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Posts Tagged ‘Rhode Island’

The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.  –  Scott Warren

The Monsters Are Due 

At peak hysteria, all it takes is this:

A [contractor] who has been harassed because of the van he drives wants people to know he is not involved with human trafficking.  Marcel Jackson said the harassment started after a video of a woman claiming she saw a young girl being forced into the back of a van at a Detroit gas station went viral on Facebook.  “A lot of people have been following me, trying to pull me over, trying to look inside the van and stuff,” Jackson said….[one] woman followed him for miles…[then claimed] she was an undercover cop…and asked, “Are there any children in your van?”…Other white van owners have experienced similar harassment over the vehicles they drive.

“Are there any children in your van?”.  What is this, a game of Go Fish?.

Sex Rays (#694)

Our descendants will be confused about why we thought this sort of thing was noteworthy:

Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs once again…g[a]ve away 3,000 turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving.  The annual giveaway of frozen birds [was] held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in club parking lots…in Hallandale Beach…and…West Palm Beach…

Saving Them From Themselves (#846)

Another bad law giving prosecutors more ways to charge teen sexters rather than simply leaving them alone:

An Ohio [politician] has proposed banning sexting for those 18 and under…Nathan Manning…said his proposed law is meant to prevent minors from [expressing their sexuality without prosecutors] facing [public criticism for completely destroying the lives of young people doing ordinary, mundane things]…Qualifying first time-offenders could be [sentenced] to…[re-]education…in lieu of [prison]…The new bill is similar to…one that [failed to] clear…the Ohio…Senate…before the legislative session expired…That version of the bill faced formal opposition from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s [sic] Association, which argued that [they should be able to destroy anyone’s life at will]…and from the ACLU of Ohio, which [recognizes that] there already are too many criminal laws on the books…

Choke Point (#850) 

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there:

A new gun control bill calls for banks and credit card companies to [snoop] and [snitch] to the feds on…firearm purchases as a way of tracking people…[using the excuse of] prevent[ing] mass shootings…the…bill [pretends] it’s possible to tell who is a threat based on tracking credit card activity….[but] government’s past attempts to identify “red flags” by [by spying on financial] transaction[s]…has resulted in, as…Elizabeth Nolan Brown puts it, banks “cast[ing] as wide a net as possible”…[to avoid] the consequences of being accused of not doing enough to comply with [fascism]…banks’ attempts to [spy on] customers…to identify human traffickers for the government have resulted in the creation of an extremely broad definition of what constitutes suspicious activity, including things like running up large grocery bills…

Held Together With Lies (#916)

This fantasy number now exceeds 1.3% of the entire population of the world:

Never in human history have [fetishists imagined] so many slaves…there could be more than a hundred million adults and children enslaved across the world today.  It is a vast, [disgusting], perpetually evolving [sexual fantasy], and it is a [profitable] issue [about] which to [spread bogus] data.  In 2017, statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation put the number of slaves at 40.3 million…This figure…is [already based in nothing other than fantasy], but most [fetishists are unsatisfied with that absurdity and so claim] that the number is actually far higher…[many fantasists pretend] that 30 per cent of slaves are trafficked for sex and 70 per cent are in forced labour, although of course the ratio varies from [propaganda source to propaganda source]…

In case you find math hard, they’re claiming that 0.44% of all living humans are held as “sex slaves”; in reality, only about 0.33% of women are full-service sex workers of any kind.  In other words, their fantasy of “slaves” is about three times the number of actual whores, or one “sex slave” for every 85 adult men on the planet (remember that trafficking fan “estimates” of clients per day range from 15 to 100).  So this idiotic propaganda is now in line with Kristof’s claims about US men:  for these fantasies to resemble reality, every single adult man in every single country in the entire world would need to be raping a “trafficked sex slave” at least once or twice a week.

A Broker in Pillage (#935)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Critics of civil forfeiture, the system of legalized theft that allows law enforcement agencies to seize people’s property by [pretending] it is connected to criminal activity, often focus on the burden of proof the government faces when owners try to recover their assets….[but] nearly nine out of 10 federal forfeiture cases never make it to court, largely because mounting a challenge often costs more than the property is worth.  And while the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) allows owners who win in court to recover “reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs,” prosecutors can defeat that safeguard by dragging out cases and then dropping them before a judge decides whether forfeiture is legally justified.  In the meantime, desperate owners may decide to let the government keep some of their property, even when they are completely innocent.  From the government’s perspective, there is no downside…Institute for Justice…is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that takes aim at such sneaky tactics…”The threat of paying attorneys’ fees is a critical check on government abuse…Otherwise, there is no disincentive to stop prosecutors from filing frivolous civil forfeitures”…

Profound Ignorance (#939) 

For those who still think the decriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island was “accidental”:

COYOTE sued the state of Rhode Island in 1976 alleging that their anti-prostitution laws were far too broad…the case was…dismissed as moot…[after] the Rhode Island General Assembly changed the prostitution laws in an attempt to make them more specific…the…legislative loophole…lasted almost 30 years…[it] outlawed street prostitution but…the penalty…was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.  In 1998, the Rhode Island State Supreme Court ruled in State v DeMagistris that the law criminalizing prostitution was “primarily to bar prostitutes from hawking their wares in public,” and that someone who engages in sex work privately could not be prosecuted under this law.  In 2003 a court case was dropped after the judge realized…[this] and soon began the re-criminalization campaign in the state.  After many unsuccessful attempts…beginning in 2005…[sex work] was [re-criminalized] in 2009…

