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The goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.  –  Wilhelm Reich

The Red Umbrella 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

…four masked men…knocked on the hotel door of a dominatrix in Queens, pushed their way in and tied her up at gunpoint before running off with an iPhone, cash and a debit card…The woman got a call from an unknown number she figured was a client; when she opened the hotel door, she expected her client to be on the other side…The four men, all wearing black hooded sweatshirts or jackets, forced their way in…when she opened the door around 5:45 p.m. They menaced her at gunpoint and bound her with duct tape before stealing the phone, cash, card and her state driver’s license…

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

The Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ)…a well-recognised women’s rights organisation…took [the obvious]…stance…that women can make a free-will choice on their own to enter into the sex trade…The executive-director of Stella, a Montreal sex workers advocacy group praises the decision…[saying] said it recognises sex workers choices and their human rights…

Red Lamp

Sometimes, studying commercial sex of the past opens people’s eyes to the present:

They worked in brothels frequented by troops serving on the front line in northern France, but their role has been virtually erased from the history books.  Thanks to a new Roundhouse art project, Cause and Effect, to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict, the wartime sex workers have been immortalised in a film with poet Hollie McNish …[who] worked with historian Clare Makepeace…to create War’s Whores, which details the “significant minority” of men paying for sex on the front line…McNish [said]…that one of the things that she found most poignant was the fact that so many men wanted to visit a sex worker if they thought they would die the next day…“It’s a much deeper thing than we give it credit for.  The men thought they were likely to die the next day, the thought you’re never going to have someone touch you nicely again before you die, it must be horrendous”…she hopes that reigniting the memory of wartime sex workers will provoke conversations about the industry today…“It’s ridiculous…that we’re allowed to talk about violence and not about sex…That job has been shamed out of history, rather than just forgotten”…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#726)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Sex work has been illegal in Thailand since 1960 but government officials and law enforcement officers have long turned a blind eye…a series of high profile police raids has put considerable strain on that relationship and some sex workers fear the whole industry is in jeopardy…the country’s Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul [has] said “We want Thailand to be [Disnified]…we want the sex industry gone.”  Her [statements parrot] those of the military junta that seized power in 2014…said Somai Jantawong, a…sex worker living in Chiang Mai…“If we are arrested or lose our jobs then it affects the whole family and the whole community.  We are the drivers of development in this country, if you lock us up then you will have more people in poverty and more people without homes”…Havocscope, who chart black market crime statistics and data, estimate that the sex industry pumps $6.4 billion into the Thai economy.  In fact, Friedrich Schneider, an economist at Johannes Kepler University in Austria, found that Thailand has one of the largest shadow economies in the world, accounting for 40.9% of real GDP in 2014…

O, Canada! (#785)

I thought “Operation Northern Spotlight” had been rebranded, but apparently that was a different Canadian cop campaign to harass and intimidate sex workers:

From October 15 to 21, police arrested 20 [sex workers and associates] through the seventh edition of Operation Northern Spotlight…a Canadian law enforcement [sting] operation…to [harass] and [intimidate]…sex [workers]…This year’s operation [included]…the RCMP…and…62 [other cop shops] from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island…

The Notorious Badge (#795)

There is nothing remotely “intimate” about sucking a dildo in front of dozens of people and a chaperone, for broadcast to millions of viewers:

Last spring, Emily Meade was getting ready to give a [fake] blow job [to a dildo] in front of a crew of people on the…set of HBO’s The Deuce…As Meade knelt down, a woman named Alicia Rodis, the network’s first-ever “intimacy coordinator,” was within eyeshot, watching the monitor.  She had given Meade a pad for her knees, knowing that the hard floor would bruise them otherwise.  Between takes, she offered mouth spray and flavored lubricant.  And she had spoken with Meade before the scene about her concerns and relayed them to the director…Network executives found Rodis through Intimacy Directors International, a nonprofit she cofounded in 2016 that aims to normalize a set of standards and practices surrounding the execution of sex scenes on stage and on film…HBO has now adopted a policy whereby all of its shows and movies with intimate scenes will be staffed with an intimacy coordinator — either Rodis or someone like her…

Because hiring actual sex workers as consultants for this sort of thing would be crazy, and fucking amateurs can’t think of things like knee pads.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820)

