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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

How disconnected from reality are [censorious] Senators?  –  Mike Masnick

If Men Were Angels

Is a “small group leader” the same as a “youth pastor”?

…California church leader…Drue Mordecai, a…“small group leader” at New Vintage Church…sexually abused a juvenile…for approximately four to five years…beg[inning] when the victim was 12 years old…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish versions of the “gypsy whores” myth always seem quaint:

[Pogroms against sex workers and their clients are] being prepared [using the popular myth that]…demand for such services [increases] around the time of major sports fixtures and other events…[fact-free propaganda promot]ed by the Garda shows the demand for prostitution increases around major events…[spokespigs oinked a lot of silly nonsense about]…victims…gangs…vast majority…[are] trafficked…[they also lied that] the Garda is not interested in treating [sex workers] as criminals, [despite ample evidence to the contrary]…

Above the Law (#866)  

The fact that the woman reported him tells me this wasn’t a coercion-free offer:

A Florida lawyer [sentenced to probation] in 2019 on charges that he was using female clients in two county jails to make pornographic films has been disbarred…Andrew Bennett Spark…was arrested Dec. 17, 2017, and charged with [minor offenses including]…soliciting for prostitution.  He…now lives in Flushing, New York…Spark went to visit with a woman…in the Pinellas County Jail…[who] had not requested a visit with him, and she was represented by a different lawyer…the…w[oman was an] adult film actress…whose arrest and conviction [had been] widely publicized…Spark…asked…he[r to let him take video of her giving him head]…in exchange for putting money in her jail account…[but when he gave her a measly $10 she] told her family about the unsolicited visit, and her family c[alled the pigs]…

Morality Lessons (#908) 

Utah hasn’t learned from this unconstitutional bill failing in over a dozen states:

…Utah [politicians]…discuss[ed the latest version of a censorship bill]…requiring all “new electronic devices” sold in the state to have pornography filters turned on by default…the…hearing…ended with putting the bill on hold…[following expert testimony] that… “compliance would not be possible…[and] the constitutional problems …are numerous”…

Chris Sevier, the pro-censorship crackpot who wrote this bill and has shopped it to almost half of US states, appears to be keeping a low profile since Elizabeth Smart threatened to sue him for slapping her name on previous versions without her permission.  Or maybe it’s because a federal judge in Utah threw out his lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop.  Or perhaps it’s due to the warrant for his arrest in Tennessee?

Something Rotten in Sweden (#910)

California’s annual anti-whore pogrom did a lot less damage this year:

Riverside County [pigs deceived and abducted] 64 [peaceful citizens] over the course of four days [label]ing [the pogrom] an anti-human trafficking operation…[under the sophomoric name] Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…The statewide operation [destroyed fewer lives this year, down from]…518 [last year, including] 87 [sex workers; this year only 2 sex workers were brutalized]…

Theatrics (#914) 

Fake “sex trafficking” ads dreamed up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid masturbatory fantasies about our lives and work:

A…Swed[ish prohibitionist organization]…has set up a [fake] call girl service…Unsuspecting men [looking for adult consensual sex] dial the [fake] hotline set up by [the “rescue” profiteers called] Talita, only to be…[non-consensually subjected to ugly tragedy porn] stories…Josephine Appelqvist, co-founder of Talita, says: “We wanted them to [violate their consent by tricking them into] hear[ing our disgusting sexual fantasies]”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1056)

Canada pretends to care about privacy, but has plenty of other snooping tools:

Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled…the startup…scrap[ed] social media sites…without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters…Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming [it is above the] law…and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available…The Canadian privacy watchdog…said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not…stop…the collection on Canadians and delet[e] all previously collected images…

Paint By Numbers (#1086)

The dumb “awareness raising” stunt field is being taken over by hack artists:

“Goats are empowering women in the poorest parts of India,” said Rob Canton, founder of Project Goat. “A Goat is essentially an ATM in these communities, keeping them from a life of sex…trafficking.”  That’s how Canton came up with the Global Offensive Against Trafficking also known as Project Goat.  During the months leading up to the Super Bowl…goats, decorated by different artists, were showing up everywhere…“Super Bowls and events like them, World Cups and Olympics, they are the types of events that generate a lot of human trafficking,” [lied] Canton…Canton is now in the process of corralling all these [propaganda] works…They will be part of a large art auction taking place the day before the Super Bowl at Zoo Tampa, with a portion of the proceeds going to [the rescue industry]…

You Were Warned (#1107)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

For the past few months we’ve been seeing a ton of terrible/ ridiculous/awful/unconstitutional bills coming from mostly Republicans to try to wipe out or undermine Section 230.  Most of those were focused on trying to force websites to do less content moderation.  Now that the Democrats are back in power, it appears we’re going to be getting the opposite.  Senator Mark Warner has introduced…the SAFE TECH Act (“Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar), and it is one of the worst Section 230 bills I’ve seen.  It is difficult to explain just how bad this bill is concisely, because it has so many bad ideas crammed into one single bill.  It’s as if none of these three Senators or their staff spoke to anyone who actually understands how the internet works, or how content moderation/trust and safety works.  It’s stunning in the ignorance it displays…Basically, this bill takes nearly every single idea that people who want there to be less speech online have had, and dumped it all into one bill.  There’s a lot in there, and nearly all of it is bad…This bill…does not come from a well meaning place.  The drafters…are either malicious or ignorant…

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Hairdressers…would hardly consider their work to be “decriminalized” if it were legal to sell a haircut but not to buy one.  –  Michael Ellsberg

Under Duress 

Are most cops even capable of telling the truth?

Most Americans don’t know this, but [cops]…are permitted by law to outright lie…to suspects…in pursuit of a confession.  Of all forms of subterfuge they deploy — like feigning sympathy and suggesting that a suspect’s confession might bring leniency — this one is particularly dangerous.  In Frazier v. Cupp (1969), the Supreme Court made it lawful for the police to [lie about] evidence.  “The victim’s blood was found on your pillow,” “You failed the polygraph,” “Your fingerprints were on the knife” and “Your friend said she wasn’t with you like you said” are some common but brazen lies told.  There is…no limit to the type or magnitude of deception permitted — one lie or many; small lies and whoppers; lies aimed at adults or anxious and unwary teenagers…the history of wrongful convictions points to countless innocent people induced to confess to crimes they did not commit.  A bill…in New York…would finally put a stop to [permission for] this in the state.  [Cops would of course still lie constantly, but they would no longer have actual permission to do so]…and…courts [would be required] to evaluate the reliability of confession evidence before allowing it to be used…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

This histrionic has-been has made a rotting moral panic her whole career:

Mira Sorvino is developing a [TV] series to…[profit from the dying hysteria over] human trafficking…The series will [exploit] a group of people…using…abused and neglected rescue animals [that Sorvino and her fellow prohibitionists pretend sex workers resemble]…on a…200-acre ranch outside of Los Angeles [being used as a gingerbread house.  Mira’s]…sister Amanda Sorvino is a highly respected animal rescuer and [it seems that Mira believes humans can be “rescued” using the same methods intended for animals]…

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

…Manhattan District Attorney candidate Eliza Orlins is unveiling a comprehensive policy platform calling for the full decriminalization of sex work…Formulated in consultation with many sex workers and…advocacy organizations, it is one of the most detailed policy positions on…decriminalization…ever put forward by a major candidate at any level of U.S. politics…Orlins’ policy platform opens, “As District Attorney I will advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work.  This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.  Sex work is work.  Criminalizing sex work stigmatizes and disproportionately targets people of color and trans women, who are already marginalized members of our community… Decriminalizing is the most effective way to protect sex workers from police violence…It is necessary…to reduce mass incarceration”…recent national polling…shows that 52 percent of American voters support the full decriminalization of sex work either strongly or somewhat…The candidate…emphasized that she will aggressively prosecute sex traffickers…In contrast to [prohibitionist politician Liz] Krueger, Orlins [states that]…“Prohibitionist models (such as the ‘Nordic Model’) continue to criminalize and stigmatize sex workers.  Partial legalization schemes give prosecutors too much discretion”…

Orlins’ clear denunciation of Swedish criminalization (even more explicit in the interview which forms the second half of this article) makes me far more optimistic about her plans than those of either Michigan Prosecutor Eli Savit or presidential wannabe Andrew Yang.

