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Posts Tagged ‘racism’

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

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

From the Archives

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Adapting…to…the new legal environment…will take time…that the most vulnerable sex workers don’t have.  –  Lux Alptraum

Feet of Clay 

Your periodic reminder that Nicholas Kristof is a vile excuse for a human being:

…what better example of our compromised political class is there than Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist and professional “humanitarian” whose calls to send in the Marines are always clothed in the raiment of altruism.  It’s people like Kristof that libertarian author Isabel Paterson warned us against when she wrote about the “humanitarian with a guillotine.”  For I can hardly recall a single war of the recent past that Kristof has not wholeheartedly embraced: while he shied away from jumping on the Iraq war bandwagon, he was gung ho for destroying Syria and making it a safe haven for jihadists: he’s never revisited that stance, nor apologized for it in any way.  He’s all for arming the Ukrainian government, which is surely one of the most corrupt in the world, and which has a huge neo-Nazi problem.  To top it off, he’s one of the loudest voices urging the US to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and support a crew of jihadist rebels “formerly” associated with al-Qaeda…

Every single “humanitarian” or “liberal” cause Kristoff embraces is a hypocrisy based in racism, sexism, colonialism or plain old jingoism.  He’s utterly disgusting.

Lower Education

Women are moral imbeciles, so men are always responsible for our choices:

If a man and a woman are both drunk and they have sex, the man is the rapist if the woman decides he is at some point, regardless of how she felt in the moment.  This is what American University taught students in a required sexual consent module last year, according to…screenshots of the training…CampusClarity…[features] invasive questions [and was] pulled from mandatory student training by Clemson University in 2014…the same training is used at public universities including the University of Florida and Kansas State…CampusClarity owner EverFi admitted…in 2014 that some of the statistics in its sexual consent training were questionable…EverFi’s “impact report” for the University of Oregon in 2013-2014 disclosed that it was lumping together “yes” and “not sure” answers to boost the numbers in response to a survey question on whether “someone pressured me into a sexual experience without my explicit consent”…

Choke Point 

New York is every bit as enthusiastic as the feds are at applying fascist pressure to accomplish illegal and unconstitutional agendas:

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent directive to financial regulators…[urges] them to pressure private companies to break ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA).  The “or else” is just a hair from being overt…The Department of Financial Services, which regulates the banking and insurance industries in New York, followed up with guidance letters to insurance companies and banks…the regulatory body that oversees these industries is warning companies under its power that they may be assuming reputational risk—a regulated area that draws official attention—by doing business with legal organizations including the NRA.  This reputational risk is said to exist because these groups are “gun promotion organizations,” which boils down to nothing more than them taking a public policy positions at odds with those favored by the state’s political leaders…

Not Worth the Paper

Another anti-whore “study” which is not worth the stuff removed by the paper hanging by your toilet:

As Craigslist expanded across the United States, the free classifieds website also bolstered the sex industry, according to a new study…In analyzing data from 1999 to 2008, [Jason] Chan…Anindya Ghose…and Probal Mojumder…found [what they were paid to find, namely that] Craigslist’s arrival in a market also led to…recruitment and coercion of new ones…this led to greater exploitation of vulnerable populations…

Since the “study” used online escort ads as a proxy for the number of sex workers in a market (a moronic assumption even when it isn’t used by prohibitionists), what it actually “found” was that as online advertising became more popular among sex workers, it became more popular among sex workers.  Yes, the “findings” are nothing more than a tautology; the nonsense about “exploitation” is the opinion the authors were paid to promote, and is unsupported by any evidence – even the usual bad evidence – in the paper my consultants were able to find.  Given Chan & Ghose’s history as hired guns producing pro-censorship “studies”, I suspect this paper is part of FOSTA supporters’ campaign to defend the reputation of their malevolent law.

Comfort Zone (#765)

This story does a better-than-usual job of hiding migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative:

A two-year investigation led to the arrest of 22 people involved in a human trafficking network and the [arrest] of 350 men, women and children [cops claim were] forced into slave-like labor and prostitution in Latin America and the Caribbean…the…people were found working in bars, night clubs, gold mines, factories and open-air markets; some of them in remote areas from which they could not escape.  Operation Libertad (freedom) was funded by the Canadian government and required coordinated raids in thirteen countries…What happens to trafficking victims once they are rescued “depends on the particular person’s circumstance… and often on the country’s resources,” [chief pig Tim] Morris said.  They can be [held] in special facilities, released or [deported]…

“Special facilities”, like “safe houses”, means “prisons”.  In poor countries.  I’m sure that’s much better than what they were “rescued” from.

