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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

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

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you.  Because I’m the worst.  –  Larry Flynt

R.I.P. Larry Flynt

The last of the “Big Three” of men’s magazine publishing, Larry Flynt, died of heart failure a week ago today at the age of 78 (Hugh Hefner preceded him in 2017 and Bob Guccione in 2010).  Flynt’s magazine Hustler was (intentionally) the raunchiest of the three, and its brand had the greatest commercial viability in the long run due to its expansion into home video and strip clubs.  As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, infringements of civil liberties always start with those nobody wants to defend, and Flynt intentionally set himself up as a target for censorship attempts by prominently featuring the nasty, the grotesque, and the deliberately offensive, especially in Hustler‘s cartoons and cover art.  He was prosecuted for obscenity several times, always prevailing in the end, and battled fundamentalist blowhard Jerry Falwell all the way to the Supreme Court in the ’80s; after 1978 he was paralyzed below the waist due to being shot by a racist who objected to Hustler featuring interracial couples.  Despite attacks from dried-up “feminists” like Gloria Steinem and prissy editorialization from bluenosed “journalists”, the fact is Flynt was a bona fide free speech hero, and not merely in his own mind as the WaPo’s pearl-clutching headline pretends.

Droit du Seigneur 

What did this guy think he was, a cop?

The Ohio Supreme Court suspended the law license of a [lawyer who]…was charged with human trafficking involving six women — most, former clients…Michael Mearan…say[s]…the allegations [a]re [a frame-up by cops using] testimony from [prisoners] who [were given] favorable treatment for co[lluding with cops]…Mearan…was [also a politician who sat on the]…Portsmouth…city council…he [is alleged to have] targeted women who were poor, addicted to drugs and facing criminal charges to take part in [what cops label] a prostitution ring during a 15-year-period beginning in 2003…

Thought Control

US institutions often need to be reminded that they do not own people:

…Kimberly Diei, a pharmacy graduate student [was expelled from] the University of Tennessee…[after] her posts on Twitter and Instagram were…[the subject of a poison pen accusation by] an anonymous [busybody]…She was given two days to appeal, and she scrambled to find a lawyer.  With the threat of a lawsuit looming, the dean of the college reversed the decision to expel her.  But the experience was so painful that…Diei filed a federal lawsuit with the help of a pro bono lawyer, arguing that the public university had violated her constitutional right of free expression “for no legitimate pedagogical reason”…universities are…fumbling to [extend campus censorship] policies…into the world of social media…And young people are fighting back, contending that their off-campus speech is no business of their school…the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the case of a high school cheerleader in Pennsylvania who was removed from the junior varsity squad after she posted vulgar complaints about not making the varsity team…

Acting and Activism (#556)

Predictable ugliness from the “celebrity” prohibitionist trash who once called stripping a “gateway to slavery”:

Red Table Talk…[hosted by noted bigot] Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow…and mother…“Gammy”…tout[s] itself as a space where three generations of women can discuss various topics in a judgment-free environment…But…Ava Louise Lockner…[revealed that] the “open and honest” policy the show pushes is not what she experienced when she was set to be featured in an episode about being a sugar baby in the fall of 2019…she [was verbally] attacked during the several hours she spent at the Smiths’…home, [with] Pinkett Smith…rolling her eyes and Gammy…slut-shaming her throughout filming.  When the segment failed to air, Ava Louise spent weeks chasing up once-eager producers.  Finally, she…received a…call from a high-level executive on the show…[who] told her…they would not be airing her episode because…the hosts found her “gross and disgusting…they don’t want to be associated with sex work”…

Banishment (#870) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

Twenty states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have laws that authorize civil commitment of [human beings arbitrarily branded] sex offenders…after serving their prison terms…The state punishes people…based on the [claim] that they could and should have controlled themselves.  But when it is time for them to be released after completing the punishment prescribed by law, the state says that was not actually true; now they must be locked up precisely because they can’t control themselves.  If the government decided to retroactively increase an offender’s penalty, it would be clearly unconstitutional…The trick is to cast continued confinement as treatment rather than punishment.  But…in Minnesota, only 13 [prisoners] have been unconditionally released since the program was established in 1994; more than six times as many have died in custody…the Supreme Court [says that’s okey-dokey]…Joe Morrissey…argues that Virginia’s [similar] program is “abhorrent”…[and] introduced a bill that would have abolished the program [but other politicians]…derailed [the] bill

Cooties (#884) 

UK cops are still shoehorning people into their public masturbatory fantasy of “pop-up brothels”:

Three men and a woman have been arrested for [consensual sex dysphemized as “]slavery[” in a raid on an apparent incall dysphemized as]…a “pop-up brothel”…Two [migrant] women…were [also arrested and]…are currently being [held pending deportation]…

“Safeguarded” is the UK euphemism for “held without trial or charge pending deportation”.  The term is Orwellian even in a field littered with such propaganda.

Torture Chamber (#1098) 

Stop faking!

An Alabama man [locked] in a prison mental health [cell] overheated and died in December after temperatures inside his cell topped 101 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tommy Lee Rutledge was found unresponsive in Donaldson [cage stack] on the night of Dec. 7, sitting near the window of his s[olitary-confinement] cell with his head “facing out the window,” in an apparent attempt to breathe cool air…his core body temperature [had] reached 109 degrees…[Screws refuse to explain] how temperatures inside the…cell skyrocketed past 100 degrees on a winter night with a low of 31 degrees…citing an “ongoing” investigation…

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How disconnected from reality are [censorious] Senators?  –  Mike Masnick

If Men Were Angels

Is a “small group leader” the same as a “youth pastor”?

…California church leader…Drue Mordecai, a…“small group leader” at New Vintage Church…sexually abused a juvenile…for approximately four to five years…beg[inning] when the victim was 12 years old…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish versions of the “gypsy whores” myth always seem quaint:

[Pogroms against sex workers and their clients are] being prepared [using the popular myth that]…demand for such services [increases] around the time of major sports fixtures and other events…[fact-free propaganda promot]ed by the Garda shows the demand for prostitution increases around major events…[spokespigs oinked a lot of silly nonsense about]…victims…gangs…vast majority…[are] trafficked…[they also lied that] the Garda is not interested in treating [sex workers] as criminals, [despite ample evidence to the contrary]…

Above the Law (#866)  

The fact that the woman reported him tells me this wasn’t a coercion-free offer:

A Florida lawyer [sentenced to probation] in 2019 on charges that he was using female clients in two county jails to make pornographic films has been disbarred…Andrew Bennett Spark…was arrested Dec. 17, 2017, and charged with [minor offenses including]…soliciting for prostitution.  He…now lives in Flushing, New York…Spark went to visit with a woman…in the Pinellas County Jail…[who] had not requested a visit with him, and she was represented by a different lawyer…the…w[oman was an] adult film actress…whose arrest and conviction [had been] widely publicized…Spark…asked…he[r to let him take video of her giving him head]…in exchange for putting money in her jail account…[but when he gave her a measly $10 she] told her family about the unsolicited visit, and her family c[alled the pigs]…

Morality Lessons (#908) 

Utah hasn’t learned from this unconstitutional bill failing in over a dozen states:

…Utah [politicians]…discuss[ed the latest version of a censorship bill]…requiring all “new electronic devices” sold in the state to have pornography filters turned on by default…the…hearing…ended with putting the bill on hold…[following expert testimony] that… “compliance would not be possible…[and] the constitutional problems …are numerous”…

Chris Sevier, the pro-censorship crackpot who wrote this bill and has shopped it to almost half of US states, appears to be keeping a low profile since Elizabeth Smart threatened to sue him for slapping her name on previous versions without her permission.  Or maybe it’s because a federal judge in Utah threw out his lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop.  Or perhaps it’s due to the warrant for his arrest in Tennessee?