Torture Chamber (#1001)

Virginia screws sexually assault women like this on a regular basis:

In July of 2016, Angela Calloway arrived at the Augusta C[age Stack] in…Virginia, to visit with a…[prisoner]…She left soon after, having been [force]d to remove her clothes and tampon so [screws] could [violate] her vaginal[ly] and anal[ly using the pretext of a “search”]…Calloway has not returned to the prison since.  A federal court ruled…that the guards involved in that [sexual assault] did not violate the Fourth Amendment…upholding a lower court ruling that awarded qualified immunity to the government employees.  Calloway will thus not be permitted to sue over the [attack]…

The judges’ ruling can be paraphrased as, “cops are so barbaric and stupid they can’t possibly know that rape is wrong.”  Presumably, that applies even when the victim is only eight years old.

The Monsters Are Due (#1018)

We haven’t seen a case of white van hysteria in almost a year:

University of Oregon students are [behaving like hysterical idiots about]…sex trafficking…[because] a [delusional busybody posted a] TikTok video…show[ing] a white van and accus[ing its owner] of having girls in the back of it…Brandon Smith…[was simply] driving his van…[when] two girls acting intoxicated [started] screaming down to their friends o[ut of a window]…Police showed up to Smith’s door as he was doing laundry and [harassed and threatened him for hours over the moronic accusation.  Luckily they did not murder or assault him, but]…he…is dealing with people harassing him when they see his van, and it’s taking a toll on his mental health…

Robocops

We need more attention to one of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

Ben & Jerry’s two co-founders want to make it easier for Americans to sue [violent, corrupt cops]…Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield…The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is being championed by Cohen and Greenfield…activist Shaun King…rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render…[politicians] Tom McClintock…Mike Braun…Ayanna Pressley and…Cory Booker…NFL stars Tom Brady and Drew Brees a[nd]…more than 1,500 [other] athletes and artists…[plus] 671 business leaders, according to its website.  “We are…resolved to end this get-out-of-jail free card for bad cops,” Cohen told reporters…

Dutch Threat (#1059)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

The brothel windows of Amsterdam’s red light district will be closed and an “erotic centre” will be set up away from the city centre, councillors have agreed.  A proposal from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema…was backed by a broad group of p[uritans]…The sex workers in the De Wallen red light district will be [forc]ed to move to a purpose-built centre elsewhere in Amsterdam…[or else choose to work illegally.  Politicians pretend]ed that the brothel windows should be closed [to “protect”] women working in the area [by dramatically cutting into their income]…When the idea was first proposed, a…[survey show]ed that 90% of…female sex workers…wanted to work in the windows…of…De Wallen.  [A sex worker called]…Foxxy…told [reporters]: “Relocating…is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Will [politicians] also…organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied?”…A second proposal to ban tourists from buying cannabis from the city’s cafes is struggling to win support owing to [the reality] that it will hand over trade to dealers on the streets…

Stupor Bowl (#1106)

Pathetic public promotions of misogynistic masturbatory material like this appear to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth.  Whereas national media used to prominently feature fetishists stroking themselves in public to the general adoration of gullible nitwits, the coverage is now mostly limited to local papers and TV news stations who consider obedient regurgitation of copaganda, no matter how ludicrous, to be part of their business model, plus fringe sites run by copsuckers and ex-military wingnuts with delusions of expertise unshared by anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the subject.  While the tales used to start appearing late in the preceding summer or even a year or more in advance, they now seem largely limited to a few foul eruptions in the week or two before, like a sudden discharge from a cluster of turgid pustules previously hidden by clothing.  And despite claims of “recent reports” and “new studies” of the fantasy, all of the claims are a decade or more old and still derive from the same grotesque prohibitionist profiteering we’ve seen over and over again (this one, as one might expect from fascist authoritarians, relies heavily on “Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s fevered fantasies from ’14 which imploded in a spectacular fashion last autumn).  In short, there’s nothing to see here that we haven’t seen innumerable times before, and these creeps’ pathetic devotion to their ugly fantasies would inspire pity if it weren’t being used to support calls for mass surveillance, aggressive censorship and state-sanctioned rape.

To Molest and Rape (#1109)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative NYPD cop]…was arrested on child pornography charges…after he repeatedly posed as a teenager online to request and obtain sexually explicit photos and videos from at least 46 minors…Carmine Simpson…is the latest in a string of [cops]…to be [caught committing] sexual crimes involving minors…Simpson told his targets that he was 17…and…some[times]…sent them pictures of himself to which he had applied a filter, making him look younger…In November, [cop] Shaun Frazier…[was caught molesting kids for]…the…third [time]…In July, a [pig known for skulking around] school[s]…Jeanisidor Jean Baptiste, was…charged with…rape and assault against a child.  In March…Yavier Julio, was indicted on child pornography charges…In February…Timothy Martinez was charged with possession of child pornography…In September 2019…Juan Jimenez, was…charged with [molesting]…a child.  And the month before that, John Telesca…was…charged with…child pornography.  Dara E. Purvis, an associate dean at Penn State Law who has studied sexual violence by the police, said this kind of misconduct is vastly underreported…

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The word “whore” is…used to keep other women in line. – Margo St. James

Lying Down With Dogs (#591)

The US has regularly done this for decades:

…Tajikistan’s parliament is set to amend the country’s Family Law in a way that would deprive [sex workers] convicted [of] pimp[ing or]…brothel[keeping]…of parental rights — with the state [abducting] any underage children they have.  The bill is widely expected to be approved…Government officials and [prohibitionist] groups…[already] conduct [propaganda] campaigns that in[flict] so-called “morality lessons” [on] sex workers…involv[ing both religious and political propaganda from]…doctors, [cops and prohibitionists]…who [fantasize] about…human trafficking…[as in the US, Tajik cops also] extort…money from [sex workers] during raids or beat…and [rape] them…[politicians, cops, and bootlickers] deny th[ese facts]…

The Course of a Disease (#909)

Prohibitionist scum keep trying to trick decent-but-ignorant amateurs into thinking the Swedish model is decriminalization:

[New York politician] Liz Krueger…[wants to impose Swedish style criminalization, using the new Orwellian term]…the “equality model”…[the law] aims to [indirectly criminalize sex workers by declaring them “pimps” while pretending] to decriminalize [them]…That’s in contrast to [actual] decriminalization, which [is recognized as best practice by virtually all sex workers, every major human rights organizations, and every academic who has honestly studied the subject]…Krueger [vomited out a lot of ugly lies and sexual fantasies fed to her by prohibitionist organizations]…

Sex Rays (#1036)

Oh noes, they contaminated public places with their eeeevul sex rays!