Imaginary Victims (#797)

Prohibitionists never gave a shit about imprisoned underage sex worker Cyntoia Brown until they realized they could use her to advance the “child sex slave” narrative:

Attorneys for a woman who killed a man when she was a 16-year-old prostitute say she was a sex-trafficking victim afraid for her life — but prosecutors say she killed the man to rob him.  Both sides will make oral arguments next month in her appeal of her sentence of life without parole.  The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a June 14 court date for the case of 29-year-old Cyntoia Brown in…Cincinnati.  Brown has been in prison since 2004…

Gorged With Meaning (#812)

Brandon Wade, who is pissing himself so badly over FOSTA you can smell it through this video, is doubling down on his ludicrous protestations that sugar dating isn’t sex work.  Here he goes full-on fascist pig (complete with “I’m better than you” finger-steepling body language), referring to escorts and clients as “those elements” and urging that those who have drunk the Kool-aid “If you see something, say something” before sex workers who understand their value and clients who prefer not to deceive themselves “contaminate” his site:

Got news for you, Brandon:  we’re already there.  Practically every whore I know has an SA profile, and numerous clients have messaged me through MY profile there.  But then, given your own history with girls who prefer to be paid by the hour, I’m sure you already knew that; you just mistakenly think that if you throw enough of us under the bus, the censors and ambulance-chasers whom FOSTA has enabled will spare your creepy arse.

The Peril (#834)

A decent article on the Mann Act marred by the author’s swallowing the “sex trafficking” myth:

A federal law passed in 1910, first designed to tackle the supposed scourge of “white slavery” that threatened the moral base of a rapidly changing America, is back in the news again…The Mann Act…was crafted as an anti-prostitution…law that made it illegal to cross state lines with women and girls “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”…Under the Mann Act’s vague “other immoral purpose” language, prosecutors brought charges against [Boxer Jack] Johnson for taking an unmarried white woman across state lines…the Mann Act also was also used to prosecute silent film star Charlie Chaplin regarding a paternity suit (he was acquitted); singer Chuck Berry for taking an Apache girl across state lines (convicted); and Frank Lloyd Wright for moving his lover and her daughter from Minnesota to Wisconsin (convicted)…The act has been amended since then and now is employed, primarily, as a tool to [harass sex workers]…

Disaster (#836)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

…FOSTA has…put sex workers in danger, and many have faced serious real-world consequences in the wake of this digital upheaval.  Although no official reports have been released as of this writing, anecdotal evidence is trickling in.  Johanna Breyer…of the Saint James Infirmary…[said their] mobile van outreach saw a dramatic increase of street-based sex workers in the Mission District.  Breyer estimated that there were about double or triple the usual number of workers…Fancy, a Midwestern sex worker who manages a fund dedicated to providing financial support for sex workers in need, has seen a dramatic uptick in requests for help.  In the wake of the Backpage shutdown, she says she went from receiving occasional requests for help to a dozen or two…daily.  Many messages were from sex workers asking for advice on how to work on the streets safely…

Even sites concerned with mundane matters such as Consumer Affairs get it:

FOSTA…[has] a potential chilling effect on any and all internet speech…Advocates…point out that trafficking…is already a crime in the United States…and…targeting websites…will now only create new crimes.  Whether FOSTA’s sponsors had intended to kick the entire sex trade offline…is unclear…[and politicians won’t answer honestly.  Prohibitionist propaganda director Mary] Mazzio…addressed concerns that sex workers could lose their livelihoods by publishing a list of homeless shelters and other social services…Such an offer — that women who made rent doing sex work online were now free to stay in homeless shelters — was described by those in the sex trade as deeply insulting…Vanessa Carlisle [of SWOP-LA noted that]…“sex workers who seek services are often turned over to police”…By targeting online business…lawmakers are ignoring the role that law enforcement [plays] in abusing sex workers…

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It’s a privilege that [clients] choose us to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.  –  Rachel Wotton