Unchristian Nation (#945)

A jury slaps down your government’s crusade against Christian charity:

Jurors found humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren not guilty…of intentionally harboring and concealing two undocumented migrants from the Border Patrol in the remote Arizona desert…Warren, a longtime volunteer with the aid group No More Deaths, faced up to 20 years in prison.  It was his second trial this year stemming from his January 2018 arrest…The 12-person jury in Tucson took just more than two hours to reach a not guilty verdict, striking a blow to prosecutors…who [illegally subjected Warren to double jeopardy using the excuse of] a hung jury in [their first crucifiction attempt]…

Panopticon (#970)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it gets:

[Cops] who download videos captured by…Ring doorbell cameras can keep them forever and share them with whomever they’d like without providing evidence of a crime…More than 600 [cop shops]…have [already taken advantage of the surveillance network]…allowing them to quickly…download video recorded by Ring’s motion-detecting, Internet-connected cameras inside and around Americans’ homes [without the permission of the owner.  Amazon claims]…that homeowners are free to decline the requests…but [if a customer turns down a police demand, Amazon instructs the cops to make an “official request” to the company and then they grant warrantless access to the footage]…

The Cop Myth (#990)

Tell me again how the US isn’t a police state:

Imperial County [screw] Richard Edward Sotelo [attacked and attempted to rape] his [estranged] wife…[in] November 2012…and [she only escaped because one]…of their three children [walked in on them]…Sotelo was charged…with misdemeanor domestic battery [rather than assault and attempted rape, and] was allowed to keep his job…[until] he…groped the [penis] of a[nother pig]…multiple times at work.  It was only after…he…[was] charge[d for that]…in December 2013 that he [was forced to resign]…Sotelo pleaded no contest…was given probation…[and] the charges [were] taken off his record…the co[p] Sotelo groped filed his own legal claim against the county…[which] has [hidden the details of]…the claim and any subsequent settlement…after DUI…domestic violence [i]s the most common charge filed against [cops]…

Attempting to rape a mere peasant wasn’t a big deal; he didn’t get in trouble until he dared touch a fellow member of the ruling caste.

A Moral Cancer (#991)

Your “leaders” don’t like it when they’re caught with their hands in your till:

The Massachusetts Senate…stripped from a bill banning flavored tobacco and taxing e-cigarettes a provision that would have allowed the police to [steal] the car of anyone [they claimed they caught] driving with untaxed vaping products in the car.  Massachusetts law already lets [cops steal] the vehicle of anyone [they decide to accuse of having]…untaxed…tobacco products…the bill would have extended that to…vaping…[but politicians] worried that [it might affect them or their relatives]…

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Kraft’s…case punctured some of the overheated rhetoric surrounding coerced sex work.  –  Matt Ford

Rough Trade 

A rare case where a rapist of sex workers is actually convicted:

A San Francisco jury…found a man guilty of several felonies in connection with the sexual assault of two female sex workers more than five years ago in the city’s Mission District…Edwin Rodriguez [was found]…guilty of multiple counts of forcible rape as well as aggravated kidnapping, assault and criminal threats.  Rodriguez now faces multiple life sentences…

Unclean Situation (#330)

These are also some of the nuns behind Ruhama:

A religious order which ran some of the Magdalene laundries, but has refused to pay into the redress scheme for survivors, is to sell its retreat centre in north Dublin.  The Religious Sisters of Charity announced it will sell the €3m Stella Maris Retreat Centre in Howth…A spokesman for the Department of Justice said no contributions have been made by any of the four religious congregations involved in respect of the implementation of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme…[which has paid] a total of €27.8m…so far to 732 applicants…

Catastrophic Consequences (#576)

This sleazy tactic started in Canada, then spread to the UK:

[In the UK] “anti-trafficking”…raids [are] known officially as “welfare visits”…[cops pretend] that “the welfare and safety of the women…is…the number one priority”…[but in truth] “prostitute cautions“…are…handed out at high rates, and the…Proceeds of Crime Act not only allows them to [steal] sex workers’ earnings, it actively making it easier for them by reversing the burden of proof…the [stolen] cash is given to the Home Office, which then [gives it right back] to the police force without regulating how it’s spent.  The official line is that [cops] have no incentive to raid, but the truth is that the police force does stand to profit…

BDSM (#583)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough:

Torsten Weiss…[the owner of a] medieval fetish shop in Hachenburg, Germany…was found dead with crossbow bolts protruding from his neck and skull…[in] a…B&B in Passau…By his side was 33-year-old Kerstin Enders who had succumbed to similar fatal injuries.  On the floor in front of them in a pool of blood was 30-year-old Farina Caspari, suspected of honoring Weiss’s…command to first kill him and Enders, and then take her own life…Weiss and Enders left wills at their sides…”Investigators suspect they were all members of a kind of sex circle with a focus on the Middle Ages,” according to RTL news…[at] Caspari[‘s]…house [cops]…found two more female victims.  One, identified only as Gertrud C., was her lover…friends of the four female victims interviewed by police say the women had all been under Weiss’s hypnotic control.  They reportedly engaged in extreme sexual acts, often involving BDSM, under his direction.  But what police don’t yet know is what led the fivesome to their deaths rather than just continuing their fantastical life…The two women found dead in [Caspari’s] apartment have no obvious wounds or signs of violence. Toxicology reports will show if they were poisoned…

Other than what I’ve quoted above, most of the rest is lurid speculation by cops and the neighbors, friends, and family members of the victims, mostly of the same level of popular ignorance as the myth that a person can be “hypnotized” to do things against their will.

