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The right to criticize the police without risk of arrest distinguishes a democracy from a police state.  –  Judge Brian Jackson

Regular readers know that I love unusual covers of songs; here’s one of the guitar solo from “Free Bird” played on a gayageum, proving once again that “cultural appropriation” is not only not bad, but actually awesome.  The video was provided by Jesse Walker, and the links above it by Elizabeth N. BrownFranklin HarrisPopehatEd KrayewskiMark DraughnAmy Alkon & Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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[Laura Lee] put herself on the line in a way few have the guts to do.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Storyville 

An interesting look at brothel archaeology in Australia:

Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century.  Especially unmarried women with babies.  But we don’t hear people say “my great-great-grandmother was a sex worker”…Social stigma belies the importance of prostitution in providing an independent living, and even property ownership, for numerous women in this period…the Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner…has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory…

Whore Madonnas 

While mainstream media mindlessly parrots “sex trafficking” propaganda, the alternative press is listening to sex workers:

…Liz Afton works as a counselor at the Sex Workers Project…which provides legal and social services to people involved in sex work…“Mothers…who are involved in sex work often have it used against them to separate them from their child,” Afton says.  Atossa Movahedi, director of legal services and development at the UJC’s domestic violence project, says…“More often than not…the opposing party had knowledge of, or even was involved directly, in the client’s participation in the sex work, and is now using it as a tool to exploit them in the court system.”  When dealing with custody disputes, courts [supposedly] first look at a parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home.  Financial status, mental health, drug use and domestic violence all fall under consideration.  Though many mothers involved in sex work pass inspection in these areas, they’re left with the fact that the job is usually illegal—and in the eyes of some on the bench, immoral…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown is becoming our most powerful voice against sex hysteria:

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition…history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.  And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.  For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography…there’s no evidence that internet porn has been destroying millennials — some of whom now have two decades of…data to offer…all the available evidence shows…teens today are starting sex later, and more likely than previous generations to use condoms when they do.  Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest levels in decades…In addition, there’s now a huge body of research showing that…it’s “time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior”…sexually well-adjusted adults “reported more experience with pornography as teenagers” than their maladjusted counterparts…

Finding What Isn’t There

Too bad all prohibitionism isn’t focused on harassing women who don’t exist:

Lake of the Woods boasts 15,000 islands and more than 100,000 kilometres of shoreline — more coast than Lake Superior…the [area]…near the Manitoba border sees its population double in the summer months.  When [masturbatory fantasies] of women and girls being forced into the sex trade on Lake of the Woods arose at a 2013 human trafficking conference in Kenora, even local social service workers were shocked…“Dock girls,” as they came to be known…are [fantasized] to be overwhelmingly Indigenous [minors who]…are [fantasized] to be transported…from…northwestern Ontario and Manitoba as part of a human trafficking circuit…only…one social service worker [in the area claims]…they’ve come face-to-face with a “dock girl”…[yet]…Kenora will receive $504,000 over three years to [indoctrinate] frontline hospitality workers…[in the usual anti-whore propaganda]…there is so little hard evidence for the “dock girl” phenomenon that it raises questions about whether the problem exists at all.  And if it doesn’t, critics say, wouldn’t the government’s funding…be better spent elsewhere?…

Policing for Profit

Cops are starting to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

In Alabama…two [politicians] introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff.  It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime…It would move the proceeds of forfeiture to the state’s general fund to eliminate the profit incentive for police and prosecutors to try to seize whatever they could get their hands on.  And it would close a loophole that would forbid local law enforcement agencies from bypassing restrictions by participating in the federal “equitable sharing” Department of Justice forfeiture program…the head of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association teamed up with an op-ed that urges against reforms to asset forfeiture…Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton warn that requiring successful prosecutions will lead to them filing more charges against people…When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to…think about what you’re doing…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