Lack of Evidence

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments, claiming that their houses have been turned into sex dens.  The[y]…have now resorted to vetting potential tenants and turning away single women…“We have instructed our agents and caretakers to ensure that female tenants provide proof of marriage or that they have serious boyfriends before they are allowed to live in our apartments,” said one of the landlords…most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [circumvent] the…[discrimination] process by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…

Long-time readers may remember that similar practices in 19th-century Europe led to the appearance of pimps.  I also find it fascinating that so many ignoramuses seem to think marriage is a magical ward against harlotry.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

In 1995 New South Wales  became…the first place…in the world to decriminalise sex work.  Against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and a recommendation to fight police corruption from a royal commission into the state’s police service, sex workers succeeded in lobbying the government for change.  The NSW model is often cited as an example of best-practice, evidence-based regulation.  The state has an estimated 10,000 sex workers and many of them are active globally in law reform, human rights and HIV prevention campaigns.  But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?  The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do…

Most of y’all will probably recognize at least one or two of these names, especially that of Rachel Wotton, whom I deeply admire and got to meet last month.

Catastrophic Consequences

After harassing sex workers for the past five years, Scottish police now pretend they want to be “fair”:

Police Scotland is to review thousands of warnings handed out to sex workers in a bid to ensure prostitutes are not being unfairly criminalised.  Warnings…will also be removed from the internal police system after two years as part of a new policy designed to reduce the risk of discrimination…Under the existing system…A range of warnings are “weeded”…after two years, but there is a higher hurdle for sex workers to overcome.  A single warning for a prostitute will be erased from the system after 24 months, but two or more sanctions for the same individual triggers the so-called “40-20” rule.  This means that a person has to be 40 years old or over, and the information would have had to be on record for at least 20 years, before a weed is carried out…The move comes nearly five years after Police Scotland raids on saunas in Edinburgh effectively ended the regulated brothel system in the city…The action is believed to have damaged police relations with sex workers…

“Is believed to have damaged relations”.  Really?  I can’t imagine why hounding people out of safe working conditions, destroying their livelihoods and saddling them with 20-year criminal records would make them unhappy.

Nice While It Lasted

Remember when a person had to actually be found guilty to get a life sentence?

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected.  So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders  lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.  Quinn Britton’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn…when she was 11.  Britton denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.  The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but…A.B. told her brother Britton had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit”.  By contrast, she told police Britton had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes.  A detective testi[l]ied that Britton had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which Britton denied making.  The jurors…found Britton guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies…the judge nevertheless assumed that Britton had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two…which triggers lifetime registration…

The reason the judge can get away with this abomination is the loathsome pretense that “sex offender” registration is merely a administrative requirement rather than a penalty.

The Missing Word (#735)

Note that state-sanctioned near-slavery isn’t called “trafficking” herein:

Two Bangladeshi men…have been charged at a Dubai court with human trafficking after they allegedly tried to sell an Indonesian absconding maid…via WhatsApp…They are also facing charges…of running a…prostitution den, facilitating prostitution…and sexual exploitation…the victim…[was] subject to a deportation order…[she] said…”I got in contact with a countrywoman and told her I was not happy at work because the sponsor’s wife was very demanding.  That woman introduced me to another compatriot (a wanted runaway) who promised me a part-time job…The runaway woman told me I would work as a prostitute and that I had to accept as I had no other choice”…

The “sponsors” of such migrant workers hold officially-granted power over them, and often abuse and exploit them because they can have them deported at a whim.  Women who flee the exploitation are treated as criminals (note the terms “absconding” and “runaways”); is it any wonder other nasty characters can take advantage of them?  But only the people they flee to are called “traffickers”, never the well-connected abusers they flee from.

