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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

It is time that we all listen to the…voices…[of] sex workers. – LaLa Zannell

Paint By Numbers

A permanent dumb “awareness raising” stunt:

Lykins Square Park [in Kansas City]…will be the site of what is likely the first memorial in the nation to victims of sex trafficking…glass artist Hasna Sal dreamed up and executed the memorial, called “Into the Light”…[after] hear[ing and masturbating to]…sex trafficking [fantasies]…Kristy Childs…runs [prohibitionist group] Veronica’s Voice…[and admits] she…calls [all sex work by the dysphemism]…trafficking [but still repeated the Shahada anyhow]…the memorial…is made up of four stained glass panels [which reveal their Christian religious nature by their titles]…Damnation, Isolation, Redemption, and Salvation…

Note that this is just a fancy version of the tired old racist “black man’s hand over white woman’s mouth” image so beloved by the fetishists. Also note (at the link) the pretense that strip clubs only employ girls below 18, and that they “age out” as soon as they’re legal.  These people really do live in an ugly fantasy world.

Legislators Gone Wild (#1028) 

Nevada politicians have accomplished by royal decree what they couldn’t accomplish legally:

…hundreds of legal[ized] sex workers in [Nevada] lost their major source of income when brothels and other businesses [were forcibly] shut down mid-March.  While most other industries have been [allowed by politicians] to resume some level of operations, Gov. has indicated that the state’s brothels are “not on his radar” to reopen [even though other] services allowing physical contact…[such as] tattoo shops, estheticians, and massage parlors [were allowed to] open since May.  Women who work in Nevada’s legal sex industry…[are] being [persecuted] not because of the risk their business poses but because of a bias against their industry…

Social Distancing (#1031)

Swedish criminalization harms sex workers by creating a climate of fear:

It’s a common misconception that Canadian sex workers cannot, or should not, file taxes on their income because their industry exists in what many consider to be a legal grey area, with fears over arrests and other reprisals…[as in the US,] even income from illegal activities is taxable…This year, only those who were able to navigate the tax filing process had access to critical financial support…[but sex worker activist] Valerie Scott…[explains that] the current legal status of Canadian sex workers makes it feel too risky for many in the industry to file taxes at all.  “To be known as a sex worker, to file taxes as a sex worker, to have any information with the government in any form [is] exceedingly dangerous…There are so many ways we can get caught up.  We’re sitting ducks”…

Nonessential

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

Supermarkets in Wales will have discretion to sell [items declared by politicians to be] non-essential…in “exceptional circumstances”, the Health Minister has said, following a major public backlash.  Vaughan Gething said supermarkets would be able to sell non-essential items to customers “in genuine need” during the so-called fire break lockdown…[politicians had at first arbitrarily proclaimed] that retailers allowed to remain open could not sell goods [politicians arbitrarily] deemed non-essential…such as bedding…children’s clothes…and…sanitary products…Gething [bloviated that] allowing non-essential retailers to open would “undermine” [politicians’ totalitarian power to declare some human beings “nonessential”]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#1048) 

45 years after it became their official position, ACLU finally bothers to call for decriminalization:

The…ACLU…[has] released…a comprehensive review of over 80 studies about sex work…show[ing] that full decriminalization has the greatest benefits for public health and safety…The [report]…analyzed studies on…full decriminalization…“Nordic” models…[and] legalization models that require sex workers to register or impose other regulations…ACLU’s [LaLa Zannell said]…“millions of people are asking what we can do to reduce abuse by law enforcement, racial disparities in our criminal justice system, and our overall jail and prison populations…One policy that can achieve all of these goals…is to recognize that sex work is work and treat it like any other industry”…

Quiet Genocide (#1050)

A firsthand account of China’s torture of Uighurs:

Ӧmir Bekali…a…Kazakh [businessman, was]…visit[ing]…his family in…Turpan…[when cops unexpectedly] showed up…to arrest him…he…was thrown into a small…cell…for a week…with no explanation…the room…contained more than 36 others, who, like him, had their arms and legs constantly shackled…“My feet and my hands were tied up with iron shackles and they beat my hands…feet…back and…stomach…They put needles [under] my nails and…iron sticks into my sexual organs”…Police also hung him from the roof of the cell by his wrists so his feet could not touch the floor, and later smashed his knuckles with hammer-like instruments…he…was [then] moved to a…prison camp…[for] seven months…with no access to lawyers, phones to contact his family with, nor any real explanations for his arrest.  In November 2017, he was transported to…a…”re-education camp”…there are 40 people to a 16 square-metre room…Twenty-four hours a day, prisoners are shackled.  Iron chains are tied around their necks, fixed to loose iron blocks that…weigh around eight to ten kilograms, forcing [them] to always be hunched down…prisoners…are woken up at 5am and given a meagre serving of bread and soup.  They are then forced to repeatedly sing songs which praise the Chinese Communist party…and…Xi Jinping personally…As Ӧmir often expressed his discontent with his arrest, he found himself tortured once again.  He…was beaten “half to death” and made to stand facing a wall for twenty-four hours without food or drink on some occasions…After 20 days, Ӧmir was finally released…[thanks to] his wife…pressur[ing] two Kazakh Ambassadors to finally [intercede for him]…

Lack of Evidence (#1051)

The only “evidence” these racist sociopaths need is being Romanian:

The trafficking of Romanian women into the UK sex trade has reached an “industrial scale”, [prohibitionists fantasize]…Scottish Community Safety Minister Ash Denham…[participated in a circle-jerk] with Romanian…[prohibition]ists…[misogynist] group UK Feminista…[prohibitionist politician] Diana Johnson…and [other assorted masturbators, fascists, control freaks and busybodies from both] the UK and Romania…[The participants shared a lot of nonsensical claims supported by bogus] research.  Last month 24 people were arrested in the UK and Romania in a Police Scotland-led operation.  Dawn raids [and massive robberies] were carried out [and justified by calling the victims a] gang…

Sometimes prohibitionists openly admit that “sex trafficking” is nothing but a dysphemism for “sex work”.

I Spy (#1057) 

Remember, Twitter claims this surveillance isn’t surveillance:

Dataminr aggressively markets itself as a tool for…police[-statery]…using sophisticated machine-learning algorithms…[tha]t company insiders say…[a]re often nothing more than garden-variety racial profiling, powered…by a small army of human analysts conducting endless keyword searches…Dataminr…has…relied on prejudice-prone tropes and hunches to determine who, where, and what looks dangerous.  Through First Alert, its app for public sector clients, Dataminr has offered a bespoke, scariest possible version of the web:  a never-ending stream of notifications of imminent or breaking catastrophes to investigate.  But First Alert’s streams were assembled…by teams of “Domain Experts”…hunting social media for danger and writing alerts for cops’ iPhones and laptop screens…these staffers…were pressed to search specific neighborhoods, streets, and even housing complexes for crime…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#1083)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

Indiana State Police [once again tried to foment hysteria by telling] parents [there might be] marijuana edibles in their children’s Halloween candy…Police [pretend] that [adults never like sweet things] so…marijuana…candy…is [therefore some kind of intentional deception intended to ensnare penniless brats for some inexplicable but nefarious reason]…

Once again: nobody is going to give expensive cannabis edibles (which can cost $2 to $3 or more per piece) to your spawn for free.

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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The law punishes sex workers…and…turns us into criminals.  –  Mai Junta

The Immunity Syndrome (#318)

Don’t try to imagine this in the US; you’ll overload your brain:

On a stage…in Copenhagen stood five adults in bathrobes…Facing [an audience of] children…they stood completely naked, like statues, with their hands and arms folded behind their backs.  And so began a recording of the latest episode of an award-winning Danish children’s program, Ultra Strips Down, which is shown on…the…children’s channel…the program is meant as an educational tool to fight body shaming and encourage body positivity…The program is now in its second season, and…is highly popular in Denmark…[except for the usual puritan minority.  Most] Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life…

Dysphemisms Galore 

When the topic is sex, Philippine reporters seem even less able than most to write In normal adult sane-person language:

With nightclubs closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus…there has been a dearth of customers for commercial sex workers, according to [Iloilo City’s] Task Force on Morals and Values Formation.  Suffering a heavy economic beating from the pandemic, this city’s prostituted women and men…have left, said task force chief Nestor Canong…Workers in the flesh trade were suddenly faced an awful choice between livelihood and health…[blah blah] sex workers…spread…[disease]…

What kind of mind thinks a busybody brigade called “Task Force on Morals and Values” would have anything worthwhile to say about people whose lives are so alien to them they need to make up silly fantasies about them?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#1017)

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sex workers in Thailand have launched a petition calling for prostitution to be decriminalised and urging authorities to remove all penalties for selling sex.  Empower Foundation…said it hoped to collect 10,000 signatures and present the petition to parliament…More than 1,000 people had signed the petition [in its first three days]…activists say the current law, which made prostitution illegal in 1960, [harms]…sex workers…w[ith] repeated arrests and fines [that]…drive…them further into poverty.  The women’s affairs department at Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security said it was in the process of amending the prostitution law and would launch an online public hearing next year, without giving further details…

Disqualified

A report by Hacking/Hustling on shadowbans and similar policies:

Content moderation, censorship, and shadowbanning facilitate sex worker erasure and normalize the digital and physical oppression of sex working and [activist] communities.  Sex workers are disproportionately losing access to social media platforms, having bank accounts seized, being banned from major payment processors, and being used as test subjects for facial recognition databases…This research shows how communities are negatively impacted by content moderation practices, and how surveillance technologies disrupt their ability to both earn an income and organize…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Trumpists are completely taking control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

…the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target [migrants and sex workers for increased persecution using the same old excuse of] human trafficking.  The money will [mostly] go to [vice cops]…and…[prisons.  Attorney General William] Barr made the announcement…with pr[ohibitionist] Ivanka Trump and [infantilized sex workers as] “boys and girls”…

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Of course, the non-wealthy victims of this illegal surveillance still had their lives ruined:

After nearly two years, Florida prosecutors are finally giving up on prosecuting…Robert Kraft for [consensual sex]…Florida cops had pretended to be hunting a “human trafficking” ring in order to get a warrant for the secret surveillance cameras…authorities went forward with the “trafficking” lie…and…a…local sheriff called the [arrest of adult women]…”a rescue operation”…now, those “rescued” women may be the only ones still in legal trouble…Hua Zhang, the 59-year-old owner of Orchids of Asia…41-year-old Lei Wang…and…60-year-old Shen Mingbi…[are still] charged with…[various] prostitution[-rated “crimes”]…Zhang and Wang [were] also [robbed by cops using “asset forfeiture” laws]…

Tissue of Lies

Looks like Michael Hobbes has joined the debunkers’ club:

The biggest problem, I’ve found, is the definition of “child sex trafficking” itself. Under the law, anyone under 18 who trades sex for money, drugs, a place to stay or anything else of value is a victim of trafficking.  They don’t have to be recruited by a pimp, moved across state lines or forced into prostitution.  A homeless runaway having sex with some sleazeball in exchange for a warm bed is a tragedy, but it’s a less salacious one than the Taken myths that trafficking memes circulating on social media imply…The internet is awash in exaggerated, misleading and downright fabricated numbers about how many children are forced into the sex trade every year.  This is my attempt to debunk all the false trafficking numbers…

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If your fantasies offend the police…you can be destroyed.  –  Marty Klein

Tales from the Dark Side

In a world where prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict such discussions to fully-anonymized online accounts“:

…You are NOT free to fantasize about sex that is illegal.  If you do, and you’re caught, you will have to prove you do not actually want to do those things.  This is almost impossible…if two people email or text about [ageplay]…and the digital trail falls into the hands of the police, the person playing the adult role in the fantasy could be in big trouble…There are police departments in every state with units devoted to finding people who fantasize online about adult-child sex.  They have huge budgets and almost unlimited power.  These [cops] are going undercover in ADULT chatrooms…looking for people to arrest…they invite the hobbyist—whom they [pretend]is a predatory criminal—to meet for…legal sex….[with] an adult…[and when] he does…he is arrested for allegedly intending to have sex with a child

The Maze of Consent

An excellent essay on the deeply misogynistic basis of modern “consent” dogma:

…the notion that sexual contact is degrading to women has become wrapped up in the contemporary progressive language of trauma and consent…For all its protestations about how hot consent can be, the progressive discourse surrounding sex is markedly unsexy.  Amid the obsession with power, oppression and the ever present threat of harm, the notion of desire (or, heaven forbid, fun) all but disappears…This laser-focus on consent effectively recasts sex itself as a dangerous act, to be undertaken with extreme caution and only if absolutely necessary…men are increasingly seen as predators almost by default, while women are cast as helpless, even infantile.  (Witness the rise of the word “grooming,” previously reserved for sexual predation of children, as something done to women in their twenties)…young people are now being taught to expect absolute emotional safety in sex, love and courtship at all times—and that if they feel hurt, disappointed or betrayed, it means they’ve been violated…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831)

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Toronto will no longer force workers at body rub parlours to keep their doors unlocked—a win for sex worker safety…Toronto bylaws prohibited…parlours…from keeping their doors locked, so that inspectors could [barge in at will and without warning]…the rules [predictably] led to thefts, abuse, and even death..By locking doors, workers are now able to screen people entering their businesses…In February, Ashley Arzaga…was [murdered] by a 17-year-old man who entered her North York spa with a machete…60 avoidable robberies targeted body rub parlours [in the past year]…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#991)

Laws are for the peasantry, not the rulers:

The preferential treatment afforded to [Randal] Woolery wasn’t mentioned in the de[ferential coverage by bootlicking media like the Seattle Times]…But [it was sharply criticized in The Honest Courtesan] and…[now that the] public…[is clamoring for greater] police accountability…the [mainstream media are finally getting around to talking about it almost a year later]…Unlike the four other men arrested in the sting that night, Woolery avoided having…an “embarrassing situation” fully videotaped…The p[ig] also wasn’t taken in handcuffs to a [filthy sty] to await booking…[and] didn’t spend any time behind bars that [or any other] night…Woolery…has been [on paid vacation ever since, with]…his case [conveniently] postponed [using the excuse of] the coronavirus pandemic…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1016) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning surveillance technology are feel-good bullshit:

The Los Angeles Police Department has used facial-recognition software nearly 30,000 times since 2009, with hundreds of [pigs rooting through]…a massive database of mugshots [in search of people to pin “crimes” on]…the LAPD has consistently denied having records related to facial recognition, and at times denied using the technology at all.  The truth is that, while it does not have its own facial-recognition platform, LAPD personnel have access to facial-recognition software through a regional database maintained by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  And [were that database banned, they could simply fall back on secret resources such as FITlist]…

Dangerous Speech (#1031)

A judge reverses one iota of the government’s persecution of two journalists:

The FBI [was] recently [forced to] return…scores of personal possessions belonging to veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin as the result of a judge’s finding that the bureau violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure when it…raided the men’s homes at gunpoint two years ago…Judge Susan Brnovich found that certain categories of items listed in the FBI’s 2018 warrant applications were “impermissibly vague”…the FBI’s warrant affidavit sought “evidence of wealth” from January 1, 2010 to the date of the search.  “Nothing suggests that Lacey and Larkin’s homes were filled solely with items obtained solely from illegal proceeds or to suggest that Backpage.com was being run out of their homes,” Brnovich writes. “Both individuals were successful and wealthy before 2010.”  And yet, prosecutors have contended that Lacey and Larkin’s affluence was wholly derived from the alleged crimes of conspiracy, money laundering and the facilitation of prostitution through the online listings giant Backpage.com, which the two men sold in 2015…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

Oh look, someone in Hollywood appears to have grown a spine:

Judd Apatow is refusing to let Hollywood off the hook for allowing itself to be censored in…China in order to reap financial rewards…the…director said studios would shoot him down if he ever pitched a movie about a man who escapes Chinese concentration camps…Disney has recently come under fire for filming part of its live-action Mulan film in Xinjiang and using the film’s end credits to thank [the Communist propaganda ministry for]…the region…In addition to censoring content, Hollywood studios have also included China-friendly content in certain films in order to guarantee a theatrical release in the country…When filmmakers take a stand against China (see Quentin Tarantino refusing to edit out the Bruce Lee scene in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), their films are blocked from the country and risk losing a significant percentage of their box office…