To Molest and Rape 

Just 1500 isolated incidents:

Nearly 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, [rape, sexual assault] and child [molestation], have been made against [cops] in England and Wales over six years…Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that 1,491 complaints were filed against [various kinds of cops]…across 33 forces in England and Wales between 2012 and 2017, or 2018 in the case of the Metropolitan Police in London, which took a year to respond…Of these cases, 371 were upheld, resulting in the sacking or resignation of 197 [rapists]…Ten police forces [refused to] provide data…

Girls, Girls, Girls! (#679)

Clubs need to learn that the bad old days of exploiting dancers are over:

A federal jury has awarded five black dancers more than $3 million in their discrimination lawsuit against Danny’s strip club…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…limit[ed] the number of shifts black dancers could work, and subject[ed] them to racially offensive epithets…”Danny’s also forced the dancers to work at a related club, Black Diamonds, even though they were subject to arrest there because they were not licensed to work at that club,” according to the EEOC.  “The pay and working conditions at Black Diamonds were inferior to those at Danny’s, and there was less security there.  The dancers who refused to work at Black Diamonds were fined and sent home, and not allowed to work at Danny’s”…

Profound Ignorance (#800) 

Scott Cunningham has finally set the record straight on the history of decriminalization in Rhode Island:

…In 1980, the Rhode Island General Assembly legalized indoor sex work.  The surviving members of that assembly have [pretended] that legalizing indoor sex work happened accidentally while trying to strengthen laws prohibiting street prostitution…the police and local prosecutors [eventually forgot]…as indoor sex workers were arrested and prosecuted regularly…throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Then in 2003, a Rhode Island District Court judge reminded everyone what the law said…For six years the state was running a “natural experiment” that would teach us more about decriminalized indoor sex work than we’d ever known in history…what we found surprised us and everyone else…Rhode Island rapes and sexually transmitted infections both substantially declined…several other articles in economics have found similar effects but in other countries and cities…in light of these studies, organizations such as the World Health Organization and the ACLU have begun calling for reconsideration of our commercial sex laws…

Unfortunately, he’s still making silly claims like “everyone was surprised” (no, prohibitionists feigned surprise; it has been known since at least the 1920s that criminalization of a market always increases violence and health issues).  But at least he’s admitting that Rhode Island was neither a “mistake” nor a merely six-year phenomenon, and I’ve noticed his studies have been getting much better.  We may make a good ally out of him yet.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#830)

Even Reuters is starting to listen to what sex workers have to say about “rescue”:

Sex workers in Thailand are rejecting the “raid and rescue” model used by authorities to crack down on…sex workers…[by labeling them] victims of trafficking.  Many of the women arrested are then [forced] to learn [menial] skills like sewing and baking.  “People say we should stop doing what we do, and sew or bake cookies instead – but why are only those jobs considered appropriate?” said Mai Chanta, who has been a sex worker for about eight years.  “This is what we choose to do, and we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that we are just like other workers”…

That Old Black Magic (#884)

Click on the subtitle for the truth about Nigerian juju (not “voodoo”) rituals:

Spanish Police have busted a network of Nigerian voodoo sex traffickers who use illegal migration routes to smuggle young girls into Europe…the sex slaves are being groomed in Benin City, Edo state by mafia-style gangs promising them a better life in Spain…They were submitted to voodoo rituals threatening terrible consequences to them and their families if they disobeyed the organisation, police [fantasized, groaning and making furtive movements in their pants while describing how]…parts of their bodies were smothered in animal blood before they were threatened with death or infertility if they failed to obey the traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#899)

Welcome to the future:

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on an East London street.  The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals.  One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and [forcibly] took his picture anyway…The ticketing comes in the wake of another similar incident in February, in which another man refused to be scanned by one of the facial recognition vans and was also fined £90…the technology is terribly inaccurate – wrongly matching over 2,000 people to criminal…[at] the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017

First They Came for the Hookers… (#903) 

Most “prostitution” cases come apart like wet toilet paper if actually taken to trial:

A former Foxy Lady dancer…was found not guilty…of offering sex for money.  Lindsay Hoffmann…one of three dancers arrested at the club on Dec. 11, was cleared after a trial…lasting less than an hour…[a cop claimed] Hoffmann told him…he could get “anything” he wanted for $300 in the downstairs VIP room…But Judge Melissa DuBose said “anything” could have been anything…

End Demand (#910)

Mar Brettmann is a sleazy opportunist who will use any story about petty crime to sell her anti-whore snake oil:

…According to Mar Brettmann…“We know that 300-to-500 kids are prostituted at any given time in King County.”  Brettmann is executive director of B.E.S.T. – Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking – in Seattle…[which profits by indoctrinating] businesses and employees in King County to [harass] sex [workers], especially in hotels and motels…

In other words, she claims that there are about twice as many “teen sex slaves” in Seattle as adult escorts, a number so absurd prominent Seattle sex workers have actually been asked by cops where all those supposed “sex slaves” are hiding, because they sure can’t find them.

