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Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

The rescue industry is a deeply misogynistic enterprise which…polices the behaviour of women under the guise of saving us.  –  Eleanor Janega

Real People 

The more sex workers come out like this, the better for everyone:

The people that make the porn that a lot of us watch are sick of you pretending that you’re better than them.  Michele James especially is sick of it.  “We are cast out into the shadows…if I could bring a person who didn’t do sex work on set for a day, for them to see what we actually go through, they would realize it’s a job too and we deserve respect, the same as CEOs, and everybody else who goes to work 9-5.”  James…sees part of her responsibility to the industry she loves is helping to destigmatize the performers who make it…she is passionate about her industry; and she gives exactly zero fucks what you think about that…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

A…High School student in the Florida Keys is facing 15 years in prison and life as a registered sex offender for continuing to date his 15-year-old girlfriend after he turned 18 in December…numerous people, including the girl’s parents, his parents and two sheriff’s office deputies, [warned] Tucker [that the shamans of the booga-booga gods would be angry he was violating the Shazam magic, but] the two continued to see each other…[and] the girl’s mother [decided to destroy her] relationship [with her daughter by ratting them out to] the…school [pig]…cops [then eavesdropped on a private conversation and congratulated themselves for destroying a young man’s life]…

The Crumbling Dam (#739) 

Seattle’s vocal harm magnification community is still going strong:

[Shilo] Jama has spent his career advocating for drug users.  With his work at the [People’s Harm Reduction Alliance], he runs syringe distribution sites, including a drop-in site in the U District…They have a nurse practitioner on site who prescribes medications like Suboxone, which helps with withdrawal symptoms…Over the years, Jama has helped countless people who use drugs, but his efforts aren’t exactly appreciated by everyone.  In December, flyers featuring a photograph of his face started popping up in the University District and elsewhere in North Seattle…The flyer accuses Jama (who legally changed his last name from Murphy a few years ago to honor the family that raised him) of “enabling and encouraging harmful behavior that has caused many deaths”…The flyer claims that Jama, his organization, and the U District needle distribution site are a danger to the public, but according to public health experts, harm reduction projects like Jama’s do reduce overdose deaths and other public health issues…The flyer also says that the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle City Council are “almost powerless” to prosecute Jama and lists a phone number for the FBI’s Seattle office, encouraging people to call and report him…Jama…suspects [the source] was members of Safe Seattle, an organization that, among other issues, advocates against safe injection sites…

The Notorious Badge (#760)

This does a good job of synopsizing my discomfort with The Deuce:

The Deuce uses its promise to reveal the behind-closed-doors happenings of sex work to argue relentlessly for the regulation and oversight of the industry…it is nervous about the way it represents sex work, anxious to inform but not to titillate.  In pinpointing…sex-work…as a “secret,” however, and then exposing it through a surveillance-cum-safety structure, the show satisfies an intellectual craving for knowledge that echoes the pleasures of pornography…[it] takes care to pat viewers on the back, framing their pleasure as different from that of the porn viewer.  Through gridline-marked shots of pornography in the making, for example, The Deuce allows viewers to indulge in pornographic voyeurism under the guise of cautionary surveillance.  At the same time, it frames their viewing position as a sanctimonious one…

“Regulation and oversight” = “legalization”, which only politicians and cops want.  Sex workers, human rights groups, medical groups and academics who have studied our work all recognize decriminalization, not “regulation” by outsiders, as the best model for everyone.

Checklist (#811)

Despite some pandering to “sex trafficking” beliefs, this isn’t a bad article about “signs of sex trafficking” indocrination:

…every year…ahead of the Super Bowl…anti-prostitution [crusaders]…campaign [to indocrinate]…everyone from hospitality employees to Uber drivers…in…anti-[sex worker propaganda such as the claim that]…as many as 40.3 million people were “in modern slavery in 2016”, up more than 5 million compared to five years ago.  And in 2014, the 35.8 figure rose by 6 million people in just a year…the…figures are so alluringly extreme [because profiteers]…are often under pressure from poli[tician]s into producing overestimated figures…crusades of this nature are not…concerned with accuracy, as appearing to be leading the charge against [consensual sex]…hotel chains like Marriott have been reported as looking out for women travelling alone and sexually provocative clothing as signs of…sex…[work, which makes it clear that] consenting adult sex workers [are]…being targeted…

Unfortunately, Lyft may not be a safe alternative to Uber for much longer:

…we are working to help raise awareness and taking action to prevent human trafficking.  Through partnerships with [prohibitionist] organizations like…Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), we are [indoctrinating] drivers…on how to spot [escorts] and [rat them out to the pigs]…

Original Sin (#824) 

A new statement from a man who says men who seek consensual sex with women are “criminals with a sick mentality”:

Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves…his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.  It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy.  He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”…

Rooted in Racism (#854)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

…[it has been] two years since Italy, backed by the EU, did a deal to spend tens of millions of euros funding the Libyan coastguard, which intercepts boats heading for Italy and returns refugees and migrants to a war zone…detainees in nine different detention centres…use hidden phones to reveal what’s going on at huge risk to themselves.  EU [politicians] continue to promote the idea that arrivals in Europe  and deaths at sea are dropping.  But…thousands of men, women, and children…speak of going days without food and of drinking toilet water to survive.  Some have stopped speaking, forgotten their families, sit crouched in a corner and wet themselves from trauma…Couples are separated – some of the roughly 640 detained children are held with their mothers, though those over 14 are kept in adult cells…infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication…In October, a 28-year-old Somali set himself on fire…after saying he saw no other way out.  In early January dozens of refugees and migrants, brought by the coastguard to the Libyan port city of Khoms, were forced back to smugglers by Libyan [cops]…[and] now risk torture if they can’t raise an the $5,000 ransom that has already been demanded…

Feminine Pragmatism (#891) 

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

Increasing numbers of public sector workers are [making the pragmatic decision] to [do] sex work due to austerity measures and welfare cuts…a leading campaigning group…says more women in public sector roles are doing sex work to top up their income due to employers making no allowances for the fact they have children…the organisation, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), [has] release[d] a new report comparing sex work with other jobs commonly done by women.  The report found sex workers earn significantly more per hour than women working in the other jobs – including those in public sector positions such as nurses and midwives.  Women cited higher wages as their primary reason for entering the sex industry…

Case Study (#892) 

One day, reporters will get that “people sublet flats” is not news:

A special constable and his Hungarian wife have been jailed for [rent]ing [flats to] women from Hungary [in] a Chelsea apartment block [nicknam]ed “10 Floors of Whores”.  Karl Ring and Ivett Szuda…[arranged sex workers’ travel on] the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air to fly women into London from Budapest as they made more than £600,000 [over several years] from [subletting flats]…Szuda…[will be locked in a cage] for six and a half years, while Ring…[will be] locked up for four years…the couple [charged sex workers 50% of their fees, a fairly typical rate for brothels]…Judge Robin Johnson [bloviated a lot of pompous, moralistic nonsense about “exploitation”, ignoring the fact that] the sex workers were happy with the arrangement…

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell:

Traffickers are targeting desperate young women in Venezuela by flying them to the Costas to [do lucrative, flexible work]…at least 208,000 have fled the crisis-hit country in the hope of a better life in Spain.  Nearly all of those have travelled on official three month tourists visas which are readily available as Venezuela was once a Spanish colony.  However, a flight costs £1,000 which is a fortune in a land where a cup of coffee costs a month’s wages thanks to hyperinflation of 80,000 per cent…This is when the heartless trafficking gangs of Caracas are stepping in and [giving people a chance to escape despite politicians’ efforts to keep them trapped in Venezuela]…SICAR Cat, a religious organisation that pro[fits from hysteria over]…sex trafficking, [pretends these women are ignorant children who don’t know what sex work is, and calls their jobs]…modern day slavery…Venezuela’s economic mix of unemployment, poverty and inflation has created the perfect conditions for [mass emigration] to flourish…

These stories sure sound stupid when the hype is replaced by objective language, don’t they?

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#905)

Indian sex workers are chipping away at the prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…four organisations…have released a report which states that close to 77% women voluntarily return to sex work after their rescue into shelter homes…the National Network for Sex Workers Association (NNSWA) and UMKO, Saheli – HIV/RAIDS Karyakarta Sangh, SANGRAM and Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), have released a report “Raided – How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices”…79% of the women documented in the study returned to sex work – “escaping” their rescue from shelter homes, while almost 11% of the women continued to live in these homes…Kusum, President [of the] All India Network of Sex Workers explained the “horrific” condition of shelter homes and why women want to escape it…“There is no food to eat, and when there is food it is insect infested which makes people sick.  No health care to take care of inhabitants…and even if that was provided the stigma that exists towards HIV persons within these homes is bad enough to kill someone well before their time”…the report contests the…present understanding that most women in the flesh trade are trafficked women ‘pushed into prostitution’…These homes manifest an environment of isolation and deprive the women of identity and income…

