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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

This is how the United States of America, the mightiest and richest nation there is or ever has been, treats incarcerated people.  –  Ken White

Torture Chamber 

Ken White on the inhuman abominations that the US calls “correction”:

Jeffrey Epstein’s name and face are everywhere following his death…Americans who believe in their justice system assert that it is obvious that he was murdered, and that jailers could not possibly be so incompetent, cruel, or indifferent as to let such a high-profile prisoner commit suicide.  Here, to help you evaluate that claim, are 32 short stories about in-custody deaths or near-deaths in America…

Regular readers know these stories are nauseating, but you really need to read them all. Every last one.

Uncommon Sense (#435)

The correct term is “tippelzone”, not “sex booth” or some other snickering adolescent coinage:

The mayor of [Berlin]…is proposing “Verichtungsboxen”…at Tempelhof Airport.  His proposal for the establishment of the sex booths…came as part of a discussion about street prostitution in his district and how to improve the safety of Berlin’s sex workers…

Across the Pond (#757)

UK cops are increasingly using the jolly, kumbaya word “team” to mean “vice squad”:

More than 200 letters have been delivered to residents [near a stroll] in…Nottingham…to [intimidate] residents…in[to informing on their neighbors]…the…letters were hand delivered to [make the]…int[imidation feal more real]…Since 2004, Nottinghamshire Police’s Prostitution Task Force has been working to find ways of [pretending that harassing and stigmatizing] sex workers [is] get[ting] the[m] help…whilst gradually removing the[ir income.  The cops bizarrely imagine harassing people and choking off their income will]…break down the barrier between sex workers and the police…

Soap Opera (#809)

Magical stickers, secret-squirrel codes…this is like a bad episode of Get Smart!

An Iowa newspaper employee recently {claimed to have] helped save a[n unnamed] woman trapped in a sex trafficking ring…after she flagged the delivery driver down on the side of the road…a 25-year-old East Dubuque Woman was arrested and charged with pimping….[a Cedar Rapids, Iowa] Bar…[posted a] sign in the woman’s restroom [reading]…”are you in an uncomfortable situation, do you need our help?”…[and] lists a code word drink…that customers can order to alert the bartender they’re in need of help… Teresa Davidson…of Chains Interrupted [wants] more …stickers that read “Are you safe” in bathrooms across the state….The organization is also working to [indoctrinate] convenience store employees…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

As I’ve repeatedly stated, it is far too late to put this evil djinni back into its bottle:

…Beijing has gone to [great lengths to] identify and control Uighurs…Within Kashgar…residents must line up to…swipe [ID cards] at each checkpoint….[and] expose their faces to [omnipresent]…facial recognition…[cops] need neither probable cause nor a warrant to detain Uighurs and check their phones for the surveillance software that they’re legally required to install….”re-education” camp[s imprison]…hundreds of thousands, or even millions of Muslims…[now] Ecuador is using a “national emergency response and video surveillance system built entirely by Chinese companies and financed by Chinese state loans”…As this technology improves and gets cheaper, it will likely become affordable to every two-bit dictator on Earth…

Disaster (#935)

The sweet smell of schadenfreude:

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool WordPress.  A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag…below $10 million…Tumblr…was…considered a major player in the social media space.[when it]…was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, before moving under Verizon’s umbrella through the carrier’s acquisition of Yahoo in 2017.  [But] Verizon…[intentionally destroyed the network by ill-considered censorship]…last year.  Automattic’s Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to maintain the ban [so as to use the dying site as a tax write-off]…

Where Are the Victims? (#945)

Despite their pious posturing to the contrary, this is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

Fianna Fáil has called for an anti-prostitution law to be reviewed, because of the consequences it has on sex workers who live together.  The main opposition party has suggested that it would be open to considering decriminalising sex workers who live together.  The majority of Irish political parties want the government to review and possibly scrap a law which punishes sex workers who live together under a harsher “brothel keeping” offence which was brought in two yeas ago…It follows a high profile case earlier this summer where two migrant sex workers were both jailed for nine months after they were prosecuted for brothel keeping.  One of the women was pregnant when she was jailed…Sex worker advocates had warned at the time that most of the people who were being prosecuted for brothel-keeping were independent sex workers…B[u]t…Fianna Fáil had voted down the amendment…now…it wants the law to be reviewed, after…the “[wholly]…intended consequences” [became public]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#956)

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

Amazon Web Services…has rolled out more terrifying features for its cloud-based facial recognition system—including, it claims, the ability to detect fear…Emotion recognition is a facial analysis technique that…works by training a machine learning system to look for certain features on a detected face which indicate emotional content…Amazon has updated the range of detectable emotions for Rekognition’s face analysis to include “fear,” adding to a list of seven other emotional states: “Happy”, “Sad”, “Angry”, “Surprised”, “Disgusted”, “Calm”, and “Confused”…the efficacy of emotion recognition is in dispute…[but used by] government agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement…and Customs and Border Patrol…

