Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

I don’t trust the value system of somebody else…because my life isn’t their life.  –  Nadia Yasmeen

One Size Fits All

Finally, a US court finds something it isn’t willing to call “trafficking”:

…[Milwaukee] prosecutors charged [Kevin] Long…with child trafficking because he admitted that he paid a 16-year-old Milwaukee boy to lick or kiss his feet, and offered to pay that boy’s 17-year-old friend to do the same.  That boy said he wasn’t interested…[so] Long apologized…took the 17-year-old to the mall and bought him shoes…In his home, police found materials referencing foot fetish websites and a journal of Long’s prior encounters…Long’s attorney, Ray Dall’Osto…[argued] there was no [vanilla] sexual touching, no exposure or even discussion of genitals…Dall’Osto mounted a full-on constitutional attack on the child trafficking law, calling it vague and overbroad…Long wound up pleading guilty to reduced charges…pandering and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, all misdemeanors…Judge Jeffrey Wagner…stayed Long’s registration as a sex offender until after [a forthcoming] review…

It Looks Good On Paper

If you’re inclined to view this as a positive development, read more carefully; it’s justified by, and would reinforce, the dogma that sex workers are pathetic victims who need to be treated as wards of the state.  It’s also another weapon prosecutors can use to coerce sex workers into “cooperating” with police to betray their clients and other sex workers, and note the “escort registration” provision:

It’s illegal to publish official post-arrest photographs of people accused of prostitution, under an Alabama law that went into effect Aug. 1…press advocates say it’s probably unconstitutional…[sponsor] Jack Williams…has been pushing for years for changes to the state’s prostitution laws, arguing that prostitutes themselves are in most cases victims of human trafficking…Williams’ bill, the Alabama Human Trafficking Safe Harbor Act, allows people arrested for prostitution to be held for 72 hours, with a hearing to assess their financial situation, mental health and other issues within 48 hours — with an eye toward [forcing] the alleged prostitute…through a…diversion program…The law also requires “escort services of companionship” to register with the Alabama secretary of state’s office…[which threatened] to report [unregistered escorts to the pigs]…

Where Are the Protests? 

Only “A few critics call it a form of human trafficking.”  Because there’s no sex and the traffickers are government actors and clergymen:

Percida Ramos was losing her son to heroin…[A lying pig told her about] Kensington, where ministers run resort-like, anti-addiction estates where the…demons are chased from young people’s brains as they ride horses, swim in blue pools, and play day and night on basketball courts…Her son would even have a job within five months, she was promised…All Ramos…had to do was get [her son] to Philadelphia and wire $150 to an address on North Front Street…What [Kelvin Aldarondo] found was far different from what he and his mother were promised…a grim, three-story building under the El with around 20 other men sleeping on bunk beds in four bedrooms and sharing three bathrooms…Since the late 1990s, pastors, police, and mayors in Puerto Rico have been sending hundreds of heroin addicts, many of them HIV-positive, to Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and other cities.  The officials work with mainland ministers, some of whom travel from Philadelphia to the island to recruit addicts, offering drug treatment based on abstinence and prayer.  [The practice is known as Air Bridge]…and…[it] has increased the numbers of homeless and HIV-positive people in the city, torn apart families, and confounded advocates…

A Whore in Church 

Tits & Sass presents a nice look at the religious beliefs of sex workers:

Many people think of whores as being as far from God as possible.  We are seen as “fallen women,” people whose moral deficiency has put them at odds with God.  When God, morality, and religion are discussed in tandem with sex work, these conversations often promote religious dogma which serves to justify the marginalization of sex workers. Sex workers are rarely heard from on their own relationships with religion or spirituality, even though we have roots in religious and spiritual life as far back as Biblical times…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

SWOP’s annual fundraiser is going on right now!  Many of you have asked me how you can support sex worker rights; well, this is an excellent way, and your donations are tax-deductible!  So please don’t hesitate; donate today!swop-fundraiser

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Brave hero cops save The Children!TM from the menace of desperately-needy people, both in Ohio: “…Crystal D. Hotlosz…told [a lying pig] she would provide a sex act for $60 and nachos…She was arrested, and charged for solicitation and criminal tools…” and in Florida: “Eight homeless prostitutes, one homeless 68-year-old pimp and a hooker with an address were among those arrested in the most recent prostitution sting…[a lying pig] hunting for streetwalkers asked some of the women if they were cops and even encouraged one of the suspects to grab his genitals…”  Judging by her language, sleazebag “reporter” Lyda Longa thinks she’s clever; I wonder how she’d feel if a pig came to her place of work and tricked her into doing something so he could arrest her?  N.B: in Ohio, “criminal tools” means condoms and/or a cell phone.

Banishment

Because laws are more important than people:

In Florida, a wheelchair-bound man with end-stage Alzheimer’s must move out of the hospice where he’s dying, because he is a registered sex offender and the hospice is too close to a preschool…Jack Ehrhart…was convicted of a sex offense about 30 years ago, when he was a doctor.  Several patients accused him of touching them sexually during their gynecological exams—with a nurse present.  He now faces arrest unless he gets…out of the Heartland Hospice…Ehrhart’s wife is arguing that the residency restrictions apply only to people who have deliberately chosen to live where they live…her husband’s condition means he not only had no say in where he’s living, he has no idea where he is now.  Still, Heartland is trying to ship him out, but having a hard time, because it can’t find other hospices that will take him.  Meanwhile, Ehrhart’s attorney is trying to get him off the sex offender registry, arguing that Florida allows some former offenders to be removed from the list after being on it 25 years…

What kind of warped mind thinks this is OK?