Women imprisoned at California’s Santa Rita Jail say they’re being [caged] in filthy conditions, denied basic hygiene products, pressured to have abortions, subjected to incessant strip searches, and forced to endure many other manners of cruel and inhumane treatment from guards and staff…In a new federal lawsuit, they’re asking a federal judge to intervene on behalf of them and future female prisoners, particularly those who are pregnant…The jailhouse horror stories…provide an invaluable glimpse at the…systemic degradation…such institutions foster…female inmates face the standard abuses inflicted on male prisoners as well as those unique to their sex, from being forced to “free bleed” during their periods if they can’t afford to buy tampons to facing higher levels of sexual assault and coercion from guards and staff…pregnant prisoners [are] denied proper nutrition and prenatal care and, in some places, forced to give birth in shackles.  At Santa Rita…one inmate was…left alone in solitary confinement to give birth…”She was banging on her metal door…[the screws] closed the slider-window…so she could not see out, and no one could see in…Only after we could hear the crying of the baby did the deputies finally go over and open her door”…

Opting Out (#401)

This is no surprise to those of us who have actually studied the effects and history of censorship:

Sky UK has been called out for blocking a…website that its algorithms deem as “pornographic”…as part of the Digital Economy Act 2010…Sky UK have blocked gay-teen advice website gayteenresources.org…an important resource for teenagers exploring their sexuality and for those that may be struggling…blocked.org.uk, which lists sites that cannot be accessed, reveals that O2, EE and Three have also automatically filtered the site from their mobile networks…

“Filtered” is a euphemism for “censored”, and this will continue until the media acknowledge that.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

At least universities in Washington state aren’t generally used to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda, unlike those in Arizona and Texas:

The “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit is designed to [facilitate masturbation] to [the fantasy of] human trafficking in Texas…there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state…From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King…illustrat[ing] themes of isolation, captivity and desperation…Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a “seclusion room.”  Attendees are invited to enter the small space and [masturbate in private while fantasizing about pubescent girls in]…a life of captivity…

The Public Eye (#797)

Though Rolling Stone is far too timid to write honestly about escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in it at all:

At…the 35th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards…plenty of big names were in attendance – stars who had led more traditional adult-film careers – but they were outnumbered by scores of up-and-coming models who primarily built their own businesses using cam shows, original clip stores and monetized social-media platforms.  The mass availability of easily pirated streaming video may have decimated the porn economy, but it seems that women are the ones adapting, finding fresh ways to connect directly with consumers.  As these models gain more economic influence, they are also raising the bar for consent conversations throughout the industry…

Tit For Tat

One day, our culture will grow up enough that this won’t be noteworthy:

Eva Sless…is a sex columnist, a sex educator and a sex worker  who…[is] married.  Sless’ husband, Justin…is completely supportive of her work, though they’re both aware it’s an unconventional life.  “I know we are a rare couple.  Our life and marriage is built on a foundation of strong friendship, trust, love, and respect…I don’t know if the life we live is for everyone, but it works for us. I love our world.”  Below, they tell us more about Sless’ work, how it affects their marriage and what Justin thinks of his wife’s clients…

Elephant in the Parlor (#806)  

This ought to be interesting:

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Donald Trump’s attorney acknowledges paying $130,000 just before Election Day, believes she is now free to discuss a…sexual encounter with the man who is now president…At the same time, developments…are fueling questions about whether such a payment could violate federal campaign finance laws.  Daniels…believes that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, invalidated a non-disclosure agreement after two news stories were published [early last week]…one in which Cohen told The New York Times he made the six-figure payment with his personal funds, and another in the Daily Beast, which reported that Cohen was shopping a book proposal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said the manager, Gina Rodriguez.  “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez said…

Watershed (#809)

When stuffy Time publishes an article who only major nod to prohibitionism is to quote dried-up dinosaur Gloria Steinem vomiting up her “body invasion” nonsense, you know things are changing:

Like millions of others, Melony Hill took to social media last fall to say “me too”…But rather than receiving an outpouring of support, Hill said she’s gotten messages saying that she deserved to be sexually assaulted — because she has worked in the sex industry for 20 years…“They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times”…Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it…Some…sex…[workers] told Time that they have posted their #MeToo stories anonymously to avoid potential legal repercussions.  Others said that they don’t want to speak out publicly because they anticipate they’ll be shamed, or not believed because they aren’t “perfect victims”…there’s also the damaging notion that sex workers can’t be sexually assaulted…“Not all women are being supported in the #MeToo movement,” said Cris Sardina…of…Desiree Alliance…“It’s what type of woman”…

