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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

It makes partisans and other tribalists nuts that my positions are based in principles and probable results rather than tribe-membership & “sending messages”.  That’s why they (idiotically) try to shame me out of my positions instead of intellectually challenging them; no sooner do they think they “have my number” than I say, write or tweet something that the partisan brain is unable to process.  See, all tribalists have a blind spot:  they assume their own tribe, group, party, sect, etc is good and right and can be trusted with power, while their designated “them” group is wholly and completely bad and wrong and in need of Punishment.  So if I tweet about LGBT rights, but then say I think it’s wrong (not to mention a fucking waste of everyone’s time) to use the power of the state to destroy an anti-queer bigot, some people are completely unable to comprehend why I don’t see a cake-baker in Colorado as the Second Coming of Hitler.  The other day there was a big hulabaloo about that rich kid who didn’t get to go to Harvard because he made racist tweets a year and a half ago, and once again the partisans were confused that I retweeted tweets mocking the situation; tweets pointing out the incredible hypocrisy of politicians for saying “Should someone’s mistake at 16 destroy his whole future?” while also thinking it’s hunky-dory to put 14-year-olds on trial as adults; and tweets saying it’s a bit creepy that people now go trolling through others’ social media histories for the express purpose of ruining the target’s life, and institutions eagerly oblige the snitch.  Partisans don’t see the principles at stake here; all they see is a reprehensible person that they want to see hurt, so they completely forget that a weapon once given to the state can never be taken away.  Someone argued that in the kid’s case, the comments were made only 18 months ago and were therefore basically the present.  I replied, “If you think it’ll stop at 18 months, 18 years or even 18 decades, you haven’t been paying attention.”  Also: I’m quite sure a prosecutor wouldn’t accept, “But she would’ve been of age in 18 months!” as a defense.  Either people below the magic Instant of Shazam are helpless, incompetent “children” incapable of decision-making, or they aren’t; you can’t have it both ways without hypocrisy.  If it’s wrong for Christian bigots to use government violence against LGBT people, it’s also wrong for vengeful LGBT people to use government violence against Christian bigots.  But people don’t see it this way; oh, everybody tells their kids “two wrongs don’t make a right”, but they don’t really believe it.  What they believe in is us vs. them, and that it’s perfectly OK to use state violence against “them”…regardless of the consequences to everyone.

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The best way to avoid breaches of sensitive personal data is not to collect and retain such data in the first place.  –  Neema Singh Guliani

Lack of Evidence 

Stigma against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Sexual violence is a serious problem across the world, but in the last few years, it has taken a particularly strange form in…Kigoma [Tanzania, where]…scores of women have similar accounts of rapists breaking into their homes, covered in grease.  The first attacks of this kind reportedly occurred around 2014 and have increased ever since.  The attackers – known locally as Teleza, which refers to the fact that they cover themselves in oil – typically break into the homes of women in the night.  They are often armed and threaten violence, sometimes leaving the survivors with life-threatening injuries…Annagrace Rwehumbiza…says…“Initially these men only targeted single women, almost like they wanted to punish them for not adhering to the norms of society by getting married…At some point this changed.  Suddenly even married women were being targeted”…Many who have reported their rapes to the police have been branded as sex workers and not been taken seriously.  It was only when a group of survivors spoke out together in front of the press in 2016 that any action was first taken, though it was only temporary…

Universal Criminality

Ever wondered how bureaucrats came up with over 300,000 “crimes”?

To Molest and Rape (#755) 

Some Louisiana cops prefer to rape by proxy:

A Louisiana sheriff’s deputy…coerc[ed] a woman to perform a sex act on her 1-year-old son…Shaderick Jones…filmed…Iyehesa Todd…[after telling] her he wouldn’t arrest her for an open warrant she had for a traffic ticket if she performed a sexual act on her child…[the victim] has been charged with first-degree rape and…the Department of Children and Family Services [abducted her] child…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#841) 

The only sex workers excluded from New Zealand decrim are migrants:

Seven migrant sex workers have been deported from Dunedin, due to a section of New Zealand law…[which] encourages blackmail and exploitation, and which was last year called into question by the United Nations.  Those seven, along with at least two from Queenstown and 24 from Christchurch forced to leave the country since 2017, were deported due to Section 19 of the Prostitution Reform Act…[which] forbids migrants on temporary visas from engaging in sex work, though it is legal for New Zealand citizens and residents…

Out of Control (#844) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A gynecologist who worked nearly 30 years at UCLA’s student health clinic, until retiring last year amid a misconduct investigation, is accused of sexually abusing patients…James Heaps…is charged with…sexual battery by fraud and…sexual exploitation by a physician…

The Prudish Giant (#873)

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

Makenna Kelly, a 13-year-old YouTuber who has attracted over 1.5 million subscribers to her “Life With MaK” ASMR channel, is vowing to quit the platform in protest against what she and her mother say are overly strict content guidelines that have resulted in several of her videos being removed…12 of her ASMR videos have been taken down in the past three months alone…[a video of her eating] honeycomb…attracted over 13.9 million views before it was removed [because a censor at YouTube got an erection from watching it]…ASMR…[is often censored on] YouTube…[because] the content is…viewed by [repressed] people [as] sexual [and YouTube fears that sex rays emitted from “bad thoughts” could magically travel through the internet and somehow “harm”] children…

Pyrrhic Victory (#932)

Remember all those face pics that CBP pretends are “encrypted” and “only kept for a brief time”?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection…disclosed…that hackers have breached a database of travelers photos and license plates…[but refused] to say how many people…had their images stolen…In light of the fact that the CPB has been building an extensive photo database as part of its growing facial-recognition program, the privacy implications…[are] grave.  “This breach comes just as CBP seeks to expand its massive face recognition apparatus…[to include] social media identifiers,” said American Civil Liberties senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani…

Loose Cannons (#939)

In which a four-hour interrogation by armed thugs is downplayed as “urging”:

[Cops lied to a] Chinese masseuse…[claiming they would] give [her] an apartment….food and education [and overrule federal immigration restrictions if she pretended to be]…a human-trafficking victim and [parrot whatever lies cops made up] against [her employers]…Over four hours, the masseuse would [be grilled by] three [cops], two [government-employed] social workers and a [government-employed] translator…The [interrogation was another part of the horrifying behavior of]…Martin County [cops in their effort to frame Chinese businesspeople as international gangsters]…Martin Sheriff William Snyder [is still pretending] the women are trafficking victims [even though they have repeatedly told cops they aren’t.  During the interrogation pigs oinked nonsense about a]…dream job [in addition to shaming and infantilizing an adult woman]…the masseuse [repeatedly told a Mandarin-oinking pig that]…she is not a victim but…is being treated like a criminal…She wants a lawyer…

Luckily for her, this masseuse was raised in a place where very few people are foolish enough to believe cops and other government operatives are on their side.

O, Canada! (#943)

Canadian cops love to harass and intimidate sex workers & call it “help”:

Sex workers and their advocates are criticizing [a recurring] police [intimidation campaign.  This time cops]…are talking to employees of hotels, bars, and other locations about how to identify sex workers and [rat them out to the pigs]…Sandra Wesley…of…Stella…said… “unwanted contact with police only increases [sex workers’] marginalization”…[cops] are also taking detailed notes on employees in strip clubs and massage parlours, including photographing tattoos and piercings…”The pretense that making databases of sex workers and raiding our workplaces and asking every hotel worker and taxi driver to denounce us to police [is intended] to protect us is absurd” said Wesley…

While cops pretend “sex workers…are only interviewed on a voluntary basis, and…given a stamp as an ‘efficient’ way of keeping track of who they’ve spoken to”, the truth (as usual) is much nastier:

…[cops] asked the women questions about their children, stamped their wrists and told them they were creating the database of sex workers…so they can identify them “when they inevitably turn up dead”…Wesley…calls the tactics dehumanizing and dystopian.  [Cops pretend] they’re not keeping [the] database [that they’re creating] and are mostly trying to identify [nonexistent] minors working at strip clubs…

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

Dysphemisms Galore 

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

If Men Were Angels 

You mean he wasn’t a “youth pastor”?

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

Where Are the Protests? (#596)

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

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

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

Unchristian Nation (#838)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

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

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

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

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

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

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

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

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

Where Are the Victims? (#906)

This is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

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

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

The Course of a Disease (#932)

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

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

Disaster (#941)

Facebook’s policies make harassing and exploiting women easy:

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

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Those who engage in sex work are our constituents.  –  Brianne Nadeau

Surplus Women

The only way pigs want to “make sure you’re safe” is by locking you in a cell:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said they are looking for a potential serial killer and rapist that is operating on the city’s east side…the investigation…started several months ago…on March 19…Nancy Harrison…was [found naked and cops tried to pass it off as]…a drug overdose…[even though] she [had] suffered blunt force trauma…The body of the second victim, Travesene Ellis, was found on May 24…[then on June 5th] a woman’s decomposed naked body was found inside a vacant [house.  Cops]…believe…the suspect is targeting women in their early 50s and luring them to vacant dwellings…all three victims are believed to be sex workers…Police are asking sex workers to come forward with any information.  “We’re not here to arrest you, we’re going to make sure you’re safe,” he [lied]…

King of the Hill

There is exactly one highway which runs from Halifax, Nova Scotia to the mainland:

[Cops and “rescue” profiteers fantasize that] human traffickers are moving…[passive, doll-like] young girls — from Nova Scotia…to Montreal and Toronto, but it’s difficult to analyze the pattern in those stories as there is no [actual] data…on [the imaginary phenomenon]…the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCEHT)…is working on a study of the “high-incident” human trafficking corridor…between Halifax and Toronto…One stop on the road…is the town of Truro, N.S. (population 12,261), where the staff at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre have started to [brainwash women into thinking they]…have been sexually trafficked…[prohibitionist] Margaret Mauger said…”Truro has become…a hub for human trafficking”…She said most [women] don’t think of [their jobs]…as sexual trafficking, so she tries to [convince them otherwise]…

Buried Truth 

Accurate headline: “Man Loses Job After Refusing to Pay His Tab While Drunk”:

A Catholic school principal from Louisiana has resigned from his job after he was arrested at a Washington D.C. strip club…Michael Comeau…principal at Holy Family School near Baton Rouge, refused to pay his bill at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club…[while] blocking a roadway outside and refusing to move.  He was…arrested…[for] public intoxication and possession of an open container…

Pyrrhic Victory (#683)

When they smash down your door in the middle of the night, murder your dogs, terrorize your family and embroil you in a decade-long court battle which will utterly bankrupt you because some computer decided you look like somebody who supposedly broke some law, don’t say I didn’t warn you:

The FBI cops to the fact that its database of mugshots…has about 36 million entries…But that’s the tip of the iceberg.  Gretta Goodwin…[of] the Government Accountability Office (GAO), told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee…that the FBI can scan about 640 million pictures, including not just mugshots but driver’s licenses and passport photos…the FBI has “strict policies” governing the use of such technology, [claimed] a spokesman for an agency that is exceedingly well-known for what the American Civil Liberties Union calls an “unchecked abuse of authority“…Kimberly Del Greco, a [boss spook]…at the FBI, said…facial recognition…is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can [basically mean whatever they want it to mean]…

Remember, the FBI classes all sex workers as “criminals” and defines our ads as “probable cause for sex trafficking investigation”.

Out of Control (#767)

When the sexual need to control others is frustrated, some really weird behavior can result:

Boise Police…arrested Jonathan Parker — a lobbyist and former Idaho Republican Party chairman…on a felony first-degree stalking charge…on or between May 16 and May 30, Parker “did knowingly and maliciously engage” in conduct that “seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed (his [estranged] wife) Kelly Parker”…[his] conduct included “repeatedly hiding in bushes, masturbating, disguising himself with a wig” at or near her apartment complex…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Casa Roja…is…the new centre for Ammar – the Argentina’s Women’s Sex Workers’ Union…Dramatic inflation (which reached nearly 50% last year), combined with a reduction in subsidies…have sent the cost of basic foodstuffs, electricity and water spiralling.  A third of the population are living in poverty…almost 50% of women are either unemployed or working informally without labour protection or a security net, and cuts to public sector jobs have been most pernicious in feminised occupations…To try to improve conditions for sex workers, Ammar opened the doors of the Casa Roja on 2 June, International [Whores’] Day.  The centre will offer health and mental health services and a place to drink coffee as winter draws in…“There will also be legal assistance…in the face of increasingly punitive policing in the area…Ammar has been one of the most successful sex workers’ organisations in the world.  Across Argentina it has integrated itself into the mainstream labour movement, decriminalised sex work in some provinces, and provided peer-to-peer support for more than 20 years…[by contrast] feminists in the UK have been slow to embrace sex workers as sisters in the struggle against gender and economic injustice.  A small number of groups have stood shoulder to shoulder with sex workers, but the story has largely been one of violence and exclusion…

Amnesty At Last (#831)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for four years now:

A bill that would decriminalize sex work in Washington D.C. will be reintroduced at the D.C. Council…this time with four councilmembers in support…Councilmembers David Grosso and Robert White…are now joined by…Anita Bonds and…Brianne Nadeau…last term, the original bill was sent to the Judiciary Committee, where it never got a hearing…Grosso modeled the bill after efforts in New Zealand…The legislation comes at a time when sex work-related charges have more than doubled…[from] 228 [in 2017]…to…551 [in 2018]…

Devil’s Advocate (#832) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Florida has banned childlike sex dolls…[anti-sex politician] Lauren Book, who introduced the bill, [also created a bill to put sex workers and clients on a public registry.  She fantasized that]…“Just as viewing child pornography [magically] lowers the inhibitions of child predators [via invisible sex rays emitted from the images], so do these childlike sex dolls”…opponents of the measure [correctly] argued that the dolls deter pedophilia by preventing child predators from acting out on their impulses with real children…

The worst part of these laws isn’t the ban itself, but rather the institutionalization of the dangerous and unscientific dogma that human beings are tabulae rasae who can be “perverted” by external stimuli and thereby “re-educated” via such brainwashing schemes as “john schools” and “gay conversion therapy”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

{Insert Ben Franklin quote about liberty and safety}:

The…Brazosport [Texas] Independent School District…hired a company called Social Sentinel to monitor public posts from all users, including adults, on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.  The company’s algorithms flagged [a woman’s comical] tweet [about her cats] as a potential threat…Among the other “threats” flagged by Social Sentinel [were]…tweets about the movie “Shooter,” the “shooting clinic” put on by…a…university…basketball team, and someone apparently pleased their credit score was “shooting up”…America’s schools…are hastily erecting a massive digital surveillance infrastructure…with [total and intentional dis]regard for either its effectiveness or its impact on civil liberties…Florida offers a glimpse of where it all may head: [politicians] there are pushing for a state database that would [make the childhood nightmare of a “permanent record” reality by] combin[ing] individuals’ educational, criminal justice, and social-service records with their social media data, then [handing] it all [to the pigs]…Gary Margolis, the CEO of Social Sentinel…claims “thousands” of K-12 schools in 30 states are using its [police-state boosting] service…[another company name] Securly…offer[s] “sentiment analysis” of students’ social media posts…[via] an “emotionally intelligent” app [like Facebook censorship algorithms] that sends parents weekly reports and automated push notifications detailing their children’s internet searches and browsing histories…

Censor Chic (#904)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Three days before the most sensitive political anniversary on the Chinese calendar, Twitter suspended the accounts of Chinese political commentators in what it [pretended] was an accident…it…affected more than 100 users…[including] human rights lawyers, activists, college students and nationalists, who use workarounds to get access to Twitter, which is banned in China…The accounts began rapidly disappearing just days before the 30th anniversary of the crackdown on a student-led pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square…In a statement, Twitter [claimed] that as a part of its routine efforts to stop spam and inauthentic behavior, it had [conveniently] gone after a number of legitimate Chinese-language accounts [at exactly the best time to demonstrate to the Chinese government that it could be counted on to censor as ordered if it were allowed to operate in the country]…

Safe Position (#928)

Ordinarily, I don’t even bother to call attention to prohibitionist screeds unless there’s something interesting about them; what’s interesting about this one is the absolute reek of desperation wafting from it.  Prohibitionists are terrified at the speed with which decriminalization has become a safe position for politicians to take, especially in New York, but because they’re disgusting authoritarians the best way they can think of to make a lame attempt at forcing back the tide is to get two fucking prosecutors (notice how much prohibitionists love them?) to vomit out all the usual prohibitionist lies.  Blah blah “pimps”, blah blah “violence and exploitation”, blah blah “male power”, blah blah “PTSD”, blah blah “Swedish model” dicksuckery, and of course “we must remember that money cannot buy consent“.  Their stupid lies and bullshit claims about women’s helplessness aren’t working any more, and they know it.  Hey, prohibitionists:  we’re winning.  And if the best you can do is to pull out two police-state operatives, some professional “survivors” and a clutch of old hags mouthing weird fantasies about “orifices”, you’d better get used to the idea.

Top Cop (#938)

Even if you already despise this power-hungry sociopath, Liz Brown’s deep dive will give you more to hate:

Kamala Harris is a cop.  The phrase, which the candidate’s critics use frequently, is meant to conjure more than just Harris’ history as a hard-nosed San Francisco prosecutor.  It’s colloquial.  To label someone a cop in this way…implies the person is a bully, a bootlicker, a professional tattler—the sort of person who shuts down un-authorized lemonade stands run by kids.  A cop, in this context, is someone who will always defer to authority and the status quo, someone who is unaccountable and not to be trusted.  Calling someone a cop invokes the worst sorts of police overreach, a legalistic authoritarianism that exists for its own sake…

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The[se] cops were nothing but video voyeurs.  –  John Wesley Hall

Where Are the Victims?

In which renting rooms to people in a legal trade is pretended to be a “crime”:

Angus Binnie took out…leases o[n] flats in Dundee…then advertised them for short term rental on various websites – and charged itinerant prostitutes massive fees of up to £600 a week…He said he took no part in the administration of the sex workers and therefore had no control over them or their finances…

While that’s a high rate, the women weren’t forced to take it.  Most decent hotels charge more than £600 a week, ask lots of nosy questions and spy on guests; are they to be criminally charged and slurred by the media as “raking it in” as well?  And naturally the reporter couldn’t be bothered to interview any sex workers, who would’ve pointed out that it’s the government’s own busybody “regulations” that enable such jacked-up rates by making “legitimate” landlords afraid to rent to sex workers.

So Close and Yet So Far

The New York Times has been prohibitionist for so long, it can’t write an article about decriminalization without filling it with errors, lies and stupid anti-sex tropes.  While the article starts with some solid facts and good quotes from activists like my friend Kaytlin Bailey and a pro-decrim politician, it then goes on to equate decriminalization with legalization and the Swedish model (as prohibitionists so often do); prominently quotes prohibitionist propaganda under the pretense that supporters of a powerful, violent police state deserve “equal time” with supporters of human rights; and repeats outright lies about sex work, decriminalization and the Swedish model.  In Professor McNeill’s journalism class, this might squeak by with a D minus.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

Given the success of strippers’ lawsuits against clubs, this was inevitable:

Two former sex workers filed a class-action lawsuit…against Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump, claiming that the brothel should have treated them and other women as employees instead of independent contractors…The plaintiffs…also claim that Sheri’s Ranch is violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by taking 50 percent of the workers’ tips…[they are also charged for] expenses, including the cost of meals, daily rent at the houses and the cost of a mandatory weekly medical exam, among other things…Many former brothel workers…complain that deducting the cost of rent and meals from their pay causes them to quickly end up in debt…As evidence of the brothel’s control over sex workers [one of the federal tests for whether a worker is an employee] the lawsuit cites a requirement by Sheri’s Ranch that the women remain locked down on the property for one to three weeks at a time, unable to leave the premises…

Sheri’s is also notorious for taking away women’s laptop computers and personal medications, dispensing the meds at dose times as though it were a hospital.

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

…a Chinese programmer based in Germany [claims to have] created an elaborate facial recognition system to identify performers in adult films…he claims…the system…can now successfully recognize the faces of nearly 100,000 adult performers…[by] cross-check[ing] porn performers’ images…with those of women on…social media platforms…the system was developed specifically so [loser dudes] could identify whether their female partners were performing in these films…

The anonymous busybody soon recanted:

An anonymous programmer based in Germany…says he’s…deleted the project and all its data, but that’s not an act of altruism.  Such a project would have violated European…GDPR privacy law [which] prevents this kind of situation…just collecting the data is illegal if the women didn’t consent…Women in the US have some protections too…California has strong privacy legislation that would block this type of data collection…

Is Angela Chen honestly so hopelessly naive that she believes these laws magically “protect” anyone?  People who invest hundreds of hours in inventing systems to doxx sex workers don’t give a shit what the “law” says; furthermore, in the US, it’s the government which has built gigantic databases of sex workers’ private information (yes, even in that magic wonderland of “privacy protection” which Google and Facebook call home).

An Example to the West (#699)

More than five years after filing suit against this bad law, Mexico City’s whores may finally win:

…Mexico City…[politicians]…voted 38-0, with eight abstentions, in favor of a bill to remove a line in the civic culture law which said prostitutes and their clients can be fined or arrested if neighbors complained…the new law recognize[s] that people had the right to engage in sex work…exploitation and trafficking by crime gangs…subjected to sex trafficking…Trafficking in Persons Report [blah blah blah]…

I’m sure the prohibitionists are not going to be happy that their artificial moral panic is starting to be used to justify the exact opposite of what they intended it to accomplish, further criminalization and persecution of sex workers.

Soap Opera (#746) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Bars of [magical anti-pimp] soap with red stickers that list information and the national human trafficking hotline phone number…aimed at [imaginary] adolescents [too stupid to remember the numbers 9-1-1], will be distributed to every hotel and motel in New Jersey on June 15.  The Church and Community Abolition Network has joined the SOAP Project, or Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution, and together are working to get information to the [imaginary] teens enslaved as sex workers.  They have chosen to target hotels because [that gives them the best publicity]…One of the sessions will be held in Wayne, where SOAP was launched 10 years ago by [fabulist and opportunistic profiteer] Theresa Flores…

Amsterdam (#812)

I’ve been trying to figure out why the Dutch government has been pretending it wants to protect sex workers from gawking tourists:

Walking tours of the Red Light District in Amsterdam are set to cease come January 1, 2020.  According to the translated official statement from the Dutch government, “Tours along the prostitution windows cause a lot of bustle in the Red Light District and are not respectful towards sex workers”…The Prostitution Information Center (PIC) doesn’t agree and hopes to stave off the attempt to shut down their community-led walking tours…Founded in 1994 by Mariska Majoor, a former sex worker, the organization’s mission is to inform the public about the realities of the industry and the concerns of its workers…For over a decade, the PIC has organized educational walking tours in which former sex workers lead small groups around the Red Light District.  They once hosted around 22,000 visitors annually but attendance has reduced in recent years due to steep competition from commercial tour companies.  Unlike other tours of the Red Light District, the PIC experience is an informative and heartfelt tour rooted in respect for sex workers and the community…

European governments love silencing sex workers by pretending to be “concerned” for our welfare.

Spotlight (#847)

Violet Blue on the real purpose of Asstoon’s fascist organ, Thorn:

Silicon Valley’s biggest companies have partnered with a single organization to fight sex [work] — one that maintains a data collection pipeline, is partnered with Palantir, and helps [cops] profile and track sex workers without their consent…Thorn (“digital defenders of children”)…[uses] dubious [methods]…Of Thorn’s 31…partners, 27 target adults and vow to abolish consensual sex work under the banner of saving children from sex trafficking…Thorn’s…product…Spotlight scrapes [escort ad] websites and forums [and hands all the data it collects to the pigs]…Spotlight is terrifying and practically purpose-made for abuse.  And Thorn supported FOSTA…Thorn and its partners like Polaris Project are working closely with companies like Palantir to nonconsensually track sex workers and everyone they come in contact with…”Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use,” Bloomberg wrote, “but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents.”  Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project told Bloomberg, “Palantir lives on that secrecy.”  And so, by extension, do Thorn and Polaris Project…

The article also discusses the increasing damage from FOSTA and also Prostasia’s plans to act as a watchdog of Thorn, Polaris and others of their ilk.  It’s well worth reading in its entirety.

Guinea Pigs (#919) 

Keep licking those boots, local media; legal expert analysis is downplayed as “critics say”:

…[clear] misuse of a “sneak-and-peek” arrest warrant may end up clearing [Robert] Kraft…of two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution.  The warrants have been around since the 1970s but became an increasingly popular [end-run around the 4th amendment due to courts completely abdicating their duty to protect civil rights] following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  They allow [cops] to do [unconstitutional] searches without notifying the occupant of a home, business or other private space [while courts pretend not to see]…“It’s completely uncalled for,” said John Wesley Hall, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers…”the[se] cops were nothing but video voyeurs.  They have no justification…This was an abuse of prosecutorial power and an abuse of police power.”  At least two Palm Beach County judges have concurred…

O, Canada! (#934)

Canadian cops now want to get the public to help them spy on sex workers, as US cops do:

A new national…toll-free phone line, launched…by [a prohibitionist group calling itself] the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, [claims to] offers support to…victims…[but in reality] the information collected through the hotline w[ill] be shared [with cops] and used…for raids that may lead to arrests and possible deportations…“We are concerned the hotline will become a tip line for law enforcement,” said Elene Lam of Toronto-based Butterfly…Jenny Duffy of Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project said human trafficking and sex work have been so widely conflated that sex workers and racialized groups are already targeted by law enforcement agencies under the guise of anti-trafficking initiatives.  “This hotline encourages the public to now surveil the movements of this group and report them…putting them in further harm, and further hindering workers from accessing key public services”…

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A child is three times as likely to be hit by lightning than to be kidnapped…by a stranger.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Monsters 

This timing is very suspicious; will cops care?

Transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker, who was at the center of a viral video where she was beaten near an apartment complex, was found fatally shot in east Dallas [on May 18th]…Edward Thomas was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the [previous] case…

To Molest and Rape 

Just two typical, representative cops:

Two [Alabama cops] were arrested…at Empire, a Birmingham night club…[after] Markeith Williams and…Jonathan Hill [raped]…an employee in a bathroom…Both were [rewarded with a vacation]…

Permanent Record

Politicians who want to undermine important legal safeguards like statutes of limitations always use especially-awful crimes to get useful idiots on their side:

…A new bill from state Rep. Brett Hillyer…would let people subjected to sexual misconduct by doctors at land grant universities between 1978-2000 sue those universities.  [Dr. Richard] Strauss worked at Ohio State from the mid-1970s into the 1990s.  He killed himself in 2005.  More than 150 men claim Strauss sexually assaulted them while they were students and athletes at Ohio State.  Nearly 50 are part of a lawsuit against the school that is headed for mediation…Ohio State’s lawyers asked a federal judge to dismiss the case in part because the abuse fell outside the statute of limitations.  Hillyer’s bill would remove that limitation for civil claims…

I Saw My Brain (#785)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

A massive [entrapment scheme] in Polk County ended with 154 [human beings brutalized and humiliated by the minions of chief psychopath] Grady Judd…[almost half of those arrested were sex workers]…

This will continue until the majority of those arrested fight back with lawsuits, as they’re doing not far away in Palm Beach County.

Eternal Vigilance (#827)

Rent paid for with sex is not “free”; it has been paid with sex:

…sordid homeowner[s]…are demanding romps, threesomes, S&M, naked photos and a “girlfriend ­experience” in exchange for free rooms from those who cannot ­afford to pay.  And the vile exploitation of potential tenants is still going on despite it being outlawed in January…[puritans trying to stop feminine pragmatism] found ­dozens of sex for rent ads…on…Craigslist…

The level of hysteria this simple arrangement provokes in judgy puritans is hilarious.

License to Rape (#886)

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

…on March 30, 2017…Holly Curry…had all six of her kids — ages 5, 4, 2 (twins) and 10 months (also twins!) in her 10-seater van…Curry parked in front of…a…cafe…[for] less than 10 minutes [and when she emerged she found] two [cops lurking to harass her]…the next day…a [bureaucrat]…from the [infamous] Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services came to the Curry home…with a sheriff’s deputy…[and no] warrant…[the pig and the bureaucrat threatened her]…with an emergency custody order [to abduct] all her kids…Curry [folded and]…the [bureaucrat molested]…each child, male and female, [stripping them] down to the genitals (removing the diapers of the two youngest)…a few weeks later, the [bureaucrat]…told Curry she viewed her decision to get muffins as…a one-time mistake in judgment.  The forced entry, the threat of taking the kids and the strip searches…were not viewed as mistakes at all…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

All prohibitionists have emotional problems, but Guinasso seems to be an unhinged obsessive:

…a creepy Reno lawyer named Jason Guinasso [has] been on an 18-month religious crusade to shut down the brothels…For a year and half now Guinasso has been trying to force Lyon County to give him the full names and addresses of every legal sex worker in the county’s four brothels…District Attorney Steve Rye denied Guinasso’s request…but…In a letter dated February 1, 2019, Guinasso [threatened to sue the county so he can get the information and thereby shame h workers]…All the Nevada Legislature needs to do is amend the current public record statute to explicitly declare that the work card applications for commercial sex workers in Nevada’s legal brothels are confidential, just like gaming employees.  That would put an immediate end to Guinasso’s crusade…and…remove a “gray area” in law that could potentially result in a court overruling District Attorney Rye…

Disaster (#912)

Does anyone other than local news fail to recognize what a disaster FOSTA is?

Stupor Bowl (#918)

Virtually the only people who still profess to believe this nonsense are cops and politicians:

A $1 million campaign will be launched this week to combat prostitution and human trafficking during the Super Bowl in Miami…State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said her office is looking to develop a “rapid intervention response team” to attack what [politicians keep pretending is] a persistent problem for major sporting events [despite plentiful evidence to the contrary]…“Our concern is that a lot of predators will bring other dancers and their victims that work in strip clubs. We have seen that with other major destinations”…the [fascist] effort…which also will involve [surveillance and profiling of customers of] the ride-share services Uber and Lyft, taxi companies and the hotel and restaurant industries…

To Molest and Rape (#939) 

Cops don’t “act as” sex predators; they are sex predators:

…Police Scotland’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) has [finally decided to admit] that [cops] are [routinely] abusing their position to carry out “predatory sexual behaviour”.  The ACU said it had received 22 [complaints about] sexual misconduct [in the first quarter of this] year…and…[is] monitoring 13 serious organised crime groups (SOCGs) amid fears they could be attempting to corrupt [already-corrupt cops]…Scottish Greens justice spokesman John Finnie…said he intended to raise the issue of sexual misconduct in the Scottish Parliament next week…

The fairy tale that cops need to be corrupted by “organized crime groups” in order to become rapists would be almost charmingly naive if it weren’t so dangerous to women.

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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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