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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Zoiks!  –  Norville Rogers

One of this week’s deaths was Joe Ruby, who with his partner Ken Spears created Scooby Doo, Where Are You? during their time at Hanna-Barbera.  Years later, they started their own studion, which produced this cartoon I was very fond of (though I did often make fun of the fact that, due to broadcast standards & practices in 1980, Thundarr never killed anything with his “fabulous Sun Sword”).  The links above the video were provided by Grace, Mike Siegel, Yasmin Nair, Jesse Walker, Elizabeth N. Brown, and Anarras Ansible, in that order.

From the Archives

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This is not a game…This is our…livelihood.  –  Cris Sardina

Counterfeit Comfort 

This steaming turd is even more worthless than is typical of NPR’s bluenosed imitation of “journalism”, starting with the headline:  the “sex offender” registry wasn’t “designed to protect” anyone; it was and is intended to inflict unconstitutional and extrajudicial punishment on an arbitrarily-defined group of people after the end of their sentences.  Even if the registry were limited to the sort of violent criminals the story luridly cherry-picks in order to uphold its false premise, it would still make no sense; there is no registry for murderers, those who permanently maimed their victims, and many other criminals far more dangerous than the majority of those condemned to permanent pariah status for such heinous “crimes” as public urination, taking selfies, or having consensual sex before the Sacred Moment of Shazam.  If, as the story postulates, there is a problem with these people taking back their lives from illegal state control, maybe the solution is to stop condemning so goddamned many people  –  a disproportionate number of whom are poor and black, and 25% of whom were first “registered” when they were under 18  –  to unpersonhood in the first goddamned place, often by evil scams such as those described in the item below.

Bait and Switch (#849)

Cops don’t care how many lives they destroy with their sick fantasies:

Since 2015, nearly 300 men in…Washington State have been arrested [by male cops fantasy-role playing online as young teen girls] in…a…[scam revoltingly labeled] Operation Net Nanny…[as is typical in such scams, many] are 25 or younger [and seeking consensual sex with age-peers, though cops manipulate them so as to be able to argue that they committed] …attempted rape of a child…even though no actual children were involved.  The emails and texts offering sex are written [one-handed] by [pervert cops]…The “girls” in the photos are [clearly] not 13.  They are [adult sows]…At least five of the men [entrapped by this evil sex game] have committed suicide…most of the [victims] have no felony record…and 92 percent have no history of violent crime.  They are nonetheless sentenced, on average, to more than six years in prison with no chance of parole…[then condemned to] the…sex-offender registry for at least 10 years — and often for life…The[se victims] can wind up serving more time than men who are convicted of sexually assaulting and raping actual children…

Make sure you read down to the part about how these ugly scams are enabled in part by “sex trafficking” profiteers “Operation Underground Railroad”, best known for their cowboy raids victimizing brown people in the developing world.

Finding What Isn’t There (#880)

The easiest way to increase “sex trafficking” numbers is to invent imaginary “victims”:

…“Operation Not Forgotten” [is what Georgia cops melodramatically called a scam in which they arrested]…26 [legal minors, mostly teen runaways] and…found [13 kids who were with parents other than those assigned custody by courts.  Spokespigs oinked out fantasies about]…potential victims of sex trafficking…

Nine adults were arrested during the raids, mostly for probation violations, custody order violations, or merely continuing to exist while condemned to the “sex offender” registry.  Despite the claims of “authorities” that this was a “sex trafficking bust”, only one person was charged under Georgia’s incredibly-broad “sex trafficking” law.

The Widening Gyre (#961)

Words cannot express the extent of my delight at seeing the arch-mythmonger Polaris forced to debunk some of the hysteria it has disseminated (and profited handsomely from) for most of this century.  In the past few years, local cop shops have often been forced to deny stupid rumors that they aren’t in control of which are clogging their phone lines, but this is the first time I’ve seen Polaris put in this position, and the schadenfreude is so sweet.  Incidentally, the reason I took a screenshot of this press release rather than linking it is that Polaris counts clicks on their site as “sex trafficking reports”, and they even block the Internet Archive from archiving their pages so as to force those wanting to disseminate the information to cick directly on their site, thus unwittingly giving them ammo for their campaign of lies.