My Body, My Choice (#319)

A rare decision in favor of self-ownership:

The 69-pound woman has battled anorexia for the majority of her life…after spending nearly two years in a New Jersey psychiatric hospital, the 29-year-old woman with a bone density of a 92-year-old told a court that she refused to eat any food, and wished to enter palliative care instead…A Superior Court judge ruled…that she cannot be fed against her will…and…has the mental capacity to choose not to accept nutrition.  The state…argued the woman is mentally ill due to depression, and that by approving the withdrawal of force-feeding the court would essentially be allowing her passive suicide…Palliative care would simply provide drugs to numb her pain and ease her…death…Her treating psychiatrist, Joshua Braun, said force feeding A.G. would be “cruel and torturous at this point,” because restraining her could cause her delicate bones to break…

Backwards Into the Future (#323)

Note that this kind of abuse is also typical in the US:

Namibian authorities stand accused of failing to meet multiple obligations under the Convention Against Torture…in relation to addressing severe abuse suffered by Namibian sex workers at the hands of authorities and the community…a group of local and international NGOs working with sex workers detailed an extensive list of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of sex workers in Namibia…One of the recommendations contained in the report is to decriminalise sex work in Namibia in order to effectively deal with the abuse and to establish legal procedures to investigate allegations of torture and provide victims with redress…criminalisation…has given free rein to police officers, health workers and clients and the community at large to abuse sex workers in a multitude of ways, without fear of consequences…

Gingerbread House (#542)

It’s satisfying when the mask of concern for “trafficking victims” slips:

Straight Street Revolution Ministries…plan to build housing for women who are fleeing sex trafficking on 50 acres of land…in southeast Hall County [Georgia]…But opponents have made it clear they don’t want it in their rural community…residents [pretend]…crime and safety concerns, fearing the place could draw a bad element…

Yes folks, sex rays are also magnetic and can draw “bad elements”.

Fallen Idol (#612)

It’s been nearly a year since James Deen…was first accused of assault.  In the days after the first allegation…porn studios began to cut ties with Deen…But, a year later, it’s clear that while Deen’s career might have taken a slight hit, it isn’t going anywhere.  “Very little has changed in James’ life over the last year,” said Howard Bragman, Deen’s spokesperson.  “He is not subject to any cases either criminal or civil and he is continuing the same work he did before”…analysis of adult film releases, as well as industry interviews, show this isn’t just the boasting of a publicist trying to make his client look good…

Virtual Unreality vr-headset

Unless the VR unit deposits $400 into my bank account before the show starts, I’m not remotely interested:

…the firm WankzVR premiered FemalePOV, its new virtual reality porn series filmed from a woman’s viewpoint — meaning, headset wearers occupy the perspective of a female porn performer or, in gamer speak, avatar…WankzVR…found was that women…who either used their product or frequented Reddit VR threads…did not want to see the gentle, less explicit content that they are so often said to desire.  These ladies wanted something in-between the hardcore gonzo cliché of porn for men and the gauzy soft-focus cliché of porn for women…in VR porn for men, male performers are often instructed to keep their hands out of the frame and let their female co-stars do all the work…because male viewers typically report that seeing their avatar’s hands interacting in the scene takes them out of the illusion of being in the film…however, WankzVR found that female viewers expressed that they were disturbed to see their avatar just lying there, relatively motionless…it…looks a bit too much like sexual assault…

To Molest and Rape (#687) 

For every assault a rapist cop is caught in, you can be sure there are others yet undetected:

…[Rapist cop Marcellus White] was rebooked…Nov. 21…on 16 new counts…five new rape charges as well as two counts of sexual battery, two counts of oral sexual battery, two counts of molestation of a juvenile, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count each of simple kidnapping, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number…

Read Full Post »

The criminalization of sex work exposes not only sex workers but all women to more violence.  –  Alison Bass

The Proper Study

Yet another study confirms what we’ve been saying all along:

a recent study in…Las Vegas uncovers what anti-trafficking organizations might not like to hear.  The majority of youth selling sex on the streets have no pimps, or even third party managers, countering one of the key narratives of the sex trafficking movement that all youth involved are victims doing this work against their will…three fourths of the youth interviewed about the sex trade said they were not working with any pimp or other kind of third party manager…24 percent of the study’s participants reported use of a third party to find clients at some point in their lives, but only 4 percent…reported use of one at the time of the study…youth sex workers who do use pimps do so inconsistently and intermittently…[they] are finding their clients independently and negotiating their own prices…

It Looks Good On Paper (#340)

Remember that religious brainwashing program which “partnered with the Sarasota…Police Department…to bring victims into their care?

