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Posts Tagged ‘internet’

The first thing that [repressive regimes] try to do is control the communications network.  –  Margaret Atwood

As veteran journalist A.J. Liebling once observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  So when media conglomerates started buying up all the presses in the 1980s, censorious politicians were probably very happy: when 90% of the media in a country is owned by only five mega-corporations who are all part of the fascist establishment, it’s very easy to control the message.  No wonder they were so disappointed when the internet derailed that concentration process by making literally anybody with time and a high-school level of technical savvy into a publisher.  By 1996 perceptive control freaks were already trying to strangle the infant internet in its cradle via the Communications Decency Act, only to be thwarted when a few politicians with a particle of actual decency managed to smuggle Section 230 into what was intended to be a massive censorship law, and courts struck down all of its censorship provisions within a year.  Naturally, the Puritans never abandoned their sick dream of censoring the internet, and in just a few years they had created “sex trafficking” hysteria, a resurrection of the moribund Satanic Panic using parts recycled from the “white slavery” hysteria of a century before; the synthetic moral panic caught on, and less than 20 years later the busybodies and thought-controllers had what they wanted:  a means of bringing the most powerful tool for the dissemination of information ever created completely under government control.  Where bogeyman tales of devil worshipers and “terrorists” had failed, kinky fantasies of millions of 13-year-old “sex slaves” chained to radiators and raped by literally every single adult male in the US finally succeeded:  the useful idiots gave politicians the power to “protect” them from nonexistent bogeymen by destroying the laws which restrained government censorship, and handing control of the internet to cops, politicians and a few powerful corporate members of the fascist oligarchy.

Every totalitarian movement needs a bogeyman, and since the few escort service owners and small-time pimps the inquisitors were able to lock in cages were insufficient to sustain the required level of mindless hysteria, Backpage was chosen for that role after Craigslist took a dive.  Unfortunately for legions of busybodies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were veteran newsmen of the old-time free speech variety, who insisted on defeating every single attempt to destroy them.  So naturally, the government simply changed the rules (egregiously violating the Constitution in the process) to make it impossible for them to win again, and hedged its bets by literally stealing everything they owned, setting a trial so far in the future anything that was missed in the raid would be used up, and even trying to deprive their victims of legal counsel.  But they’re not going down silently; Frontpage Confidential, the inheritor of Lacey & Larkin’s journalistic legacy, has been covering their fight, and last week Tom Finkel (formerly one of the duo’s top editors) delivered this broadside; he tells me they will soon publish an essay from Lacey himself, which I’ve been privileged to see a preliminary draft of.  Stay tuned, because no matter how this goes we need to remember that some things are worth fighting for, even against implacable and obscenely-powerful enemies who will do anything to win.

 

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

Schadenfreude 

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

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

Legal Is as Legal Does (#20)

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

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

King of the Hill

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

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

Micromanagement

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

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

Rough Trade (#513)

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

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

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

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

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

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

Signs (#813) 

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

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

First They Came for the Hookers… (#840)

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

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

Disaster (#853)

Another “monkey see, monkey do” FOSTA copycat:

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

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

Fair-Weather Friends (#859)

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

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

Disaster (#878)

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

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

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Vanesa was murdered; the state is complicit.  –  protest chant in Paris

Subtle Pimping

Every damned internet company has profited from sex workers without even giving us credit:

…the porn and adult entertainment industries, and the women whose work built them, were one of the earliest to provide real-time credit card verification, establishing a precedent for models of e-commerce other industries would adopt later on.  Sex workers…essentially created, adopted, and inspired many of the technologies later co-opted by tech corporations and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs long before they reached the mainstream, and continue to do so.  However, [they]…rarely receive proper credit for their contributions…

Finding What Isn’t There

I can tell you why these cases aren’t being pushed, Susan, but it’s going to make you sad:

After [cheerleading for] local [cop] efforts to [persecute people using the excuse of] human trafficking, a [prohibitionist] is questioning why recent prostitution cases are seemingly sitting idle in the district attorney’s office…Susan Peters, executive director of [“rescue” profiteer] UnBound…[says] McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made about 330…arrests of alleged sex buyers since March 2015, but records show prosecutors have not taken action on [almost] any…many of the recent arrests stem from a December 2017 raid in which sheriff’s deputies [stole] video [from] surveillance systems in two massage parlors that [cops fantasize] women [were] forced to work at…Although it is unclear if video evidence in the massage parlor cases will be admissible in court, a total of 18 men have been arrested on prostitution charges since authorities started trying to identify [them]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#40) 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

Janice M. Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws…plans to file suit against Calimesa, California, challenging its Halloween ordinance  [which]…forbids registrants…from decorating their home with Halloween decorations; mandates they leave all exterior or decorative lighting off from 4 to 11:59 p.m. [on Halloween]; and forbids them from answering the door to trick-or-treaters.  In August, Bellucci sent letters to five California cities, including Calimesa, urging them to repeal their Halloween restrictions by Sept. 28 or face litigation.  So far, Temecula has repealed its ordinance, and Lancaster is taking steps to do the same…The state of Missouri has a rule similar to the one that Bellucci fought in Simi Valley, requiring registrants on Halloween to post a sign at their home stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”…The California…Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mandates that registrants who are on parole must remain indoors from 5 to 10 p.m. during which time they can open the door only to respond to law enforcement.  They must turn off all exterior lights, and…homeless parolees are required to spend the curfew hours in [jail]…New York…requires that the roughly 3,000 parolees convicted of sex crimes remain indoors at home on Halloween…until 6 the next morning…[and] are not allowed to have…candy in their possession…

Signs (#783) 

California mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

Two new California laws will require workers in certain industries to go through [indoctrination in] human trafficking [fantasies]…The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going…it may…be capturing your license plate data…the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs…primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors…

Disaster (#832)

Please, prohibitionists, force more deep-pocketed giants like Facebook to fight your evil:

A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform…

Texas especially loves the “Facebook pimps” myth.

Torture Chamber (#852)

The “concerns” and crocodile tears of these kids’ jailers remind me of prohibitionists who say they want to “rescue” sex workers by locking us in cages:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night…and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new [prison]:  a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.  Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room.  They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their…cases.  But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks.  There is no school…Access to legal services is limited.  These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find [cages] for more than 13,000 [imprisoned] migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.  The average length of time…in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59…

Prisoners, especially those government wants to dehumanize, are often shipped off in the middle of the night like this to facilities in the middle of deserts, so as to confuse and disorient them and make escape more difficult.

Monsters (#866) 

No, it’s almost wholly to blame. As we warned it would be.

Vanesa Campos…was shot and killed as thieves tried to rob her client, who survived….her…death…is proof of the growing dangers [sex workers] face since [the French] Parliament [imposed the Swedish model]…clients now demand to have sex in out of the way places, where the police are unlikely to be patrolling.  “Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won’t find them,” said Giovanna Rincon, a former sex worker and transgender activist who leads the organization Acceptess-Transgenres.  “Today, they work in places where we, the old guard working at the Bois de Boulogne, would never have set foot”…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

I love that Christian religious nuts, who started the “sex trafficking” hysteria in the first place, are now being accused of being “traffickers” themselves:

Two West Texas girls are [spreading hysteria] after what they described as a scary encounter at a Walmart in San Angelo…The students say they were approached by strangers inside the store late at night and invited to a Bible study…”They asked us if we were Christians and if we read the Bible, things like that…She started telling us Jesus was the sun and Moses was the moon, just things that didn’t sound right to us.”  One of the girls Googled some of the [statements] as the conversation continued, and [naturally] she [believed]…”… the first article that came up [which] said ‘Korean sex trafficking college campuses’.”…The girls say they went and found a store manager to tell them [that people were talking to them]…and a Walmart employee escorted them to their vehicles so they could…leave [without the danger of others talking to them]…There have been cases in other cities where members of the “God the Mother” church have been [fantasized to be] sex traffickers while trying to recruit members…

All-Purpose Excuse (#876)

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

Ann…Wagner’s little-heralded [recycling and expansion of the PATRIOT Act], known as the Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act, quietly passed the House [last] Wednesday—sailing through without much attention as the Brett Kavanaugh hearing occupied the media and public [atten]tion.  The bill, HR 6729, passed by a 297-124 vote, with 202 Republicans voting in favor and only 29 against.  Democrats who voted were split equally 95-95…