Paint By Numbers (#973)

Have you noticed dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts are now mostly ads for sports?

Renée Brinkerhoff…started Project 356…to…“use [auto rally] racing as a platform to do something about child trafficking worldwide”…[after] she saw a man on an airport bus viewing a…[porn] image of a young child on his phone…Ms. Brinkerhoff…also “participated in [anti-whore stings]”…She once spent two weeks in Southeast Asia working with…Exodus Road, a…profit[able anti-sex work] organization…that [provides opprtunities for weathy white entertainers to play cowboy using brown people in developing countries as unwlling props]

Working From Home (#1045)

So much for the idea that celebrities cosplaying as sex workers would fight stigma:

Bella Thorne…[is a] former Disney star [who] made $1 million…during her first 24 hours on OnlyFans…[by] engaging in fraudulent behavior…[thus] triggering OnlyFans policy changes that harm sex workers…Thorne had charged $200 for nudes that she failed to deliver, and which reportedly led to numerous refund requests…[as a result] OnlyFans introduced…policy change[s] that…add[ed] a 30-day wait period for payouts and restrict[ed] pay-per-view prices to $50.  The company [claim]s the policy change wasn’t based on a single user, but many saw it as a response to the [huge number of] chargebacks…Thorne…[issued a mealy-mouthed “apology” in which she claimed her scam was somehow well-intended]…

The Implosion Begins

Evangelical churches get what they deserve for embracing “sex trafficking” mythology:

Some Christian leaders, including a couple of prominent conservative evangelicals, have denounced…QAnon…and…its…growing support among…evangelical churchgoers and other mostly conservative communities…Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr…compared QAnon…to the early church heresy of Gnosticism …“Christians don’t have secret beliefs we hide from the world”…Tyler Huckabee, senior editor at Relevant Magazine…that QAnon’s claims are “farfetched”…and fueled by “confirmation bias”…Author and pastor Joe Carter denounced QAnon in a column…label[ing] QAnon a “political cult” and “satanic movement…QAnon…often traffics in lies, which Jesus says are associated with Satan”…

For evangelicals to refer to dealing in lies as “Satanic” when they have embraced that strategy in their attacks on science, human sexuality, and sexual minorities for over four decades is pretty fucking rich.  And for evangelicals to call others’ beliefs “farfetched” is laugh-out-loud funny.

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Prohibitions don’t eliminate things. They drive them underground.  –  Jeffrey Miron

Welcome To Our World

You mean laws can’t stop consensual business transactions? Who would have thought?

…underground gyms appear to be popping up everywhere, from LA to New Jersey…Governments can legislate all they want, but prohibiting stuff with eager buyers and sellers is super hard…and…When markets get pushed underground, quality control tends to go down. In the case of drugs, this means potentially finding rat poison in your weed.  When it comes to gyms in the COVID-19 era, it means potentially creating fitness environments that are even more likely to spread the virus than if they were legal and regulated…

Give Them an Inch…

European anti-migration policies grow steadily more horrible:

At least 1,072 migrants were sailed to the edge of Greece’s water territory on inflatable life rafts and abandoned by Greek authorities…[one of the victims reported] that on July 26, she and 22 others including babies were taken by masked Greek officials from a detention centre on…Rhodes while it was dark outside….they were left on a “rudderless, motorless life raft” and were later rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard…abandon[ing] migrants at sea is illegal under international law…François Crépeau, former United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants [called the act]…”a human rights and humanitarian disaster”…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#933)

I love it when they feed on their own:

…[Florida cop] Stephen Utter…was arrested this month for trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex…Utter was made immediately aware of the [fictional] girl’s age before he began to sexually groom…a cop [fantasy roleplaying] an actual child…Utter sent explicit messages detailing the sexual acts he wished to perform…Once he’d incriminated himself enough, police moved in to arrest him…

Saving Them From Themselves (#987)

