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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

I can’t breathe.  –  Lamekia Dockery

The gentleman I call Daedalus shared this video with me last week, and besides being extremely funny it is absolutely brilliant.  The links above it were provided by Lucy Steigerwald, Joe Setyon, Kevin Wilson, Jesse Walker, Nun Ya, and Tushy Galore, in that order.

From the Archives

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If two people choose to engage in carnal activities, the terms of the encounter should be up to them, not the government.  –  Steve Chapman

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…KTRK [reporters were]…with [lying pigs]…as they [sexually assaulted Houston women in order to destroy their lives]…The…[cops’ victims] were [then] arrested for prostitution [while reporters gawked & added images of scantily-clothed women to their spank banks.  One of the pigs oinked]…”Most massage parlors we go into are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking [so we really enjoy raping them while fantasizing they’re victims of others besides us]”…”I’m very passionate about [masturbating while thinking of] this”…said Ann Johnson, a [prohibitionist masquerading as a] defense attorney…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

This isn’t intended to increase sex workers’ range of options, but to control us a la Nevada:

Italian…League party leader Matteo Salvini’ [said]…“I would back reopening the ‘closed houses’…taking [sex workers]…off the streets is the right thing to do”…Efforts by previous governments to [criminalize sex work]…or [impose humiliating and unnecessary government]…health [inspections] have failed…

Shift in the Wind (#762)

Pro-decriminalization essays in newspapers are no longer a rarity:

The trafficking victims were mostly underage, held in harsh servitude and forced to spend long hours satisfying the needs of paying customers.  Prostitutes at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.?  No.  An egg farm in Ohio where, federal authorities reported, kids as young as 14 were put to work cutting beaks off chickens and shoveling chicken excrement…in the St. Louis area, “agriculture, landscaping, construction and domestic servitude represented the top industries for forced labor.”  Is a homeowner whose lawn is done by a landscaping crew a monster because some of the workers were trafficked? How would the homeowner know? How would Kraft have known?  But commercial sex carries a stigma that lawn mowing doesn’t.  Anti-prostitution alarmists insist that…only criminal coercion, unconscionable manipulation or poverty could induce anyone to endure such shame.  Plenty of sex workers…disagree.  One of them is Maggie McNeill, whose new documentary is called The War on Whores.  She says, “We all have to make a living. There’s no rational reason for anyone to say that my choices are less valid merely because they involve sex”…

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

First it was supposedly about “terrorists”, then “sex trafficking”, and your business or home is next:

A central component of the recent…massage-parlor [pogroms] was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  Now defense attorneys are challenging the legality of this…such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed [under the pretense that]…the power [would only be used] against possible terrorists.  “But the tactic has spilled over to…other [so-called] crimes”…notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel…Police were able to secretly install the surveillance cameras thanks to a sneak-and-peek warrant…[which] in practice [ha]ve mainly been used in [surveillance] of drug [users]…”sneak and peek warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances…but as an everyday investigative tool,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned five years ago…just as…cops and fed[s]…have used anti-terrorism tools to prosecute potheads, they’ve been keen on attacking all prostitution…as “human trafficking,” a federal crime.  Police in Palm Beach and Jupiter counties have been trotting out that claim this time too, although no sex trafficking or forced labor charges have been filed

Damned Lies (#886)

I guess it’s a good thing that Politifact once again debunked the “whores only live 7 years” lie, quoting veteran activist Bella Robinson in the process (its first debunking of the same lie was in May 2015, and quoted yours truly).  I just wish they weren’t so ridiculously timid about it, and that these debunkings were actually reprinted by other sources so we wouldn’t have to hear the same completely-ridiculous claims again and again and again, especially by politicians as support for expanding the police state.

To Molest and Rape (#887) 

In which rape of minors is described as “caregiving”:

Thousands of migrant children…suffered sexual abuse…[at the hands of] U.S. government [actors] over the past four years…over a thousand allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors [locked in cages by the government]…were reported to federal authorities each fiscal year since 2015.  In total, between October 2014 and July 2018, 4,556 sexual abuse complaints were reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)…[which will] not reveal specific information about the [rapists except]…in 178 cases [where]…the Justice Department [reported] adult caregivers at U.S. facilities were reported to have sexually abused migrant minors…California Rep. Lou Correa…accused the Trump administration of a “systematic cover up” [but had nothing to say about the over 2000 rapes that occured during the Obama administration]…Most of the accused [rapist screws, pigs, spooks and paper-pushers mentioned by the DoJ] were immediately removed from duty and some cases were referred to [other pigs]…Some…were terminated, but others were reinstated…

Because abducting, caging & raping kids isn’t “sex trafficking” when the government does it.

Divided We Fall (#902)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…in the six months following Southern Decadence, several citations have been issued by the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office (ATC) to multiple LGBTQ+ bars and spaces across New Orleans in an operation that appears similar to [the raids on strip clubs] in 2016 [and early 2018].  The ATC [pretend]s that they are not targeting the LGBTQ+ community, but simply investigating and responding to complaints that have been called into their office [by cops]…at least one Bourbon Street strip club had its license suspended…[plus] two others…in New Orleans East…Michael Musa…[of] the Rawhide Lounge [said]…they received “numerous fines, citations, and imposed regulations on how to operate.”  The Rawhide chose to fight the ATC…whichattempted to persuade The Rawhide into dropping the case or accepting a settlement on the issue…Rawhide declined several settlement offers in the interest of protecting their community…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#903) 

If you think about it, this was a wholly predictable development:

Some adult dancers in Los Angeles say they aren’t getting a fair shake at…strip clubs…The group calls themselves “Soldiers of Pole” and they…want, among other things, fair wages after…a state court ruling changed their status from independent contractors to actual employees.  Now clubs have to pay them an hourly wage but…management is keeping a bigger chunk of their tips, and charging them new fees.  “We no longer should have to pay to work.  We shouldn’t have to pay house fees.  We shouldn’t have to give any sort of percentage of our tips to management or any other employees”…

On Tape

Prohibitionists: “Where on Earth did Trump get the idea that ‘sex trafficking’ victims are transported in trucks with their mouths taped?

Jordan Giddens [fantasizes] he was drugged, assaulted and nearly became a victim of human trafficking back in 2015…Giddens [claims] someone drugged his drink at a Birmingham bar while he was in the restroom…“We pulled up behind a U-Haul…which literally had people with duct taped mouths and their hands behind their back.  And at that point I really started to freak out and realize, okay something is wrong.” Giddens managed to escape [with his super kung-fu powers], but not all are as fortunate.  [His wanking fantasy is promoted by] Sunny Slaughter…a [self-proclaimed] anti-human trafficking expert [who] has [told this and similar tall tales] in several current human trafficking courses for [cops] in Alabama…

Signs (#912)

Dallas Morning News “sex trafficking” propaganda is deeply stupid even by the low standards of US “journalism”:

Pretty Woman…reveals the longstanding complicity of the hospitality industry in the trafficking of sex.  Early in the film, the hotel manager takes Vivian aside and says he is “willing to overlook” the trafficking of sex for “special guests” of the hotel, as long as she dresses “more appropriately”…hotels and motels too often turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.  Sadly, many businesses choose profit over freedom for the thousands of young women and girls…It’s also owners, managers and workers in the transportation industry, including airlines, rental car, limousine and taxi companies and other ride-sharing services…

Don’t be misled by the incredible idiocy of using a Disney adaptation of “Cinderella” as “proof” of anything, nor by the blatant equation of sex work with “slavery”:  this article is paid propaganda for Polaris’ new drive to cajole, trick, shame & manipulate every public-facing industry into acting as a fascist surveillance network intended to curtail the freedom of all women by summoning the pigs to harass us if we dare move about the world as men do.

Safe Position (#918)

A positive article on Decrim NY in Jezebel, which has never been very good on sex work:

…members of Decrim NY hope to leverage a reactive political climate to make New York the first state in the country to successfully enact this kind of reform…Unlike the so-called “Nordic model”…the group is hoping to…decriminaliz[e] the practice entirely…Though even Amnesty International voted to endorse full decriminalization three years ago, reform in America has been [nonexistent]…Anti-[sex worker] organizations invoke ghoulish scenarios and claim decriminalization will make women unsafe…Decrim NY responded to [Kamala] Harris, saying her call for a model that criminalized people who buy sex, particularly following her previous positions…[is] “about political opportunism while still getting to do the dangerous moralizing on sex work that, quite literally, kills people in our country”…There is overwhelming research supporting the idea that police and state interaction with sex workers makes an already vulnerable population even more unsafe, and that laws as they’re currently written, in addition to being absurd and ripe for abuse, facilitate deeply biased practices…

See the next item for more on Harris’ opportunistic lies.

Top Cop (#918)

The hopelessly-square Advocate tries to neuter an excellent anti-Copmala op-ed by slapping a weaselly headline on it:

…headlines [claiming that Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work] are irresponsible and false…Harris has a career-long history of anti-sex worker efforts.  In 2008, Harris advocated against a ballot initiative that would decriminalize sex work in San Francisco, saying, “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris did more than “support” FOSTA/SESTA — she was integral to their passage…and released a statement of victory when they passed…Harris clarifies her stance on prostitution…as…the Nordic model…she sees the act of buying sex as…crime…[on the topic of] Backpage.com…she dramatically repeats the phrase, “They were selling children”…Gay men, in particular, should bristle at th[is] decades-old…argument, which has been used by politicians for decades to strip us of employment and attack our rights.  For Harris, “selling children” is a scare tactic, a buzzword for people who don’t understand much about…sex work…

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The rescue industry is a deeply misogynistic enterprise which…polices the behaviour of women under the guise of saving us.  –  Eleanor Janega

Real People 

The more sex workers come out like this, the better for everyone:

The people that make the porn that a lot of us watch are sick of you pretending that you’re better than them.  Michele James especially is sick of it.  “We are cast out into the shadows…if I could bring a person who didn’t do sex work on set for a day, for them to see what we actually go through, they would realize it’s a job too and we deserve respect, the same as CEOs, and everybody else who goes to work 9-5.”  James…sees part of her responsibility to the industry she loves is helping to destigmatize the performers who make it…she is passionate about her industry; and she gives exactly zero fucks what you think about that…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

A…High School student in the Florida Keys is facing 15 years in prison and life as a registered sex offender for continuing to date his 15-year-old girlfriend after he turned 18 in December…numerous people, including the girl’s parents, his parents and two sheriff’s office deputies, [warned] Tucker [that the shamans of the booga-booga gods would be angry he was violating the Shazam magic, but] the two continued to see each other…[and] the girl’s mother [decided to destroy her] relationship [with her daughter by ratting them out to] the…school [pig]…cops [then eavesdropped on a private conversation and congratulated themselves for destroying a young man’s life]…

The Crumbling Dam (#739) 

Seattle’s vocal harm magnification community is still going strong:

[Shilo] Jama has spent his career advocating for drug users.  With his work at the [People’s Harm Reduction Alliance], he runs syringe distribution sites, including a drop-in site in the U District…They have a nurse practitioner on site who prescribes medications like Suboxone, which helps with withdrawal symptoms…Over the years, Jama has helped countless people who use drugs, but his efforts aren’t exactly appreciated by everyone.  In December, flyers featuring a photograph of his face started popping up in the University District and elsewhere in North Seattle…The flyer accuses Jama (who legally changed his last name from Murphy a few years ago to honor the family that raised him) of “enabling and encouraging harmful behavior that has caused many deaths”…The flyer claims that Jama, his organization, and the U District needle distribution site are a danger to the public, but according to public health experts, harm reduction projects like Jama’s do reduce overdose deaths and other public health issues…The flyer also says that the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle City Council are “almost powerless” to prosecute Jama and lists a phone number for the FBI’s Seattle office, encouraging people to call and report him…Jama…suspects [the source] was members of Safe Seattle, an organization that, among other issues, advocates against safe injection sites…

The Notorious Badge (#760)

This does a good job of synopsizing my discomfort with The Deuce:

The Deuce uses its promise to reveal the behind-closed-doors happenings of sex work to argue relentlessly for the regulation and oversight of the industry…it is nervous about the way it represents sex work, anxious to inform but not to titillate.  In pinpointing…sex-work…as a “secret,” however, and then exposing it through a surveillance-cum-safety structure, the show satisfies an intellectual craving for knowledge that echoes the pleasures of pornography…[it] takes care to pat viewers on the back, framing their pleasure as different from that of the porn viewer.  Through gridline-marked shots of pornography in the making, for example, The Deuce allows viewers to indulge in pornographic voyeurism under the guise of cautionary surveillance.  At the same time, it frames their viewing position as a sanctimonious one…

“Regulation and oversight” = “legalization”, which only politicians and cops want.  Sex workers, human rights groups, medical groups and academics who have studied our work all recognize decriminalization, not “regulation” by outsiders, as the best model for everyone.

Checklist (#811)

Despite some pandering to “sex trafficking” beliefs, this isn’t a bad article about “signs of sex trafficking” indocrination:

…every year…ahead of the Super Bowl…anti-prostitution [crusaders]…campaign [to indocrinate]…everyone from hospitality employees to Uber drivers…in…anti-[sex worker propaganda such as the claim that]…as many as 40.3 million people were “in modern slavery in 2016”, up more than 5 million compared to five years ago.  And in 2014, the 35.8 figure rose by 6 million people in just a year…the…figures are so alluringly extreme [because profiteers]…are often under pressure from poli[tician]s into producing overestimated figures…crusades of this nature are not…concerned with accuracy, as appearing to be leading the charge against [consensual sex]…hotel chains like Marriott have been reported as looking out for women travelling alone and sexually provocative clothing as signs of…sex…[work, which makes it clear that] consenting adult sex workers [are]…being targeted…

Unfortunately, Lyft may not be a safe alternative to Uber for much longer:

…we are working to help raise awareness and taking action to prevent human trafficking.  Through partnerships with [prohibitionist] organizations like…Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), we are [indoctrinating] drivers…on how to spot [escorts] and [rat them out to the pigs]…

Original Sin (#824) 

A new statement from a man who says men who seek consensual sex with women are “criminals with a sick mentality”:

Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves…his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.  It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy.  He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”…

Rooted in Racism (#854)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

…[it has been] two years since Italy, backed by the EU, did a deal to spend tens of millions of euros funding the Libyan coastguard, which intercepts boats heading for Italy and returns refugees and migrants to a war zone…detainees in nine different detention centres…use hidden phones to reveal what’s going on at huge risk to themselves.  EU [politicians] continue to promote the idea that arrivals in Europe  and deaths at sea are dropping.  But…thousands of men, women, and children…speak of going days without food and of drinking toilet water to survive.  Some have stopped speaking, forgotten their families, sit crouched in a corner and wet themselves from trauma…Couples are separated – some of the roughly 640 detained children are held with their mothers, though those over 14 are kept in adult cells…infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication…In October, a 28-year-old Somali set himself on fire…after saying he saw no other way out.  In early January dozens of refugees and migrants, brought by the coastguard to the Libyan port city of Khoms, were forced back to smugglers by Libyan [cops]…[and] now risk torture if they can’t raise an the $5,000 ransom that has already been demanded…

Feminine Pragmatism (#891) 

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

Increasing numbers of public sector workers are [making the pragmatic decision] to [do] sex work due to austerity measures and welfare cuts…a leading campaigning group…says more women in public sector roles are doing sex work to top up their income due to employers making no allowances for the fact they have children…the organisation, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), [has] release[d] a new report comparing sex work with other jobs commonly done by women.  The report found sex workers earn significantly more per hour than women working in the other jobs – including those in public sector positions such as nurses and midwives.  Women cited higher wages as their primary reason for entering the sex industry…

Case Study (#892) 

One day, reporters will get that “people sublet flats” is not news:

A special constable and his Hungarian wife have been jailed for [rent]ing [flats to] women from Hungary [in] a Chelsea apartment block [nicknam]ed “10 Floors of Whores”.  Karl Ring and Ivett Szuda…[arranged sex workers’ travel on] the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air to fly women into London from Budapest as they made more than £600,000 [over several years] from [subletting flats]…Szuda…[will be locked in a cage] for six and a half years, while Ring…[will be] locked up for four years…the couple [charged sex workers 50% of their fees, a fairly typical rate for brothels]…Judge Robin Johnson [bloviated a lot of pompous, moralistic nonsense about “exploitation”, ignoring the fact that] the sex workers were happy with the arrangement…

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell:

Traffickers are targeting desperate young women in Venezuela by flying them to the Costas to [do lucrative, flexible work]…at least 208,000 have fled the crisis-hit country in the hope of a better life in Spain.  Nearly all of those have travelled on official three month tourists visas which are readily available as Venezuela was once a Spanish colony.  However, a flight costs £1,000 which is a fortune in a land where a cup of coffee costs a month’s wages thanks to hyperinflation of 80,000 per cent…This is when the heartless trafficking gangs of Caracas are stepping in and [giving people a chance to escape despite politicians’ efforts to keep them trapped in Venezuela]…SICAR Cat, a religious organisation that pro[fits from hysteria over]…sex trafficking, [pretends these women are ignorant children who don’t know what sex work is, and calls their jobs]…modern day slavery…Venezuela’s economic mix of unemployment, poverty and inflation has created the perfect conditions for [mass emigration] to flourish…

These stories sure sound stupid when the hype is replaced by objective language, don’t they?

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#905)

Indian sex workers are chipping away at the prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…four organisations…have released a report which states that close to 77% women voluntarily return to sex work after their rescue into shelter homes…the National Network for Sex Workers Association (NNSWA) and UMKO, Saheli – HIV/RAIDS Karyakarta Sangh, SANGRAM and Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), have released a report “Raided – How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices”…79% of the women documented in the study returned to sex work – “escaping” their rescue from shelter homes, while almost 11% of the women continued to live in these homes…Kusum, President [of the] All India Network of Sex Workers explained the “horrific” condition of shelter homes and why women want to escape it…“There is no food to eat, and when there is food it is insect infested which makes people sick.  No health care to take care of inhabitants…and even if that was provided the stigma that exists towards HIV persons within these homes is bad enough to kill someone well before their time”…the report contests the…present understanding that most women in the flesh trade are trafficked women ‘pushed into prostitution’…These homes manifest an environment of isolation and deprive the women of identity and income…

The Indian media is so thoroughly brainwashed by prohibitionists that even in an article citing statistics debunking prohibitionist mythology, the reporter feels compelled to put the word “escape” (from a literal prison) in scare quotes, and also scare-quotes the word “horrific” (used to describe conditions any decent person would agree are horrific), while omitting scare quotes from the word “rescue” when used to mean “arrest”.  He also uses “live in” to mean “remain imprisoned in”, and “present understanding” to mean “popular myth”.  It’s going to be a long, uphill battle.

Pyrrhic Victory (#906) 

Please, masters, don’t use this tool we made you in exactly the way it was designed to be used“:

Amazon unveiled new proposed guidelines…for any national legislation regulating facial recognition technology…civil rights groups and privacy advocates…criticized Amazon’s Rekognition contracts with law enforcement agencies, [absurdly concentrating on the] point…that the technology has misidentified people of color [rather than recognizing that high accuracy is even worse for privacy]…Amazon…responded [with the lie that]…”In the two-plus years we’ve been offering Amazon Rekognition, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement”…The proposals from Amazon focus mainly on ensuring that law enforcement uses the technology [to surveil citizens more] effectively and without [being less able to identify] minorities.  “New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” Amazon said in [typical tech-geek morally imbecilic fashion]…”Instead, the…[overlords] should be [free to do whatever they like]…and…that the[ir ability to oppress the citizens with the] technology…is continuously enhanced.”  Amazon said any national legislation should ensure facial recognition technology [is profitable for]…Amazon…and…governments [alike]…

A Woman’s Point of View (#912) 

Kaytlin Bailey responds to drama some want to whip up against “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

We are disappointed in [Emily Shugerman’s] editorial choice to focus on Rob Kampia in your February 3rd, 2019 [Daily Beast] article titled, “Rob Kampia Weed Activist With #MeToo Past, Is Now Pushing Sex Work Reform”.  By focusing on Rob’s past instead of our efforts to decriminalize sex work, you reduced a rich and vibrant movement to one man’s conduct.  You have also diminished the contributions of the women on our team, who have devoted decades to this cause in order to center the only man among our directors.  You minimized our accomplishments and our mission by publishing a piece that misrepresents not only our organization but the entire sex worker rights movement…whose voices are historically absent from all media reporting.  Yet, you wrote about Rob…To call our life’s work a “vanity project”…is an insult and a willful misrepresentation of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’re trying to do.  To suggest that allowing Rob Kampia to use his extensive network of donors and political resources to further our work is a betrayal of the sex worker rights movement is to minimize the diversity and breadth of this work, and to minimize the need for change.  We can focus on Rob, or we can talk about the immense harms of criminalization…

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We have this myth that if we didn’t have the police, crime would be out of control, when the reality is very little crime…is solved by the police.  –  Alex Vitale

Last weekend at Sunset, while stoned, I watched a documentary on the making of Bat Out of Hell, and was reminded how much I like this song.  So here it is.  The links above it were provided by PopehatWalter OlsonTim CushingCarol FentonEmma Evans, and Walter Olson again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Who are you to forbid me from doing what I want with my body?  –  Patrice Spinosi

Under Every Bed

Fetishists claim that hysterical idiots seeing bogeymen behind every tree constitutes “under-reporting”:

Washington state is an opportune location to be a human trafficker, [fantasized] Kris Camenzind…of [prohibitionist group] The Human Response Network, and despite its certain presence in Lewis County, it remains an under-reported crime…one of…Camenzind[‘s Mary Sue fantasies]…was [about] a woman in her 60s being forced to appear in pornographic videos…Washington’s border with Canada, many ports, expanses of rural land and need for agricultural workers are all factors making it a hotspot for trafficking…Lewis County almost certainly serves as the scene of its own instances of human trafficking, due its rural expanses and easy access to the freeway…

“Sex trafficking” fetishists love to have it both ways, claiming that areas of large population density and “rural expanses” both increase “sex trafficking”.

Innocence Never Had

Every adult in this story needs their head examined:

District Judge Michael Gibbens sentenced Raymond Soden to five years and 10 months in prison [for paying for sex with underage girls].  That was eight years less than what was called for in Kansas sentencing guidelines.  In doing so, the judge opined that the girls, who were both younger than 15, were partly to blame for what happened and questioned how much they were harmed.  The judge pointed out that the [girls] went to Soden’s house voluntarily and didn’t appear in court when he was sentenced.  “I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct…They were certainly selling things monetarily that it’s against the law for even an adult to sell”…The judge’s comments at Soden’s sentencing drew [complaints] from prosecutors…

Innocence Never Had (#599)

Rescuers are just full of “love” for street workers, as long as it doesn’t require anything more strenuous than handing them bog rolls and writing on bananas:

The Duchess of Sussex has written personal messages of love and empowerment for street sex workers in Bristol to find in food parcels when they access night outreach support.  Meghan spontaneously came up with the idea to inscribe the kind words on bananas with a marker pen during an unannounced visit to the charity One25…The…messages…read, in capital letters and often followed by a heart: “You are strong”, “You are special”, “You are brave” and “You are loved”.  One25 in the St Paul’s area of the city helps sex workers break free from a life of violence, poverty and addiction on the streets…

Sexcrime (#645)

Congratulations to Jackman and Blake on this hard-won victory:

Renowned obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman welcomed new guidelines…that mean pornography between consenting adults depicting legal acts will not be prosecuted under obscenity laws following a review by the Crown Prosecution Service, declaring it as a major victory for free speech, privacy, as well as consent.  Until [Thursday]…individuals could be prosecuted for distributing…pornography [that features] spanking, bondage, female ejaculation and sadomasochism.  Although these acts are legal between consenting adults…they were illegal to depict in photos or video…Jackman…has campaigned for this change for over a decade…Activist and filmmaker Pandora Blake who also campaigned for reform of “nonsensical porn laws” said…“This is a happy day for queer, feminist and fetish porn”…

Fallen Idol (#693)

Color Maggie unsurprised:

John Stagliano, a legendary pornographer and owner of the film studio Evil Angel…barred its directors from working with [James] Deen following [a series of rape] accusations—but now, three years on, Stagliano has decided to lift the ban.  He and Evil Angel are not lifting it quietly, either.  The company is doing it with an explicit porn-slash-documentary film titled Consent.  Later, Stagliano will tell me, “I don’t like to run away from controversial subjects.  I like to run toward them”…

Soap Opera (#853)

“In Our Backyard” is loony even by the low standards of “rescue” profiteers:

Nita Belles of In Our Backyard says…”We have to change what our society thinks about what they call ‘sex work,’ because the majority of what is called sex work is actually human trafficking”…Belles recommends people share [propaganda] and [disinformation]…about sex trafficking.  In Our Backyard also has a “Freedom Sticker” campaign that features the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline [for women too stupid to remember “9-1-1″…She suggests that one area to place a freedom sticker is inside a public restroom stall.  “That’s the only time a victim is alone and able to ask for help…Sex trafficking victims almost always have a phone with them because that’s how the trafficker controls their time and what they do”…


This group also claims that “pimps” go around sneaking into women’s bathrooms to deface their magic anti-pimp stickers.

The Widening Gyre (#872)

“Sex trafficking” scare stories have now spread to texting.  I’m really happy to see this one in particular, given Uber’s eager embrace of the mythology to endear itself to the Deeply Stupid by making it official company policy to train drivers to spy on female passengers and rat them out to the cops if the driver thinks they might be sex workers.

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#880) 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

The Trump administration says it would require extraordinary effort to reunite…thousands of migrant children who[m it abducted] from their parents and, even if it could, the children would likely be emotionally harmed.  [Toady] Jonathan White [bloviated that] removing children from…homes [of people who bought them from the government]…“would present grave child welfare concerns…It would destabilize [our attempts to make them forget their real parents]”…White said in a court filing…It is unknown how many families were [disrupted] under a longstanding policy that allows [abduc]tion…[but] Ann Maxwell, Health and Human Services’ assistant inspector general for evaluations, said…that the number…was certainly larger than the 2,737 listed by the government in court documents…Maxwell said staff estimated it to be in the thousands…

Signs (#881) 

“Sex trafficking” provides a new excuse for cops to use the same old bogus “evidence” to harass women:

…a program designed by a state trooper in Texas [claims without evidence that]…hundreds of children [were] rescued, and hundreds of pimps…arrested…by [cops] on [pretext] stops, both in Texas and other states where it has been taught.  Now Congress wants to spread that program nationwide…training federal, state, local and tribal [cops] in how to [pretend women they want to arrest are] trafficking victims…The program was created in 2009 by a…Texas [pig named]…Derek Prestridge, who realized there was no [system by which pigs could claim to be]…tracking the number of child rescues made…Prestridge and other [pigs] in…Texas…then built a training course…[out of the typical “signs of trafficking” bullshit]…

Worse Than I Thought (#895)

Looks like we’re about to see a new interstate competition for the most mindlessly-punitive anti-sex law:

Wisconsin [politicians] are bringing back a bill that would impose a new fine on anyone [cops accuse] of soliciting prostitutes.  The bill would impose a $5,000 fine on anyone convicted of [being caught in cop stings] or [having an incall]…The money would [go straight into cops’ pockets]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#904)

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

…A new initiative from Sidewalk Labs, the city-building subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet…known as Replica, offers planning agencies the ability to model an entire city’s patterns of movement.  Like “SimCity,” Replica’s “user-friendly” tool deploys statistical simulations to give a comprehensive view of how, when, and where people travel in urban areas…transportation authorities in Kansas City, Portland, and the Chicago area have [already] signed up to glean its insights…Replica…uses real-time mobile location data…the program gathers and de-identifies the location of cellphone users, which it obtains from unspecified third-party vendors.  It then models this anonymized data in simulations — creating a synthetic population that…replicates a city’s real-world patterns but that [allegedly] “obscures the real-world travel habits of individual people”…

Top Cop

Reason is among the chorus of voices reminding people of Harris’ awfulness:

The Course of a Disease (#909)

Given that French politicians ignored facts to pass this law, they were unlikely to be dissuaded from the evil by facts:

French sex workers failed…in their bid to overturn a law that bans paying for sex, as the country’s Constitutional Council [pretended] that it does not breach the constitution…The Swedish-inspired law [is backed by authoritarians who say]…women should [not] be allowed [sexual and economic agency]…sex workers say it has made their jobs more dangerous and deprived them of income.  Nine campaign groups had joined forces with around 30 sex workers to launch [the] constitutional challenge…

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He was being very aggressive.  –  Juan Lopez-Razo, of a man having a seizure

Last weekend Franklin Harris shared this video of a camera test from The Muppet Movie (1979); the improvisation between Jim Henson and Frank Oz is both brilliant and hilarious.  The links above it were provided by Radley BalkoJesse Walker (x2), Tim Cushing (x2), and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

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The next US presidential election is still almost two years away, but since our culture has completely lost the ability to keep the future in perspective, every power-mad politician who wants to rule the world is already announcing his or her candidacy.  And while every single one of them deserves to be dropped down a disused mine shaft and buried under thousands of metric tons of concrete, the absolute greatest of these evils is California senator Kamala Harris, a career prosecutor whose list of crimes, if fully delineated, would make this one of the longest columns on this blog.  But naturally, bean-counters are willing to overlook her corruption, duplicity, petty sadism and racist tyranny because she is part Jamaican, part Indian and has a vagina.  I’ve already written about her in “Power Play” and its sequels, and the Unsinkable Liz Brown did a thorough debunking of her last January which only started with her vile censorship and persecution of sex workers; it then went on to her covering up for rapist cops; her arguments for the facilitation of literal slave labor; her covering up for dirty prosecutors; her campaigns to lock up more minorities and keep them locked up for longer, even when a federal court ordered them released; and her repeated persecution of people who had consensual sex in ways the state doesn’t like.  Other writers have discussed her strenuous efforts to hide police brutality and murders; her crusade to steal citizens’ possessions without due process or supervision; her obsession with keeping people locked in cages to use as slaves even after the feds ordered their release; her vengeful, bloodthirsty attitude toward prisoners; her opposition to cannabis legalization; and her bizarre vendetta against poor people whose kids skip school.  And though her deranged fans keep making ridiculous arguments equivalent to “it’s OK she’s evil because she’s a woman of color”, high-profile articles in The Atlantic (referring to her fans’ support of her in the face of her many glaring flaws as “a kind of political fetishization by virtue of her identities”) and The Guardian (which re-iterates many of the points mentioned above, with special emphasis on her persecution of minorities and sex workers) countered her carefully-calculated attempt to anoint herself as the champion of minorities by announcing her campaign on Martin Luther King Day.  Will this be enough to let the gas out of her balloon?  Given the deep stupidity of the American electorate, probably not, even though The Onion is already mocking her.  But we can only hope, and I’m going to keep bringing up new articles as they appear.

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