The conversations happening by phone are ones that the Sarasota Police Street Crime Unit hope will turn into a positive outcome.  “I want you to know you are not in any trouble,” [oinked a pig]…”We are just trying to reach out and let you know there are options”…Sergeant Robert Armstrong and his unit are [harassing and intimidating] women who have active ads online for escort services.  Many are involved in prostitution…The team is focused on connecting women with Selah Freedom…

“Many are involved in prostitution”?  Are these people actually pretending not to know what an escort is?  Look beneath the pious exterior; we don’t actually know what stated or implied threats these cops are using to try to intimidate women into this “program”, which is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it.  If the tactic seems familiar, it’s because it’s much like Canada’s “Operation Northern Spotlight” except that the cops are (for now) merely terrorizing sex workers by phone instead of showing up at their doors.wesley-blackburn

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A Pennsylvania pastor faces charges he impregnated a 15-year-old girl from his youth group during a seven-month sexual relationship…Wesley Blackburn, youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church, told the New Paris church’s head pastor he had confessed to the relationship and asked for a divorce…church leaders immediately fired Blackburn…and alerted police last week.  He was charged Oct. 6 on hundreds of counts of statutory sexual assault and indecent assault…

Rough Trade (#446) 

A setback for women’s rights in India:

The Supreme Court…ruled that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if her customers refused to pay her…The judgment…acquitted three people of rape charges in a case that is close to 20 years old…the Karnataka High Court had convicted them of raping the victim, who used to work as a maid; the victim’s roommate had revealed that she works as a sex-worker at night…the Supreme Court…[claimed] that the woman’s “conduct during the alleged ordeal is unlike a victim of rape and betrays somewhat submissive and consensual disposition”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#502)

In which po-faced twits with tape over their mouths walk down a street holding pre-printed propaganda cards:

A long, single-file line of people donned [sic] in black, some with their mouths taped shut, silently made its way down Stephen Avenue [in Calgary] to [promote anti-sex work propaganda]…The [po-faced] group remained speechless, but handed out [propaganda] pamphlets to bystanders…former Manitoba MP Joy Smith [spoke] at the event…part of a global initiative by A21…

The tape is supposed to signify that sex workers are “voiceless”, a convenient lie for those who wish to talk over us.  A21, the NGO which sponsored this charade, is infamous as the source of the high-water mark of the “clients per day” competition of a few years ago: 110.

Eternal Vigilance (#610)

Just a reminder that prohibitionism still exists in decriminalized regimes:

New Zealand celebrities will be donning aprons to serve dinner with a difference at Destiny Rescue’s Dark Secret Pop up Dinner on International Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday 18 October…Another special menu, thankfully not available in New Zealand, will shine the spotlight on the dark secret of the near two million children trapped in sexual slavery in countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines…

The table-waiting gimmick is appropriate given that Destiny’s idea of “rescue” is to teach brown urchins to sew, wait table and draw with crayons.

Wise Investment (#673)

Picket-fence gay men are such wonderful, dependable sex worker allies:

In his recent attempt to revise the history of sex workers in Vancouver’s West End, Kevin Dale McKeown…erases the West Sex Workers Memorial Committee and our eight-year campaign to secure financial reparations and a formal civic apology from the City of Vancouver.  He instead claims that his recollections are more truthful and authentic than the voices of sex workers…In McKeown’s distorted revision…expelled sex workers become the villains.  However, our archival research found close to 1,000 news articles revealing that power elites in the early 1980s — including Mayor Mike Harcourt, MP Pat Carney, Attorney General Brian Smith, Concerned Residents of the West End (CROWE) and Shame the Johns — forged a “war on hookers” with lethal consequences…Residents like McKeown moved into the West End when it was a thriving [24-hour] entertainment zone…McKeown…frantically disavows his own and other white gay men’s complicity in hooker-bashing tactics…McKeown makes a failed attempt to hide his investment in a “quiet” and “peaceful” gaybourhood cleansed of “noisy” hookers…

Too Close To Home (#677)

These are the people who claim they want to “protect” women, and portray the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

…after settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit for $1 million in 2013, the King County Sheriff’s Office…is again embroiled in a legal fight over its treatment of female officers.  This time, two…deputies and one sergeant are accusing the county of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual-orientation based harassment, and retaliation…a former head of internal affairs [is] seeking whistleblower protections before he talks.  Central to many of these claims is King County Sheriff John Urquhart…[whose] tenure so far…has been ignominious, involving the two sexual-harassment lawsuits, a cop convicted of pimping his wife and selling his colleagues steroids, a bogus “sex trafficking bust,” a chief-of-staff with polygraph problems, and more…this latest lawsuit…specifically calls out the actions of Sheriff Urquhart, Major Sean Ledford, and Sergeant Dewey Burns…defensive tactics instructor Melissa Deer…claims [Burns] grabbed her crotch during a training exercise…text messages showed the sergeant making racist, anti-gay, and sexually explicit comments to other staffers, including…Deputy Amy Shoblom…who…is one of three plaintiffs in the current suit, along with Diana Neff…and Julie Blessum…[Burns’] antics included texting her half-naked photos of women he was sleeping with, asking during a roll call if she had “hooked up” with a male deputy, and drawing a penis on the hood of her car with hand sanitizer…

There’s a lot more, and it’s by the awesome Liz Brown so you should read it all.