The Indian media is so thoroughly brainwashed by prohibitionists that even in an article citing statistics debunking prohibitionist mythology, the reporter feels compelled to put the word “escape” (from a literal prison) in scare quotes, and also scare-quotes the word “horrific” (used to describe conditions any decent person would agree are horrific), while omitting scare quotes from the word “rescue” when used to mean “arrest”.  He also uses “live in” to mean “remain imprisoned in”, and “present understanding” to mean “popular myth”.  It’s going to be a long, uphill battle.

Pyrrhic Victory (#906) 

Please, masters, don’t use this tool we made you in exactly the way it was designed to be used“:

Amazon unveiled new proposed guidelines…for any national legislation regulating facial recognition technology…civil rights groups and privacy advocates…criticized Amazon’s Rekognition contracts with law enforcement agencies, [absurdly concentrating on the] point…that the technology has misidentified people of color [rather than recognizing that high accuracy is even worse for privacy]…Amazon…responded [with the lie that]…”In the two-plus years we’ve been offering Amazon Rekognition, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement”…The proposals from Amazon focus mainly on ensuring that law enforcement uses the technology [to surveil citizens more] effectively and without [being less able to identify] minorities.  “New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” Amazon said in [typical tech-geek morally imbecilic fashion]…”Instead, the…[overlords] should be [free to do whatever they like]…and…that the[ir ability to oppress the citizens with the] technology…is continuously enhanced.”  Amazon said any national legislation should ensure facial recognition technology [is profitable for]…Amazon…and…governments [alike]…

A Woman’s Point of View (#912) 

Kaytlin Bailey responds to drama some want to whip up against “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

We are disappointed in [Emily Shugerman’s] editorial choice to focus on Rob Kampia in your February 3rd, 2019 [Daily Beast] article titled, “Rob Kampia Weed Activist With #MeToo Past, Is Now Pushing Sex Work Reform”.  By focusing on Rob’s past instead of our efforts to decriminalize sex work, you reduced a rich and vibrant movement to one man’s conduct.  You have also diminished the contributions of the women on our team, who have devoted decades to this cause in order to center the only man among our directors.  You minimized our accomplishments and our mission by publishing a piece that misrepresents not only our organization but the entire sex worker rights movement…whose voices are historically absent from all media reporting.  Yet, you wrote about Rob…To call our life’s work a “vanity project”…is an insult and a willful misrepresentation of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’re trying to do.  To suggest that allowing Rob Kampia to use his extensive network of donors and political resources to further our work is a betrayal of the sex worker rights movement is to minimize the diversity and breadth of this work, and to minimize the need for change.  We can focus on Rob, or we can talk about the immense harms of criminalization…

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I am here of my own free will and no one has threatened me.  –  Irish sex worker to cops, during a raid

Counterfeit Comfort 

Facts have absolutely nothing to do with US sex laws:

…in…2002’s McKune v. Lile…Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in a plurality opinion that there was a “frightening and high risk of recidivism” for [sex offenders]…and that “the rate of recidivism of untreated offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80 percent.”  That statement has since been used in numerous legal verdicts as well as to support countless pieces of state and local legislation aimed at curbing the rights of those found guilty of [sex] crimes…[but] the sole piece of evidence that led Justice Kennedy to make such a bold claim came from a 1986 Psychology Today article written by Ronald Longo, a counselor…in an Oregon prison—and there was absolutely no statistical basis for his “80 percent” assertion.  Moreover, Longo himself has since rejected that figure…actual sex-offender recidivism rates are low.  In three-year studies done by Connecticut, Alaska, Nebraska, Maine, New York and California, recidivism figures are generally less than 4 percent—hardly a “frightening and high” figure.  Furthermore, most conclude that there’s no correlation between recidivism rates and geographic proximity, meaning that laws passed to keep registered sex offenders from living close to schools, playgrounds, or other kid-centric areas generally have no impact; if wrongdoers are likely to seek prey nearby, it’s often in their own homes, or in churches or educational settings, where they know their intended targets…

Gingerbread House

Quite possibly the most appalling euphemism for “jail” of the entire moral panic:

Vista Maria plans to break ground this spring on a new human trafficking stabilization center to improve and expand services for young female victims…The new Aaron and Helen L. DeRoy Stabilization Treatment Center will provide residential treatment housing for up to 16 girls, doubling Vista Maria’s current capacity, and a first-of-its-kind emergency intake wing to provide services for up to three rescued adolescent girls…with best practices gleaned from [prohibitionists and cops]…

Whimsical Notions

Based on my experience, this is like demoting a captain for eating at local restaurants:

Capt. Travis Zettel…commander of the USS Bremerton was removed from his post and demoted last summer…the Navy did not elaborate on his dismissal, only saying that there were “questions of inappropriate personal conduct” and that his superior officers had lost confidence in his ability to lead his crew…The Kitsap Sun filed a Freedom of Information request…and discovered that Capt. Travis Zettel was relieved from command because he had hired prostitutes while in the Philippines.  A [snitch] called the inspector general’s office and said that Zettel had requested ten local women to come to his hotel room in Subic Bay…

It’s like watching an entire culture lobotomizing itself.

Where Are the Victims? (#631)

There weren’t any actual victims, but we just have to harass and threaten people, because SEEWEEUSS UFFENSE!

A woman running massage parlours in Dublin who…thought the offering of “manual relief” was legal has received a suspended prison sentence.  Nan Wu…[was] sentenced…to two years imprisonment, but [the judge] suspended the entirety of the sentence…[the cops] admitted…that there was no evidence of coercion and that one of the woman working at the parlour had told gardaí “I am here of my own free will and no one has threatened me”…there was no sexual intercourse taking place at the massage parlours and…Wu had not directed her employees to engage in sex acts…her employees kept the money they earned from [providing a normal, healthy service to clients]…Wu had believed what her employees were doing was legal.  She had once sacked an employee for [intercourse] with a client…The judge said the [only] aggravating factor in the case was the seriousness of the offence…

Traffic Jam (#656)

If you thought “pimp” classification schemes were stupid, how about “human trafficking typologies”?

Human trafficking claims some 25 million victims worldwide, but analysts are hard at work uncovering these illegal operations through state of the art methods and typologies, combining AI with human detective work.  The human trafficking epidemic is so widespread that [cops have been caught raping underage girls]…[invent]ing human trafficking rings is one of the many [profitable] issues [promoted] by UK-based [fascist collaborator] Quantexa…Typologies are compiled by analyzing many factors that make up a profile that is indicative of human trafficking behavior…“we were looking for things like lots of airline purchases to Eastern Europe [because the only] circumstances [when a woman would come from]…over here [to the UK is] to be sex trafficked…we see stuff on things like craigslist and back pages and massage parlors and this kind of stuff”…

Obviously if cops (specifically, UN “peacekeepers” in this case) rape vulnerable young women as cops have always done in every place they’ve existed, it’s part of a “human trafficking epidemic” so we should give these con artists more money.  Because women are mindless cows who only travel if “pimps” herd us, plus “craigslist and back pages and massage parlors and this kind of stuff”.  SO SCIENTIFIC!

Monsters (#730) 

US media condemns violent persecution of one sexual minority, while justifying violent persecution of another:

The Russian republic of Chechnya has launched a new crackdown on gays in which at least two people have died and about 40 people have been detained…media outlets have interviewed some of the victims, who spoke about torture at the hands of Chechen [pigs]…Chechen authorities have denied those accusations, and federal authorities [covered for them, as police states always cover up police brutality]…

Moving Pictures (#835) 

Looks like Theresa Flores has competition for the most ludicrous, exaggerated conglomeration of “sex trafficking” masturbatory fantasies intended to profit from moral panic:

Perhaps the low point of Toni Rivera’s life as a sex slave happened when she was forced to have intercourse with 23 men back-to-back to pay off her pimp’s Super Bowl bet.  Perhaps her breaking point happened when she begged a Miami cop to free her from violent bondage, only to have that police officer say that he’d love to take her home and have sex with her himself.  Or maybe Rivera’s low point came when she became a sex pimp herself and she began recruiting young girls out of churches every week.  Or maybe it was the time when a known national sex trafficker tried to grab Rivera’s 6-year-old daughter off the famously crowded 6 Train in New York City, and no one would step in to help her…Toni Rivera Presents Silent Screams on the Frontlines…is a captivating but heart-wrenching recap of how Rivera went from being a naive, small-town South Carolina teen with big dreams of being a singer who wound up being a piece of property that was bought and sold with impunity on the streets of Atlanta…the critically acclaimed film Traffik…is based partially on Rivera’s tortured existence in the sex trafficking business…

