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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

The Uighurs are at the terminus of authoritarianism.
–  Katherine Mangu-Ward

The Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim people who have for centuries inhabited the vast and remote Xinjiang region of China, an area so unknown to Europeans that they often imagined it as the site of mysterious realms, from the Kingdom of Prester John to H.P. Lovecraft’s Plateau of Leng.  Starting in 2014, the conformity-obsessed Chinese government has worked to turn this enormous area – larger than any European country except Russia – into the world’s most tightly-controlled police state, polluted by thousands of roadblocks and checkpoints, infested with cops and rotten with surveillance systems.   Then in the spring of 2017, mere mass surveillance and police harassment turned into a systematic campaign of rounding up Uighurs and condemning them to concentration camps for such “crimes” as having a beard, using Twitter or discussing Islam.  Within a year Western journalists discovered that Beijing had apparently created a file (including DNA records) on every single Uighur, and was in the process of “disappearing” more than 10,000 people per month into a network of hundreds of “re-education” centers where (in addition to brainwashing) they are subjected to monstrous yet childish humiliations such as having their faces and heads forcibly shaved; being given only haram pork to eat; and being forced to renounce their faith, chant moronic communist slogans, and do clownish dances in front of giant Chinese flagsUighur expats search the Chinese social media app TikTok for videos of the horrors which slip past Chinese censors, and a few weeks ago the world at large got to see a small glimpse of what these prisons look like, thanks to footage obtained by spy drones operated by a mysterious human rights group:

…chilling drone footage published online…appeares to show Uighur Muslim men at a train station being transferred…to detention camps…China’s ruling Communist Party…hold[s] up to one million mainly Uighur people in…concentration camps…[though of course] China vehemently denies the allegations…and…insisted its camps are simply “re-education” centres focused on training and skills development…[and that] “members of the public who have been chosen for re-education have been infected by an ideological illness”…

The abominations go far beyond their most visible manifestations, however.  Uighur children are being abducted from their families and confined to state-run orphanages where they are indoctrinated in pro-government propaganda and only allowed to speak Mandarin, and adults are forced to install spyware on their phones.  And the surveillance and harassment is spreading far beyond Xinjiang; “police are now using facial recognition technology to target Uighurs in wealthy eastern cities like Hangzhou and Wenzhou and across the coastal province of Fujian,” and police visited and threatened the family of a Chinese student in Brisbane after he attended a protest against the oppression of the Uighurs.  One doesn’t need a PhD in political science to see what Beijing is attempting:  the methodical and systematic erasure of an entire culture, the flushing of an entire people down the totalitarian memory hole.  And given that the West abandoned its pretentions of being the “Free World” (in anything but name) a generation ago, I honestly can’t see any way to stop this quiet genocide.

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I think regular readers already understand my views on government, and I don’t believe anyone who has read more than a few scattered columns would be so foolish as to attempt to get me to do something by vomiting “It’s the law!” all over my mailbox.  Alas, not everyone is a regular reader of this blog, and many who aren’t are such hopeless moral imbeciles that they truly believe some agreement made between fascists whom I neither know nor respect establishes some kind of “legitimate” authority over me that I’m bound to obey, even if it runs contrary to my own moral precepts.  And so three times already this year I’ve been emailed by people requesting, arguing for or even demanding the censorship of their names from some news item on this blog, due to the European Union’s imaginary “right to be forgotten“.  One of these individuals was such a complete arsehole, removing his name would’ve constituted collaboration with evil; one I had no opinion about, and the most recent I was actually sympathetic to.  But when I cover a news story, I already make a decision whether the names should be shared or not, and “it’s the law” is, if anything, an argument against complying with a demand for censorship.  But it’s more than just that; years ago in “A Look at the Works” I wrote…

…I take an extremely dim view of websites who shove posts down the memory hole just because some readers didn’t like them; I have the philosophy that “you can’t unring a bell”, so once a post is up I will not remove it no matter who finds it offensive.  Besides the ethical problem that would create, removing the index entries and hyperlinks would be like pulling one gear out of a clock…and if you think I’m going to leave an ugly and conspicuous hole in a four-year-long perfect record just because it hurt your feelings, I respectfully suggest you reconsider your place in the universe

Since then I’ve made exactly one exception to that rule (about which the less said, the better) at the request of a person I love very much, because for me loyalty trumps everything else.  But if you aren’t such a person I suggest you reread the above block quote while remembering that “four-year-long perfect record” has since grown to ten, then ask yourself whether you really think I’ll make an exception for you because some especially-pompous politicians a third of the way around the planet ordered me to.