Send In the Clowns dublin-clown

The most disturbing thing about the clown hysteria is the way in which it has so quickly given rise to organized violence and naked authoritarianism.  A “Clown Lives Matter” protest against the panic, to be held in Tucson, was cancelled due to amateur threats of violence, and the professional violence-inflicters are responding by criminally charging people and destroying young childrens’ lives.  The hysteria has also spread to Ireland, and while police in Dublin have responded calmly, those in Belfast have responded with US-style threats of violence and lifelong imprisonment.  Dutch police are moronically calling for a prankster there to turn himself in, and the ever-lunatic British tabloid press have found a way to merge the clown panic into “sex predator” panic:

The basic premise of [this] story is that some men get off on women dressed as creepy clowns, they’re causing a spike in clown-porn searches and clown-fetish requests at escort services, and soon their “sick fetish” may lead them to commit real-world sexual assaults “as the adrenaline junkies seek more ‘extreme thrills'”…what the story lacks in logic it makes up for in references to “sex-mad sickos” and quotes from an anonymous escort-agency head…[it] also quotes a woman who counsels rape victims and worries that the “clown craze” provides cover to predators…Popular millennial women’s website Elite Daily published a clown-sex-panic story…warning readers that “the sexual deviants partaking in the madness are allegedly dressing up as clowns and experimenting with BDSM” and “those who are involved in the aggressive clown porn are potentially dangerous.”

Power Play

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

Dennis Hof…said that while he supports law enforcement aggressively enforcing laws against underage sex trafficking, he believes that law enforcement in the United States would have an easier time doing its job if adult prostitution were [legalized]…using the [Nevada]…model…Hof said [independent sex workers spread]…sexually transmitted diseases…”My brothel business model [magically] puts the…pimps [who aren’t politically connected] out of business, [magically] stops underage girls from working illegally [?] and [magically] ends sex trafficking [even though 99% of Nevada sex workers prefer to work illegally than to submit to the onerous brothel regime]”…

In the first version of the press release, Hof actually cheered the arrests of the owners & CEO of Backpage; I guess he later realized that was vile even by his standards.

Challenge (#681)

The ACLU has finally done something to act on its theoretical support for decriminalization by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

The ACLU brief supports the lawsuit’s contention that California’s penal code violates fundamental constitutional rights to sexual privacy and is enforced in a discriminatory manner…Lawrence v. Texas…recognized that “liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex”…The ACLU brief also argues that the California penal code is unconstitutional because the way it is enforced is discriminatory.  Certain groups, such as transgender women, LGBT youth, and female sex workers are targeted and arrested for prostitution in disproportionately higher numbers than other people…

Read Full Post »

We see no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.  –   Hayley Gorenberg  and Richard Saenz of Lambda Legal

Rough Trade 

Be careful out there, my sisters in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia police say a predator who’s attacked female prostitutes earlier this year may be responsible for two more recent attacks…the most recent incident occurred Oct. 1 when a man on a bike propositioned [a street worker] for sex…the man choked her until she lost consciousness…Police believe the same man also accosted another prostitute at gunpoint Sept. 19.  He took her to an alley and [raped] her while holding a knife to her face.  Police believe the same man attacked a prostitute with a brick then stabbed [to death]…on July 16. She died.  The same man, often arriving on a bike, is believed to have attacked at least one other prostitute, slashing her throat April 19.

The Lesser of Two Evils

As I’ve pointed out before, most laws governing sex work prior to the late 19th century were aimed at drawing lines between harlots and “good” women, rather than at advancing a quixotic crusade to “eradicate” the ineradicable.  Here’s a list of garments prostitutes were required to wear in various medieval European cities:

Beaucaire: a mark on the left arm…
Berne: red cap.
Bristol: striped hoods.
Castres: a man’s hat and a scarlet belt.
Florence: gloves and bells on the head…and high-heeled slippers.
Languedoc: a cord belt.
Leipzig: yellow cloak trimmed with blue.
London: striped hoods.
Mantua: white cloak and badge on chest…
Marseilles: striped tunic.
Milan: black cloak.
Nimes: a sleeve of a special colour.
Pisa: a yellow headband.
Strasbourg: black and white sugarloaf hat.
Toulouse: a mark on their sleeve.
Venice: yellow scarf.
Vienna: yellow scarf.
Zurich: red cap.

Saving Them From Themselves

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A man [in Australia] who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene…Now [Ashan Ortell] has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry…for eight years…

Frankly, I’m glad this idiot got what he deserved.  If anything, anyone who would report his own daughter to the pigs for the “crime” of having a sexual relationship deserves much worse than 8 years on the registry.

Gullible’s Travels

Even if this were true (which it isn’t), it’s a testament to the entrenched stupidity of authoritarians that they refuse to see that binge drinking on US university campuses only became common after the drinking age was raised to 21:

A growing number of college are banning hard liquor on campus in a move to curb extreme drinking — but students are still getting their party on, and some are adding an extra element of risk to their binges…the phenomenon dubbed “drunkorexia”…University of Houston Professor Dipali Rinker said in a study of 1,200 students, he found up to 80 percent were restricting calories, overexercising, purging or using laxatives in combination with binge drinking…

Bogeymen

No, the sex trade in Ireland is no more “controlled” by “gangs” than it is in the US.  This is little more than a cop wanking fantasy of there being “bad guys” to target, aided and abetted by the pathological liars at Ruhama:

Five major vice gang members are behind three-quarters of the sex-for-sale business in Ireland, according to data taken from the most popular website used to advertise prostitution.  One gang this week has links to 80 advertised women and more than 10 transgender prostitutes, who can each make €1,000 a day.  Ireland’s multi-million euro vice trade is set for a massive blow as a new law to make it illegal to buy sex is due before the Dáil this week…

But just for fun, ask yourself:  If there really were mobsters behind all the sex work in Ireland, would they want decriminalization or increased criminalization?  Did the Mafia like the end of Prohibition?  And what happened to Mexican drug cartels’ profits when Washington & Colorado legalized cannabis?

