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I usually assign 1984 to my students; now we will be living it.  –  a teacher in Lockport, NY

Dysphemisms Galore 

If this headline had been written by a normal adult sane person, it would be something like “Border Controls Expose Migrant Women to Exploitation”.  But because “sex trafficking” hysteria has not yet imploded, this interview about the difficulties encountered by migrant sex workers under repressive criminalization regimes such as China and Middle-Eastern countries (bribes, rape by cops, deportation, etc) is capped with a ridiculous headline about “sex slavery” despite the fact that the interviewee clearly discusses three-month contracts, visiting home, girls going back once they know how to game the system without middlemen, etc, with nary a “slave” in sight.

If Men Were Angels 

You mean he wasn’t a “youth pastor”?

Bobby J. Blackburn, pastor of the Elevate Church in Prestonsburg, [Kentucky] was arrested…and charged with using an electronic communication system to get a minor to commit a sex act…Blackburn also owns a local Giovanni’s pizza place, which plays Christian music and puts Bible verses on receipts…Blackburn’s business employs the girls, one of whom showed [cops] the sexual messages from Blackburn…[who] also…threaten[ed] to fire a third girl if she didn’t take the blame for sending the messages…

Where Are the Protests? (#596)

The US is too busy forcing African “authorities” to keep their people from migrating to bother policing its own food supply chains:

…The world’s chocolate companies have missed deadlines to uproot child labor from their cocoa supply chains in 2005, 2008 and 2010.  Next year, they face another target date and…they…will miss that, too…the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.  About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa where…more than 2 million children [a]re engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.  When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor…Mars…can trace only 24 percent of its cocoa…Hershey…less than half; Nestlé can trace 49 percent of its global cocoa supply to farms…Other companies…such as Mondelez and [white bourgeois American woman favorite] Godiva…likewise would not guarantee that any of their products were free of child labor…

Naturally, American women are only concerned about how other women have sex; they don’t actually want to know where the candy they stuff into their faces comes from.  Besides, imaginary enslaved white girls take precedence over real enslaved black boys, dontchaknow.

Unchristian Nation (#838)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

…Scott Warren, on trial for providing humanitarian aid to two migrants…faces a possible 20-year prison sentence for two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy…his alleged crimes amount to nothing more than basic human kindness.  On January 14, 2018…two Central American migrants—Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday—arrived unexpectedly at “the Barn,” a building in Ajo, Arizona, used by No More Deaths and other aid groups…the migrants…were suffering from blisters, dehydration, and exhaustion…[so] Warren…arranged a check-up by a doctor, who advised that the two migrants stay off their feet.  Warren allowed the men to remain in the Barn for the next three days…Nate Walters, the [prosecutor, characterizes]…humanitarian aid…[as] a nefarious plot “to shield illegal aliens from [thugs who would have murdered or caged them] for several days”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Putting young people into a facial recognition database will help the government to analyze how people’s faces change over time, so nobody can ever escape surveillance:

Western New York’s Lockport City School District…[has begun] a wasteful and dangerous experiment…the district’s eight public schools began testing a system called Aegis, which includes facial recognition technology, that could eventually be used to track and map student movements…in 2015, in the wake of Sandy Hook and other high-profile school shootings, our district was approached by Tony Olivo, a [soi-disant] security consultant, who [made a sales pitch he sold to paranoid officials as]…a free threat assessment of our schools…he encouraged the school district to purchase and install…[Aegis, and received a] $95,450 annual…[commission from its makers] for five years…the…district held only one public meeting to discuss the purchase…on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-August 2016, when most parents were away or at work…the system…[has] the capacity to go back and create a map of the movements and associations of any student or teacher the district might choose.  It can tell them who has been seen with whom, where and how often.  District officials pledge that they would never deploy the software in that way, but…what matters is not what those in charge promise but what an intrusive technology has the capacity to do…Thanks to the efforts of the New York Civil Liberties Union, state officials have finally begun to ask the kinds of questions they should have asked before the project was approved…[but] the school district is forging ahead with its testing and its plans to make the cameras fully operational when school starts up again in the fall…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Why are politicians so enamored of violent Disnification campaigns that virtually never work?

