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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

Out of Touch

Most people who know me, friend and foe alike, are impressed or even intimidated by my encyclopedic memory.  And though I do indeed seem to have more memory space and better recall than most, I honestly think the apparent effect is boosted by my not devoting much memory space to popular ephemera.  No, that’s not strong enough; it’s more truthful to say that I’m astonishingly ignorant of popular culture, at least of the past four decades.   As I’ve often said, I stopped watching network television in 1980, and truth be told I was losing interest in it for several years before that, so I never watched a lot of the ’70s fluff such as The Love Boat that my younger siblings enjoyed.  For the next two decades I watched PBS and a few cable or independent stations, and by the turn of the century I had mostly stopped watching that, too.  Furthermore, I disliked TV news from time I was old enough to form an opinion about it (11 or 12 maybe?) and have only ever got my news from text sources.  Once I started being able to afford my own entertainment equipment in the mid-’80s, it was rare that I just turned on media (for “background noise”) that I wasn’t actively consuming; that’s probably largely due to my ADD, which makes it difficult to impossible to concentrate on reading or writing unless the room is fairly quiet.

The result of all this is, a lot of names and terms and phrases, etc, which most people would recognize might as well be drawn from medieval Chinese textbooks as far as I’m concerned.  Earlier this year I made a series of self-deprecating jokes on Twitter about my inability to recognize the various names associated with the various Trump administration scandals: “Lindsey Graham…wasn’t he in an ’80s sitcom?” or “Why are people complaining about Stephen Miller?  His music isn’t that bad.”  “Ooh, I know Mnuchin; that’s one of the little people in The Wizard of Oz!” and so on.  Last week, one of my gents texted me with something about bubbles and surges which I figured probably had more to do with COVID than with soup-making, but I wasn’t totally sure.  And in response to my query, an online friend said I was probably better off not knowing why Trumpaloons were making what appeared to be references to Ray Harryhausen’s last movie.  I suspect it does give me a bit of an “absent-minded professor” vibe, but c’est la vie; judging by the distress a lot of the stuff I don’t know seems to cause people, I think I’m better off keeping my head filled with facts, names, and even trivia that are important to me rather than letting all and sundry strew whatever rubbish they have on hand all over my mental front yard.

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

Banishment (#435)

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

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

The Course of a Disease (#925)

The Spanish case of the Swedish rot is especially virulent:

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1022)

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1025)

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1076) 

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

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

Sheep and Goats

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

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

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

“Predictive policing” scams don’t spare minors:

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

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Smart people…[a]re better than dumber people at coming up with reasons to justify their false beliefs.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

See No Evil (#424)

Censors have learned to use “progressive” rhetoric to cloak prudery:

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe playfully patting down her upblown skirt is the source of a [moronic] debate in Palm Springs, California.  The town’s city council has approved the…recreation of the act[ress]’s iconic scene atop a blustery subway grate from…The Seven Year Itch—to be installed near the Palm Springs Art Museum for a three-year period.  But…[prudes, busybodies and censors are dis]pleased with the decision…the museum’s executive director…Louis Grachos [made furtive movements in his pants while bloviating weird fantasies about underwear]…“school-age children”…and [how the]…statue [magically] objectifies women…[thereby] “hurt[ing] our whole community”…Steven H. Maloney, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, [opined that women are so stupid that a painted hunk of metal constitutes]…“an unhealthy encouragement of risqué behavior of women”…

I have a hard time imagining what a lower opinion of women than that displayed by these pompous weeds would look like.