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is quietly rolling out a pair of new policies that could restrict access to books and communications for the system’s nearly 200,000 prisoners.  The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to [arbitrary bullshit]…Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks.  In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost…Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.  The new books policy…has been in effect in [two facilities for months]…and…has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders…

Unchristian Nation 

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol agents…just north of the Mexican border, in January…he was indicted by a grand jury in February, on two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens…Warren is also one of nine volunteers with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, to be hit with federal charges in recent months for leaving water in a remote federal wilderness preserve where migrants routinely disappear and die.  His arrest came just hours after No More Deaths published a report that documents evidence of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water that the group leaves for migrants in the desert…

This Means War (#831)

It’s good to see they’re going to fight this:

Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey offered his first public comments about allegations of running prostitution ads and money laundering.  “Nonsense!” Lacey said before his attorney added that his client had no further comment.  Lacey, and co-founder James Larkin are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 15, 2020…Five site employees will also stand trial.  Attorneys were given enough time to review an estimated 7 million to 9 million pages of documents about the case…CEO Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to a separate federal conspiracy case in Arizona and state money laundering charges in California.  In addition, [Ferrer] pleaded guilty [in the company’s name] to human trafficking in Texas and in a federal money laundering conspiracy case in Arizona.  Ferrer has agreed to testify against others…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#837) 

I should’ve realized a change like that wouldn’t be a merely administrative one:

Experience in the sex…industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems.  The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website…While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid “further confusion”

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We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.  –  Shanna Swearingen

Prince was famously protective of his image, and videos of his performances never stayed online long (there are several dead video embeds on this blog because of it).  His estate has continued the tradition, if not quite as aggressively, so videos that stick tend to be things that aren’t official Prince videos.  Here’s a clever tribute to his songwriting prowess which gets around the banhammer by…well, see for yourself.  The links above it were provided by Conner Habib (“legit”), Mike Chase (“serve”), Emma Evans (“Australians”), Tushy Galore (“bigot”), and Amy Alkon (“prohibition”).

From the Archives

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FOSTA’s real purpose is making it easier to file lawsuits against online companies, while politicians pat themselves on the back.  –  Ron Wyden

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

A documentary glorifies the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

…Judge Toko Serita…presides over Queens’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court…where she processes women who have been arrested on charges of prostitution…The women…are offered a choice:  Instead of [being given constitutional due process]…they can [submit to]…a set number of [brainwashing] sessions.  If, in six months, they have not been arrested again, the charges are dropped and the case is sealed…about 80 percent of the women take the [brainwashing] option…[less] than victims, Serita sees them first and foremost as…[objects to be processed.  Filmmaker Stephanie] Wang-Breal…says…in the film’s notes: “Who am I to say she doesn’t have agency, who am I to say what she should be doing with her life?” [and yet she glorifies this grotesque denial of women’s agency anyway]…

Nobody involved in producing this mess stopped to question the court’s assumption that human beings are mere objects to be “processed”.  You know, like in a food processor.

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

This procedure has come a long way in only three years:

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first complete penis and scrotum transplant on a former soldier who had his genitals blown off after stepping on a hidden bomb while on tour in the Middle East.  The 14-hour operation performed last month at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, was the most complex and extensive penis transplant ever attempted…The young [man]…received an entire penis, scrotum (without testicles), and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor…It took a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons…The surgery took place on March 26 and nearly a month on doctors seem confident of its success but will continue to monitor the patient’s recovery…

Shame, Shame (#649)

My friend Mark Bennett takes down Texas’ overbroad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” law:

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, took another law down for violating the First Amendment.  This time, it was…the so-called “revenge porn” law.  In Ex parte Jones, the 12th District Court of Appeals…held that the statute was facially unconstitutional.  As has been argued from the day Mary Anne Franks began her efforts to create a criminal revenge porn statute, it clearly implicated the First Amendment’s prohibition against laws infringing on free expression, to which she merely screamed her denials and did her best to deflect by creating a fantasy interpretation of the First Amendment…The State argues…relying upon Franks’ and Danielle Citron’s “legal” arguments…that [such images fall] within a new concept of obscenity, “contextually obscene”.  Except there is no such category outside of their imaginations, nor can anything be found obscene except by a jury…the court noted that the law failed to make any effort to narrow its prohibitions, which was a fundamental tenet of the Franks approach to criminalizing revenge porn lest anyone get away with it…

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

Jack Johnson…became the first black heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908.  Two years later, he defended his title against boxer James J. “Jim” Jeffries, who…was referred to as the “great white hope” by racist…fans who wanted him to…take back the heavyweight crown for whites…Jeffries lost the fight…[but] what racism could not do to Johnson in the boxing ring, it found other ways to accomplish.  Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act…the Justice Department…argued that Johnson’s relationship with a white woman was a “crime against nature”…criminalization of sex work in the US is rooted in racism, and modern campaigns do little to mask that lineage…The “white slavery” campaign of the early 1900’s…led directly to the enactment of the federal Mann Act, (a.k.a. the White Slave Traffic Act), in 1910.  “[O]nce prohibition of sex work was in place,” writer Maggie McNeill has noted, “it was enforced disproportionately against poor people and ethnic minorities, especially black people, just as all prohibitionist laws are.”  As Andrew Glass wrote for Politico, the first person prosecuted under the Mann Act…was Jack Johnson…That Donald Trump should look to a pardon for Johnson in the same month he signed…FOSTA…into law, is bitterly ironic…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

Lewis & her friends are naive fools; what they’re asking for is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

New Zealand sex workers are furious that foreign prostitutes who come on temporary visas can advertise their services here despite it being illegal for them to work.  High profile escort Lisa Lewis is one of several who have taken their complaints to Immigration New Zealand…calling for a harsher stance against migrant sex workers…She wants INZ to shift its focus from just deporting migrant sex workers to punish [advertising venues] that profit from helping the promotion of these illegal sex workers.  Lewis said the increase in number of foreign prostitutes coming over has hit local sex workers in the pocket…

Permanent Record

Note that other states have similar (if less broad) laws, and that the tendency toward such penalties is increasing:

Currently in both Maryland and Tennessee, a criminal past — or even just being accused of a crime — often stands between people and a job.  This is because many occupational licensing laws prevent ex-offenders from being able to obtain a license for the jobs they seek…these restrictions aren’t targeted at people whose criminal history relates to their desired career; instead, they can serve as blanket bans for those hoping to enter hundreds of professions including plumbing, cosmetology and interior design.  By prohibiting wide swaths of people from licensure, these boards aren’t protecting health and safety — they’re just making it more likely these individuals will remain unemployed and unable to support themselves or their families…in some cases, people need only to be accused of a crime — not even convicted of it — for the board to deny them a license.  Many of these bans are also permanent…In one instance in Tennessee…a woman convicted for prostitution over a decade ago learned she couldn’t become a radiation therapist…

I’m going to start using this heading for the many cases of people who lose their jobs due to a history of sex work; they currently appear under the overbroad “First They Came for the Hookers…”

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

In this confused mess, a lawyer complains that anti-immigrant actions “hurt efforts to stop human trafficking”, even though “human trafficking” is a dysphemism used to demonize immigration:

If Trump truly cared about victims of human trafficking, he would put an end to his ongoing assault on immigrants.  Statistics on the number of victims of human trafficking are notoriously unreliable because of widespread [ov]erreporting…Since Trump assumed the presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has used the fight against human trafficking as justification for its crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  ICE arrests have surged by more than 40 percent…[which] has aggravated the fear of coming forward among undocumented victims of human trafficking, undermining the U.S. government’s own efforts to tackle the problem…

In other words, “Trump’s crackdown on migration is interfering with existing attempts to prevent migration”.

Disaster

Here’s another article about FOSTA, which despite many good points expended so much effort in licking prohibitionist arseholes it nearly made me vomit.  Since there are plenty of good articles which denounce censorship and promote human rights without sucking the dick of power, there’s not a lot of reason to bother with this one; however, if you feel compelled you’ll see this “journalist” ceding ground to prohibitionists and otherwise making ignorant, unhelpful statements all over the place.  It starts in the lede, which proclaims that FOSTA was “a rare moment of bipartisan agreement”, a deeply stupid statements which ignores that the two main US parties have never disagreed on prohibition as a principle at any point in the past century, and that literally every single anti-sex work bill of the past two decades has had nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.  The article misstates the case against Backpage, repeats prohibitionist lies, characterizes third parties as “pimps & traffickers”, downplays the breadth of opposition to internet censorship with phrases like “some argue”, and even claims that “FOSTA was pitched with a very specific (and noble) goal in mind”; apparently author Kate Knibbs believes that censorship, denial of human rights, and negating the agency and consent of half a million women are “noble”.  I certainly don’t.

This Means War (#830) 

Megalomaniacal US rulers believe they have the right to disrupt the lives of millions all over the world:

Before New Zealand Cracker – a classifieds website used by sex workers – was shut down by the FBI, Wellington woman Sarah (not her real name) says she received at least five enquiries from clients each day.  Now, she is lucky to receive two a week through other advertising platforms.  “It has totally ruined our lives”…the FBI seiz[ure of]…Backpage.com…[has produced] a global and profound disruption of the sex work industry, including in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.  New Zealand Cracker was one of the many subsidiary sites Backpage.com hosted around the world.  For more than a decade it was at the heart of New Zealand’s sex work industry – offering businesses and sex workers a cheap, effective way of connecting with clients.  Its closure has, without warning, taken livelihoods away, leaving workers without the resources to operate their businesses or, in some cases, survive…

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I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do.  –  unidentified Alabama pig

I was quite young when this premiered one Saturday morning (Wikipedia says it was January 6th, 1973), and I was immediately taken with it.  It was of course the first episode of Multiplication Rock, which later grew into Schoolhouse Rock; I mention this is because the man who wrote and sang the song (and wrote all the other Multiplication Rock entries, singing all but 3 himself), Bob Dorough, died this week.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (x2), Franklin HarrisJillian KeenanRick Horowitz, and Elizabeth N. Brown (in that order).

From the Archives

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The latest government attacks on online platforms used by sex workers are directly undermining [their] safety, health, and human rights.  –  David Grosso

Cuckoo Advertising (#601)

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

A [slight] majority of America’s cheaters identify as Republicans, according to…Ashley Madison…The site surveyed nearly 1,000 users on their political affiliations…60 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, while nearly 40 percent said they affiliate with the Democratic Party…a vast majority (89 percent) of those surveyed said “opposing political views” would compel them to cheat on their spouse, while 55 percent said they’d prefer to cheat with a Republican-identifying voter…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#609) 

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Sex workers are complaining that their work is being hamstrung by ludicrous laws in Queensland that police what they can and cannot say to potential clients…advertising regulations…go into an almost perverse level of detail.  Phrases sex workers could get arrested for using in ads includes seemingly innocuous terms such as “natural,” “tasty,” “kissable” and “sweet nectar”…stating they offer oral sex is prohibited, but oddly, saying they specifically do not offer oral sex is just fine…guidelines…also lists words that are fine to use including “magic hands,” “dominatrix,” and “man action”…

Full of Themselves (#614)

If there’s ever an award for the most pompous, stuffy, bootlicking language in anti-whore propaganda, we need to name it after the California Massage Therapy Council:

…California…massage therapists are dogged by a big problem: criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes.  This situation isn’t unique to California.  However, a new [fascist] partnership between [cops] and the entity that administers voluntary massage certification is a novel weapon in the fight against [sex workers]…CAMTC…[claims he right to define] what constitutes legitimate massage therapy services…and…has…created a Sexually Suggestive Advertising Task Force as a tool to weed out criminals posing as massage therapists…police agencies throughout the state are especially [sexually obsessed] with sex traffickers using the massage industry as a cover…

Scapegoats (#697) 

Because obviously pigs still don’t have enough excuses to cage people yet:

The [Louisiana] Senate has approved a bill designed to make it clear that bestiality is illegal…A law on the books prohibits “crimes against nature,” but it also outlaws so-called sodomy and was ruled unconstitutional in 2003…Senator JP Morrell says it’s important that the state has a way to arrest someone for having sex with animals.  He told fellow lawmakers, “God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it.”  Ten senators did vote against it…

The War Goes On (#711) 

The idea that women have free will is incomprehensible to the misogynistic sociopaths in “law enforcement”:

The Backpage shut down…has…prompted fear of where prostitutes and pimps will look to advertise their services…Utah Attorney General’s Office Assistant Chief Nate Mutter [said]…“The demand is going to be there, what this will do is slow the supply side down a bit…My guess is a lot of advertisement from Backpage will find its way to more applications…People need to be aware of that they can accidentally find themselves being involved in trafficking.”  Mutter says sex traffickers are manipulative and may try and extort online dating app users…

Look out, dating app users, someone may offer you quality sex at a set price!  THE HORROR!!!!