A Bangkok red light district is set to be remodelled – in the style of the…region of England known as the Cotswolds.  The Rattanakosin Island area…has been…for decades…[an] area [where sex workers] cater to local Thai men rather than…foreigners in the country’s tourist hotspots.  But…military [dictator] Prayut Chan-o-cha now wants to [Disnify] the…district [by painting things]…yellow [and blanketing the area with mass surveillance to facilitate police violence.  Bureaucrats fantasize they can force sex workers into menial labor that earns about 1/10 as much]…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Most of these “settlements” are just dodges that force cops to find a different excuse for harassing women:

The NYPD is changing the [excuses] it [uses when wielding] the loitering law [as a weapon against citizens] after it was sued for illegally profiling and arresting women, transgender people and others on prostitution charges that were based largely on looks…The Legal Aid Society sued the department on behalf of people who[m cops] had arrested…[under the evidence-free claim] they were working as prostitutes.  One cop admitted in a deposition that he would look for “Adam’s apples” when…[hunting victims] to detain…Under the settlement, the NYPD is amending the Patrol Guide to [force cops to use a different excuse other than]…gender, gender identity, clothing and location to enforce the loitering law.  The change also requires [cops] to provide more [elaborate excuses]…for why they detained someone…Loitering arrests will also be audited by the NYPD’s Legal Bureau [after the victim has sat in a filthy, dangerous jail for a few months. Legal Aid Society chief Tina]…Luongo called on the state Legislature to repeal the loitering law…

Where Are the Victims? (#906)

This is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

Two women who were [working together for safety]…in Newbridge, [Ireland] have been [sentenced to] jail…for nine months…Adrina Podaru…and Ana Tomascu…were [peacefully minding their own business]…when [they were attacked by state-employed thugs] on November 18, 2018…following [a report from a snitch]…the women admitted that they were [legally] working as prostitutes, [which is not against the law.  Luckily it was early so]…no significant money was [ar]ound [for the pigs to steal]…Ms Podaru is currently expecting a child with her partner…but Judge Desmond Zaidan…sentenced the pair to nine months in prison…Ms Podaru has lodged an appeal and has been released on bail…

It might be better for my mental health if I actually believed there was a Hell to punish evil people who cage pregnant women for peacefully supporting themselves because they broke a moronic, arbitrary rule imposed by sociopaths who have never actually done the work.  But since I know there isn’t, I’ll just have to deal with it.

The Course of a Disease (#932)

In which perennial drunk, incompetent liar, sloppy fabulist and serial lawsuit-abuser Julie Bindel shares her fantasies of what sex is like:

Julie Bindel, the [plagiar]ist and author of the book The Pimping of Prostitution [recently the subject of a libel suit which Bindel lost]…appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on commercial sexual exploitation this week, and [fantasized] that “decriminalising sex work means decriminalising violence against women and children”…Bindel [also fantasized that in] sex work… “women are…vessels for men to masturbate into”…

Disaster (#941)

Facebook’s policies make harassing and exploiting women easy:

…Omid…has…claimed responsibility for shutting down hundreds of Instagram accounts by reporting performers for violating the company’s [censorship rules]…driven by a moralistic anti-porn agenda…[one of his victims, Bella] Bathory…[heard] about a…social media management company that purported to have the ability to restore shuttered Instagram accounts...she agreed to pay…the $450 they quoted her…Within hours of the agency telling her that her account was about to be restored, it was.  Then, when Bathory declined to follow through with payment, the…account…once again disappeared…an…Instagram…spokesperson said that there is no evidence that a single entity was behind the restoration or deletion of her account…[but] the agency that Bathory contacted…provided purported evidence via screenshot…If the agency’s allegations are true, it shows how a third party can profit handsomely from Instagram’s opaque and convoluted moderation policies.  And if [not]…it shows how a shadow economy can thrive on desperation.  Either way, it’s sex workers who suffer…