A couple has been arrested in South Carolina and charged with multiple sex crimes, including obscenity, after [a busybody snitched to] police…about public sex videos they…shot and uploaded to an adult website.  [The prosecutor claims] the videos were…shot in Myrtle Beach and…is charging the[m]…with…South Carolina’s rarely enforced obscenity statute which considers all filming of sexual acts illegal.  The accused couple…has been identified by their legal names by mainstream publications, some of which also provided identifying location information for them…The alleged indecent exposure was not witnessed or reported by anyone at the time of the incident and the investigation by local police seems to have only consisted of [cops masturbating to] the videos…[then searching] the adult site [to find a pretext to arrest them again 10 day later]…

Thought Control (#1091) 

Buried underneath all the masturbatory self-congratulation, prosecutorial pomposity, and repeated shouts of “THE CHILDREN™!!!” in this press release is the fact that Thomas Arthur was convicted for hosting a website full of stories, in other words fiction.  A man has been convicted of “crimes” against people who do not exist and never did, partly because a judge refused to allow expert witness testimony to counter the wild fantasies of prosecutors about how thoughtcrime is bad because sex rays magically radiate outward via the internet to harm “victims”.  The case will obviously be appealed.

Tissue of Lies (#1091)

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “human trafficking operation”:

Thirty-three [legal minors the FBI called] children were [arrested] in [what the FBI pretended was] an anti-trafficking operation in Southern California…[involving] more than two dozen [cop shops] and [fascist collaborators]…eight of the 33 [were apparently underage sex workers]…Two…had been [arres]ted multiple times [before]…One [was living with a non-custodial] parent.  Some others were arrested for violating probation, robbery or other misdemeanors…

Loose Cannons (#1102)

Judge denies prosecutors’ wish to keep nonconsensual porn:

A federal court has ordered Florida [prosecutors] to destroy [illegal] video footage…[of] men getting hand jobs from women the state [later humilated, infantilized and robbed]…State prosecutors had argued against destruction of the [illegal] video on the grounds that [“revenge porn” is a good thing when produced by cops]…By now, multiple state judges have forbid prosecutors from using the footage…

To Molest and Rape (#1103)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [Utah cop] has been arrested for…planting a camera in a 12-year-old girl’s bathroom for months to record her naked.  Marc Swain…admitted he had been recording the girl for nine months…but “quickly deleted them” [after he finished jerking off] because he knew he [might get caught.  The incriminating evidence was found on a flash drive he forgot to wipe]…

R.I.P. Margo St. James

Here’s another obituary of Margo St. James from 48 Hills; I like this quote from Annie Sprinkle:

“When Margo spoke she was low key, calm, cool, and collected…but by the end of the meeting we were all ready to work to rid the world of the bad laws against our profession and to help relieve the stigmas and stop the dangers of being a whore.  Over the years I went to every event Margo did that I could, because they were about the liberation and empowerment of people like me”…

I do, however, have to roll my eyes at the news that “the San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote[d] on declaring February 14th, 2021 ‘Margo St. James Day’“; if they really wanted to honor her, they’d vote to decriminalize sex work in the city.  But I guess expecting deeds rather than words is too much to ask of politicians.

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Public health expert…warnings were largely ignored by governments.  –  Heather Barr

Where Are the Victims?

Do cops realize how stupid their inability to stick with one narrative per statement makes them sound?

…a…ho[us]e in a gated country club…was being used as a brothel…[spokespig] Mike Bruno…[oinked]…“No one is immune from it…[oink oink] victim of human trafficking…[oink oink] protect the [41 and 50 year old] girls…[oink oink] these women may not even know that they are a victim…because obviously someone is making money”…

Under Every Bed 

578,759 people total at a density of about 2 per km2:

…sex trafficking…is happening in Wyoming, and it’s very unidentified here…Terri Markham…founde[d]…Uprising…[an] organization…committed to [mak]ing [money from hysteria] about sex trafficking in the state…she…[claims] sex trafficking is often misidentified as sexual abuse, domestic violence or some other crime instead…she a[lso] said if your child has any kind of online presence, there is a 100 percent chance the child has been seen by a predator…

Fetishists often turn things backward (in reality, domestic violence and other crimes are often mislabeled “sex trafficking” in order to win grants and whip up support for more police-statery), but the most amusing part of this is the claim that for a “predator” to merely see a teenager (which is what she really means by “child”) is some sort of cause for concern (presumably due to sex rays emitted by the dangerous “male gaze” and somehow propagated through the internet).

Guinea Pigs (#1013) 

The snitching “apps” and hotlines first sold as anti-whore technology are widening their nets:

Teachers, students and staff [in Oklahoma] can now report [each other] through text messages…For years…students have been able to r[at on each other]…through a [snitch] line…But [t]hat [didn’t fool them into thinking they’d have]…anonymity, and the…[new snitch line pretends]…a…text messaging system [somehow is.  Surveillance minister Jon]…Parker said once a student reports a[nother student], a s[pook]…will follow up with questions…[because the snitch texts go] right…[to] the[state] fusion center…[informants] also may send…videos and pictures [taken without the victim’s consent]…

Civil rights violations often start with whores, but never stop with us.

License to Rape (#1014)

TSA goons can usually molest citizens without consequence, but this was a bit too blatant:

A [typical and representative TSA goon]…who…[bullied and] trick[ed] a traveler into showing her breasts as she went through security [theater] at [LAX] pleaded no contest…to false imprisonment [in return for a slap on the wrist and bogus “sex addiction” classes]…Johnathon Lomeli…was also barred from working as a security guard [in California]…

Since the government still insists on hiding the identity of this budding rapist from women he might endanger, here’s California AG Xavier Becerra’s picture instead.

Social Distancing (#1043)

Don’t worry, the Swedish model “decriminalizes the seller”!

Norwegian police have arrested sex workers [using the pretext] that they violated quarantine restrictions…the[y now]…face detention and expulsion from Norway…some have already been forced to leave although their clients do not appear to have been arrested…Rights organizations drew attention early in the pandemic to its devastating impact on sex workers…[who] often struggle to access financial safety nets due to the marginalized nature of their work and because many are migrants or members of other groups facing discrimination.  These problems are worsened by laws criminalizing sex work…including…[those] us[ing] the so-called “Nordic model”…[which] harms people who sell sex…[by] mak[ing] it harder for them to find safe places to work, work together, advocate for their rights, or even open a bank account.  It stigmatizes sex workers and leaves them vulnerable to abuse by police…

You Were Warned (#1071)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

Morality in Media…helped file a lawsuit…against Twitter over a third-party user post, based on the Section 230 loophole opened by…FOSTA-SESTA…The civil lawsuit for damages was filed under the federal Trafficking Victims’ Protection Reauthorization Act…but [the pro-censorship group] makes the argument for Twitter’s liability for a user’s post by invoking FOSTA-SESTA.  The case involves a video compilation uploaded by two Twitter accounts that allegedly contain material that an underage “John Doe” shot for strangers who catfished him through Snapchat claiming to be a girl his age…The lawsuit…timed to the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, makes allegations…that mirror the campaign to shut down…Backpage …The lawsuit is the first…of copycat proceedings that religious groups had announced for the first weeks of the Biden-Harris administration…under an effort known as “Project Blitz”…

Top Cop (#1103)

Authoritarian media want people to forget about the true nature of this psychopath, now only an old man’s heartbeat from the power she so desperately craves:

When The Washington Post published a 2019 campaign trail feature about…Kamala Harris’ close relationship with her sister, it opened with a memorable anecdote in which Harris bizarrely compared the rigors of the campaign trail to…life behind bars.  And then proceeded to laugh—at the idea of an inmate begging for a sip of water…But now that Harris is vice president, that awful moment…vanished from the Post’s website after the paper “updated” the piece earlier this month…The scene…did what few political features can accomplish: showing, rather than telling, something about the candidate…Harris made her name as a prosecutor, and her track record includes…laughing off criticism of her history of throwing poor parents in jail when their kids missed school.  The Post profile provided a mask-slipping moment that seemed to perfectly capture a warped sense of justice and lack of basic human dignity…[instead] the Post…[replaced it] with a new opening anecdote…by…Chelsea Janes…who has authored several fawning pieces about Harris…

Caught red-handed, the Post restored the original and downplayed their attempt to whitewash a tyrant as a kind of editorial oversight.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Cindy Falco DiCorrado

I was recently reminded of this December 1972 bit from Sesame Street, which manages to be extremely funny despite being totally sweet and wholesome.  The links above it were provided by Popehat, Dave Krueger, Jesse Walker, Phoenix Calida, Franklin Harris, Rick Horowitz, and Dave Crisp, in that order.