Something Rotten in Sweden (#910)

California’s annual anti-whore pogrom did a lot less damage this year:

Riverside County [pigs deceived and abducted] 64 [peaceful citizens] over the course of four days [label]ing [the pogrom] an anti-human trafficking operation…[under the sophomoric name] Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…The statewide operation [destroyed fewer lives this year, down from]…518 [last year, including] 87 [sex workers; this year only 2 sex workers were brutalized]…

Theatrics (#914) 

Fake “sex trafficking” ads dreamed up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid masturbatory fantasies about our lives and work:

A…Swed[ish prohibitionist organization]…has set up a [fake] call girl service…Unsuspecting men [looking for adult consensual sex] dial the [fake] hotline set up by [the “rescue” profiteers called] Talita, only to be…[non-consensually subjected to ugly tragedy porn] stories…Josephine Appelqvist, co-founder of Talita, says: “We wanted them to [violate their consent by tricking them into] hear[ing our disgusting sexual fantasies]”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1056)

Canada pretends to care about privacy, but has plenty of other snooping tools:

Clearview AI violated Canadian privacy laws when it collected photos of Canadians without their knowledge or permission, the country’s top privacy watchdog has ruled…the startup…scrap[ed] social media sites…without their permission, prompting Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to send cease and desist letters…Clearview rebuffed the allegations, claiming [it is above the] law…and that consent was not required because the images it scraped were publicly available…The Canadian privacy watchdog…said it would “pursue other actions” if the company does not…stop…the collection on Canadians and delet[e] all previously collected images…

Paint By Numbers (#1086)

The dumb “awareness raising” stunt field is being taken over by hack artists:

“Goats are empowering women in the poorest parts of India,” said Rob Canton, founder of Project Goat. “A Goat is essentially an ATM in these communities, keeping them from a life of sex…trafficking.”  That’s how Canton came up with the Global Offensive Against Trafficking also known as Project Goat.  During the months leading up to the Super Bowl…goats, decorated by different artists, were showing up everywhere…“Super Bowls and events like them, World Cups and Olympics, they are the types of events that generate a lot of human trafficking,” [lied] Canton…Canton is now in the process of corralling all these [propaganda] works…They will be part of a large art auction taking place the day before the Super Bowl at Zoo Tampa, with a portion of the proceeds going to [the rescue industry]…

You Were Warned (#1107)

The bipartisan war on the internet continues without even a pause:

For the past few months we’ve been seeing a ton of terrible/ ridiculous/awful/unconstitutional bills coming from mostly Republicans to try to wipe out or undermine Section 230.  Most of those were focused on trying to force websites to do less content moderation.  Now that the Democrats are back in power, it appears we’re going to be getting the opposite.  Senator Mark Warner has introduced…the SAFE TECH Act (“Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism, and Consumer Harms Act” co-sponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono and Amy Klobuchar), and it is one of the worst Section 230 bills I’ve seen.  It is difficult to explain just how bad this bill is concisely, because it has so many bad ideas crammed into one single bill.  It’s as if none of these three Senators or their staff spoke to anyone who actually understands how the internet works, or how content moderation/trust and safety works.  It’s stunning in the ignorance it displays…Basically, this bill takes nearly every single idea that people who want there to be less speech online have had, and dumped it all into one bill.  There’s a lot in there, and nearly all of it is bad…This bill…does not come from a well meaning place.  The drafters…are either malicious or ignorant…

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The current way of handling sex workers is dangerous.  –  Eric Gonzalez

The Proper Study (#897)

Academics keep “discovering” what we’ve been saying for decades:

A new study shows nearly a third of all sex workers are unable to call 911 for help…due to fear of [arrest or attack] from police for themselves, their coworkers and managers.  The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Social Sciences, is based on community research conducted in Surrey, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Sudbury, Ont., from 2017-18…[project lead] Dr. Anna-Louise Crago…said the current [Canadian] legal framework…places emphasis on criminalizing clients…and…sex workers[‘ friends and associates]…“The stated aim of the law…has clearly, clearly failed…sex workers are forced to choose between accessing help…or protecting their coworkers or their managers from [cops].”  The data shows the current [Swedish criminalization] framework…creates an obstacle to safety, and is harmful, said Crago…Another key finding…is that when sex workers needed help escaping a situation of violence or confinement, some 40.5 per cent were assisted by other sex workers; 29.7 per cent by friends, family or partner; 24.3 per cent by clients; and only 5.4 per cent…[by] police…

Safe Position (#928)

Finally, a politician supports sex worker rights with deeds, not mere words:

More than 1,000 open cases related to prostitution and loitering — some dating as far back as the 1970s — will be dismissed in Brooklyn, [said] District Attorney Eric Gonzalez…The news is a part of a formal announcement that Gonzalez’s office now plans to decline to prosecute or dismiss cases on both charges.  It is part of an effort to keep sex workers and other marginalized people — particularly people of color on low incomes — out of court…Gonzalez said his office has been rolling out a program to dismiss all prostitution cases over the last year, along with arrests under the loitering statute, which he said it has declined to prosecute since 2019…Sex workers may still [not be able to beat the ride], but Gonzalez [promised they’ll beat the rap]…he…said…fewer than 30 cases [were] processed last year…

Quiet Genocide (#1002)

The few Western articles about the Uighur genocide usually ignore the rapes:

First-hand accounts from inside [Chinese concentration] camps are rare, but several former [prisoners] and a guard have [reported]…an organised system of mass rape, sexual abuse and torture.  Tursunay Ziawudun, who fled Xinjiang after her release and is now in the US, said women were removed from the cells “every night” and raped by one or more masked Chinese men.  She…was tortured and later gang-raped on three occasions, each time by two or three men…a Kazakh woman…who was detained for 18 months…was forced to strip Uighur women naked and handcuff them, before leaving them alone with Chinese men.  Afterwards, she [was ordered to] clean…the rooms… “My job was to remove their clothes above the waist and handcuff them so they cannot move,” said Gulzira Auelkhan …”Then I would leave the women in the room and a man would enter – some Chinese man from outside or policeman…when the man left…I took the woman for a shower…[men] would pay money to have their pick of the prettiest young inmates”, she said…Some of the women who were taken away from the cells at night were never returned, Ziawudun said.  Those who were brought back were threatened against telling others in the cell what had happened to them…”It is designed to destroy everyone’s spirit”…