Between the Lines (#962)

Liz Brown tries to assess the damage from the rebranded “Operation Cross Country” pogroms:

…The FBI no longer reports the number of adult sex workers whom these initiatives claim as collateral…However, local news and law enforcement agencies often do..in Alabama, 49 “sex workers and their facilitators” were arrested around the Birmingham area…[and] 14 [in Homewood]……Northern Ohio [arrested nine] women…Pennsylvania [two]…Mississippi [five]…In South Carolina [five]…In…Florida [three]…In the San Diego area, six…Louisiana…25…in Shreveport…and…seven…in Baton Rouge…Police have portrayed the 4-year-old [abducted from one of their victims] as being rescued from “human traffickers”…

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Mental gymnastics is the best exercise of all!  –  Elana Spivack

Drawing Lines 

In the 21st century, humor sites are more honest and moral than “news” sites:

…30-year-old Penelope Clemm has been pole dancing recreationally for three years now, but has harbored an internalized hatred for sex workers her entire life.  Clemm strikes a delicate balance of acknowledging how much she loves pole dancing, but dismissing every woman who makes money doing the same thing…“It’s definitely made me…feel sexy in a way that I never did before.  And yet, I still cannot conceptualize in the slightest how any self-respecting woman would do this for money”…like many people with deep-seated, internalized biases, Clemm had difficulty articulating why she holds this position. “It’s a matter of principle, and I have principles”…

Imaginary Victims (#904)

Naturally, the prohibitionists who didn’t give a shit until last year are claiming credit for her release:

Cyntoia Brown…whose case drew national attention [over a decade] after being sentenced to life in prison for killing a man [in self-defense] at age 16, was released on parole [last] Wednesday…She will be on parole for 10 years [with] conditions…includ[ing]…that she maintain employment [with a murder conviction on her record] or educational enrollment…that she participate in [approved state] counseling sessions…[and that] she…perform at least 50 hours of community service [while working or going to school], including working with at-risk youth…

Though parole conditions are often designed to make it easy for “authorities” to cage a person again with very little justification, Brown has a better chance than most due to support from allies and public attention to her case.

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Ever wonder why the government pushes “sex trafficking” propaganda so hard?

[Deranged propagandist] Jaco Booyens touted President Trump’s [“historic”] work in fighting sex trafficking and [fetishized] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as “incredible people” who helped keep children safe…His movie 8 Days [is soft BDSM porn about] a 15-year-old girl who’s forced into sex trafficking after attending a party with her friends…[yet claimed] that sex trafficking was rooted in sex addiction fueled by mass media…”It starts with…soft porn [like my movie], it’s the objectification of women”…

Blunt Instrument (#926)

While Asian sex workers are fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative, cops are trying to use that visibility against them:

Emily Zhang Lawrence…[was] charged with a number of criminal counts including human trafficking and prostitution…[after] the Montgomery County…Vice [gang raided her business]…Rose’s Spa…[pigs oinked] that the spa recruited its masseuse’s [sic] — all Chinese immigrants — from Flushing, New York.  The Queens neighborhood is known for being a [sister community to Hong Kong, where many Asian migrants first stay upon arriving in the US.  Racist pigs therefore refer to it as a] hub for…human trafficking…

Backwards into the Future (#927)

The prohibitionists are slowly losing ground to the facts:

South African authorities are compromising the safety and wellbeing of thousands of women…by treating sex work as a crime…We have researched illegal sex work in ChinaTanzaniaCambodiaSouth Africa, and the United States…and…we consistently find police abuse to be one of criminalization’s main cruelties.  Sex workers often face harassment, extortion, and rape, and vulnerability to violence…at the hands of…police…and…because they cannot trust members of law enforcement, they are deterred from reporting attacks by men who pretend to be clients…Fortunately, South Africa and the United States are both sites of growing movements to decriminalize sex work once and for all…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

Chinese authorities approached the family of an international student who participated in high-profile protests at an Australian university and warned his parents of the potential consequences of political dissent.  The…intimidation tactics [demonstrate that] the Chinese government was monitoring the demonstration at the University of Queensland to record who attended…last month’s event [was held] to show support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and to condemn Beijing’s repression of the Uighur ethnic minority group…within days of the rally the student received a call from his mother in China to say the family had been approached by…authorities [who] issued [threats] about engaging in “anti-China rhetoric” in Brisbane…[Australian politicians claimed to be] alarmed by [China following precedents set by] Australia…

If you like the precedent that a country owns its citizens and has the “right” to punish them for acts which were totally legal in the place they happened, thank the international war on whores.  Australia is especially hypocritical in this respect, given that since 2010, Australians who hire surrogate mothers outside of Australia can be penalized under Australian law.

