to freedom of expression.  That’s really the only good news to report so far.  France’s blocked…law was inspired by Germany’s notorious NetzDG law, which makes online platforms liable for illegal content…”the NetzDG conscripts social media companies into governmental service as content regulators,” with millions of euros in fines hanging over their heads if they guess wrong.  That model of delegated censorship has proven to be as infectious as a viral outbreak, taking hold in over a dozen other countries…”Europe’s most influential democracy has contributed to the further erosion of global Internet freedom by developing and legitimizing a prototype of online censorship by proxy that can readily be adapted to serve the ends of authoritarian states,” Justitia, a Danish judicial thinktank, warned in a 2019 report…The U.S. faces its own speech- and privacy-threatening legislation in the form of the [so-called] EARN IT…Act…which…”would allow small website owners to be sued or prosecuted under state laws, as long as the prosecution or lawsuit [can be pretended to be] related to crimes against children,” warns the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “We know how websites will react to this. Once they face prosecution or lawsuits based on other peoples’ speech, they’ll monitor their users, and censor or shut down discussion forums”…

Governments have been embracing this fascist power-delegation model – using threats in order to force corporations to exercise tyrannies their constitutions and other legal instruments prohibit to government – for over a decade now, always using scarecrows like “terrorism” and “sex offenders” and “human trafficking” in order to put the masses to sleep about it.  So when COVID came along, it was 100% predictable that they would seize upon it to feed their insatiable hunger for power, while telling their gullible subjects it’s for their own good.

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The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.  China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind.  In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.  In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.  I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way:  Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough.  Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”  As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power.  For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels.  But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend.  We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

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

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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The state may not use a butcher knife on a problem that requires a scalpel to fix.  –  Judge John T. Nixon

Where Are the Victims?

It’s always a “gang”, even when it clearly isn’t:

Hu Shuangyan…was part of a[n imaginary] gang that [rented] flats [to sex workers] in Kent, Essex and London…[she and her parter Zhang Dongning] tricked estate agents by posing as employees of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei…[she] was also convicted of money laundering…

A couple is not a “gang”, and if there wasn’t a stupid law against renting rooms to people engaged in a legal trade, there would have been no need for them to lie.

The More the Better 

“Mommy whores” are good, but “gramma whores” are even better:

…grandmother-of-seven Abby Roberts is…working six days a week selling sex to make ends meet.  With disabled husband Sorren unable to work, the 58 year old spends eight hours a day…[working] via…webcam…[and] also shoots six adult movies a month…”As an average I work about eight hours a day.  Some people call me a workaholic but I just love it actually,” she says…that’s the way it has been for 18 years because when I fell in love with my husband I knew he had a very heavy disability”…She and Sorren…were regular swingers before he suffered a heart attack and was told he couldn’t have sex again…

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A youth pastor at a Colorado Springs church has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child…Stephen Michael Houlihan…[of] Fellowship of the Rockies church, was booked June 8 on charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, internet luring of a child, and obscenity…

Censor Chic (#894)

Google is now so big it isn’t even accountable to its own shareholders:

A shareholder resolution aimed at halting Google’s  efforts to bring a censored version of its search engine to China has failed.  Shareholders tabled a resolution to demand Google put the brakes on its controversial search engine efforts in China.  The program, internally dubbed “Dragonfly”, is…a censorship-friendly search engine with the capability to hide results at the behest of Beijing…Google chief Sundar Pichai…describ[es] China as an “important” market…

Whereas just not being evil (as Google used to claim in its motto) is not so important.