The End of the Beginning 

This is what happens when you don’t fight tyrannical laws from the beginning:

A federal class action…challenges a Mississippi statute that requires people convicted of having anal sex to register as sex offenders.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Mississippi residents who say they were convicted under various sodomy prohibitions, including the “unnatural intercourse” law, and Louisiana’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law…the [registration requirement] is discriminatory and unenforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional…

You know why they can get away with this despite Lawrence?  Because the Great Unwashed said nothing when federal courts established the precedent that the horrific persecution and ostracism inflicted on “sex offenders” are not punishments, but merely side effects of a record-keeping process.

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

[In 1993] Anthony Gay…pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.”  Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison…he was warehoused at the notorious…Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois [where]…”his actions…driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door.  By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091…he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010“…He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to…convince…the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked…his new release date is set for August of 2018…Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay…

Making It Up As They Go 

Seattle pretends to be “liberal”, but it’s home to vile bullshit like this:

Escape to Peace launched…a…center for survivors of sex trafficking in Bellevue on Oct. 6….Carol Loya was inspired to create the non-profit after a 2012 mission to Thailand, during which she was shocked to see and talk to young…sex work[ers]…At any given time in King County, 300-500 underage girls are being trafficked.  The average age of entry is 12-14 years old, with some as young as 8 or 9…

Yes, they’re actually claiming that Greater Seattle has 20% of all coerced underage prostitutes in the entire US.

Checklist (#612)

More “beauty salon sex trafficking” idiocy from Ohio:

…100,000…cosmetologists throughout the state of Ohio…are now the latest allies in the fight against human trafficking…In Ohio alone, it is estimated that more than 1,000 girls and boys, between the ages of 12 and 17, are involved in the sex trade.  Last year, Ohio’s state cosmetology board approved a requirement that human-trafficking awareness training become a mandatory part of obtaining a cosmetology license…[fetishists fantasize that] traffickers or so-called pimps may take a victim to a hair salon in order to change their appearance to avoid detection…If stylists see anything suspicious, there are things they can do like get a license plate number and call police…

In a police state, even your hairdresser may be spying on you.

One Born Every Minute (#645) 

I’m pleased for the very small part I played in helping to expose this rapist:

Matt Hickey…has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney with three counts of rape in the second degree.  The charges…contain allegations from three women, including two women The Stranger wrote about earlier this year…who said Hickey told them he was working with a female porn recruiter, and asked them to audition for them…Not long after the first piece came out, three more women came forward to accuse Matt Hickey of rape.  These women told The Stranger that Hickey got them blackout drunk and raped them while they were unable to consent.  Hickey denied all of the allegations…

Vendetta (#664)

A look at the aftermath of one of the private pogroms bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

Cory Walcott, was chair of the Military Science Department at the University of Nebraska Kearney until he was busted in a highly-publicized national sting…Prosecutors have now announced they are dropping the charge against Walcott and another man, Maurice Briggs…Their arrests were both part of the “National John Suppression Initiative”…[in which] police departments across the country pose undercover as either sex workers or their clients, arrest a lot of adult men and women for things like prostitution and solicitation, then put out splashy press releases about all the “sex trafficking arrests” they’ve made…the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

  • no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered
  • no force, fraud, or coercion discovered
  • four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution
  • five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with marijuana possession…

Send In the Clowns

The most interesting part of the clown panic isn’t the hysteria itself (which is kind of a yawn to anyone who’s studied such panics before), nor the copycats trying to get attention by mimicking the imaginary bogeys (ditto), but the bizarre things one finds in news stories about clown incidents.  One story says “Three ‘juvenile clowns’ were taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the influence of marijuana“; Holy Reefer Madness, Batman!  One wonders what the Kentucky man who “fired a semi-automatic rifle at a woman walking her dog because he thought she was a clown” was under the influence of; like some others, this story tries to blame the clown hysteria on Stephen King, specifically a new production of It which I doubt has anything to do with the panic.  Then there’s this Massachusetts Halloween haunted house which features “scary clowns” among its attractions, reassuring the public that “they would know if there was a clown impersonator among them.”  Self-important Australian “experts” pronounced the hysteria “dangerous” and “sinister” after it spread to Perth and to cities in Victoria (one wonders why they haven’t opined on the far-more-serious “sex trafficking” hysteria).  But those all pale beside the horrifying statements made by cops in (wait for it) Arizona:

The Phoenix Police Department reports five juveniles ages 14 and 15 were charged with scary clown threats. Mesa police [arrested] two juveniles…[one maniac said] “I would call it a hate crime.”  To prevent copycats, [pigs] and county prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach.  “Every image, every text, every mention will be investigated,” said [Commissar] Nik Rasheta…prosecutors plan to prosecute anyone else making scary clown threats to the full extent…[propaganda operatives] say don’t think social media will be a shield to make scary clown threats. Authorities have the technology to see who’s posting and spreading them…

Challenge (#679)

Lambda Legal has honored the commitment it made to sex worker rights last year by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

…At the heart of Lambda Legal’s most groundbreaking victories and continuing mission is self-determination, including bodily autonomy.  When the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas, it rightly rejected assertions against us that “public health” justified sodomy laws.  The movement for reproductive justice, from which we draw key legal precedents, similarly fights for facts over fiction when government tries to limit the right to contraception, abortion, or other similar personal decision-making.  Lawrence explained that the constitutional right to liberty protects all of us when we make our own decisions about adult, consensual sexual intimacy…sometimes relationships are transactional…consider prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and hook-up websites; the fact that money is involved does not obliterate constitutional protections for marriage, parenting or sexual intimacy.  All of these truths animate Lambda Legal’s position that the government may not constitutionally criminalize consensual adult sex solely because it is bought and sold.

