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Posts Tagged ‘Panopticon’

Every so often one of my news column subtitles branches out so much that it becomes overcrowded and therefore more difficult to use than I would prefer.  With the explosion of surveillance technology in the past few years, the subtitle “Pyrrhic Victory” has swollen from a few items a year to sometimes several per week, so I’ve decided to break it up by repurposing several existing tags and creating one new one.  To make the new headings clear to both you and me, I’ve linked all the “Pyrrhic Victory” items of the past five years below under the headings similar items will appear under in the future.

The new heading Panopticon is now reserved for purely visual surveillance such as license plate readers, Amazon “Ring” and “eye in the sky” systems; previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #609, 648, 680, 685, 746, 796, 810, 865, 878, 894, 897, 914, 915, 923, 957, 960, 963, 969, 970, 980, and 983

Welcome to the Future will now be used for “predictive policing” and similar systems that pretend to be able to predict “crime” or other behavior, Minority Report style; previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #563, 645, 697, 765, 916, 922, 944, 964, 967, 971, and 977

I Spy will now be used for database-related items (record access, cell phone metadata, encryption, etc); previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #646, 673, 677, 691, 738, 752, 767, 781, 787, 820, 824, 826, 836, 864, 865, 880, 898, 903, 904, 911, 930, 955, 958, 961, 962, and 979

Pyrrhic Victory will now mostly be used for the facial (and other biometric) recognition stories which have almost completely taken over the tag in the past three years.

In addition to these four, items specifically relating to the Chinese oppression of the Uighurs will now appear under Quiet Genocide, items about DNA surveillance have and will continue to appear under Micromanagement, and items about data-mining schemes (which were first tested on sex workers) have and will continue to appear under Guinea Pigs.

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The truth is, what affects sex workers eventually affects everyone.  –  Cora Harrington

The Public Eye

The more sex workers write and speak in public, the harder it will be to ignore us:

…Thierry Schaffauser…[is a] French social activist, sex worker, adult actor, and writer advocating for sex workers’ rights and the destigmatization of the industry.  As a stigmatized industry, sex work is still misunderstood today, especially within politics…sex workers are still being exploited, while the government contributes to this exploitation instead of alleviating it.  As a key figure in the sex worker rights movement, Schaffauser is constantly working towards dismantling these issues—in nearly two decades, he has co-founded Les Putes, a Paris-based organisation defending sex workers rights…founded Hackney Pride, wrote and published a series of articles educating the general public on sex workers rights, and is now working with STRASS, the French sex workers’ union…

Checklist (#811)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

A number of Uber drivers in Baltimore took part in a[n indoctrination] designed to [brainwash them into seeing sex workers as criminals and victims]…The [propaanda was written by]…the Polaris Project, a [corporation which]…profit[s from] human trafficking [hysteria]…Among the [pretended] red flags [were] a customer asking to be dropped off at a [side] entrance…[or] trying to pay with cash…

Who the fuck tries to pay a rideshare with cash? You can’t even start an account without linking a credit card.

The Course of a Disease (#905) 

A sleazebag prohibitionist has wormed her slimy way into the Danish government:

A parliamentary focus group appointed by the previous government to assess possible reform of rights for sex workers has been disbanded…by…new Minister of Social Affairs Astrid Krag…[who] said that sex workers should not be seen as [fully human]…but…a social problem that must be [oppressed]…“We don’t want [facts] telling us how we can make [life better for sex workers]” the minister [said]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#923)

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

The New Civil Liberties Alliance…sued the city of Coral Gables [Florida] on behalf Raul Mas Canosa, a motorist who was tracked by the city’s cameras…Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Abby Cynamon rejected the city’s attempt to have the…lawsuit thrown out on the grounds that motorists have no expectation of privacy.  The city also argued that because Canosa [has not yet been thrown in a cage or gunned down in the street by government thugs]…he has not been harmed.  “This court finds that there is…nothing abstract, conjectural or ephemeral about the claim since the city has and continues to collect such information about the plaintiff’s vehicle.”  Coral Gables [brags that it is] the “statewide leader” in the use of [universal surveillance]…having taken 30 million license plate photos last year alone.  Those photos are converted into searchable database entries that track the time, date, identity and location for all vehicles passing through one of the city’s thirty camera-equipped roads and intersections — including Interstate 95.  This movement history is then made available to eighty different state, federal and local agencies.  Coral Gables began using the cameras in 2015 after [politicians] cut a [fascist] deal with Safeware and Vigilant Solutions…

Blunt Instrument (#930)

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

…the idea that…Asian massage parlors are bastions of sex trafficking has come not only from [pigs and politicians]…but also some of the hundreds of [highly] profit[able] organizations devoted to combatting [sex work]…but…[representatives from Red Canary Song]…said…”No one’s locked in…People can leave these establishments.  They…can just not come back to work the next day, you know?…We’re not sex slaves and nobody I’ve talked or worked with is a sex slave by any means…they’re in it for the money and they make more money doing this than working in a restaurant washing dishes or in a dry cleaners folding laundry”…

Disaster (#940)

Does any media outlet other than local news fail to recognize what a disaster FOSTA is?

