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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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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Our job as educators is not to create a surveillance environment that teaches students how to better lie, but to foster critical thinking and civic responsibility.  – Zeynep Tufekci

License to Rape

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

Christopher McCormack is one of the New York Police Department’s highest-ranking officers…his ascension started three decades earlier…and [all]…along the way, police leaders were privy to an ever-growing list of complaints against McCormack…[most] of [which] were hidden from public view…What stands out…is how often Black and Latino men accused him of [molesting them under he pretext of] invasive, humiliating searches…he pulled down their pants in public, exposing their genitals…[and] used his fingers to [rape] their anal cavities [under the pretext of “searching for drugs”]…McCormack is just one of dozens of high-ranking NYPD officers who have risen [thank to egregious] misconduct in their records.  Eighty-six of the roughly 420 [cops]…who currently hold a rank above captain…have tallied at least one misconduct allegation that was substantiated by the [cops themselves], meaning that [the behavior was too blatant to hide as per standard procedure]…the…substantiated complaints are dwarfed by a far larger list of those that are “unsubstantiated,” meaning [cops were able to pretend they didn’t]…happen…

Scapegoats (#438)

I reckon someone else noticed Arpaio’s obsession with this topic:

…For $30.99, users of Cameo — an app where singers, actors and other public figures record custom video messages for a fee — can request a personalized clip of [disgraced politician Joe Arpaio] saying whatever they want…Most of Arpaio’s Cameo videos appear to be standard fare, such as birthday greetings, thank-you messages, congratulatory comments.  But one…[last week] raised eyebrows. “Hey, good luck organizing the Arizona Furry convention,” Arpaio begins, though he pronounces it “Fury,” suggesting he’s not totally certain…he’s been asked to talk about…Arizona Fur Con, an annual event [for] members of the furry community…the…person who ordered the video [goes by]…Sir Yiffs A Lot.  “Yiff” refers to furry-related sexual content or activity, which made Arpaio’s sign-off all the more cringeworthy…”I’m kind of partial to dogs,” he says after a pause, as if responding to a question included in the video request. “But I love all animals. Thanks”…

Devil’s Advocate (#944) 

Florida politicians are obsessed with child-shaped toasters:

[A pervert politician from Florida] filed legislation in Congress to ban [small] sex dolls [fashioned to resemble children] nationwide…[per-Vern Buchanan] said he will reintroduce the [moronically-named] CREEPER Act…which died in the Senate [in 2018]…Buchanan said he felt the [urge] to reintroduce the legislation after [some creep had a masturbatory fantasy] that a…sex doll was being sold on the Internet…was [somehow] modeled off of a girl in Miami [even though the same model has been sold for years before the girl reached the size and age depicted by the doll]…Florida passed a similar…ban in 2019…[making it] one of only three states, along with Kentucky and Tennessee that has specifically banned [plastic toys made to resemble children]…

Welcome to the Future (#1010)

What “predictive policing” actually looks like on the ground:

Pasco County [Florida] Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a…plan…to create a…system to continuously monitor and harass…residents…the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it c[laims are] likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, un[founded allegations] and arbitrary decisions by [cops]…Then it sends deputies to find and [harass] anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.  They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors.  They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines.  They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.  One former deputy described the directive like this: “Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”  In just five years, Nocco’s signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people…

I Spy (#1010)

The pandemic has been a very useful excuse for expanding the police state:

[Using the excuse of] the pandemic, many universities and colleges around the country are forcing students to download location-tracking apps, sometimes as a condition of enrollment…When students enter a classroom, their phone informs a sensor that’s been installed in the room, or the app checks the Wi-Fi networks nearby to determine the phone’s location.  As a university professor, I’ve seen surveillance like this before.  Many of these apps replicate the tracking system sometimes installed on the phones of student athletes, for whom it is often mandatory.  That system tells us a lot about what we can expect with these apps…Knowing that they are being tracked, some students will no doubt let their phone “sleep” peacefully in their bed while they party elsewhere.  If a few get sick, they may hide it, for fear of having their tech trickery found out…Excessive surveillance often backfires in this way…And broad surveillance can engender a chilling effect among the whole populace…

You Were Warned (#1045)