Policing Womanhood

Cathy Reisenwitz has further thoughts on the origin of whore-hatred in women:

As my friend and fellow sex worker Maggie McNeill points out, public polling suggests men are more likely to support sex work decrim than women…Maggie thinks that the main reason women oppose sex work decrim is that women tend to think of women’s individual behavior as reflecting on women as a whole and think sex work is a bad look…I think there’s truth to that, but it lacks an important class angle…middle-class white women began campaigning for laws against prostitution and defining any type of promiscuity as prostitution in the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century…Middle-class white women feared female economic independence threatened dominant middle-class values.  By making prostitution dangerous and illegal, middle-class white women sought to force working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women into marriage, chastity, monogamy, hard work, and propriety lest they live independently of men and destroy the social order…

To Molest and Rape (#825)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A man who [was raped by] a [typical and representative] South Carolina [cop]…is suing the city of Travelers Rest…The [cop], Shawn Jenkins, was fired from the [cop shop] last year after…[the] Sheriff’s Office…[only] charged [him] with second-degree sexual misconduct…The plaintiff, who filed the suit anonymously, told investigators Jenkins pointed a department-issued stun gun at him while he was visiting Jenkins’ residence on Aug. 5, 2019, and told him to “strip or be tased”…The [then-underage victm] tried to run away, but [Jenkins] locked [him] inside a room [and raped him]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

In Maine, voters in the state’s largest city recently enacted one of the toughest facial recognition bans in the country in the Nov. 3 elections, outlawing both use of the technology by local police and the city government…the measure codifies – [but adds only weak] enforcement teeth – to a ban…passed in August by the Portland City Council…The new law allows citizens to sue the city for illegal facial recognition surveillance by the city police or government.  Citizens could get [a mere] $1,000 per violation plus legal fees, if they prevail in court.  Municipal employees [but not cops] can be fired [but not criminally prosecuted] for violating the [law]…

Welcome to the Future (#1073)

Pasco County, Florida’s “predictive policing” scheme doesn’t spare minors:

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it [pretend]s could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school…the list [is created] by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records so sensitive, they’re protected by state and federal law…Four hundred and twenty kids are [currently] on the list…[cops do]n’t tell the kids or their parents about the designation…an[d]…school…[administrators claim to have been] unaware…of [it as well]…The Department of Children and Families [refused to] answer…the Sheriff’s Office…use[s the list] to [target]…middle and high school…[students for surveillance and harassment euphemized as] “mentorship” and “resources”…Ten experts in law enforcement and student privacy…called the program…a clear misuse of children’s confidential information that stretched the limits of the law…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1086)

Why are Nevada brothel whores unable to open their mouths without vomiting out toxic whorearchy?

…[brothel whores unemployed] because of COVID-19…say they are being forced to make money in what they call dangerous, scary and illegal ways…the long shutdown is depleting their savings and they’re going broke waiting to work again.  That is forcing some of them to turn to things they didn’t want to to make money, like illegal prostitution.  One…says…”it’s so degrading and so scary”…Another…admits to illegally meeting with a Mustang Ranch regular…she trusted him but…he beat and choked her…two [say they] decided to turn a trick in Arizona…but…the…man…ended up holding them hostage in the bathroom at gun point…The madams also say they’re seeing some of their workers walking the streets now with…pimps…”If you walk into a casino, the floor is filled with illegal prostitutes and pimps”…

Apparently these whores are both incompetent and cursed, so that in a few months they’ve experienced more violence than every escort I know put together has experienced in years.

Dangerous Speech (#1087)

It’s symptomatic of the government’s deep moral rot that she wasn’t automatically disqualified:

On Nov. 18, veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin took the extraordinary step of filing a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to intervene in their ongoing criminal case and order Judge Susan Brnovich to recuse herself from all future proceedings…her husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark…Brnovich, others on his behalf and organizations with which he is associated…have vilified Backpage, assumed its complicity in sex trafficking, and drawn conclusions about facts that will be at issue in the trial of Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants…[although] the AG’s inaccurate assumptions about Backpage go to the heart of the case and raise the specter of potential bias on behalf of the judge[, she has stubbornly refused to recuse herself]…

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The police department was…dead-set on making sure those records never reached the public.  –  David James

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

As usual, police were disinterested in catching him until he started killing non-whores:

The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has died at the age of 74. The serial killer was serving a whole life term for murdering 13 women…he…died in hospital where he is said to have refused treatment for Covid-19…Sutcliffe, who was also found guilty of the attempted murder of seven women, was convicted in 1981…His killings began with..Wilma McCann…who[m he] hit with a hammer and stabbed 15 times, in October 1975…Sutcliffe’s [other] victims…[were] Wilma McCann…[in] October 1975…Emily Jackson…[in] January 1976…Irene Richardson…[in] February 1977…Patricia Atkinson…[in] April 1977…Jayne McDonald…[in] June 1977…Jean Jordan…[in] October 1977…Yvonne Pearson…[in] January 1978…Helen Rytka…[in] January 1978…Vera Millward…[in] May 1978…Josephine Whittaker…[in] May 1979…Barbara Leach…[in] September 1979…Marguerite Walls…[in] August 1980…[and] Jacqueline Hill…[in] November 1980…Sutcliffe…believed he was on a “mission from God” to kill prostitutes, although not all of his victims were sex workers….Sutcliffe was interviewed nine times during the course of the investigation but continued to avoid arrest and was able to carry on with his killings…

Like Houses

Useful idiots never see where “hate speech” laws inevitably lead:

[Useful idiots] in Norway are celebrating [what they imagine to be] a huge win after the country recently expanded its penal code…[on] hate speech to include gender identity and all forms of “sexual orientation”…The penal code states that those who are guilty of [wrongspeak] face a fine or up to a year in jail for private comments, and a maximum of three years in jail for public remarks. Furthermore, those charged [wrongthink in conjunction with] with violent crimes…will receive harsher sentences…

To Molest and Rape (#782)

“Police explorer” programs are nothing but grooming schemes for predatory cops:

Louisville Metro Police concealed at least 738,000 records documenting the sexual abuse of Explorer Scouts by two [rapist cops] — then lied to keep the files from the public…The [Louisville] Courier Journal last year requested all records regarding sexual abuse of minors…in the Explorer Scout program [by Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts]…Police officials and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office [claimed] they couldn’t comply, insisting all the records had been turned over to the FBI for its investigation.  But that was…[a lie].  In fact, the department still had at least 738,000 records, which the city allowed to be deleted.  The records could shed light on when department and city officials first learned of [the Rape Explorer]…program and what the officials…failed to do…about it…

Suppression

Politicians will not stop until they can censor the internet as they please:

…a single EU court within a single EU member state [has declared itself] the censor for the world…In…September…the Austrian Supreme Court ordered, pursuant to local defamation rules, that Facebook remove a post insulting a [politician]…keep equivalent posts off its site, and do so on a global scale…Facebook complied…[by making] the…post…inaccessible to users within Austria.  But it objected both to the global reach of the order and to the obligation to look for and keep other, equivalent posts off their site…the European Court of Justice sided with Austria…Under current practice,…global tech companies are [only] bound by local laws…within their jurisdiction…Think Germany’s hate-speech laws.  Or particular variants of the right to be forgotten. Or the Thai government’s prohibition on critique of the monarch.  Or Singapore’s limitations on what is deemed “fake news”…Under the Austrian court precedent, courts in any such jurisdiction would be more or less free to apply their local laws to compel not just local, but global takedowns of posts or comments that violate the vagaries (and often highly speech-restrictive) of local law.  And they could also require that copycat and equivalent posts be kept off—also on a global scale.  This creates a…race to the bottom, with the most censor-prone nation setting global speech rules…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1062)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is no better as an accusation than as a defense:

Former Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry was widely known as a sex addict at the network before he raped a junior staffer, a new lawsuit charges…Fox…fired Henry…shortly before [Jennifer] Eckhart went public with her allegations in July…The suit…states that the network ordered Henry to undergo therapy for sex addiction in 2016 after it was revealed he’d had an affair with a Las Vegas stripper…“Everyone at Fox News knows that Henry is a sex addict. That’s no secret,” Fox Business anchor Liz Claman told Eckhart, according to the suit…