R.I.P. Laura Lee

A very nice tribute from The Herald:

She was, in the words of Scots author Kirstin Innes, “a powerhouse, a formidable, vital, hilarious and angry star”…Others described her as a “fierce warrior” for women.  She appeared regularly in the pages of this newspaper fighting the corner of the most marginalised women in society – sex workers.  She was Laura Lee – a brilliantly clever Irish woman who found an adoptive home in Scotland and made the choice to work in the sex industry.  Last week, she died aged just 39…

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The school crossing patrol at this location has been asked to stop ‘high-fiving’ and to concentrate on his core duty of ensuring highway safety.  –  council spokesman

Many Filmation cartoons of the ’60s and early ’70s featured songs “performed” by an animated band of characters from the show; of course, these were actually written and performed by a behind-the-scenes house band, and occasionally they scored an actual hit which got substantial radio play.  The most famous example was “Sugar Sugar” from The Archie Show, but this one from the Groovie Goolies show (a favorite of mine at the time) hit #9 on the Billboard charts in February of 1971.  The links above it were provided by Elizabeth N. BrownAmy AlkonTim CushingClarissaRadley Balko, and Richard Ahlquist, in that order.

From the Archives

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Nothing about jackbooted cops storming into your room can be pleasant.  –  Tyler Dawson

Under Duress 

I find it mind-boggling that most people are surprised to find out that cops are habitual liars:

A…jury…convicted [an NYPD] detective of lying under oath in a trial that raised troubling questions about the prevalence of false statements by police officers in routine cases…Kevin Desormeau…concocted a story about witnessing a man deal drugs to two women on a street corner on a summer evening in 2014…Desormeau [testiled that he] intercepted the man after the transactions and arrested him…But videotape from security cameras showed that the man had been playing pool inside a nearby Caribbean restaurant at the time he was said to have been selling drugs outside…Desormeau and his partner…Sasha Neve, still face charges related to false statements in Manhattan in a separate case…Neve…was found guilty [in the current case] of official misconduct…But the judge…immediately struck down her conviction, [pretending] there was insufficient evidence…As both…left the courtroom, other [pigs] from their old [sty], the Queens gang squad, patted their backs in support…one…was overheard [oinking that] the case as a “witch hunt”…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

An inmate in the Ascension Parish Prison has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Jeff Wiley and his office over the teenager’s rape while in custody early last year.  Jacob Westbrook…[reports that] sheriff’s deputies [refused] to obey a judicial order to keep him in protective custody, and instead exposed him to “the very substantial risk of serious harm” from his alleged attackers…Westbrook had “sexual batteries” and “rapes” committed against him on two consecutive days in January 2017 by two 17-year-olds.  Westbrook was also 17 years old at the time.  “During each violent attack, plaintiff screamed for help and from the pain.  No deputies came to his aid…jail personnel failed to follow supervision of detainee policies and procedures and there was no video monitoring of this area of the jail,” the lawsuit alleges…

Whither Canada?

To their credit, the Young Liberals have been pushing for repeal of Canada’s version of the Swedish model since the law first passed:

…the Young Liberals of Canada…[are] pushing the rest of their federal party to discuss decriminalization of prostitution at the party’s convention in April…Since they were elected, the Liberals have claimed they’re reviewing Conservative-era legislation that reworked Canada’s sex work laws following the Supreme Court’s Bedford decision in 2013…[but] little has happened since…the present law…is poor public policy, is disrespectful to the top court’s judgment and – completely separate of either of these very good reasons to object to it – insulting to those who work in the sex industry and can make their own choices about what they do with their bodies and how they make money…

Juxtaposition (#422)

Before you decry this as symptomatic of totalitarianism, click the title link to see who else has arrested people for dancing near public monuments:

Five Britons are among a group of 10 foreigners arrested in Cambodia for “singing and dancing pornographically”, after a raid on a party in Siem Reap near the tourist destination of Angkor Wat.  They face up to a year in prison and could spend six months in detention before the case goes to court…one of the group…said they did not understand why they were being held, adding that they saw one of the arrested men vomiting in shock…

Wise Investment (#428)

Those who cannot remember the past, etc:

Advocates for sex workers are demanding Laval [Quebec] reverse its decision to push all massage parlours, strip clubs, and other erotic businesses to a small, industrial stretch of the city.  The new rules…further stigmatize and endanger the women involved in the sex industry, according to Sandra Wesley, the executive director of Stella, a Montreal-based support group for sex workers…[which] is demanding the city withdraw its new rules, or at least postpone their enforcement, so the women affected can have time to challenge them.  But according to the city, the rules are here to stay…that doesn’t mean sex workers will change jobs; it just forces them out of public view and into situations where they have to work from home or in unsafe areas…

Pyrrhic Victory (#609)

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

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month.  The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking…the data [comes] from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data…Vigilant…has amassed a database of more than 2 billion license plate photos by ingesting data from partners like vehicle repossession agencies and other private groups.  Vigilant also partners with local law enforcement agencies…collecting even more data from camera-equipped police cars.  The result is a massive vehicle-tracking network generating as many as 100 million sightings per month, each tagged with a date, time, and GPS coordinates of the sighting…

Droit du Seigneur (#614)

Given that Spitzer was a heavy prohibitionist while in office, outing him is justified:

A Manhattan judge has lifted the gag order placed on the ​former ​escort who [says]…Eliot Spitzer threatened to kill her, meaning she can now dish on the fallen pol’s sexual fetishes​ ​— ​which allegedly include being paraded around on a leash like a dog.  Judge Gilbert Hong issued an order…saying Svetlana Travis Zakharova is no longer subject to another judge’s February 2017 direction she couldn’t talk about her relationship with Spitzer while she was being prosecuted for extorting $400,000 from him…Hong also ruled that the NYPD has 30 days to return the former escort’s cell phone and iPad, which were seized when she was arrested in the extortion case…She’s since released recordings in which a man she alleges is the infamous pol threatens to kill her.  “You fuck​ing bitch!  You piece of shi​t.  And then you fuck​ing destroyed my life!” the man in the records can be heard saying.  “You know what’s going to happen to you?  You’re going to be fuck​ing dead.”  [Zakharova’s lawyer] says that as soon as Zakharova returns from Russia — where she’s gathering more recordings — she’s coming for Spitzer…

To Molest and Rape 

A “correctional officer” in a “correctional institution”.  Makes you wonder what “authorities” perceive as “correct”:

In the early months of 2017, a correctional officer at a jail near the Tennessee-Alabama border routinely cornered a female inmate in the jail library, raping and eventually impregnating her before the assaults were discovered…Caleb Shane Hopkins…[has confessed to repeatedly raping] Jessica Fowler…Once other jail officials learned Fowler was pregnant, she was transferred to the Tennessee Prison for Women before giving birth, prematurely, in December.  She remains imprisoned, unable to have any prolonged access to her child…[who] is currently with [her] parents…[she] is suing Hopkins for $1 million and Moore County for $300,000.  However, there are no federal limits for damages in a case like this, so a judge could award a higher amount…

I hope she bankrupts both the rapist pig and the county.

Opting Out (#759)

Naturally, Cassandra McNeill was warning about this years ago:

MindGeek, the biggest internet pornography company in the world…[pretends] it will not snoop on the sexual preferences of 25 million people in the UK under new age verification laws.  However, MindGeek also [admits it] plans to collect a trove of information on users, including their names, addresses, date of birth, as well as their online activities on other websites.  From April, as part of the Digital Economy Act, anyone wishing to view pornography online will have to prove they are over 18 years old…Among the companies developing solutions is MindGeek, which…also runs some of the most viewed pornography sites in the world, including PornHub…its age verification system, AgeID…will require users to sign up with an email address and password, then use a third party mechanism to prove they’re over 18.  User will then use AgeID to access pornographic sites around the web; AgeID will log which sites are visited…