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We’re not going to sit around and wait to be prosecuted before we fight this law.  –  Skye Wheeler

Real People 

Even shitty and somewhat exploitative sex work doesn’t really resemble prohibitionist fantasies:

Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss’ poignant documentary Lovemobil observes the Nigerian Rita and the Bulgarian Milena as they perform sex work in caravans (trailers) along a German country road.  The young women have escaped difficult economic circumstances in their home countries and are looking to earn money; they feel obligated to send Euros back to their families…they work for Uschi, a tough older woman who keeps them in line and advises them about pricing their services, but also appears to care for them, even as she chides Rita for trying to cheat her out of payments…Lovemobil deliberately keeps the sex acts off camera to focus on the larger issues of globalization, feminism and economic inequality that are part of this fascinating subculture of sex work…

Where Are the Victims?

Note the bizarre, stilted language used to describe a very ordinary-sounding escort service:

Jessica Nesbitt [of Chicago was]…charged with [various pompously-named]…prostitution [“crimes”]…for…own[ing] and operat[ing] a company called Kink Extraordinaires, which employed several individuals who engaged in prostitution…Nesbitt advertised prostitution services on multiple websites…and…also emailed her clients invitations to paid sex and fetish parties…In addition to activity in Chicago, Nesbitt arranged for herself and her employees to perform acts of prostitution in California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

At least this judge gave the stolen money to someone other than Ruhama:

Money [stolen] by Laois gardai from [two sex workers was]…donated to two local charities by the court…the two [sensibly fled] and have not returned…Judge Catherine Staines directed that €3,410 got to the Laois Domestic Abuse Service, and around €1300 go to the Garda Youth Diversion Projects…

To Molest and Rape

Just another typical, representative cop:

A Miami-Dade [screw]…has been charged with raping a woman he was supposed to be supervising while she was on house arrest.  Yulian Gonzalez…paid regular visits to the alleged victim’s home during the course of his work as a case manager…Gonzalez threatened to issue a violation of her house arrest and send her back to jail if she did not [submit to rape]…Gonzalez rented a room at the Nexx Motel…and drove the woman there in his [pigmobile]…so as not to set off any alarms, Gonzalez tampered with the woman’s ankle monitor…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#754) 

I love seeing prohibitionists hoist with their own petard:

report compiled by the Department of Justice has revealed that the [Swedish model]…in Northern Ireland is not fit for purpose…“This report…shows that there has not been a decrease in demand for sex work since the introduction of client criminalisation…in 2015,” [said] Kate McGrew…”Instead, we have seen an increase in sex trafficking by 26%…In the north, it led to massive increase in advertising (on one site alone over 1700 new ads) and demand (in one jurisdiction by 134%) and a 200% increase threatening behaviour in clients.  In the south, it led to an increase in violent crime against sex workers by 92%“…

Once the government started defining all third parties as “sex traffickers” and then passed a law whose natural consequence would be increased reliance on such parties, naturally “sex trafficking” by their definition increased.  And since prohibitionists pretended the intent of their anti-whore law was to “fight sex trafficking”, they now have no choice but to admit the law was a “failure”.  Oops.

Little Boxes (#792)

A federal court finally recognizes what should’ve been obvious years ago:

Fort Collins, Colorado, decided not to continue its challenge to a federal court’s decision that a ban on going topless in the city amounts to unconstitutional discrimination…The city decided not to appeal the decision…after [wast]ing hundreds of thousands of [public] dollars on the legal battle already…[this] effectively legalizes [female toplessness] in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit court…Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming…

Given that the 7th Circuit ruled exactly the opposite two years ago (see subtitle link), a SCOTUS showdown is now inevitable.

