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Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

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

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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They’re good clients, they give good money, better than anybody else.  –  Gabby, Ghanaian sex worker

Subtle Pimping

So many “artists” feel no compunction against exploiting sex workers:

Michael Jacobs, the director of a new virtual reality movie that premiered at SXSW, says that his film aims to give sex workers a voice.  But according to its main and only character, real-life sex worker and indie porn director named Liara Roux, the movie, which currently doesn’t credit her at all, includes nudity and intimate scenes that she didn’t agree to have included in the final film.  GFE…follows an “anonymous escort” as she goes on a date with a client.  Jacobs…[says] it’s a fictional “documentary fantasy” with the goal of “demystifying escort work and bringing a sense of empowerment to escorts…and men.”  Roux, however, says that she never signed a release for the film, and that she felt that it was an exploitative experience.  A spokesperson for SXSW [said]…Jacobs voluntarily pulled the film on [March 15th]…

Beware of people who say they want to “empower you” or “give you a voice”; such pomposity means they think you’re beneath them & have no voice of your own.  It sounds like something a Victorian might say about people in India.

Checklist (#542)

The places “authorities” demand their magical anti-pimp posters be displayed demonstrate their origin in puritanism:

As part of a sharpened campaign to combat human trafficking, North Carolina [pigs & prohibitionists]…have urged people to [spy on each other and rat others out to the pigs]…A law adopted in 2017…requires the signs to be placed in liquor stores.  Other states such as California, Texas and Oregon have taken similar actions targeting liquor stores because [dirty sex] people…might be more likely to be in a liquor store than somewhere like a post office or some other public space [where good people go]…

The Course of a Disease (#583) 

Cop says he’s “hamstrung” because he can’t arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

[Vermont politician] Peter Fagan…introduced a bill…that would have expanded the definition of prostitution, closing a loophole that [pigs oink] has stymied efforts to [harass consenting adults] in the state.  However, Fagan said…that bill missed the…deadline…Matthew Prouty of the Rutland City Police said that Vermont’s prostitution law is [specific] …which has hamstrung [attempts to persecute owners and patrons of] massage parlors.  “My probable cause can’t be a purchaser who says they had a ‘happy ending’ because that isn’t illegal,” he said [following by grunting a lot of bizarre nonsense like] “Any time you have a drug market, you have a sex market…There are very, very few people that are making a living and not being coerced…That is [my perverted masturbatory fantasy] of it”…

Broken Record (#631)

Farm machinery still causes “sex trafficking”!  And strip clubs!  And sex stores!

Arriving…for her stint as a guest speaker for a human trafficking symposium, Summer Dickerson easily spotted a strip club and sex store in Oak Grove.  “You know y’all have a problem here,” [said] Dickerson, a [delusional prohibitionist]…Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the symposium, speaking about the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking…[by running a prostitution] sting during this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A Chicago [cop] was…charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and official misconduct.  The…victim was a man suspected in a misdemeanor whom Carlyle Calhoun and another [cop] were assigned to guard at St. Bernard Hospital on Feb. 3…as the victim was shackled to a bed, the [molester cop] sucked the man’s toes, grabbed his penis and took a photo of the victim as he tried to use a portable urinal.  Once the two were in a bathroom, Calhoun…”performed oral sex on the victim…The victim repeatedly asked the defendant to stop and tried to convince him that his misbehavior would be discovered”…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

Just in case you thought blaming whores for epidemics went out sometime before the invention of indoor toilets:

…36 percent of the adults in Vulindlela [South Africa] are [HIV] positive, as are about 60 percent of the women aged 25 to 40.  Although HIV infection rates have stabilized globally, hundreds of thousands of South Africans are infected every year; more than 7 million live with the virus in their bodies…the HIV prevalence among adolescent girls is roughly five times greater than that of boys…researchers have concluded that the high rate of infections here—among both sexes—is driven in part by [sugar] relationships…

Because obviously, what the writer smugly calls “egalitarian” sex magically protects people from infection.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

This hodgepodge of racist, sexist, anti-sex nonsense seems to be trying to fit in every single “sex trafficking” trope:

The Katy [Texas, population 14,000] area is contributing to what Gov. Greg Abbott calls a statewide health crisis of human trafficking…A December 2016 University of Texas at Austin report says 313,000 people were trafficked in Texas in 2016, 79,000 of whom were children [without anyone noticing].  Kelly Litvak, [another mathematically-illiterate prohibitionist]…said there is evidence of brothels and trafficking along the I-10 corridor…12-14 years of age…social media…lure them…recovery of victims…human trafficking’s grip…children can be recruited into sex work…the horror…[fetishist] Vanessa Forbes…said she knows of at least 11 brothels…staffed by women of Asian descent who are forced into prostitution…They are often in strip malls and disguised as…nail spas…Women trafficked for sex…are…delivered [in plain cardboard boxes] to people responding to online ads…A narcotic can be sold once and…a prostitute can be sold multiple times per day…76 percent of money for sex transactions processed online…mentally conditioned through abuse and coercion to defend their pimps in court…

This was ostensibly written by an adult man with a university degree.

Not So Easy

A rare victory for sex workers:

In a striking victory for [sex workers]…a divided New Orleans City Council shot down a proposal…to cap the number of Bourbon Street strip clubs…The council voted 4-3 against the limit after hearing from numerous dancers who called…police raids…a threat to their livelihoods and their freedom of expression…[proposal sponsor] Stacy Head…[lied] that the limit was no more than a routine move to rein in some of the excesses associated with crowded, high-traffic businesses, rather than an attack on adult entertainment…the…vote means strip clubs will be allowed to operate unencumbered once a temporary ban on new ones lifts in May…

Note that all three politicians who voted to infantilize women & destroy their livelihood were themselves women.

The Widening Gyre (#811) 

It’s hilarious watching the cops trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic:

Several Facebook posts have gone viral in [Colorado] detailing scary situations where human traffickers tried to lure new victims at popular shopping centers…“As far as we know, no.  It’s not real.  It seems like a hoax,” Thornton police Sgt. Ernie Lucero said. “Just sharing it just because [some “authority” says it’s real] doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always fact”…The posts are convincing to [ignorant] social media users.  They have been shared thousands of times, causing [stupid] people to worry about public safety…

That Old Black Magic (#813) 

Remember this next time prohibitionists try to blame migration on African religions:

On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain.  At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.  Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, [agree] to sign a contract with the [smugglers] who finance their journey…The agreement is sealed with a…juju, ritual…The oba has authority over all the spiritual priests in the Benin kingdom (not to be confused with the West African country of Benin)…What the oba has done is likely to be more effective than anything the international anti-trafficking community has managed to do after millions of dollars and many years…over 90 percent of the thousands of women [who migrate] from Nigeria to Europe to work as prostitutes are coming from Edo…in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution”…[they told other women, and those women’s choices to risk migration for a chance at success are now being branded] human trafficking…

Standard Operating Procedure (#817)

Bullshit-free headline: “How UN Staff are Helping Local Economies”:

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance policy”, sexual exploitation continues in South Sudan…Last month, the U.N. recalled a 46-member Ghanaian peacekeeping police unit…following allegations of members of the unit [paying for services] with locals.  The action of the U.N. in this case will provide “interesting insight into whether or not the [U.N.] secretary-general is serious about sexual abuse,” [bloviated prohibitionist] Peter Gallo…Gabby [a sex worker in Juba] works three or four nights a week and can make up to $200 a night from one international aid worker or U.N. staff client, she said — an evening that often includes dinner, drinks, and a fully paid hotel room.  This is in stark contrast to her South Sudanese clients, many of whom don’t pay at all and sometimes turn violent…

Elephant in the Parlor (#822)

Though most people are focusing on the sex, the real story here is that she was threatened with violence:

Stormy Daniels…revealed the details of an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, telling Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that she felt threatened into remaining silent…Daniels said she feared for her and her family’s safety, and opted to sign a nondisclosure agreement instead of going public and cashing in for more money…“I didn’t even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this…strict contract…and what most people will agree with me extremely low number”…in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe…Trump said during their initial encounter in his hotel room that she reminded him of his daughter Ivanka…she instructed Trump to pull down his pants so that she could spank him with a magazine, which featured his face on the cover.  “So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know had underwear on…I just gave him a couple swats,” Daniels said…Later…she and Trump had unprotected sex.  She said that even though she did not want to have sex with him…it was entirely consensual…[because] Trump…kept dangling the possibility of signing her as a contestant on The Apprentice…[and] she viewed it as a potential “business deal”…Four years later, Daniels says she was physically threatened after [Trump’s lawyer] Cohen found out that she had tried to tell her story to a celebrity gossip magazine…she was in a parking lot with her infant daughter when a man approached her and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl.  It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom…Leave Trump alone.  Forget the story”…