Dr. David Ley on the weird, dangerous and increasingly-popular belief that masturbation is harmful to men:

In recent years, we’ve seen the return of a strange, antiquated belief system that claims that masturbation results in weakness, loss of manhood, and psychological damage…Your Brain on Porn and Reboot Nation are…online groups who argue that masturbation to porn…results in neurological changes which desensitize a person’s brain to real sex, cause erectile dysfunction, and instill an addiction to…pornography…Brigham Young University…spent what appears to be a great deal of money to produce a public service advertisement against the dangers and “darkness” of masturbation…The Proud Boys…a group of young, nationalist males…claim…that masturbating makes men less likely to get dates…all of these concerns, both historical and modern, about masturbation are primarily focused on male masturbation…Wilhelm Reich…who wrote The Mass Psychology of Fascism…suggested that sexual suppression was a tool of fascism, a way to train young people to submit to authority, even in something relating to their own body…and…conservative religions…have a long history of condemnation of masturbation…

To Protect and Serve (#830)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

The San Diego City Council today gave the green light for $1.5 million in payouts to 17 dancers who…were violated [by cops] during raids at two strip clubs…The first settlement awarded $110,000 to one dancer.  The second settlement awarded about $1.4 million to 16 dancers…[who] were held against their will and [molested]…by 10 [pervert cops]…Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represented 16 of the dancers, [said]…”The…settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to what the City of San Diego spent conducting the raids in the first place and then misleading the public for four years with painfully dumb legal denials and defenses…the City Attorney’s Office…arrogantly bullied the dancers and filed bogus defense after bogus defense until they realized they would not sell their legal charade to a set of jurors with common sense”…

Disaster (#841)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

HotMilitaryGirls.com, a site that for years offered nude photos and videos of female servicemembers, has been shut down by its operators as the site’s legal counsel reviews its content…after [pearl-clutching prohibitionist politician] Claire McCaskill, [one of] the [chief sponsors of the censorship law FOSTA/SESTA]…called for the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate the site…McCaskill’s office said in a statement that she lauded the news the site had [self-censored] but still sought [revenge on peaceful people for daring to be sexual]…

Dutch Threat (#852) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

The three parties which run Amsterdam city council have drawn up a string of proposals for dealing with the city’s red light district and moving prostitution to a new location is one of the options…The area has been home to prostitution for centuries, because of its proximity to the docks, but the surge in tourism is causing both locals and prostitutes considerable problems, [politicians claim]…Many clients are now visiting prostitutes they find via internet or at a hotel rather than in the Wallen district.  This means that many red light windows are now empty during the day and [prohibitionists have schemed for years to]…clos[e] them altogether…[politicians] now suggest giving licences for prostitution outside the red light district, so the women who work in window brothels can move to a new area, without the problems caused by tourists…Prostitution is a major tourist draw, but is this really the reason you want to attract people to visit?, said [prudish busybody] Socialist councillor Nicole Temmink…

Droit du Seigneur (#872)

If these pimps weren’t cops, they’d be facing “sex trafficking” charges right now:

Six of the NYPD cops accused of running a prostitution and gambling ring are in plea talks with prosecutors…the men were offered plea deals ranging from probation to 2-to 6-year prison sentences, but their lawyers didn’t want to accept so early in the case…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

More on police abuse of Amazon’s face recognition software:

…[in downtown] Orlando…lightbulb-sized camera[s] affixed to…traffic signal poles…instantly send a live video feed over to Amazon’s facial “Rekognition” system, cross-referencing…face[s] against [a surveillance database]…In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition, and there is no regulatory framework limiting its law enforcement applications.  There is no case law or constitutional precedent upholding police use of the tech without a warrant; courts haven’t even decided whether facial recognition constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment…[so of course cops are eager to] pilot…these systems [before their power is limited by laws or precedents…Amazon marketed its facial recognition tools to Orlando’s police department, providing tens of thousands of dollars of technology to the city at no cost, and shielding the Rekognition pilot with a mutual nondisclosure agreement that kept its details [secret from]…the public…In May, Orlando police reportedly finalized a deal to crowdsource neighborhood footage from residents of the city using [another Amazon] service called Ring, which uses…a doorbell camera…to[feed images] to Orlando Police…There is no automatic sharing of data between Ring and Rekognition right now.  But Amazon would not…commit…to keep the data generated by each of these companies…separate…

