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Posts Tagged ‘neofeminism’

A few days after the whole “thot audit” nonsense, another (though much smaller) silly season erupted on Twitter.  But while the former was comprised mostly of misogynist incel and PUA-type whore haters, the latter was comprised mostly of misogynistic married whore-haters who are seemingly terrified of the idea that their daughters might grow up to have pragmatic views about sex.  And while the “thot audit” yahoos proudly and openly advertised themselves as copsuckers and badge-lickers, the “Would you want your daughter to do it?” busybodies mostly claimed to have libertarian ideas about decriminalization and so pretended that their concern about sex work is that it’s “dangerous” and/or not “empowering”.  The hypocrisy of the “dangerous” argument is clearly revealed by the fact that these men don’t pontificate about how women shouldn’t join the cops or military; somehow danger is only an issue when sex is involved.  And nobody seems all too concerned about whether being a waitress, cashier, or manicurist is “empowering”; again, “empowerment” only magically becomes an issue when sex is involved.  The basic issue here is that busybodies with creepy sexual fantasies about women feel qualified to judge work they’ve never done and know nothing about on airy-fairy criteria like “empowerment”; this is why we have prohibition.  The only kind of “empowerment” that a job is required to provide is economic empowerment, in other words, the amount of economic power it provides relative to other jobs.  And despite the “pimp” and “slavery” masturbatory fantasies of prohibitionists, sex work compares very well indeed in comparison to other jobs which require no formal education, licensing, etc.  But that’s not the only problem with the concept of “empowerment”; as I wrote in “Politicizing the Personal” over 7 years ago:

…To “empower” someone is to grant her power; it automatically implies A) that she hasn’t got any in the first place, and B) that such power is the speaker’s to give.  Using the word in an active sense (“we need to empower women”) establishes the speaker or his organization as the intrinsic superior and benefactor of the person or persons so “empowered”, and using the word in a passive sense (“an empowered woman”) robs the person so “empowered” of agency, reducing her to the passive recipient of someone else’s benevolence just as people were imagined to be “granted” rights by a king in archaic political theory…

In short, merely bringing up the word in a discussion about women automatically places the speaker at a vantage point above the person he’s speaking about, like a scientist discussing some species of newt.  Nobody uses the word “empowered” when talking about men’s employment, and nobody should be using it to talk about women’s either.

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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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It would have been better to be in prison, at least you can meet with your family there.  –  a former victim of what Prajwala calls “rescue”

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Police have confirmed a female reporter’s claim that she was subjected to surveillance and a hotel room inspection like a “prostitution bust” while she was covering a chemical leak in southeast China…The Quanzhou Public Security Bureau…issued an apology and said four [cops] – three of whom were from an auxiliary unit – had overstepped their jurisdiction and “caused negative social effects”.  A deputy bureau chief had been “punished”, while another local police station chief would “make amends” to the local Communist Party committee…One of the [cops] involved has also been suspended…

Case Study

One day, “businessman rents workspaces to small businesses” will be recognized as the non-news it is:

Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged to give back hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to the Conservatives by a property tycoon who owns a London apartment block…[because] more than 100 sex workers have been listed online as working [there]…Chelsea Cloisters…is owned by wealthy property tycoon Christopher Moran…the sex trade is so extensive at the Sloane Avenue building that punters booking prostitutes online refer to it as “Sodom and Gomorrah” and “10 floors of whores”.  Reporters were able to [waste the time of 23 sex workers there with] [f]ake bookings…Some of the woman were found to have come from Romania…

To Molest and Rape

Another example of the McNeill Rule following his bliss:

…Neil Kimball, a…sex crimes investigator, [has been arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl]…and is being held on $2 million bond.  He has [also] been [granted] paid [vacation]…

Against Their Will (#736)

May this be the beginning of the end for the evil, deranged Sunitha Krishnan:

Prajwala…[incarcerates] thousands of women and girls…each year [in India] under a draconian anti-prostitution law.  Sunitha Krishnan, Prajwala’s leader, has won numerous international awards…But interviews with sex workers, activists, outreach workers and police paint a picture of life inside Prajwala’s secretive shelters very much at odds with the one Krishnan has presented to the world.  Former [prisoners] describe an atmosphere of fear and despair, where those who rebel against their detention are beaten, and where there is virtually no contact with the outside world.  Self-harm and suicide attempts are common…Krishnan denies the…beatings, but acknowledges that [prisoners are forced into slave labor, claiming they only resist because]…“they are not used to daytime activities”…Krishnan said holding women there against their will is justified because “they are indoctrinated to believe that they have to get out”.  [Prisoners] are denied phone calls if a woman’s family…wants to get their relative released…because [Krishnan fantasizes that]…an “innocent” family would reject a relative involved in sex work…“We do not allow journalists…If people think we are not transparent, so be it”…Prajwala does not distinguish between women who enter sex work voluntarily and genuine trafficking survivors, nor between those who consent to being “rescued” and those who do not…

Broken Record (#848) 

I think this might just be the second stupidest claimed “cause of sex trafficking” of all time, right after “summer”:

…a [Florida prohibitionist fantasizes] this is prime time for sex crimes and there’s a tactic criminals are now using that parents need to know about.  Young faces, including teens, are being used as recruiters…they’ll ask for a cell phone number…“because they can use GPS coordinates to locate the child,” said Lynne Barletta, [DBA] Catch The Wave of Hope.  Barletta is on a mission to [spread hysteria] about sex trafficking…and her message to holiday bargain hunters is don’t leave your daughters on their own…Barletta cites a…[thoroughly debunked] statistic: 300,000 children in America are victims of human trafficking …[her vibrator hums loudly as] she [masturbates to]…the thought that a teenage girl just window shopping at a mall could be lured into that world or shoved into the back of a car…[She also bizarrely claims that] “I saw it happening in our own backyard”…

Feminine Pragmatism (#850)

Why do people have to be branded “victims” and subjected to police theatrics to get help?

Colombian police have rescued 43 Venezuelan women held captive and forced into prostitution after being lured by the promise of a new life.  The women were “recruited” in Cucuta…and taken to Bogota…It was here, police say, where their “nightmare” began…Police said the women were given just 15 minutes of freedom a day and were “constantly threatened and tortured” by thugs in the gang…Police said the rescued women were being treated as victims and were been given food and humanitarian aid…

These women were recruited (why the scare quotes?) in Cucuta because hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia there.  Though the conditions may have been worse than they expected, the idea that they were “slaves” who were lied to about the work is absurd.  Women are not stupid; they knew very well what kind of work they would be doing (see item at subtitle link).  The reason they were able to be exploited isn’t because of “sex trafficking” mumbo-jumbo; it’s because they were desperate and on the wrong side of magic lines drawn on a map by pompous control freaks, and shitty employers have been taking advantage of such desperation since the beginning of civilization.

Uncommon Sense (#869) 

As usual, the mainstream media is a font of disinformation where sex work is concerned.  The New York Times advertised its own prohibitionism in its lede, “Spain’s National Court has outlawed a union of sex workers, saying that recognition of the group amounted to making the exploitation of prostitutes legal“…but as Dr. Laura Agustín explains in her thorough article on the topic, “despite misleading press headlines…the [court] annulled the group’s statutes but hasn’t the power to dissolve the union“…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#875) 

Pigs and prohibitionists say one is “as many as 150”:

As many as 150 teens in Santa Barbara County have been identified as “commercially sexually exploited children”…since the launch of the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2013…a public-forum panel…began with a video of a [single] teen who was rescued from human trafficking, which doesn’t happen often, according to…p[rohibition]ists …”We need more [money],” [a pig oinked]…To…organize…sting operations…

The spectacle of grown adults sitting around telling each other such fantasies will make fascinating material for the appendix of some future ethnography of the strange tribes of the American Decline period.

Watershed (#885)

It’s a rare thing nowadays for an organization to prioritize ethics over the heckler’s veto:

Quebec’s most prominent women’s group continues to lose members after it passed a resolution last month recognizing that women [own their bodies and are not moral imbeciles].  The resolution approved by members of the Federation des femmes du Quebec has split the organization between pro[-violence busybodies] and those who believe [in human rights]…

Kudos to FFQ for standing up for women against the demands of misogynistic control freaks.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#885)

The weird, dangerous belief that masturbation is harmful to men continues to increase in popularity:

…Growing out of…internet message boards…[and] deeply traditional, historically puritanical views, the movement has grown to the tens of thousands, with hundreds posting on the sub-Reddit every single day.  The forum is No Nut November: the internet challenge encouraging men not to ejaculate (or “nut”) for an entire month…NNN came out of the NoFap “movement”, which…has become linked to wider sexism and misogyny, reducing women to sexual objects to be attained or abstained from and shaming sexually active women…the origin point of Not Nut November came from pick-up artist and conspiracy theory sites – ones where the forums’ influential leaders  argued that there was some inherent power in men that could be “focused” by not masturbating…[some even believe] that semen has magical properties, and by storing up as much of it as possible men will become more attractive to women…

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To attribute [women’s]…prostitution to fear of powerful Nigerian juju is pure hogwash.  –  Leo Igwe

Yellow Fever

Like the BBC, the New York Times has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

When the New York Times Magazine (10/10/18) looked at Kensington, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia, it…saw an opportunity to take readers on a sensational 6,000-word tour of trauma, complete with cringe-worthy language and compassionless photographs.  Reporter Jennifer Percy…doesn’t shy away from…reducing an extremely complicated issue to trauma-porn:  “…women often ended up as prostitutes.  They offered oral sex for $25 so they could buy a few bags“…How many women did Percy interview before determining that all of them offered the same services for the same price?  Could she have crafted a description that was any more victimizing?…Street-based sex work already comes with risks.  Publishing detailed and intimate information about…how they don’t report abuse, could attract predatory individuals…Sex worker advocate groups and researchers have repeatedly said that criminalization forces workers into dangerous situations, and leads to a strained or even abusive relationship between law enforcement and sex workers.  Multiple harm-reduction groups exist in Kensington specifically for sex workers, including SOL CollectiveProject SAFE, and the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, but Percy didn’t think to include their work in the conversation…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

I hope this doesn’t harm the trend toward increased awareness of rapist cops:

…Bellevue, WA police chief [Steve Mylett] was cleared on charges he raped a woman after it was discovered she created fake emails to prove her accusation…The…woman…claimed he raped her two years ago at his Bothell home during an encounter arranged “through an adult sex website.”  The woman also made accusations against two other Bellevue detectives, which led to domestic violence and witness tampering charges against one of them (those charges were dropped earlier this month).  “Bothell investigators found Mylett’s accuser had gone so far as to create phony, backdated email exchanges that contained the address of a Bothell rental home where Mylett temporarily lived…But lease records…proved Mylett had moved out of that house prior to when the woman claimed the assault occurred, and DNA tests ruled Mylett out as a possible match to genetic evidence gathered from clothing the woman turned over”…The woman [allegedly] had a history of hooking up with men she found on Craigslist and then claiming the consensual encounters as rape…Though she had made two false accusations prior to Mylett, she was not charged because of her mental-health problems.  This time, however, it appears she won’t get away with her false accusations [because they were against cops]…Mylett [said]…“people [who aren’t cops] should be held accountable for their actions [even if they’re mentally ill]”…

This man was one of the gang who took it upon themselves to destroy the lives of men who had consensual sex with adult women in the TRB case.

Banishment

Any elected official who acts in this way should be removed from office:

When Richard Gardner, a convicted child sex offender, was released from prison after serving almost 30 years, he quietly moved into the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence…Because his crimes were committed so long ago, Gardner is not subject to the community notification provisions that apply to more recent offenders…But the police [gave] his address to public officials, and a media circus ensued.  The result has been raucous nightly protests in front of his house by dozens of people calling on him to leave the neighborhood…Mayor Jorge Elorza helped fuel the angry gatherings in front of Gardner’s home by stating at a community meeting immediately preceding the first protest that Gardner “has given up his right to be here in the community.”  Other city officials have also encouraged a mob mentality…

The Enlightenment Police (#427)

The European Court of Human Rights kissed France’s arse, but the UN didn’t:

…the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that a French law banning full-face veils in public violates the religious freedom rights of Muslim women.  It is the first time the UN has ruled on full-face veil bans and could have implications for several other European countries that have implemented similar legislation…the UN body found that France’s ban was “too sweeping” and that French officials hadn’t adequately explained why it was necessary to ban…articles of clothing.  Although the ban is [pre]tended to protect women, the law could have the opposite effect by “confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalizing them,” the committee said…

The Prudish Giant (#523)

Facebook claims this picture will sexually arouse its users:

For a few hours after The New York Times published an article about conflict and hunger in Yemen, Facebook temporarily removed posts from readers who had tried to share the report…[because]  the article included several images of emaciated children…Tens of thousands of readers shared the article on Facebook, but some got a message notifying them that the post was not in line with Facebook’s community standards…[because] “On Facebook, we don’t allow…any sexual content involving minors”…

Facebook is the embodiment of D.H. Lawrence’s statement, “Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose.”