Stupor Bowl (#769) 

It’s a good sign that headlines like this are now fairly common:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement joined in the pre-Super Bowl hype…[about] a…human trafficking spike that experts…agree doesn’t exist…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a coalition of NGOs, wrote in 2014 that public figures often use this sort of hype to justify their own interests, whether it’s anti-immigration sentiment or support and funding for [police violence against sex workers]…

Stalkers in Blue

Oh, honey, I hope you don’t really believe this doesn’t happen in Florida:

An NYPD [cop] offered to let a Brooklyn woman slide on a pot possession bust if she lifted her shirt and showed him her breasts…Jasmine Campbell…was arrested for possession of marijuana and resisting arrest — but…not before…Javier Munoz mistreated her…Campbell, 25, spent the night in jail before she was released without bail and the ordeal caused her to miss a college midterm in her senior year.  She said she was not able to take a makeup exam, and got a lower grade in the class…Campbell said her friend insisted to cops that the weed was his, but they cuffed and processed her, anyway…Campbell said she has since been pulled over by other officers who have been sexually inappropriate.  “It’s a constant thing going on in New York with the cops that they’re just using their badges to, I guess, sexually harass women…That’s why I’m so glad to be going to law school in Florida.  I don’t even want to live here anymore”…

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I am a mother, I am a grandmother, and I am a sex worker. – Cris Sardina

Whore Madonnas 

Long-time readers may recall one of the ladies who worked for my agency also did it to pay for treatment for her son’s blood disorder:

A mother whose Irish-born child has a severe form of sickle cell disease…was so “desperate” she resorted to prostitution for a time to fund his medication…If deported to her native Nigeria, the mother fears her son, now aged eight, will be seriously adversely affected due to the quality of treatment available in Nigeria and her inability to pay for it, including blood transfusions…The boy was born two months after his mother came to Ireland in 2009.  After a deportation order was made in 2011, she evaded it and later took three legal challenges.  The mother and child were accommodated by the State from 2014 and provided with a medical card under which the child’s treatment is funded…

The argument for deportation advanced by counsel for the Irish government basically amounts to, “So what?”

The Proper Study

As usual, studies prove what we’ve been saying all along:

A large new study out of the U.K. formalizes what sex workers have been saying…for years:  The internet has revolutionized erotic industries for the better, making sex work safer, less isolating, and less open to exploitation…Most—59 percent—started somewhere between ages 18 and 29, with about 20 percent starting after age 30.  Only 5 percent said they started between the ages of 13 and 17…Eighty-six percent agreed that they had good relationships with their customers, with only 11 percent saying they felt disrespected by their clients; 82 percent reported that they’re either satisfied or very satisfied with their working conditions…new challenges [are] mostly related to the erosion of the boundaries between online personas and real identities.  More than half worried that family or friends might find out what they do through the internet…Another strain on British sex workers, predictably, came from policies criminalizing certain aspects of prostitution…

Crying for Nanny

Yet another attempt to rob businesses using “sex trafficking” hysteria as a weapon:

A [soi-disant] sex trafficking victim from Houston is taking Backpage.com and several well-known truck stops and hotel chains to court, claiming they profited from her suffering.  The alleged victim, identified only as “Jane Doe #1,” is suing the classifieds website as well as Hyatt Hotels, Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Travel Centers, among others…”Jane Doe #1″…[claims] the businesses…were aware, the lawsuit claims, of what was really happening…

Soap Opera

Prohibitionists think women are so stupid they can’t remember  “911”:

…Before the Super Bowl, [“rescue” profiteers] will distribute “Freedom Stickers,” and encourage Minnesotans to place them in public restrooms.  The stickers, which are printed in English and Spanish, contain the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline and encourage women who are in an unsafe situation to call or text the number for assistance.  Nita Belles, the executive director of In Our Backyard…said she realized that one of the only times a woman is alone is when she’s in a bathroom stall.  Belles began placing “shoe cards” in restroom stalls–small cards with a hotline number, which could be hidden in a shoe.  The Freedom Sticker is a similar concept, but since…[Belles masturbates to the fantasy of women being] stripped [sic] searched, the sticker cannot be removed from the restroom.  Instead, Belles says a woman [so stupid she can’t remember the numbers “911”] can store the number in her phone or text it privately from the restroom stall.  After someone calls the hotline, they can be connected to [cops] or other [prohibitionists]…