Loose Cannons (#938)

Another good anti-prohibition article at New Republic:

…The…charges against Kraft came as part of a sweeping, dramatic raid on Asian massage parlors across Florida…prosecutors [pretended]…they had smashed a international sex-trafficking ring…the narrative changed just as the public’s attention turned elsewhere…law enforcement agencies…often use [the claim] to describe and justify crackdowns on consensual sex work…prosecutors regularly use the threat of additional charges and a prolonged trial to induce defendants to accept a guilty plea…This warps the criminal justice system, such that…between 90 and 95 percent of federal and state cases are now resolved through plea deals instead of a trial with one’s peers…

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Speaking for myself and my…Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from [Kamala’s] travesty.  –  Donald Harris

Rough Trade 

Cops wait a year to arrest a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

…a 31-year-old [Dublin] tradesman…imprisoned, stripped, beat…and [raped a sex worker], who escaped out a window and ran naked onto a main road, where she flagged down a taxi…he al[so] pulled clumps of hair out of a second prostitute’s head and raped her, as well as robbing both women.  Judge Bryan Smyth [gave him]…bail [anyhow.  The first attack took place]…in June, 2016…and…the second…in [sic] February 4, 2018…

Amsterdam

Note that this positive article appeared on CNN, one of the major pushers of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam…isn’t as liberal for sex workers as many believe.  Sex work has been legal in some form in the Netherlands since 1830, but it was recognized as a legal profession in 1988.  In 2000, a law made the job subject to municipal regulation, requiring a license to operate and following certain rules set by a municipality…so each can differ.  For example, they can decide how many licenses to give out…The only places that have decriminalized sex work are New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia.  In both places, sex work is not penalized through punitive laws, and regulation are premised on worker health and safety, as with any other profession…The reform in New Zealand…reduced violence against sex workers, increased their comfort in reporting abuse to the police and improved police attitudes toward sex workers, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.  Research also showed that decriminalization in New Zealand resulted in sex workers being better able to refuse clients and insist on condom use. One study showed that decriminalization has the potential to reduce discrimination as well as denials of justice…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s rare and surprising to see the acts of a rapist cop actually called “rape”:

A…Wilmington [Delaware cop]…was charged with second-degree rape at the conclusion of a four-month [attempt at a cover-up]…Thomas R. Oliver Jr…on October 16, 2018…pulled up alongside a woman and told her to get into the front seat of the vehicle.  Oliver exposed himself to the woman, and told her she had active warrants for her arrest, but he would allow her to leave if she [sucked his disgusting pig dick]…Oliver grabbed the victim by the head and [orally raped her]…

The End of the Beginning (#772) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA)…The lead plaintiff…pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin.  He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994.  But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment.  Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters…Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment…Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used”…”An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library…Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting”…the demand for information about online activity applied to…the…plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

All cops or prosecutors will need to do to get around this law is say the magic words “sex trafficking”:

San Francisco’s [largely-cosmetic] policy protecting sex workers is now being pitched on the state level.  California Sen. Scott Wiener…introduce[d] legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes [unless they decide to charge the sex workers with “trafficking” instead].  The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent [cops] from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker…Wiener said…“We want to [fool]…sex workers [in]to feel[ing] safe in reporting crimes”…

San Francisco, which as the article states first enacted this “policy”, took only two months to get around it by declaring a “sex trafficking” exception and forming a vice squad specifically intended to “abate” sex workers.  You know, like a disease.

Overdue

Another example of our culture’s obsession with form over substance:

They used chopped-up chalk as fake crack cocaine and cloaked their white skin in blackface makeup.  Then the two [pigs] hit the streets of Baton Rouge, hoping to fool interested drug buyers in the predominantly black neighborhood into believing they were dealers.  “Not only do they not know we’re cops — they don’t even know we’re white!” then-Detective Frankie Caruso told the Advocate newspaper in 1993, the year the undercover blackface operation took place.  Now, 26 years later, the Baton Rouge Police Department is apologizing for the tactics after a police yearbook photo of the two disguised cops surfaced, marking the latest blackface scandal to ensnare authority figures and the first this year involving undercover police…

They’re not apologizing for intentionally destroying lives, or for specifically targeting black people for something that shouldn’t even be illegal; nope, they’re just apologizing because they did so inappropriately.

Safe Position

Though these legislative “studies” are useless, perhaps they’ll normalize the topic:

Bella Robinson…and her organization, COYOTE – RI, are working with Brown University and advocating for a new bill…sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams [which] proposes a commission to study the health and safety impact of sex work laws.  “Crackdowns against sex workers…[are because] we prioritize [religious] morals over the safety of people involved in the sex industry,” said Meghan Peterson, a Brown University researcher…one prominent opponent…is Donna Hughes, [architect of the]…[re-]criminalization [of sex work] in 2009…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least they’re not calling this an “escort service”:

…the advertising for Doll Next Door brings a host of questions about how this latest trend in sexual services will be regulated in Edmonton, if at all…the service offers customers the choice of a two-hour booking or overnight rental with one of five doll models…the doll is then sent in discreet packaging to the customer’s home or a specified hotel…Kelly Jenny, a sex therapist at Insight Psychological, said she can see the benefits associated with sex dolls, but says they can also be used [as magical transformation devices] to objectify women

Pyrrhic Victory (#894) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

…Amazon…Ring products come with access to a social app called Neighbors that allows customers to not just to keep tabs on their own property, but also to share [accusations]…with the rest of the block…Forming decentralized 19th-century vigilance committees with 21st-century technology has been a toxic move, as shown by apps like…Nextdoor, which tends to foster lively discussions about nonwhite people strolling through various suburbs.  But Ring stands alone as…an avowed attempt to merge 24/7 video, ubiquitous computer sensors, and facial recognition, and deliver it to local police on a platter.  It’s no surprise then that police departments from Bradenton, Florida, to Los Angeles have leapt to “partner” with Ring…

Just a reminder that the word for such authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”.