To Molest and Rape (#883) 

“Feminists” who talk about rapist cops without mentioning sex workers are aiding and abetting the rapists:

[A cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days, and that the majority of cases involve “motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs”…black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people, along with Indigenous, immigrant, and other people of color, make up the majority of people targeted for sexual violence by law enforcement agents…police sexual violence is consistently ignored by mainstream media and movements focused on police violence and sexual assault…[because cops] intentionally target people they don’t think will be believed…people who use drugs, trade sex, people who are precariously housed, disabled, LGBTQ—people who aren’t seen as ideal poster children for mainstream movements.  Secondly, acknowledging sexual violence by [cops] as a systemic problem profoundly destabilizes the notion of police as protectors, an uncomfortable reality for movements deeply invested in law enforcement as the answer to sexual violence…

You see that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “people who trade sex”?  That’s the only reference in a 1200+ word article about the one group which is targeted for sexual violence by cops more than any other, by a wide margin.  In an article about how activists ignore rape victims who aren’t ideal poster children. The reek of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

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I got a rock.  –  Charlie Brown

As usual, I don’t find any good Halloween videos until it’s too late to feature them before Halloween.  I’ve actually featured this one before, back in 2012, but at that time it was only available on the Funny or Die site and couldn’t be embedded; thanks to Franklin Harris for bringing this YouTube copy to my attention.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingPopehatWalter OlsonNun Ya, Tim Cushing again and ACLU.

From the Archives

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I used to get as many Halloween-themed columns into October as possible, and though I no longer have the energy for that I’m still dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary links and other content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, and “Tricky Treats“.  Horror or death-themed columns of the past year include “Thanatopsis“, “Whistling Past the Graveyard“, “Eternity“, and “Approaching Infinity“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #383, #385, #387#388, #394, #398, #402, and #404; and here’s a small collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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Look what I got for show-and-tell today.  –  “Deputy” Ricky Paurus

Amy Winfrey of Making Fiends is back with a new series, and here’s the first episode!  The links above it were provided by Wendy LyonPopehatThaddeus RussellTim CushingPhoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Fraudulently achieving sexual intercourse…constitutes rape.
–  Judge Hilary Penfold

Schadenfreude 

Despite the title of this subsection, I take no joy in reporting the horrible abuse perpetrated on young Liberian girls by the rescue industry group “More Than Me”:

…The charity would raise over $8 million, including almost $600,000 from the U.S. government. [Katie] Meyler would…rub shoulders with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, and even get invited to the Obama White House.  MTM’s footprint in Liberia would multiply to 19 schools teaching 4,000 students.  Yet some of the girls…[were not] saved from sexual exploitation, [but rather] being raped by the man standing beside Meyler on the stage.  His assaults went on for years and…he was protected by his position…he and Meyler had had an intimate relationship, and she kept him in place even after having reason to suspect his predilections.  But he was also shielded from exposure in the community by everything that she had brought: a school, scholarships and, above all, hope.  After his crimes became known…the charity worked to obscure the details and to place responsibility almost anywhere but with Meyler or MTM…They argued that the good they had done in Liberia more than made up for any harm…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#20)

As silly as this may seem, it’s an example of the kind of arbitrary control Turkish brothel owners exercise:

Three prostitutes sued a bordello that fired them…[for] feeding stray cats…in the Turkish province of Erdine…One of the prostitutes, Mürvet Taşvur, claimed:  “They fired us and kicked us out of the apartment due to us looking after the animals.  They shot one of our cats with a pump shotgun, he’s named Kinah.  He’s still alive with 11 pellets in his body.”  The three prostitutes filed a complaint to the Edrine Chief Persecutor’s Office…

King of the Hill

It’s fascinating to watch the various ways in which states try to claim the top spots in the “sex trafficking” pissing contest:

A new report…reveals Florida ranks third in the nation for active sex and labor trafficking cases being prosecuted in federal court…[prohibitionist] Alyssa Beck…said…“Jacksonville has a lot of hotels and also I-95 runs right through…So, it’s really just easy access to a lot of different things that traffickers may need”…