Negative Secondary Effects (#937)

It’s great to see sex workers striking back at prohibitionist persecution:

…Not Buying It, a group led by well-known [prohibitionist] Sasha Rakoff has been terrorizing gentlemen’s clubs across England in recent months, by sending in undercover former police detectives to covertly film inside…The resultant tapes have been submitted to local councils in a bid to get the establishments shut down…Now, nine dancers at the Spearmint Rhino in London…have sued Not Buying It for breach of privacy, demanding that all existing tapes be destroyed.  An earlier High Court ruling had already banned Rakoff from further sharing the tapes, so the strippers’ chances of getting their way in the high-profile case, the costs of which are likely to bankrupt the losing side, are more than fair…

Pyrrhic Victory (#960)

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

Amazon[‘s]…Neighbors app…allows people to report suspicious things to…neighbors [and cops, mostly]…the existence of brown people…Government agencies participating in the Ring handouts are given talking points, pre-written press releases, and contractual obligationsAmazon has even crafted scripts for [cops]…to use when questioned…or…to talk people out of their Constitutional rights…”Ring suggests cops post often on Neighbors…interacting with the [peasantry so as to]…increas[e] the opt-in rate”…(There are scripts for that as well)…

Turn of Tide (#961)

The “sex trafficking” narrative has been so successful, prohibitionist rhetoric is now being used to attack the way the state persecutes sex workers:

L.A.’s anti-sex trafficking efforts…ensnare…female sex workers far more often than any traffickers, and the women arrested rarely end…up in programs designed to [brainwash] them out of the sex trade…While black women make up around 9% of the city’s female population, they account for nearly 65% of the LAPD’s female prostitution arrests…It adds up to a high-profile effort to target human traffickers and save victims that’s causing collateral damage…City officials [pre]tend that policing the sex trade is one of the best methods for rescuing trafficking victims…[but those] with a front row seat have a different perspective…Dr. Susie Baldwin, the medical director of L.A. County’s Office of Women’s Health…[said] “All of this money is going to arrest people…leaving them with severe consequences for their lives”…law enforcement…[intentionally] conflate[s] trafficking and prostitution, painting all sex work as exploitative and doubling down on vice arrests under the guise of trafficking enforcement…

The idea that sex workers are “collateral damage” in a well-intentioned war on “sex trafficking” is of course naive nonsense; the entire purpose of the narrative is to harm sex workers and our clients.  But if the gullible are going to use those fantasies to strike back at pigs and prohibitionists, I’m not going to complain.

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Police are a substantial cause of death…for lots of people. – Frank Edwards

The Cop Myth

1/3 of all Americans killed by strangers are murdered by cops:

…[an average of 3.25] Americans are killed by police every day…of all the homicide victims in the United States, police kill an estimated six percent…But the actual numbers are likely higher…government data is woefully inadequate, so the best available datasets have been created by journalist-driven public programs…In a [new] study…in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of sociologists and criminal justice researchers…determined that police violence is one of the leading causes of death of young men in the United States.  Overall, it’s estimated that the mortality rate is about 1.8 per 100,000 for men between the ages of 25 and 29.  This ranks police…as the sixth leading cause of death for young men, placing it behind…suicide and “accidents” — a category that includes drug overdoses and car accident deaths…

Stalkers in Blue

With modern surveillance and data processing, no woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

…Scott Martin of the Ringgold [Georgia] Police Department [was fired]…for…a pattern of stalking, sexual advances, and abuse of authority…Martin…found [one victim] on Facebook…and repeatedly [messaged her to] suggest…that she sleep with his wife….Martin [stalked] the second victim, a college instructor, through her Linkedin page.  He…[even] sat in her class about gender and sexuality…she tried to avoid him.  The third victim [was a]…bank [teller whom]…he [messaged] on Snapchat…request[ing nudes and sending her a dick pic]…He eventually married one of her former coworkers and added her as a friend on their joint Facebook account…[then] continued to ask for sexual favors…The fourth victim…said Martin continuously followed her at [her city job] and…repeatedly…questioned her intentions when he saw her at the grocery store or gas station…Martin was supposed to be one of her points of official contact if she [was] ever [sexually harassed] at work…[before] Martin…[became a cop he tried teaching but]…was fired…[for sexting] a female student.  At another job…he rep[ea]tedly made…sexual remark[s] toward a…female co[worker]…

Banishment (#882)

Threatening landlords to get them to evict sex workers is a popular pig trick:

Billings…[Montana pigs], prosecutors and [prohibitionists promoted “pimp” propaganda to politicians to push]…the passage of two new laws [persecuting]…property owners who are collecting rent from…businesses [the pigs want punished]…In California, the Sacramento City Council has proposed some form of [persecution of] massage parlor landlords…In New York City, [pigs]…have [done the same] to [get around the necessity of] prov[ing anything]…Polaris Project, a national [prohibitionist profiteer gang]…has also called for greater [persecution] of…property owners…

On Tape

Where did Trump get these exaggerated ideas about how “sex trafficking victims” are treated?  IT’S A MYSTERY!  “Sandy Middleton…[of] the Center for Violence Prevention [in Mississippi]..said…’These girls are starved, beaten, raped, chained to trees and locked in trunks’“…