Guinea Pigs (#579) 

Welcome to our world, amateurs; I hope y’all enjoy what your bootlicking has created:

…[very few US] police departments…have any rules for [pigs] who [violate Facebook’s terms of service by creating]…fake accounts…to friend people of interest and monitor what they post…the practice is almost wholly unregulated…Facebook policies prohibit the creation of fake accounts by law enforcement, but [pigs] are making them anyway.  Some…[even] boast…about their [deceptions] on social media [and Facebook does nothing to stop it]…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

Major technology companies including Palantir, Microsoft and Amazon make millions of dollars annually from their contracts with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies…and have helped expand their capabilities, says [a] paper by Mijente, an advocacy group…Palantir’s ICE case management software, which helps the agency track, surveil and deport immigrants, has led to “dangerous acceleration of surveillance technology at the hands of police and prosecutors to target and build profiles of people”…Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, [has] become a “key contractor” for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s cloud computing system…The report comes amid increased backlash from workers in the tech industry over the contracts with the government that their companies are taking on.  Google said it would end its work with the Pentagon this year after heavy employee backlash…

See also “Pyrrhic Victory” below.

That Old Black Magic (#769)

I’m so glad to see a Nigerian scholar demolish the racist European masturbatory fantasy of childlike Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

…There have been [many] reports that have associated forced prostitution by Nigerian women with the traditional belief in juju…from my own point of view as a Nigerian, this much-publicized connection [is] baseless, senseless and absurd…Unfortunately, many western individuals and organizations that are working and campaigning to combat…prostitution…seem to be fascinated by the juju scare narrative.  They find it useful not only because it fits into the stereotypic notion of Africans as childish in thinking…[but also because] it gives them a special job of managing this “people”…European anti-human trafficking campaigners…have refused to pay critical attention to the underlying socioeconomic reasons that force Nigerian women to travel thousands of miles to prostitute in Europe…Many Nigerian prostitutes come into Europe as illegal immigrants and they live in constant fear of deportation.  So Nigerian women who fear returning to Nigeria have other reasons than…juju…

Cooties (#786) 

After more than two years of UK cops publicly masturbating to the fantasy of “trafficking gangs enslaving women in pop-up brothels”, they finally found people they could shoehorn into the narrative:

A gang centred on a single family has been jailed for forcing women from Hungary to work as prostitutes.  Police said “pop up” brothels ran in Nottingham and Derby…Csaba Csomor was jailed for 13 years after [pleading guilty to] charges including trafficking and controlling prostitution.  Five other members of Csomor’s family were jailed for a total of 30 years for a series of related offences…Police [claimed] between December 2012 and December 2017 women were duped into coming to the UK, some on the promise of cleaning jobs.  They were then forced to into sex work…Hungarian authorities alerted UK police…Several women have been [deported] to Hungary but detectives said more victims could still be out there [hiding from the cops who claim they want to “rescue” them]…

I’m sure the cops were disappointed that these folks aren’t Romanian, but one can’t have everything.

Hard Numbers (#847)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

…the Queensland Government…confirmed the possible decriminalisation of sex work was currently under discussion between the Attorney-General and the Police Minister.  This is a turnaround from six months ago when Police Minister Mark Ryan [said]…there were no plans to decriminalise sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#869)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The Knesset…gave initial approval to a bill allowing heavy fines to be levied on  people caught hiring prostitutes, as the government aims to crack down on sex [workers]…The legislation passed its first reading by 39-0 votes.  It will now face deliberations in the Knesset Committee for the [Suppression] of Women before coming up for final plenary votes…The bill was first proposed as part of a re[striction] package that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said aimed at stamping out [sex workers]…

Droit du Seigneur (#872) 

Sex workers have been saying this for decades:

By their nature, are police vice units inherently at risk for corruption and misconduct?  Consider recent revelations at the NYPD:  On Sept. 13, retired vice Det. Ludwig Paz was charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring.  In November 2017, a sex worker died while attempting to flee [brutalization] by vice [cops] in a raid on a massage parlor.  The Queens district attorney’s report on her death offered no critical introspection on the impact of vice operations, labeling her a “criminal” who “engaged in a degrading and humiliating profession.”  In June 2017…a vice [pig] faced disciplinary hearings after he…[raped sex workers; no known] disciplinary action was taken …vice unit[s]…operate…with impunity…[like all cops] the NYPD targets marginalized communities, fails to improve community relationships, and hides [their crimes]…behind the blue wall of silence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