Micromanagement

Any new technology which can be used to spy on you, will be:

A new study argues that more than half of Americans could be identified by name if all you had to start with was a sample of their DNA and a few basic facts, such as the region where they live and about how old they might be…once 3 million Americans have uploaded their genomes to public genealogy websites, nearly everyone in the U.S. would be identifiable by their DNA alone and just a few additional clues.  More than 1 million Americans have already published their genetic information, and dozens more do so every day…This new reality represents the convergence of two long-standing trends.  One of them is the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can sequence anyone’s DNA for about $100.  All you have to do is provide a sample of saliva and drop it in the mail.  The other essential element is the proliferation of publicly searchable genealogy databases like GEDmatch.  Anyone can upload a full genome to these sites and powerful computers will crunch through it, looking for stretches of matching DNA sequences that can be used to build out a family tree…

Rough Trade (#513)

Yes, this is absolutely rape.  No, I don’t want to “discuss” it:

In some jurisdictions, courts have found that when a person cons a sex worker – refuses or evades the agreed payment for sex – such acts constitute rape, because consent for the sexual act was obtained fraudulently.  But [in other places such attackers are only]…convicted of fraud [if tried at all]…Experts and sex worker groups…believe such cases clearly constitute rape and say parts of Australia’s justice system still fail to properly deal with offenders who fraudulently obtain the consent of sex workers…many [of whom] fear…[going] to the police, and [a]re often not treated as sexual assault victims if they [do]…studies [also] show…sentencing [is] also comparatively low for men who…sexually assault…sex workers…[in a recent] case [in]…Queensland…the man was charged with two counts of fraud…and was ordered to pay $350 restitution to each woman and was fined $750 for each offence.  But…In the ACT, a similar set of circumstances led to a rape conviction for…Akis Emmanouel Livas…gave the woman a sealed envelope…[claiming] the full amount owed was inside, but [pretending]…“it’s part of my fantasy that it’s all about the romance and I need you to trust me”…Livas physically blocked her from opening the envelope…Eventually, she discovered there was no money inside…

In the US, most sex workers who report rape are arrested and charged with prostitution, and their rapes are ignored.

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Remember: they say it’s about “pimps”, but really it’s about sex workers and clients today, and about everybody once they get it perfected:

Minerva [software] helps NCMEC find information in large, hard to search data sets.  Specifically, Minerva has helped NCMEC locate additional phone numbers in online advertisements and further analyze who that phone might be registered to, which can lead to possible current location for the [targeted sex worker]…with human trafficking, there are bad guys acting with malice…Minerva has now identified 989 individual [sex workers] and is tracking 22,000 more…

Signs (#813) 

“Sex trafficking” provides a new excuse for cops to use the same old bogus “evidence” to harass women:

It’s possible Amaya could have escaped sooner than she did, at 24 years old, had [cops] been trained to look for the warning signs of trafficking:  Maybe she had no identification…Did she avoid eye contact with [pigs]?  Was her purse full of condoms?  Was she really as old she claimed to be?  These are just a few of the many [excuses cops]…across the country are being trained to [employ].  The increased awareness and training reflects a shift as law enforcement agencies [use]…the [excuse of “sex trafficking” to]…arrest…prostitutes…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#840)

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

…the government is…mulling rules for Malta’s strip-club industry which could ban the use of private rooms and…allow pole dancers only to be naked on stage…private dancing rooms will no longer be allowed, which previously meant that customers could get private dancers but also negotiate prices for sexual favours…There will also be restrictions on advertising outdoors [and] new zoning guidelines that could prevent such clubs from appearing within a certain distance of schools or places of worship…

Disaster (#853)

Another “monkey see, monkey do” FOSTA copycat:

The [South Korean] government plans to strengthen its monitoring of websites linked to prostitution and sex trafficking,…to control the websites and prevent prostitution…The ministry will develop a large data-based artificial intelligence program to monitor the prostitution situation in the country.  When the program is operational, the websites will be shut down and the operators warned of relevant punishment.  The government believes it is important to take pre-emptive actions against the sites because they lead many people to start paying for sex…

Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Fair-Weather Friends (#859)

Every sex worker arrested in a “sting” should sue the cops if at all possible:

Ohio police spent $768 on strip club tickets, tips, and booze during a July sting that ended in the arrest of Stormy Daniels…The undercover excursion could wind up costing cops a whole lot more than that.  The charges filed against Daniels and two other women arrested that night, Miranda Panda and Brittany Walters, were quickly dismissed.  Now Panda and Walters have sued several Columbus [cops] in federal court, arguing that the arrests were politically motivated.  As a result…Panda and Walters…suffered reputational harm and exposure to harassment.  Someone painted the word whore across the door of Panda’s home, for example, and reporters outed Walters as a stripper to her immediate family.  The women are seeking at least $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees…

Disaster (#878)

Mark Draughn does not see any good coming out of the FOSTA Facebook suit:

…I’m not…optimistic…about Facebook coming under attack in the sex trafficking panic.  I agree…that Facebook is going to throw money, lawyers, and lobbyists at the problem, and they’ll come out of this just fine.  But I’m not convinced that Facebook’s victory will be a victory for sex workers.  That’s because I expect Facebook to work toward a[n]…outcome [that will only benefit Facebook].  Their lobbyists and lawyers will offer their expertise at social media to work with Congress to help craft the most effective legislation for “protecting vulnerable people”…Facebook, with $40 billion a year or so in revenue, could easily afford to create a department and hire 10 or 20 people to comply with a law like that, as could many of the other social media giants.  But a lot of smaller businesses would be casualties, not all of them escort advertising sites…

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Apparently after reading the introduction to an Econ 101 textbook, many…believe the best way to eliminate the supply of sex trafficking victims is to end the demand for paid sex.  –  Eric Sprankle

The Course of a Disease (#344)

Indian sex workers often use Durga Puja as an occasion to protest tyranny:

A street graffiti dedicated to the life and struggle of the sex workers was unveiled by a Durga Puja organiser in…Kolkata…The graffiti, painted on a 300 [foot] stretch of road [near Sonagachi]…tells the tale of hardships and the circumstances that force a woman…into the flesh trade…soil from a brothel is an essential ingredient for the making of a Durga idol…”We are really happy that such a theme has been taken up by the puja committee depicting our lives and struggles,” Santana Das of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee said…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

…one foster family’s initially successful attempt to win full custody of [a child abducted by ICE pigs]…reveals what could happen to some of the infants, children and teens taken from their families at the border…this year.  The “zero-tolerance” crackdown ended in June, but hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care and U.S. officials [have arbitrarily declared that] more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release.  Federal officials [claim] they are reuniting families…but an Associated Press investigation…identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents.  And today, with hundreds of those mothers and fathers deported thousands of miles away, the risk has grown exponentially…

Also note: this policy did not originate with Trump; it’s been going on under every president since the ’80s.

Torture Chamber (#421) 

Cops can be fired for consensual sex, but not for torturing people to death:

A former [screw] is set to lose his job as a cop after it was revealed he was hired despite locking a mentally ill prisoner in a scalding hot shower until he died.  Roland Clarke only resigned…two years after he forced Darren Rainey into the shower…in 2012…Clarke was never charged with a crime and…[almost immediately] began working as a [pig] for the Miami Gardens Police Department…Now, thanks to a new report from the Miami New Times, the city…is trying to get [rid of]…Clarke, who has racked up a number of violations…[for being] “distasteful”…[including] repeatedly visiting a woman…at her home while…on duty…

In the US, a pig can be as dangerously violent and psychopathic as he wants, as long as he does it tastefully.  For another violent uniformed psychopath from Miami, see “To Molest and Rape” below.

Traffic Jam (#534)

Schools are rewarded for “finding” what the government wants found:

Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex, according to a study by The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.  The study, which was [commissioned] by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, [spins tales about] how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media…Through a series of 16 in-depth interviews…with…[cops], judges, [rescue profiteers, prohibitionists], and [corrupt academics]…the [fantasies] outline…how [authoritarians fantasize about people having sex with teens]…The [so-called] experts…identities are not being released…

WTF? Interviewing 16 anonymous pigs, prohibitionists and profiteers about their masturbatory fantasies about sex workers is not anything remotely like a “study”.  But the government doesn’t care as long as the “researchers” come to the correct conclusions, and Ohio is one of the states whose “educational institutions” are sufficiently corrupt for the task (others include Pennsylvania and Arizona).