End Demand (#939)

Mar Brettmann is a sleazy opportunist who will say anything to sell her anti-whore snake oil:

Mar Brettmann…of the Seattle-based Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking, which [among other obscenities spreads lurid propaganda about sex workers]…to hotels—share[s her disgusting sexual fantasies about sex workers as though they were facts, because she knows most people are too gullible to as for evidence of any kind, such as names, links to police reports or even the places these lurid tales are supposed to have occurred]…BEST is one of the [profiteers making a killing from the] American Hotel & Lodging Association’s No Room for Trafficking campaign…[others] include ECPAT-USA…and Polaris…In addition, some [ambulance-chasers]…have filed lawsuits against hotel owners and operators

Top Cop (#944)

One can never have too many attacks on this power-hungry sociopath:

…support for the Nordic Model fits with Harris’s self-branding as a “progressive prosecutor” who offers a “smart on crime” third way between the excessively carceral conservatives and social justice-minded but squishy liberals.  It’s a schtick she’s carried over into her bid for Democrats’ 2020 presidential nod, after perfecting it during years as attorney general of California and district attorney of San Francisco…During [the] last…Democratic presidential debate, fellow candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard grilled Harris about her sordid record as top cop in California.  Harris “kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor”…and “put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations”, Gabbard said…All Harris offered in response was an insistence that she is “proud” of her record and, later, an ad hominem attack on Gabbard.  Meanwhile, Harris’s press secretary tweeted that Gabbard was supported by Russia…

Dangerous Speech (#950)

This excerpt from Reason‘s video “The War on Backpage is a War on Sex Workers” (click on subtitle link for complete video) discusses a subject long-time readers may remember:

Pyrrhic Victory (#955)

As I keep saying, it’s already far too late to stop this tyranny:

…if [you]’ve ever gotten a Michigan driver’s license or a state ID card…the State Police has [your] mug shot.  The…database may even contain [your] Facebook profile photo or another social media image…There are only about 8 million adults in Michigan, but there are nearly 50 million facial images in the MSP’s Statewide Network of Agency Photos (SNAP), with 2.7 million photos added to the database last year alone.  Though the MSP didn’t start using facial recognition technology until 2001, the Secretary of State’s Office has been giving State Police all its digital photos — without notice to motorists — since 1998…[and the] 2020 budget…gives [cops] more than half a million dollars to enhance the facial recognition search functions of the growing database…

Between the Lines (#960)

This is what the FBI meant by “re-evaluating” Operation Cross Country: changing its name and quadrupling its length and cost:

A monthlong FBI-led [pogrom] to…arrest sex [workers] and [infantilize them]…has resulted in [hundreds] of arrests [of adult sex workers] and…[103 underage sex workers]…The [rebranded] Operation Independence Day…[involved] more than 400 [gangs of violent thugs]…67 [other people were arrested and charged with vague “sex trafficking” crimes.  Beside the rebranding]…FBI field offices had a longer time window to plan and execute [pogroms] as part of the national initiative, with the goal being to [circumvent sex workers’ increased security measures by dragging the raids out long enough that marginalized workers become desperate]…

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[Government regulation of] encryption…[is] great, if your ideal gardening tool is a flamethrower.  –  Violet Blue

Under Every Bed

Some places are so small, they need to claim the whole COUNTY as a “sex trafficking hub”:

[Prohibitionist MacKrea “Cuckoo” Larue claims] Ohio is a hot spot for human trafficking because of its advanced [?] highway system, the fact that 60% of the U.S. population lives within an eight- to 10-hour drive…and the location of four international airports here…[prohibitionists pretend they “found”] nearly 50 online ads related to sex trafficking of minors in Tuscarawas County during a three-month period in the winter of 2015…23 were from Dover and 11 were up and down the I-77 corridor [because 44 is “nearly 50”, I guess]…“The biggest feeder for this is child pornography”…

Others do the same while claiming to be talking about just a town:

Clinton [Mississippi pigs oinked, bloviated and shared masturbatory fantasies about Hinds County’s] first-ever [prostitution sting to be relabeled a] human trafficking operation….The I-20 corridor is a thoroughfare for traffickers as they travel the country…

Naturally, both blame interstate highways as the cause.