“‘Everyone at Fox News knows Tucker Carlson is a reptilian member of the Illuminati,’ Fox Business anchor Liz Claman told Eckhart…”

(State) Violence Against Women

Biden has a long history of using “violence against women” as an excuse for power grabs that increase state violence against women:

President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to end [un-state-approved] violence against women is long, detailed, and ambitious…but…[i]s conspicuously missing any mention of sex work…Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, first introduced by Biden in 1990, will be one of Biden’s top first 100 day priorities…a relatively short but important section of the plan outlines Biden’s intent to [censor the internet by]…creating a National Task Force on Online Harassment and Abuse, giving more funding to law enforcement, and support for [more carceral] federal and state legislation [to use against sex workers who adverise online]…experts…have reservations about how this plan will…actually affect…the lives of…sex workers.  Leaving consensual, commercial adult content out of any plan for internet reform would be willfully ignoring how the internet largely works…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Hungarian politicians are as potty-obsessed as their US counterparts:

…[the government of] Hungary…signalled its intention to…change the constitution to enshrine…so-called “Christian values”…The proposed constitutional amendment…is the latest assault on LGBT rights in the country, where legal recognition for gender changes was ended in May.  “Hungary protects children’s right to identify as the sex they were born with”…the amendment states…[it also] would ensure that only heterosexual married couples can adopt children…For years, Viktor Orbán’s government has relied on an anti-migration agenda…and some analysts suggest LGBT people may be the new target.  In Poland, the ruling populist Law and Justice (PiS) party has made the fight against so-called “LGBT ideology” central to its political messaging…The new laws will have to be debated in parliament, but Orbán’s Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority, sufficient to make constitutional amendments…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Is Hollywood finally starting to back off from promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Melissa McCarthy and HBO Max have announced that they’re pulling their support for the evangelical nonprofit Exodus Cry as part of their “20 Days of Kindness” fundraising campaign…“We blew it,” McCarthy said in a video posted to Instagram…“We made a mistake and we backed a charity that upon further vetting stands for everything that we do not”…Exodus Cry frames itself as an anti-sex-trafficking group but in reality works to abolish sex work entirely.  Its founder, Benjamin Nolot, has called abortion a “holocaust” and homosexuality “an unspeakable offense to God”…the group has spent years lobbying to criminalize the purchase of sex and recently launched a campaign to shutter Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1087)

Oh, what a surprise:  “A Harford County grand jury has added 10 counts of child pornography possession to the child sex abuse case against [typical and representative] Baltimore [cop] Donald P. Hildebrandt…

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Every so often I like to present a short collection of tweets that you didn’t see unless you follow me on Twitter.  If you enjoy them, you may wish to rectify that situation.

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 [A Biden victory] is not a victory for sex workers.  –  Penelope Saunders

A False Dichotomy 

Cathy Reisenwitz on the dogma that sex without “enthusiastic consent” is rape:

…most of our choices in life…[a]re not straightforwardly coercive or cooperative, but somewhere in-between…This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that consent versus coercion isn’t a binary.  It’s a spectrum…On one end of the spectrum you have slavery and rape.  On the opposite end you have enthusiastic consent.  But most choices fall somewhere in the middle…When we say we are “forced” to make a choice, we mean that there’s no acceptable alternative.  We say we’ve been forced to do something if the alternative is death or jail.  When we say we’re “pressured” to make a choice, what we mean is there’s no appealing alternative.  We say we’ve been pressured to do something if the alternative is unpleasant or inconvenient.  The difference then between force and pressure is a difference of scope, not kind.  They’re both coercion, but are different levels of coercion…

Don’t Take My Word For It (#873)

While it’s not surprising to see male sex work increase during the pandemic, I’m extremely skeptical of claims, such as those in this story, that the clients are predominantly female.  Anti-queer stigma is much higher in India than in the US, so naturally male sex workers there are going to claim – as some did for decades in the US – that most of their clients are female in order to save face.  But as usual, the claims in this story don’t ring true, and the quotes from the interviewees only serve to underscore that.