The Prudish Giant (#895)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

For years, King Cake Snob…has used visitor feedback to choose the best king cakes in various categories in the lead up to Mardi Gras.  So…the site decided to build some interest with a sponsored Facebook post…featuring ten tiny plastic king cake babies — all of which were, as usual, in the buff.  However, though the image remains up, Facebook decided to flag it as ineligible for a paid “sponsored” post…“This ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity…This kind of material is sensitive in nature”…

Top Cop

Copmala tried to sell her dad’s heritage for political coin, and he’s not happy:

United States (US) presidential hopeful Kamala Harris faced scathing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her…heritage.  “Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Kamala Harris responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview…Donald Harris has “categorically” disassociated himself and his family from “this travesty” and slammed his daughter for stereo-typing her heritage for political gain.  “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected…with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker…in the pursuit of identity politics”…Harris [said]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

This story just keeps getting uglier and filthier:

Former Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil was the largest campaign contributor to the End Trafficking and Prostitution political action committee before the 2018 election, campaign finance records show.  McNeil made contributions totaling $1,499.  Each of McNeil’s two contributions were under $1,000, which avoided mandatory reporting before the election under state campaign finance law…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Condemning consenting adults to the “sex offender” registry is the latest “monkey see, monkey do” fad:

Pennsylvania…[politician] Kim Ward wants…a change to state law that would require those convicted of [any sex work related “crime”]…to the…sex offender…[registry]…

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Is this going to school or going to prison?  –  anonymous Chinese citizen

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop:

Lawsuits alleging improper classification of workers and a recent California Supreme Court labor law ruling are impacting…adult dancers in San Francisco, many of whom once relied on daily cash payouts to survive…dancers, previously considered independent contractors, now are walking out of club doors with biweekly employee paychecks and not with cash in hands after their shifts end.  The move to convert adult dancers to employee status is causing an exodus…[from] those establishments…BSC Management…operates the majority of adult clubs in San Francisco…According to Axel Sang, BSC’s marketing director…“The BSC-managed clubs now have matching payroll taxes, unemployment compensation, workman’s compensation, Healthy San Francisco costs, Affordable Care Insurance costs and San Francisco sick leave pay for several hundred new employee entertainers in addition to the hourly wage”…Sang estimated that 200 dancers have quit their jobs since the policy change to paychecks…

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

…the New Port Richey [Florida] City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban bathhouses in the city…[in an attempt to strangle] massage parlors…The ordinance would ban any establishment that’s not a medical facility from [letting water touch] clients.  Anyone who violates the law would be fined up to $500 for each violation and possibly imprisoned for up to 60 days…

Subtle Pimping (#802) 

Yet another scumbag profits from the criminalization of sex work by basing a game on lies about us:

Billy Cain…started searching for a way to use virtual reality technology — or VR — to [profit from] people…[by promoting hysteria] about sex trafficking…Texas has been a hub for…human trafficking [hysteria] for [a] decade…[one typically disgusting masturbatory fantasy claims] 79,000 children are being sex trafficked in Texas at any given moment…[in] his sex trafficking [sex fantasy] simulation…people put on a special pair of goggles to [roleplay an imaginary] 13-year-old girl who fell victim to trafficking.  In “Trapped: VR Detective Story”, players see where the girl is being held and interact with objects to [flesh out the fantasy prior to masturbation]…players will learn…who is most vulnerable to being trafficked — anyone.  Anywhere.  From any background…

TRAFFICKERS ARE EVERYWHERE!  THEY’RE WAITING TO GET YOU!  EVERYBODY PANIC, THEN BUY MY GAME!

Overdue

Collapsing empires are obsessed with form over substance:

“We’ve made a conscious effort in TSA … to use floppy ear dogs,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told the Washington Examiner…”We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better…Doesn’t scare children”…in the last year, 80 percent of dogs purchased by TSA…were…breeds…[with] droopy ears…which are deemed less intimidating…

Yes, the people who literally grope children’s genitals claim they’re worried that dogs will frighten them.