Checklist (#704)

Apparently, Canadian “authorities” think their target audience is too stupid to read static posters, so they made a moving one:

A…video [ad displaying anti-sexwork propaganda]…could soon show up in your social media feed, now that a [commercial]…displayed at [Canadian] rest area locations is [loose]…The 14-second video was [released in] July…and…was created by a…[prohibitionist gang]…called Courage for Freedom.  The group [spreads the usual propaganda trying to convince the gullible]…”that [there] are criminal[s] actively working to recruit and isolate young people”…[the group believes that] “It doesn’t matter [who sex workers] are — to [us], they’re a commodity to make money.  [We] will go after anybody that [we] think [we] can coerce and manipulate to make money”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

Sex dolls have existed for over a century, but nobody cared until our current global Neo-Victorian Era:

A petition calling for a ban on importing life-size sex dolls into South Korea has gathered nearly a quarter million signatures…passing a threshold that requires the president’s office to respond to the matter.  While sex dolls are not illegal in South Korea, government customs agencies had blocked their import under a law that restricts materials that “corrupt public morals.”  However, the Seoul High Court said in January that sex dolls were for personal use and should be treated differently than pornography, which is heavily restricted under South Korean law.  That decision was upheld by the supreme court in June.  The ruling has sparked a backlash [from puritanical busybodies]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#781)

More idiocy from megalomaniacs who think they control the laws of nature:

US Attorney General Barr [bloviated] that Big Tech “can and must” [somehow magically] put backdoors into encryption [but make them only accessible to the government]…likening the hard facts of computer science to a set of [political] beliefs…The AG’s remarks were reminiscent of former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s unforgettable line regarding encryption backdoors, that “the laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia”…under the Australian laws [which resulted from that delusional attitude], companies can be compelled to install malware on their users’ devices…[censor] messages…[or even spy on] the end-user…as a result [Australian companies were forced]…to build data centers [outside Australia in order to avoid]…the creation of “systemic weaknesses” in their products…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

Since billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s loathesome “bots” aren’t scaring clients away, the pigs now pretend they were a major factor in “stings” so as to make them seem scarier:

More than 500 people [including many sex workers] were arrested in a national [pogrom]…the so-called “National Johns Suppression Initiative”…was conducted in 11 states by 26 [gangs of thugs]…six [of the gangs] used fake internet ads that linked to AI bots…[but most arrests were from the typical] street-level…stings [that victimize black and Hispanic people disproportionately]…eight [of the victims] were charged with [talking to an adult pig using them for non-consensual age play] and 18 [were] charged with trafficking [whatever that means.  The arrestees]…includ[ed] three minors [in the entire country]…The AI bot, [paid for by a deranged billionaire]…interacts with [peaceful individuals by deceiving them]…and eventually [bombarding their phones with unwanted BDSM sex fantasies]…The bot [sent such porn to] over 1,100 people in Cook County alone…

Turn of Tide

Though I despise the vague, pejorative term “trafficking” because it means whatever cops, prosecutors, politicians and profiteers want it to mean, the official narrative is backfiring.  Prohibitionists have been so successful in attaching the term “trafficking” to sex work conducted by abused people, women with addiction issues and other marginalized folks, and so victorious in convincing the Great Unwashed that there is a dark-skinned “pimp” hiding behind every survival sex worker no matter what the women say about their lives and experiences, that their own rhetoric is now being used to attack the way that the state persecutes sex workers.  Take this story in GQ, for example; though some variation on the word “traffick” (“trafficker”, “trafficking”, “trafficked”, etc) appears no fewer than 35 times in this relatively-short article (as many as six times a paragraph, which would’ve earned them no better than a “C” in my composition class because such repetition is both boring and annoying), and the authors obediently parrot “international trafficking ring” wanking fantasies as “facts” while simultaneously admitting that there’s no proof for any of it, the central argument isn’t much different from that made by countless sex worker activists: caging sex workers helps nobody but those who profit from the carceral system.  And when the relentless logic of their own mythology leads “trafficking” True Believers to support decriminalization, the days of the moral panic (if not the machinery of injustice it was used to build) are numbered.

The Widening Gyre (#882)

Snopes quotes a giant lie while debunking one tiny subsidiary one:

Human trafficking affects millions of people worldwide, but it’s also the frequent subject of viral scarelore…One such story went viral in October 2018 and again in late July 2019 when social media users shared a meme stating that human traffickers were leaving zip ties…on homes, mailboxes, and cars, of potential female victims to either mark them as targets or distract and abduct them for sex-trafficking purposes when the women try to remove the ties.  The hoax initially centered on San Angelo, Texas…but police there quickly debunked it…

Yes, the once-useful Snopes quoted both fascist scaremonger Polaris and the propaganda-spreading cops as credible sources even though both play a large part in creating the moral panic from which the scarelore springs.

The Course of a Disease (#927)

“Rehabilitation” = “re-education”, AKA “reprogramming” (ie psychological torture):

A[n Israeli] government plan to rehabilitate sex workers has yet to be implemented as most of the funding for the program has not been disbursed…The [scheme]…mandated the establishment of [prisons] and [brainwashing] programs for prostitutes, the expansion of…medical [prison] facilities and the drawing up of [propaganda]…Its approval came shortly after the Knesset passed a law penalizing the solicitation of prostitution…The purpose of the plan [is] to [force] sex workers [into low-paid menial “women’s work”]…

To Molest and Rape (#949)

Just another typical, representative cop:

A Florida state trooper has been arrested for [raping a 14-year-old]…in the back of his car parked in a public gas station…Riley Marcus Schwarz…was busted after the girl’s parents found her journal detailing the numerous times [she was raped by the pig]…Schwarz admitted to [raping] the girl “six to eight times”…and [amazingly]…was immediately fired by the Florida Highway Patrol…

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Last week, I mentioned that I had done a lecture at the University of Michigan via video link.  Unfortunately, our connection was poor, so I had to keep restating points that were lost when the signal dropped; this ate up the time we had for questions, so I asked the teacher to collect student questions and I would answer them via email.  Most of the questions were ones I’ve answered in other places, and though that’s also mostly true of this one, I don’t recall ever directly answering it in one go:  How does violence against women change with different regulatory regimes?