Exactly the same thing the Democrats want, but please tell me more about the “wings”:

A group of…Republican…[politician]s introduced a new bill…aimed at chipping away some of the protections provided to social media companies through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  The [misnamed] Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act…would strip away the liability protection provided by Section 230 if a platform restricted access to content without providing specific rules that it violated…[after] Trump[‘s]…executive order [doing much the same thing was shown to be impotent, bootlicking politicians] started introducing their own legislation to amend the law…

Finding What Isn’t There (#1070)

This time they didn’t even try to wedge their scam into the “sex trafficking” narrative:

Eight [legal minors] were [taken into custody] in a five-day r[aid series] in the Indianapolis area and one person was arrested on charges including parental kidnapping…The U.S. Marshals [are] now [calling all of the apprehensions in three states “]rescue[” even though few if any of the subjects were in any danger; they are also calling all of the 72 subjects “]missing children[” even though most were not actually children and few were actually “missing” in the usual sense of the term]…The [subjects] are between 6 to 17 years old…and [some may have been arrested by the cops under guise of “rescue”, since the pigrelease claims they were all]…turned over to the Indiana Department of Child Services…and…no further details about the [subjects] or the circumstances were released…the U.S. Marshals Service [also pretended] it found 39 missing children in Georgia…[and] 25…in Ohio…[though no factual details were available in that case, either]…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Daniel Prude

It’s hard to believe that today is already the 21st anniversary of the greatest disaster in human history, when we lost the Moon to a bizarre nuclear accident.  What, you don’t remember that?  The video below may help.  The links above it were provided by Mistress Matisse, Cop Crisis, Popehat, Billy Binion, Amy Alkon, and Popehat again, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s awful to think how disposable [migrant] women are.  –  Linda Corchado

To Molest and Rape (#996)

The state is more willing to act when a cop molests a corpse than when he does the same to a living woman:

The family of a woman whose [corpse was molested] by an…L.A. [cop]…is suing [both] the [molester] and the city of L.A.  The family of Elizabeth Baggett notes that [necrophile cop] David Rojas already has been charged criminally in the case, and that his own body-camera footage…captured him in the act…the lawsuit…[was filed by celebrity] attorney Gloria Allred…

Torture Chamber (#999)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

[Screws] in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and [raped] inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation…the [screws favored attacking women]…in areas of the [cage stack] not visible to security cameras…[any] complaint…[results in faster] deportation…[three] women [so far]…have come forward with abuse allegations [and]…at least one [more] was deported after [reporting] a [screw had raped] her…the[se]…are [only] the latest…sexual abuse complaints related to [cage stacks] run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year…About 14,700 [of those caged people reported] sexual and physical abuse…between 2010 and 2016…in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman [reported] that she…and two [other] female [captives] were moved to an isolated cell…[where] they [were] raped and beat[en by masked screws, then]…bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault…one…wom[an who escaped the cage]…because of a medical condition…told an attorney that…guards encouraged women to sign up for anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants because they oversee the dispensing of medication at night and have access to an enclosed off-camera area [where they can rape them]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1017) 

Remember this when cops start bloviating about how they use the technology to catch “dangerous criminals”:

The NYPD [em]ployed facial recognition technology in its [recent st]unt [targeting] a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, whose home was besieged by dozens of [pigs] and…dogs…Derrick Ingram, the 28-year-old co-founder of Warriors in the Garden, was targeted by [thugs] in riot gear during an hours-long NYPD raid on August 7th…[using the excuse that a sow’s dewicate widdle ears got an ouchie from his using a bullhorn] during a June protest against police brutality.  More than 50 [pigs mobbed] his…apartment, shutting down his street and urging him to voluntarily surrender [for beating and caging], as NYPD helicopters hovered overhead…a spokesp[ig oinked]…that facial recognition software was used…to…”compar[e] a still image from a surveillance video to a pool of lawfully possessed arrest photos”…[but] the NYPD’s photo of Ingram appears to be taken from his Instagram page.  It’s unclear how a social media post would constitute either a surveillance video image or an arrest photo…“the tools that are sold to the public as a way to fight terrorism and violent crime [are] being used to silence dissent,” said Albert Fox Cahn…of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project. “We would never have seen this level of police response for using a bullhorn if the message hadn’t been one opposed to the NYPD”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1019) 