From the Archives

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Fuck Polaris.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

Tales from the Dark Side

It’s a bad idea to even discuss such fetishes in writing with any amateur you don’t literally trust with your life:

…unverified screengrabs of…lurid text messages allegedly sent by actor Armie Hammer between 2016 and 2020 were posted by the Instagram account @houseofeffie…In one, Hammer professes his desire to “bite pieces off of” the recipient and eat her heart; in another, he says, “I am 100% a cannibal. I want to eat you. Fuck. That’s scary to admit. I’ve never admitted that before”…the screengrabs have not been verified, and Hammer himself has denied that they are legitimate…[NYC dominatrix] Empress Wu says…she was relatively unperturbed by the alleged…sexts: “they seemed pretty typically male dom-y, if not a slight bit extreme.”  (For what it’s worth, Hammer has talked openly about his fondness for kink in a 2013 Playboy interview, and was [criticiz]ed for liking a rope-play tweet in 2017)…But…[because] Hammer’s exes have come forward to allege inappropriate or nonconsensual behavior…Empress Wu says that the discourse surrounding [his] transgressions should focus less on his alleged kinks and more on the alleged consent violations

Original Sin (#321)

This steaming pile is such a sad regurgitation of all the usual anti-porn nonsense that I’m not even going to bother to quote it, but the link is there if you want to look for yourself.  It’s all there: the claim (rooted in US Evangelical Christianity, as you can see by clicking on the subtitle for the state of this propaganda eight years ago) that “sex trafficking” is caused by porn; the numbers pulled out of some prohibitionist’s rectum (though, interestingly, not up to date with the latest impossible “Walk Free” fantasy); the cop sharing his misogynistic masturbatory fantasies with anyone gullible enough to listen; the claim that all sex workers were molested as children (or that we still are children, sometimes both); the uniquely Floridian innumeracy (such as referring to two cases as “countless”); the mindless repetition of the latest high-profile propaganda from some arch-prohibitionist; the quotation of obscure fanatics in non-peer-reviewed publications as “experts”; the wholesale infantilization of adult women and the accompanying invalidation of our economic, sexual and psychological agency; and of course the usual list of astonishingly-vague “signs of trafficking” that could apply to half the human race.  For more of the same, peruse the tags “The Puritan Recrudescence” and “The Pro-Rape Coalition“.

Safe Position

Though this is becoming a safe position, we still have a long way to go:

[Politician] Tishaura Jones…in…her campaign [for mayor of St. Louis]…said she wants to “destigmatize and decriminalize sex work.”  Her campaign political director, Matt Rauschenbach…[appears to think all sex workers are drug-addicted, homeless survival workers; her opponent Lewis] Reed [shared his disgusting sexual fantasies about]…children…[candidate] Andrew Jones [bloviated about]…human trafficking and [compared women to inanimate objects, and]…fourth candidate…Cara Spencer, said [consensual sex is]…a serious problem [and emitted Swedish-smelling mouth farts]…

Held Together With Lies (#996)

Cathy Reisenwitz on the awfulness of Polaris:

Polaris is a Washington, D.C.-based [NGO that]…operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline (est 2007) which ostensibly exists so that sex trafficking victims can call for help and rescue.  In reality, the majority of the calls to the hotline are from “community members”…[and] most…are either nothing or adult, consensual prostitution.  When Polaris gets a tip…they send the information to [cops] and ICE.  Every “rescue” of sex workers through Polaris is an arrest by police or federal agents…Polaris forces women to stop doing sex work through arrest and the threat of imprisonment or deportation…Polaris [has] claimed, without any evidence whatsoever, that “all” of the 9,000 [Asian] massage businesses across the US “have some element of trafficking”…This is part of a growing racist assault on Asian business owners in the US…Polaris…“strongly opposed” a bill to decriminalize sex work in DC…Not only are they lying about their actual goals, but their tactics actually work at cross purposes to their stated goals…

Incidentally, this heading was rather arbitrary; Polaris is one of the most aggressively dangerous of the rescue industry propaganda mills, and its “National Human Trafficking Hotline” generates the absurd numbers quoted extensively in copaganda and puritans’ wanking fantasies by the simple expedient of counting every single call, whether from a cop, prohibitionist, reporter, hysteric, or anybody else (no matter what the reason for that call), as a “sex trafficking case”.  It’s also one of the chief culprits in promoting the racist myth that sex work is somehow akin to historical black chattel slavery; its name derives from the fact that escaping slaves in the antebellum South followed the star Polaris to keep moving northward toward freedom.  If you’ll search “Polaris” on this blog you’ll get scores of hits across many headings.

Stupor Bowl (#1017)

This pathetic public promotion of misogynistic masturbatory material appears to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth:

[Lying pigs] in West Florida have a[bduc]ted more than 70 people [over the past] month…[using the bogus excuse of] human trafficking …[they absurdly claimed it had something to do with] next month’s Super Bowl game [even though that is still weeks away]…the sting…[involved male cops fantasy-role-playing female sex workers] online…and [sows badly cosplaying] as prostitutes, resulting in the arrest of 71 men who [failed to exercise due diligence in seeking consensual adult] sex…[Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad] Chronister [then embarassed himself by loudly oinking creepy sexual fantasies involving women]…”forced to sell their bodies against their will”…[and made furtive movements in his pants while talking about] sex workers…being raped [but omitted the fact that most such rapes are committed by his own herd of swine]…

Winding Down

France becomes the first European country to start this conversation:

France is Europe’s biggest cannabis consumer, despite having some of the continent’s toughest laws against the drug…[so] a group of [politicians]…have launched an initiative to…encourage the French political class to be more open to the idea of legalising [it]…a citizens’ consultation [was] launched on January 13…[and] more than 175,000 people responded…compared to an average of 30,000 responses to such consultations…[the] objectives…[are] to better understand the French public’s views about cannabis, and to understand what government policies on the drug people want…

Social Distancing (#1094)

Another example of how “lockdowns” cause far more harm than good:

In Colorado’s three largest cities, rising number of homicides…attributed in part to the COVID-19 pandemic…tell a startlingly grim story of domestic violence…More than a quarter of those who died in Colorado Springs were victims of domestic violence…In Denver…aggravated assaults tied to domestic violence jumped more than 40%, totaling more than 1,000 in 2020…New Orleans-based data consultant Jeff Asher analyzed crime rates in more than 50 [US] cities.  Using data through September, he saw a 36.7% increase in murder rates…the largest one-year increase in murder in the nation’s history…

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My friend Brooke Magnanti has a new project named Body of Work on the new platform Substack, and to call attention to it I’d like to share my favorite of the posts she’s published there so far. It’s both a moving memoir and a powerful rebuke to the sheltered puritans who pretend sex work is “The Worst Thing a Woman Can Do“, which is incidentally the title of this piece.

My dad was mowing strangers’ lawns on the day that he died.