I Spy (#1011)

Despite claims of “wing” fetishists, the worst US tyranny is always bipartisan:

A new bill revitalizes the war on terror’s favorite slogan in service of forcing tech companies to turn over more user data to the government.  The “See Something, Say Something Online Act,” introduced by [Democrat] Joe Manchin…and…[Republican] John Cornyn…is the latest attack on…Section 230 as well as freedom of speech and…privacy.  The legislation says any interactive computer service provider…will lose Section 230 protections if they fail to report any known user activity that…government officials [retroactively declare]…suspicious…services must submit a Suspicious Transmission Activity Report (STAR) within 30 days, providing the user’s name, location, and other identifying information, as well as any relevant metadata.  Those submitting the user surveillance reports would henceforth be barred from talking about or even acknowledging the existence of them.  STARs would also be exempt from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests…

Remember that the government pretends that sex work is “sex trafficking”, and declares that a “major crime”, which means this law would compel webites to rat sex workers out to the feds.

Worse Than I Thought (#1025)

Another politician with a minuscule particle of human decency:

…Last month, the Casper [Wyoming] City Council began revising their prostitution ordinance after the [local cop shop began touting fantasies about supposed]…“human trafficking” [in the city of 58,000]…City Manager Carter Napier [admitted]…that the main purpose was to further criminalize sex work by…creat[ing] the new crime of “performance prostitution,” which it defined as “any touching, manipulation or fondling of the sex organs and/or aerola [sic] by one person upon themselves or…another, whether by touch or the physical use of other items, for the purpose of sexually arousing…the person who paid for…the sexual arousal”…But…Council Member Kyle Gamroth [delayed the vote after] point[ing] out that the definition would criminalize online sex work in the city…Local publication Oil City News added anti-sex work editorializing to their report by…connect[ing a Julie] Bindel…[screed published in the] UK [to] creat[e] a made-up panic around OnlyFans…[as part of] their ongoing series on “human trafficking in Wyoming”…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

Dozens of rapists rewarded with paid vacations:

Dozens of [screws] at New Jersey’s only women’s prison have been [rewarded with paid vacations for]…brutally beat[ing] and [raping defenseless women.  In the most recent reported incident, on January 11th, screws handcuffed]…Ajila Nelson…and others, before punching, kicking, stripping and [rap]ing [them in] a shower [to wash away evidence.  In another case]…a transgender woman…was beaten by a g[ang] of [screws] and three of…[them] stomped on her head…her…knee was so badly damaged that she’s now…in…a wheelchair…[some of] the attack[s appear to be]…retaliation for complaints…

Bread and Circuses (#1053)

Texas courts have never seen police-statery they won’t hand-wave through:

Another constitutional challenge to FOSTA has failed, at least for the time being…Last summer, the DC Court of Appeals…said the law was littered with broad language that could be construed to target legal actions and behavior.  It particularly had a problem with the terms “promote” and “facilitate” when used in conjunction with the law’s sex trafficking language…Unfortunately, a federal court in Texas has come to the opposite conclusion about the same terms…It…[claims]…the terms…are narrow enough to limit collateral damage to free speech and other protected activity.  This challenge was filed by Wilhan Martono — the operator of CityXGuide, someone the DOJ finally used FOSTA against more than two years after it was signed into law…[but] sex workers who moved to CityXGuide after the shutdown of Backpage were nonetheless collateral damage, even if the law…supposedly…[does] not [target] consensual sex work…the court [also]…equat[es] the hosting of ads for sex work with the act of pimping...Even [though] the government didn’t argue Martono was engaged in…pimping.  There are no charges related to that…

The Next Target (#1099)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

[A Canadian Parliamentary] Committee…held a hearing…concerning the allegations made against Pornhub…by Nicholas Kristof…[and] Exodus Cry…parent company MindGeek…is headquartered in Luxembourg, although many of its operations are run from Montreal and the…owners are Canadian…The[re were]…only two witnesses…[an] American [professional “survivor”] and…a NYC-based [shyster], Michael Bowe, who has previously represented disgraced evangelist Jerry Falwell Jr. and Donald Trump…Bowe…showed no professional understading of the technical issues around online platforms, algorithms or moderation, or…to basic free speech issues…[and] told the MPs he didn’t “have time or full understanding to explain [MindGeek’s business model]”…

Stupor Bowl (#1110)

One of those rare occasions when I’m actually less pessimistic than others:

…the now-routine round of warnings about sex trafficking around the big game has once again surfaced…So, here is your annual reminder that there’s no truth to the idea that forced and underage prostitution pick up around the Super Bowl (or other big sporting events), nor that “human traffickers” will descend on the city where it takes place…and we can all marvel at the persistence and audacity of this myth… “Alleged attempts to tackle #humantrafficking in response to mega sporting events are too often based on conflating #sexwork in general…to crack down on consensual sex workers trying to make a living,” tweets U.K. writer Emily Kenway, author of the new book The Truth About Modern Slavery…claims of an influx of Super Bowl sex traffickers has helped the feds put a positive spin on security theater around the event, while giving local cops an excuse to do vice stings and call them rescue missions

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Hairdressers…would hardly consider their work to be “decriminalized” if it were legal to sell a haircut but not to buy one.  –  Michael Ellsberg

Under Duress 

Are most cops even capable of telling the truth?

Most Americans don’t know this, but [cops]…are permitted by law to outright lie…to suspects…in pursuit of a confession.  Of all forms of subterfuge they deploy — like feigning sympathy and suggesting that a suspect’s confession might bring leniency — this one is particularly dangerous.  In Frazier v. Cupp (1969), the Supreme Court made it lawful for the police to [lie about] evidence.  “The victim’s blood was found on your pillow,” “You failed the polygraph,” “Your fingerprints were on the knife” and “Your friend said she wasn’t with you like you said” are some common but brazen lies told.  There is…no limit to the type or magnitude of deception permitted — one lie or many; small lies and whoppers; lies aimed at adults or anxious and unwary teenagers…the history of wrongful convictions points to countless innocent people induced to confess to crimes they did not commit.  A bill…in New York…would finally put a stop to [permission for] this in the state.  [Cops would of course still lie constantly, but they would no longer have actual permission to do so]…and…courts [would be required] to evaluate the reliability of confession evidence before allowing it to be used…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

This histrionic has-been has made a rotting moral panic her whole career:

Mira Sorvino is developing a [TV] series to…[profit from the dying hysteria over] human trafficking…The series will [exploit] a group of people…using…abused and neglected rescue animals [that Sorvino and her fellow prohibitionists pretend sex workers resemble]…on a…200-acre ranch outside of Los Angeles [being used as a gingerbread house.  Mira’s]…sister Amanda Sorvino is a highly respected animal rescuer and [it seems that Mira believes humans can be “rescued” using the same methods intended for animals]…

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

…Manhattan District Attorney candidate Eliza Orlins is unveiling a comprehensive policy platform calling for the full decriminalization of sex work…Formulated in consultation with many sex workers and…advocacy organizations, it is one of the most detailed policy positions on…decriminalization…ever put forward by a major candidate at any level of U.S. politics…Orlins’ policy platform opens, “As District Attorney I will advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work.  This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work.  Sex work is work.  Criminalizing sex work stigmatizes and disproportionately targets people of color and trans women, who are already marginalized members of our community… Decriminalizing is the most effective way to protect sex workers from police violence…It is necessary…to reduce mass incarceration”…recent national polling…shows that 52 percent of American voters support the full decriminalization of sex work either strongly or somewhat…The candidate…emphasized that she will aggressively prosecute sex traffickers…In contrast to [prohibitionist politician Liz] Krueger, Orlins [states that]…“Prohibitionist models (such as the ‘Nordic Model’) continue to criminalize and stigmatize sex workers.  Partial legalization schemes give prosecutors too much discretion”…

Orlins’ clear denunciation of Swedish criminalization (even more explicit in the interview which forms the second half of this article) makes me far more optimistic about her plans than those of either Michigan Prosecutor Eli Savit or presidential wannabe Andrew Yang.

Torture Chamber (#1001)

Virginia screws sexually assault women like this on a regular basis:

In July of 2016, Angela Calloway arrived at the Augusta C[age Stack] in…Virginia, to visit with a…[prisoner]…She left soon after, having been [force]d to remove her clothes and tampon so [screws] could [violate] her vaginal[ly] and anal[ly using the pretext of a “search”]…Calloway has not returned to the prison since.  A federal court ruled…that the guards involved in that [sexual assault] did not violate the Fourth Amendment…upholding a lower court ruling that awarded qualified immunity to the government employees.  Calloway will thus not be permitted to sue over the [attack]…

The judges’ ruling can be paraphrased as, “cops are so barbaric and stupid they can’t possibly know that rape is wrong.”  Presumably, that applies even when the victim is only eight years old.

The Monsters Are Due (#1018)

We haven’t seen a case of white van hysteria in almost a year:

University of Oregon students are [behaving like hysterical idiots about]…sex trafficking…[because] a [delusional busybody posted a] TikTok video…show[ing] a white van and accus[ing its owner] of having girls in the back of it…Brandon Smith…[was simply] driving his van…[when] two girls acting intoxicated [started] screaming down to their friends o[ut of a window]…Police showed up to Smith’s door as he was doing laundry and [harassed and threatened him for hours over the moronic accusation.  Luckily they did not murder or assault him, but]…he…is dealing with people harassing him when they see his van, and it’s taking a toll on his mental health…

Robocops

We need more attention to one of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

Ben & Jerry’s two co-founders want to make it easier for Americans to sue [violent, corrupt cops]…Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield…The Campaign to End Qualified Immunity is being championed by Cohen and Greenfield…activist Shaun King…rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render…[politicians] Tom McClintock…Mike Braun…Ayanna Pressley and…Cory Booker…NFL stars Tom Brady and Drew Brees a[nd]…more than 1,500 [other] athletes and artists…[plus] 671 business leaders, according to its website.  “We are…resolved to end this get-out-of-jail free card for bad cops,” Cohen told reporters…

Dutch Threat (#1059)

The Dutch scheme to Disnify De Wallen is no longer merely a scheme:

The brothel windows of Amsterdam’s red light district will be closed and an “erotic centre” will be set up away from the city centre, councillors have agreed.  A proposal from the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema…was backed by a broad group of p[uritans]…The sex workers in the De Wallen red light district will be [forc]ed to move to a purpose-built centre elsewhere in Amsterdam…[or else choose to work illegally.  Politicians pretend]ed that the brothel windows should be closed [to “protect”] women working in the area [by dramatically cutting into their income]…When the idea was first proposed, a…[survey show]ed that 90% of…female sex workers…wanted to work in the windows…of…De Wallen.  [A sex worker called]…Foxxy…told [reporters]: “Relocating…is not an option because then the customers will not know where to find the sex workers. Will [politicians] also…organise bus trips for them to the Westelijk Havengebied?”…A second proposal to ban tourists from buying cannabis from the city’s cafes is struggling to win support owing to [the reality] that it will hand over trade to dealers on the streets…

Stupor Bowl (#1106)

Pathetic public promotions of misogynistic masturbatory material like this appear to be all that’s left of the once-popular “gypsy whores” myth.  Whereas national media used to prominently feature fetishists stroking themselves in public to the general adoration of gullible nitwits, the coverage is now mostly limited to local papers and TV news stations who consider obedient regurgitation of copaganda, no matter how ludicrous, to be part of their business model, plus fringe sites run by copsuckers and ex-military wingnuts with delusions of expertise unshared by anyone with even a cursory familiarity with the subject.  While the tales used to start appearing late in the preceding summer or even a year or more in advance, they now seem largely limited to a few foul eruptions in the week or two before, like a sudden discharge from a cluster of turgid pustules previously hidden by clothing.  And despite claims of “recent reports” and “new studies” of the fantasy, all of the claims are a decade or more old and still derive from the same grotesque prohibitionist profiteering we’ve seen over and over again (this one, as one might expect from fascist authoritarians, relies heavily on “Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s fevered fantasies from ’14 which imploded in a spectacular fashion last autumn).  In short, there’s nothing to see here that we haven’t seen innumerable times before, and these creeps’ pathetic devotion to their ugly fantasies would inspire pity if it weren’t being used to support calls for mass surveillance, aggressive censorship and state-sanctioned rape.