Amazon over the summer met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to pitch them on buying the tech giant’s controversial facial recognition technology…Alonzo Peña, who served as deputy director of ICE during the George W. Bush administration, [said] that undocumented immigrants could be deterred from seeking  life-sustaining services if they knew immigration officials were using facial recognition software.  Although ICE is technically barred from arresting undocumented people in hospitals and other sensitive locations, Peña says there have been instances of immigration enforcement [ignoring] those rules…

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Justice is what…feminists want from others, not what they do to others.  –  Scott Greenfield

Imaginary Victims 

Concern for “child sex trafficking victims” vanishes when there are no adult whores to oppress:

The Ohio Supreme Court…upheld the murder conviction of a [young] woman whose forced prostitution as a teenager was cited as a factor leading to her involvement in the fatal shooting of her pimp during a robbery…that prosecutors [claim] Alexis Martin helped plan…she…was 15 at the time of the slaying…[of] Angelo Kerney…and his brother.  The girls were having sex with the victims to distract them when the robbers entered a house and the victims were shot…Martin is not accused of firing a gun.  The juvenile court judge should have determined that Martin was covered by a 2012 Ohio law that protects children whose crimes are related to their status as trafficking victims…Had the judge determined that the so-called Safe Harbor law applied, a court-appointed guardian for the teen could have been named…

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones.

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark 

Did anyone not know this already?

Men have better sex with women who are emotionally unstable…and women prefer men who are less agreeable but pay attention to detail, according to the German survey of a thousand people…Julia Velten and her colleagues interviewed each volunteer about their sex lives, personality and sexual function…

False Target (#42)

Though most of this is just typical racist anti-migrant bullshit, one part reveals a deeper sickness:

An 18-year-old Afghan native seeking asylum in Austria may have had his application denied because he didn’t act gay enough…Homosexuality is against the law in Afghanistan and many other Muslim-majority countries…But…an Austrian official…[wrote] “The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual…You appear to be capable of a level of aggression which would not be expected among homosexuals”…He had said he became aware of his sexuality when he was 12 years old, but the official found that was “rather early” and so not likely, particularly in a society such as Afghanistan “where there is no public sexual stimulation through fashion and advertisement”

The idea that all queer people “act gay” (even if they come from a place where doing so might be fatal) is bad enough, but the notion that young people are asexual tabulae rasae until they are “sexualized” by society is much worse; this dehumanizing dogma is the foundation for “conversion therapy” and “john schools”, because if sexuality is learned one who fails to conform to enforced norms can be “re-educated”.

Monsters 

Given the very large queer population of West Hollywood, the attackers were probably looking for someone to beat up:

Gay porn star and comedian Wesley Woods has opened up about a brutal…assault he and his best friend endured on 8 August when out walking in West Hollywood….in a video posted on his Twitter account….where scars on his face are visible…

Lower Education

This is what feminists call “equality”:

When…feminist superstar Judith Butler’s disgraceful and flagrantly hypocritical letter defending her sister superstar, NYU prof Avital Ronell…was sent around for signatures, threatening NYU with the wrath of scholars if Ronell wasn’t exonerated, the university had already found Ronell responsible…one of the university’s brightest academic lights had sexually harassed a gay male student under her care.  This wasn’t one of the faux Title IX cases of post-hoc regret, but the real deal.  Ronell was grad student Nimrod Reitman’s doctoral adviser…And…she turned him into her boy toy upon the implicit threat of destroying his career.  And it continued throughout his graduate studies, as proven by Ronell’s emails…Yet, these scholars sought to coerce a university into silence…to conceal Ronell’s conduct…”Diane Davis, chair of the department of rhetoric at the University of Texas-Austin…said she and her colleagues were particularly disturbed that…Reitman was using Title IX, a feminist tool, to take down a feminist“…Forget the jargonized rhetoric about power dynamics and oppression.  To these feminist scholars, Title IX is just a bludgeon to beat men into submission, and they fought to protect one of their own from facing the consequences of her sexual abuse.  And largely succeeded…

If Men Were Angels 

Isn’t it strange how sex workers are blamed for sexual abuse of kids when cops & clergy are the worst offenders?