The End of the Beginning (#915) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

The Supreme Court of Alaska ruled on Friday that Alaska’s sex offender registration statute violated the due process rights of out of state offenders by requiring them to register as sex offenders without allowing them to be heard.  The court…concluded that the statute…was overbroad and violated due process because it did not provide them an opportunity to demonstrate they were no[t]…a threat to the public.  The court elected not to invalidate the ASORA but rather to allow…the individual who brought the case…to file a civil action in the state’s superior court in an attempt to prove that he no longer poses a risk…

Uncommon Sense (#916)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

A flurry of recent media reports have suggested the Prostitutes Protection Act (herafter ProstSchG) had failed to achieve its stated goals and would not sufficiently protect people engaged in prostitution.  Voice4Sexworkers…firmly rejects that notion:  The ProstSchG is well on its way to achieve all of the federal government’s desired goals and effects…Germany’s Basic Law…which grants the inviolability of one’s home…no longer applies to sex workers.  Occupational freedom…is being undermined through the registration procedures…It was clear from the outset that the law would be particularly problematic for people from countries where prostitution is illegal, such as Bulgaria or Romania.  If they register as sex workers in Germany, they risk receiving mail in their countries of origin, despite the promised option to have any related mail delivered to a different mailing address…Tax offices flout this provision knowingly and deliberately, and in doing so, they greatly endanger the lives of sex workers in their countries of origin…The entire construct of the ProstSchG is intended to deter people from entering prostitution and render sex work impossible in most places…

Opting Out (#926) 

Any non-politician would have given this up as a bad idea by now:

The government is under pressure to delay its controversial online pornography age verification scheme for a third time [from July 15th to October 15th], or risk “nefarious” companies “using this opportunity to harvest and manipulate user data”…the Digital Policy Alliance…[ex]plains that…unless the scheme is delayed there will be “less protection for public data”…

Here’s more detail on that from the Open Rights Group:

New age restrictions on pornography…are a “privacy timebomb”…[because in typical government fashion] the data protection in place to protect consumers is “vague, imprecise and largely a ‘tick box’ exercise”…The UK government claims the new measures are necessary in order to prevent children and young adults from accessing adult content online…[even though] the new rules are unlikely to prevent tech-savvy children from reaching restricted websites…

Watershed (#934)

It took prohibitionists two months to freak out over an article saying everyone has human rights:

Teen Vogue tweeted an article titled, “Why Sex Work Is Real Work,” and many clutched their pearls at the audacity of talking to teens about sex work…sex therapist Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng[‘s]…central argument was that sex workers provide services that help people meet and understand their sexual needs in the same way that her sex counseling does…[prohibitionist] talking heads quickly posted their disdain:  “Why is a teen magazine promoting prostitution to their 13-year-old readers?”  Others falsely equated sex work with sex trafficking…One commenter pointed out that Teen Vogue is a part of Condé Nast in [a bizarre stretch] to falsely equate discussing sex work with pedophilia…Of course, Dr. Mofokeng’s article defends nothing other than the safe exchange of sexual services between consenting adults…Furthermore, scandalized reactions to teens learning about sex work are out of touch with reality.  About 40% of high school teens report to be sexually active, making conversations about sexual health and women’s issues crucially relevant in teens’ lives…

Dangerous Speech (#942)

Another deep dive into the facts of the persecution of Backpage:

…In the years before their arrest, Lacey and Larkin had successfully beat back charges like these in court.  They took refuge not only in the First Amendment but also in Section 230…Congress’ great gift to the internet….[which] wouldn’t exist without it.  After all, you can’t build or sustain a giant network if you’re getting sued every time a user says or does something objectionable…Lacey and Larkin…won case after case, with the support of Big Tech and civil libertarians alike.  But by the time the Feds descended on Paradise Valley that morning in the spring of 2018…the tech industry…had thrown them under the bus.  Their top lieutenant had flipped.  And Congress had used them as an excuse to finally accomplish what it had been trying to do for more than 20 years—tear a hole in Section 230…Silicon Valley had better hope they win.  United States v. Lacey is a dangerous case, with potential consequences far beyond the freedom of two aging antiauthoritarians…

There’s a lot of good info here, but watch for the writer’s bias; she seems to be a crypto-prohibitionist and it’s visible in a few places (such as calling Lacey & Larkin “digital pimps”).  That’s hardly unusual for Wired, which seems unable to publish an article about sex work that lacks major issues.