To Molest and Rape (#1109)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative NYPD cop]…was arrested on child pornography charges…after he repeatedly posed as a teenager online to request and obtain sexually explicit photos and videos from at least 46 minors…Carmine Simpson…is the latest in a string of [cops]…to be [caught committing] sexual crimes involving minors…Simpson told his targets that he was 17…and…some[times]…sent them pictures of himself to which he had applied a filter, making him look younger…In November, [cop] Shaun Frazier…[was caught molesting kids for]…the…third [time]…In July, a [pig known for skulking around] school[s]…Jeanisidor Jean Baptiste, was…charged with…rape and assault against a child.  In March…Yavier Julio, was indicted on child pornography charges…In February…Timothy Martinez was charged with possession of child pornography…In September 2019…Juan Jimenez, was…charged with [molesting]…a child.  And the month before that, John Telesca…was…charged with…child pornography.  Dara E. Purvis, an associate dean at Penn State Law who has studied sexual violence by the police, said this kind of misconduct is vastly underreported…

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We open or we die.  –  open letter from Mexico City restaurateurs

Feminine Pragmatism (#913)

One day, reporters will learn that “people work to make money” is not news:

Like many other young Venezuelans, Valery Lopez has found a way to survive the…country’s crippling economic crisis…[by selling] online sexual content…she has found a way to avoid joining the exodus of five million migrants [who] have left the country since 2015.  “I was…[able] to stay in Venezuela thanks to OnlyFans,” [said] Lopez…[her] channel has more than 50 [international] subscribers…each one pays $10 a month: a figure six times the minimum salary in Venezuela…[but professional busybodies like] Abel Saraiba…[bemoan Lopez’ and others’ entrepreneurship, absurdly referring to merely selling pictures from the privacy of her own home as]…”a risky (line of work)”…

Hot Mess Alabama

Alabama is trying to make up for its late start by spewing “sex trafficking” idiocy most other states have quietly dropped:

…the purpose of the event series is “to promote…myths surrounding [sex work]”…focusing on…the sex [fantasies of prohibitionists about]…how traffickers recruit and subjugate young women and children…[chief busybody] Julia Meyers [recited the Shahada and tired old “King of the Hill” tropes about]…I-20 and I-65 as…major human trafficking corridors…the commercial sex industry generates $110 million each year in the Birmingham-metro area…this does not include illegal activity that occurs in massage parlors or strip clubs…90 percent or more people that are prostituted people are actually being trafficked…

“People that are prostituted people” is a tautology that well encapsulates the circularity of these wankers’ parade into their own rectums.

False Witness (#980)

Once the Satanic panic returned as “sex trafficking”, charlatans began to work on rehabiltating the dangerous and discredited doctrine of “repressed memories”, which was use to destroy so many lives in the 1980s and ’90s.  In this article from The Cut, writer Katie Heaney pretends that the science debunking “repressed memories” is “controversial” (it isn’t), and that the theory behind what is now called false memory syndrome originated in a couple’s defense against accusations of abuse from their adult daughter (it didn’t).  She also tries her best to smear Elizabeth Loftus, whose work in the field of memory was the actual origin of the theory.  Heaney’s motivation is probably just page-clicks, but the people who want to re-convince courts that memories can magically reappear decades after the end of a statute of limitations (and the disintegration of any evidence or alibi) have a decidedly more sinister motive, and unless mental health professionals nip this in the bud, we’re once again going to start seeing people’s lives destroyed based on nothing more than delusions created or validated by unscrupulous, malicious cops, bureaucrats and prosecutors.

Nonessential

Working people all over are done with arbitrary authoritarian “lockdowns”:

It was assumed that…[on] January 11, Mexico City and the State of Mexico would [be done with the government-assigned COVID risk category called “]the red light[“, the most restrictive designation, but politicians arbitrarily] decided to extend it for another week.  Given this, many restaurateurs decided to ignore this measure and under the social media hashtag #AbrimosOMorimos, they announced that as of today they will reopen…”Open or die is a reality in the industry in general, from the taco stand to the most sophisticated restaurant…and the oxygen is over,” said José Sánchez…of Sonora Grill…Manolo Ablanedo…of…Fisher’s, said…more than 500 restaurants in [Mexico City] will open…”because…the next option to survive is to fire waiters and cooks”…[in] a letter addressed to the…government…the…restaurateurs requested to be considered essential…”They are extinguishing us…Let’s not condemn restaurant workers to unemployment, or thousands of businesses to bankruptcy!”

The Crumbling Dam (#1057)

Remember this when apologists claim prohibitionists are “well-intentioned”:

A divided federal appeals court…blocked…the nation’s first supervised drug-injection site from opening in Philadelphia, saying it ran afoul of a federal law originally passed to [further criminalize] drug [users]…The decision overturned a lower court ruling in favor of Safehouse, a non-profit that aims to open a facility where drug users can safely inject heroin, fentanyl or other drugs in the presence of medical professionals who could treat them for overdoses…[attorney] Ilana Eisenstein…who represents Safehouse [said]…”We remain confident that the law was not intended to force Americans to stand by as idle witnesses while our brothers and sisters are dying.  Conscience compels us to pursue all legal options, and we shall”…The government[‘s case relies on]…a provision of the Controlled Substance Act commonly known as the “crack house statute,” which makes it a crime to knowingly open or maintain a place for distributing or using controlled substances [such as a doctor’s office, hospital, or pharmacy]…

Quiet Genocide (#1086)

Another firsthand account of China’s torture of Uighurs:

My [family] fled to France…in May 2006, just before Xinjiang entered an unprecedented period of repression.  My daughters, 13 and 8 at the time, were given refugee status, as was their father.  In seeking asylum, my husband had made a clean break with the past.  Obtaining a French passport in effect stripped him of his Chinese nationality…[but] I couldn’t bring myself to do [the same]…so instead, I’d applied for a residence permit that was renewable every 10 years…[then in November 2016] I [was tricked into] going back to Xinjiang…[so the police could] pull [me] in for questioning…[about] a photo…[of] my daughter Gulhumar…in Paris…[holding] a miniature East Turkestan flag in her hand, a flag the Chinese government had banned…I…was [condemned]…to…two years…of…violent…brainwashing…[until] on 2 August 2019…a judge…pronounced me innocent…[after] they had tortured my body and brought my mind to the edge of madness…

One of the more subtle ways that Western governments enable this abomination is by supporting the evil doctrine that countries permanently own their citizens, even if those citizens choose to live elsewhere.

You Were Warned (#1099)

Remember that whores are even less popular with the Establishment than MAGA types are:

Parler has — for now, at least — vanished, after Amazon canceled its web hosting contract with the company…Google also banned Parler, on [January 8th], with Apple following suit [the next]…day.  The companies cite posts making threats against Mike Pence, organizing last week’s events in Washington, D.C., and making plans for further action to challenge the 2020 election results…Plenty of digital platforms — including those much bigger and more mainstream than Parler — provide a place for conspiracy theorists, MAGA riot organizers, and threats of violence, as well as the politicians who back and encourage these forces.  To take action against Parler and no other social media sites or web forums — and to do it so swiftly, without providing them with a little buffer to find new options — feels…designed to stave off becoming a target themselves…this provides…a…glimpse of what a world without Section 230 would look like all the time, not just in the wake of incidents that rattle us.  Nobody would want to even tangentially do business with apps and other web forums that don’t aggressively police and limit user speech, for fear that liability would work its way up the food chain to them…

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[Bans on outdoor dining are] not grounded in science, evidence, or logic.  –  Judge James C. Chalfant

Lack of Evidence (#574)

Another example of barking up the wrong tree:

…Brittney Smith and Anita Yanes…tried to visit Rachel’s [Gentlemen’s Club in] Orlando in 2018 and were denied entry because they didn’t have any men with them.  They argue that this policy violates Orange County’s…law…ban[ning] discrimination in public places “on the basis of…[factors including] sexual orientation”…the Orlando Sentinel…is pushing the case as a boon for LGBTQ rights…But Rachel’s wasn’t denying Smith and Yanes entry because of the women’s sexual orientation but because of their sex…how can it be discriminating against gay people by applying its policy evenly to heterosexual and homosexual women?…

As I’ve explained before, these policies have nothing to do with LGBT rights; they’re anti-whore measures intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.