Willow Creek Community Church [in Illinois] agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle lawsuits over the sexual abuse of two developmentally disabled boys by a church volunteer…The second and largest of the settlements, for $1.75 million, was made in February, before the Chicago Tribune revealed [supposedly] unrelated claims that the evangelical megachurch’s founder, the Rev. Bill Hybels, engaged in inappropriate conduct with women, eventually leading to his early retirement and, this month, the resignation of the church’s two leading pastors and its entire board of elders.  The influential…church also agreed last year to pay $1.5 million to another victim of former volunteer Robert Sobczak Jr…[who] is serving a 7-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2014 to sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy with special needs at the church and an older boy who was not connected to Willow Creek.  In 2013, Sobczak pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another disabled boy, around age 9, at the church…

The Widening Gyre (#716) 

These silly stories have been common on Facebook for some time, but now I’m starting to see them on Twitter; this one popped up in my timeline last week, and naturally my mockery of it attracted a number of “You can’t prove it isn’t true!” idiots.  They’re beautiful examples of The Law of the Instrument: “It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”  And if you’re a not-very-bright young woman who’s been told that “sex traffickers” are lurking behind every bush waiting to abduct you, naturally you start to see everything in your environment, up to and including litter, as a “sign of sex trafficking”.  I’m not sure how much more ridiculous this hysteria will get before it implodes, but I don’t think we’ll have to wait very long to find out.

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

Under a “legalization” regime, sex workers are still persecuted using idiotic and arbitrary nonsense like “illegally subdividing a building”:

Hong Kong police arrested scores of suspected sex workers after launching new anti-vice raids in a residential building where nearly 100 prostitutes…were [arrested] in a [raid] earlier this year…the 80 [new] arrests…at the 15-storey King Hing Building…were…on suspicion of breaching their conditions of stay…Inspector Timothy Cheung Chun-long said…“Investigations showed criminals arranged sex workers to work in subdivided flats in the building”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#824)

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

Back in March, as it investigated a spate of armed robberies across Portland, Maine, the FBI made an astonishing, unprecedented  request of Google…to find all users of its services who’d been within the vicinity of at least two of nine of those robberies…the request covered a total space of 45 hectares and could’ve included anyone with an Android or iPhone using Google’s tools…The FBI then  demanded a lot of personal information on affected users, including their full names and addresses…Google account activity…[and] all affected users’ historical locations…Google didn’t provide the information…[but] the FBI’s remarkable attempt…[should] worry all who…[realize that] Google continue[s] to track people even when they turned location features off…the FBI believe they have a right to that location data too…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo (#863)

Brooke Magnanti on the re-opening of Laura Lee’s case:

…you probably know the outlines of Laura Lee’s story by now.  How the vivacious and outspoken campaigner for rights was (in her words) abused by a man who interviewed her, then she reported him, then she died.  How he has gone to great lengths to cover up his misdeeds since. Including demanding apologies out of Senators and journalists, simply for sharing what I wrote.  How he leans on Twitter to disappear my tweets…How he does anything but face justice.  This week, a mote of light shone through a chink in the brick wall of denial.  Gardaí have reopened their investigation into Laura’s accusations.  This includes interviewing witnesses who saw Laura and Olaf on the night in question, who offered information to the police before but whose evidence was never followed up…We see a pattern in all of this:  that an assent, or an apology, or public acceptance wrung out under the threat of legal proceedings says very much about the man who tries to bend women to his will, and very little about the women — for it is only women — he has tried to silence.  How he systematically uses their fear of humiliation and harassment to get a superficial approximation of what he wants…

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The second male was located under the rear of the bulldozer deceased.  –  David Beohm

Two weeks ago I featured a video whose subject reminded me of Donald Trump, and now I’m going to do it again with this Jim Croce song about a man who is basically what Trump might be like if he had been born poor.  Some of my younger readers may be unfamiliar with the brilliant Croce, whose career and life were cut short by a plane crash in central Louisiana on September 20th, 1973, only about two months after this video was made (Maury Muehleisen, accompanying Croce in this video, was also killed).  The links above the video were provided by Franklin HarrisMarc RandazzaTim Cushing, Mistress MatisseDave KruegerRadley Balko, and Dave Krueger again, in that order.

From the Archives

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It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

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

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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