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The name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  –  “The Censor-Moron

As I’ve written several times over the past few years, top-down censorship had become very rare in the US; alas, in just the past year since the last Banned Books Week, it has returned with a vengeance.  The passage of FOSTA, a law which both authorizes direct federal censorship of the internet (by creating a new category of banned speech) and exerts a powerful chilling effect (by an unconstitutionally vague description of what might be included in that category), is the worst example, but it is by no means the only one.  Congress has also conducted an inquisition of Facebook and Twitter over paranoid fantasies and the idiotically-named non-category “fake news”, with several of the inquisitors hinting at the possibility of direct censorship (or as they prefer to call it. “regulation”); the EU has also threatened to censor the social media giants using the excuse of “hate speech”.  In the UK, a member of Parliament actually wants to ban any online discussion that the police cannot eavesdrop on, and in the US cops are demanding the power both to prosecute those who criticize them and to suppress books about police violence; in some prisons, the one area of society completely under police control, “drugs” are being used as an excuse to ban books entirely in favor of expensive e-book readers (that the state gets a cut of, natch) with a very limited library:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is planning to ban free book donations to inmates by mail, claiming that this is a “primary avenue for drugs” to enter prisons.  But the move coincides with a renewed push to get prisoners buying into a pricey prison eBook system…the Prisoners Lit Project and others…said that Pennsylvania prisons’ libraries are underfunded and often inaccessible and [vowed to] challenge…the new policy…The tablet devices hawked by the DOC are bulky and low-end, with tiny low-definition color displays not intended for reading at length, rudimentary hardware and translucent materials to prevent them being used to hide contraband.  They cost $147 plus tax, about three times the price of the only extant consumer device, the $50 Amazon Fire, with similar specifications.  There is no repair service: any problems with the device and you have to buy a new one.  Then prisoners must pay a minimum of $3 each per eBook from the same state-contracted vendor, which offers a list of only 8,500 titles…other states are embarking on similar plans, and they’re likely to meet stiff court challenges…

If this all wasn’t bad enough, consider the UK, which wants to subject people to police violence for the “crime” of wrongthink:

…The latest Orwellian invitation to rat out offensive speakers was issued by the South Yorkshire Police…[who]…took to Twitter to remind people…”In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents…like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing.”  It is chilling that cops, whose only business should be fighting crime, now want to hear about non-crime.  Anyone who has even a sliver of respect for the ideal of liberty, for the right of people to go about their lives without being watched or narked on, should be seriously concerned that cops would want to hear about non-criminal behavior, otherwise known as everyday behavior…This is Stasi territory.  Coppers asking citizens to file reports on things they have read or overheard really should have disappeared from Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Yet here it still is, this GDR-style instruction to eavesdrop and squeal, though now it’s happening on the other side of the old Iron Curtain…

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream, and how eagerly jackbooted thugs have seized upon it as yet another way to control the thoughts of the entire population via threats of violence.

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Last Thursday morning, as I was lying in bed with Ghost Rider, I opened my mail and found this masterpiece of crackpottery; it appears to combine elements of Christian eschatology, Scientology, and ancient-astronaut tinfoil-hattery, and it actually wouldn’t be bad as the background for a horror fantasy novel (except that the author appears to actually believe it).  I noticed the names of many other Seattle escorts in the address line, and I’m sure he also sent it to many women in other cities because that’s how these lunatics get their jollies:

A great number of spirits are transmitted sexually. The incorporeal ALIENS taught all witchcraft and occult knowledge.  They taught MAGIC, SORCERY, INCANTATIONS, CHARMS AND SPELLS…Spells can be used in calling upon or summoning a demonic spirit and may employ mind altering substances, sex rituals AND PORN.  Those incorporeal entities have been here on earth since days of old, when their forefathers, who were angels lusted after the daughters of men and came down to earth and took for themselves wives who bare a hybrid race of beings, who upon death, became the demonic entities.  The women also of these fallen angels became demonic sirens.  Another group of fallen angels is also here on earth.  Many people are unknowingly carrying out the agenda of the invisible demon aliens, who were thrown out of the heavenly habitat and are now earth bound…Illicit sex is thus a means of summoning the demons.  That is why today porn has an astronomical impact on the human race.  There are 12.5 videos of porn for every person on the planet.  Prostitution and Porn are now arguably bigger than all the world religions combined.  In 2017, pornhub site alone received 28.5 billion annual visits from porn pilgrims.  A total, 595,482 hours of video were uploaded to pornhub, the equivalent of 68 YEARS of porn if watched continuously and enough data to fill the storage of all of the world’s iPhones!  When watching and indulging illicit sex and or porn, one essentially enters into an altered and highly suggestible state of consciousness, making contact with the demonic aliens.  The porn or illicit sex triggered trance makes people wide open to the demonic entities that feed off of sexual perversion causing many people to be insatiable, addicted, aggressive, depressive and indulging in all manner of wickedness.  Just like many mind altering drugs, this ritualistic sex causes massive addiction.  Unlike drugs which many have to pay for, porn is freely available, because it is a portent weapon the illuminati use to further their evil agenda.  When porn went digital, the industry was consolidated and taken over by powerful shadow interests.  Those interests are represented by a handful of giant corporations.  These corporations make their money through big data.  They sell data to many corporations who take advantage of the entranced and highly suggestible porn users to advertise many things to them in billions of ad impressions a day.  In this way, porn users are prostituted to make money for many illuminati corporations.  The real masters and controllers of the illuminati are the demonic entities which thrive off of sexual sin and other related transgressions…

The thing I found most fascinating is that this bizarre and paranoid fantasy isn’t really much crazier than the claims made by mainstream anti-porn and “sex trafficking” hysterics who are quoted by supposedly-sane politicians, cops and rescue industry figures every day, right down to the exaggerated, mathematically-illiterate “statistics”.

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We didn’t think it was good idea to have [rapey cop] conduct aired publicly in a prosecution.  –  Scott Perrilloux

To Protect and Serve

Strip club raids exist only for pigs to get their jollies:

Prosecutors have scuttled a multi-agency investigation into a…strip club in St. Helena Parish [because a disguised pig]…committed a crime – by digitally penetrating a woman during two private dances.  The month-long sting operation included another [cop] asking a dancer at The Mansion to lactate on him “because he was curious”…The [sexual assault] of the dancer was described in a lengthy affidavit…by Scott Jarreau, a Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s…deputy who recounted the…actions in graphic detail [because he idiotically thought it would]…support…a civil asset forfeiture case against the club’s owner that was ultimately dismissed.  The [pigs’ disgusting] conduct was among the reasons prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against 13 people arrested in the raid, including the club’s proprietor…It’s not clear why Shreveport, which is more than four hours away, lent officers to the effort…

It’s “not clear” to people whose heads are so far up their own arseholes they don’t know what pervert cops look like.

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

A…Newark [cop] was charged…with…soliciting and accepting cash payments from brothel owners in exchange for protecting the brothels from police action and…failing to report those cash payments on his…income tax returns…Julio Rivera…[extort]ed more than $100,000 in cash payments from three brothel owners [?] in Newark…

I’m guessing that by “brothels” these prosecutors actually mean massage parlors.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical 

Hysteria over “dangerous teen fads” is much funnier when cops are its primary vectors:

…“Momo”…is the face of a viral Internet game, [fantasized] to be spreading via…WhatsApp and sparking worldwide warnings…by [authoritarians] about its potential to harm young people who may be lured into playing…references to “Momo” also have circulated on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  The…“Momo Challenge”…requires players to complete escalating tasks that are [supposedly] dangerous…But…it’s simply another one of the many hoaxes that breed on the Internet.  Officials in multiple countries [fantasize] Momo’s final challenge is suicide and the game is rumored to be linked to at least three recent cases of minors who killed themselves in Argentina, Colombia and India…None of these circumstantial reports tying the game to suicides have been proved…[people who aren’t cops or hysterics] are calling it an Internet hoax designed to generate paranoia among adults…

Finding What Isn’t There

Trying to manufacture data to “prove” a problem exists when existing data says it doesn’t is not science:

…David Cohen…of Stanford’s…Center for Human Rights…has created a set of resources to help NGOs and government agencies working in the anti-trafficking field gather data [for] policymakers…about the nature and scope of the problem they face.  “Sectors in the anti-trafficking field [do] not always cooperat[e] in a way that…allow[s] us to understand that data”…said senior program manager Jessie Brunner…“After decades of work…there is still no [politically popular] answer to “what is the problem and why is it happening”…That scares me, that after all these efforts and money spent we still aren’t able to figure that out.  And we need a solid answer to that question so that we can actually stop the problem”…Brunner…that the data that exist are often limited…of low quality or outdated…

When an article about the lack of good data about a phenomenon refers to that phenomenon as a “problem” and a “scourge” while admitting that the hysterics don’t even know that there is a problem, it’s a safe bet that any forthcoming data from the announced project will be worthless.

Chauvinism (#335)

Instead of purging sex workers with police violence, Argentina negotiated with them as citizens:

…For two months, transgender sex workers will move from the red light zone in Plaza Florencio Sánchez…in…Palermo…to another space, a few blocks away…The move [was agreed upon in meetings between]…the Argentina LGBT Federation and the Association of Women of Argentina (AMMAR)…sex workers in the area, the Undersecretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Buenos Aires Government and the Ombudsman of the City…The reason is that Florencio Sanchez square is being converted to volleyball courts, while the neighboring Lago de Regatas is being conditioned for the Olympic Triathlon swimming competition…[for] the Youth Olympic Games, which will run from October 6 to 18…until October 31, the trans girls will leave their usual area…to…offer their services in…a temporary red light zone…the City Government also agreed to make improvements in working conditions that they had committed to when the red light zone…was created in 2008…

Allied for Change

This announcement is definitely flawed, but I applaud any client who comes out:

Lily Allen has revealed that she slept with female escorts because she felt “lost and lonely” during the tour for her third album Sheezus in 2014…explaining her decision was made after learning that some details of her upcoming book My Thoughts Exactly had been leaked to the Daily Mail.  “I slept with female escorts when I was on tour, cause I was lost and lonely and looking for something.  I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed…I don’t do it anymore”…

Follow Your Bliss (#698) 

Yet the government still won’t admit that the TSA attracts pedophiles:

A…Transportation Security Administration supervisor has been sentenced for having child pornography at his home.  Devin David Jutilla…resigned from his job at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after his arrest April 25 [and]…pleaded guilty last month to second-degree child pornography possession as part of [a plea bargain] with Pierce County prosecutors…Judge Bryan Chushcoff sentenced Jutilla to six months in jail…

The Widening Gyre (#825) 

Cops are trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic by using their favored tool, violence:

An Ohio mom’s Facebook video about the attempted abduction of her child in a Walmart parking lot was [like] all [sex trafficking scare tales] made up…Chelsie Hendel was arrested…after…Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey…[reviewed] security footage [that]…showed no such incident happened.  Bailey also said Hendel never reported a crime to police.  When police questioned Hendel…she admitted to making the story up and was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.  Her video…has been taken down from Facebook…

Banishment (#848) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

…civil commitment allows a prosecutor to subject those convicted of sexual offenses (and sometimes, those with no conviction at all) to an indefinite period of civil punishment at the end of their criminal sentence.  Civil commitment can mean years of additional detention under the guise of psychiatric treatment meant to reduce a person’s risk of committing another crime, with an often-illusory promise of freedom.  Statutes that [supposedly] constrain the power of authorities to civilly commit people…are  broad and ambiguous…and…rates of reoffending are far lower than would be believed—potentially imperiling the justification for civil commitment itself…In California, there [are] 345 people trapped in…“pretrial” detention for more than three years.  More than a quarter of those have been held without trial since 2006 or earlier.  In Florida…89 of the 489 detainees at their civil commitment center are pretrial.  Fourteen have been held for more than a decade; five for nearly 20 years.  In Washington State, Jesse McReynolds spent nine years civilly detained on McNeil Island without trial before a judge ordered his release…McReynolds’s case was…not an anomaly, and…multiple [Washingtonians] have been civilly detained pending trial, sometimes for decades…

Soap Opera (#853)

They’re “certified” in making up absurd stories and spreading moral panic:

…in Deschutes County, a local response team comprised of 16 experts in their various fields follows up on all human trafficking leads.  The Deschutes County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Response Team then coordinates a continuum of care, helping victims become survivors…

In Bend, Oregon, home of this “team”, this “continuum of care” includes posting magic “sex trafficker” detecting stickers (subtitle link), turning people in to the pigs for being injured, and claiming that eclipses cause “sex trafficking” by magic passes involving poker chips.

