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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

The moral of this story is don’t call the cops.  –  Janus Cassandra

Another video demonstrating the awesomeness of what segregationists decry as “cultural appropriation”, provided by Emma Evans.  The links above it were contributed by Franklin HarrisJesse Walker (x2), Brooke MagnantiMarc Randazza, and Scott Greenfield (x2), in that order.

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Forcing us into the closet makes it easier for prohibitionists to make up stories about our lives.  –  Liara Roux

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

A bizarre claim even by the low standards of anti-porn nuts and gun-grabbers:

Rep. Diane Black…who is running for governor of Tennessee…raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.  “Pornography,” she said.  “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store.  Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there…All of this is available without parental guidance.  I think that is a big part of the root cause”…Beyond naughty movies, Black said school shootings are on the rise because of the “deterioration of the family,” mental illness and violent movies…

Like most things claimed to be “on the rise” by hysterics, school shootings aren’t.  But what I want to know is, where are these grocery stores that stock porn on shelves near the front door?  I’m guessing they’re probably located in the same towns where one can “order a child for sex like a pizza“.

Perquisites

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

…Alene Anase was asked by her employer Alpha Omega Winery to serve guests as part of a charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  But what she expected to be a routine shift serving wine turned into a nightmare…The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in her 2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire…Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some [of whom Anase fantasized] to be “too young to consent”…

Surplus Women 

Twelve days after the decomposed body of a woman aged around 30 was found packed in a drum in Shivaji Nagar, the police…claimed to have solved the murder case.  A 60-year-old man has been arrested while his wife is wanted in the case…the arrested accused, Babu Bhagwan Patel…has confessed to his role.  The woman, identified only as Meena, was a commercial sex worker from Dadar…

Coming Out

Liara Roux on coming out:

…I almost started crying.  I was so worried I would lose my sister, who I loved so dearly.  I was shocked when she told me:  “I’m glad you’re happy!  I’m glad you found a job that works for you!”…She asked a couple questions about my job…My sister has always been incredibly thoughtful like this.  I remember coming out to her as queer and how excited and happy for me she had been about that too…I told her not to tell Mom…I come from an extremely religious, conservative family—house full of kids and fire and brimstone.  I’ve always lived my life in extreme and unusual ways and it scares her…There’s so much I haven’t told her because whenever I try to, I freeze.  I was worried if I came out to her while living with her that she and my father would have sent me to gay conversion camp or that they would kick me out of the house and I would be homeless, which had happened to some of my friends.  I like to think that she would have accepted me, but I don’t know…

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only five months for this?

A[n Oregon cop] was sentenced…to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from [her] online…Daniel Kerbs…was held…on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child…

Droit du Seigneur (#691) 

Do we really want rapists to eschew condoms so they can avoid federal charges?

…Federal prosecutors said William Whitley’s conduct affected interstate commerce because…the condoms he used [to rape] a 14-year-old girl [were made out of state]…Prosecutors often cite guns made outside a state to support federal charges.  Condom use is [a wholly predictable following of established precedent]…a federal sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the minimum at the state level would be six years…

Saving Them From Themselves (#778)

Naturally, politicians had to make this bad law even worse before passing it:

…members of the [Ohio] House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill to ban teen sexting, even for…teenagers who are [18 and therefore] legally adults…Teens found guilty of sexting could be sentenced to [re-education]…but judges would be free to overlook this program, and minors with previous sex-related offenses on their records would not be eligible.  Outside the diversion program, a sexting charge could lead to…eight hours of community service—a light punishment that the bill’s supporters have brandished to make their proposal more palatable.  But…the real harm comes from saddling these kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives…The bill’s sponsors have argued that theirs is a compassionate plan because it gives prosecutors an option to avoid charging teen sexters with more serious child pornography charges.  But there’s nothing requiring the state’s cops to crack down on teen sexting to begin with, and…prosecutors could use their discretion to not bring child porn charges…instead, they’re simply adding on another possible charge for law enforcement to slap onto texting teens…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

I feel so much schadenfreude at watching the government’s own moral panic come back to bite it:

…Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of [Health & Human Services] Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions…over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings.  The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report…that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses…In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid…[according to the movie]  Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers…Between October and December 2017…the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635  minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent.  Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down…