Watershed

Slowly but surely, feminists are coming over to our side:

…at the Women’s March Power to the Polls event in Las Vegas…Cris Sardina, head of Desiree Alliance…was the only one of 30-plus onstage speakers to focus on the rights of…sex workers…But even as a lone voice in the day’s lineup, she symbolized a powerful shift — as did the noticeable presence of many sex-worker rights activists, who turned out more forcefully than they did for last year’s main Women’s March event.  That was due, said many, to a more targeted welcome effort on the part of event organizers.  They aimed to right a perceived wrong from last year, as publicized by Janet Mock, over briefly watering down and then removing a sentence embracing sex workers from the Women’s March mission statement, before reinstating it under pressure…

To Molest and Rape 

What other job’s perks include “get away with serial rape of minors”?

Twenty sexual assault charges against [Maine cop]…Kenneth L. Hatch III will be dismissed as part of a plea agreement that calls for Hatch to plead guilty to providing a place for minors to consume alcohol…In November, jurors in Kennebec County found Hatch…not guilty of two counts of sexual abuse of a minor…but…hung on the other 20 charges of sexual crimes involving three teenagers…Superior Court Justice William R. Stokes declared a mistrial on the remaining charges, which included sexually abusing three women when they were younger than 16, and one when she was 6…

Property of the State (#724) 

Seriously, ladies, y’all really ought to opt for permanent sterilization, because this ain’t gonna get better soon:

The Big Horn County [Montana] Attorney has announced a “crackdown policy” on expectant mothers who…use drugs and alcohol during their pregnancies…Jay Harris…said his office will begin issuing restraining orders against pregnant women found to be using alcohol or drugs, aside from prescriptions.  If they violate the restraining order…his office will “prosecute on a contempt basis and seek incarceration in order to incapacitate the drug or alcohol-addicted expecting mother.”  The policy of stepping up civil prosecutions against pregnant addicts was spurred by…a 2014 case in Ravalli County, in which a woman was charged with criminal child endangerment for allegedly putting her unborn child at risk by using illegal drugs.  The case was thrown out by a district court judge, and Harris said his office had been advised against pursuing the same legal strategy…

Check Your Premises (#782)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

The cops of [Houston], Texas, routinely bust adult women and men in prostitution stings while assuring us it has to be done in order to find and save teens selling sex.  So what happens when they find girls doing just that?  Why, they arrest them too—and charge one with a felony.  It’s yet another example of the disparity between what authorities say their priorities are and where their priorities evidently lie.  Police arrested the two teenagers [in a sting] on January 18…The younger girl faces a misdemeanor prostitution charge.  The older girl, age 17, is charged with promoting the prostitution of a minor…Police allege that she “coached” the younger teen on how to sell sex…the older girl is still underage herself—a former “child sex trafficking victim,” in the county officials’ usual parlance.  She has mostly gotten out of prostitution and is now taking college classes and working a retail job.  Nonetheless, Harris County has chosen to treat her as a predator…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#808) 

This was the last club I danced in before moving on to escorting:

State authorities have ordered the emergency suspension of the liquor permit at Rick’s Cabaret…in the wake of four other suspensions at strip clubs…A new organization that represents French Quarter dancers, the Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers, issued a statement…Lyn Archer…said that women had been “emotionally degraded” during raids…and are now “facing the loss of their jobs”…

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The individual cannot bargain with the State.  The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.  –  Ursula K. Leguin

Prince was a far more accomplished and talented musician than even most of his fans realized, and behind the flamboyant stage persona was a very real, generous and complex person.  This video, shared with me by Ivan Dragomiloff, is footage of the artist in 1990, guiding his band through a rehearsal of Gershwin’s “Summertime”.  The links above it were provided by ClarissaConner HabibRadley BalkoTushy GalorePopehatTim Cushing, and Kat Murti, in that order.