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…a death metal/black metal record label has shut down in the wake of PayPal pulling out support for processing purchases, along with the creditors at Visa and MasterCard because the company was labeled as “high risk”, “promoting hatred”, “promoting violence”, and “promoting hate speech”…Elegy Records, a label that hosted all sorts of death metal music since 1996…[has closed due to] the inability to sign with a normal credit processor due to being…classified as “high risk” by the banks and credit processors, which meant that he was effectively blacklisted from the banking industry…the only way to accept payments from customers was…via cash or money orders.  For online businesses it’s not possible to operate without some sort of banking institution, or credit card processing since all purchases are made electronically…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Where US schools are soon headed:

In China’s latest quest to build an all-seeing surveillance state, schools…in…one of China’s poorest provinces…are now required to wear…uniforms…embedded with electronic chips that track their movements…[they] keep track of the exact times that students leave or enter the school…an[d]…facial-recognition equipment stationed at the school entrance can match a student’s face with the chip embedded in the uniform…The chips…can activate an alarm when the sensor detects that a student has fallen asleep in class…

Pyrrhic Victory (#884) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

The FBI is piloting…Amazon Rekognition…as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects…While Amazon is now a significant supplier of technology to the government…[and] includes the CIA and Defense Department as customers—it is less clear how its facial recognition software is being used in the [police state]…the company pitched the software to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last summer, a move that has…Amazon employees asking questions.  The company does not list any federal clients on its customer page, and currently only identifies as a customer one local law enforcement agency, the Washington County Sheriff Office…[yet]…the city of Orlando recently began a second pilot of…[the] software…

Imaginary Victims (#896) 

The Cyntoia Brown case has attracted attention to the cases of other underage sex workers who killed abusive clients:

…Chrystul Kizer, 18, is charged with first-degree homicide, arson and auto theft for the June 5 shooting death of Randall Volar III.  She was 17 when Volar was killed…he had been shot twice, and that the fire to the house appeared to have been set…Investigators said…Volar had paid for an Uber driver to bring Kizer from Milwaukee to his home…she initially denied knowing Volar, but later told police that “he (Volar) helped her with money and places to stay”…she reportedly confessed, saying “she got upset and was tired of Volar touching her” and that she had shot him…before his death Volar was under investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls.  In a motion to compel discovery…[her lawyer stated] “The defense believes that the discovery in this case suggests that Ms. Kizer acted in self-defense”…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900) 

It’s rare that judges side with sex workers against the government:

Imagine a symphony orchestra barred by the state from performing again because a musician was [accused of selling] marijuana to a colleague backstage…In Providence, Rhode Island…it happened to a strip club called the Foxy Lady.  On Dec. 19, the Providence Board of Licenses voted to permanently shut down the…[club] after police arrested three employees [and accused them of prostitution]…By doing so, the board threw more than 200 people out of work less than a week before Christmas.  Within days, the state Department of Business Regulation quickly restored the club’s liquor license, but the Foxy Lady’s owners were required by law to petition the state Supreme Court to regain its entertainment license…the state Supreme Court agreed to issue a stay, allowing the club to reopen for now, but the threat of future closure remains…

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

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

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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To attribute [women’s]…prostitution to fear of powerful Nigerian juju is pure hogwash.  –  Leo Igwe

Yellow Fever

Like the BBC, the New York Times has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

When the New York Times Magazine (10/10/18) looked at Kensington, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia, it…saw an opportunity to take readers on a sensational 6,000-word tour of trauma, complete with cringe-worthy language and compassionless photographs.  Reporter Jennifer Percy…doesn’t shy away from…reducing an extremely complicated issue to trauma-porn:  “…women often ended up as prostitutes.  They offered oral sex for $25 so they could buy a few bags“…How many women did Percy interview before determining that all of them offered the same services for the same price?  Could she have crafted a description that was any more victimizing?…Street-based sex work already comes with risks.  Publishing detailed and intimate information about…how they don’t report abuse, could attract predatory individuals…Sex worker advocate groups and researchers have repeatedly said that criminalization forces workers into dangerous situations, and leads to a strained or even abusive relationship between law enforcement and sex workers.  Multiple harm-reduction groups exist in Kensington specifically for sex workers, including SOL CollectiveProject SAFE, and the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, but Percy didn’t think to include their work in the conversation…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

I hope this doesn’t harm the trend toward increased awareness of rapist cops:

…Bellevue, WA police chief [Steve Mylett] was cleared on charges he raped a woman after it was discovered she created fake emails to prove her accusation…The…woman…claimed he raped her two years ago at his Bothell home during an encounter arranged “through an adult sex website.”  The woman also made accusations against two other Bellevue detectives, which led to domestic violence and witness tampering charges against one of them (those charges were dropped earlier this month).  “Bothell investigators found Mylett’s accuser had gone so far as to create phony, backdated email exchanges that contained the address of a Bothell rental home where Mylett temporarily lived…But lease records…proved Mylett had moved out of that house prior to when the woman claimed the assault occurred, and DNA tests ruled Mylett out as a possible match to genetic evidence gathered from clothing the woman turned over”…The woman [allegedly] had a history of hooking up with men she found on Craigslist and then claiming the consensual encounters as rape…Though she had made two false accusations prior to Mylett, she was not charged because of her mental-health problems.  This time, however, it appears she won’t get away with her false accusations [because they were against cops]…Mylett [said]…“people [who aren’t cops] should be held accountable for their actions [even if they’re mentally ill]”…

This man was one of the gang who took it upon themselves to destroy the lives of men who had consensual sex with adult women in the TRB case.