Georgia pigs are especially enthusiastic about destroying young people’s lives for the terrible “crime” of looking at pictures:

On the second day of virtual classes for Henry County schools, the county’s police department [issued a threat to] students…“If you stream pornography in an online class…the…Sheriff’s Office will find you and charge you with life-[destroying] charges…[including] child pornography [and] child molestation [?]…and [you will be condemned] to [the]…sex offender [registry]”…

I Spy (#1014)

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

A newly released document shows the U.S. Secret Service went through a…social media surveillance company to purchase the location information on American’s movements, no warrant necessary.  Babel Street is a shadowy organization that offers a product called Locate X that…gather[s supposedly] anonymized location data from a host of popular apps that users have unwittingly installed on their phones…U.S. Customs and Border Protection ha[s] a contract to use Locate X and…the Secret Service ha[s] used…it…[since at least] September 28, 2017…

Guinea Pigs (#1018) 

Courtesy of Tryst, here’s Maya Morena on the gang of malignant sociopaths called Deliverfund:

DeliverFund is a…private intelligence agency that provides data to [cops]…they combine counterterrorism (War on Terror), anti-drug, anti-immigrant, and anti-poverty tactics to target the sex industry…[and] track sex workers online…[one of their collaborators is] ShadowDragon, which…[scrapes] escort sites [to] collect data [from] sex worker’s advertisements to [give it to cops, usin the excuse that]…”they’re all secretly controlled by traffickers”…To them we aren’t really people who need to work, to pay bills and live, we are examples of human trafficking…

The Implosion Begins

The Democrats won’t admit that they are just as responsible for this as the GOP:

QAnon [follower] Alpalus Slyman pushed his Honda Odyssey past 110 mph while his five children screamed in the back…and [cops]…pursued him…[he prayed to] Donald Trump…on a livestream [and shouted]… “QAnon, help me!”…Slyman appears to have been convinced …that the police were coming to abduct [his children]…after he accused [one daughter] and his wife…of being agents of the [“sex trafficking”] cabal that QAnon believers say controls the world…he…told his children, who ranged from 8 months to 13 years old…that a video of Hillary Clinton and aide Huma Abedin eating childrens’ brains was discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop…the chase only ended when Slyman crashed into a [copmobile]…then drove his minivan into a tree…His five children were unharmed…a group of QAnon believers are now actively encouraging parents estranged from their children to steal those children back from child protective services…

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We put incredibly onerous restrictions on them that are…des[igned] to…make them fail.  –  Daniel Lambright

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) 

New York increases “indefinite imprisonment” to “death sentence”:

On March 4, Hector Rodriguez was sent to Rikers Island because he failed to log his address with state’s sex offender registry — even though he had been homeless for years.  Rodriguez died June 21 on his jail bed, while struggling to breathe during a severe asthma attack…he was 60 years old and had contracted COVID-19 in April…Rodriguez was convicted of raping a woman…in 1979, when he was a teenager.  He spent 23 years in prison and has been on the Sex Offender Registry since his release…“He died in a jail where he was put because he didn’t tell someone he was homeless? What kind of society does that?” asked Vincent Schiraldi, who served as probation commissioner during the Giuliani administration…

Sex Rays

Where “bad vibes” is used to mean “sex rays”:

At the posh 75 Main in Southampton [New York], owner Zach Erdem…[publicly] chopped up and torched Table 1 — the favorite of onetime regular Jeffrey Epstein, and occasionally, Harvey Weinstein…“I’m sick of the bad energy of this table,…Every time I see it I think of that sicko.”  The bustling brunch crowd left their tables to gawk at the bonfire in progress, whooping and chanting, “Burn, Epstein, burn!” as Erdem hacked at the cursed table and burned it into oblivion.  Renee Downing, a Miami native who summers in the Hamptons, toasted the roasting. “I think this sends a strong statement”…

Said statement being, “I figured out a way to turn last year’s news into an ad for my overpriced hipster restaurant, because if Gwyneth Paltrow can profit from a bunch of superstitious snobs with far more money than cognitive development, so can I.”