Signs (#911) 

Texas won’t be satisfied until every police-state functionary is spying on women:

Texas is opening a new front in the war on [women]…The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has started [indoctrinat]ing its agents and vendors to s[urveill] and [harass] w[omen] in the bars, clubs and restaurants it licenses [via bogus “signs”] like…women [be]ing on the premises…In one example, a sports bar just outside San Antonio, [a busybody]…complain…ed…that [brown women were there]…so…[pigs could raid them.  Even when there’s nothing even cops were willing to accept as “evidence”] TABC…canceled liquor licenses on 100 businesses…

The Widening Gyre (#928)

Innocent people accused of “sex trafficking” by attention-hungry loons are starting to hit back:

A [bourgeois white woman]…claimed on Instagram…that her children were nearly kidnapped at a [Michael’s] craft store has received [insufficient criticism for her attempt to inflict police violence on innocent strangers]…after her videos went viral…her local police department in…Petaluma [California says]…the story Katie Sorensen told her Instagram followers i[s different from the version she gave them]…Sorensen [claimed]…that she wanted to share her experience because she wanted [white] parents to feel empowered to [call the cops on innocent people existing in public]…“I posted it simply to raise awareness,” she [belched].  Sorensen has since made the two videos and her account private, but KTVU reporter Henry K. Lee shared a part of one on Twitter…Sorensen [falsely claimed to cops that]…she was “followed inside the store” by a man and woman who had “made comments concerning the appearance of [her] children”…she [then hypocritically made comments on the appearance of her intended victims]…

Sorenson’s intended victim, Sadie Martinez, has since approached me on Twitter and asked me to help share her story; I suspect she may be considering a lawsuit against the woman who tried to get her arrested for daring to be in the same retail outlet as Sorenson’s brats at the busiest shopping time of the year.

Legislators Gone Wild (#987) 

The fanatical, unhinged Guinasso and his pet fantasist are at it again, as I predicted:

…[Self-proclaimed “]sex trafficking survivor[” and professional fantasist]…Rebekah Charleston…[is once again] target[ing] Nevada [with a nuisance lawsuit after]…her previous [attempt was]…dismissed by an appeals court [for having absolutely zero basis in law or fact]…Charleston…served 13 months in a federal prison after a conviction for tax evasion, [but] was among 26 individuals granted clemency this month by President Donald Trump [because she blamed her crime on bogeyman “pimps” whose names she]…claimed t[o have conveniently forgotten, just as she has apparently forgotten the name of the brothel she claims to have been “enslaved” in]…Charleston and her lawyer, Jason Guinasso, are seeking an injunction to stop Nevada from allowing sex work, [yet cannot explain how she managed to pass the police background checks required to work in the state’s legalized] sex industry…

Torture Chamber (#1037)

Your “leaders” refer to this as “correction”:

The number of women held in America’s jails has risen more than 20% over the past decade, to an average of more than 115,000 inmates a day.  And more and more are arriving in need of medical attention or with debilitating health conditions that strain the capacity of lockups typically designed for men.  Thousands arrive pregnant each year. Most suffer from mental illness – at far higher rates than their male counterparts – and…as more women land in America’s local jails, more are dying there, too…[at least] 914 [women died] in [US cages] from 2008 to 2019…at least 24% of the[m]…were Black…at least 639 [of them] were awaiting trial…and presumed innocent of the charges they faced.  The death toll [also] doesn’t include a category of collateral fatalities: their infant children…

Not mentioned in this article: the chief architect of the laws that resulted in this huge explosion in the number of female prisoners is about to be crowned as the next president of the US.

Nonessential

Courts are losing patience with arbitrary authoritarian “lockdowns”:

A California judge…blocked enforcement of state and local orders prohibiting dining in San Diego County restaurants, finding no evidence that such bans help curtail the COVID-19 epidemic…The case involves two strip clubs with restaurant service, Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Pacers Showgirls International, which initially challenged local cease-and-desist orders.  Gov. Gavin Newsom subsequently issued an order that imposes many restrictions, including a ban on both indoor and outdoor restaurant dining, on regions where the available ICU capacity has fallen below 15 percent.  That order currently applies to all of Southern California…[Judge Joel] Wohlfeil noted that the plaintiffs had implemented various COVID-19 precautions, including physical distancing, masks for employees, and sanitization.  They are following “all provisions of the State of California Industry Guidance for restaurants, wineries and bars.”  Dancers perform in roped-off areas at least 15 feet from tables, and patrons are not allowed to approach them.  No COVID-19 outbreaks have been traced to either business…

We’ve seen that governments are pretending that “sin” causes disease to justify extra restrictions on strip clubs, but that does not appear to be the case here.

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Prosecutors pretend there really is some compelling state interest in keeping illegal videos of people having consensual sex:

A Florida prosecutor asked a judge to preserve [revenge porn] video…[of] Robert Kraft [having consensual adult]…sex…A misdemeanor [adult consensual sex-having] charge against Kraft was dropped in September after an appeals court ruled…that [the] video [was illegal, nonconsensual and obtained by a fraudulent warrant application]…But Palm Beach County State Attorney David Aronberg argues th[at he should be allowed to keep]…the videos [so they] could [potentially] be used [if he thinks up a new way to destroy someone’s life for having consensual sex with another adult]…

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

While some Western media timidly explore criticizing an atrocity, the Wall Street Journal licks Xi’s arse:

…Xi Jinping wants to meld [China]’s dozens of ethnic groups into a sing[le] national identity.  The program of…“ethnic fusion,” as it’s called in government documents and speeches—has gone to extremes in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, home to the largest mass detention of a minority group since World War II…the…campaign relies on security infrastructure…[which] the…government has said…is necessary for security in the area.  Those methods have now spread eastward to sedate regions like southwestern China’s Guangxi, home to the country’s largest minority group, the Zhuang, who…have little recent history of ethnic conflict.  In Tibet, where controls are already strict, local authorities launched a new program of “military-style” vocational training for rural Tibetans and passed new regulations to promote ethnic unity and patriotism in the region…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell…derailed…any attempts to reach agreement on a one-time, $2,000 COVID-relief check for most Americans [by demanding] the bill also included the repeal…of Section 230, the so-called “First Amendment of the internet”…McConnell [intentionally sank the stimulus check bill by]…listing a number of unrelated policy measures (in Congress parlance, “pork”) that he insisted be attached…

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When I agreed to be a representative, I don’t recall signing off on any moralistic fitness test.  –  Diego Rodriguez