Rooted in Racism (#800) 

Another case of deliberate racial profiling by thanks to government-approved guidelines:

…Lindsay Gottlieb…was flying home [to California] from Denver when a Southwest agent asked her to prove she was the mother of her [biracial] baby.  Gottlieb said she showed her son’s passport, but the agent wasn’t satisfied and demanded a birth certificate [because obviously everyone carries those around with them]…The agent eventually let her family check in, but Gottlieb turned to Twitter to get the airline’s attention.  She tweeted: “I’m appalled that after approximately 50 times flying with my one-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport.  She said because we have different last names.  My guess is because he has a diff. skin color”…

Although this coverage doesn’t mention it, I think everyone reading this knows why airline personnel are being trained to racially profile travelers.  Every agent and air hostess wants to be the next big hero for catching a “sex trafficker”.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#823)

The stench of FOSTA is all over India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

…there appear to be several issues with overbroad or vague language…that could lead to a deleterious effect on the Freedom of Expression…section 39(2)…mandates punishment even for a vaguely defined action or actions that may not actually be connected to the trafficking of a person.  In other words, the provision doesn’t require any of the actions to be connected to trafficking in their intent or even outcome, but only in potential connection to the outcome…The excessively wide scope of this badly drafted provision leaves it prone to abuse…Even the electronic publicizing of an academic study on trafficking could fall under the provision as it currently reads…Similarly, any of our vast number of self-appointed moral guardians could also pull within this provision any artistic work that they may personally find offensive or ‘obscene’…Section 41…[criminalizes] “Whoever distributes, or sells or stores” [information claimed to leads to “trafficking”]…the infrastructure of the electronic/digital world requires 3rd party intermediaries to handle information…As it is not feasible, desirable or even practically possible for intermediaries to verify the legality of every bit of data that gets transferred or stored by the intermediary, “safe harbours” are provided in law for intermediaries, protecting them from liability of the information being transmitted through them…If intermediaries are not granted this protection, it puts them in the unenviable position of having to monitor un-monitorable amounts of data, and face legal action for the slip-ups that are bound to happen regularly…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Some Victorian sex workers say that working under the licensing framework…is even worse than working in places that totally outlaw sex work because of the extreme complexity of the laws.  Jules Kim from…Scarlet Alliance says [that in Queensland and Victoria] sex…workers are subject to unwarranted “surveillance and entrapment”…Examples include police calling workers to request services considered illegal within those states, such as condomless oral or threesomes, and then laying charges if the worker agrees…Such entrapment can disproportionately affect marginalised workers, such as migrant workers with limited English, who may not know what they are agreeing to.  In Western Australia and South Australia, where most forms of sex work are deemed illegal, police may use the fact that someone had condoms as “evidence” that they were working…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

Calling this “sex trafficking” lets the government steal property:

The Justice Department is moving in to target two [houses in Brooklyn]…where sex trafficking and branding allegedly took place.  Court documents filed by the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn are to forfeit and condemn two properties allegedly used by Keith Raniere and his victims…in connection with Raniere’s [NXIVM] cult…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

That didn’t take long, did it?

We’ve heard so many stories lately about the frankly horrifying degree to which facial recognition leads to tracking or privacy invasions.  But a startup specializing in AI is instead leveraging facial recognition technology to [rat sex workers out to the cops]…Marinus Analytics…program called Traffic Jam…builds a database of images, phone numbers, and location data which can help identify [sex workers]…It scrapes the websites every few minutes, meaning even ads which are deleted or changed is [sic] still usable…The company last year added a feature to Traffic Jam called Facesearch, which combs through online photographs and identifies specific [sex workers]…Amazon’s Rekognition software is the technology behind the facial recognition…Rekognition is also being used by law enforcement for other…surveillance purposes.  While that usage has some ethical dilemmas which other experts in the field have pointed out, the usage of the software to find [sex workers]…feels far more noble [to the dangerously ignorant]…

The gullibility of this reporter is nothing short of alarming; notice how eagerly she sucks the dick of “sex trafficking” propagandists even though she clearly understands the danger of mass surveillance, then proceeds to make excuses for the surveillance based in swallowing the propaganda.