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

The result of “abstinence only sex education”:

Plastic wrap.  Plastic bags.  These are some of the workarounds teens use to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb, a specialist in adolescent medicine…published…in the journal Pediatrics…Grubb said…”I’ve heard so many teens tell me that they don’t need contraception or they don’t need condoms because they don’t plan on being sexually active.  And then a couple weeks later they’re back in the office and we’re running a pregnancy test or we’re testing for sexually transmitted infections.”   Recent rates of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, have been skyrocketing among teens and young adults, at the same time that the number of teen pregnancies and births has declined…Adolescents and young adults account for more than 50% of new STI diagnoses, despite being only about 25% of the sexually active population…they [also] account for 1 in 5 of all new HIV…diagnoses in the United States…

The Last Shall Be First (#768)

Politicians’ potty obsession goes federal:

A copy of the new rule that will allow homeless shelters to refuse transgender people has been leaked to the media, and it contains instructions on how to spot transgender women to target them for discrimination…the Obama-era Equal Access Rule…required homeless shelters that receive HUD funding to house transgender people with the gender they identify as.  The rollback…allows single-gender homeless shelters to decide if they want a housing policy based on sex assigned at birth or gender identity, effectively allowing shelters…to determine who is transgender…the rule [says]…a shelter…may use “factors such as height, the presence…of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics”…if a homeless person appears…transgender…the shelter is allowed to ask them for proof of “biological sex”…[but stops short of allowing] shelters [to] forc[e] suspected transgender people to strip in front of them…

Checklist (#972) 

Airlines:  are you sure you want to keep accepting liability for employees racially profiling passengers due to the government propaganda you keep feeding them?

A Black social worker is suing American Airlines…[after] airline employees [accused] her of kidnapping a white toddler whom she was accompanying during a flight last fall.  Shannon Murphy, a social worker with Riverside County, California…was pulled off a plane in October and airline employees [temporarily abducted] the…toddler [she was bringing] back from a court-mandated two-week visit with his father in Arkansas.  While [she] was waiting for the second leg of a flight [at] Dallas-Fort Worth [a racist passenger]…told a flight attendant that they [fantasized] Murphy [was] holding a kidnap victim…Airline employees [forced] Murphy…[off] the plane…and took the child from her…she had paperwork…including her work ID, the child’s birth certificate, and a signed copy of the court order for the trip…but the…[employees preferred to be melodramatic instead of simply looking at the documents on the damned plane]…after about 40 minutes, during which the flight was delayed at the gate, she was let back on…

Dutch Threat (#1017)

The idea of just letting sex workers see clients in private, away from cops, bureaucrats and tourists, never occurs to the Dutch:

the Netherlands[‘ biased and punitive] lockdown measures…[plunged] legal…sex workers…into deep financial trouble and…emboldened [NIMBY]…residents…to [demand]…the [government throttle]…the…tourism [on which the inner city economy depends]…Sex workers [point out that, as is typical in places steeped in puritanism,] their industry has been unfairly singled out as the root of the problem…Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema [is using]…the pandemic [to push her scheme to confine]…sex workers…[in] a “prostitution hotel”…outside the [direct sight of busybodies]…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#1056) 

This is the second time we’ve seen fetishists trying to shore up their collapsing fantasy by pretending that “sex traffickers” discarded their “slaves” during the pandemic:

Thousands of Nigerian women forced into prostitution were left to starve by sex traffickers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy…[racist Europeans fantasize that] more than 80% of the tens of thousands of Nigerian women who arrived in Italy from Libya in recent years were victims of highly organised sex trafficking gangs.  The [fetishists claim that] women are forced into prostitution to pay off debts of up to €40,000 (£36,000) and controlled through violence and fear of juju” black magic rituals they are made to undergo before their journey to Europe…during the prolonged and strict three-month Covid-19 lockdown introduced by the Italian government, trafficking gangs abandoned women and their children, who were unable to leave their homes or work and were left without food or money to pay the rent.  Given the illegal status of their jobs, they had no recourse to financial assistance or unemployment benefits…

Anyone with at least one foot in reality could comprehend that sex workers are in financial trouble for the same reason as many other people, but that would require admitting that sex work is work.

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