From the Archives

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[How] can you treat something that doesn’t exist?  –  Dana Dovey

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

A [Tennessee cop]…has pleaded guilty in a sexual misconduct case…Ralph Cline, Jr…paid to have sex while on duty and inside his unmarked police vehicle…

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

She lost the support of her family at age 16…and…turned to sex work for survival.  But Diane…Rodríguez did not expect to make history years later as the first trans woman elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly.  “Being a public figure comes at a price,” [said] Rodríguez, who is now also a psychologist…she has recently received death threats as a legislator.  “But I see that cost is a sacrifice for younger generations so that they don’t have to suffer the same experiences that I have to suffer through now.”  Her experience of being discriminated against as a trans woman has motivated her on a lifelong journey from activism to politics…

Bread and Circuses 

As of last night, the site is still running normally, so I’m not sure what the feds are up to this time:

Eros-Guide’s call center was raided today in a seizure that’s likely to keep going through the night…the raid at company offices in Youngsville, N.C., was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which executed a warrant on alleged “cross-border illegal activity”…the search warrant is sealed in federal court…[but] no one has been arrested…

It’s possible that this is a way for the Gestapo to get info so they can establish a huge surveillance net on sex workers, or the first step in a pogrom of unprecedented scale, or simply the way to get information they think will help them get Swiss authorities to shut down Eros, which is domiciled & hosted in Switzerland and is therefore not subject to US law.  Only time will tell.

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Wanna ban a consensual activity?  Find a problem case to shill for you so you can pretend problems are common:

Commercial surrogacy…can be messy and complicated.  Backed by the anti-surrogacy group The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, [Jessica Allen]…tells…her extraordinary story…Not only were Mike and Max not identical — they had completely different DNA from one another.  Mike appeared to be an Asian child, and was Liu and her husband’s biological baby.  But Max, half-white and half African-American, belonged to me and my now-husband, Wardell Jasper…in an extremely rare medical incident called superfetation, we had gotten pregnant naturally, despite using condoms, after the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle during which Mr. and Mrs. Liu’s embryo was transferred into my uterus…Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs.  As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical…Omega [the surrogacy agency] contacted me to say the Lius expected between $18,000 and $22,000 as compensation…a caseworker from the agency lined up parents to adopt him and “absorb” the money we owed the Lius…We spent $3,000 on an attorney, and there was a lot of strained negotiation between us, our lawyer and Omega.  It was an uphill battle, but the agency finally reduced the “fee” we owed the Lius to zero…

Stupor Bowl (#511)

“Video Vigilante” Brian Bates is no friend of sex workers, but he’s also hostile to “sex trafficking” mythology:

Once again the annual nationwide publicity stunt orchestrated by the FBI, called Operation Cross Country XI, made its way to Oklahoma…during the four-day sting, 15 female prostitutes and five “sex traffickers” were [arrested]…FBI [claims]…”the primary goal is…the recovery of children”…[but] not a single child was…rescued locally…The FBI also claims their goal is to “take traffickers off the street.”  However, history has proven that virtually all of the “traffickers” that are arrested end up being charged with misdemeanor crimes…The FBI has continuously labeled the women involved in prostitution as “victims”, yet every year they target those same victims…[and] charge…[them] with life altering felonies…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see a rapist cop specifically designated as currently working instead of wrongly called a “former” cop:

A serving police officer has been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.  Cheshire constable Ian Naude…was remanded in custody after…an incident reported on 3 November in Crewe…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#715) 

The War on Whores, like the War on Drugs, is as much a jobs program as it is a campaign to extend universal criminality:

Earlier this year, the Tribune’s “Sold Out” series examined how state policies…failed to help child sex-trafficking victims.  Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — including the state’s first-ever director of human trafficking and child exploitation…Kim Grabert…

You may recall that the “series” mentioned in the text was an exercise in BDSM wanking fantasies, including the claim that all duos include at least one underage girl and the bizarre idea that “pimps” have some kind of legal authority.