He woke before sunrise – the habit of a blue collar lifetime – with his schedule for the day written out on a piece of college-ruled paper, copied from the app where homeowners booked him for reasonably priced lawn services. He had the rest of the week drawn up as a grid too, with blank spaces for last-minute jobs that might pop up on his newly purchased smartphone.

He loaded the truck with the tools of his trade: edgers and whips, a spade and a rake, a refurbished secondhand push mower, and drove the ride-on mower (also a refurb) onto the small trailer behind his 15-year-old F150. He put a lunchbox with two turkey sandwiches and four bottles of frozen water into the cab. They would melt during the hot Florida spring day, keeping his food cold and providing hydration as he worked in the full sun.

Sometime after 8am, he started having abdominal pains. The worst of his life. My father – no hypochondriac, also the habit of a lifetime – called 911. The hospital did some tests and discharged him by 10am, diagnosis mild constipation, prescription two kinds of laxatives. He didn’t feel better. His last few outgoing texts were to friends letting them know he couldn’t meet up later, he was sick. He went on to complete 3 of the 5 jobs on his schedule.

He died that night. 70 years old, retired not even one day of his life. When we found his phone, most of the missed texts and calls were from the app, set to automatically ping when he didn’t check in online for his agreed jobs.

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“What, are you too proud to scrub a toilet?”

That was a question I have heard a lot. After coming out as a former sex worker in 2009, I could count on at least one know-it-all standing up to pronounce more or less this exact accusation at every book signing, public speaking event, or festival I appeared at.

The question askers never stuck around to hear, really hear the answer: it’s hard to get a job in the UK as an American student, I couldn’t work more than 15 hours a week, no one was allowed to hire me if any qualified EU applicant was available, and that wouldn’t have made a dent in my bills anyway. ‘Too proud to scrub a toilet’ also seemed to be the takeaway most columnists went with when discussing my writing. According to everyone with a public opinion my problem was not lack of cash but that I was too proud, or precious, or whatever to do real work. I was spoiled.

Thing is, I wasn’t just spitballing about whether or not scrubbing toilets pays the bills. I knew already, from experience, that it would not – because cleaning was the very last job I held before moving to London. I worked for months at a hostel in Aviemore while writing up my PhD thesis. In between changing beds and mopping bathrooms, I collated data on forensic pathology cases and assembled chapters on the processes of human decomposition. Because I also was the hostel’s cook and lived on site, I was able to save almost everything I earned. I thought this would put me in good stead for the autumn, when I planned to submit my PhD back in Sheffield, then move to London to look for work.

Long story short: my calculations of expenses for life in the capital city were way, way off. By the time I paid the extortionate deposit and rent on a sad little room in Kilburn, I was already out of cash. But with my PhD not yet approved I couldn’t apply for science jobs. So I became a call girl. A choice that I thought (also mistakenly as it turned out) would be lucrative, not require a particular visa, and that I could leave behind as soon as I started my “real” career.

That was then.

This is now: I’m scrubbing a toilet in a million dollar house in one of my county’s fanciest neighborhoods. American Standard. The water in the American Southwest is mineral-heavy and leaves rings on everything; I’m not so much scrubbing as chipping away at stalagmites of built up lime.

It’s the first toilet I’ll clean today, the first of four bathrooms in this house, but it’s not the last time I’ll think about those people who imagined I was too proud to scrub a toilet. I’ve been scrub-a-toilet poor before; it’s not that big a deal. No, instead they were telling me the thing they considered to be the last-resort job of choice before “selling your body.” Their deepest fear, the most undignified thing short of being a whore (which as we all know is the worst thing a woman can do).

That’s the calculation according to society. Whore is worst, cleaner is second worst, and no one in their right minds would do either. Let alone both. Yet the jobs persist. Even in a recession. Even in a pandemic. Key workers both. Not the front lines, accumulating accolades and sometimes hazard pay, but the back lines, doing jobs few want to admit always need done.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic it seems cleaning after oneself is still a job for someone else. Lifestyle columnists Sarah Ditum and Janice Turner raised a few eyebrows when they staunchly declared the unavailability of house cleaners in the first wave of covid to be beyond bearable. Not for them picking up the mop, or worse yet, asking one’s husband and children to chip in. No, went the logic, cleaners wanted the work. They loved their clients.

I’ve heard people say things like that before almost word for word. People who are the customers of sex workers. Do I have to tell you women like those are just the sort of people whose husbands I once would have fucked for money? I know it, and I guess they know it too.

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If you too are in possession of a house and neither the time nor the inclination to clean it, you could book me or someone like me through any number of websites and apps. They all have slick, modern sites, enormous market capitalisations, and most importantly in this buoyant gig economy: they employ none of the people who show up at your door to do the work.

The landing pages show clean, modern homes resplendent in bare wood, white tile and brushed metal fixtures. Homes with six-burner gas ranges and fresh cut peonies in fishbowl vases. The kind of homes that few of the cleaners could ever dream of calling their own. The vibe is upscale, quiet suburb or cool high-rise urban.

And if you don’t mind what happens to your body, to your health, then there are always jobs like this, just not careers. With ubiquitous smartphones and widespread internet services that previously were available mainly to the well-heeled can be booked at the touch of a finger. In many ways the rise of sex workers on the internet when I was an anonymous blogger presaged the way many would soon be working in the 21st century.

My entry into cleaning for apps is straightforward. Sign up, submit a photo of my driver’s license, wait for a background check. Answer a few (very few) questions on my experience as a cleaner. I have a bit, from the aforementioned pre-London days turning over an 80-bed hostel in the Scottish Highlands for a summer, to helping out friends with holiday cottages.

I’m accepted on the platform and my rate is set at $15 per hour. That’s 4 dollars an hour above the nearest city’s minimum wage, more than twice the Federal minimum of $7.25, but well below anything that could result in the “thousands” the app’s ads on Craigslist promised. Up to thousands, I remind myself. Technically that means anything above zero. I’m assured through a short series of videos that work is straightforward and easy to come by, and that any problems I might experience with the app itself are quick to figure out. I’m told if I book 10 jobs this week my rate goes up, maybe as high as $22. I complete the series of Youtube videos that constitute training and log on.

There are no jobs. At all. Not today, and not tomorrow.

There’s one in three days! I click, eager to “claim” before anyone else does (because that must be what’s happening, right? There are no jobs because they’re already taken?) But when I google the location I find it’s in central Colorado – a 330-mile round trip from where I am now. Sure, there’s a $20 “bounty” for picking this one up, should I choose. But I decide to forego it. There is zero chance at this rate I will ever earn more than $15 an hour through the app.

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We live in the age of the side hustle. Everyone I’ve met since moving back to the US has one. The fine artists with an Air B&B, the candle maker who cleans for them, the solar installer who is also a part-time fire captain, the fire captains who sell third party phone cases on Amazon. The jiu-jitsu instructor with a window washing business. The college professor who works as a part-time paramedic on ski patrol. The ski patroller who proctors exams at the college.

There is no mystery as to why. None of these people are rich or have any illusions of becoming so. Side hustle as a phrase sounds cool, as if a few hours of your week here and there will make it rain and make the Moet pour. The reality is more prosaic. Life in the land of opportunity is expensive. With a stunted public transport infrastructure, cars are a necessity if you want to get by in most of America. The college degree has more or less taken the place of a high school diploma, sought out even for entry-level customer service, and the expansion of the student loan industry leaves many in debt long beyond their 40’s. Credit rating determines everything from your ability to rent accommodation to even whether or not you get a job, obliging people to spend and keep spending in the name of being a trustworthy consumer. Being a consumer obliges you to work. Once entered, the cycle has no end. Not even retirement, for those (unlike my father) lucky enough to contemplate it: in 1985, 10.8% of people over 65 in America were still working. The number in 2017 was double that, and expected to become still higher when the twilight years of Baby Boomers give way to geriatric Generation X.