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I get that amateurs don’t think like whores, but…don’t most of y’all put at least some value on your time?  Every time I buy anything online or even go anyplace with my cell phone on, I am assailed by requests to provide “feedback”, answer “a few questions” or otherwise provide information for free.  Even if each of these requests took only two minutes, I receive dozens of them a week; I’d easily spend 40 hours or more a year doing uncompensated labor for corporations that make more in a day than I will in my entire life.  Amazon, Google, Wal-mart, grocery stores, restaurants, even fucking gas stations…the list is endless.  Day before yesterday I found in my mailbox a questionnaire from Seattle public transit – a service I only use when it’s cheaper & easier to catch the light rail from downtown or the airport than to find a parking place – asking for my “help”, with no offer of compensation in sight.  Hell, at least a few of them offer to enroll me in a drawing for some el cheapo prize that would barely compensate me if I won it on a regular basis (though the odds of finding a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk are probably greater), but most of them (I’m looking at you, Amazon and Google) don’t even throw out that parsimonious crumb.  I imagine many if not most people just ignore these begging leviathans as I do, but enough people must participate to make it worthwhile.  Good grief, don’t y’all recognize that the number one commodity in the developed world today is information?  It’s bad enough that these immense leeches skulk around behind us online and off, hungrily licking up the data traces we all inadvertently leave behind us as horses leave shit everywhere; do y’all really have to give them information voluntarily as well?  Google’s “We need some human help” is probably the most brazen of these, because it overtly acknowledges that it’s dealing with a human, then proceeds to treat that human as a machine from whom “help” (ie, valuable and marketable information) can be extracted merely for the demanding, with no offer of payment.  Fuck you, Google, and the same goes for all you other turgid, omnivorous blobs haunting Silicon Valley and Seattle.  Cut me in for a percentage of the profit on any data I give you and maybe I’ll consider it, but until then stop sniffing around my crotch and trying to get something for nothing like some gigantic Twitter rando demanding “debate” for free or a titanic time-waster trying to glean wanking material with your creepy questions.

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I’m not sure what’s scarier, the idea of putting people permanently on a public list, or aggressively incentivizing hotels to pry into the sex lives of their guests.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

The More the Better

It’s so very important for celebrities to be “out” if they did sex work in their youth:

Janet Mock, the writer, television presenter, and activist, grew up in Honolulu…she fell into the protective company of a glamorous cadre of transgender friends and mentors; her seventh-grade hula teacher was a māhū, a native Hawaiian term, Mock explains, for people who live outside of the gender binary…”Merchant Street…was…where the girls worked…I first went there when I was, like, fifteen, when I was able to go out at nighttime.  At first I came with…all these puritanical views…about what it meant to use your body, your only asset, in a world that’s not taking care of you…And so I knew that, by doing this sixty-dollar hand job, I would be able to have two months of hormones.  And so I remember making the decision to get in that car and, at fifteen years old, to do this, and to continue to do this…for, like, the next two years of my life.  And that was my way into sex work…

Business As Usual

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

Sex work is legal[ized] in the Dominican Republic.  But despite this, sex workers are still vulnerable to abuse—particularly at the hands of [cops], who know they can torture…sex work[ers] with impunity…A new report…by Amnesty International…“If They Can Have Her, Why Can’t We?” features interviews from 46 trans and cisgender women sex workers, all of whom report suffering horrific violence at the hands of [cops]…“At least 10 out of the 24 cisgender women interviewed for this research described having been raped by police officials, often at gunpoint…Most of the transgender women had been subjected to…violent actions by the police that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, typically focused on their gender-identity or expression”…

Now They Notice

It’s about goddamned time:

…LGBTI activists worldwide resolved to address the stigmatisation of sex workers, including in the LGBTI movement…and [to] oppose…all forms of criminalisation and legal oppression of sex workers – an historic first for…the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.  “By approving this resolution, our global LGBTI family is saying…that addressing violence, criminalisation and human rights violations against LGBTI and all sex workers must be a priority for our movement”, said outgoing ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy…this global LGBTI network representing more than 1,500 organisations from each region of the world join a growing number of human rights, health and anti-trafficking organisations demanding governments recognise sex work as work, and protect sex workers’ labour and human rights…

A False Dichotomy (#652)

Even in Australia, spineless “journalists” prefer to print prohibitionist pap than to consult experts:

Air Asia…decided to use “Get off in Thailand” as a campaign slogan, but considering the abundance of sexual tourism in the country, you’d think the…airline might have put a bit more thought into the reaction such a tagline would attract [from puritans].  Posted around the city of Brisbane, Australia the “Get off in Thailand” campaign promoting the airline’s direct route to Bangkok has not gone over well [with puritans].  Collective Shout, a [prohibitionist organization best known for its] campaign…against [pictures of]…women, [screeched] that the campaign was promoting sex tourism in Thailand…

“Collective Shout” has a long and infamous history of campaigning against lucrative jobs for women, including such tame & innocuous forms of sex work as bikini modeling.

The Course of a Disease (#778)

Remember that Irish prohibitionists celebrated this increase in violence vs sex workers:

Crime against sex workers has almost doubled in the two years since…Ireland adopted the “Nordic Model” on March 27 2017…[despite the warnings of] sex worker organisations [that exactly this would happen]…Statistics from UglyMugs.ie…[demon]st[r]ate that since the law came into force, the number of incidents of abuse and crime…has greatly increased…The number of sex workers using UglyMugs.ie has remained steady at between 6,000 and 7,000 per year.  The number of incidents reported from 2015-2017 was 4,278.  Since the law change, from 2017-2019, incidents rose to 10,076…crime has increased 90% whereas violent crime specifically has increased 92%…

Disaster (#885)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

Targeted online advertising by the Hump! Film Festival has been kneecapped by FOSTA/SESTA, according to festival founder Dan Savage…“Hump is largely dependent on targeted Facebook ads for ticket sales, and thanks to Facebook’s overreaction to…SESTA/FOSTA …it will not accept ads for the festival any longer, despite the fact that the ads themselves are G-rated and are only targeted at adults”…Savage notes that “Facebook no longer allows ads for, quote-unquote, adult content…as a result…we can no longer advertise on Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns”…the festival’s Facebook business account was [also] “shuttered”…Savage urged listeners to follow Hump! on their social media channels and to subscribe to the festival’s official newsletter to stay up-to-date…

Elephant in the Parlor (#894)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since the beginning:

Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has been arrested and charged with federal wire fraud and bank fraud in California as well as four counts of extortion in New York…Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike…[and] embezzled a client’s money to, in part, pay off expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores…Avenatti purchased the coffee stores in 2013 with actor Patrick Dempsey, who sued Avenatti that same year to break their business partnership…prosecutors in California also accused the lawyer of defrauding a bank with phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans…

The Course of a Disease (#896)

Looks like the Spanish case of the Swedish rot may be especially virulent:

Finnish websites used by sex workers to advertise and share information with each other have been closed down following a judicial warrant by Spanish police…Sihteeriopisto (Secretary College) and the international counterpart, sexworknet, were launched in Finland but…maintenance was moved overseas when the sale of sexual services was outlawed in Finland in 2003…A sex worker in Spain said:  “The…website had [a] forum, where sex workers were sharing warnings about bad clients, robbery…There are of course other websites, but none of them has a forum.  We lost the platform…where we could communicate and support each other”…These closures follow closures of similar websites in other countries, including in the USA following FOSTA-SESTA…

You may have noticed that the cops always go for the best boards, noted for civility and sex worker forums.  This is not accidental.

Lack of Evidence (#900)

All prostitution “stings” are entrapment; that’s the whole point of them:

Dee Curry…an outspoken advocate for transgender rights in the District of Columbia for many years…said she…was arrested on Feb. 8…as part of a D.C. police “sting” operation…she considers the police tactics used to arrest her as a form of entrapment…and…a misuse of police resources…her arrest involved a…[vice pig] who posed as an Uber driver and…[offered] her…a ride…then…said…[he] wanted a blowjob for $30 and [specifically wanted to] park [next to]…a school …“I said no you’re not, not with me…And that’s when the police came”…Curry [is a former]…sex work[er who retired] after a previous arrest in 2011 in which she said she was similarly entrapped…[but] found not guilty…when the [lying pig] gave the signal, three or four police cars with flashing lights and sirens rushed to the scene, with at least two [pigs] in each of the [swinemobiles]…to arrest her…[instead of dealing with actual] crime…

Yes, cops are actually trying to press prostitution charges against a 64-year-old woman for walking down the street.  I’m sure you feel safer now.