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Jeremy Malcolm is the founder and director of the Prostasia Foundation, the first sex-positive and pro-civil rights child protection organization.  He’s an IT and intellectual property lawyer and consultant, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum; prior to Prostasia he was Senior Global Policy Analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation. When he asked me to be on Prostasia’s advisory council I gladly accepted, and when it came time to start getting the word out I naturally offered this space.

As a child, I remember how terrified I was by a rerun of the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the lead character attempts to sound the alarm about a stealth alien invasion of Earth.  In the final scene of the movie, mounting panic overcomes him as realizes that he is too late, and that the vehicles passing him by on the roadside are already carrying the alien pods that contain the seeds of humanity’s doom.  The movie was widely interpreted as a cold war allegory, because it reflected how the public fear of infiltration of the United States by communists had been worked up into such a frenzy by Senator Joseph McCarthy that it empowered the government (for a while) to get away with taking repressive measures in response—measures that would never otherwise have been considered justified outside of wartime.  Although the red scare has passed, the public feeling of creeping terror about existential threats to our society, and the shrewd and calculating management of that feeling, remains part and parcel of contemporary politics today.  So much so, that international relations scholars have a specific a word used to describe what happens when governments manipulate public fear in this way: it’s called securitization.

When a public policy issue is not merely politicized, but securitized, it is constructed in such a way that authorities assert the right to take extraordinary and otherwise impermissible measures in response.  Whatever the issue happens to be—it might be terrorism, ebola, or migration, for instance—if politicians are able to whip up enough hysteria about the threat that it poses to the integrity and long-term survival of a society, concerns about human rights, public debate, and due process can be hand-waved away.  Too much is at stake—our lives, our liberty!  And very often too: our children.  So it is that we often observe this pattern of rhetoric when child protection laws are put forward.  It is quite right that we should do all that we can constitutionally do to protect children from sexual abuse, and that the political process should be a part of this.  It’s also normal that politicians will selectively use the evidence that supports laws that they favor.  But a healthy political process is one in which that evidence is at least open for debate, and in which the effects of proposed laws on our rights and freedoms as a society are carefully scrutinized.  These democratic safeguards are frequently bypassed when it comes to child protection laws, because of how child sexual abuse is securitized, framed as an existential threat that has to be purged from society at any cost.  This construction of the issue transforms Congress from what should be – a sober, deliberative legislative body (a filter for the views of the people, as Alexander Hamilton would have it) – into a mirror of a society in moral panic, willing to accept with a minimum of scrutiny almost any measure that purports to address the problem.

Proponents of such laws know this full well, which is why they invest heavily in fueling and manipulating the moral panic that gives child protection this privileged status in political discourse.  One way in which they do this is by playing on emotions, rather than evidence—and since child protection involves very strong emotions anyway, all that might be needed to push a law over the line might be the performative retelling of the story of the victim chosen to be the law’s public face (Megan’s Law, the template for America’s ubiqituous, although ineffective, sex offender registration laws, is a good example of this).  It was much the same in the case of FOSTA/SESTA too, for which it was a movie about sex trafficking, along with a series of increasingly fever-pitched (if largely fictitious) stories about the commercial child sex trafficking industry, that made the law unassailable against evidence of its flaws.  In the end, all but two Senators voted for a law that has actually made the fight against sex trafficking harder, while also harming sex educators, putting adult sex workers in physical danger, and seeing a rash of privatized censorship sweeping the Internet.  Even aside from these laws’ harmful side-effects, they aren’t even fit for purpose, because the vast majority of sexual offending isn’t a result of child sex trafficking, nor is it committed by those who are already registered sex offenders.  In fact, notwithstanding popular belief to the contrary, most child sex offending isn’t even committed by pedophiles.  That’s not to say that prevention interventions can’t be aimed at these groups, but if that’s where we stop then we are barely scratching the surface of the problem.  Politicians and the public alike rely a lot on the stereotype of the child sexual abuser as a creepy old man hanging around a schoolyard in a van, or the brazen sidewalk pimp with links to organized crime.  Just as the stereotype of the psycho serial killer represents the much larger problem of violence in America, it can be perversely comforting to be able to focus our attention on these sorts of outlying abusers, as it helps us feel that we have a handle on the problem.