Read Full Post »

After a thorough investigation I have concluded that there are no creepy killer homicidal clowns in Rolla, Missouri.  I did hear about a mime stuck in a box though that may still need assistance.  –  Adam Meyer

clowns-irresponsibly-tweeted-by-tennessee-copsProving once again that it’s impossible to overestimate the extent to which hysteria will spread, the Great Clown Panic of 2016 absolutely exploded this week.  Less than 24 hours after “Clowning Around” was published, I had so many new clown stories that they would have dominated any single news column, and I was afraid if I divvied them up between news columns I’d soon start to fall behind and end up publishing them weeks late.  So here’s another full column of clown madness, and perhaps now I’ll be able to keep up.  I’m really impressed with the rate this is growing; is it wrong of me to wish that clown hysteria would overtake & replace “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Schools in Reading [Ohio] canceled classes Friday after a woman reported being attacked by a clown overnight…just hours after Colerain Township police arrested a junior high school student on charges related to an online clown-related threat…The woman told police the clown told her: “I should just kill you now” and “students and teachers (will) wish they were never born at the junior and senior high school today”…Reading schools superintendent said the homecoming parade and game will go on Friday as scheduled.  The homecoming dance will still take place on Saturday, and there will be extra police at all events…

Naturally, once clown hysteria started to spread, enterprising young people started using it as a way of getting days off from school.  And just as naturally, moronic adults have responded by utterly losing their shit:

…several [Austin, Texas] schools have investigated social media threats made by people dressed as clowns against the schools or claims of clown sightings on campus….Police Chief Eric Mendez described the kind of threats he’s seeing: “Some of the threats can be ‘we’ll be at your campus on this date or at this time, we’re going to be there to do harm to people, we’re going to be there to kidnap people.’”  Mendez says they can’t [react like rational humans]…and have responded by beefing up security around campus….police are enlisting the help of the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, trained at tracking down terroristic threats…

This being 21st-century America, what used to be called “stupid kids being stupid” is now called “terrorism”.

…a 13-year-old girl in Virginia and a 14-year-old boy in Houston have been charged with crimes related to recent reports of scary clowns…the girl asked a person posing as a clown on social media to kill one of her teachers…[and] has been charged with one count of threatening to kill by electronic message…the boy used the image of a clown to threaten a school. He is charged with making a terroristic threat…

And it’s not only cops, but also people one would think would know better:

Philadelphia police say they have identified a 13-year-old girl who made so-called “clown threats” toward local schools…the girl told them this was a “prank” committed with a friend at her school, and she never had any intent to harm anyone…”She should pay for what she did.  She should be punished,” said [a moral retard apparently interviewed at random by local news media]…Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Temple University, says a new line has been drawn when it comes to what’s considered an innocent prank.  “I don’t think pranks that threaten lives are innocent anymore.  This nation in 9/11 was invaded from the outside, and we’ve had terrorist incidents since then”…

Apparently, Dr. Farley is attempting to establish his expertise in psychopathology by demonstrating that he himself is a sociopath and therefore knows whereof he speaks.  One has to wonder if he’s related to another sociopathic psychologist of the same name.  But this article doesn’t stop with academic police-state apologists; it also reports that cops in New Jersey have blamed the hysteria on a fictional “movie production” which nobody else seems to have heard of.  And naturally, cops in the vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri can’t pass up an opportunity to use their “concerns” as an excuse to threaten more people, especially kids:

In response to clown-related threats…some area school districts are adding to their security presence…Pevely Police Capt. Tony Moutray said…when police responded to one report of a clown sighting, they encountered armed “clown-hunters” who had heard about the sighting on social media…He’s planning to step up police [intimidation tactics] on Halloween…

If there really are idiots setting themselves up as “clown hunters”, there’s good reason for actual clowns to be concerned:

…In Johnstown, Pennsylvania…”members of the Classic Clowns Club have been alarmed by news reports in which police have asked anyone who sees a clown to call 911.  The troupe members often travel in costume, and worry that…someone [will] notice…a van full of clowns and call…the police”…In Oakland, Maryland, the Times-News informs us, members the Ali Ghan Shrine Club’s clown unit are “giv[ing] some thought about laying low for a while.” The Shriner-clowns are still doing daytime events, but they have withdrawn from one nighttime parade and are thinking about dropping out of another.clown-free-zone

But as so often happens, the only truly dangerous clowns are the police:

The scare has reached the point when police agencies—in this case, the Tennessee Highway Patrol—are tweeting things like this: “THP says watch for clowns trying to lure children in to the woods. They are possibly predators. Call 911…“…no one since this scare began has corroborated a single account of a clown trying to lure a kid anywhere…they said they were “promoting awareness”… In Putnam County, Florida, the sheriff’s office [posted the picture at right]…on Facebook…In Paw Paw, West Virginia…Police Chief James F. Cummings posted notices around town [saying]…”If someone sees you dressed like this they have the right to defend themselves…if you run around in a clown suit, you should probably expect for citizens to beat you (for their own protection), then get arrested by police”…

But while most cops in the country are only too happy to use clown hysteria as an excuse to threaten and arrest people or at least swagger around and pretend to be important, one single detective (Adam Meyer of Rolla, Missouri) actually took the time to investigate local reports, and didn’t even feel compelled to inflict violence on the hoaxers or otherwise “send a message” by destroying their lives:

I spoke with a young man…who claimed that he was assaulted by the crazy creepy clowns…he told me that he lied…He quickly admitted that he had not been assaulted, stabbed, threatened, mean mugged or even given a stern talking to by any clown whatsoever.  He had not seen a clown, creepy or not, of any kind…I ended up tracking down the young aspiring cinematographers, who will remain nameless…the person who made the recording…introduced me to the clown who was in the video.  Needless to say, I survived the encounter…They’re both just normal guys who were playing a joke on [some] girls…

Given that I’m writing this on Monday evening and you’re reading it on Friday, don’t be at all surprised if you see more reports under this heading tomorrow, and next Wednesday, and…

Read Full Post »

We’re not gonna let her go until she’s released to a parent or guardian…If we let her go and she goes around the corner and has an aneurism and dies, that’s on us.  –  Paul Kifer

Once in a while, instead of a full video, I feature a GIF or Vine because it’s just too good to pass up; I got this one from Nun Ya (who also provided “recorded”) and it’s horrifyingly hilarious and weirdly fascinating.  The links above it are from  Robert King (“Unheimlichkeit”), Walter Olson (“wrong”), Jesse Walker (“ghost”), Rick Horowitz (“reading” and “stalled”), Lenore Skenazy (“bullied”), Emma Evans  (“business”), Popehat (“car”), and Scott Greenfield (“schools”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again.  –  Ken Cronkhite

I probably should’ve posted this video last week, but I already had something there & it honestly didn’t occur to me to switch them.  Given the reaction to this sophomoric ad online, I would say it’s still too soon for this kind of humor.  The video was provided by Nun Ya, and the links above it by Mike Siegel (“fascism”),  Popehat (“reason” & “drunk”), Mistress Matisse (“queen”), Radley Balko (“hate”),  Lucy Steigerwald (“OD”), Emma Evans (“flirt”), Molly Crabapple (“doctor”), Jesse Walker (“clown”), and Scott Greenfield (“gypsy”).

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

The police…should…sow trust among the community rather than alienate some…whose actions should not be considered a crime to begin with.  –  Udi Ofer

Saving Them From Themselves

Prosecutors have the magical ability to transform a “child” into an adult, but only for the purpose of wantonly destroying innocent lives:

Austin Yabandith, a 17-year-old from Superior, Wisconsin [was charged with sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation, and possession of child pornography]…after [a school cop found nude] photos of Austin’s 15-year-old girlfriend on his cell phone—as well as a video of the couple having sex…the age of consent in Wisconsin is 18, which means Austin is…under-age, just like the girlfriend he is accused of exploiting.  But Wisconsin’s sex offender laws [allow]…17-year-olds [to] be charged as adults—even though the law considers them to be children and incapable of consenting to sex…In many U.S. jurisdictions, the law permits consensual relationships [between] underage teens if the [elder] is no more than four years older than the [younger]…Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with no Romeo and Juliet exception…even though it’s perfectly normal for teens to form…relationships with other teens, fall in love, and [have] sex…

And how did the cop “discover” the photos?  By intimidating the boy into “allowing” him to search the phone.

Above the Law  rapist-politician-richard-keenan

He once said, “Dedicating my life to Jesus has changed my life.”

…Richard Keenan, who served as mayor of Hubbard [Ohio] in 2010 and 2011, was indicted [for] eight counts of rape and 12 counts of attempted rape and gross sexual imposition…Keenan pleaded not guilty…but prosecutors said he admitted to sexually assaulting the girl over a three-year period, beginning when she was 4 years old…Keenan confessed…to his wife, a pastor, a social worker and his brother- and sister-in-law…[after] the child told Keenan’s wife about the abuse and she confronted him…he blamed the child for initiating the sex acts and described her as a “willing participant”…

The Shape of the Spoon

The reason why people view sex work as an “unacceptable” risk for women, while simultaneously encouraging us to become cops, join the military, etc:

…Ashley Thomas…the lead author of a recently published study…note that legal norms needn’t follow inaccurate beliefs about risks.  “The fact that many people irrationally fear air travel does not result in air travel being criminalized…Parents are not arrested for bringing their children with them on airplanes.  In contrast, parents are arrested and prosecuted for allowing their children to wait in cars, play in parks, or walk through their neighborhoods without an adult”…The researchers…created a series of surveys asking participants to rate the danger to children left alone in…specific circumstances…The reasons for the parent’s absence were varied randomly…“A mother’s unintentional absence was seen as safer for the child than a mother’s intentional absence for any reason, and a mother’s work-related absence was seen as more dangerous than an unintentional absence, but less dangerous than if the mother left to pursue an illicit sexual affair,” they write.  The same was true for fathers, except that respondents rated leaving for work as posing no greater danger than leaving unintentionally.  Moral disapproval informed beliefs about risks…“People…think that leaving children alone is…immoral and therefore dangerous.  That is, people overestimate the actual danger to children who are left alone by their parents, in order to better support or justify their moral condemnation of parents who do so”…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims…The new plan…is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant.  If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1…The government [pretends] it needs this power to investigate a network of devices infected with malware…what’s known as a “botnet”.  But the…amendments…are woefully short on protections for the [privacy]…of innocent Americans…