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

A rare victory for sex workers against the state:

Florida [politicians] have for now ditched plans to create a registry of prostitution clients…after sex workers and activists showed up at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee to protest and give testimony…A version of the legislation passed the committee without the solicitation registry included…It [still] requires that cleaning and reception-desk staff at hotels and motels be trained on spotting the “signs” of trafficking—a list of absurd and ordinary behavior that includes not wanting cleaning service—and creates new regulatory liabilities on hospitality businesses…Heather Fitzenhagen…author of the failed solicitation registry idea [was unhappy, and vomited out some lawheaded bigotry]…”a prostitute…is committing a crime…It is not my intent to work with them going forward”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit

This could potentially be very good for us:

Lawyers for…Robert Kraft…want the 77-year-old’s solicitation of prostitution case to be tried by a jury instead of a judge…Kraft…was charged [after a massive massage-parlor pogrom] along with…about 300 men…in total…Kraft rejected a plea deal in which…he…and his fellow defendants [would be forced to pretend]…they would be found guilty if their case went to trial, [pay] a $5,000 fine, [perform] 100 hours of community service…attend…a [brainwashing] class [much like the dangerous “gay conversion therapy” which has been banned in a number of states]…and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases…

A jury trial will allow the lawyers to present expert witnesses and debunking of the “sex trafficking” hysteria which drove the raids; it will allow them to dig into the money trail and present that in open court; it will provide ammunition for the lawyers of the other victims of this raid, and other raids like it; and it may inspire other men to fight.  As I’ve been saying for the past decade, if everyone charged in a “prostitution sting” would fight the charges by demanding a trial, the machine would grind to a halt and the carceral system would be forced to change its tactics.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#922)

Even “legal” sex workers were harmed by FOSTA:

…HB 1756…strives to improve working conditions for strippers in Washington by implementing mandatory trainings, establishing an adult entertainer advisory committee, putting panic buttons in VIP rooms, and making a blacklist for abusive patrons…Savannah Sly, a sex worker and community organizer with Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Seattle, believes the organizing started after FOSTA/SESTA…[and the government destruction of]…Backpage…sent shockwaves throughout the sex worker community…”There are displaced sex workers and clients who are looking for a place to connect,” Sly told the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee…[w]hen…internet spaces for sex work…disappeared…it forced [many] sex work[ers] offline and back onto the streets…former [escort] clients, without the spaces they used to frequent, are making their way into strip clubs…

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

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

From the Archives

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Camming gave me money, and money changed my life.  –  Cortana Blue

The Public Eye 

Another sex worker turned performing artist:

Laika, 27, is an up-and-coming pop artist from Toronto…Though she’s new to the world of pop music, she’s entered it with somewhat of a celebrity status…because, up until recently, she’s been known by another alias: Cortana Blue…one of the most popular camgirls on the planet…Her premium Snapchat…currently has 2,500 followers, and would be much higher, had it not been previously [censored]…Her Twitter and Instagram both exceed the 100K follower mark, the latter having been [censored] on more than one occasion as well…A “past life” as a sex worker can be a source of stigma and shame for some public figures, but shifts in how sex workers interact with audiences on social media have helped artists like Cardi B…thrive in the mainstream in part because of—not in spite of—a career in sex work…[but] Cardi…left sex work before monetizing her other interests in a new career.  Laika, on the other hand, doesn’t see sex work as a means to an end. Instead, she sees it as a tool that can be flipped and utilized to fight stigma, all while setting her apart in the music world…

Divided We Fall (#511) 

“Promoting debauchery” is illegal in Egypt.  You know, like “promoting prostitution” in the US:

An Egyptian TV host was sentenced to one year of hard labor for interviewing a gay sex worker…Mohamed El-Gheity, a well-known journalist in Egypt who has spoken out against homosexuality, is accused of promoting debauchery…The hosting channel, LTC, was taken off air for two weeks immediately after the episode aired for violating a decree…that bans the appearance of gay people on media outlets…While homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, members of the LGBT community are often persecuted under an anti-prostitution law…

To Molest and Rape 

When you’re a cop, rape is minimized to “sexual misconduct”:

…[a rapist] Tucson [cop was] accused of sexual misconduct [instead of rape after he raped] a woman he was [persecuting]…[rapist] Richard Daniel told the woman he wouldn’t take her to jail if she would [let him orally rape her]…The woman’s husband was the one who called police to report the [rape]…Daniel was arrested Sunday, Jan. 20 on charges of unlawful sexual conduct by a police officer and tampering with evidence [but not rape]…

Under Review (#733)

The UK press, partying like it’s 1999 and nobody’s heard of online escort ads yet:

Hundreds of men and women are openly advertising their services as sex workers on…controversial website Adultwork.  Last year, a government report [fantas]ised…that [escort advertising] websites were “the most significant enabler of sex-trafficking in the UK”.  The report f[antasise]d that the sites were being used by traffickers to control the profiles of sex workers…allowing women to be trafficked around the country for sex by criminal gangs