The Mote and the Beam (#900)

This is much worse than the typical government propaganda such as “DARE”:

…the FBI is launching its #StopSextortion [propaganda] campaign to [convince parents] and schools [that teenage sexting is a]…growing problem [called] sextortion…[affecting] kids…as young as seven or eight…The [FBI wants parents to believe that peer “sexting” is actually the product of an adult] extortionist [who] finds children and teens on social media [to]…convince…to send a naked photo—and…the[n]…telling the child that he will send the photo to friends and family or post online…the extortionist continues to threaten while escalating demands, which can include…sex acts…

The FBI is intentionally representing a rare crime as the norm so as to give the federal government power over teen sexting.  If you thought FOSTA and the drug war were great, you’re going to love the “war on sextortion”.

Disaster (#935)

News about the FOSTA challenge:

Human Rights Watch and four other plaintiffs…present[ed] arguments on September 20 against the dismissal of their challenge to a…law that imposes criminal liability for online speech about sex work…FOSTA…’s language is [so] broad and vague, it could prevent sex workers and others from writing about sex work and posting about critically important health and safety issues, and it would restrict organisations like Human Rights Watch from effectively reporting on and advocating for the decriminalisation of sex work…FOSTA has [already] endangered [sex workers because]…websites that made it easier for sex workers to screen clients and to sell sex in safer locations have stopped sex workers from posting.  The co-plaintiffs in the case with Human Rights Watch are the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Internet Archive, and individuals Alex Andrews and Eric Koszyk.  The lower court [incorrectly] dismissed the case [a year ago]…without addressing the substantive claims, on the [pretense] that plaintiffs faced no imminent risk of prosecution…[but] in cases involving free expression, the appropriate lens is whether speech will be unconstitutionally burdened or chilled…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Authoritarian idiots respond to deaths from a black market product by dramatically expanding the black market:

Walmart said…that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores in the United States, dealing a new blow to the vaping industry as [hysteria] mount[s] over the health risks of [black market] products [which have nothing to do with the banned e-cigarettes]…The decision…comes amid a [dumpster fire full] of new [moral panic] about the potential health risks of [black market THC cartridges] that has [inspired prohibitionists to]…increas[e the danger by banning completely different currently-legal] products…

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The investigator cannot just tread through the bloody crime scene in street shoes and pick up the murder weapon with an ungloved hand.  –  Tami Loehrs

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#699)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…Edina [Minnesota] Rotary member Renee Harberts [recited the “sex traffickin” Shahada]…and [then publicly described her disgusting sexual fantasies about]…kids as young as five…[prohibitionists fantasize]…one in seven kids are sexually abused and later in life they’re more likely to fall victim to sex trafficking.  93% of adult sex trafficking victims were sexually abused in their elementary years and never tell anyone about it….Harberts and a few members convinced the rest of the rotary to…raise…$10,000 to [indoctrinate] 3rd graders in Edina schools [in ’80s-era “Stranger Danger” propaganda, updated with a modern version of 19th century “white slavery” propaganda]…The group invited a panel of three experts to [publicly fantasie] about human trafficking…”We know that 0.02% of trafficking victims find freedom,” [moaned] Carla Marroquin of Protect Me Project [with her hand in her pants]…“The recidivism rate is between nine and eleven times that they will go back to the life of human trafficking”…

Bottleneck (#746) 

Yet another example of why sex worker licensing is a terrible idea:

…in Senegal…sex workers must register with police, attend mandatory monthly sexual health screenings, test negative for STIs and carry a valid ID card confirming their health status…But…sex work is still criminalized…for those who are unregistered, which effectively creates a two-tiered system…sex workers face enormous social stigma and discrimination…the…[estimated] level of registration [is extremely high at] 20% [which is twice the highest fraction recorded anywhere else in the world, probably because of the high rate of HIV in Senegalese sex workers]…the registration law was first introduced in 1969 — inherited from French colonial legislation that stuck around even after Senegal declared independence…Women who are registered live in fear that family members will discover their identification cards, or…see their name on a registration database …”When you are registered, you are registered for life,” said [Professor Cheikh Tidiane] Ndour [of the Ministry of Health]…”Even if you stop pursuing this profession, your great-grandchildren can find your name somewhere, and that is a problem”…If registered sex workers miss their monthly appointments they can face up to six months in jail…[and of course] registered sex workers [are] more likely than unregistered…to experience [rape, robbery, extortion and other] violence at the hands of [cops]…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because you saw a picture of a Nerf gun”?