Banishment

Any elected official who acts in this way should be removed from office:

When Richard Gardner, a convicted child sex offender, was released from prison after serving almost 30 years, he quietly moved into the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence…Because his crimes were committed so long ago, Gardner is not subject to the community notification provisions that apply to more recent offenders…But the police [gave] his address to public officials, and a media circus ensued.  The result has been raucous nightly protests in front of his house by dozens of people calling on him to leave the neighborhood…Mayor Jorge Elorza helped fuel the angry gatherings in front of Gardner’s home by stating at a community meeting immediately preceding the first protest that Gardner “has given up his right to be here in the community.”  Other city officials have also encouraged a mob mentality…

The Enlightenment Police (#427)

The European Court of Human Rights kissed France’s arse, but the UN didn’t:

…the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that a French law banning full-face veils in public violates the religious freedom rights of Muslim women.  It is the first time the UN has ruled on full-face veil bans and could have implications for several other European countries that have implemented similar legislation…the UN body found that France’s ban was “too sweeping” and that French officials hadn’t adequately explained why it was necessary to ban…articles of clothing.  Although the ban is [pre]tended to protect women, the law could have the opposite effect by “confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalizing them,” the committee said…

The Prudish Giant (#523)

Facebook claims this picture will sexually arouse its users:

For a few hours after The New York Times published an article about conflict and hunger in Yemen, Facebook temporarily removed posts from readers who had tried to share the report…[because]  the article included several images of emaciated children…Tens of thousands of readers shared the article on Facebook, but some got a message notifying them that the post was not in line with Facebook’s community standards…[because] “On Facebook, we don’t allow…any sexual content involving minors”…

Facebook is the embodiment of D.H. Lawrence’s statement, “Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose.”

Guinea Pigs (#579) 

Welcome to our world, amateurs; I hope y’all enjoy what your bootlicking has created:

…[very few US] police departments…have any rules for [pigs] who [violate Facebook’s terms of service by creating]…fake accounts…to friend people of interest and monitor what they post…the practice is almost wholly unregulated…Facebook policies prohibit the creation of fake accounts by law enforcement, but [pigs] are making them anyway.  Some…[even] boast…about their [deceptions] on social media [and Facebook does nothing to stop it]…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

Major technology companies including Palantir, Microsoft and Amazon make millions of dollars annually from their contracts with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies…and have helped expand their capabilities, says [a] paper by Mijente, an advocacy group…Palantir’s ICE case management software, which helps the agency track, surveil and deport immigrants, has led to “dangerous acceleration of surveillance technology at the hands of police and prosecutors to target and build profiles of people”…Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, [has] become a “key contractor” for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s cloud computing system…The report comes amid increased backlash from workers in the tech industry over the contracts with the government that their companies are taking on.  Google said it would end its work with the Pentagon this year after heavy employee backlash…

See also “Pyrrhic Victory” below.

That Old Black Magic (#769)

I’m so glad to see a Nigerian scholar demolish the racist European masturbatory fantasy of childlike Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

…There have been [many] reports that have associated forced prostitution by Nigerian women with the traditional belief in juju…from my own point of view as a Nigerian, this much-publicized connection [is] baseless, senseless and absurd…Unfortunately, many western individuals and organizations that are working and campaigning to combat…prostitution…seem to be fascinated by the juju scare narrative.  They find it useful not only because it fits into the stereotypic notion of Africans as childish in thinking…[but also because] it gives them a special job of managing this “people”…European anti-human trafficking campaigners…have refused to pay critical attention to the underlying socioeconomic reasons that force Nigerian women to travel thousands of miles to prostitute in Europe…Many Nigerian prostitutes come into Europe as illegal immigrants and they live in constant fear of deportation.  So Nigerian women who fear returning to Nigeria have other reasons than…juju…

Cooties (#786) 

After more than two years of UK cops publicly masturbating to the fantasy of “trafficking gangs enslaving women in pop-up brothels”, they finally found people they could shoehorn into the narrative:

A gang centred on a single family has been jailed for forcing women from Hungary to work as prostitutes.  Police said “pop up” brothels ran in Nottingham and Derby…Csaba Csomor was jailed for 13 years after [pleading guilty to] charges including trafficking and controlling prostitution.  Five other members of Csomor’s family were jailed for a total of 30 years for a series of related offences…Police [claimed] between December 2012 and December 2017 women were duped into coming to the UK, some on the promise of cleaning jobs.  They were then forced to into sex work…Hungarian authorities alerted UK police…Several women have been [deported] to Hungary but detectives said more victims could still be out there [hiding from the cops who claim they want to “rescue” them]…

I’m sure the cops were disappointed that these folks aren’t Romanian, but one can’t have everything.

Hard Numbers (#847)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

…the Queensland Government…confirmed the possible decriminalisation of sex work was currently under discussion between the Attorney-General and the Police Minister.  This is a turnaround from six months ago when Police Minister Mark Ryan [said]…there were no plans to decriminalise sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#869)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The Knesset…gave initial approval to a bill allowing heavy fines to be levied on  people caught hiring prostitutes, as the government aims to crack down on sex [workers]…The legislation passed its first reading by 39-0 votes.  It will now face deliberations in the Knesset Committee for the [Suppression] of Women before coming up for final plenary votes…The bill was first proposed as part of a re[striction] package that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said aimed at stamping out [sex workers]…

Droit du Seigneur (#872) 

Sex workers have been saying this for decades:

By their nature, are police vice units inherently at risk for corruption and misconduct?  Consider recent revelations at the NYPD:  On Sept. 13, retired vice Det. Ludwig Paz was charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring.  In November 2017, a sex worker died while attempting to flee [brutalization] by vice [cops] in a raid on a massage parlor.  The Queens district attorney’s report on her death offered no critical introspection on the impact of vice operations, labeling her a “criminal” who “engaged in a degrading and humiliating profession.”  In June 2017…a vice [pig] faced disciplinary hearings after he…[raped sex workers; no known] disciplinary action was taken …vice unit[s]…operate…with impunity…[like all cops] the NYPD targets marginalized communities, fails to improve community relationships, and hides [their crimes]…behind the blue wall of silence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