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves.  Also, escort ad sites are only “controversial” among authoritarians.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#736) 

Cops never miss a chance to humiliate marginalized people:

…Cops from the Jacksonville [Florida] Sheriff’s Office found [a woman] at about 10:30 [PM on January 21st] night with a gunshot wound to her shoulder…[cops claim] she agreed to perform a sexual act with a man in exchange for Pringles potato chips and $5…[then] he [demanded] his $5 back and shot the woman…

Of course, the reporter didn’t bother to interview the woman, so there’s a strong possibility cops just made up the cheap price & chips.  Cops in several places, especially Florida, now think it’s funny to humiliate marginalized women by offering them some low amount of money and fast food, then arresting them and telling the story to reporters, hardy-har-har.

Morality Lessons (#826) 

Leave it to authoritarians to make an unconstitutional censorship scheme even worse:

An Arizona state [politician named Gail Griffin] has [introduced a new version of anti-porn crackpot Chris Sevier’s bill to]…require makers and distributors of Internet-connected devices to ship such devices with blocking software “that renders a website that displays obscene material inaccessible by default”…any Internet user who wants to deactivate the blocking software would have to pay “a onetime deactivation fee of at least $20 to the Arizona Commerce Authority”…[in this version] the money would be used to establish what the bill calls the “John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Fund”…[to] “provide grants to government agencies and private entities that work to [promote censorship, prohibition and racism]”…the bill provides a list of 10 types of projects that could be funded by the porn fee.  First on the list is “build a border wall between Mexico and this state”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#867)

The public will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous:

For the sixth straight year, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley rolled out a line of billboards and bus shelter posters to [promote anti-sex work propaganda]…This year’s bright yellow signage includes the [slogan], “He made me feel special, then he made me sell my body,” followed by, “He’s not a real boyfriend. This is human trafficking!”…four weeks of [the] ads [costs] about $133,000 [that could have been used for shelters for actual homeless teens]…“The Bay Area is still a hot spot for human trafficking,” O’Malley [fantasized]…

Surplus Women (#898) 

It’s rare to see a sympathetic article in the UK press:

…a [London] sex worker…[named] Anna…[said] her most traumatic experience remains the death of friend Destiny Lauren, murdered by a client in 2009…”When he didn’t have enough money to pay her he strangled her and left her half-naked in the bed, he tied her arms behind her back with stockings. Her brother found her like that.”  A decade later, shocking parallels can be drawn between Destiny’s murder and that of escort Christina Abbotts last year as figures reveal a rise in violence against sex workers…Christina and Destiny are two of around 180 sex workers in the UK who were murdered between 1990 and 2015…In the year Destiny died, changes in legislation further penalised kerb-crawling as well as selling sex.  The laws also made it easier for police to close premises where women were working together collectively [for safety]…

Traffic Jam (#900)

Another anti-migrant pogrom using the excuse of “sex trafficking”:

A federal grand jury in Oregon has returned two indictments charging six people with running sex trafficking organizations operating in the U.S., Canada and Australia…The FBI…coordinate[d pogroms] targeting [Asian massage parlors and advertising sites, to which they applied the dysphemism]…Asian sex trafficking networks.  As part of the [pogrom], the FBI seized…about 500 [websites]…[and] a[rre]sted five [sex workers they labeled] victims in Oregon…

Top Cop 

This article dramatically understates her awfulness, but it’s still not bad:

Harris’s [pretense to be] a progressive figure while simultaneously taking a “tough on crime” stance as a prosecutor has been a common thread throughout her career, way before Backpage and FOSTA…New York Times op-ed published last week outlines several instances when, as California’s top prosecutor, she fought to keep people in jail…In her running announcement, Harris [uttered the tone-deaf statement], “I think it is a false choice to suggest that communities do not want law enforcement.  Most communities do”…But [marginalized] people…would disagree with wanting more law enforcement presence in their communities, especially when it comes to sex work…

Lack of Evidence (#907) 

It’s fascinating to watch imbecile “journalists” tangled up in their own stupid assumptions:

Why are single women still mistaken for prostitutes?  Especially, you would think, if that restaurant is in the middle of New York, one of the most progressive cities on the planet….when Clementine Crawford was reportedly told she could no longer sit at the bar of her favourite Manhattan restaurant, she was confused…”All these years we have been battling for a room of one’s own,” she wrote. “Little did we know it, but we are still fighting for a seat at the table (or bar, to be strictly accurate)”…eating alone as a single woman is – for many – a daunting process.  The protective barrier of a book or, more recently, a phone, makes it easier.  Somehow you feel less exposed, less vulnerable…

Yes, this idiot is actually obsessing about the fact that this happened at a restaurant, as though somehow women eating alone were the issue, when in actuality the problem is “progressive” laws that allow cops to police female sexuality based on their whims and supported by “progressive” assumptions that how a woman chooses to make money is any of “society’s” business.  The stupid question in the headline is immediately answered in the story:  New York is indeed a “progressive” city, one that thinks it has the right to interfere in people’s private business with violence.  THAT is the issue, not fake “feminism” which divides women into “good” and “bad” and pretends that privileged white women being caught up in the authoritarian laws they support is somehow about inappropriate quoting of Virginia Woolf.

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If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?  –  Catherine Gaffney

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

An upscale New York City eatery has been accused of discriminating against women by a branding executive who wrote a personal essay…saying she was banned from eating at the restaurant’s bar.  Clementine Crawford…didn’t name the establishment in her essay for Drugstore Culture, but later confirmed…that the restaurant is Nello…she…was…informed…that [women are] “no longer permitted to eat” at the bar and “must now sit down at a table”…[because] the “owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers” who he believed preyed on clients at the bar…

A Mound of Filth 

With her husband decomposing, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain is doubling down on her creepy BDSM fantasies:

…the Phoenix Dream Center [makes] a…profit…[from] sex-trafficking [hysteria]…Cindy McCain…[claims] Arizona is a major hub for human trafficking around the world…[and] less than 2 percent of human trafficking victims are ever identified…McCain said her [fantasies of] human traffic started years ago, when she shopped for sari fabric for her daughter in Kolkata, India.  She heard clattering from beneath…She looked down, peering through the floorboards.  “I saw 100 sets of eyes – and they were little girls”…[she] went back to her nice home and…later [added] the [creepy fantasy of 100 prepubescent girls crammed into a basement]…to [her spank bank]…

Broken Record (#506)

The once-thriving competition for silliest “sex trafficking magnet” tall tale has been reduced mostly to pathetic reruns of years-old fantasies:

The North American International Auto Show brings a lot of people to Detroit.  But that’s not the only thing that comes to the city during the annual event.  “During that timeframe, we’re known to have a 280 to 330 percent increase in the number of sex trafficking workers that are in the area,” said Michael Glennon, with the FBI in Detroit …”We’re likely going to have approximately 30 to 40 children that are going to be trafficked just within the greater Detroit area,” he said…

We of course “know” exactly the opposite of this, and the approximate number of “sex trafficked children” in Detroit is much closer to zero than 30.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

The “progressives” have given religious fanatics a powerful censorship tool:  declare anything a “public health crisis” and it can be harassed at will:

A group of Arizona [politicians] have filed a resolution denouncing pornography as a “public health crisis”…[which]…is responsible for a variety of deleterious effects on society and the individual…”and…perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society”…

Amusingly, the lone Democratic sponsor of the bill now claims that…

…he accidentally put his name on the resolution when it was among a stack of other bills…”I’m almost embarrassed to say I inadvertently signed that bill,” [Reginald] Bolding said.  He has been working with the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Michelle Udall, on several other items of legislation, which is how the pornography resolution ended up on his desk.  After Bolding [was exposed] on social media…as a co-sponsor, he had his name removed from the bill…”I’m not even sure about the origins of the bill,” Bolding said…

I can help you with that last one, Mr. Bolding; as this article explains, the “porn as public health crisis” propaganda is a dodge dreamed up by prohibitionist Gail Dines and used by politicians in socially-conservative states as an excuse for censorship.