…Many digital platforms…have altered their terms of service…to fall in line with FOSTA/SESTA…[which was] marketed to voters as anti-trafficking…this…has resulted in companies…feeling pressured to censor content and remove sex workers from their platforms… putting…[them] in further danger by limiting online resources, and [also] pos[ing] a threat to the freedom of expression online…Sex workers are most at risk of having their livelihood and lives threatened, but anyone having any conversations related to sex and sexuality, or perceived as being related to sex and sexuality, are likely to be marginalized and excluded from platforms that are necessary to modern-day marketing and advertising…

To Molest and Rape (#941)

Your government calls this “border protection”:

An immigration agent threatened a Honduran woman living in Connecticut with deportation if she didn’t [submit to rape]…then raped her as often as four times a week for seven years, impregnating her three times…The woman, identified in the lawsuit only as Jane Doe, sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and [typical and representative] ICE agent Wilfredo Rodriguez…seeking $10 million in damages…Rodriguez…also…constantly…threaten[ed] to kill her and her family…

As usual, the government is hiding pictures of the rapist so other women can’t protect themselves against him.  So until I get a picture of the actual rapist, I’m using this picture of the man officially responsible for his actions: his boss, the head of ICE.

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

…if you have any of a variety of “smart beds,” mattress pads or sleep apps, it knows when you go to sleep.  It knows when you toss and turn.  It may even be able to tell when you’re having sex…The Sleep Number bed is one of the most heavily marketed of such products…The company [pretends] it goes to great lengths to protect its customers’ data…[but] the company’s privacy notice, which clearly states that personal information — potentially including biometric data — “may” be shared with marketing companies or business partners [or pigs, if they demand it]…The policy also says personal information could be given to partners for “research, analysis or administering surveys”…

The Rest is Silence

The coroner knows full well there’s only one likely cause for a broken hyoid bone:

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s brother said…evidence suggested that Mr. Epstein did not die by suicide, but may have been strangled…Dr. Michael Baden…said…Epstein…experienced a number of injuries — among them a broken hyoid bone — that “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation…the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide…I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case.”  The findings by Dr. Baden were [conveniently] disputed by the city’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, who previously ruled that…Epstein’s death…was a suicide…

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The…carceral feminists[s]…are frightened. This is a culture war. – Nnenna

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

[Washington DC’s] “Human Trafficking Unit” is…a misnomer…only two percent of [those they]…arrest…[are charged with] human trafficking…The many proponents of D.C.’s decriminalization bill say that violence is endemic in the sex trade, and that policing is the cause of the violence, not the solution…[most] of the violence comes from [cops] themselves…in 2012, [cop] Kenneth Furr was convicted of [attempting to murder] a transgender woman who refused to [submit to rape.  Cops frequently]…rape people while…on the job, [using the excuse] of making an undercover arrest…MPD [claims] they have rules of conduct for prostitution stings [but the evidence shows these are ignored]…

Election Day (#840) 

Marijuana prohibition (in North America, at least) will soon be a thing of the past:

Mexico‘s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalise marijuana in the next few days…marking a [long-overdue] step towards…removing it as a source of income for [the police and] violent drug gangs…Senator Ricardo Monreal, the leader of…[the majority] party in the upper chamber of congress, said…“The end of the prohibitionist policy is good for the country”…Late last year, the Supreme Court said lawmakers have until 24 October to legalise marijuana, after the high court ruled in several cases that the prohibition of the recreational use of the drug violates the constitution.  Under Mexican law, if the Supreme Court issues the same decision five times, the rulings set a precedent and the court can then order the establishment of a regulatory framework as well as further legal action…

This could be the beginning of a new economic era in Mexico, and if they’re wise they’ll follow it up by legalization of all drugs and a campaign advertising that fact to tourists.

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900)

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

…28-year-old criminal defence lawyer Nadia Guo found herself thrown into the Canadian public eye [when] a local Toronto news story…outed her as a former escort…[with] the [stage name] “Dawn Lee”…the timing of the story…couldn’t be more conspicuous.  The morning after it dropped, she was due to appear in front of the Law Society of Ontario tribunal to prove she was of “good enough character” to become a lawyer.  This hearing was for reasons that had nothing to do with escorting…mostly…her outspoken social media…comments online about police, crown prosecutors and judges…in spite of the damage…Guo was finally granted her license to practice law [earlier this year]…[and has] used her platform to create a new story for herself, writing about navigating sex worker stigma in the legal world, using Tumblr to challenge how she’s been portrayed in media, signing with a literary agency to write a memoir, and officially starting her own legal practice.  We caught up with Guo to find out how one rebuilds a reputation – and life – after facing the full wrath of public stigma…

Safe Position (#944)

Hearings for the DC decriminalization bill dwarfed similar meetings in NYC:

For more than 14 hours on [October 17th], D.C. officials heard…public testimony about decriminalizing prostitution.  The…measure…would remove criminal penalties for…consenting adults…it would not touch existing prohibitions on sex work involving children, coercion, fraud, abduction, or violence, nor other criminal laws surrounding sexual assault, labor exploitation, or activity involving people under 18.  You might not have guessed that…from listening to…[speeches] from “anti-exploitation” groups that…were rife with refusals to distinguish between voluntary sex work and human trafficking, or between what the bill would actually do…and the detailed tales of trauma they told.  Again and again, nonprofit representatives invoked trafficked children and raped women…The president of…NOW…Toni Van Pelt, [fantasized] that the bill would [legalize kidnapping]…Councilmember David Grosso, who introduced the bill and is now among four sponsors, stressed repeatedly that, if anything, this measure would give police more capacity to handle the sex crimes that should actually be sex crimes…This…earned Grosso—a white man—a number of direct and indirect accusations [that]…he didn’t understand life in black and brown communities…But Grosso only brought forward the legislation after being approached by a coalition of activists…from…DECRIMNOW, [who] are overwhelmingly young D.C. residents of color, many with personal experience in sex work…

Torture Chamber (#964) 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

Robert Wayne Johnson…[was] grappling with mental illness…[and] couldn’t afford about $2,500 in municipal court fines and fees accumulated over three years for [minor] infractions such as driving without a license…a judge sentenced Johnson to a two-day stint in jail [but] instead…[he was caged without reason] for 52 more days until he killed himself in January 2018…county officials [have no explanation]…Johnson’s death is among the hundreds each year that make suicide the leading cause of death in local jails…in the days before his death, a distraught Johnson tied torn towel strips around his neck in an apparent effort to strangle himself.  That [was ignored]…by staff…on…the day Johnson died, he tied shoelaces around his neck and…later cut his wrists with a razor blade until another detainee took the blade away and alerted [screws who locked him]…in [solitary confinement]…15 minutes [later]…he was [found dead] with his shoelaces wrapped around his neck and tied to the bed frame…

Shift in the Wind (#965)

Pro-decrim articles are even common on conservative sites these days:

…Conservatives don’t have to like it, and they certainly don’t have to view prostitution as moral or acceptable.  But if they want to embrace practical reality over moral idealism and help women, they’ll begrudgingly accept that we must stop waging state-led war on the world’s oldest profession.  Criminalizing prostitution only pushes it underground, making it significantly more dangerous for the women that participate…Decriminalization doesn’t magically make the sex industry a wonderful place to work or eliminate the moral qualms that reasonable people might have with prostitution.  But it does do a great deal to make the trade, which always will exist and always has existed, much safer for everyone involved…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#974)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

This month, Florida became the first state in the nation requiring sex-trafficking [indoctrin]ation as part of every student’s curriculum…The new policy requires every school district to implement age-appropriate lessons about [how sex is bad and scary and women are too stupid to be allowed to make decisions about it]…Valerie Ellery, the Florida Department of Education’s new Human Trafficking Education Specialist [admitted] “[I am] very grateful we are able to have this rule passed so [I] can [ride this gravy train while it lasts]”…One of the lead proponents for the rule was Selah Freedom, a Sarasota-based…organization that [makes its money via a religious “diversion” program for sex workers that is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#980)

If you aren’t worried about spy planes, how about this?

…satellite imagery…resolution keeps improving…[the ability to] identify individuals or license plates from space…[is] not far-off…In just 15 years, we’ve gone from being able to see things the size of 40-inch TVs to those the size of smart tablets.  There are [US] government controls on the resolution of commercially available satellite imagery, but [not on the imagery available to any government.  And even]…current American spy satellites…[have] about 0.10 meters resolution…Drones can be shot out of the sky, yet little can be done to combat or hide from cameras virtually invisible from the ground.  No one consents to being imaged from space…Yet [in]…a…not-so-distant future…we [will be able to] direct very high-resolution satellites to any point on Earth, easily identifying a person’s location or activities.  Who will have access to this data?  The police?  Politicians looking for dirt on their opponents, or angry spouses with a vendetta?  How will this data be used in courts and who can be trusted to interpret it?  The thought of potential misuses is chilling…

Misuse by “authorities” in both the US and under other oppressive regimes is 100% certain, and given that China, Israel and other police states are already selling data and surveillance equipment, no law in any US jurisdiction will be able to keep this power out of the hands of American cops for much longer.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#981) 

This is getting both nastier and more tangled:

…the turmoil surrounding controversial adult website GirlsDoPorn took a sharp turn, when the Department of Justice unsealed details of an FBI investigation against the site’s owners…[which] complicate mainstream coverage of this as a cliché tale of innocent girls from the heartland getting duped by sinister smut-peddlers.  Go through the very strange story of GDP and you will encounter a teen affiliate marketing tycoon, accusations of rape and sexual assault, “uncharged conspirators” rolling on former associates, a remote island paradise full of financial secrets and a conveniently dead lawyer who set up shady companies with names like Bubble Gum Media…In July 2015, [GDP owner Michael Pratt and his associates] began publishing their victims’ personal information ([legal] names, links to social media accounts, hometowns, pictures, etc.) en masse to a website called PornWikileaks.com…[which the following] November…was transferred to an email address belonging to…Pratt.  Turns out PornWikileaks — the infamous website started by the even more infamous adult industry pariah, Donny Long, and which hosted a doxxing and extortion fodder forum against adult models called “Whore Hunting”…was owned by none other than the GirlsDoPorn owner…

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The notion that traumatic events can be repressed and later recovered is the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry.  –  Richard McNally

Skin To Skin

When it comes to the disabled, prudish paternalism trumps human needs:

A judge has ruled that social services should not facilitate [hiring sex workers] for a man with learning disabilities who…is in his 50s…He is now in supported accommodation and in the care of Lincolnshire county council…The judge [bloviated]…“I consider it would be wholly contrary to public policy for this court and for this local authority, to endorse and sanction [him] having sexual relations with a woman for payment”…

No Friend of Ours

Nevada has become one of the most vile, loathsome fonts of anti-whore vomit in the US:

Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world…Nevada’s attorney general [hosted a meeting so politicians]…prosecutors…[pigs, prohibitionists and other pils of feces wrapped in human skin can come up with lucrative schemes to hurt sex workers and increase their own power]…“We are now using technology to catch [sex workers and their clients]…we are going to get them,” [bloviated] Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford…

Theatrics

Why did sex workers cooperate with a filthy pig’s scheme to draw attention to himself?

A Miami Beach [cop] has been relieved of duty…after appearing in a social media video that…show[s] him faking the arrest of three…women [in lingerie] and marching them to the front door of police headquarters…William Beeker…[was critized by] Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy L. Morales…[who said] “It is disgusting that a representative of the Miami Beach Police Department…would…participate in [humiliating women for]…his [own reasons instead of humiliating them to spread city-approved propaganda about]…human trafficking and other sexual crimes”…Beeker has been in the news [for humiliating women] before.  On Feb. 7, 2013…two sisters from Toronto [reported] that Beeker and another [pig sexually] assaulted them and insulted them with profane comments while they were being arrested [on bullshit charges]…just before the prior Christmas…

False Witness

Once the Satanic panic returned as “sex trafficking”, I guess the return of “repressed memories” was inevitable:

…not that many years after the repressed memory craze has ended, it’s coming back.  The terms have been updated: Today, “repressed memories” are called “traumatic dissociation,” but the concept is the same, and a new review of the research published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science found that 76 percent of clinical psychologists believe traumatic memories can be blocked for many years and then recalled later on, a rate that has grown since the so-called “Memory Wars” of the 1990s.  They also found high rates of belief among law enforcement personnel, judges, and jurors.  In fact, laypeople were actually less likely to believe in this concept than psychologists and other clinicians.  The group least likely to believe it?  Scientists working in the field of memory…

To Molest and Rape

If only there were a concise word for “sex without consent”:

A [typical and repreentative] Kentucky [cop] has been sentenced to [a mere] five years in prison for [aggravated rape of] 5 women who are [also] suing him…Pablo Cano [naturally was given]…a [plea] deal in which he admitted to having sex without consent [that somehow magically wasn’t rape] between 2015 and 2017…Cano also pleaded guilty…to possessing child porn…

Only when you’re a cop does serial aggravated rape magically shrink to “sexual misconduct”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#746)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development seven years ago:

…St. Louis Aldermen listened to the details of a new way to [suppress the population].  The program involves “eyes in the sky” and is [euphemized as a] Community Support Program.  A representative…told Aldermen they could have three photographic planes covering 95 percent of St Louis…for 40 hours a week.  When a [protest such as those in Ferguson]…happened [or a political opponent needed to be smeared] they could go back to the place on the recording…pick out the [victims]…and follow [their] movements before, during, and after…This is a $7.5 million value.  But it will be provided to St. Louis for free for three years…by a rich [fascist] who [has plans to profit from it and possibly increase his own political power in the bargain]…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

Another sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

…online ad[s placed by pigs are easily]…distinguishable from…re[al ones by the fact that real sex workers nearly always have an established online footprint.  Men who ignore this and text pig-placed fake ads may]…receive…[bot-generated oinking]…on the[ir]…cellphone that’s designed to [scare them an thereby harm sex workers by diminishing their income]…“It’s never been harder to buy sex online,” [boasted a badgelicker in the pay of billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt, named Rob] Spectre…[who also fantasizes that] it’s never been more expensive [when adjusted for inflation, a nonsense statement intended to make it look as though “end demand” tactics work to reduce the number of sex workers]…sex workers [ex]plain the inability to “screen” prospective clients online places them at greater risk…[meanwhile fetishists like to fantasize that sex] trafficking generates $150 billion a year in profits worldwide, according to a…[fantasy promoted by notorious opportunist Siddharth Kara]…

Dirty Amateurs (#876) 

As the war on professionals escalates, STIs rise among amateurs. What a koinkydink!

For the fifth consecutive year, combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have risen in the United States…”Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in last year alone,” said Elizabeth Torrone, a CDC epidemiologist who worked on the new report, adding that the combined number marks “the most cases” ever recorded since monitoring began in the United States…

Buried deep in the article:  the rise is mostly among adolescents and young adults, and is tied at least in part to decreased rates of condom use.  I must also point out that people in this age group are far more likely to have received “abstinence only” miseducation instead of proper sex education.

Surplus Women (#895) 

Stick to sex worker victims, and you can murder as many women as you like without cops giving a shit (or even noticing):

Samuel Little, 79, confessed to strangling 93 victims between 1970 and 2005…triple the number of victims that Ted Bundy confessed to killing.  Now, the FBI is asking the public to help identify more victims of the man they [claim] is America’s most prolific serial killer.  Little targeted women, often of marginalized and vulnerable groups, many [of whom] were [sex workers, so]…their bodies sometimes went unidentified and their deaths uninvestigated…”For many years, Samuel Little [was]…not…caught because…no one [in power gave a damn about] his victims,” said [spokespig] Christie Palazzolo…”Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to [use this as a way]…to close every case possible [so as to maintain the Hollywood myth that we’re defenders of the people rather than the federal cops we actually are].”  That’s where the public comes in.  FBI crime analysts [claim]…all of Little’s 93 confessions are credible, but so far they’ve only been able to verify 50 of them…

The Course of a Disease (#896)

The Swedish rot has now invaded Germany:

Bundestag members of the SPD and CDU [parties] plan to criminalize prostitution…Bundestag member Leni Breymaier (SPD)…[and] other[s]…want to introduce the “Nordic model”…[which] prohibits [both] paying [for] sexual services and…mutual support among sex workers, for example, protective measures….this means discrimination and deprivation of rights. A comprehensive study by the Swedish sex workers’ organization Fuckförbundet proves that this deprivation is a breeding ground for exploitation and exclusion…

Bait and Switch (#977)

Where “wantonly destroying people’s lives for sport” is euphemized as “crossing the line”:

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office…is [making excuses for an]…entrapment [scheme which led to]…the arrest of 23 men…and the suicide of a 62-year-old soon-to-be-grandfather…records…reveal the outrageous lengths the [cops have] been willing to go to try and convince law-abiding men to break the law to boost arrest totals in their “To Catch a Predator”-style undercover stings.  In one example from a 2017 operation, SCSO spent two days trying to seduce a 20-year-old man who showed no interest in having sex with a [legal minor.  Lying pigs]…posted a…[fake] ad for an 18-year-old woman on Tinder…and proceeded to swap “getting-to-know-you” texts for more than an hour; only then did [the wanking pig pretend to be]…a 14-year-old girl…he [repeatedly] rebuffed the attempts, but [was fired by the sheriff’s office where he was a civilian employee for not falling for the trap]…SCSO has also made a habit of destroying records related to the stings before they can be obtained by the public…

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Court[s]…allow…prosecutors to punish teens for the terrible things [others] have done to them.  –  Tim Cushing

Bad Girls

Why is “attractive” in scare quotes?

Men arriving at a [house in] Plant City [Florida] with the expectation of meeting a woman were instead beaten, robbed and even tortured…Hispanic [victims] were lured…under the guise of “socializing with an attractive female.”  The woman did indeed meet each victim in the driveway, but once they were inside…the men were “viciously tortured” while being beaten and robbed.  Then, they were forced to drive their own cars to ATMs around Plant City to withdraw money for the [gang], all under the threat that their families would be harmed if they did not cooperate…[the gang then] released the victims but kept their cars…two men and two women [have] been arrested on charges related to kidnapping, robbery, and battery: Thomas Nolasco, Joshua Rodriguez, Carina Bailon, and Melissa Long; a warrant is out for the arrest of James T. Smith…

Feminine Pragmatism 

It’s good to see that the media is beginning to grasp this:

When I saw an ad for topless waitresses at double the minimum wage plus tips, it seemed like a sign from the universe…The job was a vast improvement over motel housekeeping.  On the first night, I earned an entire month’s rent money and, more importantly, bouncers made sure no one touched the staff…years later, I looked back and realized, “Oh, that was sex work.”  Once I’d recognized that, I also understood what I’d been doing when I was earning groceries…The only difference between sex work and other work is that American culture continues to place a high moral value on amorphous concepts like…sexual purity.  I was supposed to be ashamed of my topless waitressing, because my hypothetical future husband wouldn’t like the idea of a hundred half-drunk soldiers staring at my breasts on a Saturday night.  My body was supposed to belong to a man I wouldn’t meet for another 10 years…sex work is not some great fall from respectability.  It’s often the net that catches people before they fall into destitution…Sex work has the power to lift people out of poverty, because you don’t need a college degree, and it almost always pays more than minimum wage…

Buried Truth

I think we have enough evidence to start calling this “McNeill’s Law”:

The founder of one of the nation’s largest conversion therapy programs, who spent decades leading the organization, now says he is gay, apologizing for his role in the practice.  McKrae Game, who founded and led Hope for Wholeness in South Carolina, publicly announced he was gay in early June, more than two years after the organization’s board of directors abruptly fired him…

Under Every Bed (#615)

Possibly the silliest “King of the Hill” claimant ever:

The FBI says human trafficking is the third largest criminal activity in the world.  Rockford ranks tenth in the United States and second in the state when it comes to trafficking victims.  According to advocates for Rockford’s Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, or RAASE, one reason why Rockford is high on those lists is because of its location in the Midwest, making it a central hub for human trafficking…

The idea that a declining industrial city could be a “sex tourism” destination is right up there with the claim that any serious adult calls Milwaukee “the Harvard of sex trafficking“.

Banishment (#802)

Few states are as sociopathic as Florida in maltreating people on a Sacred Government List:

…in Florida…people [condemned to] the [“sex offender”] registry were barred from shelters [during Hurricane Dorian]…if they attempted to stay with friends or relatives, they faced daunting residency and registration requirements…in Flagler [and Nassau] Count[ies, they]…were directed to…seek shelter in the county jail…Under Florida law, those who evacuate must register their temporary addresses, in person, at the sheriff’s office if they will be away from home for three or more days.  They are also required to [pay to change] their driver’s license or identification card with the temporary address within 48 hours of their departure date [and then pay again to change it back when they return home]…failing to comply with [these] requirements [could result in]…five years in prison…

I guess Florida “officials” enjoy getting sued over this, because they keep doing it.

Guinea Pigs (#884) 

Facebook policies prohibit the creation of fake accounts by law enforcement, but pigs make them anyway and Facebook does nothing about it:

Facebook said…that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be violating the company’s rules if agents create fake profiles to monitor the social media of foreigners seeking to enter the country…Facebook spokeswoman Sarah Pollack…said the company has communicated its concerns and its policies on the use of fake accounts to DHS.  She said the company will shut down fake accounts, including those belonging to [duplicitous pigs and spooks], when they are reported…

But until they’re reported by others, you can bet Facebook won’t be looking very hard.

Saving Them From Themselves (#942)

Oink oink, she was on the wrong side of an imaginary line, so we have to destroy her life!  SHAZAM!

In 2016, a 16-year-old Maryland student known as S.K….sent a brief cellphone video to two friends…A few months later, S.K. had a falling-out with one recipient of the video, a 17-year-old boy known as K.S…[who] reported the video to the school [pig], Eugene CaballeroCaballero took [SK’s] statement and passed it on to state prosecutors [who of course did what prosecutors do]…S.K…was found guilty…as a distributor of child pornography…S.K. challenged the sentence, pointing out that the law does not provide for charging the subject of alleged child porn with child pornography production…The court looks at the law and decides the legislative intent was to treat minors as their own pornographers…The dissent says this is [clearly insane]…

Forward and Backward (#947)

Moral panics make it so easy for pathetic twits to gain a sense of importance; all they need to do is be willing to make up a lot of ridiculous and evidence-free lies about how they were “almost snatched by a pimp”, about “signs of sex trafficking”, about small cities being “sex trafficking hubs”,  about magic numbers and words that “end demand”, and naturally about how looking at pictures of naked people magically creates “slavery”.  And the hoi-polloi just gobble it up, no matter how deeply stupid it is to anyone who lives in the real world.

Torture Chamber (#966)

The government calls this “correction”:

A brutal beating by four guards inside Florida’s largest women’s prison has left a woman…paralyzed for life, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit…four [screws]…slammed her to the ground and began beating her.  At least one…elbowed the back of her neck…then [the four] dragged Weimar “like a rag doll” to an area not covered by surveillance cameras and continued beating her nearly to death…She is now a quadriplegic and…hospitalized with a breathing tube…the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) has blocked Weimar’s attorney and her husband from taking pictures of her injuries…

Pyrrhic Victory (#969)

Surely you didn’t think Amazon’s two nastiest privacy-violation schemes would stay separate for long?

…Amazon loooooves to play word-games…[it claims] cops only get access to Ring customers’ videos if the customers offer to share it; but what they never said is that if a customer turns down a police [demand], Amazon instructs the cops to make an “official request” to the company and then they grant warrantless access to the footage…a[n anonymous] Ring spokesperson…[said] “Ring is not Rekognition and does not work with Rekognition”…[yet] there’s a dude at Ring Ukraine named Oleksandr Obiednikov whose title is “head of face recognition research” and who has given conference talks on how facial recognition can integrate with products like Ring.  The company’s filed multiple facial recognition patents, and its terms of service allow it to use the video from your doorbell to train facial recognition systems.  Oh, and they’ve recently advertised job openings for engineers with experience in facial recognition…

And remember, Amazon is trying to add “emotion detection” to its facial recognition.

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We’re not trying to argue the morality of this. We’re trying to argue the reality of this.  –  Nicole Emma

Feminine Pragmatism 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

Lao workers, many of them young and some still in their teens, have poured in growing numbers this year into neighboring Thailand, braving exploitation and unsafe work conditions in search of employment to help support families back home…nine Lao migrants [were] killed on Aug. 18 in a head-on collision while traveling to a border town to renew the tourist visas on which they had entered Thailand…an official…said…“They won’t [tell us their personal business [so]…we can’t stop them”…Many of those looking for work in Thailand voice concerns over family poverty as their reason for leaving home…Many young Laotians [are forced by arbitrary laws to] enter Thailand with the help of middle-men to work illegally…the…head of the anti-trafficking unit of the Thai-based Labor Rights Promotion Network…[said] “This is one of the loopholes in Thailand’s laws, and this is a problem [because we would rather force them to stay in Laos and die in poverty]”…

What kind of authoritarian mind thinks that “people killed in tragic accident while trying to comply with arbitrary government rules” is a less important point than where they were from or what they did for a living?

The New Victorianism

It’s about time Playboy started covering this topic more aggressively:

…Moral panic…and purity politics…interfere with our right to sexual safety, pleasure and free expression…civil policy-making has been supplanted by partisan uproar and triggered panic.  Sex is at the center of every one of these…sex…has become the enemy…Panic rejects nuance, debate and disagreement in favor of party lines and swift action.  Panic has resulted in the rise of cancel culture and the dismissal of due process…rational thinking has…been cast aside…In a sex panic, it becomes imprudent to question the extent to which sex-based discrimination exists.  It becomes dangerous to suggest that all sexual violations, and all experiences of sexual violence, are not equivalent.  As a consequence, we learn to shut up and sit down lest we face public condemnation and risk being attacked…moral panic is more about social control than ethical guidelines for how we should get along with one another…attempts to regulate morality only heighten panic by promoting, for example, sex-trafficking laws that ignore racist immigration policies and degrade sex workers as second-class citizens…Awkward sexual encounters continue to be conflated with the worst of accusations.  And then: If he’s accused, he must have done it…

Elephant in the Parlor

Too bad more politicians don’t hire the marginalized women cops are most likely to persecute:

West Virginia [politician] Mike Maroney has been charged with soliciting a prostitute…Maroney exchanged text messages to discuss prices and set up meetings with a woman who [was arrested]…Police [then snooped in her phone and started charging people for texting her]…

Micromanagement

The modern Fuhrer wants serial numbers tattooed on every cell of every prisoner of his concentration camps:

The Trump administration wants [the border Gestapo]…to collect DNA samples from undocumented immigrants in its [cages]…according to a draft policy…CBP officials would spend more than 20,000 additional work hours on such a policy in its first year of implementation.  Hundreds of thousands of individuals could have their DNA collected each year if the draft regulation, proposed by the Department of Justice, is fully implemented…

Choke Point (#593) 

We fucking told you so:

While sex-related businesses…have long faced draconian restrictions from banks, we’re living in a time when their position is more precarious than ever…If this continues, it will disproportionately impact small sex-focused businesses…further marginalize sex workers, and decrease access to positive information about sexual health…“To see [this] spreading to educators and activists is alarming,” said Lorrae Jo Bradbury, founder of Slutty Girl Problems, a sex-positive blog…these incidents have ramped up dramatically since…FOSTA…passed in the Senate…[creating] a more repressive era of the internet, one in which websites such as Tumblr have banned adult content, Patreon is kicking off adult performers, and financial institutions are clamping down on businesses even remotely connected to sex…

Safe Position

When this is happenening in Utah, you know we’re past the watershed:

The best way of protecting sex workers is to decriminalize their industry and allow them to come out of the shadows, a Salt Lake City nonprofit told Utah [politicians]…Nicole Emma…of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP)…told members of the state’s Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force…[that] if these penalties were removed, sex workers could communicate more openly about their industry, check client backgrounds more easily and blacklist bad actors…

The Monsters Are Due (#867) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

The recent spate of mob attacks in Uttar Pradesh has caught the state police on the back foot.  Incidents of hapless people…being brutally beaten up on suspicion of being child lifters are surfacing with alarming frequency…UP director general of police…OP Singh said…“A total of 46 incidents were reported in which one person was killed and 29 injured”…In…Ghaziabad, a middle-aged woman was…thrashed by a mob…[when] she went with her grandson for shopping…people have been attacked simply for being seen with a child…two siblings — Ramautar and Raju — were thrashed mercilessly…when…taking their nephew Ravi to a hospital for treatment…Ramautar [died and]…Raju [is] still battling for his life in the hospital…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#886)

The pigs are starting their annual fearmongering early this year:

[Cops] in Massachusetts want to [spread yet another stupid panic]…about…ecstasy [pills]…in the shape of “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoon characters…The National Institute on Drug Abuse…warns that MDMA use can “promote trust and closeness,” potentially encouraging unsafe sexual behavior…“Parents, guardians, and caretakers should be on the lookout for these as school starts and Halloween is fast approaching,” [pigs oinked]…

Yeah, because people are going to hand free samples of a drug that costs $100 a gram to anonymous brats.  And you’ve gotta love that the only “warning” these drug warriors can come up with is that stupid amateurs taking MDMA might do the same kind of stupid shit they do when sober.

Pyrrhic Victory (#960)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it sounds:

[Amazon’s] doorbell-camera company Ring has quietly forged [fascist] partnerships with more than 400 police forces across the United States, granting them access to homeowners’ camera footage…The number of police deals, which has not previously been reported, will likely fuel [belated] questions about privacy, surveillance and the expanding reach of [fascist surveillance]…The rapid growth of the program, which launched last spring, surprised [insufficiently-cynical] civil-liberties advocates…

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Mental gymnastics is the best exercise of all!  –  Elana Spivack

Drawing Lines 

In the 21st century, humor sites are more honest and moral than “news” sites:

…30-year-old Penelope Clemm has been pole dancing recreationally for three years now, but has harbored an internalized hatred for sex workers her entire life.  Clemm strikes a delicate balance of acknowledging how much she loves pole dancing, but dismissing every woman who makes money doing the same thing…“It’s definitely made me…feel sexy in a way that I never did before.  And yet, I still cannot conceptualize in the slightest how any self-respecting woman would do this for money”…like many people with deep-seated, internalized biases, Clemm had difficulty articulating why she holds this position. “It’s a matter of principle, and I have principles”…

Imaginary Victims (#904)

Naturally, the prohibitionists who didn’t give a shit until last year are claiming credit for her release:

Cyntoia Brown…whose case drew national attention [over a decade] after being sentenced to life in prison for killing a man [in self-defense] at age 16, was released on parole [last] Wednesday…She will be on parole for 10 years [with] conditions…includ[ing]…that she maintain employment [with a murder conviction on her record] or educational enrollment…that she participate in [approved state] counseling sessions…[and that] she…perform at least 50 hours of community service [while working or going to school], including working with at-risk youth…

Though parole conditions are often designed to make it easy for “authorities” to cage a person again with very little justification, Brown has a better chance than most due to support from allies and public attention to her case.

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Ever wonder why the government pushes “sex trafficking” propaganda so hard?

[Deranged propagandist] Jaco Booyens touted President Trump’s [“historic”] work in fighting sex trafficking and [fetishized] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as “incredible people” who helped keep children safe…His movie 8 Days [is soft BDSM porn about] a 15-year-old girl who’s forced into sex trafficking after attending a party with her friends…[yet claimed] that sex trafficking was rooted in sex addiction fueled by mass media…”It starts with…soft porn [like my movie], it’s the objectification of women”…

Blunt Instrument (#926)

While Asian sex workers are fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative, cops are trying to use that visibility against them:

Emily Zhang Lawrence…[was] charged with a number of criminal counts including human trafficking and prostitution…[after] the Montgomery County…Vice [gang raided her business]…Rose’s Spa…[pigs oinked] that the spa recruited its masseuse’s [sic] — all Chinese immigrants — from Flushing, New York.  The Queens neighborhood is known for being a [sister community to Hong Kong, where many Asian migrants first stay upon arriving in the US.  Racist pigs therefore refer to it as a] hub for…human trafficking…

Backwards into the Future (#927)

The prohibitionists are slowly losing ground to the facts:

South African authorities are compromising the safety and wellbeing of thousands of women…by treating sex work as a crime…We have researched illegal sex work in ChinaTanzaniaCambodiaSouth Africa, and the United States…and…we consistently find police abuse to be one of criminalization’s main cruelties.  Sex workers often face harassment, extortion, and rape, and vulnerability to violence…at the hands of…police…and…because they cannot trust members of law enforcement, they are deterred from reporting attacks by men who pretend to be clients…Fortunately, South Africa and the United States are both sites of growing movements to decriminalize sex work once and for all…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

Chinese authorities approached the family of an international student who participated in high-profile protests at an Australian university and warned his parents of the potential consequences of political dissent.  The…intimidation tactics [demonstrate that] the Chinese government was monitoring the demonstration at the University of Queensland to record who attended…last month’s event [was held] to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and to condemn Beijing’s repression of the Uighur ethnic minority group…within days of the rally the student received a call from his mother in China to say the family had been approached by…authorities [who] issued [threats] about engaging in “anti-China rhetoric” in Brisbane…[Australian politicians claimed to be] alarmed by [China following precedents set by] Australia…

If you like the precedent that a country owns its citizens and has the “right” to punish them for acts which were totally legal in the place they happened, thank the international war on whores.  Australia is especially hypocritical in this respect, given that since 2010, Australians who hire surrogate mothers outside of Australia can be penalized under Australian law.

Negative Secondary Effects (#937)

It’s great to see sex workers striking back at prohibitionist persecution:

…Not Buying It, a group led by well-known [prohibitionist] Sasha Rakoff has been terrorizing gentlemen’s clubs across England in recent months, by sending in undercover former police detectives to covertly film inside…The resultant tapes have been submitted to local councils in a bid to get the establishments shut down…Now, nine dancers at the Spearmint Rhino in London…have sued Not Buying It for breach of privacy, demanding that all existing tapes be destroyed.  An earlier High Court ruling had already banned Rakoff from further sharing the tapes, so the strippers’ chances of getting their way in the high-profile case, the costs of which are likely to bankrupt the losing side, are more than fair…

Pyrrhic Victory (#960)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it sounds:

Amazon[‘s]…Neighbors app…allows people to report suspicious things to…neighbors [and cops, mostly]…the existence of brown people…Government agencies participating in the Ring handouts are given talking points, pre-written press releases, and contractual obligationsAmazon has even crafted scripts for [cops]…to use when questioned…or…to talk people out of their Constitutional rights…”Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors…interacting with the [peasantry so as to]…increas[e] the opt-in rate”…(There are scripts for that as well)…

Turn of Tide (#961)

The “sex trafficking” narrative has been so successful, prohibitionist rhetoric is now being used to attack the way the state persecutes sex workers:

L.A.’s anti-sex trafficking efforts…ensnare…female sex workers far more often than any traffickers, and the women arrested rarely end…up in programs designed to [brainwash] them out of the sex trade…While black women make up around 9% of the city’s female population, they account for nearly 65% of the LAPD’s female prostitution arrests…It adds up to a high-profile effort to target human traffickers and save victims that’s causing collateral damage…City officials [pre]tend that policing the sex trade is one of the best methods for rescuing trafficking victims…[but those] with a front row seat have a different perspective…Dr. Susie Baldwin, the medical director of L.A. County’s Office of Women’s Health…[said] “All of this money is going to arrest people…leaving them with severe consequences for their lives”…law enforcement…[intentionally] conflate[s] trafficking and prostitution, painting all sex work as exploitative and doubling down on vice arrests under the guise of trafficking enforcement…

The idea that sex workers are “collateral damage” in a well-intentioned war on “sex trafficking” is of course naive nonsense; the entire purpose of the narrative is to harm sex workers and our clients.  But if the gullible are going to use those fantasies to strike back at pigs and prohibitionists, I’m not going to complain.

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