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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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

Maggie in the Media

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

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

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

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

Disaster (#829)

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

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

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

Safe Position (#947)

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

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

Quiet Genocide (#997)

Fascist corporations are eager to assist in a genocide:

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

Served Cold (#1082) 

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

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

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

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1090)

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1093)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

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

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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Why are you in my home?  –  Kawaski Trawick, last words

Though there are rarely any decent holiday videos on YouTube any more (and when there are, they appear only a few days in advance), Christmas has long been a time for celebrating via mind-altering substances.  I therefore present this video, provided by Jesse Walker, who also supplied “corpse” and both obits.  The other links above the video are from Mike Siegel, Walter Olson, Mistress Matisse, Phoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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I think the ideal philosophy is to only care about the fact that you do your job with integrity.  –  Kiran Deshmukh

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Cops think they can never have enough pretexts to harass people:

Dallas [cops]…arrested 88 people in [just the first half of this year for]…driv[ing through a particular neighborhood, claiming they committed the thoughtcrime of]…looking for sex…All but one of those arrested were people of color.  [And now] Dallas [politicians want to make it easier for them to dramatically increase the score by]…allow[ing them] to [arrest people for the “crime” of] passing through [that neighborhood three times]…in…two hours…[using the all-purpose excuse of] trafficking women for sex.  The penalty is a fine of up to $500…[if pigs claim they] suspect[ed their victims]…of being pimps…

An Example to the West (#329)

An interview with Kiran Deshmukh, president of the National Network of Sex Workers in India:

I still remember Meena Seshu…telling us that we had to band together…to fight back.  I still remember that exact day this realization sunk in:  A gangster was on the streets making a scene and threatening us with knives.  All the women who’d usually shut their doors and sit tight poured out into the streets.  One woman undid her saree on the road, and the others used it to tie the gangster to a nearby pole.  The women beat him up so much and so badly that not a single gangster has created a scene in our area since then.  Once women band together, they become formidable opponents…Sex workers…work put food on the table and feed their children.  Society, on the other hand, views the world in a moral–immoral binary…Society will point out how our work is related to our bodies and how many men we “sleep” with…two people having consensual sex is justified but if you attach sex to money, it’s completely immoral.  Why?  You’re all saying it’s totally fine to have sex for free?…As for tragedy, if a woman enters sex work due to a tragic situation, but eventually decides to continue in the same profession, why would you bother her with the circumstances that influenced her choice 30-40 years ago?…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#934) 

Remember, this is not slavery, but lucrative, flexible, voluntary work is:

Most [drug] rehab programs that require work act essentially as temp agencies, farming the [pati]ents out to…third parties, such as tree trimming services, dairies, poultry processing plants or oil refineries.  The wages are remitted not to the workers but to the rehab centers…the…workers…receiv[e]…no pay, no Social Security credits, [and] no unemployment insurance payment…Other rehab-affiliated programs, notably the Salvation Army, have their patients perform grossly underpaid work for their commercial enterprises — if they did not have this captive workforce, they would have to seek [fairly-paid] labor from the open market…

You Were Warned (#1007)

But please, tell me more about the “wings”:

It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn’t understand what it does…[now] his…top tech policy advisor, Bruce Reed, along with Common Sense Media’s Jim Steyer, have published a bizarre and misleading “but think of the children!” attack on Section 230 that misunderstands the law, misunderstands how it impacts kids, and…suggests incredibly dangerous changes to Section 230..[among] its myriad problems…is…citing FOSTA as a “good example” of how to amend Section 230…

Rotting Fruit (#1015)

Why are men with so much to lose so goddamned stupid about sex?

[Paul Alexander,] the owner of a charter-jet company…has been charged with sex trafficking after [NYPD cops claim he]…offer[ed them] sex with a 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl for $300…In March, an underage girl went to the police and told them Alexander…had been…pimping her out…An undercover cop posing as a customer met with Alexander—who showed him nude photos of the girls, charged him $300 for sex with them, and suggested he ply them with drugs and pot so they would be more cooperative…Alexander…has…a 1996 sexual assault conviction…and in 2003 he was convicted of possession of…child [porn]…

Dangerous Speech (#1092)

Backpage case judge claims it’s OK her husband has publicly attacked Backpage because the Backpage case “isn’t about Backpage”.  Seriously.

…the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals…[has] ordered federal prosecutors to respond to the defense’s request for a “writ of mandamus,” which would order U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich to remove herself from the case.  The order…[comes only days after] a hearing in…[which] Judge Susan Brnovich claimed that inflammatory comments made by her husband, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, about Backpage.com’s alleged guilt in facilitating illegal sex work, were unimportant and did not warrant her recusal.  “This case is not about Backpage,” she contended at one point…an assertion that might come as a surprise for anyone familiar with the federal government’s superseding indictment in the case, which mentions Backpage more than 600 times[it also] seem[s] a startling statement given that the prosecution’s theory of the case from jump has been one of vicarious liability, in which the government seeks to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for alleged illicit acts supposedly connected to 50 ads cited in the indictment — ads never seen by Lacey and Larkin and posted by persons unknown to them, among the millions that once existed on the site…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

Pornhub has released…statements about…Visa and Mastercard [announcing] their cards would no longer be accepted on the platform, following…Nicholas Kristof[‘s spurious]…allegations against the company…”These actions…come just two days after Pornhub…[banned] unverified users…from uploading content — a policy no other platform has put in place, including Facebook…Any assertion that we allow CSAM is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue…Pornhub’s safeguards and technologies have proven effective:  while…Facebook reported that it removed 84,100,000 incidents of CSAM over two and a half years, Instagram reported that it removed 4,452,000 incidents…over one and a half years, and Twitter reported that it suspended 1,466,398 unique accounts for CSAM over two years, the Internet Watch Foundation…reported [only] 118 incidents of CSAM on Pornhub in a three year period”…

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Kristof…has never found a victim of a sexual crime that he cannot “humanize” by going through their ordeal in exploitative detail.  –  Gustavo Turner

Policing for Profit (#816)

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

…under…a s[cheme politicians] and top cops have touted in recent years [as a way] to combat [imaginary “]human trafficking[“, gangs]…of NYPD [vice pigs] have descended on minority neighborhoods, leaning into car windows and knocking on apartment doors, trying to get men and women to…agree…to exchange sex for money.  These arrests are based…entirely on the word of cops, who…are incentivized to round up as many “bodies” as they can.  Some of their targets were selling sex to survive; others were minding their own business.  Almost everyone arrested for these crimes in the last four years is nonwhite…89% of the 1,800 charged with prostitution; 93% of the 3,000 accused of trying to buy sex…People living paycheck to paycheck lost their jobs over [imaginary] crimes…[because] facing multiple court hearings and the threat of jail time, they took quick deals to move on with their lives.  [One] former [vice sow admitted to]…ProPublica she participated in false arrests…Eighteen current and former [vice pigs admitted that]…overtime has motivated them for years.  The hours add up over the drive to the precinct, the questioning, the paperwork…

Choke Point (#847)

Since “Choke Point” was never banned or declared unconstitutional, there’s currently nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back:

…the…Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…led the charge with Operation Chokepoint.  [But] under the leadership of acting director…Brian Brooks, the OCC has proposed a rule change that would make government-supported financial suppression much harder legally….[by] mak[ing] use of an Obama-era law to stave off future Obama-style injustices.  The Dodd-Frank Act…authorized the OCC to ensure that nationally chartered banks provide “fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers.”  The intention was that minority customers be evaluated for creditworthiness on [their] own individual merits rather than the attributes of their broader group.  In other words, a creditworthy individual shouldn’t be punished because they belong to some group that is considered “high risk” in the aggregate.  The OCC would like to apply this thinking to industries through the proposed “Fair Access to Financial Services” rule.  The largest banks in the country..would be prohibited from red-lining politically disfavored industries just as they are prohibited from red-lining politically oppressed populations.  Rather, a gun manufacturer or pornography company or payday lender must be evaluated on the terms of their individual creditworthiness…Large banks will not be allowed to cut off financial access for disfavored industries just because the government or some other powerful group leans on them to do so…

Watershed (#941)

This article doesn’t contain anything that sex worker activists haven’t said, and journalist allies haven’t reported, a thousand times before.  What makes it notable is that it appeared (albeit as an op-ed) on the website of CNN, the TV news-entertainment-product purveyor which has done more than any other to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria since the days when Craigslist was supposedly run by Satan’s personal pimp.  Biden & Harris are both arch-prohibitionists with zero interest in making things better for sex workers, and the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria won’t do anything to remove all the oppressive, racist, misogynistic, anti-sex laws which were enacted under its aegis.  But it will mean we don’t have to listen to quite so many cops, politicians, religious fanatics, profiteers, and other (barely) human garbage vomiting out their wanking fantasies of enslaved pubescent girls being raped a physically-impossible number of times per day any more.  And it will also make it possible for more activists and allies to speak out about decriminalization without being drowned out by a flood of lurid tragedy porn, and for politicians in search of an angle to file bills to mitigate some of the damage.  And that is at least a good start.

Panopticon (#1030)

The article omits to say that these spy devices were designed and built in China:

…the Chula Vista [California] police…can dispatch a flying drone with the press of button…to…[spy] on…[people] and…[catch] everything [they do] on camera…Each day, the Chula Vista police respond to as many as 15 [informant] calls with a drone, launching more than 4,100 flights since the program began two years ago…Over the last several months, three other cities — two in California and one in Georgia — have followed suit…the latest drone technology…has the power to transform everyday polic[e surveillance]…even small [cop shops] could operate tiny autonomous drones for a relative pittance.  That newfound automation, however, raises civil liberties concerns, especially as drones gain the power to track vehicles and people automatically.  As the police use more drones, they could collect and store more video of life in the city, which could remove any expectation of privacy once you leave the home…Jay Stanley…[of] the American Civil Liberties Union..[said] “Drones…are…sensors that can generate offenses”…

Just wait until they start combining this with “deepfake” technology to manufacture any kind of “evidence” they like.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Dangerous puritan Nick Kristof and his enablers, the staunchly prohibitionist New York Times, have launched yet another pro-censorship crusade:

Nicholas Kristof [has] published a sensationalistic call for state censorship and financial strangulation of Pornhub…Kristof actually had the reporting to write a nuanced piece about the substantial problems with content moderation that plague all platforms that depend on third-party content, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, [etc]…but that’s not what Kristof and the editors of the New York Times chose to do, instead turning the piece into a manipulative attempt to insert themselves in the complex debates around Section 230…free speech online and sexual expression among consenting adults…Everything about “The Children of Pornhub” is exploitative, from the testimonials, to the absolutely misguided photo essay taking advantage of a homeless teen…As of this writing, Kristof continues to tweet the victim’s photo at public officials in the U.S. and Canada to manipulate them into “doing something about” Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1088)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Portsmouth, Virginia [cop] Cleshaun Cox…abduct[ed and raped a 17-year-old girl] on May 27, 2019…she was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of…[an] apartment…[complex] when [the rapist and a crony showed up, claiming they’d]…responded to a noise complaint…Cox…told…he[r]…that she was out past curfew…and told her and [her] passenger…that they needed to drive home immediately…Cox followed her…[stalking] her [as she got] gas, then…[after she dropped] her friend [off at] home…he [began threatening her, then]…tried to persuade…[h]er to have sex with him [via a combination of promises and threats.  Eventually] he drove her to another location…[and] raped her…

Winding Down

It’s unlikely this will pass the Senate, but it’s a big sign of change nonetheless:

…the [US] House of Representatives voted to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, which was originally imposed 83 years ago in the guise of a revenue measure. The vote was 228 to 164, with five Republicans …joining 222 Democrats and [Libertarian] Justin Amash…in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eliminate federal criminal penalties for cultivation, distribution, and possession…In addition…the MORE Act would require automatic expungement of federal marijuana convictions…prohibit the denial of federal public benefits because of convictions involving cannabis consumption and eliminate immigration disabilities based on marijuana-related conduct…

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ICE has no reservations about covering its tracks to avoid accountability for its…human rights abuses.

Banishment (#435)

Habeas corpus? New York don’t understand that fancy Latin jazz:

New York’s top court upheld a law…that allows the state to keep [people tarred with the label “]sex offender[” indefinitely locked in filthy cages long]…after they have completed their sentences…the state Court of Appeals [pretended] the law didn’t violate due process guarantees, and did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment…In a 5-2 decision, Judge Eugene Fahey wrote for the majority: “We [pretend] that there was no constitutional violation”…

The Course of a Disease (#925)

The Spanish case of the Swedish rot is especially virulent:

…[Busybodie]s in one of Madrid’s eastern districts, Ciudad Lineal, have decided to…campaign for the removal of small flyers and brochures advertising [sex workers’ services]…in the first four hours of the activity some 1238 advertising materials were removed from the streets and vehicles.  [Puritans claimed that interfering with poor women’s ability to pay bills and feed their children during a pandemic is] good news…and [babbled a lot of tinned]…non[sense]…about treatment of women…[and “]the children[!”]…

For an added touch of irony, a notice at the end of this ugly propaganda claims that “TheMayor.EU stands against fake news and disinformation.”

Torture Chamber (#1022)

The government needs to be buried in lawsuits before this will stop:

Newly released federal data show a direct link between widespread sexual abuse in youth [prisons] and unprofessional behavior by staff…Just Detention International…says the findings detail how staff  “routinely crossed boundaries with [young people] prior to abusing them, in ways that should have been obvious to fellow staff and higher ups, including showing kids preferential treatment, sharing intimate details with them about their lives, and providing them forbidden items like alcohol and other drugs.”  Perpetrators most often targeted [youth] who identify as LGBT…[or] have disabilities…youth who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual were about twice as likely as their straight peers to be abused…nearly one in five [trans youth are]…sexually abused…[and more than one in five] who have a disability or mental illness…

Torture Chamber (#1025)

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

…Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants [were] subjected to physical…and [mental torture]…while [imprisoned] at Adams County Correctional Center (ACCC) in Mississippi.  The[y]…were coerced and tortured into complying with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [thugs] to fingerprint documents approving their own deportation.  These fingerprints, used in place of signatures, indicated the immigrants’ [supposed] consent to initiate deportation proceedings and waive their rights to further immigration hearings.  Three people provided firsthand accounts of the violent tactics ICE…used to obtain their prints, including pepper-spraying [them] almost to the point of suffocation, breaking their fingers, and subjecting them to further [violence]…in unmonitored rooms.  A joint complaint filed by FFI and the Southern Poverty Law Center cites eight cases of forced signatures or fingerprints on stipulated orders of removal, as well as several instances of violence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1076) 

LAPD “bans” technology it’s already illegal to use in California:

The Los Angeles police department…has banned…facial recognition software and launched a review after 25 [cops] were accused of using it [illeg]ally to try to identify people…deputy chief John McMahon…noted that p[igs] were only allowed to [root in] the official LAPD ID system…and [that California banned any use] by [cops several months ago]…LAPD…used…Clearview AI…nearly 475 times…over a three-month period beginning at the end of 2019…an LAPD spokesman said [that even though cops ignored previous bans because they carry no criminal penalties, this time will be different even though the new ban is only a policy rather than a law and carries no criminal penalties either]…

Sheep and Goats

But don’t worry; this isn’t important because it’s just “white women getting a manicure”:

On most days, Juyoung Lee is the only person inside Beverly Nail Studio, the salon that she owns in Flushing, Queens…Like nail salons across New York City, her business [was forced by politicians] to close when the pandemic hit in March.  There was a brief surge in demand after the lockdown was lifted in July, but then appointments started dwindling.  Often, customers requested cheaper services.  Now, they hardly come at all.  The beauty industry in the city seemed well positioned to bounce back after restrictions ended.  After all, many customers had spent months without professional grooming.  But now, many of these businesses are on the verge of collapse — a drastic hit for an industry that is an economic engine for immigrant women…The New York Nail Salon Workers Association…said…“The work force is primarily immigrant workers living paycheck to paycheck, supporting children and in many cases sick and aging family members in their own countries”…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

“Predictive policing” scams don’t spare minors:

Victorian police [are using] a secretive data tool that tracked youths and [pretends to be able to] predict…the risk they w[ill] commit crime…Between 2016 and 2018, police [stigmat]ised young people as “youth network offenders” or “core youth network offenders”…Once a young person was classified, police [harass them, accusing]…them…[of] crimes…and [then claiming their self-fulfilling prophecy]…is…95% accurate…

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The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.  –  Adolf Hitler, via the Kentucky State Police

Sean Connery died on Halloween, but I wasn’t about to stack his obit on top of The Amazing Randi’s.  I’ve also grown tired of dead YouTube links, so I picked a tribute from a channel that in my experience doesn’t often get censored.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Mike Siegel, Radley Balko, Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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James Randi, AKA, “The Amazing Randi”, died last week at the age of 92.  If you don’t know who he was, watch this short video for an introduction; there’s also a full-length documentary on his life’s work, An Honest Liar.  The links above the video were provided by Mistress Matisse, Nun Ya, Franklin Harris, Radley Balko, Cop Crisis, Walter Olson, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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I’ve always been dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, “Tricky Treats“, “A Trickle of Treats”, and “Tricking and Treating“.  Horror, death or Halloween-themed columns of the past year include “Diary #489“, “The Shaver Connection“, “No Explanation“, and the short story “Let There Be Dark“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #486#487#509, #530, and #537; and here’s a collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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