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A phrase that means nothing isn’t a useful term for serious adults; it’s a fad for the immature and silly.  –  “Meaningless

Imagine if you will how a master mechanic might react if he saw you using a wrench to pound in nails, or stepping on the handle of a large screwdriver you were using as a pry bar.  If he were of an unusually calm disposition he might just watch you for a while, shaking his head, before making some comment like, “That might go faster if you used the right tool,” or “Would you like me to show you how to do that?”  And if he were both patient and wise he might let you injure yourself first before commenting, so that you’d be more likely to listen.  But if he were as high-strung as I am, he might quickly lose patience with you, push you out of the way and do the job properly (possibly after striking you repeatedly about the head and neck with the abused tool).  As I wrote in “Nasty Words”,

As a writer, words are my tools, and I cherish them and baby them the way a good mechanic cares for the tools of his trade.  And just as a good mechanic always uses the right tool for the job rather than trying to make do with whatever happens to be nearby, so I insist on using the right word…and just as some mechanics are annoyed by seeing others misuse or abuse their tools, so am I annoyed by the misuse or abuse of words…

That column was about the rampant misuse of the word “vagina” to mean not only any part of a woman’s sexual anatomy, but also as a vulgar substitute for non-anatomical uses of the slang word “pussy”.  I’ve also written about my distaste for the improperly-constructed and imprecisely-used term “homophobia” (which actually means “fear of sameness or monotony”; an attack or word has no feelings and therefore cannot be “phobic” of anything); my rejection of those who want to ban things hiding behind the prefix “pro-“; the powerful annoyance I have for the word “privilege” as it is commonly used today; my deep revulsion for the word “deserve” (“the visible part of an iceberg of moral odiousness floating unseen below the social waterline”); my intolerance for “fair” (both word and concept); and the complete meaninglessness of the faddish shibboleth “human trafficking”.  As you’ve probably guessed, today I’m going to unload both barrels on another such term, the meaningless tech buzzword “disrupt”.

First, let’s start with the actual definition of the word: to interrupt the normal progress of something by causing a disturbance or problem; or, to destroy something’s structure (as in “cellular disruption”).  If you consult a bunch of dictionaries you’ll discover that there is no positive usage of this word; it always refers to a destructive process.  Of course, that could be desirable if the thing one wants to disrupt is itself destructive or evil, such as a police operation or the schemes of a politician.  And yet somehow tech-worshipers of the sort who believe in “The Singularity” seem to have assigned a positive meaning to it, and believe that people will react positively when told that the techie wants to “disrupt their industry” (even though even Urban Dictionary admits that the term is a mere buzzword with no specific definition).  I recently blasted a reader who sent me an email hawking some website which claimed it was dedicated to “disrupting the oldest profession”, and while I realized later that he was merely forwarding the email rather than writing it, I have to marvel at the deep cluelessness of a marketing department in the modern US which fails to comprehend that no sex worker is going to react well to someone claiming they want to “disrupt” our profession at a time when the government and countless prohibitionist NGOs are working very hard at doing exactly that by censorship, persecution, surveillance, entrapment schemes, raids and other such tactics.  Attention, tech idiots: I know y’all don’t live in the real world, but sex workers are sick and tired of violent thugs and evil control freaks trying to disrupt our profession (and almost that sick and tired of clueless amateurs trying to “disrupt” it in the app-developer sense).  Here’s some free marketing advice:  When trying to market your product to adults, it’s probably best to avoid adolescent slang, and when marketing to people outside your little circle-jerk it’s probably best to avoid jargon that’s going to sound negative to normal people.  Words mean things, and you’ll avoid offending potential clients if you remember that.

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