[Cops] in…Phoenix, Arizona, [interrogated] a teenager and his parents and searched their home and the kid’s school after the teen posted to a group chat a jokey message…[about] going to school the next day posted alongside a photo of a Nerf gun…one of the…chat participants narced on the exchange and set the wheels of officialdom in motion…As red flag laws and other reporting systems proliferate around the country, we’re likely to see even more incidents in which cops…are [summoned] into innocuous situations by people who refuse to ask simple questions or to believe that we’re living in a remarkably safe age…in the Phoenix incident, school officials proactively assured parents that the incident was “not a credible threat”…but…Justine and Nathan Myers were similar victims…after 16-year-old Nathan documented a shooting outing with his mother on Snapchat….somebody contacted Colorado’s Safe2Tell, a[n]…anonymous…[snitch line]…Nathan was banned from school until public outrage forced officials to reverse their decision…

Disaster (#931)

I’m sure you amateurs are happy to be censored “for THE CHILDREN™!”:

…Twitch suspended a streamer named Quqco for wearing a cosplay of Street Fighter heroine Chun-Li on stream, deeming her outfit “sexually suggestive”…[even though it] was not…streamer Bridgett Devoue was given a three-day suspension for [unexplained]…“sexually suggestive content or activities”…Overwatch streamer Fareeha got hit with a warning (and a 90-day probationary period) after wearing a sports bra and baggy shorts at the gym…Saruei [got]…a warning for drawing “nudes,” despite the fact that her characters…are clothed…

Pyrrhic Victory (#937) 

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

San Francisco has already banned the use of facial recognition tech by local [cops].  Oakland did the same thing a couple of months later.  Pretty soon, it’s not going to matter where you are in California.  If you’re a law enforcement agency, facial recognition tech is off-limits…for three years…The bill…also targets other biometric surveillance methods…It forbids direct use by California law enforcement agencies, as well as prevents them from asking agencies outside the state (including federal agencies) from deploying this tech on their behalf.  It also blocks state agencies from using cameras (body, dash, stationary) that utilize this tech.  If this bill is signed into law, California will become the first state [with such a] ban…

You may have noticed that laws claiming to restrict government powers never carry a criminal penalty, despite the fact that every law intended to control subjects of the government always do.  Also note that unlike laws intended to control the people, this has a conveniently-short sunset clause so the legislature needn’t do anything to quietly get rid of it once the frogs get used to the new temperature of their water.

Negative Secondary Effects (#937)

Politicians are gradually coming to realize that their constituency includes sex workers and clients:

A strip club will stay open despite [prohibitionist efforts to put scores of women out of work]…Sheffield council’s licensing committee met for eight hours to discuss whether Spearmint Rhino should have its sexual entertainment licence renewed.  [Industrial spies] employed by [misogynistic censors] had [filmed] dancers [against their consent in an attempt to shame the committee into wrongfully revoking the license, but]…dancers from the club…campaigned to save [it]…

Law of the Instrument (#954)

If his victims hadn’t been sex workers, would “authorities” have let him rack up three before bothering to act?

Ed Buck, who has been subject to protests and calls for prosecution in the overdose deaths of two men at his West Hollywood home, was arrested [last week] in connection with a third overdose…the Los Angeles district attorney’s office [seems to have finally realized]…that Buck is “a violent, dangerous sexual predator”…[who] personally administered “dangerously large doses of narcotics to his victims”…Activists have been calling for Buck’s arrest…for the deaths of Gemmel Moore…and Timothy Dean…both black gay men were found in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment less than two years apart…[due to] methamphetamine overdoses…Buck…has now been charged with operating a drug house and providing meth to a…who overdosed last week…but survived…

Business As Usual (#956)

Even by nauseatingly-low local news standards, the sound of bootlicking in this is deafening:

Several months after Columbus police disbanded its vice [gang, badge-lickers] in a south Columbus neighborhood [whine] they feel it every day.  “When you have the prostitutes, it just breeds the drugs, all kinds of stuff. There are children seeing that it’s ok and it’s not ok,” said [pompous busybody Ima Copsucker]…a block watch coordinator [who] spends hours every day [minding other people’s business]…She was hoping…[her beloved pigs] could help [root out] the human trafficking problem in the area…Columbus [pigs oink that what they absurdly call]…the human trafficking problem…has gotten worse since the vice [herd] has been disbanded…

What’s that you say, Ima? “There are all these black people out in public since they ended Jim Crow.  Something needs to be done to keep them in their place, preferably with violence.”  Yep, that’s what I thought you said.