The Head of a Pin

Is that the author’s name, or a description of what he’s doing while typing this fantasy one-handed?

Nearly half of the victims of modern slavery in the UK are sex workers.  Ed Cumming hears “Hannah’s” harrowing tale…Hannah doesn’t know how long she was forced to work as a prostitute, being shuttled around the capital to meet men with strange accents…“Victims of this crime are relentlessly abused and repeatedly raped,” [pants politician] Kevin Hyland…With the help of the Salvation Army and Women’s Aid, she is rebuilding her life…

“Strange accents” sums up what this is really about, as does the fact that this story was given to the media by the Salvation Army, which has no compunction against making up lurid fantasies to promote its anti-sex agenda.

Dutch Threat (#763) 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Window brothel operators almost got completely buried by the new Red Light District rules and regulations implemented by the city of Amsterdam.  “We had to inspect if the ladies were washing their sex-toys with the right disinfectant and if the perishable date of their condoms wasn’t lapsed.  It drove us crazy”.  The entrepreneurs went to court and…three (female) judges [agreed that the rules]…hurt…sex workers…Monique rents out three windows in Amsterdam’s Red Light District…[she] wasn’t allowed to leave the neighbourhood if the ladies were working according to the strict regulations.  “I had to be on the scene within 12 minutes…Visiting my old mom in Amsterdam Noord (North) or visiting a physiotherapist in between was out of the question.  Even a quick run to the supermarket for some groceries had me stressing, terrified that I would break the Red Light District rules and lose my permit”…

Signs (#766) 

“Signs of trafficking” idiocy spreads to Dutch pigs:

All community [cops] are to receive training in recognising the signs of human trafficking as part of the new Dutch government’s anti-[sex work] drive…[they] will learn how to look for signs of exploitation when investigating crimes…

The Mote and the Beam (#780) 

Bad laws disproportionately harm small businesses, just as they do poor and marginalized individuals:

A trade group representing giants of Internet business from Facebook to Microsoft has just endorsed a “compromise” version of…SESTA…The Internet Association doesn’t represent the Internet—it represents the few companies that profit the most off of Internet activity…Amazon and eBay would be able to absorb the increased legal risk under SESTA.  They would likely be able to afford the high-powered lawyers to survive the wave in lawsuits against them.  Small startups, including would-be competitors, would not.  It shouldn’t pass our attention that the Internet giants are now endorsing a bill that will make it much more difficult for newcomers ever to compete with them.  IA also doesn’t represent…the marginalized voices who’ll be silenced as platforms begin to over-rely on automated filters (filters that will doubtless be offered as a licensed service by large Internet companies)…It’s shameful that a small group of lobbyists with an agenda of censorship have presented themselves to lawmakers as the unanimous experts in sex trafficking.  It’s embarrassing that it’s worked so well…

The Prudish Giant (#783)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.  Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.  Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now.  But most users remain unaware of its reach and power.  Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up…Take a look at all the possible information associated with a contact on your phone.  Then consider the accumulated data your phone is carrying about various people, whether lifelong friends or passing acquaintances…If you agree to share your contacts, every piece of contact data you possess will go to Facebook, and the network will then use it to try to search for connections between everyone you know, no matter how slightly—and you won’t see it happen…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#784) 

It’s a shame that this is what it took to bring down the “sex addiction” scam:

This week Kevin Spacey reportedly checked into a sex addiction rehabilitation program in Arizona following a series of accusations that he sexually harassed several men and at least one minor…Spacey is the most recent celebrity to have checked into rehab following reports of sexual misconduct…Sex addiction has been turned down for classification as a mental health condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the official classification of mental health disorders in the US, on several occasions.  In addition, the American Association of Sexual Education Counselors and Therapists also released a statement…that…“sex addiction” or “porn addiction” should not be classified as mental health conditions…“It’s clear at this point that it [sex addiction] does not look like an addiction,” [said] Nicole Prause, a psychologist who studies human sexual behavior…the best predictor of being called a sex addict is either having a conservative religious background or getting caught cheating…

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