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Eight [cops] are under investigation [for] a…[sexual] assault on a [young] black [woman using the pretext of a]…strip-search…Footage surfaced on social media showing the [cops brutally kneeling on her back while]…she was…[gasp]ing “I can’t breathe”…she was in her friend’s car when [cops] pulled over the vehicle and dragged her into the street…she told BBC Newsnight…“They…picked me up with my…braids which they eventually tore out of my scalp”…The [cops abducted]…her…to…Lewisham Police station[, where they] charged her with obstructing [her own sexual assault]…but this was later dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service…[at the station] she was s[exually] assaulted again [under the pretext of a second “search”]…

Gullible’s Travels

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teens:

Skittle parties are…happening in places like people’s homes, backyards, parks, abandoned buildings, hotel rooms and who knows where else…kids raid medicine cabinets at home for prescription medications.  They bring whatever they can find to the party and all pills are dumped into a bowl…Anyone can take whatever pills they want and however many they want in order to get high…Jack Schafer…wrote several columns for Slate from…2006 to…2010 [explain]ing that these parties are just a myth that has been perpetuated by the media.  And…[there is no] actual evidence of them existing…[but] regardless of whether Skittle parties are a real thing or not, [the yellow journalists at Yahoo feel justified in declaring that they are]…very real…

Elephant in the Parlor (#341)

A new level of public support for sex workers from a politician:

…[Arizona politician] Diego Rodriguez…has a history of liking or replying to posts of nude women on [Twitter]…using a separate account from one he operates as a state [representative]..[and] has no plans to remove or hide the posts from the public.  “I think that goes back to a difference in attitudes,” he said. “Are you…sex positive or sex negative?”…Rodriguez pointed out past tweets in support of sex workers’ rights.  Sweeping his past under the rug would only further stigmatize an industry he says is unfairly maligned and mistreated…

Torture Chamber (#866) 

Oh look, the State has finally “found” what thousands have been telling them for decades:

The largest women’s prison in the country subjects incarcerated women to pervasive and frequent [rapes and other] sexual assaults, violating their Eighth Amendment rights, the Justice Department concluded in a scathing and graphic report…[after] a two-year investigation…into…Lowell [Rape Camp in]…Florida…[besides oral, anal and vaginal rape] and groping…”staff demanded that prisoners undress in front of them, sometimes in exchange for basic necessities, such as toilet paper.”  Furthermore…investigators found that the prison had [criminally] inadequate measures to prevent sexual abuse…staff exploited blind spots in surveillance camera coverage to abuse women; the prison deterred women from reporting abuse via threats of retaliation and…solitary confinement “for days or weeks at a time;” and the…[so-called] Investigator General [arbitraily] closed, suspended, or indefinitely delayed investigations…In [one typical and representative attack in] March 2018, a Lowell s[crew]…anally raped a…prisoner in a storage area…then…wiped himself off on [her underwear]…[the victim suffered] extensive…in[juries but]…no DNA evidence was collected…[and] the…rap[ist was allowed to quiet]ly resign [without consequences]…

Dirty Laundry (#868)

Horrifyingly-abusive nuns are not restricted to Ireland:

Catholic nuns running a children’s home in Germany pimped out boys to priests, politicians and businessmen who would rape the children at sex parties, according to a victim who has won a compensation battle…the man, now 63…said he was raped around 1,000 times…in the 1960s and 70s, alongside [at least]…three [o]ther victims [who] have since come forward…If they disobeyed they would be beaten with sticks or have their heads smashed against the wall…The children’s home was shut in 2000…The Catholic Church paid the man 15,000 euros in compensation and 10,000 euros for therapy costs alongside a victim’s pension…

Guinea Pigs (#970)

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

For the past two years, Do Nguyen Mai Khoi…the Vietnamese singer and pro-democracy activist, known best simply as Mai Khoi, has tried tirelessly to warn [Facebook] of a thousands-strong pro-government…group of police, military, and other Communist party loyalists who collaborate to get online dissidents booted and offline dissidents jailed.  Her evidence of the group’s activity is ample, her arguments are clear, and…Facebook doesn’t seem interested at all…social media allows [Vietnamese] citizens to squeeze past the state’s censorship stranglehold on traditional media, [but Facebook] has…become just another means of strangulation.  Private groups filled with government partisans coordinate takedown campaigns — or worse — against any views deemed “reactionary” by the Vietnamese state, while Facebook continues to do little but pay lip service to ideals of free expression…

A Broker in Pillage (#1043)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

…Since 2014…35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted civil forfeiture reforms, including two—New Mexico and Nebraska—that have abolished the practice…The manifest injustice of [legalized robbery of innocent people]…led to modest federal reforms in 2000, then not much else.  But…interest in the issue has exploded in recent years…as…politicians became newly aware of [the] problem…and why they decided to do something about it, despite the dogged resistance of police and prosecutors keen to keep the money train rolling.  The story varies from one state to another, but it generally involves a combination of outrageous injustices, corruption scandals, and rising disgust at the unseemly greed that leads cops to steal TV sets and snatch money from children’s birthday cards…

Social Distancing (#1082)

A study trashes one of the justifications for ruinous authoritarian “lockdowns”:

…The initial round of lockdowns was not about suppressing the virus but slowing it for one reason: to preserve hospital capacity…Gradually…curve flattening became an end in itself, apart from hospital capacity…Sometime in summer, the idea of asymptomatic spread started to trend…we were being asked to think of our fellow citizens not as human beings with dignity and rights but pathogen-carrying disease vectors…because we are secretly filthy and unclean…even with a mask we must stay 6 feet away….But…a gigantic study conducted in Wuhan, China, of 10 million people…published November 20…revealed something that hardly ever happens in these kinds of studies.  There was not one documented case.  Forget rare…Replace…that with: never.  At least not in this study for 10,000,000…We keep hearing about how we should follow the science…[but] the lockdown lobby ignores whatever contradicts their narrative, preferring unverified anecdotes over an actual scientific study of 10 million residents in what was the world’s first major hotspot for the disease we are trying to manage…

Winding Down

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

On December 15, Mexic[an] lawmakers passed a law reining in the asymmetrical, imperialist influence of the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration within the country.  Supporters hailed the move as a reclamation of national sovereignty…the new law…[defines DEA thugs as] “foreign agents”, which…limits their activities in the country to information-gathering, eliminates their legal immunity and assigns them reporting obligations.  Agents will no longer be able to unilaterally execute arrests and raids, and will have to seek authorization from the Mexican federal government for their weapons.  Permission from a newly formed security panel is also now required of any Mexican state or municipal official meeting with them…Drug warriors invested in the global dominance of the DEA have denounced the legislation…

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When cops came to arrest you in th[e late 20th century], they weren’t telling the newspapers they had saved you.  –  Maggie McNeill

Maggie in the Media

I recently gave an interview for the 30th anniversary of Pretty Woman:

Ten years ago, sex worker, writer, and activist Maggie McNeill wrote…that it was already “nigh-impossible to find an internet discussion on [Pretty Woman] without at least a few would-be critics complaining that it is ‘unrealistic.’”  This, however, is a criticism to which McNeill has long handed down a simple, “No shit, Sherlock.”  “Pretty Woman is a fantasy,” she told Bitch. “It’s not going to be realistic.”  While McNeill herself has no particular affection for the film, she’s never considered Pretty Woman’s lack of accuracy a compelling argument against it, though that argument is common among critics both within the sex-work community and those who are actively working to criminalize sex work…“it amuses me terribly to hear how much the prohibitionists are fixated on it,” she adds, noting that anti–sex work arguments often attempt to paint the film as a dangerously glamorous misrepresentation of a community prohibitionists would rather see victimized, humiliated, and/or punished…

If Men Were Angels

“Pastors” are as bad as cops:

William Dalton Milam, the pastor of Olivet Baptist Church in Milton[, Florida]…was arrested on charges of child pornography…[and “]promoting sexual performance of a child[” after]…a tip…from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…Milam’s home…[held] multiple devices containing child pornography, some depicting children as young as 3…

Disaster (#829)

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…TikTok purge[d sex worker accounts]…en masse in mid-November, all for the same [pretext]:  violating TikTok’s sex and nudity policy.  [None] of the…[victims]…violated TikTok’s policy, but had linked to either their OnlyFans or their websites linking to their OnlyFans in their bios, which they believe led to them getting removed from the platform.  The purge appears to have been in advance of TikTok’s new [terms of service, which ban virtually all]…sexual content…But…many mainstream creators on TikTok post links to their OnlyFans in their bios, including Bella Thorne

Why did anyone ever think a company owned by the Chinese wouldn’t aggressively censor?

Safe Position (#947)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happening in New York:

A group of New York [politicians] are calling on the New York Police Department to stop all undercover operations that aim to arrest sex workers or their clients, after a ProPublica investigation revealed that the busts have [included]…false arrest and sexual misconduct, and that almost everyone arrested was nonwhite.  Assemblyman Ron Kim and four other [politicians] made that recommendation in a letter this week to…the City Council and the state Assembly and Senate.  The letter also asks for an oversight hearing to examine misconduct allegations against the NYPD vice unit…Separate from the letter and the call to end undercover operations, Council Speaker Corey Johnson and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, two of the city’s most powerful politic[ians], told ProPublica they believe the vice unit should be disbanded altogether…Ten other city and state [politicians]…have expressed support for the same…

Quiet Genocide (#997)

Fascist corporations are eager to assist in a genocide:

…the [Chinese] technology giant Alibaba taught its…[government] clients [how to] use its software to detect the faces of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities within images and videos…The feature was built into Alibaba software that [roots through]…digital content [looking] for material…to [censor]…A social media platform, for instance, could automatically flag videos for additional scrutiny, or even [whistle up] the [pigs], if they contain faces that the software [decide]s are Uighur…the company [has since] edited its website to remove…references to [the feature]…The Washington Post reported last week that Huawei, another Chinese tech giant, had tested software that could automatically alert the police when its surveillance cameras detected Uighur faces…

Served Cold (#1082) 

This megalomaniac’s lies have grown so extreme, even the yellow press can no longer ignore them:

The specific stories that OUR tells are intensely cinematic…and extremely difficult to fact-check.  They are also not the…truth.  An investigation by VICE…found…a pattern of image-burnishing and mythology-building, a series of exaggerations that are, in the aggregate, quite misleading…Multiple law enforcement agencies OUR says it has partnered with or supported describe their relationships as insubstantial…OUR has also declined to describe what precisely it does with the millions of dollars it says it spends overseas…During [a recent fundraiser], Ballard described a rescue in an undisclosed country in which, he [claimed], Jessica Mass, OUR’s director of aftercare, literally wrestled a padlock away from a trafficker as they were running to lock up and re-imprison young girls whom OUR and local police had just rescued*…”This is the [magic] padlock that had been used to lock these girls behind a jail cell [sic],” he proclaimed, triumphantly…Several people familiar with [an ongoing Utah] investigation…[said] it concerns…misleading claims to donors and the public about the work it does…

*Seriously, WTF?  Is Ballard claiming that this “trafficker” had a magical Hollywood padlock which, once locked, magically traps immobile, vegetable-like “young girls” into…I don’t know, an extradimensional space “behind a jail cell”(?) from which they could never have been freed had this liar not grabbed the magical lock in time?  Are these “girls” incapable of locomotion?  Have these people never heard of bolt cutters?  This story makes no sense on any level I can think of.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1090)

Are institutions finally starting to understand the cost of promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Britain’s International Slavery Museum is facing a [righteous] backlash over a “dehumanising” [propaganda] exhibition…which features an image of a naked woman with tape over her mouth and abusive comments plastered on her body.  The museum [took money fror the propaganda display from]…a U.S.-based [pro-censorship] group, Exodus Cry, which seeks to [censor the internet] and s[upport police violence against]…sex workers…dozens of critical responses…[pointed out that] the [“art” is in reality] “trauma porn” [that is] “damaging, sensationalist and dehumanising”…Exodus Cry’s chief executive, Benjamin Nolot, [whined]…that criticism of the exhibition was…”unfair”, and that [sex workers are not allowed to criticize attempts to drive them into poverty and encourage cops to rape and abduct them]…

Torture Chamber (#1093)

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

…the U.S. government sent Mory Keita to a country he hasn’t lived in since he was three years old…Keita lived here undocumented for about three decades and has a daughter who is an American citizen…What makes Keita’s deportation extra jarring is that he was…a…[key witness in a] case…brought by Ahmed Adem and Bayong Brown Bayong…[against] the Butler County Jail, just north of Cincinnati…Bayong [reported] at least three beatings by jail guardsincluding one in August while he was infected with COVID-19…th[e] guards made “threats such as ‘I hope you die bitch’ and, after being pushed down the stairs, ‘When you get down the stairs, I am going to beat all the teeth from your mouth.'”  At one point, the suit says, Bayong was taken to an isolation cell where a correctional officer “punched Mr. Bayong with closed fists all over his face and head” as two other guards watched. Bayong lost a tooth…

You Were Warned (#1099)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politicians] Ben Sasse…and Jeff Merkley…introduced [fascist] legislation, dubbed the “Stop Internet Sexual Exploitation Act,” [pre]tended to “prevent the uploading of pornographic images to online platforms without the consent of the individuals in the images”…The proposed legislation…would apply to “all online platforms that host pornography [but does not define it],” noted a summary provided by Sasse’s office…A wide variety of intended restrictions…include the [impossible demand that]…platforms hosting pornography [again, without defining the term] offer a 24-hour hotline staffed by the platform…[so] individuals…can request removal of a video that has been distributed without their consent…[within] two hours…

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

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

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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