It gets worse. A shocking number of America’s personal bankruptcies are due to inability to pay medical bills. From a high of 1.5 million in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act came into law, it declined to 770 thousand in 2016. And yet the problem is not solved: the requirement to buy insurance even on price-capped markets still leaves a lot of room for expenses in the form of deductibles that can be thousands of dollars or more. People still avoid accessing preventive care and instead end up in the emergency room, sometimes not until they are on death’s door. We may be in post-Obamacare America, with many on the left making noises about some form of universal, free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare, but the wolf of sudden medical emergency could turn up and destroy your life anytime. Even in the coronavirus pandemic America did not manage to elect a candidate who promises universal healthcare.

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Four-Toilets is not a bad job as these things go. I know that immediately. It isn’t a 330 mile round trip to get there, for starters; only an hour from my house. The place is owned by a couple of about my age, pet- and child-free. They are not hoarders, and while some of it requires elbow grease (the aforementioned hard water in toilets situation) they’ve not left cleaning so long that any of it is out of hand, save a giant walk-in shower I spend about a third of the allotted five hours scrubbing.

The man goes out, and when he comes back, has brought me a sandwich. I don’t have time to eat on the clock of course. The app’s clients feed in the size of the job and the app gives them an estimated finishing time (no breaks). I do the last toilet, vacuum and mop, and am done bang on the hour the app predicted. I can’t help but wonder if there was a box they ticked that said “our house is already pretty clean” (it was) or if, in the future, similarly-sized jobs with less scrupulously tidy clients will be assigned the same five-hour time slot.

I don’t think about that, just sign on to the app to confirm completion of the job, load up my car (you are required to bring all supplies, including mop and vacuum, and more recently, PPE), and accept a shyly-offered $30 tip from the man. They want to book me again, once every fortnight. I say I’ll have a look on the app but I’d like that.

I have no illusions: few jobs will be as straightforward as this. On the drive home, I start making a list of what I need to replenish. Paper towels, microfibre rags, oven cleaner, furniture polish. Pick up some limescale remover! And some drain unclogging liquid. The tip covers my time driving to and from the house, and the gas, just about. It reminds me of being an escort when the client’s tips usually covered my transport.

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[Bans on outdoor dining are] not grounded in science, evidence, or logic.  –  Judge James C. Chalfant

Lack of Evidence (#574)

Another example of barking up the wrong tree:

…Brittney Smith and Anita Yanes…tried to visit Rachel’s [Gentlemen’s Club in] Orlando in 2018 and were denied entry because they didn’t have any men with them.  They argue that this policy violates Orange County’s…law…ban[ning] discrimination in public places “on the basis of…[factors including] sexual orientation”…the Orlando Sentinel…is pushing the case as a boon for LGBTQ rights…But Rachel’s wasn’t denying Smith and Yanes entry because of the women’s sexual orientation but because of their sex…how can it be discriminating against gay people by applying its policy evenly to heterosexual and homosexual women?…

As I’ve explained before, these policies have nothing to do with LGBT rights; they’re anti-whore measures intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.

Signs (#911) 

Texas won’t be satisfied until every police-state functionary is spying on women:

Texas is opening a new front in the war on [women]…The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has started [indoctrinat]ing its agents and vendors to s[urveill] and [harass] w[omen] in the bars, clubs and restaurants it licenses [via bogus “signs”] like…women [be]ing on the premises…In one example, a sports bar just outside San Antonio, [a busybody]…complain…ed…that [brown women were there]…so…[pigs could raid them.  Even when there’s nothing even cops were willing to accept as “evidence”] TABC…canceled liquor licenses on 100 businesses…

The Widening Gyre (#928)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

A [bourgeois white woman]…claimed on Instagram…that her children were nearly kidnapped at a [Michael’s] craft store has received [insufficient criticism for her attempt to inflict police violence on innocent strangers]…after her videos went viral…her local police department in…Petaluma [California says]…the story Katie Sorensen told her Instagram followers i[s different from the version she gave them]…Sorensen [claimed]…that she wanted to share her experience because she wanted [white] parents to feel empowered to [call the cops on innocent people existing in public]…“I posted it simply to raise awareness,” she [belched].  Sorensen has since made the two videos and her account private, but KTVU reporter Henry K. Lee shared a part of one on Twitter…Sorensen [falsely claimed to cops that]…she was “followed inside the store” by a man and woman who had “made comments concerning the appearance of [her] children”…she [then hypocritically made comments on the appearance of her intended victims]…

Sorenson’s intended victim, Sadie Martinez, has since approached me on Twitter and asked me to help share her story; I suspect she may be considering a lawsuit against the woman who tried to get her arrested for daring to be in the same retail outlet as Sorenson’s brats at the busiest shopping time of the year.

Legislators Gone Wild (#987) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, as I predicted:

…[Self-proclaimed “]sex trafficking survivor[” and professional fantasist]…Rebekah Charleston…[is once again] target[ing] Nevada [with a nuisance lawsuit after]…her previous [attempt was]…dismissed by an appeals court [for having absolutely zero basis in law or fact]…Charleston…served 13 months in a federal prison after a conviction for tax evasion, [but] was among 26 individuals granted clemency this month by President Donald Trump [because she blamed her crime on bogeyman “pimps” whose names she]…claimed t[o have conveniently forgotten, just as she has apparently forgotten the name of the brothel she claims to have been “enslaved” in]…Charleston and her lawyer, Jason Guinasso, are seeking an injunction to stop Nevada from allowing sex work, [yet cannot explain how she managed to pass the police background checks required to work in the state’s legalized] sex industry…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

The number of women held in America’s jails has risen more than 20% over the past decade, to an average of more than 115,000 inmates a day.  And more and more are arriving in need of medical attention or with debilitating health conditions that strain the capacity of lockups typically designed for men.  Thousands arrive pregnant each year. Most suffer from mental illness – at far higher rates than their male counterparts – and…as more women land in America’s local jails, more are dying there, too…[at least] 914 [women died] in [US cages] from 2008 to 2019…at least 24% of the[m]…were Black…at least 639 [of them] were awaiting trial…and presumed innocent of the charges they faced.  The death toll [also] doesn’t include a category of collateral fatalities: their infant children…

Not mentioned in this article: the chief architect of the laws that resulted in this huge explosion in the number of female prisoners is about to be crowned as the next president of the US.

Nonessential

Courts are losing patience with arbitrary authoritarian “lockdowns”:

A California judge…blocked enforcement of state and local orders prohibiting dining in San Diego County restaurants, finding no evidence that such bans help curtail the COVID-19 epidemic…The case involves two strip clubs with restaurant service, Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International, which initially challenged local cease-and-desist orders.  Gov. Gavin Newsom subsequently issued an order that imposes many restrictions, including a ban on both indoor and outdoor restaurant dining, on regions where the available ICU capacity has fallen below 15 percent.  That order currently applies to all of Southern California…[Judge Joel] Wohlfeil noted that the plaintiffs had implemented various COVID-19 precautions, including physical distancing, masks for employees, and sanitization.  They are following “all provisions of the State of California Industry Guidance for restaurants, wineries and bars.”  Dancers perform in roped-off areas at least 15 feet from tables, and patrons are not allowed to approach them.  No COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced to either business…

We’ve seen that governments are pretending that “sin” causes disease to justify extra restrictions on strip clubs, but that does not appear to be the case here.

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Prosecutors pretend there really is some compelling state interest in keeping illegal videos of people having consensual sex:

A Florida prosecutor asked a judge to preserve [revenge porn] video…[of] Robert Kraft [having consensual adult]…sex…A misdemeanor [adult consensual sex-having] charge against Kraft was dropped in September after an appeals court ruled…that [the] video [was illegal, nonconsensual and obtained by a fraudulent warrant application]…But Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg argues th[at he should be allowed to keep]…the videos [so they] could [potentially] be used [if he thinks up a new way to destroy someone’s life for having consensual sex with another adult]…

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

While some Western media timidly explore criticizing an atrocity, the Wall Street Journal licks Xi’s arse:

…Xi Jinping wants to meld [China]’s dozens of ethnic groups into a sing[le] national identity.  The program of…“ethnic fusion,” as it’s called in government documents and speeches—has gone to extremes in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to the largest mass detention of a minority group since World War II…the…campaign relies on security infrastructure…[which] the…government has said…is necessary for security in the area.  Those methods have now spread eastward to sedate regions like southwestern China’s Guangxi, home to the country’s largest minority group, the Zhuang, who…have little recent history of ethnic conflict.  In Tibet, where controls are already strict, local authorities launched a new program of “military-style” vocational training for rural Tibetans and passed new regulations to promote ethnic unity and patriotism in the region…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell…derailed…any attempts to reach agreement on a one-time, $2,000 COVID-relief check for most Americans [by demanding] the bill also included the repeal…of Section 230, the so-called “First Amendment of the internet”…McConnell [intentionally sank the stimulus check bill by]…listing a number of unrelated policy measures (in Congress parlance, “pork”) that he insisted be attached…

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When I agreed to be a representative, I don’t recall signing off on any moralistic fitness test.  –  Diego Rodriguez

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Eight [cops] are under investigation [for] a…[sexual] assault on a [young] black [woman using the pretext of a]…strip-search…Footage surfaced on social media showing the [cops brutally kneeling on her back while]…she was…[gasp]ing “I can’t breathe”…she was in her friend’s car when [cops] pulled over the vehicle and dragged her into the street…she told BBC Newsnight…“They…picked me up with my…braids which they eventually tore out of my scalp”…The [cops abducted]…her…to…Lewisham Police station[, where they] charged her with obstructing [her own sexual assault]…but this was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service…[at the station] she was s[exually] assaulted again [under the pretext of a second “search”]…

Gullible’s Travels

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teens:

Skittle parties are…happening in places like people’s homes, backyards, parks, abandoned buildings, hotel rooms and who knows where else…kids raid medicine cabinets at home for prescription medications.  They bring whatever they can find to the party and all pills are dumped into a bowl…Anyone can take whatever pills they want and however many they want in order to get high…Jack Schafer…wrote several columns for Slate from…2006 to…2010 [explain]ing that these parties are just a myth that has been perpetuated by the media.  And…[there is no] actual evidence of them existing…[but] regardless of whether Skittle parties are a real thing or not, [the yellow journalists at Yahoo feel justified in declaring that they are]…very real…

Elephant in the Parlor (#341)

A new level of public support for sex workers from a politician:

…[Arizona politician] Diego Rodriguez…has a history of liking or replying to posts of nude women on [Twitter]…using a separate account from one he operates as a state [representative]..[and] has no plans to remove or hide the posts from the public.  “I think that goes back to a difference in attitudes,” he said. “Are you…sex positive or sex negative?”…Rodriguez pointed out past tweets in support of sex workers’ rights.  Sweeping his past under the rug would only further stigmatize an industry he says is unfairly maligned and mistreated…

Torture Chamber (#866) 

Oh look, the State has finally “found” what thousands have been telling them for decades:

The largest women’s prison in the country subjects incarcerated women to pervasive and frequent [rapes and other] sexual assaults, violating their Eighth Amendment rights, the Justice Department concluded in a scathing and graphic report…[after] a two-year investigation…into…Lowell [Rape Camp in]…Florida…[besides oral, anal and vaginal rape] and groping…”staff demanded that prisoners undress in front of them, sometimes in exchange for basic necessities, such as toilet paper.”  Furthermore…investigators found that the prison had [criminally] inadequate measures to prevent sexual abuse…staff exploited blind spots in surveillance camera coverage to abuse women; the prison deterred women from reporting abuse via threats of retaliation and…solitary confinement “for days or weeks at a time;” and the…[so-called] Investigator General [arbitraily] closed, suspended, or indefinitely delayed investigations…In [one typical and representative attack in] March 2018, a Lowell s[crew]…anally raped a…prisoner in a storage area…then…wiped himself off on [her underwear]…[the victim suffered] extensive…in[juries but]…no DNA evidence was collected…[and] the…rap[ist was allowed to quiet]ly resign [without consequences]…

Dirty Laundry (#868)

Horrifyingly-abusive nuns are not restricted to Ireland:

Catholic nuns running a children’s home in Germany pimped out boys to priests, politicians and businessmen who would rape the children at sex parties, according to a victim who has won a compensation battle…the man, now 63…said he was raped around 1,000 times…in the 1960s and 70s, alongside [at least]…three [o]ther victims [who] have since come forward…If they disobeyed they would be beaten with sticks or have their heads smashed against the wall…The children’s home was shut in 2000…The Catholic Church paid the man 15,000 euros in compensation and 10,000 euros for therapy costs alongside a victim’s pension…

Guinea Pigs (#970)

Facebook policies prohibit the creation of predatory accounts by law enforcement, but pigs make them anyway and Facebook does nothing:

For the past two years, Do Nguyen Mai Khoi…the Vietnamese singer and pro-democracy activist, known best simply as Mai Khoi, has tried tirelessly to warn [Facebook] of a thousands-strong pro-government…group of police, military, and other Communist party loyalists who collaborate to get online dissidents booted and offline dissidents jailed.  Her evidence of the group’s activity is ample, her arguments are clear, and…Facebook doesn’t seem interested at all…social media allows [Vietnamese] citizens to squeeze past the state’s censorship stranglehold on traditional media, [but Facebook] has…become just another means of strangulation.  Private groups filled with government partisans coordinate takedown campaigns — or worse — against any views deemed “reactionary” by the Vietnamese state, while Facebook continues to do little but pay lip service to ideals of free expression…

A Broker in Pillage (#1043)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

…Since 2014…35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted civil forfeiture reforms, including two—New Mexico and Nebraska—that have abolished the practice…The manifest injustice of [legalized robbery of innocent people]…led to modest federal reforms in 2000, then not much else.  But…interest in the issue has exploded in recent years…as…politicians became newly aware of [the] problem…and why they decided to do something about it, despite the dogged resistance of police and prosecutors keen to keep the money train rolling.  The story varies from one state to another, but it generally involves a combination of outrageous injustices, corruption scandals, and rising disgust at the unseemly greed that leads cops to steal TV sets and snatch money from children’s birthday cards…

Social Distancing (#1082)

A study trashes one of the justifications for ruinous authoritarian “lockdowns”:

…The initial round of lockdowns was not about suppressing the virus but slowing it for one reason: to preserve hospital capacity…Gradually…curve flattening became an end in itself, apart from hospital capacity…Sometime in summer, the idea of asymptomatic spread started to trend…we were being asked to think of our fellow citizens not as human beings with dignity and rights but pathogen-carrying disease vectors…because we are secretly filthy and unclean…even with a mask we must stay 6 feet away….But…a gigantic study conducted in Wuhan, China, of 10 million people…published November 20…revealed something that hardly ever happens in these kinds of studies.  There was not one documented case.  Forget rare…Replace…that with: never.  At least not in this study for 10,000,000…We keep hearing about how we should follow the science…[but] the lockdown lobby ignores whatever contradicts their narrative, preferring unverified anecdotes over an actual scientific study of 10 million residents in what was the world’s first major hotspot for the disease we are trying to manage…