I literally LOLed at “sex pimp”, but there’s SO MUCH hilarity here…23 clients back to back!  The Super Bowl!  Violent bondage!  Hero cops!  “Recruiting” out of churches every week!  A “nationally known sex trafficker”!  And a movie that was supposedly based on this wanking fantasy, despite the filmmaker’s previous claim that it was based on “real life sex trafficking incidents near his home in Northern California“…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

I’m afraid it’s far too late to put this evil djinni back into its bottle:

…A group of Amazon shareholders are looking to force a vote at the upcoming annual meeting to prevent the company from selling its facial recognition technology to the government until the company’s board of directors has a chance to look at the societal impacts…The resolution was submitted by lead filer Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood and four co-filers:  The Sisters of St. Francis Charitable Trust (Dubuque), Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia, Maryknoll Sisters and Azzad Asset Management…one of three things could happen next: Amazon principals could address the shareholders’ concerns, prompting the group to withdraw the resolution; the company could take no action, which would bring the resolution to a vote at the annual meeting; or the company could fight the filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission…

Fair-Weather Friends (#881)

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

Stormy Daniels is suing the Columbus Division of Police and several [vice pigs for] her July 2018 arrest…her arrest was planned days before [the] July 11, 2018 performance…as part of an attempt by [cops] to disparage her character and credibility due to her criticism of President Donald Trump.  Prosecutors dropped charges against [her] hours later, saying the law cited in her arrest applied only to those who regularly performed at the club.  The city prosecutor later said the law was “glaringly inequitable” and should no longer be enforced.  The lawsuit seeks more than two million dollars in damages…

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The issue with filters starts with the fact that their purpose is to block content.  –  Michael Stabile

They Just Don’t Get It

Pittsburgh-area cops are among the most aggressively ignorant and pompously stupid in the US on the topic of sex work:

Prostitution rings are becoming more sophisticated, and that’s creating new challenges for police…Greensburg police investigators say the internet has [magically transformed into] a vast sea of sex for sale [complete with ships and tentacled hentai monsters]…[unusually stupid pig] Robert Stafford [oinked that]…the sites used to advertise such services…“always seem to be the same website…there always seems to be a drug habit involved”…when [sex workers] are [locked] up [often after being raped by cops], there is a genuine effort to save them from the street and in reality from themselves…

So many dysphemisms, so much bullshit.  “Sophisticated prostitution rings” is the most popular cop excuse for raping sex workers, a practice that Pennsylvania aggressively defends.  As for the bizarre cop fantasy that there is only one ad website, this is the first I’ve heard of it; usually the claim is exactly the opposite, that there are dozens or even hundreds in every city.

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

I’m always glad to see this wannabe savior get egg on her face:

Ashley…Judd’s…anti-trafficking activism [ignorantly and intentionally]…conflate[s] sex trafficking and sex work.  Judd also serves on the advisory council of Demand Abolition…[after a series of ugly anti-sex worker tweets last week] Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform…writing…I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful…Buying sex…commodifies…girls and women’s orfices [sic]”…Unsurprisingly, real-life sex workers took issue with Judd’s numerous…assertions…@BrookeBrou was a vocal participant in the thread, tweeting, “You are harming people with your ignorant ideas about what sex work actually is”…Brou…explained that, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting…What is apparent is that Ashley Judd is not only misguided, but also simple-minded…it looks like Ashley lacks the cognitive ability to fully grasp the complexity of…SW voices and experiences”…

That weird sci-fi “body invasion” nonsense was invented by Gloria Steinem; this isn’t the first time Judd has incompetently parroted it.