What was scariest about Invasion of the Body Snatchers wasn’t the fear an alien might come and kill you or a loved one.  The most terrifying part of the movie (spoiler alert!) was the revelation that your loved one was already an alien, and you didn’t even know it.  The “red scare” was so scary not because of the reds over the ocean, but because of the reds under the bed.  So too, potential child abusers are in every neighborhood, and in many families; they don’t identify (nor would be clinically diagnosed) as pedophiles, and they certainly aren’t going to be prevented from offending by laws aimed at the sex industry or at those who have offended in the past.  It’s a sobering thought.  But the good news is that the scale of the problem doesn’t have to make us feel paralyzed into inaction.  There are things that we can do—it’s just that politicians aren’t going to do them, or at least not for as long as self-righteous morals campaigners and “tough on crime” ideologues control the child protection agenda.  What’s needed is a broader primary sex-positive prevention approach that respects the civil and human rights of all.  Prostasia Foundation is the first child protection organization to simultaneously champion such an approach, while also criticizing laws and policies that while putatively for child protection, are really nothing more than child protection theater.  Formed following the passage of FOSTA/SESTA by a diverse group including child sexual abuse survivors, civil rights campaigners, medical health professionals, and sex industry experts, we are currently crowdfunding with the aim of a full launch next month, and we could use your support.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Emily Weinman

I’m not sure what’s funnier in this video, the dog who sounds like he’s auditioning for Pagliacchi or the woman trying to reason with him.  In any case, the results are hilarious.  The video was provided by Emma Evans and the links above it by Brooke MagnantiWalter OlsonEddie J CunninghamKevin WilsonThaddeus RussellJillian Keenan, and Lenore Skenazy, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s tyranny at its finest.  –  Rakem Balogun

Regular readers may recall that I love Rube Goldberg machines, and here’s a doozy called to my attention by Mike Siegel.  The links above it were provided by Dave KruegerNun YaClarissaPopehatScott GreenfieldWalter Olson, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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Bindel is concerned with men treating women’s bodies like a workplace, when it is the state that treats us like property.  –  Ella Whelan

First They Came for the Hookers…

Stripping is no different from prostitution; say nothing when they attack the latter, expect them to come for the former:

…Tel Aviv…strippers…protest[ed] a new bill…that would put stripping on a legal par with prostitution…it would ban the possession of a location where prostitution or stripping occurs, as well as ban advertising and lobbying for stripping, which are not currently prohibited…

Watershed

Despite some dysphemisms, one of the best feminist arguments for decriminalization I’ve ever seen:

…Decriminalisation isn’t about what moral stance we take on prostitution itself.  It is about women being free to make choices about their own bodies.  It is the same as the argument for abortion rights…Some argue that it is a myth that women choose to go into prostitution, that women are unable to make an independent decision to become a prostitute because they are oppressed by men.  Sex workers are portrayed as victims of oppression, childlike in their need for protection…The criminalisation of sex work suggests women can’t be allowed to have control over their own bodies, that we can’t be trusted with that freedom – because all we’ll do is allow men to abuse us…Illiberal abortion laws prevent us from making our own choices about when to have children.  Consent classes and sex education seek to train us how and when to have sex.  Public-health policy demands that we live a certain way while pregnant. In every aspect of women’s lives, the state tries to act as our protector, withholding our freedom.  The decriminalisation of sex work is about insisting that a woman’s body should not be controlled by the state or the courts…

Torture Chamber

What our government calls a “correctional facility”:

In 2013, David O’Quin, a 39-year-old schizophrenic artist, was tied to a chair at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for the better part of two weeks.  His restraints contributed to the formation of blood clots in his legs, which dislodged and stuck in his lungs, killing him.  The O’Quin family has already settled with the Sheriff’s Office, which operates the lockup.  The city-parish owns the facility, and…agreed last week to settle with the O’Quins for another $50,000…Metro Council members say they’re aware of problems at the jail but made no commitment at the April 25 meeting to a path forward…”the biggest blight in Baton Rouge is the East Baton Rouge prison,” said Gary Meise of Together Baton Rouge…

Down Under (#421) 

This is the kind of outcome I’d expect in Australia or New Zealand, not prohibitionist New York:

A former stripper received…a six-figure inheritance from a former client and friend…Veronica Beckham…met the former HBO executive, Micky Liu, back in July 2014 at the Atlantic City Scores strip club…Beckham…described the relationship they had as an “everlasting friendship” in court documents…Liu, who suffered from diabetes and heart disease related to [obesity]…died less than a year later…Despite knowing each other for such a brief time, Liu obviously felt the same way about their relationship – as he named Beckham the beneficiary of his retirement accounts and a life-insurance policy worth a combined $223,000…Micky’s sister, May Liu, challenged the inheritance…suggesting that “Beckham, as a professional exotic dancer, was adept at applying and using coercion and manipulation upon men…[she] preyed upon Micky Liu’s vulnerability by exerting influence over him in the form of moral coercion”…the courts ruled that Beckham was entitled to the money – and only former girlfriends of Micky could sue for the funds…

Now now, Ms. Liu; don’t you now we’re all “victims” now, not seductresses?

Election Day (#689) 

Marijuana prohibition will soon be a thing of the past:

For the last year and a half, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, has been blocking implementation of a 2016 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana for recreational use…[but] state legislators [finally] showed their patience with LaPage’s objections had been exhausted,  overriding his veto of a bill aimed at creating a system to license and regulate commercial production and distribution of cannabis.  The vote was 109 to 39 in the House and 28 to 6 in the Senate, well in excess of the two-thirds required…

Perquisites (#708) 

Attractive women have been used to market sports for generations, but before the currently-fashionable anti-whore crusade those women were compensated instead of being, well, “trafficked”:

When the Washington Redskins took their cheerleading squad to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot, the first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification…some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity.  Others wore nothing but body paint…A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.  One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done…Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub…Their participation did not involve sex, the cheerleaders said, but they felt as if the arrangement amounted to “pimping us out”…

A Mound of Filth (#751)

MGM join other anti-human rights groups in supporting “Cuckoo Clock” McCain:

As part of its contribution to the campaign to fight [consensual adult sexuality]…MGM Resorts International…awarded $250,000 to the McCain Institute for International Leadership at [prohibitionist shithole] Arizona State University.  The [anti-sex] think tank [funds bogus “studies” to support censorship and pogroms]…MGM Resorts is also an active participant in the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaboration led by…Las Vegas [cops]…to coordinate anti-[sex worker] strategies…and [spread propaganda] about [sex work]…

Disaster

Capricious Lusts (#836)

Why do people have such trouble with this?  Sex workers can help a decent man cope with frustrations that can erode his judgment; we can’t defuse angry, violent men who believe they’re “owed” sex, because they think that they “shouldn’t have to” pay for it:

…sex worker Emma Evans…said, “[an incel] is not going to be helped by seeing a sex worker, because it’s not about lack of sex.  It’s about…entitlement…and…rage”…A recent post on an incel forum, for example, explains that the reason “incels aren’t getting laid is because women with a sexual market value equal to theirs” will artificially “inflate” their value by wearing makeup and revealing clothing in order to “fuck with men above their league”…The…post…[fantasizes] women [should] be [forced by a totalitarian government]…to have sex with men of “equal” market value…[and] single mothers and those with more than nine sexual partners, “should be forced by the state to date and have sex with these incels”…they generally have a negative view of sex workers, according to Evans.  “They hate sex workers because we charge for sex, and of course that’s anathema to them”…Before going on a shooting spree in Isla Vista in 2014, Elliot Rodger touched on this idea in his 141-page-long manifesto titled “My Twisted Mind”.  Hiring a sex worker, Rodger posited, would “temporarily [feel] good for the moment, but afterward it makes one feel like a pathetic loser for having to hire a girl when other men get the experience for free”…

The saddest part about this, of course, is the delusion that some men get sex for “free”; wise men know that “free” sex is the most expensive kind.

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The right to criticize the police without risk of arrest distinguishes a democracy from a police state.  –  Judge Brian Jackson

Regular readers know that I love unusual covers of songs; here’s one of the guitar solo from “Free Bird” played on a gayageum, proving once again that “cultural appropriation” is not only not bad, but actually awesome.  The video was provided by Jesse Walker, and the links above it by Elizabeth N. BrownFranklin HarrisPopehatEd KrayewskiMark DraughnAmy Alkon & Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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