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Those who engage in sex work are our constituents.  –  Brianne Nadeau

Surplus Women

The only way pigs want to “make sure you’re safe” is by locking you in a cell:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said they are looking for a potential serial killer and rapist that is operating on the city’s east side…the investigation…started several months ago…on March 19…Nancy Harrison…was [found naked and cops tried to pass it off as]…a drug overdose…[even though] she [had] suffered blunt force trauma…The body of the second victim, Travesene Ellis, was found on May 24…[then on June 5th] a woman’s decomposed naked body was found inside a vacant [house.  Cops]…believe…the suspect is targeting women in their early 50s and luring them to vacant dwellings…all three victims are believed to be sex workers…Police are asking sex workers to come forward with any information.  “We’re not here to arrest you, we’re going to make sure you’re safe,” he [lied]…

King of the Hill

There is exactly one highway which runs from Halifax, Nova Scotia to the mainland:

[Cops and “rescue” profiteers fantasize that] human traffickers are moving…[passive, doll-like] young girls — from Nova Scotia…to Montreal and Toronto, but it’s difficult to analyze the pattern in those stories as there is no [actual] data…on [the imaginary phenomenon]…the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCEHT)…is working on a study of the “high-incident” human trafficking corridor…between Halifax and Toronto…One stop on the road…is the town of Truro, N.S. (population 12,261), where the staff at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre have started to [brainwash women into thinking they]…have been sexually trafficked…[prohibitionist] Margaret Mauger said…”Truro has become…a hub for human trafficking”…She said most [women] don’t think of [their jobs]…as sexual trafficking, so she tries to [convince them otherwise]…

Buried Truth 

Accurate headline: “Man Loses Job After Refusing to Pay His Tab While Drunk”:

A Catholic school principal from Louisiana has resigned from his job after he was arrested at a Washington D.C. strip club…Michael Comeau…principal at Holy Family School near Baton Rouge, refused to pay his bill at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club…[while] blocking a roadway outside and refusing to move.  He was…arrested…[for] public intoxication and possession of an open container…

Pyrrhic Victory (#683)

When they smash down your door in the middle of the night, murder your dogs, terrorize your family and embroil you in a decade-long court battle which will utterly bankrupt you because some computer decided you look like somebody who supposedly broke some law, don’t say I didn’t warn you:

The FBI cops to the fact that its database of mugshots…has about 36 million entries…But that’s the tip of the iceberg.  Gretta Goodwin…[of] the Government Accountability Office (GAO), told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee…that the FBI can scan about 640 million pictures, including not just mugshots but driver’s licenses and passport photos…the FBI has “strict policies” governing the use of such technology, [claimed] a spokesman for an agency that is exceedingly well-known for what the American Civil Liberties Union calls an “unchecked abuse of authority“…Kimberly Del Greco, a [boss spook]…at the FBI, said…facial recognition…is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can [basically mean whatever they want it to mean]…

Remember, the FBI classes all sex workers as “criminals” and defines our ads as “probable cause for sex trafficking investigation”.

Out of Control (#767)

When the sexual need to control others is frustrated, some really weird behavior can result:

Boise Police…arrested Jonathan Parker — a lobbyist and former Idaho Republican Party chairman…on a felony first-degree stalking charge…on or between May 16 and May 30, Parker “did knowingly and maliciously engage” in conduct that “seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed (his [estranged] wife) Kelly Parker”…[his] conduct included “repeatedly hiding in bushes, masturbating, disguising himself with a wig” at or near her apartment complex…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Casa Roja…is…the new centre for Ammar – the Argentina’s Women’s Sex Workers’ Union…Dramatic inflation (which reached nearly 50% last year), combined with a reduction in subsidies…have sent the cost of basic foodstuffs, electricity and water spiralling.  A third of the population are living in poverty…almost 50% of women are either unemployed or working informally without labour protection or a security net, and cuts to public sector jobs have been most pernicious in feminised occupations…To try to improve conditions for sex workers, Ammar opened the doors of the Casa Roja on 2 June, International [Whores’] Day.  The centre will offer health and mental health services and a place to drink coffee as winter draws in…“There will also be legal assistance…in the face of increasingly punitive policing in the area…Ammar has been one of the most successful sex workers’ organisations in the world.  Across Argentina it has integrated itself into the mainstream labour movement, decriminalised sex work in some provinces, and provided peer-to-peer support for more than 20 years…[by contrast] feminists in the UK have been slow to embrace sex workers as sisters in the struggle against gender and economic injustice.  A small number of groups have stood shoulder to shoulder with sex workers, but the story has largely been one of violence and exclusion…