Finding What Isn’t There (#559)

Michigan has decided to increase its “sex trafficking” numbers by inventing imaginary “victims”:

One hundred and twenty-three missing Michigan minors were [supposedly] found during a one-day “sex trafficking operation”…[but actually] only three of the minors are even suspected of having been involved in prostitution…What’s more, all but four of the “missing children” were not actually missing.  In the remaining [119] cases, minors were listed in a police database as missing but had since been found or returned home on their own…Many were (homeschooled)…Some were runaways…Nothing in the U.S. Marshals report on the operation makes mention of any arrested kidnappers, “traffickers”, or other adults involved in endangering or exploiting any of the missing minors that were identified…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

A new policy has put Pennsylvania prisoners’ communications under intense surveillance in the [pretense] of stopping contraband drugs [which are in reality smuggled in by screws for a price]…all incoming mail would be sent to a private company in Florida, Smart Communications, for scanning into a searchable database.  Prisoners would then receive photocopies of the incoming mail—and the originals would be shredded.  The DOC has also banned prisoners from receiving books from vendors…Instead, prisoners will have the option of paying for ebooks via [substandard] tablets that cost over $147 each…the Amistad Law Project…said the new policy will most likely result in self-censorship…and…has effectively ended mailed communication between lawyers and their clients because they cannot guarantee confidentiality…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Government thinks it can make any statement true simply by declaring it in a law:

…when I dug…into SF 2554, what I found wasn’t a law which links porn to human trafficking, but an embedded assumption that the two are fundamentally linked…being introduced into an existing state law by…changes to statutory language…the bill…adds “possession of pornographic work involving minors” and “harmful materials; dissemination and display to minors prohibited” to a list of crimes which the Minnesota government requires specified governmental and nongovernmental agencies to report on…In other words, what this law does to “link” pornography to human trafficking simply is to declare such a link exists

Unsurprisingly, the law was written by a religious anti-porn group.

To Molest and Rape 

Do I really need to say, “Don’t date one, either”?

Before a Miami-Dade [SWAT pig] was [arrested for] molesting a young girl, he was [given a pass by] his own department…[for] beat[ing] and abus[ing] his…lovers…two…women [reported that] Braulio Gonzalez [was] exceedingly jealous and pointed weapons at them, threatening their lives…he choked [one of them] and head-butted her so hard it broke her nose…[he] threw a bottle of whiskey at [anot]her and broke her arm.  A third woman also complained…about his…abuse…and [the department ruled he] had not followed proper procedure [in abusing her]…in [the latest totally]…related case…Gonzalez [was charged] with armed kidnapping and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child…[after] a young girl told a psychologist that Gonzalez fondled her repeatedly when she was between 8 and 10 years old…pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill a relative unless she [submitted]…His domestic [violence was] well-known within the department…

The Widening Gyre (#703)

I really hope abusers keep using “sex trafficking” to justify their abuse:

…21-year-old…Whitney Harris made the long flight to India to meet 20-year-old Pulkit Monga, a man she’d connected with online two years prior.  “I left to India to meet my friend and to get away from my abusive mother and grandmother who have mentally and emotionally abused me all my life,” Harris [said]…The family…first had a Christian minister in the city of Amritsar “intercept” her and then came to collect her themselves 10 days later…Harris’ mother Destiny and father Brett met Monga’s hospitable parents who took them to holy sites and restaurants — all while “slandering” [their hosts] behind their backs…Harris agreed to buy a return plane ticket to assuage their concerns, but before she was able to book it, “her mother allegedly sent a letter to the local Indian police claiming that Pulkit was a rapist, had drugged their daughter and was a sex trafficker”…After Harris and the Mongas were interrogated by police, the young woman’s family conspired with people from the local Christian church to get her to the airport and out of the country…Harris refused to see her parents upon arrival back home in Alabama — and is working to reunite with Monga as soon as she can…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