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

…a…Seattle Police…detective…signed up for and used facial recognition app Clearview AI, which…i[s a] violation of the City of Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance…Nick Kartes…signed up for Clearview in September 2019 using his “@seattle.gov” work email address…he logged into the service over 30 times, as recently as April 22…the devices used to log into Detective Kartes’ account were connected to the City of Seattle network…This follows an established pattern, highlighted this summer, where Seattle police regularly flaunt the law…

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

Panopticon (#993)

Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops just keeps getting worse:

…While people buy Ring cameras and put them on their front door to keep their packages safe, police use them to build comprehensive CCTV camera networks blanketing whole neighborhoods.  This…allows police departments to [shift] the cost of buying surveillance equipment…onto consumers by convincing them they need cameras to keep their property safe…[and] evades the natural reaction of fear and distrust that many people would have if they learned police were putting up dozens of cameras on their block…Now…police in Jackson, Mississippi, have started a pilot program t[o convince]…Ring owners to patch the camera streams from their front doors directly to…police…footage [of] your…coming and going…your neighbors taking out the trash, and the dog walkers and delivery people who do their jobs in your street…can now be live streamed directly onto a dozen monitors scrutinized by police around the clock.  Even if you refuse to allow your footage to be used that way, your neighbor’s camera pointed at your house may still be transmitting directly to the police[, plus all cops need do is ask and Amazon will grant warrantless access to your camera without your consent]…


The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1033) 

Censors’ fixation on Pornhub spreads to Thailand:

Thailand’s government said…it had banned Pornhub and 190 other websites showing pornography, prompting social media anger over censorship…many Thai users trended the #SavePornhub hashtag on Twitter and criticised the shutting of a site in a country…which has a globally-known sex industry…A few dozen activists protested the block outside the digital ministry, holding banners saying “free Pornhub” and “reclaim Pornhub”…Internet research firm Top10VPN said it saw a spike in searches from Thailand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which help circumvent censorship, by 640%…after Pornhub was [censored]…

And India:

The Cyber Police agency of the Indian state of Maharashtra — the region that includes populous Mumbai — has formally accused several platforms of “transmitting sexually explicit and obscene content online”…[the sites include] Xvideos and Pornhub.  Inspector General of Police Yashasvi Yadav [made furtive movements in his pants while sharing his fantasy that]…”the actresses in these videos have been exploited, lured or compelled to perform the obscene acts. We will be treating the actresses as ‘victims’ and not ‘accused persons’”…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

Since costumed rapists are essentially immune to criminal law, civil law has to do:

A new lawsuit [has been] filed against [typical and representative] Louisville [cop] Brett Hankison…a…sexual predator…who…[has] willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently…[raped at least 10 women over the years and achieved recent notoriety for the murder] of…Breonna Taylor…LMPD has…fired Hankison for his role in the [murder, but ignored all the rape complaints]…nine o[f the] women who…Hankison [raped have made statements in the lawsuit, filed by Margo Borders, a lawyer he raped in 2018]…

(State) Violence Against Women

Two hardline prohibitionists at the top do not bode well for sex workers:

…Phoenix Calida…[of] SWOP-USA…says of a Biden win, “I see things getting worse for sex workers, actually.”  Calida’s assessment is due in part to Biden’s sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill…“‘Tough on crime,’ which Biden has really promoted his entire career, is really not helpful at all to sex workers…Biden is like, ‘Let’s not defund the police, let’s give them more money!’”  Advocates’ concerns around…Kamala Harris, are both more numerous and concrete.  “You couldn’t get a candidate with a worse record on sex work,” says [Penelope] Saunders of [Best Practices Policy Project].  In 2008, Harris called San Francisco’s Proposition K—an attempt at halting the enforcement of laws against prostitution—“completely ridiculous.”  Harris also infamously pursued the shutdown of Backpage and the prosecution of the site’s owners despite warnings that shuttering the site would put sex workers in greater danger and make it harder to investigate sex trafficking cases. (It did.)  She also helped develop the devastating SESTA/FOSTA, specifically as a means of targeting Backpage…[and supports]…the EARN IT Act, a bill…which threatens sex workers’ ability to use encrypted messaging services…as well as free speech online…opponents of the bill…are calling it “SESTA/FOSTA 2.0.”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