Amnesty At Last (#831)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for four years now:

A bill that would decriminalize sex work in Washington D.C. will be reintroduced at the D.C. Council…this time with four councilmembers in support…Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White…are now joined by…Anita Bonds and…Brianne Nadeau…last term, the original bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it never got a hearing…Grosso modeled the bill after efforts in New Zealand…The legislation comes at a time when sex work-related charges have more than doubled…[from] 228 [in 2017]…to…551 [in 2018]…

Devil’s Advocate (#832) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Florida has banned childlike sex dolls…[anti-sex politician] Lauren Book, who introduced the bill, [also created a bill to put sex workers and clients on a public registry.  She fantasized that]…“Just as viewing child pornography [magically] lowers the inhibitions of child predators [via invisible sex rays emitted from the images], so do these childlike sex dolls”…opponents of the measure [correctly] argued that the dolls deter pedophilia by preventing child predators from acting out on their impulses with real children…

The worst part of these laws isn’t the ban itself, but rather the institutionalization of the dangerous and unscientific dogma that human beings are tabulae rasae who can be “perverted” by external stimuli and thereby “re-educated” via such brainwashing schemes as “john schools” and “gay conversion therapy”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

{Insert Ben Franklin quote about liberty and safety}:

The…Brazosport [Texas] Independent School District…hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.  The company’s algorithms flagged [a woman’s comical] tweet [about her cats] as a potential threat…Among the other “threats” flagged by Social Sentinel [were]…tweets about the movie “Shooter,” the “shooting clinic” put on by…a…university…basketball team, and someone apparently pleased their credit score was “shooting up”…America’s schools…are hastily erecting a massive digital surveillance infrastructure…with [total and intentional dis]regard for either its effectiveness or its impact on civil liberties…Florida offers a glimpse of where it all may head: [politicians] there are pushing for a state database that would [make the childhood nightmare of a “permanent record” reality by] combin[ing] individuals’ educational, criminal justice, and social-service records with their social media data, then [handing] it all [to the pigs]…Gary Margolis, the CEO of Social Sentinel…claims “thousands” of K-12 schools in 30 states are using its [police-state boosting] service…[another company name] Securly…offer[s] “sentiment analysis” of students’ social media posts…[via] an “emotionally intelligent” app [like Facebook censorship algorithms] that sends parents weekly reports and automated push notifications detailing their children’s internet searches and browsing histories…

Censor Chic (#904)

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

Three days before the most sensitive political anniversary on the Chinese calendar, Twitter suspended the accounts of Chinese political commentators in what it [pretended] was an accident…it…affected more than 100 users…[including] human rights lawyers, activists, college students and nationalists, who use workarounds to get access to Twitter, which is banned in China…The accounts began rapidly disappearing just days before the 30th anniversary of the crackdown on a student-led pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square…In a statement, Twitter [claimed] that as a part of its routine efforts to stop spam and inauthentic behavior, it had [conveniently] gone after a number of legitimate Chinese-language accounts [at exactly the best time to demonstrate to the Chinese government that it could be counted on to censor as ordered if it were allowed to operate in the country]…

Safe Position (#928)