Winding Down

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

On December 15, Mexic[an] lawmakers passed a law reining in the asymmetrical, imperialist influence of the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration within the country.  Supporters hailed the move as a reclamation of national sovereignty…the new law…[defines DEA thugs as] “foreign agents”, which…limits their activities in the country to information-gathering, eliminates their legal immunity and assigns them reporting obligations.  Agents will no longer be able to unilaterally execute arrests and raids, and will have to seek authorization from the Mexican federal government for their weapons.  Permission from a newly formed security panel is also now required of any Mexican state or municipal official meeting with them…Drug warriors invested in the global dominance of the DEA have denounced the legislation…

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When cops came to arrest you in th[e late 20th century], they weren’t telling the newspapers they had saved you.  –  Maggie McNeill

Maggie in the Media

I recently gave an interview for the 30th anniversary of Pretty Woman:

Ten years ago, sex worker, writer, and activist Maggie McNeill wrote…that it was already “nigh-impossible to find an internet discussion on [Pretty Woman] without at least a few would-be critics complaining that it is ‘unrealistic.’”  This, however, is a criticism to which McNeill has long handed down a simple, “No shit, Sherlock.”  “Pretty Woman is a fantasy,” she told Bitch. “It’s not going to be realistic.”  While McNeill herself has no particular affection for the film, she’s never considered Pretty Woman’s lack of accuracy a compelling argument against it, though that argument is common among critics both within the sex-work community and those who are actively working to criminalize sex work…“it amuses me terribly to hear how much the prohibitionists are fixated on it,” she adds, noting that anti–sex work arguments often attempt to paint the film as a dangerously glamorous misrepresentation of a community prohibitionists would rather see victimized, humiliated, and/or punished…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

William Dalton Milam, the pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Milton[, Florida]…was arrested on charges of child pornography…[and “]promoting sexual performance of a child[” after]…a tip…from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…Milam’s home…[held] multiple devices containing child pornography, some depicting children as young as 3…

Disaster (#829)

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…TikTok purge[d sex worker accounts]…en masse in mid-November, all for the same [pretext]:  violating TikTok’s sex and nudity policy.  [None] of the…[victims]…violated TikTok’s policy, but had linked to either their OnlyFans or their websites linking to their OnlyFans in their bios, which they believe led to them getting removed from the platform.  The purge appears to have been in advance of TikTok’s new [terms of service, which ban virtually all]…sexual content…But…many mainstream creators on TikTok post links to their OnlyFans in their bios, including Bella Thorne

Why did anyone ever think a company owned by the Chinese wouldn’t aggressively censor?

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

A group of New York [politicians] are calling on the New York Police Department to stop all undercover operations that aim to arrest sex workers or their clients, after a ProPublica investigation revealed that the busts have [included]…false arrest and sexual misconduct, and that almost everyone arrested was nonwhite.  Assemblyman Ron Kim and four other [politicians] made that recommendation in a letter this week to…the City Council and the state Assembly and Senate.  The letter also asks for an oversight hearing to examine misconduct allegations against the NYPD vice unit…Separate from the letter and the call to end undercover operations, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, two of the city’s most powerful politic[ians], told ProPublica they believe the vice unit should be disbanded altogether…Ten other city and state [politicians]…have expressed support for the same…

Quiet Genocide (#997)

Fascist corporations are eager to assist in a genocide:

…the [Chinese] technology giant Alibaba taught its…[government] clients [how to] use its software to detect the faces of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities within images and videos…The feature was built into Alibaba software that [roots through]…digital content [looking] for material…to [censor]…A social media platform, for instance, could automatically flag videos for additional scrutiny, or even [whistle up] the [pigs], if they contain faces that the software [decide]s are Uighur…the company [has since] edited its website to remove…references to [the feature]…The Washington Post reported last week that Huawei, another Chinese tech giant, had tested software that could automatically alert the police when its surveillance cameras detected Uighur faces…

Served Cold (#1082) 

This megalomaniac’s lies have grown so extreme, even the yellow press can no longer ignore them:

The specific stories that OUR tells are intensely cinematic…and extremely difficult to fact-check.  They are also not the…truth.  An investigation by VICE…found…a pattern of image-burnishing and mythology-building, a series of exaggerations that are, in the aggregate, quite misleading…Multiple law enforcement agencies OUR says it has partnered with or supported describe their relationships as insubstantial…OUR has also declined to describe what precisely it does with the millions of dollars it says it spends overseas…During [a recent fundraiser], Ballard described a rescue in an undisclosed country in which, he [claimed], Jessica Mass, OUR’s director of aftercare, literally wrestled a padlock away from a trafficker as they were running to lock up and re-imprison young girls whom OUR and local police had just rescued*…”This is the [magic] padlock that had been used to lock these girls behind a jail cell [sic],” he proclaimed, triumphantly…Several people familiar with [an ongoing Utah] investigation…[said] it concerns…misleading claims to donors and the public about the work it does…

*Seriously, WTF?  Is Ballard claiming that this “trafficker” had a magical Hollywood padlock which, once locked, magically traps immobile, vegetable-like “young girls” into…I don’t know, an extradimensional space “behind a jail cell”(?) from which they could never have been freed had this liar not grabbed the magical lock in time?  Are these “girls” incapable of locomotion?  Have these people never heard of bolt cutters?  This story makes no sense on any level I can think of.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1090)

Are institutions finally starting to understand the cost of promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Britain’s International Slavery Museum is facing a [righteous] backlash over a “dehumanising” [propaganda] exhibition…which features an image of a naked woman with tape over her mouth and abusive comments plastered on her body.  The museum [took money fror the propaganda display from]…a U.S.-based [pro-censorship] group, Exodus Cry, which seeks to [censor the internet] and s[upport police violence against]…sex workers…dozens of critical responses…[pointed out that] the [“art” is in reality] “trauma porn” [that is] “damaging, sensationalist and dehumanising”…Exodus Cry’s chief executive, Benjamin Nolot, [whined]…that criticism of the exhibition was…”unfair”, and that [sex workers are not allowed to criticize attempts to drive them into poverty and encourage cops to rape and abduct them]…

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

…the U.S. government sent Mory Keita to a country he hasn’t lived in since he was three years old…Keita lived here undocumented for about three decades and has a daughter who is an American citizen…What makes Keita’s deportation extra jarring is that he was…a…[key witness in a] case…brought by Ahmed Adem and Bayong Brown Bayong…[against] the Butler County Jail, just north of Cincinnati…Bayong [reported] at least three beatings by jail guardsincluding one in August while he was infected with COVID-19…th[e] guards made “threats such as ‘I hope you die bitch’ and, after being pushed down the stairs, ‘When you get down the stairs, I am going to beat all the teeth from your mouth.'”  At one point, the suit says, Bayong was taken to an isolation cell where a correctional officer “punched Mr. Bayong with closed fists all over his face and head” as two other guards watched. Bayong lost a tooth…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politicians] Ben Sasse…and Jeff Merkley…introduced [fascist] legislation, dubbed the “Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act,” [pre]tended to “prevent the uploading of pornographic images to online platforms without the consent of the individuals in the images”…The proposed legislation…would apply to “all online platforms that host pornography [but does not define it],” noted a summary provided by Sasse’s office…A wide variety of intended restrictions…include the [impossible demand that]…platforms hosting pornography [again, without defining the term] offer a 24-hour hotline staffed by the platform…[so] individuals…can request removal of a video that has been distributed without their consent…[within] two hours…

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