Unchristian Nation

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

A federal judge…found four women guilty of misdemeanors after they [violated political diktats and] entered a national wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border to leave water and food for migrants…the…women were aid volunteers for No More Deaths, an advocacy group dedicated to ending the deaths of migrants crossing desert regions near the southern border…Natalie Hoffman…was found guilty of…operating a vehicle inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering a federally protected wilderness area without a [magical] permit and leaving behind gallons of water and bean cans…[i]n August 2017…Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick …were also charged…Each of the women face up to six months in prison…and a $500 fine…

O, Canada! (#813)

Canadian prohibitionists are still trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

Human sex trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in Canada, and North Bay women are being enticed to give it a try.  Girls as young as 13 are being promised cash, pampering in hair and nail salons, as well as health and dental care, but it all comes at a cost – a steep one….“Women forced to service their customers 10 times a day. Women are being threatened, beaten, brainwashed and housed in horrible conditions. They’re poorly fed and drugged,” [moaned fetishist] Carolyn Couchie, [with her hand in her pants]…Couchie [fantasized that one] was housed in a basement with no windows for 10 days, only given water to drink, yet forced to perform for her male clients…Couchie said the girls are seen as a lucrative commodity, earning on average $280,000 annually for their handlers…Couchie and [a sow]…offered [their fantasies about] the world of human sex trafficking…[and cops imagining themselves as spies] who infiltrated the game…[in reality] programs like Northern Spotlight [harass and intimidate] sex worker[s by tricking them], and once they gain entry they [infantilize] women [by giving them] a tote bag with [stuff they can easily buy for themselves]…

Elephant in the Parlor (#831) 

“Prostitution” charges are such useful weapons against uppity women:

A Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump has been arrested upon her arrival in Moscow following deportation from Thailand…Anastasia Vashukevich was detained…on charges of inducement to prostitution along with three people deported alongside her.  Vashukevich, who has been in a Thai prison since February last year, was given a suspended sentence on [January 15th] and ordered to be deported after she pleaded guilty to soliciting and conspiracy along with several co-defendants in a case related to holding a “sex training” seminar…

Spin Doctor

The word for “partnerships” between government and big corporations is “fascism”:

King County Council launched a campaign with several partners to [disseminate propaganda about sex work]…the council…plans to partner with the Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines for the campaign. [Shahada, King of the Hill]…Washington ranked 13th in the U.S. for most active cases handling human trafficking…Vice-chairman of the council Reagan Dunn…[said] the campaign’s biggest goal was to…drive calls to the national human trafficking hotline…

Naturally that’s the aim, since calls to the “hotline” are the claimed “evidence” to pretend that “sex trafficking” is epidemic.  The more “awareness”, the more calls; fetishists then claim the calls represent “cases”, and feature the numbers in propaganda which increases hysteria & generates more calls. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Changing the Rules

Looks like at least a couple of people at The Hill aren’t asleep at the wheel:

[Politicians]…in the new Congress seem eager to continue a campaign against…the internet…[which] came about in large part because we correctly viewed online intermediaries more like distributors (think bookstores and libraries) than traditional publishers.  But as the Internet evolved, [busybodies] increasingly [resented] this protection …in 2018, Section 230 went from an internet protection law to congressional leverage against “Big Tech” companies.  In a series of hearings last year with various technology executives, Section 230 was blamed for everything from suppression of conservative viewpoints to sex trafficking to the opioid epidemic…these arguments illustrate that many in Congress do not appear to understand how Section 230 works, what it protects, or the potential damage that carving out too many exemptions could do to innovation and free expression online…In the months since SESTA became law, it has become increasingly clear that such carve-outs cannot be contained merely to bad actors.  They have chilling, silencing effects on legitimate and valuable speech…

In case you don’t remember, a previous “opinion contributor” in The Hill (anti-porn group Morality in Media, which recently rebranded to the more authoritative-sounding “National Center on Sexual Exploitation”) put forth the exact bizarre interpretation condemned in this new article as part of an anti-internet, anti-consent, anti-sex, pro-censorship screed.

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

More infantilization of women doing what they must to survive:

…in Guyana…Fiona Hopkinson pleaded not guilty to…charges…that…she trafficked four Venezuelan women for sexual exploitation at the  Diamond Hotel and Night Club…the women, while being questioned by the police, confessed that they were in need of work and Hopkinson had transported them from Venezuela to work as prostitutes…

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Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Two days before the last Links column posted, author and screenwriter William Goldman, best known for The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid passed away.  But I wasn’t about to elbow that news into the same column as Stan Lee’s obituary; losing two master storytellers in one week was already bad enough without cheating one of them of his proper respect.  The links above the video (which I think you’ll agree is an appropriate choice) were provided by Mike SiegelPhoenix CalidaFranklin HarrisThaddeus RussellDavid Ley, and Kevin Wilson, in that order.

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