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

A strip club defeats part of a stupid “sin density” law:

In New Jersey, clubs and restaurants that do not have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages may nevertheless allow customers to bring beer or wine to consume on the premises.  But they [we]re not allowed to tell customers about that option…until…a federal judge ruled that a state ban on advertising BYOB policies violates the First Amendment…Stiletto, a strip club in Atlantic City…[has no] liquor license…[because] strip clubs that feature total nudity are not allowed to have [one]…New Jersey offered no [defense to the club’s suit other]…than boilerplate about “protect[ing] the health, safety, and welfare of the people…through the promotion of temperance.”  It did not explain how letting people know they can bring their own beer and wine is more likely to promote intemperance than advertising the sale of alcoholic beverages, as businesses with liquor licenses routinely do…

Scapegoats (#15) 

Six and a half years after I first heard the tale, and 15 years after it is supposed to have happened, the story of the “prostitute” orangutan named Pony gets enough detail to tip my opinion from “probably not true” to “probably at least partly true”.  This version of the story actually has the name of a Danish conservationist, Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who cared for Pony after she was rescued from a village near a palm-oil plantation in Indonesia; the story talks about a “brothel” but other details seem to indicate that she was the pet of the whole village, and that the men who paid to fuck her appear to have viewed the experience as a novelty.  It’s in The Sun, which is not exactly known for journalistic rigor; however, there are pictures of the ape and quotes from the conservationists explaining the rehabilitation process.  My guess?  Basically true but embellished to increase luridness.

Monsters 

This could also be filed under “Torture Chamber”, but I suspect she was targeted for being trans:

A transgender woman who died [after being caged by] Immigration and Customs Enforcement…was likely physically abused [by screws]…and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration.  Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez…died on May 25…[from] “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection”…the…autopsy…also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object”…as well as extensive hemorrhaging on [her]…wrists, which…[a]re “typical of handcuff injuries”…

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

A former pastor…kidnapped three women and [raped] two…Thomas Bruce…had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”…[he] posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in [Missouri]…When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce…forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint…he ordered them to strip and “perform…sexual acts on him”…One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce…killed her with a shot to the head.  This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled…

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

Sometimes “sex trafficking” bullshit is too much for even politicians to pretend to believe. The Dallas Morning News printed this “editorial”:

A [pig leader masturbated while fantasizing that]…a person trapped into “the life”…is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.  It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will…unveil…a new strategy…to [persecute peaceful adults using the excuse of]…human sex trafficking…On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation…a new philosophy…will [lock up sex workers and call that]…serving the victims…those who [are labeled] trafficked will face prosecution [anyway]…[blah blah] those who traffic in the sale of human flesh…

While on the same day, the same paper printed this:

…The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.  But the…details were a little murky to some members of the [city] council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee…members…wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place…Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues”.  Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were [except vague statements about]…policy violations, accounting discrepancies…and a general lack of accountability.  But [the names of cops]…accused of violations [are still being hidden and there have been no]…criminal charges…The [old vice pigs]…will not be returning to the unit…council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the [supposed] solutions…

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

Sex work is arguably the single most stigmatized profession in the world.  Add pregnancy and motherhood…and that stigma increases one-hundred fold.  Last year, when Summer Sebastian announced that she would be working at the Bunny Ranch…throughout her pregnancy, it made for international headlines.  [Maxine] Holloway hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already been harassed online by people saying that she’s harming her future child.  I visited Holloway at her home in Oakland, California to talk about pregnancy fetishes, mommy role-play, and the stigma of doing sex work while pregnant…

Opting Out (#822) 

UK politicians have been forced to delay their ridiculous censorship scheme again:

For the past year and a half, the UK government has been promising…a nationwide age verification system that would require would-be porn consumers to demonstrate their adulthood before accessing adult content…A few years ago, the country attempted to block adult sites at the ISP level, requiring users to opt in to access adult content…[of course the censorship software] ended up blocking far more than just porn.  The Digital Economy Act…puts the onus on [websites], who must comply with the policy or risk getting banned by major payment processors.  Yet…the age verification system’s rollout — which was initially scheduled for this past spring — was postponed yet again, as [politicians] continued to grapple with the [impossibility] of creating a system that [censors content for people under 18] without [blocking]…other sex-related content…Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised [censorious] parents an easy way to [maintain] their children’s [ignorance about sex]…while allowing them to freely browse the [rest] of the internet…however, these porn blockers aren’t nearly as…effective as advertised, largely because figuring out what is and is not pornography is rarely a simple matter.  Apple’s recently launched…parental controls…produced results that were inconsistent at best…innocent items like a search for a dulce de leche recipe wound up blocked, as did numerous sex education sites.  Teen Vogue’s entire site wound up blocked, as did sites offering assistance to queer youth…

Disaster (#865)

Even the perennially-obtuse Rolling Stone recognizes that FOSTA has galvanized sex worker activism:

…It wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to [participate in activism]…not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly…Christa Daring, the executive director of [SWOP-USA, says]…“SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it…really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing”…“Now you have coalitions rising of people who care about criminal justice and racial justice and immigration issues all working together,” says [activist Lola] Balcon…“I’ve never seen sex workers begin organizing in the way they did following SESTA-FOSTA,” says activist Siouxsie Q. “Enough was enough”…

End Demand (#872)

At least one journalist at the Graun appears to get it:

…Under the guise of “anti-trafficking” efforts, police practices in northern California and a new federal law have broadly affected adult sex workers both online and in the streets.  The result…is…increased violence and suffering for the very women whom lawmakers [pretend] they are rescuing.  There have been two such anti-“human trafficking” sting operations in Sacramento this year, most recently in August, in which [sows role-play sex workers]…16 men were arrested for soliciting…police also arrested 25 women for “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” or “disorderly conduct”…[spokespigs] insisted the women’s arrests were separate from the stings, even though some happened on the same day and location…But Alix Lutnick, a researcher with RTI International…said that there is growing recognition that john stings don’t actually help victims…The crackdown, in a state that pre[t]en[d]s [to be] a progressive leader in social justice and women’s rights, has come at a time in which sex work is being aggressively criminalized across the US…Democrats in California have spearheaded the [persecution]…Kamala Harris, a rising star in the party, fought for the shutdown of Backpage.com…when she was the state’s top prosecutor…For one woman caught up in the [recent] arrests, police cited as evidence that she was wearing a “lace bralette”, “shorts” and “flip flops” and was carrying four “unused condoms”.  Despite the “trafficking” label, the stings have led to no trafficking charges.  [A] Sacramento [spokespig admitted]…the stings were [really] about punishing “males who were trying to pick up prostitutes”…

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Uranus is truly a mystery.

I ran across this video last week and decided to share it, despite one of them being basically wrong (an asteroid needn’t be a world-killer to wreak serious havoc) and a couple of “Yeah, but..” entries.  The links above the video were provided by Dan SavageLucy SteigerwaldJesse WalkerMistress MatisseMark Bennett, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

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

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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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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This story is an exploration of some ideas that have haunted me since the year in which the story takes place, and have occupied an important place in my consciousness for most of this year.  As with “Bird of Prey”, I’m just going to tease you with a selection; if you want a copy, you can either buy it on Kindle or get a PDF copy by becoming a patron of my blog.  If you’re already a patron, you should’ve received a copy over the weekend; if you didn’t, please let me know.

The windows in the mural room faced west and south, and the reddish hue of the sunlight accentuated the predominant crimson, amber and bronze hues of the painting, making it look almost as though it were on fire.  He saw many more faces than he had on the first visit, and the feathers of the multiplicity of wings seemed to rustle and shimmer; he also saw hands where he hadn’t before, peeking out from the wings and juxtaposed with legs and horns and teeth.  In this light the eyes – hundreds of them of every shape and size, peering or glaring or watching from every part of the mural – seemed to all be looking back at him, glinting in various colors like gemstones.  But of all the odd features of the design, the most horrifying were the wheels.  Every other recognizable part of the painting was part of some living creature or another, whether bird or beast or human, but except for the eyes all around their rims, the wheels were most definitely not.  And while the way in which the various biological features related to each other made little anatomical sense, the way the wheels were depicted made no sense at all.  They were like things from an Escher woodcut, objects which could not have existed in three-dimensional reality, with spokes and rims that turned at crazy angles to one another and sometimes seemed to project outward from the wall.  Their perspective was maddening; from some angles they seemed close to the living figures, while from others they seemed far away, and when viewed obliquely they were both at the same time.  And somehow, at least in this hazy light shining through dingy windowpanes across dusty air, the ones in his peripheral vision seemed to be turning on themselves, rotating out of the plane of the design entirely.

A few minutes in that room was more than enough, and though he was a sophisticated and urbane man Bert decided to head back to the motel and to stay away from this room until he had both human company and the psychological comfort of full morning sun.  He locked the door and returned the key to its hiding place in the woodshed as the caretaker had instructed, then drove back to the motel at a rather higher rate of speed than was strictly prudent on a rutty backroad in a pine barrens.  He then proceeded to drink most of a bottle of cheap bourbon over the next few hours while not really paying attention to the television, and fell into a fitful sleep haunted by nightmares of huge wheels covered in eyes, slowly rotating toward him…

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