Compare the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Democrats in this article to attack someone closely associated with Trump, to the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Republicans just a month earlier to attack someone closely associated with Biden, and then tell me again how they’re so different and why sex workers should trust either pack of fanatics:  “President Trump’s top campaign strategist, Jason Miller…admitted to hiring prostitutes and receiving sexual favors at multiple ‘Asian themed’ massage parlors, an industry known to have connections to sex trafficking rings…”  “Progressives” want sex workers to believe they’re on our side, but they go straight for the anti-whore slurs the second they think it will win them cheap points on the “other team”.

Social Distancing (#1084)

Prohibitionists don’t care who has to suffer to advance their twisted agenda:

India’s sex workers suffered a setback…following a U-turn by the country’s human rights body, which said [sex workers] should not be registered as workers or guaranteed financial aid from the government amid the fallout of COVID-19.  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last month asked state governments to recognise sex workers as informal workers, which would have entitled them to benefits and aid from a $23 billion fund for India’s poor during the coronavirus pandemic…the watchdog’s non-binding advisory was hailed by [human rights experts]… as a boon for the rights of an estimated 800,000 sex workers across India, [but prohibitionists, led by the evil and deeply-derangd Sunitha Krishnan, worked to intimidate the commission by issuing veiled threats of expensive and troublesome legal complaints based in bad “]sex trafficking[” laws.  In response to these threats]…The NHRC…issued a new statement that said sex workers could not be registered officially or categorised as informal workers….[but] should instead be given help on “humanitarian grounds” during the pandemic…

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We’re not…doing anything…criminal…It’s the laws that are criminal.  –  Emily, UK sex worker

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Just protecting and serving:

…[typical and representative Bakersfield, CA cops] Logan August and Derrick Penney pleaded guilty to a massive conspiracy in which they would arrest people for selling drugs only to turn around and use those drugs to enrich themselves.  These two [typical and representative] cops received probation only, for their crimes…last year August was charged — again — with with 15 felony counts, including conspiracy and burglary, in connection with stealing over 400 pounds of drugs from a sheriff’s storage locker and [selling] them…he…was sentenced to four years in prison…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

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

Dame Diana Johnson…[bloviated a lot of paternalistic nonsense claim]ing [that]…men in the UK who…[seek consensual] sex were “fuelling a brutal sex-trafficking trade that is destroying lives”.  She [also called websites which sell advertising space to sex workers] “pimping websites” [and said they] should be [magically] banned [even though the internet is international]…The Home Office said its priority was to…target…vulnerable people…[especially from] Romania…[on] BBC Radio 4’s Today programme [Johnson shared her sexual fantasies about passive, doll-like]…women trafficked to the UK…from Romania and…sold into the sex trade…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…[Columbia South Carolina]’s…hate speech ordinance…has been invoked seven times since it was enacted more than a year ago…five of six accused of using racial slurs are people of color.  One [other black] person is accused of derogatory language related to sexual orientation…lawyers for some of those charged [have pointed out that]…the new rule [criminalizes]…speech protected under the First Amendment…two of the accused [were] homeless [black men targeted by]…the same [cop]…

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

A New Jersey [cop]…harass[ed a teenage girl with]…sexually explicit text messages…after he arrested her…Damien Broschart…arrested her on drug charges and several traffic violations…[then] deactivated his body camera and mobile video recorder and asked for her phone number…Broschart went on to send “sexually explicit messages” and tried to meet her at her home after his shift ended…but she refused and…blocked his phone number…he [then] called her three [more] times from the [cop shop phone] and left a message requesting a call back…she…instead reported [him]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#1004) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Hundreds of people have been arrested for [sex work using the pretext of “]brothel-keeping[“]…in the last four years under laws that sex workers [have repeatedly explained] put them at risk…While selling sex is legal in the UK, keeping a brothel – defined as more than one sex worker working from premises – is not…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#1064) 