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

…ICE [recently] signed a contract with…Clearview AI…[in order to expand its] use [of] facial recognition technology…the agency, along with the FBI, ha[s long] accessed state drivers’ license databases…without the knowledge or consent of drivers…Clearview AI CEO Hoan Ton-That…[responded to requests for comment by vomiting up wanking fantasies about “sex trafficked”]…children across the country”…Federal records also show Clearview signed a $50,000 contract with the US Air Force in December…Several tech companies have sent cease and desist orders to Clearview requesting it remove any data culled from social media posts. And the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Clearview in May for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA)…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1021) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

On July 31, the National Labor Relations Board upheld a ruling that a stripper named Brandi Campbell was a statutory employee of the Centerfold Club in Columbus, Ohio, and that she was fired for engaging in activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)…Campbell…was hired to work at Centerfold [in 2018] as an independent contractor, but weeks later the club management discovered her blog, stripperlaborrights.com, and the cases she’s brought against multiple past clubs where she worked.  Management fired Campbell for violating “no touching” laws—which courts later decided was a discriminatory firing…

Working From Home (#1031)

Indian sex workers, like their US sisters, are going online to survive:

…”floating” sex workers…used to travel regularly from the hinterland to Asia’s biggest red light area–Sonagachi–in north Kolkata…But in the past four months since the Covid-induced lockdown began, these floating sex workers have been reduced to a hand-to-mouth existence.  Trains are yet to resume services and travelling in private vehicles like vans and buses is expensive.  The brothels too are yet to resume business; the 7,000-odd sex workers who live in the red light area are managing somehow by providing “virtual” services online and with rations and other assistance from sympathisers…[but] for the…4,000 or so who commute to the city, their lives have become [more] challenging…The “high-class, A category” sex workers, who used to charge between Rs 25,000-30,000 a night, are now happy to negotiate for Rs 5,000 for it is important for them to stay in the business, pamper the clients.  They have spacious rooms and independent arrangements and can cater to whatever the clients demand…But for the “floating”…getting an independent space to operate is difficult…

Social Distancing (#1044)

New York apes Scotland’s approach to “helping” sex workers:

The [New York] City Council tucked $4.1 million in the 2021 pandemic-influenced budget to “support people involved in the sex trade.”  But sex workers [won’t]…see…any of the funds…none of the groups and agencies [receiving the largesse]…are run by sex workers.  And [in fact most are prohibitionist gangs]…that…don’t [even] recognize sex work as legitimate employment…As COVID-19 disrupted the industry and forced would-be customers to stay home and social distance, sex workers were left without…income and [deemed] ineligible for government unemployment relief…The organizations that got funding, ranging from $85,000 to $650,000…[largely] focus on [working with cops to harass]…sex [workers]…and [target them for arrest and forced brainwashing]…

Social Distancing (#1055)

A “compromise” only bureaucrats and politicians could find reasonable:

Berlin’s brothels were [finally] allowed to reopen…months [after similar businesses such as hairdressers, massage parlours, gyms, tattoo shops, and saunas] – but [intercourse] is [still verboten by diktat]…clients looking for sexual healing in the German capital will have to make do with [hand jobs] until regulations are further relaxed in September…In July…[sex workers] staged a protest outside the Bundesrat upper house of parliament in Berlin, complaining that [discriminatory] restrictions were preventing them from making a living [legally]…

To Molest and Rape (#1060)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

The former head of the Boston police union…sexually abused a girl over five years, beginning when she was 7.  Patrick M. Rose Sr…[repeatedly molested] a [now] 14-year-old girl…from the time she was 7 years old until she was 12…Rose…[tried to] flee…[but was caught when] State Police [used software to access the location data from] his phone…and [caught him at] a Needham [Massachusetts] hotel, where they arrested him [last week]…Judge Kathleen Coffey set bail at $100,000 and ordered that Rose wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from the alleged victim and other children under 16, and surrender his passport, any guns that he might have and his license to carry a firearm…

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Gender-specific…violence is not an aberrant corner of law enforcement. It is…a cornerstone of police power.  –  Anne Gray Fischer

I Swear To God

Just in case you thought the US was the only country playing the compelled speech game:

A leading [Irish] sex workers rights group was told it could not access government funding unless it [pretend]ed that “prostitution is inherently exploitative of vulnerable people”.  Sex Workers Alliance Ireland enquired about emergency funding from the Department of Justice after it gave similar funding to the leading “End Demand” advocate organisation in Ireland…The group says “this culturally entrenched position” from the government has “no place in decision-making within the DoJ in regards to policy-making”…A spokesman for the Department of Justice…[responded by vomiting out a lot of nonsense about] “organised crime involved in human trafficking”…

Monsters

It’s good to see the real monsters caged for a change:

A court in El Salvador has sentenced three [typical & representative cops] to 20-year prison sentences for the murder of a transgender woman, the nation’s first convictions in a homicide case involving a trans victim…About 600 LGBT+ people have been murdered in El Salvador since 1993…[Camila] Diaz, a 29-year-old sex worker, had fled El Salvador for the United States following repeated threats on her life from a gang but was deported two years ago [due to racist, anti-sex US laws and violent Trump administration policies.  Then in January 2019]…the three [murder]ers…offered to give Diaz a ride home a[s a pretext to murder her.  They]…handcuffed [her] face-down in their p[igmobile, then]…severely beat…[her] and thr[ew her] out onto a highway…she…died three days later in a hospital…

Business As Usual (#767) 

It’s good to see this getting public attention again:

…Police sexual violence is hidden in plain sight…sexual violence…is endemic to law enforcement, and…women of color..,are especially vulnerable to it.  This violence is possible in part because of the extreme power disparity that exists between targeted women and police, which at once enables such violence and shields officers from consequences.  But police sexual violence is also possible because it is a legally sanctioned tactic of everyday policing.  Women’s bodies are the strategic terrain on which police gain evidence, secure informants, and impose their authority in the name of “public safety” and “border security.”  Indeed, rape is considered a legal and legitimate tool of law enforcement…undercover police routinely entrap women into engaging in sexual acts to gain “evidence” that they are doing sex work.  Because consent is obtained under false pretenses, this practice amounts to legal sexual assault…Sexual “contact” by police officers to enforce morals laws is legal in all fifty states; when lawmakers in Alaska tried to ban police sexual contact, the Anchorage Police Department quashed the bill.  How did we get to the point where sexual assault is considered valid, necessary police work?  The answer lies in the origin story of modern police, and specifically in the history of the discretionary enforcement of public order laws…

I Spy (#904)

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

…Anomaly Six LLC…founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps.  An SDK allows the company to obtain the phone’s location if consumers have allowed the app containing the software to access the phone’s GPS coordinates.  App publishers often allow third-party companies, for a fee, to insert SDKs into their apps.  The SDK maker then sells the consumer data harvested from the app, and the app publisher gets a chunk of revenue.  But consumers have no way to know whether SDKs are embedded in apps; most privacy policies don’t disclose that information…Anomaly Six is a federal contractor that provides global-location-data products to branches of the U.S. government and private-sector clients…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#911) 

COVID-19 is almost as versatile an excuse for tyranny as “sex trafficking” is:

…Citing the threat of COVID-19, [the Trump administration has] granted federal agents sweeping powers to almost immediately return anyone at the border, including infants as young as 8 months.  Children are typically entitled to special protections under the law…[but] the administration is not deporting children — a proceeding based on years of established law that requires a formal hearing in immigration court.  It is instead expelling them — without a judge’s ruling…[or] access to…lawyers, sometimes not even their family, while in U.S. custody.  The children are not even granted the primary registration number by which the Department of Homeland Security tracks all immigrants in its [custody], making it “virtually impossible” to find them…almost all children arriving at the border are being rapidly returned.  Between April and June, [CBP thugs and bureaucrats] encountered 3,379 unaccompanied minors at or between ports of entry.  Of those, just 162 were sent to federal shelters for immigrant children…Lisa Frydman…of…Kids in Need of Defense…[said,] “The rest are just gone”…Of the thousands of unaccompanied minors expelled under the health [pretext]…advocacy organizations said that they have only found about three dozen after months of searching across the United States, Mexico and Central America…the administration has detained at least [240] children in three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in El Paso and McAllen, as well as Phoenix, before expelling them…Children reported being held for weeks…with little ability to reach anyone outside…

Blunt Instrument (#986)

It’s great to see Asian sex workers fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative:

…sex work can be a crucial source of income and, in some cases, startup capital, for those denied access to other options.  “I’ve seen a lot of former massage parlor workers start bakeries, laundromats, or new massage parlors of their own,” says [Kate] Zen, a former sex worker and co-founder and co-director of Red Canary Song, a collective of Chinese massage parlor workers in New York City that formed after massage parlor worker Yang Song died [because of] a police raid on a Flushing massage parlor in November 2017…It is the quintessential American story.  Immigrants arrive, often fleeing persecution or other injustice elsewhere.  They find a neighborhood that has at least some of the comforts of home — food, language, culture.  Maybe some family or friends who came before them.  They find work, even if it’s not necessarily the work they’d ever dreamed for themselves.  They save up, and some of them start their own businesses, pay their way through college or get certification for careers they were already trained for…But because of who they are and the kind of work they do, sex workers are seen as nuisances at best and easy targets at worst by those with more power and wealth in the city around them…

I Spy (#1057) 

Pigs are rooting around in people’s social media in order to destroy their lives:

…In early June…the City of Pittsburgh created [a new cop shop called] the Damage Assessment and Accountability Task Force [DAAT] to…charged [as many] people [as possible with]…alleged crimes stemming from the protests.  The charges range from disorderly conduct and failure to disperse to burglary and [so-called] weapons of mass destruction [as though they had nukes or something]…In 21 cases, police used social media in combination with other forms of evidence….including…Analyzing Instagram profiles and Facebook livestreams…facial recognition…surveilling the home of a suspect’s girlfriend…surveillance cameras…[and] using [facial recognition based on] a statewide database of photos…including…driver’s license photos…

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I exonerated tons of cases that involved awful conduct.  –  Dan Bodah

Here’s a funny look at something I’ve been pointing out for decades now, provided by Marc Randazza; the links above the video were supplied by Amy Alkon, Thaddeus Russell, Franklin Harris and Jesse Walker, Walter Olson, and Jesse Walker again, in that order.

From the Archives

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We put incredibly onerous restrictions on them that are…des[igned] to…make them fail.  –  Daniel Lambright

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) 

New York increases “indefinite imprisonment” to “death sentence”:

On March 4, Hector Rodriguez was sent to Rikers Island because he failed to log his address with state’s sex offender registry — even though he had been homeless for years.  Rodriguez died June 21 on his jail bed, while struggling to breathe during a severe asthma attack…he was 60 years old and had contracted COVID-19 in April…Rodriguez was convicted of raping a woman…in 1979, when he was a teenager.  He spent 23 years in prison and has been on the Sex Offender Registry since his release…“He died in a jail where he was put because he didn’t tell someone he was homeless? What kind of society does that?” asked Vincent Schiraldi, who served as probation commissioner during the Giuliani administration…

Sex Rays

Where “bad vibes” is used to mean “sex rays”:

At the posh 75 Main in Southampton [New York], owner Zach Erdem…[publicly] chopped up and torched Table 1 — the favorite of onetime regular Jeffrey Epstein, and occasionally, Harvey Weinstein…“I’m sick of the bad energy of this table,…Every time I see it I think of that sicko.”  The bustling brunch crowd left their tables to gawk at the bonfire in progress, whooping and chanting, “Burn, Epstein, burn!” as Erdem hacked at the cursed table and burned it into oblivion.  Renee Downing, a Miami native who summers in the Hamptons, toasted the roasting. “I think this sends a strong statement”…

Said statement being, “I figured out a way to turn last year’s news into an ad for my overpriced hipster restaurant, because if Gwyneth Paltrow can profit from a bunch of superstitious snobs with far more money than cognitive development, so can I.”

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

The result of “abstinence only sex education”:

Plastic wrap.  Plastic bags.  These are some of the workarounds teens use to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, pediatrician Dr. Laura Grubb, a specialist in adolescent medicine…published…in the journal Pediatrics…Grubb said…”I’ve heard so many teens tell me that they don’t need contraception or they don’t need condoms because they don’t plan on being sexually active.  And then a couple weeks later they’re back in the office and we’re running a pregnancy test or we’re testing for sexually transmitted infections.”   Recent rates of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, have been skyrocketing among teens and young adults, at the same time that the number of teen pregnancies and births has declined…Adolescents and young adults account for more than 50% of new STI diagnoses, despite being only about 25% of the sexually active population…they [also] account for 1 in 5 of all new HIV…diagnoses in the United States…

The Last Shall Be First (#768)

Politicians’ potty obsession goes federal:

A copy of the new rule that will allow homeless shelters to refuse transgender people has been leaked to the media, and it contains instructions on how to spot transgender women to target them for discrimination…the Obama-era Equal Access Rule…required homeless shelters that receive HUD funding to house transgender people with the gender they identify as.  The rollback…allows single-gender homeless shelters to decide if they want a housing policy based on sex assigned at birth or gender identity, effectively allowing shelters…to determine who is transgender…the rule [says]…a shelter…may use “factors such as height, the presence…of facial hair, the presence of an Adam’s apple, and other physical characteristics”…if a homeless person appears…transgender…the shelter is allowed to ask them for proof of “biological sex”…[but stops short of allowing] shelters [to] forc[e] suspected transgender people to strip in front of them…

Checklist (#972) 

Airlines:  are you sure you want to keep accepting liability for employees racially profiling passengers due to the government propaganda you keep feeding them?

A Black social worker is suing American Airlines…[after] airline employees [accused] her of kidnapping a white toddler whom she was accompanying during a flight last fall.  Shannon Murphy, a social worker with Riverside County, California…was pulled off a plane in October and airline employees [temporarily abducted] the…toddler [she was bringing] back from a court-mandated two-week visit with his father in Arkansas.  While [she] was waiting for the second leg of a flight [at] Dallas-Fort Worth [a racist passenger]…told a flight attendant that they [fantasized] Murphy [was] holding a kidnap victim…Airline employees [forced] Murphy…[off] the plane…and took the child from her…she had paperwork…including her work ID, the child’s birth certificate, and a signed copy of the court order for the trip…but the…[employees preferred to be melodramatic instead of simply looking at the documents on the damned plane]…after about 40 minutes, during which the flight was delayed at the gate, she was let back on…

Dutch Threat (#1017)

The idea of just letting sex workers see clients in private, away from cops, bureaucrats and tourists, never occurs to the Dutch:

the Netherlands[‘ biased and punitive] lockdown measures…[plunged] legal…sex workers…into deep financial trouble and…emboldened [NIMBY]…residents…to [demand]…the [government throttle]…the…tourism [on which the inner city economy depends]…Sex workers [point out that, as is typical in places steeped in puritanism,] their industry has been unfairly singled out as the root of the problem…Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema [is using]…the pandemic [to push her scheme to confine]…sex workers…[in] a “prostitution hotel”…outside the [direct sight of busybodies]…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#1056) 

This is the second time we’ve seen fetishists trying to shore up their collapsing fantasy by pretending that “sex traffickers” discarded their “slaves” during the pandemic:

Thousands of Nigerian women forced into prostitution were left to starve by sex traffickers during the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy…[racist Europeans fantasize that] more than 80% of the tens of thousands of Nigerian women who arrived in Italy from Libya in recent years were victims of highly organised sex trafficking gangs.  The [fetishists claim that] women are forced into prostitution to pay off debts of up to €40,000 (£36,000) and controlled through violence and fear of juju” black magic rituals they are made to undergo before their journey to Europe…during the prolonged and strict three-month Covid-19 lockdown introduced by the Italian government, trafficking gangs abandoned women and their children, who were unable to leave their homes or work and were left without food or money to pay the rent.  Given the illegal status of their jobs, they had no recourse to financial assistance or unemployment benefits…

Anyone with at least one foot in reality could comprehend that sex workers are in financial trouble for the same reason as many other people, but that would require admitting that sex work is work.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Cornelius Fredericks

I recently re-listened to the Cosmos soundtrack, and was reminded of how much I like this piece by blues guitarist Roy Buchanan.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, Stephen Lemons, Angela Keaton, Popehat, Elizabeth N. Brown, and Brooke Magnanti, in that order.

From the Archives

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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