Traffic in Nonsense (#747)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:

A new law passed by the Colorado legislature will require applicants for commercial drivers licenses…to go through indoctrination] on how to spot signs of human traffickers and their victims…Truckers Against Trafficking has fully supported the bill…

Amnesty At Last (#781)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for three years now:

D.C. Council member David Grosso…issued a statement…calling on District Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers…Grosso said his request was based on concerns raised by sex worker advocacy groups that the recent forced shutdown of websites that allowed sex workers to operate with a “greater degree of safety than on the streets” has placed them in danger of violence and arrest…

O, Canada! (#785)

Canadian cops are really invested in pretending their sexual harassment of women is to “protect” them:

[Toronto] has launched an investigation into the conduct of some of its bylaw officers in relation to [reports] from women working in…body rub parlors…Kristyn Wong-Tam said…women working at the parlours…felt they are being racially targeted…“They felt that having an officer come in three to four times a week…was rather punitive…It was very disruptive to their business”…the women were forced to sing for the officer’s entertainment, told to stand as a form of punishment and barred from using the bathroom during an inspection…

Against Their Will (#799)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Two…sex workers… died after falling from the third floor of a building while trying to escape a police raid in…Mumbai…by climbing down…with the help of a rope…while climbing down, they slipped and fell…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…prostitutes operating in…Bulawayo [Zimbabwe]…have expressed dismay over the abuse they endure at the hands of [cops] who continuously arrest them and demand sex in return for their freedom.  Some…make the demands daily and sometimes more than once in a single night…The prostitutes…[are] threatened with arrest and to avoid the inconvenience would [allow themselves to be raped]…to avoid sleeping in the cells and losing business.  The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in May 2015 outlawed the arrest of prostitutes on charges of loitering “for purposes of prostitution”…

Disaster (#826)

Some activists believe that FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government; even the Christian-leaning American Conservative sees it as a bad idea:

…The language of FOSTA is both vague and extremely expansive.  It prohibits website owners from “promoting or facilitating prostitution”.  That can obviously be subjected to wide interpretation, and the penalty for violating the new law is up to 10 years in prison.  Hence, multiple websites are erring on the side of self-censorship…Amending Section 230 is a terrible precedent and a slippery slope towards government regulation of the Internet and censorship…several privacy and personal freedom organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have criticized the expansive nature of the bill, worried that it could ultimately affect web content unrelated to prostitution…

The deeply-confused Rolling Stone published an article by our own Siouxsie Q:

The debilitating shock, sadness and panic that is moving through the sex-working community right now is palpable…Still, the community is rallying as hard as we are grieving, organizing in an unprecedented push to let the voices of those who will be affected by these pieces of legislation be heard.  Survivors, allies, and sex workers from all over the country flooded the congressional phone lines last month…The #LetUsSurvive and #SurvivorsAgainstSesta social media campaign has garnered over 5 million impressions and even mainstream celebrities have started speaking up and standing with sex workers and survivors…

This Means War 

Millions of sex workers can thank Carl Ferrer for selling them out to save his own skin:

Backpage…CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea…[saying] he knew that the “escort” section of Backpage was largely ads for prostitution…Court documents in the cases against Ferrer and Backpage don’t reveal any damning new information about the company, nor any new discoveries that allowed authorities to make their case…But this time, Ferrer decided to break from his colleagues and play ball with the state rather than fight.  In exchange for the plea deal, he’ll provide information on the Travel Act and money-laundering cases against his colleagues…Money-laundering may sound sinister…but it’s one of those charges (like conspiracy) that our nation’s cops and courts often abuse.  In this case, Backpage originally accepted payments for its…ads…via typical digital payment mediums…But thanks to hounding and intimidation by various government entities, Backpage was forced to stop accepting all those payment methods….and…to encourage people to use cryptocurrency for payments.  The company also created intermediary companies to handle payments, so that the transactions wouldn’t raise alarms with risk-paranoid bankers and financial processors.  Ultimately, the money-laundering that…Ferrer admitted wasn’t about shielding assets in offshore tax havens or otherwise hiding the company’s profits from government tax collectors…without subsidiaries and crypto, Backpage had no way to accept payment for…ads…

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

It’s dangerous to be a woman who knows the sexual secrets of powerful men:

[Thai] police have filed new charges against…a woman who claims to have evidence of Russian ties to U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign…Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, has attracted widespread attention for claiming to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a crony of President Vladimir Putin, discussing interference in the U.S. election.  She is being held in an immigration detention center and has pleaded not to be expelled to Russia….[she was] arrested with eight others for holding a sex training course…

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