Ordinarily, I don’t even bother to call attention to prohibitionist screeds unless there’s something interesting about them; what’s interesting about this one is the absolute reek of desperation wafting from it.  Prohibitionists are terrified at the speed with which decriminalization has become a safe position for politicians to take, especially in New York, but because they’re disgusting authoritarians the best way they can think of to make a lame attempt at forcing back the tide is to get two fucking prosecutors (notice how much prohibitionists love them?) to vomit out all the usual prohibitionist lies.  Blah blah “pimps”, blah blah “violence and exploitation”, blah blah “male power”, blah blah “PTSD”, blah blah “Swedish model” dicksuckery, and of course “we must remember that money cannot buy consent“.  Their stupid lies and bullshit claims about women’s helplessness aren’t working any more, and they know it.  Hey, prohibitionists:  we’re winning.  And if the best you can do is to pull out two police-state operatives, some professional “survivors” and a clutch of old hags mouthing weird fantasies about “orifices”, you’d better get used to the idea.

Top Cop (#938)

Even if you already despise this power-hungry sociopath, Liz Brown’s deep dive will give you more to hate:

Kamala Harris is a cop.  The phrase, which the candidate’s critics use frequently, is meant to conjure more than just Harris’ history as a hard-nosed San Francisco prosecutor.  It’s colloquial.  To label someone a cop in this way…implies the person is a bully, a bootlicker, a professional tattler—the sort of person who shuts down un-authorized lemonade stands run by kids.  A cop, in this context, is someone who will always defer to authority and the status quo, someone who is unaccountable and not to be trusted.  Calling someone a cop invokes the worst sorts of police overreach, a legalistic authoritarianism that exists for its own sake…

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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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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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Facebook censorship is just what government censorship looks like in a corporatist system.  –  Caitlin Johnstone

Banishment (#446)

Threatening landlords to get them to evict sex workers is a popular Bay Area pig trick:

More than a hundred massage parlors in San Jose…were…shut…down…by…Vice [pigs]…[after pigs got happy ending massages at] 54 of [them.  Cops then threatened]…landlords [with pimping charges]…which prompted the shutdown of 62 of the parlors…neighboring cities, which [are also run by gangs of simians]…are now asking SJPD for information [so they can “monkey see, monkey do”] its approach…

One jurisdiction in the Washington DC area has done this as well.

To Molest and Rape 

If not for the witness & video, they’d be defending this rapist right now:

…Ryan Macklin…of the Prince George’s County Police Department, was [arrested for raping a woman after he forced her to pull]…over at about 1 a.m. on [October 11th.  He]…order[ed] her to move her car behind a store…[where he] oral[ly raped] her [and attempted to rape her vaginally until] interrupted by a witness whom the woman had called earlier, the [rapist then fled and] the witness later corroborated some of the woman’s account of the assault, which was also backed up by video evidence…Police [claim] they do not know why Macklin…[raped] the [woman]…

Cooties (#786) 

Shuker is a well-known prohibitionist fond of publicly masturbating to “sex slave” fantasies:

…MP Gavin Shuker has started a…[gang] to [at]tack…sex [workers]…called Luton Against Sexual Exploitation (LASE)…He [claims] a police initiative, begun in 2013, [to not persecute sex workers] was viewed as a failure by [prohibitionists who want sex workers persecuted]…Shuker is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution which [fantasizes that] sexual exploitation of women in pop-up brothels was widespread across the country.  The committee [was organized specifically to] recommend…the government…make paying for sex a crime…

Censor Chic (#830)

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

After a massive purge of hundreds of politically oriented pages and personal accounts for “inauthentic behavior”, Facebook rightly received a fair amount of criticism for the nebulous and hotly disputed basis for that action.  What received relatively little attention was the far more ominous step which was taken next:  within hours of being purged from Facebook, multiple anti-establishment alternative media sites had their accounts completely removed from Twitter as well…Anti-Media, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police, all of whom had millions of followers [were banned from both] Facebook…and…Twitter [almost simultaneously]…It is now clear that there is either (A) some degree of communication/coordination between Twitter and Facebook about their respective censorship practices, or (B) information being given to both Twitter and Facebook by another party regarding targets for censorship.  Either way, it means that there is now some some mechanism in place linking the censorship of dissident voices across multiple platforms.  We are beginning to see smaller anti-establishment alternative media outlets cut off from their audiences by the same sort of coordinated cross-platform silencing we first witnessed with Alex Jones in August…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

You do realize TSA is part of DHS, right? The agency building a giant biometric database?