Amazon over the summer met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to pitch them on buying the tech giant’s controversial facial recognition technology…Alonzo Peña, who served as deputy director of ICE during the George W. Bush administration, [said] that undocumented immigrants could be deterred from seeking  life-sustaining services if they knew immigration officials were using facial recognition software.  Although ICE is technically barred from arresting undocumented people in hospitals and other sensitive locations, Peña says there have been instances of immigration enforcement [ignoring] those rules…

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Now is the moment for celebrities to give up the fantasy of saving “Jane Doe” and do the hard work of seeing and listening to people in the sex trades as fully formed, complex individuals who have actual names.  –  Alana Massey

Here We Go Again 

Here’s an interesting biography of Anthony Comstock, the deeply-deranged, self-loathing pervert behind the previous American crusade against “obscenity” and “pornography”.  Given that we’re currently deeply immersed in a very similar crusade (though driven this time by many pathological prudes rather than one), this two-year-old article might offer some insights which could prove useful…though I think it’s fascinating how moderns writing about such things (another example is “white slavery” hysteria) in smug or condemnatory tones never seem able to connect the Victorian campaigns to their modern counterparts.

Wise Investment 

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

SWARM and ECP congratulate the three [UK] women who last week won in court the right not to reveal their criminal convictions for prostitution to prospective employers.  The women have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act, and their records will be amended to filter out these convictions…ECP and SWARM …[insist] that criminal records for prostitution should be fully expunged.  Under [this] court ruling the police will still have access to the information that someone has been convicted for soliciting…

Wise Investment (#428)

Evil laws and policies cause tremendous harm; here’s what happens when they’re repealed:

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past—and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives—has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver…police created a sex work enforcement guidelines policy, which clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority…The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non-enforcement through their sex work response guidelines, which states explicitly that sex work is not a bylaw violation…The net result…has been de facto decriminalization of sex work in the city of Vancouver…Not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often…but…there have been no murders of sex workers in Vancouver since 2009…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Though the silly notion that ejaculation saps a man’s vitality is a very old one, the even sillier “porn as abuse” belief is of recent vintage:

The [manager of the] Kansas City Royals [forced players to attend] a [propaganda session] for minor-league players…[organized by] anti-porn group “Fight the New Drug“…[which pretends] it is not religiously affiliated…general manager Dayton Moore is [obsessed with] the issue, and [though] the [supposed] goal is for players to be zeroed in on their performance for games…Moore [has in the past vomited out a lot of nonsense to reporters such as]…“pornography…what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to…abuse of women”…

The notion that healthy, physically-active young men can simply be ordered to be asexual was first imposed on the military by politicians, but now appears to be spreading.

Agony Aunt (#666) 

“Dear Prudence” gives good advice to a gay man whose lover has a sugar mama:

You don’t seem to have much of an issue with the arrangement qua arrangement if you’ve met her several times, enjoyed her company, and taken money from her yourself.  Your jealousy isn’t centered around the connection your boyfriend shares with his patron; it’s that his job requires significant emotional and romantic output on his part, and you want to make some space in your relationship where the two of you connect on a romantic rather than a merely domestic level…it’s very much worth talking about, especially if you make it clear that you’re not trying to discourage him from continuing with his patronage and that you support his work…

Pyrrhic Victory (#691) 

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

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years.  The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants…The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.  The documents…show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years…Geek Squad employees were financially rewarded for finding child pornography.  Such a bounty would likely encourage Geek Squad employees to actively sweep for suspicious content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#815)  

Powerful men never learn that whores aren’t afraid of them:

…Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president…The new pressure on Daniels…comes a day after she filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging that a nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about an “intimate” relationship with Trump is invalid because he never signed it…[the] lawsuit says that Trump attorney Michael Cohen — who brokered the agreement…during the presidential campaign — attempted to “intimidate” [Daniels] and “shut her up” by initiating what it calls a “bogus arbitration proceeding” against her in Los Angeles on Feb. 27…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Teen Vogue and now Allure…it’s so heartening to see so many women’s fashion & beauty magazines recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

…FOSTA…[and] SESTA …target websites…that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently…[in a celeb-heavy PSA with Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, and others] Schumer calls [Section 230] a “stupid loophole” [in the Communications  Decency Act]…Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information…the PSA [is]…based [on]…the premise…that right this second and in your own hometown, it is totally possible to go online and buy a child for sexual slavery — that it’s “as easy as ordering a pizza,” according to Schumer.  I put this claim to the test…via a set of searches on Backpage that have likely landed me on an FBI watch list.  Not one lousy “kid”, “minor”, “teen”, or “child” was available for purchase.  Meanwhile, Domino’s is at my house within 21 minutes of me placing an order…It is almost as if perpetrators of human trafficking aren’t really all that likely to advertise using photos of shackled minors…

Morality Lessons (#819) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.  But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements…the Rhode Island bill wouldn’t just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed “patently offensive,” too–even though there’s no clear definition of this term…It would also require devices to automatically block “any hub that facilitates prostitution”—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content…device makers would also have to “ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible” on their products…If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already…

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