Dangerous Speech (#968)

The government keeps trying to hide information in the Backpage case:

…prosecutors sought to continue stonewalling defense counsel on access to data on more than 100 servers that once kept…Backpage…in operation…But U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich denied the government’s request that she reject a defense motion to examine the material on those servers in the same condition as when the government seized the website on April 6, 2018.  Instead, Brnovich scheduled a day-long evidentiary hearing for October 3, during which [pigs] and expert witnesses are expected to testify…As explained in the defense’s motion to compel evidence, the 106 servers seized by the government contained historical data about Backpage’s ads that can refute the feds’ allegations, show that Backpage’s moderation efforts “blocked or removed approximately one million ads per month,” and reveal extensive cooperation with [cops] and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)…In fact…Backpage referred so many ads to NCMEC  that the government-backed non-profit complained about the number of referrals, since [most] of those ads were later found not to involve minors…

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Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream.  –  “Suppression

For one educated in the Seventies and Eighties, and trained as a librarian in the early Nineties, the landscape of intellectual freedom has become almost unrecognizeable.  For the majority of my life, and the majority of time for which “Banned Books Week” has existed, top-down censorship attempts in the Western world were rare; attempts to ban books, censor websites and suppress speech generally came from non-government authoritarian groups and the majority of educated people could be counted on to oppose and ridicule them.  But in this century, the sick need to control others’ thoughts grew as the internet made it easier for those thoughts to be shared, and early last year top-down government censorship returned with a vengeance thanks to the Great Unwashed eagerly swallowing racist claims about “human trafficking” and magically baneful effects of anything to do with sex.  The US enacted FOSTA, leading to a wave of internet censorship; the UK is trying to build a massive firewall comparable to China’s; the EU has enacted law after law allowing greedy corporations and finger-pointing Prunellas alike power over others’ web-browsing; and every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy.  Free speech (derided by “progressive”-flavored authoritarians as “freeze peach”) has noticeably declined all over the world:

…First, ruling parties in many countries have found new tools for suppressing awkward facts and ideas.  Second, they feel emboldened to use such tools, partly because global support for free speech has faltered.  Neither of the world’s superpowers is likely to stand up for it. China ruthlessly censors dissent at home and exports the technology to censor it abroad.  The United States, once a champion of free expression, is now led by a man who says things like…“free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad”…Censorious authoritarians elsewhere often cite Mr Trump’s catchphrases, calling critical reporting “fake news” and critical journalists “enemies of the people”.  The notion that certain views should be silenced is popular on the left, too.  In Britain and America students shout down speakers they [disagree with]…and Twitter mobs demand the sacking of anyone who violates an expanding list of taboos.  Many western radicals contend that if they think something is offensive, no one should be allowed to say it.  Authoritarians elsewhere agree.  What counts as offensive is subjective, so “hate speech” laws can be elastic tools for criminalising dissent…

That article has a lot of good examples of the rise of (often violent) censorship, but beware; even the authors of this ostensibly pro-free-thought piece have been infected by the need to choose a “side” and skew information accordingly.  As I wrote four years ago, Ray Bradbury’s view of future censorship practices was prescient; where else but in “a culture which values feelings above thought” could a video display service ban an historically-important anti-Nazi diocumentary from 1938 for violating its policy against “hate speech”?  Or perhaps Google is just feeling a bit self-conscious, given that it’s currently in a fascist collaboration to develop a censorship-enabled search engine for China.  Meanwhile, the US is trying to silence Edward Snowden by seizing the profits from his new book; I suggest you buy a paper copy to preclude Amazon’s stealing electronic copies from your Kindle at the behest of its pals in Washington.  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 publishing industry and what little is left of the independent press.