Customs and Border Protection has been using facial recognition to screen non-US residents on international flights since 2015, a project that was expedited by the Trump administration.  Last year, the US government laid out its plans to start expanding the [surveillance] tools to US citizens, which would require them to undergo facial scans when they leave the country through a system called the Biometric Pathway…TSA will adopt the same technology, partnering with CBP on biometrics for international travelers, expanding security operations to TSA Precheck members, and eventually, using facial recognition to verify domestic travelers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Activists, civil rights groups and Amazon’s own shareholders are now joined by its employees:

…Amazon, where I work, is currently allowing police departments around the country to purchase its facial recognition product, Rekognition, and I and other employees demand that we stop immediately.  A couple weeks ago, my co-workers delivered a letter to this effect, signed by over 450 employees, to Jeff Bezos and other executives.  The letter also contained demands to kick Palantir…off Amazon Web Services and to institute employee oversight for ethical decisions…Amazon’s website brags of the system’s ability to store and search tens of millions of faces at a time.  Law enforcement has already started using facial recognition with virtually no public oversight or debate or restrictions on use from Amazon.  Orlando, Florida, is testing Rekognition with live video feeds from surveillance cameras around the city.  A sheriff’s department in Oregon [uses]  Rekognition to let officers in the field compare photos to a database of mugshots.  This is not a hypothetical situation…

One Born Every Minute (#856) 

Another sleazy scam artist raping aspiring sex workers:

…Deana Embry got a Facebook message from a man who said he was an agent for Evil Angel Videos…and urged her to audition…she signed several [fake] contracts, discussed her boundaries, and did everything asked of her in the extensive audition process—including a sex scene…[later] she learned the man was not an agent…but a local business owner and engineering student by the name of Francisco Reveriano…[who] sent similar messages to at least two other women …but…a sting operation…by Embry and a top executive of Evil Angel [with the help of a PI]…succeeded in driving Reveriano underground, even securing a videotaped admission from him.  But despite [raping at least one woman and scheming to rape others] Reveriano currently faces nothing more than a fine [because Texas]…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#867) 

I’ll bet you thought I was kidding when I put that necrophilia item under this heading:

…one of the UK’s first sex doll rental services…offers to make bespoke dolls for those seeking comfort after losing a partner by matching their likeness.  Jade Stanley…says…“We have a lot of people approach us who have dolls made that resemble a partner they have lost”…Bespoke dolls can cost up to $5,200 and can be made to any specification…“I’m hoping to open an office in Atlanta…We are currently in the process of working with some well-known porn stars to get dolls made that look just like them”…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

The government shutdown of Backpage.com this year…has [predictably] prompted an increase in [the number of] sex [workers] on San Francisco streets.  [Arrests]…related to [sex work]…have more than tripled in 2018 — with 67 through August, up from 21 during the same period last year…as much of the activity had been [peacefully and privately conducted] online…Antonio Flores [oinked]…“A few sex workers are [resisting when cops try]…to prey on [them]”…Pike Long…of St. James Infirmary [explained]…“Without being able to advertise online…a huge number of sex workers were forced to go outside, and many have reported that former pimps came out of the woodwork offering to ‘manage’ their business again since they were now rendered unable to find and screen clients online”…

Remember, when cops & reporters say “sex trafficking” they actually mean sex work; in San Francisco, it’s an important way of getting around the “policies” they established to quiet squeaky wheels.

The Widening Gyre (#878)

What the fuck is going on in San Angelo, Texas?

San Angelo Police issued a news release after recieving several calls Monday, Oct. 15…“Police received several inquiring about black-colored zip ties being used to target potential victims of human trafficking…One post was concerning a zip tie that was placed on a…vehicle side mirror.  In another…sex traffickers were placing black zip ties on the lamp posts, houses, apartments, and fences of their intended female targets.”  The department said it’s received no reports of…attempted kidnappings relating to human trafficking…police learned the person who created the original post was not the owner of the pictured vehicle and had copied the claim as a means to [get attention]…

This is the same small city which saw the “Bible study sex traffickers” a few weeks ago.  Naturally, USA Today helpfully responded by posting more “signs of sex trafficking” propaganda so as to help quench the fire with gasoline.