But this isn’t trafficking, no sirree:

U.S. border [thugs] have been expelling migrant children from other countries into Mexico…[using] the [pretext of] coronavirus…[even though] the terms upon which the Mexican government agreed to help implement the order…were that only Mexican children…who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border…children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador [have been intentionally put] at risk by sending them with no accompanying adult into a country where they have no family connections…The expulsions, which appear to number more than 200 over the past eight months, reflect the haphazard nature with which many of the administration’s most aggressive immigration policies have been introduced…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Authoritarians all want the same thing, but please tell me more about “wings”:

The comforting anonymity in spaces made for and by queer or questioning people…is the first step for many in accepting their identities.  We take them for granted now, but the creation of these spaces was never preordained…The internet went in this direction because Congress chose to codify common law precedent and extend First Amendment protections to online communities and moderators…Section 230 established that legal liability for illegal content online should be aimed at the individual who shared it rather than the platform that hosted it.  It is based on the very reasonable principle that individuals, rather than the tools they use, hold responsibility for their own actions..[but] today, Section 230 is under the attack from…politic[ians]…at least 10 bills have been introduced to significantly alter Section 230…to…flip the current incentives for websites to allow speech…If I were a lawyer for Facebook or Reddit and Section 230 was revoked, I’d urge them to remove all content that had a hint of controversy to protect us from legal liability…That’s exactly what happened after Congress passed SESTA-FOSTA, which…made sex work far more dangerous…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

Is the word “trafficking” missing here because of the pushback on other, similar scams?

A [so-called] rescue operation in Virginia resulted in [cops bragging about what they’re calling] the recovery of 27 missing children…[and infantiled young adults, mostly from non-custodial parents]…Deputy US Marshals l[abel]ed the five-day effort…”Operation Find Our Children.”  They collaborated with the agency’s Fugitive Task Force [because many of the arrested young people were actually fleeing abusive parents]…the…Deputy Attorney General [bloviated a great deal and bragged about how big the cops’ dicks are]…

To Molest and Rape (#1087)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

Rodney Vicknair was the first New Orleans [cop] to arrive at the scene when a 15-year-old girl reported being [raped], and he drove the teen and her mother to a hospital for a [rape kit].  But in later calls and meetings, his own agency says, Vicknair began [trying to seduce] the girl with compliments about her body, asked her for her underwear and [groped] her…Vicknair [was fired and arrested and faces up to 23 years in prison]…

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Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence in March. and the one before that from last December.  But since the US has just seen two unrepentant prohibitionist authoritarians elected to the presidency and vice-presidency – the latter of which founded her national-level political career on censoring sex workers’ advertising and demonizing those who provide our advertising platforms  –  your support is now more important than ever.  If you generally support the “red hat” crew, I don’t need to give you extra reasons to oppose the new regime’s policies; if you generally support the “blue hat” crew, you probably don’t need my urging to oppose policies that give cops more money, power, and excuses to lock people in cages for consensual sex; and if you recognize that the two crews don’t differ by much other than the color of their hats, you’re probably already opposed to the abominable concept that peaceful, consensual acts of any kind can be crimes.  Most of the recent pack of Democratic presidential wannabees, including the new vice-president elect, pretended to accept the need for deciminalization of sex work (even though they really support Swedish criminalization); over 50% of Americans support true decriminalization, and the same elections which resulted in a new president also resulted in a wave of drug decriminalizations and legalizations in many states.  Governments sending brutal thugs to inflict violence upon those who enjoy themselves in ways their overlords dislike is less popular in this country than it has been in a century, so now is the time to push even harder to chip away as much of the edifice of prohibition as possible before the pendulum inevitably begins to swing the other way again.