When the demand for anything is inflexible, as in the case of sex and drugs, prohibition does nothing to curtail that demand; what happens instead is a black market develops to supply the commodity.  And because black markets are illegal, there is no way for those involved in them to call upon courts, lawyers, etc to settle trade disputes.  That means violence, and such markets also tend to draw people who aren’t afraid of breaking the law (which of course includes career criminals).  Alcohol prohibition is a fine example: in the 1920s, if one wanted some booze one had to deal directly or indirectly with bootleggers or smugglers, and turf wars became very bloody indeed.  But after Prohibition ended in December 1933, that all ended practically overnight; when was the last time you heard of a turf war between bars or liquor stores?  Similarly, sex workers who are raped, robbed, or otherwise harmed by violent men cannot go to the police at all under criminalization because they will be arrested for prostitution.  Under most forms of legalization they usually don’t dare, because even though selling sex isn’t illegal the cops may spy on them afterward to catch them in some prohibited behavior such as working together for safety or having dependents.  That’s also true under the Swedish model, and in addition the cops use sex workers as non-consenting bait to catch clients; that in itself increases violence against street workers in particular because the clients are afraid of busy, well-lit areas so they need to move to darker, quieter ones.  All these factors also draw rapists, robbers and serial killers, because they know it’s less likely they will be caught if they prey upon women the law defines as “criminals”.  Only under decriminalization, in which sex work is treated as work, are sex workers free to take whatever precautions they feel necessary without violating some law, and can call on the police if they wish (though I personally advise against that course of action).

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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If we’re going to protect the most marginalized workers, we have to give them the same rights as everyone else.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Buried Truth

A rare female example of the McNeill Rule:

A Christian school kindergarten teacher in the Chicago suburbs is facing charges related to sexual assault and child pornography…Shannon Griffin is the wife of the pastor of Jordan Baptist Church…She…“sent nude pictures and videos of herself to and requested nude pictures from [two young students]…and…also…molest[ed one of the students] start[ing] in 2013 and continu[ing] until earlier this year…Griffin [was known] for being really strict when it came to dress code violations.  “She would…tell…us how to dress…how to be modest, and be Christian women”…said [one student]…Parent…Mike Mollo…found out when his son showed him naked videos and pictures of Griffin…

Broken Record (#659) 

Small cities trying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria need to recycle their propaganda:

Water Follies brings thousands of people to the Tri-Cities, and that means…sex trafficking.  “[Imaginary sex slaves I fantasize about said]…that during…boat races they would have to service a lot more customers,” [panted] Tricia MacFarlan…of Mirror Ministries…MacFarlan [vomited out a lot of tired, thoroughly-debunked nonsense about]…an increase in sex trafficking during large events, and [inanimate, doll-like “slaves”]…being advertised…Mirror Ministries [capitalizes on the hysteria in all the typical ways, including propaganda sessions for the very stupid, sharing sex fantasies about]…runaway children…[handing out] soaps that have a [phone number for people too stupid to remember the numbers “nine one one”, and planting “sex trafficking” porn] in [hotel] rooms…

Between the Lines (#843)

Last year the FBI was bragging about the “success” of its annual pogroms.  But now:

The FBI launched [Operation Cross Country] over a decade ago to [unconstitutionally funnel federal funds into persecuting peaceful individuals using state laws]…but…now the Bureau is evaluating its effectiveness…1374 individual[s have been accused of]…traffick[ing]…since Operation Cross Country began in 2007….[roughly] 1000 [underage sex workers] have been [arresed and caged, while many thousands of adult sex workers have been brutalized and outed, while their children are abucted by the state and their lives are destroyed.  But sex workers have become warier of the usual stupid pig tricks are screening more effectively, with the result that]…arrests [have] dropp[ed] nearly 50 percent [in the past three years]…they are trying to re-evaluate the [scheme] to see what improvements could be made [to trap innocent people more effectively]…

Business As Usual (#905)

Columbus is still pretending it’s going to “do something” about its rapist vice pig problem:

Columbus Police is [talking about the possibility of slapping]…five [pigs on their wrists] over the [politically-motivated] 2018 arrest of…Stormy Daniels.  Interim [Swineherd] Tom Quinlan announced the [so-called] charges…[yet is keeping the names of the accused pigs secret]…each of the [pigs] will receive a hearing [with other pigs and bureaucrats], after which Quinlan will make a recommendation for [wrist-slapping].  Based on that recommendation, [an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat] will make the ultimate decision about suspensions, demotions or terminations…

Lack of Evidence (#915)

A small victory for sex workers in California:

…California Governor Gavin Newsom…sign[ed] legislation that would increase protections for people working in the commercial sex trade…Senate Bill 233…protects sex workers from arrest on prostitution- and drug-related charges if they come forward as victims of [certain specific crimes]…It also bans the use of condoms as evidence of sex work, a police practice sex workers have long said compromises their health and safety

On the one hand, a law is better than a non-binding “policy” which can be changed at a whim.  But I’m still extremely skeptical of the “immunity” portion of this law, which could easily be circumvented by charging the sex worker with “sex trafficking” rather than simple prostitution using any of the myriad excuses available to cops.  I really hope I’m wrong.

False Target (#917)

The predictable result of European countries denying queer people asylum:

A [lesbian] who was unlawfully deported from the UK has described how she was gang-raped and has lived in perpetual fear since being sent back to Uganda six years ago.  The British government was ordered by the High Court…to help the 26-year-old return to the UK on the grounds that its decision to reject her asylum claim was unlawful.  The landmark ruling could open the door to thousands of similar challenges.  The [woman]…also [got]…pregnant and ha[d] a child, who is now four months old, as a result of the sexual assault…she…arrived in the UK in 2011 and claimed asylum on the basis that she was a lesbian and would be at risk of persecution in Uganda.  But this was refused…because the Home Office [pretended] she was [was not queer]…the Home Office has decided to appeal the decision [so as to]…sen[d her] back to Uganda [to be raped] again…

I Saw My Brain (#940)

The Robert Kraft pogrom seems to have attracted the media’s attention to the psychopathic Grady Judd:

Sheriff Grady Judd [pretends his anti-whore pogroms are intended]…“to rescue victims of human trafficking”…Yet…only three people out of the 154 arrested [in May]…were considered possible victims of human trafficking…and…[they] were charged with unspecific crimes [anyhow]…their mugshots were displayed on a banner during the sheriff’s press conference and subsequently published online by local newspapers…Judd insisted that many of the women arrested were victims of human trafficking [even though his own department said otherwise]…Operations that purport to target human trafficking but yield mass arrests for prostitution-related offenses are commonplace in Florida…

Rough Trade (#942)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who raped two European women who were working as prostitutes in Ireland has been jailed for 20 years after the judge described the crimes as a “vicious and shocking”…Justice Tara Burns said that Gheorghe Goidan…had…clearly targeted them because he thought they would not be believed.  “He clearly thought they were mere dirt to rob and steal from [because Irish law defines them as moral imbeciles]”…the judge said…

Pyrrhic Victory (#957)

More on Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops to end privacy forever:

Amazon’s [self-surveillance] company Ring has enlisted local police departments around the country to advertise its surveillance cameras in exchange for free Ring products and a “portal” that allows police to [demand] footage from these cameras, a secret agreement obtained [via public records request]…requires police to “keep the terms of this program confidential”…A signed memorandum…between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida…show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm.  Police are contractually required to “[Frighten] the Lakeland community with [threats and propaganda] to encourage adoption of the platform/app”…Ring [gave] 15…surveillance cameras to the Lakeland Police Department, and…for every Lakeland resident that downloads [the] Neighbors [self-surveillance app]…the Lakeland Police Department gets…[a] $10 [coupon for buying more]…Ring cameras”…[at the full] $130 [retail price]…

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Why is it only that sex workers should be the ones to have a skill set but give services away for free?  –  Phoenix Calida

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Truthful headline: “Police Pay Man to Rape Immigrant Women”:

A[n Ohio] woman was arrested [after cops paid someone to violate her at her]…massage parlor…Ping Wei, 53…[was victimized and accused without tangible evidence by a so-called] confidential informant…

Feminine Pragmatism 

One day, “People have to work to make money” will be recognized as the non-news it is:

Increasing numbers of women in low-paid jobs who have children are being forced to [find more remunerative work] to survive…[demand for one flexible work-from-home job] has risen by 29 per cent in the past year alone…[but] women [a]re now having to work longer hours for less money due to the market…becoming increasingly saturated…

Buried Truth

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

…Tennessee [politician] Bill Sanderson resigned…[after] Grindr messages and nude photos…exposed the fact that he’s a closeted hypocrite with a gay son who has voted against every LGBTQ issue that has come before him…He has [also] been a co-sponsor of some of the most extreme anti-abortion legislation, including this year’s heartbill bill…Sanderson has voted against…bills that would have given access to bathrooms to trans students, blasted the SCOTUS marriage ruling, voted to support allowing adoption agencies to discriminate against gay couples, supported a bill allowing therapists to discriminate against gay people, and voted agaisnt allowing municipalities in Tennessee to enact LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances…in his 2013 Grindr profile, which could be seen by anyone using the app, he writes…“I really haven’t had a connection with a guy and I have a burning desire to have that relationship. I like down and dirty guy to guy play too! So, I guess you might say, nothing will be held back …” (Sanderson says he did not write this)

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

Jarrett Leaman…is…a typical college student…[whose] only prior involvement with police is two speeding tickets.  On June 29, he was arrested for public drunkenness…the next thing he remembers is waking up in a jail cell at 5 a.m., covered in blood, bumps, and bruises…[while he was passed-out drunk, multiple screws and one pig] pummeled [him] to the ground, face down on the cement floor…[attorney Leticia] Chavez-Freed…saw it on video…as part of a [so-called] internal investigation…“They put him into a chair. They strap him in. His hands are behind his back and, again, the kicking, the hitting”…at least five [screws] and one [pig] participated in the beating…a spit mask was also placed on Leaman’s head, even though he was barely conscious…at one point…the [pig]…and [one of the screws] lifted the mask from Leaman’s head to take a picture of his injuries like a “hunting trophy”…

New Excuse

Sometimes the War on Whores is the War on Drugs rather than its successor:

[Politician] Sherrod Brown…reintroduced a [US Senate] bill that would officially [conflate selling]…drugs [with] human trafficking, thereby making it easier to [load extra charges onto young black men that cops or] prosecut[ors wish to target]…”Ohioans are bought and sold in our own backyards”…[Brown idiotically bloviated while making furtive movements in his pants pockets.]  Brown’s bill, called the Protect Act, would officially list drug addiction as a method of coercing someone into either commercial sexual acts or other forced labor against their will…

A Moral Cancer (#583)

No, you can’t “save the planet” by going vegan:

…some activists are propagating the idea that everyone on the planet should go vegetarian or even vegan…The former head of the United Nations’ climate change organization, for example, suggested that meat-eaters should be made to feel like pariahs…[such rhetoric] blithely ignores the reality that…we can’t stop temperature rises with our diets…A systematic peer-review of studies of going vegetarian shows that a non-meat diet will likely reduce an individual’s emissions by…just 4.3%…In a first world setting, the reality is that [your share of corporate pollution]…means [lifelong veganism would] reduce your emissions by about 2%, according to a study of the environmental impact of Swedish vegetarians…

Also: veganism does not reduce animal deaths and environmental damage; it increases them.

Between the Ears (#858)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

Apple’s Siri AI assistant sends audio of sexual encounters, embarrassing medical information, drug deals, and other private moments recorded without users’ knowledge to human “graders” for evaluation, a whistleblower has revealed…contractors around the world…grade the AI based on the quality of its response and whether its activation was deliberate…accidental activations are much more frequent than Apple lets on, especially with Apple Watch users…In what sounds like a sick joke on the part of some programmer, the sound of a zipper unzipping often triggers Siri to wake up…While Apple emphasized that a user’s Apple ID and name are not attached to clips reviewed by contractors…the company is aware of how easily even a recording stripped of its user ID can be connected to the user who made it…Amazon’s Alexa infamously has entire chat rooms for its human trainers to discuss difficult-to-understand audio clips (or mock funny recordings) and Google Home uses a similar system of outsourced “language experts” that allows the company to claim that no one at Google has access to the recordings its devices make…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Puritan fanatics have given tyrants an accusation they can hurl at nearly anyone:

A 9-year-old American citizen on her way to school was a[rrested] by [border patrol thugs] and [locked in a cage like an animal] for some 32 hours before she was released back to her family…[“authorities”] later [bloviated] that the girl, who was carrying a U.S. passport card with her, gave “inconsistent information”…Julia Isabel Amparo Medina …her 14-year-old brother and two friends were being driven to school by the friends’ mom from their home in Tijuana to San Ysidro…Thousands of people travel through the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing daily for school or work.  When traffic slowed to a crawl, the mom told the children to walk across the border so they wouldn’t be late.  A…[pig] detained Medina, saying she didn’t look like the photo on her passport card…Medina’s brother, who is also a U.S. citizen, said [thugs]…demanded he sign a paper saying that his sister was really his cousin…[threatening him with prison and telling the boy] “they were going to charge him [with]…sex trafficking”…

I’m not sure why it took four months for this story to gain traction, but I’m suspending my usual rule about not sharing stories more than a month or so old.

Still Consenting

Phoenix Calida on the absurdity of a sex-work-free “Utopia”:

Many on the left have told me that sex outside of procreation or love is icky.  They say that…non-male people, should not be allowed to be fully in charge of their…sexual lives…they insist sex workers are bad because they commodify sex and the soul, meaning sex workers have been made into objects, and are no longer humans…the left dreams of a post-revolution utopia where people only have sex for free and for love…The idea that sex work will cease to exist after capitalism falls has always been bizarre, since trading sex existing before capitalism did.  No matter how many times I am told that the revolution will end sex work, I’ve yet to be provided with realistic scenarios of how that will happen…

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