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People…[recognize] outrageous abuse of authority, but they often don’t question the authority itself.  –  Scott Shackford

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

But, but, but…BUYING WOMEN!!!

The head of the London [Ontario] police department’s human trafficking unit faces three professional misconduct charges for allegedly ordering the release a fellow [pig] swept up in a prostitution sting and then trying to cover up his tracks.  Sgt. Michael Hay…directed the unconditional release of a [cop]…who had been arrested during a [scheme to persecute] men [seeking consensual] sex…

Change a Few Words

What other group is stopped from entering the US for acts that aren’t crimes in their country?

…Sam Znaimer is a Vancouver, Canada-based venture capitalist who has been investing in everything from tech to telecommunications for more than 30 years.  Recently, he put more than $100,000 into legal American cannabis companies.  In May, when he attempted to drive across the border, he was flagged for [harassment] and [interrogate] for four hours.  “To my shock and horror, I was told that I was deemed to be inadmissible to the United States because I was assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs,” Znaimer said…American immigration attorney Len Saunders said he’s seen at least a dozen cases like Znaimer’s at the Blaine land crossing as well as airports in Vancouver and Edmonton over the past few months.  In the prior 15 years that he’s practiced law on the border, he’d never seen one…In June, Canada became only the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide.  It’s also home to one of the only securities exchanges on the planet where people can buy stock in American pot companies…

Lack of Evidence (#344) 

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

…the Hollywood [Florida] Police Department raided  an adult store called the Pleasure Emporium…an undercover couple went to the store, purchased tickets for an adult video room, and found gay men allegedly performing sex acts either on themselves or with each other.  It wasn’t prostitution, but the cops decided it violated the statutes against lascivious acts and exposure of sexual organs…arrests followed, and…the men became victims of what the Miami New Times has rightly called a smear campaign.  Local outlets such as WPLG and The Miami Herald posted the men’s names and mugshots.  Abbie Cuellar, a lawyer representing one of the men, tells the New Times that her client lost his job as a result…

Bread and Circuses 

This pearl-clutching mess about feds’ attack on a fairly ordinary incall escort business is so larded with dysphemisms and lurid nonsense, there’s little point in quoting anything else:

Human merchandise hawked…littered with pictures of women…performing submissive positions…solicit women for prostitution…sophisticated prostitution and human trafficking network…pricy haunts…pimps and madams…virtual sex carnival…reel in johns… broken English…prostitution network…with that female…sex-trafficking matchmaker…prostitution proceeds…staggering number of condoms…sex house to sex house…Bashir and her cohorts…illicit sex operations…steady stream of men…

This bluenosed reporter apparently believes this kind of ridiculous language make her sound clever rather than like an intern at the Daily Mail incapable of doing the most basic research; three minutes on any escort’s site (mine included) would have led her to understand that a double means two girls, not “likely meaning having sex more than once”.  Of the victims of this witch hunt, Susan Bashir, Jineok Kim, and Kyung Song plead guilty; Yoon Kim and his wife Taehee Kim are still fighting the charges.

Policing for Profit (#590) 

Let’s hope this provides a powerful precedent to take down similar robbery gangs all over the US:

…in April 2016, Arlene Harjo let her 38-year-old son borrow her two-year-old Nissan Versa…the next morning Harjo learned that Albuquerque police had arrested him for driving while intoxicated…[and stolen] Harjo’s car, which the city planned to keep…U.S. District Judge James Browning…said…”The City of Albuquerque has an unconstitutional institutional incentive to prosecute forfeiture cases…because, in practice, the forfeiture program sets its own budget and can spend, without meaningful oversight, all of the excess funds it raises from previous years…[this] violates procedural due process, because owners have to prove that their cars are not subject to civil forfeiture”…Albuquerque [steals] more than 1,000 cars a year, generating more than $1 million in revenue, based on crimes such as DWI [and] patronizing prostitutes…Half the time, as in Harjo’s case, the car does not belong to the offender.  Cars nevertheless are automatically forfeited if the owner does not request an administrative hearing (and pay a $50 fee) within 10 days.  Before Harjo’s hearing, as part of its customary “settlement negotiations,” the city offered to sell her car back to her for $4,000, provided she agreed to have the vehicle booted [and therefore completely useless to her] for 18 months…Several months later, after Harjo filed a lawsuit with help from the Institute for Justice, the city dropped its forfeiture complaint. It turned out that Harjo’s car was not subject to forfeiture because it had been seized outside the boundaries of Albuquerque.  Meanwhile, the car had been damaged while sitting in a city lot for eight months, during which Harjo had to make payments on a vehicle she could no longer use…

New Mexico isn’t the only state which literally robs people in this fashion.

Censor Chic (#827)

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

Google is reportedly planning to relaunch its search engine in China, complete with censored results to meet the demands of the Chinese government…According to internal documents provided to The Intercept by a whistleblower, Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename “Dragonfly”…[which] will reportedly “blacklist [forbidden] queries” and filter out all websites blocked by China’s web censors (including Wikipedia and BBC News)…The whistleblower…said they…were “against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people…what is done in China will become a template for many other nations”…Google previously offered a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010, before pulling out of the country after facing criticism in the US

Rooted in Racism (#846) 

They want to make “different last names” a thing so as to cover up racial profiling:

The Home Office posted a tweet on [August 1st] advising family members with different surnames to bring birth or adoption certificates to the airport to help them pass through passport control more quickly.  The image accompanying the tweet read:  “Families with different surnames may be asked questions to establish their relationship”…In a follow-up tweet, the Home Office clarified its position: “We have a [scheme] to [maximize inconvenience in order]…to [further security theater]…and [increase surveillance to a many people as possible]…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#848)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands is no longer news, but adults calling the cops on kids is part of an ugly pattern we keep seeing of late:

Kid sets up a lemonade stand outside his home, which happens to be next door to the Saratoga County Fair in Ballston Spa, New York.  Vendors at the fair call state health officials to complain.  State health officials show up, determine the kid doesn’t have a permit, and shut him down…while we’re told that permitting and licensing programs are all about public safety, they are frequently used as bludgeons to keep competitors out of the marketplace…officials initially apologized after they realized they were just shutting down some kid’s stand, not somebody trying to undercut the vendors inside the fair.  But…officials [also]…said the boy would have to get a $30 temporary food permit, which…comes with all sorts of rules.  Politicians are now falling all over themselves to get publicity for [pretending to] support…the boy [while leaving the authoritarian system which enables such harassment unquestioned]…

Torture Chamber (#852) 

Despite current posturing by Democrats, abuse of migrants has been a bipartisan policy for quite a while:

A youth worker at a Southwest Key [migrant prison] in Mesa, Arizona, has been charged with molesting eight teenage boys in his care…Levian D. Pacheco…perform[e] oral sex on two boys and attempt[ed] to force one of them to anally penetrate him, as well as inappropriately touching other boys…Pacheco is HIV-positive and…some of [his victims] have undergone HIV testing.  The abuse…occurred over nearly a one-year period, from August 29, 2016, until July 24, 2017.  The boys were between 15 and 17 years of age and had all crossed the border as unaccompanied minors and were [captured and caged]…A worker [named Fernando Negrete] at another Southwest Key facility in Arizona was arrested and charged this week with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in his care…

Is this reporter asleep at her keyboard, or did she actually intend to refer to molestation of abducted teenage boys as “caring for unaccompanied minors” and to say of two molesters that caged victims were “in his care”?  Here’s more on the second molester: “Fernando Negrete..touched the girl’s breasts and crotch over her clothes, and kissed her on multiple occasions…

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