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Today is Friday the Thirteenth, which as long-time readers know is the day I ask non-sex workers to stand up for our rights.  This is not the first such occasion since the passage of FOSTA, but it’s the first one in 14 months (though we’ll see another in December, as is the case every time we get one in September), and it’s the first one since the topic became politically “safe” for the cowards who want to be called “leaders” to bring up in public.  The latter point is, I think, extremely important; one of the reasons so many outside the demimonde are afraid to stand up for the obvious fact that the government has no business “regulating” private sexual arrangements is they’re afraid of guilt by association.  And this is by no means a foolish dread, because prohibitionists absolutely will not hesitate to accuse any woman who defends sex worker rights of being a whore herself, and any man who defends them of being a client.  But now that even the hang-to-the-rear political crowd is talking about it, the prohis have only got so many fingers to point; anyone who wants to help but is still shy can share any number of pro-decrim articles in major media outlets.  There are plenty of ideas on how you can help in previous columns for this occasion, and I strongly encourage you to look at those.  But as usual, the best way you can help, better than any other, is money.  As I wrote last year, “donate to SWOP-USA, to SWOP Behind Bars, to the EFF or Woodhull Foundation to support their anti-FOSTA lawsuit, to individual activists (because traveling around the country to do this work is much more expensive than you might think), or to sex workers who have been harmed by increasing censorship of our ads.”  This is especially critical because, as you may have noticed, the orange-utang’s deranged trade war has already caused enough damage to the economy that bookings are falling and sex workers are getting worried.  As I’ve explained before, election years are always bad for business, and any old-timer like me can tell you that election years in a bad economy can be devastating.  Add to that the advertising chaos caused by FOSTA and the wanton destruction of Backpage, and the climate of fear among clients engendered by constant and ever-intensifying pogroms, and we have a recipe for what could possibly be the worst year for sex workers in the 35 that I’ve been paying attention to it.  As I wrote in “Straight Talk“,

I understand you may be nervous about the political situation; well, we are too.  And if you profess to care about us, you need to step up and be generous.  So, book a session with your ATF.  Book one with a lady you know has kids.  Book one with a lady you like, but haven’t seen in a while.  Book with a male escort you’ve been wanting to see.  Book with a domme or FBSM pro you’ve had your eye on.  Book with me or any of the other sex workers you see me interact with online…If you don’t have time to book but still want to help, most sex workers have PayPal or Patreon or some such you can use to give them a monetary token of appreciation.  Because there isn’t a single one of us who won’t be grateful for it right now.

As I’ve often pointed out, we are winning in the court of public opinion.  But that takes time, and we’re now in the “getting worse before it gets better” stage.  So if the sex workers you care about and the activists you admire are going to make it through to the end, we’re going to need your help in every way you can give it.

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We’re not trying to argue the morality of this. We’re trying to argue the reality of this.  –  Nicole Emma

Feminine Pragmatism 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

Lao workers, many of them young and some still in their teens, have poured in growing numbers this year into neighboring Thailand, braving exploitation and unsafe work conditions in search of employment to help support families back home…nine Lao migrants [were] killed on Aug. 18 in a head-on collision while traveling to a border town to renew the tourist visas on which they had entered Thailand…an official…said…“They won’t [tell us their personal business [so]…we can’t stop them”…Many of those looking for work in Thailand voice concerns over family poverty as their reason for leaving home…Many young Laotians [are forced by arbitrary laws to] enter Thailand with the help of middle-men to work illegally…the…head of the anti-trafficking unit of the Thai-based Labor Rights Promotion Network…[said] “This is one of the loopholes in Thailand’s laws, and this is a problem [because we would rather force them to stay in Laos and die in poverty]”…

What kind of authoritarian mind thinks that “people killed in tragic accident while trying to comply with arbitrary government rules” is a less important point than where they were from or what they did for a living?