…the Law Enforcement Data Service, a new super-database for [UK] police…would combine the current Police National Computer…and the Police National Database (PND)…with others at a later date.  It would include sensitive information on victims and on people unrelated to or cleared of wrongdoing.  The UK government has accepted that large amounts of data on the super-database would have nothing to do with crime, and intends to open up access to other organisations, such as the UK Border Force…the actions of the Home Office…have been repeatedly ruled unlawful in various cases regarding unlawful retention of surveillance or biometric data…the proposed database…contents would never expire or be removed – and the police have admitted that various types of data it has no legal right to hold will be transferred to the new database too…

Dangerous Speech

The government keeps making up new rules in its war on thought:

Federal prosecutors in the Backpage case appear to be employing a strangulation strategy:  Swipe the defendants’ money, then go after their lawyers…federal prosecutors…[tried] to disqualify a team of First Amendment lawyers from…Davis Wright Tremaine…[while] a federal judge in California has yet to rule on motions in which the defendants have challenged the asset seizures…on First Amendment grounds…Davis Wright’s First Amendment duo of Robert Corn-Revere and Jim Grant have successfully defended Backpage and its former owners from criminal and civil claims arising from adult advertising that appeared on the website.  Invoking both the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996…Davis Wright has rebuffed criminal indictments, overturned adverse rulings on appeal, and nullified laws in three states, in cases involving allegations that Backpage promoted prostitution…and/or sex trafficking…Lacey and Larkin sold their interests in Backpage to CEO Carl Ferrer in 2015, but Davis Wright continued to represent Backpage and all three men.  Six days after seizing Backpage, the government revealed that it had secretly flipped Ferrer…Davis Wright has since withdrawn from representing Ferrer and Backpage…government attorneys argued that Davis Wright can no longer continue to represent [Lacey & Larkin]…because to do so would violate Arizona’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers, which forbid attorneys from representing clients whose interests are adverse to a former client…But defense lawyers pointed out that Ferrer had waived all attorney-client privilege in his deal with the government, and additionally, that he’d previously signed three joint defense agreements with Lacey and Larkin, allowing Davis Wright to remain as counsel if Ferrer withdrew from the pact…[in another example of misconduct] the government supplied the defense with 10.5 million documents in “an unusual format”…requir[ing] the use of special software that could result in up to $800,000 in costs, not including the hours that attorneys will have to devote to making sense of the information…

Though the judge seemed cowed by prosecutors, he nonetheless ruled against the attempt to disqualify the attorneys not on constitutional rounds, but rather on the grounds that prosecutors willfully ignored Ferrer’s waiver of privilege.

Traffic Circle (#876)

It’s wonderful that so many academic allies are debunking the hysteria:

…a billboard…in Two Harbors, Minnesota [became] the latest example of the ad nauseam awareness campaigns…that perpetuate the moral panic surrounding sex trafficking by conflating it with sex work.  The billboard warns “johns” to “end the demand” because “we’re someone’s children” and includes a police lineup photo of a chef, physician, a snowmobiler, a flannel-clad “every man,” and a college graduate, which could be used as an album cover for a Village People cover band.  Given that the billboard also features an ominous photo of two people in hoodies sitting with their backs turned, it left many wondering what it’s trying to communicate…maybe passing motorists will get the general gist that northern Minnesotans need to end the demand for sex trafficking because trafficking affects “someone’s children”…The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force celebrated the billboard’s unveiling, stating that the installation was the “fulfillment of a 4-5 year dream.”  Not to piss on anyone’s parade, but a billboard, in Two Harbors, was not only someone’s dream, but took 4 to 5 years to fulfill?  I guess if you dream to reach the stars, you’ll at least land 20 feet above Highway 61…

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People are losing their lives, their freedom, their children, their marriages — all because of this one man.  –  Erika Helms

If you don’t habitually consume cannabis edibles as I do, you may not realize that a lot of factors affect their potency and onset rate, including recently-eaten foods, time of the month (for women) and even the brand of edibles.  So even though I use only 10 mg on nights when I just want to relax and sleep, sometimes that 10 mg hits me a lot harder and faster than at other times.  And when that happens, I’ve discovered that shows from my childhood can be extremely entertaining.  Consider, for example, this extremely weird little song from Sesame Street; try watching it while high and you may see what I’m talking about.  I don’t recall where I got the first link above the video, but the others were provided by Franklin HarrisNattie RomanElizabeth N. BrownJesse Walker, and Mike Chase, in that order.

From the Archives

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