Too Close To Home (#824)

Sydney Brownstone has more on Seattle’s evil scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

…lawyers representing men caught in a sex work review website sting showed up in King County Superior Court with an unusual and bold request: to disqualify the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from prosecuting their cases…thousands of documents show…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Massachusetts-based Demand Abolition, including…strategies for dealing with reporters and sex worker advocates…in 2018–after the World Health Organization and Amnesty International have endorsed research and policies showing that decriminalizing sex work, including buying sex, actually keeps sex workers safer—King County’s involvement with Demand Abolition raises questions about why prosecutors are still increasingly criminalizing…sex work…

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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If you’re not supporting the way people are surviving, you’re not supporting their survival.  –  Kate D’Adamo

Here We Go Again 

As I’ve been saying for the past 14 years:

The notion that prostitution…is a form of slavery…[is] a reprise of the Progressive Era [hysteria]…of the early 20th century, when a burgeoning national media, led by McClure’s magazine, established the “white slave trade” as an urgent and widespread peril facing the nation.  The ensuing moral crusade led to “formal responses on both the local and federal levels, including the election of anti-trafficking candidates to governmental office; the proliferation of commissions to study white slavery and vice…the formation of special vice units…the passage of…legislation [such] as the Mann Act…and the expansion of the Bureau of Investigations [the precursor to the FBI]”…according to Gretchen Soderlund, author of Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism… “White slavery was largely a cultural myth for understanding sex work,” wrote social-work researcher Nicole Bromfield…“White slavery”…linked a moral crusade with the vilification of immigrants — especially nonwhite immigrants — who were painted as pimps and slavers.  Women of color who did sex work were dismissed as “voluntary” prostitutes, unworthy of redemption or rescue.  As for white women, their innocence might be presumed but their consent was considered irrelevant…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Men are impersonating [cops] and using the broad powers of the job to sexually assault women…[because cops], too, have a long track record of committing sexual violence against women…experts say…not enough police departments are taking the issue seriously.  “It’s so troubling when we hear about these cases,” said Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, which includes a chapter about sex work…“a significant proportion of [sex workers] have had interactions with police that involved demands for sex or other kinds of abuse, so sex workers are going to be particularly wary to challenge a [cop]”…

Banishment

Actually, I think this is a good thing; the more people are subjected to this evil tyranny, the more will realize that nobody should be:

…[Politicians] have long justified sex offender registries as a way to notify people about potentially dangerous neighbors or acquaintances, while critics say they fail to prevent crime and create a class of social outcasts.  Over the years, several states have expanded their registries to add [people convicted] of other crimes, including kidnapping, assault, and murder.  Tennessee added animal abuse.  Utah added white collar crimes.  A few states considered but abandoned plans for hate crime and domestic abuse registries.  At least five states publicly display methamphetamine producers.  But Kansas went furthest, adding an array of lesser drug crimes; roughly 4,600 people in the state are now registered as drug offenders…[pigs pretend] that the registry helps keep track of people who may commit new offenses and cautions the public to avoid potentially dangerous areas and individuals…Kansas legislature is currently considering a bill proposed by the state’s sentencing commission that would remove drug offenders from the registry.  “It is a drain on resources with no science, studies, or data to justify it,” defense lawyer Jennifer Roth told [politicians] at an early February hearing…

Under Every Bed

This is just the same old “interstate highway” nonsense, but the fact that it’s Alabama makes it even funnier:

A multi-billion-dollar industry is taking east Alabama by storm…“It’s a $150 billion worldwide industry…the target age is 12-14″…[hebephilic fantasist] Maryhelen Kirkpatrick said…“Because you all are so close to Atlanta there ’s a lot of trafficking that happens here”…easy interstate access provides a hot spot for predators in our area to lure victims away…“These…kids have no idea who they are talking to until it’s too late,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said…“Sex trafficking is a huge issue that is getting bigger, bigger, and bigger almost by the day”…

Doesn’t Hughes sound like he’s wanking and about to jizz on himself? “It’s getting bigger…BIGGER…BIGGER…oooh yeah!”

If Men Were Angels 

“Pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

“Sexual immorality” was the reason cited when longtime Pastor Ken Engelking resigned in January from Morning Star Community Church in Salem [Oregon].  Four women had come forward…with allegations against Engelking, two other former church staff members and a member of an affiliated church…the women chronicled accusations of an abusive, adulterous relationship involving Engelking, and sexual assault and rape by three other men over more than 20 years, including as recently as 2010…the women said they were silenced by Nelson and other church leaders, pressured to not report what happened to them or do anything that could tarnish Morning Star’s image…the…church board [included a cop and a politician]…

Censor Chic

Though this isn’t awful, every article Wired prints about sex work contains an inexcusable amount of misinformation:

While some sex-work directory sites do still exist online, the 2014 federal takedown of popular web hub RedBook [sic] hastened a shift that was already in the offing: sex workers taking their marketing into their own hands via social media..But…all of it is strictly against platforms’ rules regarding sexual content, which are loosely based on United States prostitution law.  And…workers’ accounts are often shut down without warning or explanation, even when their content never ventures into explicit territory.  So they’re feeling more than a little betrayed by the platforms they feel they helped create…

Some sites still exist”?  MyRedBook (not “Redbook”) spoken of without mentioning Rentboy, Backpage or TRB?  Platform rules based on “prostitution law”?  WTF, Wired?  Could you, like, talk to some sex workers before making the moronic assertion that Instagram is “the only place to connect” with good clients?

Guest Columnist:  Andrea Werhun 

Another peek at Andrea and her book, Modern Whore:

Former escort Andrea Werhun, 28, says she was determined to destigmatise sex work, and show that it is a job like any other.  The Canadian writer recounts sleeping with obese, unattractive and foul-smelling clients, taking part in a threesome and being raped on the job…She even says she actively enjoyed having sex with an 80-year-old man.  “It’s a reasonable option for a certain kind of person, especially if you have strong boundaries…If you’re just desperate for the money, it could eat you alive.”  Werhun, whose book contains a practical “how-to” guide for would-be escorts, says she thought it was “important to show the full picture” and recount her worst encounters as well as the best…

I think it’s hilarious how much amateurs fixate on our clients’ attractiveness, then have the nerve to talk about “objectification” and similar nonsense.

Fallen Idol (#792)

More allegations of sexual abuse in the porn industry:

Porn actors Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon have released a more than hour-long YouTube video detailing two different incidents of alleged abuse on adult sets.  They say both events took place during shoots with the male performer Rico Strong, and for a director known as Just Dave.  Their accusations include misleading booking practices, excessive face-slapping and choking, and boundary violations.  In Raven’s case, the shoot in question took place earlier in the week of March 6.  Raven says she has filed a police report and undergone a medical evaluation…Nixon’s allegation concerns a shoot that happened in early January; she came forward with her account only in response to Raven’s claims, which were initially aired in a cryptic tweet on [March 8th]…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

Two months.  That’s all it took for San Francisco to figure out a way to harass sex workers that gets around its “policy”:

San Francisco District Attorney [and former police chief] George Gascón is asking new Mayor Mark Farrell to let him install a Human Trafficking Unit in his office, a proposal that gained the support of a key women’s group in the city…“While a 2017 study…found that 58 percent of all defendants in federal human trafficking cases operated as part of an organized criminal group, San Francisco has not identified, investigated or prosecuted any criminal organizations involved in human trafficking,” said Gascón’s proposal.  A trafficking unit would help the D.A.’s office “more effectively identify and prosecute…traffickers, and disrupt criminal organizations that drive trafficking”…

For those who still don’t get it, I present these translations from the Porcish:  “sex trafficking” = “sex work”; “criminal organizations” = “sex workers who know each other in any capacity”; “women’s group” = “authoritarians with vaginas”.

Not So Easy

A stripper lays some inconvenient truths on New Orleans:

Since 2015’s Halloween strip club raids, the count of such clubs in the Vieux Carre in New Orleans has gone from 23 to 14…Adverse zoning, contact and distance laws, discriminatory legislation by age and gender, undercover surveillance and overt police raiding are part of a feedback loop that entrenches itself in the public imagination, spurred on by the concept of “trafficking”…used as a euphemism for “prostitution”…[which] was extrapolated into any gesture or conversation “lewd” enough to be construed as an “ask”. No actual sex acts were documented, no “victims of trafficking” or underage workers were found.  The ATC charged the clubs for women touching their own bodies…[the state has hired] adultbusinesslaw.com …backed by Christian Right activist organizations, this firm’s sole purpose is to eradicate adult businesses…The “secondary negative effects” method has been shown, over and over, to be rife with un-empirical data and unethical ways of collecting it, yet it continues to re-emerge…Bergthold’s cases, when they reach federal court, are routinely thrown out for violating the First (and often the Fifth and Fourteenth) amendment.  Meanwhile, his targets are buckling under the time and money involved in defending against his bottomlessly funded attacks…

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[Censorship] filter deactivation…would be a frightening form of thought-based surveillance.  –  Camille Fischer

Worse Than I Thought

It’s nice to have the Mouse on the side of right for a change:

Florida lawmakers made headlines last month with a proposal to let people sexually exploited in hotel rooms sue the hotel where the abuse took place.  The bill would have imposed $50,000 to $100,000 in fines on defendants who lose, in addition to any money awarded to the victim…But…the bill’s sponsor yanked the legislation from current consideration…Disney and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association were reportedly lobbying against the bill behind the scenes…the outcome here is undoubtedly a good one.  Allowing the victims of sex trafficking to sue hotels…does nothing to prevent exploitation…or to punish those responsible for it.  It creates enormous incentives for fraud…It creates a new imperative for hotel staff to harass innocent customers and invade their privacy.  It ensures that sex workers will face more arrests…we don’t allow the families of people murdered in hotels to file such suits…And it paves the way for more third parties to be held legally liable for the actions of criminals…

Japanese Prostitution (#601) 

The Japanese government still denies it did this:

Documents and video footage have been found showing massacres of Korean comfort women by the Japanese military shortly before the end of World War II…the city of Seoul and the Seoul National University (SNU) Human Rights Center made public for the first time footage of the aftermath of a massacre of Korean comfort women…This footage flatly contradicts the Japanese government’s denial of the forced mobilization and massacre of the comfort women.  The footage shows a Chinese soldier, apparently on a burial detail, looking at naked corpses and then removing the socks off one of them.  Smoke is rising from one corner of the frame…“It’s blurred out in the version for public release, but the original footage shows corpses missing heads and other body parts, allowing us to infer the cruelty of the events in question,” the research team said…

Bottleneck (#638)

Welcome to our world, ridesharing companies:

This local CBS report from the Windy City asks the worrying question of whether or not traffic congestion is getting worse in their city and if ride-hailing services might be to blame…If a new cab company opened up, purchased a thousand new cars, painted them up and put them on the road, you’d have a thousand new cars hanging around downtown, clustering near common pick-up areas and just cruising.  That would increase traffic.  But Uber drivers use their own vehicles which were already on the road before they started driving for the company.  And they don’t wait around by hotels or train stations.  They pick a central location and park, waiting for the app to offer them a rider…cruising around would waste gas and cut into their bottom line… We rarely heard any of these “traffic congestion” complaints before except for some occasional griping, but look what other items popped up, all in the space of a couple of weeks…if someone wanted to do some digging I’d wager the National Taxi Worker Alliance and state level lobbyist groups like the Virginia Taxicab Association would be good places to start…

Finding What Isn’t There (#778)

The actual number of people arrested (not tried or convicted) for “human trafficking” in Louisiana during this period: 16.

New numbers recently released by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services showed an overall 50 percent increase in human trafficking in the state from 2016 to 2017.  For victims under 18, there was a 77 percent reported jump.  According to the report, there were 681 human trafficking victims in the state in 2017.  Of those victims, over half (356) were under 18.  DCFS…gets the numbers from agencies across the state and more agencies are now reporting, so it is worth noting that’s a possible cause for the increase…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#795) 

Are there still people who believe the French are sexually liberal?

A group of French lawmakers wants a fine of at least 90 euros ($110) for people caught making sexist catcalls as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares a sweeping new law targeting sexual [behavior]…proposals…included a fine for “comments, behavior or pressure of a sexist or sexual character” that [cops decide to label] degrading, humiliating, intimidating, hostile or offensive.  Details of how it would be enforced are unclear…

Stalkers in Blue 

I have no doubt that had her kids been absent, this would’ve turned into a rape:

…Patricia Wilson…says [a Tennessee state] trooper, Isaiah Lloyd, pulled her over for not wearing a seat belt in August last year, according to a lawsuit…Lloyd asked her to get out of her car and lift up her camisole and shirt, then felt around her waistline…put his hands in her underwear and touched her buttock and pubic area.  Lloyd ticketed Wilson for not wearing a seat belt — a…violation the DA’s office later dismissed — and she continued on to work…Three hours later, Lloyd pulled her over again, as Wilson’s children — 3 and 8 years old — were in the vehicle.  “We have to stop meeting like this,” Lloyd allegedly said.  He also said he would not give her a ticket for having tinted windows and asked her where she was going…

Not So Easy

New Orleans club owners cover their arses by throwing dancers under the bus:

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control has released details of the consent orders reached with nine French Quarter strip clubs after January raids…mandatory [indoctrination] will include twice-yearly sessions…[of sex] trafficking [propaganda even though]…ATC officials have acknowledged there were no human trafficking-related arrests in their raids…The clubs must also begin using “mystery shoppers” to check in on the businesses once a month…to see if any illegal activity is taking place…[surveillance] cameras must also be installed in all public areas, VIP rooms, private rooms and stages.  Recordings from these cameras must be kept for 30 days and “made available to ATC immediately upon request”…the business[es are required] to fire employees or independent contractors [cops decide to accuse of] prostitution or drug sales…Hustler Barely Legal Club and Hunk Oasis, both owned by the same ownership group…are [also] required to [search] the bags of employees, dancers and entertainers at the start of their shift.  They are also required to hire additional [thugs] to “regularly patrol the floor and VIP areas”…

Morality Lessons (#811) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA)…a…[censorship] bill…[which] would…threaten your free speech and privacy in [an]…attempt to block and tax online pornography.  EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them.  Now HTPA is back…Device manufacturers would be forced to install “obscenity filters” on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices.  [The censorship software] could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee…allow[ing] the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices…HTPA…has been introduced in…Hawaii…Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey…New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee…Virginia, West Virginia…and Wyoming…the bill has died in committees in Mississippi and Virginia…[and] senators in New Mexico…pulled back the bill days after EFF raised the alarm…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Monkey see, monkey do:

The [UK] National Crime Agency (NCA) claims Google and Facebook are “making profits” from sex trafficking…Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when human traffickers use their sites to “pimp” their victims to potential clients…New US laws are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites.  It will make firms liable if they “knowingly assist, support or facilitate” content that leads to trafficking…

Maybe someone should tell the UK media that these laws aren’t even passed, much less “set” to do anything.

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If the benefits, and responsibilities, of adulthood keep getting deferred, is it any wonder kids have a hard time growing up?  –  Karol Markowicz

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, they ran an ordinary escort service like I did:

A [San Francisco Bay area] woman who is accused of running a 150-woman prostitution ring with her son is also a prolific author of feminist erotica…Fay Ruth Romesburg, is accused of working with her son David Scott Romesburg…to lure women into sex work and then arranging appointments for them at three properties…Romesburg said she is “deeply concerned with female sexual empowerment” and referred to laws against sex work as a “continued assault on women’s rights…We need to stop treating these women as victims,” she said of sex workers…”They are highly intelligent and educated”…

Still a Child 

It’s a pity so few Americans can see this:

…for a long time, 18 meant the start of official adulthood in America…suggestions of raising the age for gun purchases came during the same week that the…forceful outpouring of civic engagement by Stoneman Douglas High School students led commentators to argue that the voting age should be lowered to 16…We send mixed messages about when adulthood begins and what will be expected once it arrives…Allan Metcalf notes that “until the teen age was invented, that was the goal of children: to become adult as soon as possible, to escape the limitations of childhood.”  But somewhere along the way, we came up with this middle ground and, to our detriment, this middle ground is [pretended to be] the brightest, happiest time…Then 18 rolls around…An 18-year-old can vote or join the military but not buy beer or, in some states like New York, cigarettes…On the other hand: When they commit a crime, we try juveniles as young as 13 as adults even though we know their cognitive abilities aren’t mature…a Pew Research study last year found that kids are living at home longer than ever before.  They can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26…

If Men Were Angels 

A secondary evil made possible by drug prohibition:

Christopher Bathum managed to build an empire in California’s lucrative addiction treatment industry despite the fact that he held no license in drug counseling and no college degree.  The self-described “Rehab Mogul” founded…a chain of about 20 facilities in Southern California and Colorado…Bathum presented himself as a trusted confidant and mentor to his patients – particularly to young, broken women wrestling with addiction.  He made numerous, vulnerable young women feel special, showering them with “internships” and access to company cars and iPhones…But he also used their weaknesses…to lure the women with drugs, get them high, and then sexually assault them…Bathum was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women…and…now faces up to 65 years in state prison when he is sentenced in April…

Above the Law (#615)

25 years would be satisfactory, if it were given to every single rapist cop:

Two Los Angeles [cops] pleaded no contest…to [raping] multiple women, often preying on victims while one partner served as the lookout as the other carried out an attack in their unmarked police car…[rapist pigs] Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols entered their no-contest pleas to two counts each of forcible rape and two counts each of…oral [rape]. The [rapists] appeared in court in orange, jail-issued jumpsuits and were shackled at the waist…The judge also ordered the [rapist pigs] to register as sex offenders…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

…The latest work deemed “pornographic” is the 30,000 year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf…An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda…was removed as inappropriate content despite four attempts to appeal the decision…A case on Facebook’s censorship of art was heard in a Paris court earlier this month.  Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a French teacher, has been trying to sue the social media giant since 2011 for closing his account after he posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde…Despite Facebook changing its policy on nudity to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”, instances of art censorship persist…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

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

According to Ronal Serpas, the [former NOPD] chief…one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir.  The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim…[trials using the data as evidence] made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir…[which] began in 2012…Palantir Technologies…[was] founded with seed money from the CIA…

Absolute Corruption (#758)

Readers who are still around in 2040 can expect a series of exonerations of victims of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A judge has dismissed charges against two men who were convicted in the death of a woman as part of a “Satanic ritual” more than 25 years ago…Judge Bruce Butler dismissed the charges against Jeffrey Clark and Keith Hardin…[who] were convicted of killing Rhonda Warford in 1992 as part of a Satanic ritual, and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.  New DNA evidence and accusations that [pigs maliciously and intentionally] framed the pair led the Kentucky Supreme Court to vacate the convictions.  After special prosecutor Jon Heck chose not to pursue a new trial, this was the final step…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

Authoritarianism is its own reason for existence:

…the House voted both on Rep. Mimi Walters’ bad amendment to attach SESTA to FOSTA, and then on the combined bill — and both sailed through Congress…even though the Justice Department weighed in with a last minute letter saying that the language in the combined SESTA/FOSTA is so poorly drafted that it would actually make it more difficult to prosecute sex traffickers, and also calling into question whether or not the bill was even Constitutional…the combined (terrible) bill sailed through the whole House 388 to 25.  Kudos to the 25 Representatives who actually understand how CDA 230 works and why this bill is so bad, but it’s depressing to think that it was just 25…

Decentralization (#813) 

I’ll start accepting bitcoin for donations (not services) as soon as someone shows me how to exchange it freely for stuff I actually need:

An adult entertainment venue in Las Vegas will enable its dancers to get payments from clients directly via bitcoin transfers.  The use of the cryptocurrency is primarily used as a privacy-enhancing measure as well as an attraction for affluent bitcoin investors.  Vistors to the Legends Room can use the…bitcoin ATM to buy cryptocurrency at the club.  The dancers can choose to wear temporary QR tattoos as wallet addresses that can be scanned on a smartphone.  Besides the privacy concerns of the patrons, the use of bitcoin allows the dancers to avoid explaining to banks where they get large amounts of cash…

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