The New Victorianism

It’s about time Playboy started covering this topic more aggressively:

…Moral panic…and purity politics…interfere with our right to sexual safety, pleasure and free expression…civil policy-making has been supplanted by partisan uproar and triggered panic.  Sex is at the center of every one of these…sex…has become the enemy…Panic rejects nuance, debate and disagreement in favor of party lines and swift action.  Panic has resulted in the rise of cancel culture and the dismissal of due process…rational thinking has…been cast aside…In a sex panic, it becomes imprudent to question the extent to which sex-based discrimination exists.  It becomes dangerous to suggest that all sexual violations, and all experiences of sexual violence, are not equivalent.  As a consequence, we learn to shut up and sit down lest we face public condemnation and risk being attacked…moral panic is more about social control than ethical guidelines for how we should get along with one another…attempts to regulate morality only heighten panic by promoting, for example, sex-trafficking laws that ignore racist immigration policies and degrade sex workers as second-class citizens…Awkward sexual encounters continue to be conflated with the worst of accusations.  And then: If he’s accused, he must have done it…

Elephant in the Parlor

Too bad more politicians don’t hire the marginalized women cops are most likely to persecute:

West Virginia [politician] Mike Maroney has been charged with soliciting a prostitute…Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and set up meetings with a woman who [was arrested]…Police [then snooped in her phone and started charging people for texting her]…

Micromanagement

The modern Fuhrer wants serial numbers tattooed on every cell of every prisoner of his concentration camps:

The Trump administration wants [the border Gestapo]…to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants in its [cages]…according to a draft policy…CBP officials would spend more than 20,000 additional work hours on such a policy in its first year of implementation.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals could have their DNA collected each year if the draft regulation, proposed by the Department of Justice, is fully implemented…

Choke Point (#593) 

We fucking told you so:

While sex-related businesses…have long faced draconian restrictions from banks, we’re living in a time when their position is more precarious than ever…If this continues, it will disproportionately impact small sex-focused businesses…further marginalize sex workers, and decrease access to positive information about sexual health…“To see [this] spreading to educators and activists is alarming,” said Lorrae Jo Bradbury, founder of Slutty Girl Problems, a sex-positive blog…these incidents have ramped up dramatically since…FOSTA…passed in the Senate…[creating] a more repressive era of the internet, one in which websites such as Tumblr have banned adult content, Patreon is kicking off adult performers, and financial institutions are clamping down on businesses even remotely connected to sex…

Safe Position

When this is happenening in Utah, you know we’re past the watershed:

The best way of protecting sex workers is to decriminalize their industry and allow them to come out of the shadows, a Salt Lake City nonprofit told Utah [politicians]…Nicole Emma…of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)…told members of the state’s Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force…[that] if these penalties were removed, sex workers could communicate more openly about their industry, check client backgrounds more easily and blacklist bad actors…

The Monsters Are Due (#867) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

The recent spate of mob attacks in Uttar Pradesh has caught the state police on the back foot.  Incidents of hapless people…being brutally beaten up on suspicion of being child lifters are surfacing with alarming frequency…UP director general of police…OP Singh said…“A total of 46 incidents were reported in which one person was killed and 29 injured”…In…Ghaziabad, a middle-aged woman was…thrashed by a mob…[when] she went with her grandson for shopping…people have been attacked simply for being seen with a child…two siblings — Ramautar and Raju — were thrashed mercilessly…when…taking their nephew Ravi to a hospital for treatment…Ramautar [died and]…Raju [is] still battling for his life in the hospital…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#886)

The pigs are starting their annual fearmongering early this year:

[Cops] in Massachusetts want to [spread yet another stupid panic]…about…ecstasy [pills]…in the shape of “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoon characters…The National Institute on Drug Abuse…warns that MDMA use can “promote trust and closeness,” potentially encouraging unsafe sexual behavior…“Parents, guardians, and caretakers should be on the lookout for these as school starts and Halloween is fast approaching,” [pigs oinked]…

Yeah, because people are going to hand free samples of a drug that costs $100 a gram to anonymous brats.  And you’ve gotta love that the only “warning” these drug warriors can come up with is that stupid amateurs taking MDMA might do the same kind of stupid shit they do when sober.

Pyrrhic Victory (#960)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it sounds:

[Amazon’s] doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged [fascist] partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners’ camera footage…The number of police deals, which has not previously been reported, will likely fuel [belated] questions about privacy, surveillance and the expanding reach of [fascist surveillance]…The rapid growth of the program, which launched last spring, surprised [insufficiently-cynical] civil-liberties advocates…

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