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So it looks as though another wave of COVID is starting, and with it another wave of bargain-basement Canutes making arbitrary declarations about the value of individual human lives and pretending human rights are a luxury.  As I wrote back in May, my problem with “lockdowns” and other abridgements of liberty is, was, and always will be megalomaniacal politicians setting themselves up like Jehovah at the Last Judgment, proclaiming that this person is “essential” and that one “nonessential”.  The only really “nonessential” jobs are politician, bureaucrat, and cop, and a disproportionate number of the people declared “nonessential” by these control freaks are women and ethnic minorities; funny that.  And yet all the bootlickers choose to characterize concerns for service providers’ livelihoods as “white women bitching because they can’t get a haircut”.  It’s vile.  Some have said the rulers should close down everything that isn’t necessary to “keep people fed”, but that is still a bullshit standard; humans need things other than food, and such arbitrary rules are what lead supermarkets to rope off “nonessential” sections as they did in Michigan and the UK.  Establish objective criteria (occupancy and spacing, etc) or do nothing at all; anything else is discrimination.  Discrimination on the basis of profession is just as wrong as on the basis of race, sex, etc, and there is no clause in the Constitution that says equality under the law can be suspended when it’s politically inconvenient.

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The wars of the 21st century, unlike their 19th and 20th century counterparts of finite length, will continue on interminably until the Empire waging them is consumed in the flames of its own collective insanity.  –  “War Without End

In the year since my last Armistice Day polemic, the severity of the cracks in the American Empire have become far more evident to everyone who isn’t willfully ignoring them.  As I wrote in “Post-Imperial“,

…whatever prestige the US enjoyed [has been undermined by] the ascension of a mad emperor who has made himself an international laughingstock, burned nearly every bridge, and weakened the economy with a ridiculous trade war; the exposure before the eyes of the world of the violent, racist, authoritarian rot that permeates the entire fascist sytem; the childish bickering and deranged tyrannies of nearly every member of the US political class, trying to one-up each other instead of fulfilling one of the few legitimate functions of government, disaster management; and said government’s shameless funneling of money into the hands of the well-connected on a scale unseen since the collapse of the Ancien Régime…The era of US hegemony is over; it looks, may the gods help us, as though the dominant world political power of the twenties is going to be an empire even more outrageously evil and single-mindedly authoritarian than the US ever was…

Last week, the process of replacing that mad emperor with a senile and more conventionally authoritarian one began, and how exactly that process will unfold is, at the time of this writing, not entirely clear.  But while the antics of the new god-king are likely to be less openly clownish than those of the deposed one, all of the other problems listed in the quote above will remain.  And the wars will go on and on, because as I said a year ago today:

…given the popularity of astonishingly-wasteful military adventurism across the monolithic ruling party naive Americans absurdly refer to as “the political spectrum”, including among those who profess to have better and far more productive ideas for the trillions being flushed down Ares’ toilet, it seems obvious that…a great deal of the impetus for modern warfare, like the impetus for the domestic wars (on drugs, whores, “crime”, etc), comes directly from those reaping profits and gathering political power from the bloodshed…

Furthermore, we can expect most of the voices which have criticized all of this over the past few years to grow silent, as the pretentiously-named “Resistance” evaporates almost as completely as the Bush-era antiwar movement did after the inauguration of Obama, leaving “their guy” free to indulge himself in “empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with“.  I say “almost” because it seems at least some of those who describe their beliefs with the silly 18th-century label “left” are at least somewhat more skeptical of Emperor Biden than they were of Emperor Obama, and appear to be at least beginning to comprehend that would-be rulers who choose a jackass as their totem are just as enamored with violence and just as devoted to the principle of “might makes right” as their chums who prefer the totem of a clumsy, lumbering pachyderm.  One way or the other, it’s far too late for the American Empire.  But perhaps those of us who have been sounding the warning for decades may be joined by at least a few extra voices over the next four years.

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