Micromanagement

I really hate being right all the fucking time:

Over the last decade, collecting DNA from people who are not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime has become an increasingly routine practice for police in smaller cities…in Florida…Connecticut, Pennsylvania and North Carolina…While the largest cities typically operate public labs and feed DNA samples into the FBI’s national database, [small] cities…have assembled databases of their own…in partnership with private labs that offer such fast, cheap testing that police can afford to amass DNA even to investigate minor crimes…some…have quietly begun [coercing] people to turn over DNA…during traffic stops…or…chance encounters with police…Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania…pays for the testing…with…money [stolen from citizens]…Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in a crime before requiring a search or seizure.  But the notion of collecting DNA [by coerced “consent”] is still so new that the ground rules remain uncertain.  Who can give such consent and what must they be told about what they’re consenting to?  Who decides how long to keep these samples and what can be done with them?…Automated “Rapid DNA” machines allow police to analyze DNA right at the station in a mere 90 minutes…but…police departments’ private databases…are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight…

Delightful Conversation 

The stupidity defense:

A man who ran an escort agency…was cleared of any wrongdoing.  Prosecutors proved Candy Girls offered sexual services…The…[various defendants all were found] guilty…[except for] Karl Jackson…[who] left school at 15 with no qualifications and always looked up to his older brother, Leon, who [owned the agency]…When interviewed by police in 2014, he said he ran a “companionship service” and never suspected the girls had sex with clients.  When asked what this involved, he said: “A companion who’s going to sit there and do everything your girlfriend did do, just watch telly and maybe clean your house, I don’t know”…

Wise Investment (#428)

A better monument to the victims would be eradicating the horrible laws that made their murders possible:

After years in the making, a sex worker memorial in Vancouver’s West End [was] unveiled…Friday.  The monument will honour the sex workers who once were part of a flourishing community before being expelled from the area…after a July 1984 Supreme Court injunction by Justice Allan McEachern…During the 1970s and ’80s, the West End was home to a tightly knit, diverse community of sex workers, she says, who kept the area pimp-free…The City of Vancouver has put $28,000 into funding the monument — the same amount it raised in fines against sex workers and consumers during enforcement of its 1982 bylaw…The memorial’s location, at Jervis and Pendrell Streets, marks a convergence of the old sex worker strolls.  It also is in front of St Paul’s Anglican Church, which often offered refuge…

Down Under (#518)

In the US, the government would’ve “helped” by prosecuting her:

A [New Zealand] sex worker’s five-year restraining order has been reinstated after years of harassment from a client that was obsessed with her.  After first paying for her services in 2012, the man began a systematic campaign of harassment when his advances were spurned…The man…would wait for her outside work and hired a private detective…to track down her identity…When she filed for a restraining order, the client went out of his way to protract a course of legal action that was used to “play” with the woman…The man, known in court papers as NR or Mr N, and woman, known as MR, have permanent name suppression and were referred to in court documents as R and M respectively.  The recently-released decision stated that M is allowed to file further evidence, seek reinstatement of indemnity costs and her restraining order for a period of five years has been reinstated…R’s appeals…have been dismissed and he must pay M’s costs…

My First Million (#568)

I hit the 5 million pageview mark just a little after 4:00 UTC last Tuesday, September 13th (a little after 9 PM Monday evening here in Seattle).  Thanks to all the readers who made it happen!
5000000

What Were You All Waiting For? (#654) 

Let’s hope other ACLU chapters start following New Jersey’s lead:

…The Newark Police Department’s 13 arrests on charges related to prostitution over the weekend raise concerns yet again about Newark’s embrace of failed and destructive “Broken Windows” policing strategies.  Using our criminal justice system to harass, arrest and incarcerate consenting adults who agree to exchange sex for money is a poor use of the NPD’s limited resources.  These arrests harm public health by stigmatizing sex workers and making their lives more difficult and dangerous.  These crackdowns harm public safety by stoking fear of police among sex workers…We urge the City to explore harm reduction…and to reject failed approaches of criminalization…Sex work should not be criminalized…

Of Course It Is

Because obviously, the prosecutor couldn’t simply exercise his discretion and decline to press charges:

[Celeste Guap]…remained jailed in Florida…but was offered a plea deal that could hasten her return to California…the assistant state attorney in Martin County, David Lustgarten, said Monday that he is charging Guap with misdemeanor battery.  “The evidence did not lead me to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a felony was committed,” he said.  Lustgarten said he offered a plea bargain to the young woman…

She was allowed to plead “no contest” to the reduced charge, and returned to California on Wednesday while her attorney belched out “sex trafficking” rhetoric.

Mote and the Beam (#672) 

Alas, the victory was short-lived:  “The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to block subpoenas issued to Backpage.com by a Senate committee that is investigating its alleged role in facilitating child sex trafficking…

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »