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Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

We’re faced with 60,000 arrivals across the Mediterranean into a continent of half a billion people, the richest continent in the world, and it’s portrayed as an emergency.  –  Filippo Grandi

Bad Girls 

I hope they never catch her; this is admirably badass:

Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy…pulled over a speeder on Aug. 9.  But when they did a background check on the name that she gave them, Latoya Watson, it came up as the alias of Laquita Watson, 27, who was wanted for prostitution and contempt of court…[when the pigs tried to arrest] Watson…she took off, driving up to 80 mph through residential streets and swerving into oncoming traffic.  Watson then made her way to Highway 794, made two illegal U-turns and hit 108 mph when other units joined in the pursuit.  Watson then exited back onto local roads and continued driving at 90 mph and got away as police gave up the chase out of a concern for safety…citations were…mailed to her last known address for driving without a valid license, insurance or seat belt, speeding, and both obstructing and fleeing from an officer.  A district attorney will also consider a reckless endangerment charge and a new warrant for her arrest…

Absolute Corruption

Only one major victim of the Satanic panic is still in prison:

On January 23, 2014, the Florida Parole Commission sent Frank Fuster a letter informing him that, owing to a recent policy change, it had determined that his initial interview was scheduled for March 2134.  No, that isn’t a misprint.  His first parole hearing is scheduled in 120 years.  And this for a crime that, by any fair reading of the evidence, not only did Fuster not commit but never even happened.  Thirty-three years ago, Fuster, along with his young wife, Ileana, was convicted of sexually abusing children at his suburban Florida home, where Ileana provided day care.  He is the last person charged in the mass sex-abuse-in-day-care scares that made headlines from the 1980s to the mid ’90s to remain in prison…therapist-induced repressed “memories” of incest destroyed thousands of families — the day-care cases…are morality tales in reverse:  The perpetrators ride high on the backs of their victims.  Janet Reno went on to become attorney general.  In a hideous distortion of the truth, Bill Clinton in nominating Reno hailed her record of protecting children.  Scott Harshbarger, who prosecuted the Amiraults, rode that case to become attorney general of Massachusetts.  The accusing families cleaned up.  In the Fuster case, they collected over $5 million in out-of-court settlements from the deep-pocketed Arvida Corporation (owned by Disney), the developer of [the subdivision where the Fusters lived]…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#651)

Actually, the suburbs are safer now than they have been for a century, but the public will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous:

An edgy public service campaign is coming to a billboard near you…Emmy Myers says…in her early 20s, she became involved with a man who eventually…became her trafficker…She says the FBI helped her get away and start over.  Now Myers runs Lacey’s Hope Project, [a prohibitionist group] that [spreads]…sex trafficking [propaganda].  Her new public service campaign will send the message that sex trafficking is not just an issue in big cities…”we want to focus on the suburbs because there are so many [suckers who believe this fantasy there]” said Myers.  She said the best thing parents can do is talk with their children about sex-trafficking, and look for signs

This lame recitation of the “sex trafficking” Shahada is as “edgy” as a balloon.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

A UN official finally admits what I’ve been pointing out for years:

The 1951 refugee convention, which protects the basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, is at risk of “collapsing” or being “fatally weakened” if the toxic rhetoric from rich nations towards migrants continues, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said…Filippo Grandi warned that the political response to the refugee crisis was allowing “abuses of human rights to be carried out unchecked, unmonitored and uncontained”.  These flaws in the system continue to be exploited by smugglers and criminal groups who [help] people fleeing war and conflict…

Not So Easy

There is no “debate”; this scheme is supported only by politicians and developers:

The French Quarter is not the first place many Americans think of as a family tourist destination. For more than a century, it has offered a more risqué kind of leisure…But [Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser] believes the city, which attracted a record 10.9 million visitors last year, has reached a “critical point” in its struggle to maintain [what politicians call] public safety in the quarter. His prescription: turning the French Quarter into a state park to make it more “family friendly”. “We don’t want to attract only people who want to drink daiquiris or go to a strip club,” Nungesser said. “We want to attract families from all over the world.” The idea appears to be a nonstarter because it would require cooperation with the city, and New Orleans…mayor…LaToya Cantrell, has said she has no interest in ceding control of the center of the city’s $7.5-billion tourism industry…the proposal…has raised long-standing fears about attempts to sanitize the historic district and prompted plenty of ridicule from locals…Lyn Archer, a stripper who represents the Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers, fears Bourbon Street could eventually become the kind of “historical” site where workers dress up in period clothing to simulate traditional trades and read diaries to tourists.  “Is this our future?” she said. “To perform under a facade of the past for the amusement of visitors?”…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#813)

Another idiotic “Uber for escorts” app developed without consulting sex workers:

A self-described “Uber of escorting”…app isn’t impressing sex workers, who have raised concerns about the cryptocurrency platform’s security and lack of transparency.  PinkDate matches sex workers with clients, who can pay for services with crypto such as bitcoin or monero.  The startup, still in beta, has raised $1 million through its initial coin offering (ICO).  However, escorts involved in the project have already complained about its security and the risk of meeting unvetted clients, with one anonymous sex worker telling CoinDesk the system is “too pimp-like and not safe to use.”  The company said its clients will also be asked to give identification, but sex workers fear they won’t be adequately cross-referenced with industry blacklists…The app takes a substantial cut of 20 percent of the sex workers’ earnings.  A similar company, SpankChain charges 5 percent.  PinkDate’s founders are anonymous, yet escorts are expected to upload their government ID and Twitter accounts to sign up…The company’s former president Sarah Stevens was a sex worker, but she said she left PinkDate because of concerns about its business model…

Full of Themselves (#831)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

A [certified] massage therapist who operated businesses in Folsom and Orangevale has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women at his businesses…Thomas Self worked as a [certified] massage therapist at multiple locations and specialized in massaging athletes throughout the Sacramento region…In the summer of 2015…Self…sexually assaulted [a patient] with his fingers…A little under a year later, in March 2016, Self sexually assaulted a second woman with his fingers during a massage session…That August, Self sexually assaulted a third woman who he was reportedly helping train to become a massage therapist…A search on the California Massage Therapy Council shows that Self was…suspended [until] April 22, 2017…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

He probably just thought he was in a “sex doll brothel”:  “A man has been arrested after reportedly being caught having sex with a dead body at a Memphis hospital.  The suspect has been identified as Cameron Wright, a security guard at St. Francis Hospital…

The War Goes On (#855) 

All the oinking about how hard it is for poor widdle piggies to persecute sex workers since the feds shut down Backpage is hilarious:

Authorit[arian]s trying to [victimize consenting adults for] buying sex…have long depended on Craigslist and Backpage, where an online personal ad could be viewed from anywhere in the world and elicit any number of responses at a given time.  But police and [other prohibitionists] across the state and nation are scrambling to [escape the pile of shit they helped create by censoring] both sites…earlier this year, displacing sex [worker advertising] onto mobile apps, obscure websites and foreign-owned sites that aren’t beholden to U.S. [witch hunters]…[Minnesota pigs] charged at least 29 men between late July and early August with a variety of [prostitution-related] crimes…The dating site Plenty of Fish and an app called Skout were each used to catch one suspect.  The mobile app Grindr was used in three arrests…

Be careful, amateurs; your failure to oppose pogroms against pros has resulted in the pigs rooting around in dating apps for victims.  I hope you enjoy the world your silence helped to create.

The Monsters Are Due (#856) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs.  Note that similar fake “child abduction” videos are being used to foment hysteria in the US.

This summer in India, two dozen innocent people died at the hands of mobs convinced that they were meting out justice to kidnappers.  One was a software engineer beaten to death after giving chocolates to children outside a school.  One was a 65-year-old woman who got lost on a trip to a temple with her family and stopped to ask for directions.  All five travelers were stripped naked and beaten with fists, sticks and iron rods…fear of strangers is far more dangerous than strangers themselves.  The panic began in April when a video that appears to show a child being scooped off the street by two men on a motorcycle went viral.  The video was originally created in Pakistan as a public service announcement to teach parents to watch their children more closely.  The end of the clip showed the child returned by the “kidnappers” who held up a sign:  “It takes but a moment to snatch a child off the streets of Karachi.”  But that wasn’t what millions of Indians saw on WhatsApp.  In the doctored Indian version, that ending was cut off, so the child never reappears…

Little Boxes (#865) 

I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, prohibitionists’ insistence that this is prostitution, or cuddlers’ insistence that it isn’t:

Lady Colin Campbell left Good Morning Britain presenters gobsmacked with a shocking outburst…during a debate on [compulsory] cuddling in the workplace…The socialite and former I’m A Celebrity star…appeared…alongside Lindsay Meadows, a “cuddle therapist” who charges her clients £45 an hour for hugs.  Lady Colin wasn’t convinced by her job title, comparing it to prostitution and said that those who pay to be hugged by her have “moral and psychological problems”.  GMB host Ranvir Singh was clearly baffled…and her jaw visibly dropped…

Lady Colin Campbell is remarkably prudish and insensitive, given her own personal history as an intersex person.

The Widening Gyre (#865) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; it’s even more hilarious than the previous two.  This dumbass lost track of her car, and rather than recognize that she imagines every guy in the parking lot is party of a sinister conspiracy which broke into her car, hot-wired it and moved it to a different part of the parking lot, then put everything back as it was, presumably to confuse her, but then didn’t follow through on abducting her, the “sex trafficking” expert AND the little girl, because REASONS.

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Try to shoot me, I’ll break every bone in your fucking neck.  –  “Officer” Michael Reynolds

I recently reran Rob Hustle’s protest song “Call the Cops”, and noticed he had a sequel; naturally I had to share it with you.  The links above it were provided by Carol Fenton (“does”),  Radley Balko (“finest”), Jacob Sullum (“step”), and Mike Riggs (“people”).

From the Archives

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Forcing us into the closet makes it easier for prohibitionists to make up stories about our lives.  –  Liara Roux

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

A bizarre claim even by the low standards of anti-porn nuts and gun-grabbers:

Rep. Diane Black…who is running for governor of Tennessee…raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.  “Pornography,” she said.  “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store.  Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there…All of this is available without parental guidance.  I think that is a big part of the root cause”…Beyond naughty movies, Black said school shootings are on the rise because of the “deterioration of the family,” mental illness and violent movies…

Like most things claimed to be “on the rise” by hysterics, school shootings aren’t.  But what I want to know is, where are these grocery stores that stock porn on shelves near the front door?  I’m guessing they’re probably located in the same towns where one can “order a child for sex like a pizza“.

Perquisites

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

…Alene Anase was asked by her employer Alpha Omega Winery to serve guests as part of a charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  But what she expected to be a routine shift serving wine turned into a nightmare…The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in her 2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire…Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some [of whom Anase fantasized] to be “too young to consent”…

Surplus Women 

Twelve days after the decomposed body of a woman aged around 30 was found packed in a drum in Shivaji Nagar, the police…claimed to have solved the murder case.  A 60-year-old man has been arrested while his wife is wanted in the case…the arrested accused, Babu Bhagwan Patel…has confessed to his role.  The woman, identified only as Meena, was a commercial sex worker from Dadar…

Coming Out

Liara Roux on coming out:

…I almost started crying.  I was so worried I would lose my sister, who I loved so dearly.  I was shocked when she told me:  “I’m glad you’re happy!  I’m glad you found a job that works for you!”…She asked a couple questions about my job…My sister has always been incredibly thoughtful like this.  I remember coming out to her as queer and how excited and happy for me she had been about that too…I told her not to tell Mom…I come from an extremely religious, conservative family—house full of kids and fire and brimstone.  I’ve always lived my life in extreme and unusual ways and it scares her…There’s so much I haven’t told her because whenever I try to, I freeze.  I was worried if I came out to her while living with her that she and my father would have sent me to gay conversion camp or that they would kick me out of the house and I would be homeless, which had happened to some of my friends.  I like to think that she would have accepted me, but I don’t know…

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only five months for this?

A[n Oregon cop] was sentenced…to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from [her] online…Daniel Kerbs…was held…on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child…

Droit du Seigneur (#691) 

Do we really want rapists to eschew condoms so they can avoid federal charges?

…Federal prosecutors said William Whitley’s conduct affected interstate commerce because…the condoms he used [to rape] a 14-year-old girl [were made out of state]…Prosecutors often cite guns made outside a state to support federal charges.  Condom use is [a wholly predictable following of established precedent]…a federal sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the minimum at the state level would be six years…

Saving Them From Themselves (#778)

Naturally, politicians had to make this bad law even worse before passing it:

…members of the [Ohio] House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill to ban teen sexting, even for…teenagers who are [18 and therefore] legally adults…Teens found guilty of sexting could be sentenced to [re-education]…but judges would be free to overlook this program, and minors with previous sex-related offenses on their records would not be eligible.  Outside the diversion program, a sexting charge could lead to…eight hours of community service—a light punishment that the bill’s supporters have brandished to make their proposal more palatable.  But…the real harm comes from saddling these kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives…The bill’s sponsors have argued that theirs is a compassionate plan because it gives prosecutors an option to avoid charging teen sexters with more serious child pornography charges.  But there’s nothing requiring the state’s cops to crack down on teen sexting to begin with, and…prosecutors could use their discretion to not bring child porn charges…instead, they’re simply adding on another possible charge for law enforcement to slap onto texting teens…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

I feel so much schadenfreude at watching the government’s own moral panic come back to bite it:

…Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of [Health & Human Services] Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions…over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings.  The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report…that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses…In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid…[according to the movie]  Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers…Between October and December 2017…the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635  minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent.  Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down…

Rooted in Racism (#800) 

Another case of deliberate racial profiling thanks to government-approved guidelines:

…Lindsay Gottlieb…was flying home [to California] from Denver when a Southwest agent asked her to prove she was the mother of her [biracial] baby.  Gottlieb said she showed her son’s passport, but the agent wasn’t satisfied and demanded a birth certificate [because obviously everyone carries those around with them]…The agent eventually let her family check in, but Gottlieb turned to Twitter to get the airline’s attention.  She tweeted: “I’m appalled that after approximately 50 times flying with my one-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport.  She said because we have different last names.  My guess is because he has a diff. skin color”…

Although this coverage doesn’t mention it, I think everyone reading this knows why airline personnel are being trained to racially profile travelers.  Every agent and air hostess wants to be the next big hero for catching a “sex trafficker”.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#823)

The stench of FOSTA is all over India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

…there appear to be several issues with overbroad or vague language…that could lead to a deleterious effect on the Freedom of Expression…section 39(2)…mandates punishment even for a vaguely defined action or actions that may not actually be connected to the trafficking of a person.  In other words, the provision doesn’t require any of the actions to be connected to trafficking in their intent or even outcome, but only in potential connection to the outcome…The excessively wide scope of this badly drafted provision leaves it prone to abuse…Even the electronic publicizing of an academic study on trafficking could fall under the provision as it currently reads…Similarly, any of our vast number of self-appointed moral guardians could also pull within this provision any artistic work that they may personally find offensive or ‘obscene’…Section 41…[criminalizes] “Whoever distributes, or sells or stores” [information claimed to leads to “trafficking”]…the infrastructure of the electronic/digital world requires 3rd party intermediaries to handle information…As it is not feasible, desirable or even practically possible for intermediaries to verify the legality of every bit of data that gets transferred or stored by the intermediary, “safe harbours” are provided in law for intermediaries, protecting them from liability of the information being transmitted through them…If intermediaries are not granted this protection, it puts them in the unenviable position of having to monitor un-monitorable amounts of data, and face legal action for the slip-ups that are bound to happen regularly…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Some Victorian sex workers say that working under the licensing framework…is even worse than working in places that totally outlaw sex work because of the extreme complexity of the laws.  Jules Kim from…Scarlet Alliance says [that in Queensland and Victoria] sex…workers are subject to unwarranted “surveillance and entrapment”…Examples include police calling workers to request services considered illegal within those states, such as condomless oral or threesomes, and then laying charges if the worker agrees…Such entrapment can disproportionately affect marginalised workers, such as migrant workers with limited English, who may not know what they are agreeing to.  In Western Australia and South Australia, where most forms of sex work are deemed illegal, police may use the fact that someone had condoms as “evidence” that they were working…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

Calling this “sex trafficking” lets the government steal property:

The Justice Department is moving in to target two [houses in Brooklyn]…where sex trafficking and branding allegedly took place.  Court documents filed by the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn are to forfeit and condemn two properties allegedly used by Keith Raniere and his victims…in connection with Raniere’s [NXIVM] cult…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

That didn’t take long, did it?

We’ve heard so many stories lately about the frankly horrifying degree to which facial recognition leads to tracking or privacy invasions.  But a startup specializing in AI is instead leveraging facial recognition technology to [rat sex workers out to the cops]…Marinus Analytics…program called Traffic Jam…builds a database of images, phone numbers, and location data which can help identify [sex workers]…It scrapes the websites every few minutes, meaning even ads which are deleted or changed is [sic] still usable…The company last year added a feature to Traffic Jam called Facesearch, which combs through online photographs and identifies specific [sex workers]…Amazon’s Rekognition software is the technology behind the facial recognition…Rekognition is also being used by law enforcement for other…surveillance purposes.  While that usage has some ethical dilemmas which other experts in the field have pointed out, the usage of the software to find [sex workers]…feels far more noble [to the dangerously ignorant]…

The gullibility of this reporter is nothing short of alarming; notice how eagerly she sucks the dick of “sex trafficking” propagandists even though she clearly understands the danger of mass surveillance, then proceeds to make excuses for the surveillance based in swallowing the propaganda.

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

Feet of Clay 

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

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

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

Lower Education

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

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

Choke Point 

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

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

Not Worth the Paper

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

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

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

Comfort Zone (#765)

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

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

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

Imaginary Victims (#797)

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

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

Gorged With Meaning (#812)

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

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

The Peril (#834)

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

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

Disaster (#836)

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

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

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

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

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

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

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

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

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

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

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

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

Shame, Shame (#649)

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

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

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

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

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

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

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

Permanent Record

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

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

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

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

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

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

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

Disaster

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

This Means War (#830) 

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

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

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[Censorship] filter deactivation…would be a frightening form of thought-based surveillance.  –  Camille Fischer

Worse Than I Thought

It’s nice to have the Mouse on the side of right for a change:

Florida lawmakers made headlines last month with a proposal to let people sexually exploited in hotel rooms sue the hotel where the abuse took place.  The bill would have imposed $50,000 to $100,000 in fines on defendants who lose, in addition to any money awarded to the victim…But…the bill’s sponsor yanked the legislation from current consideration…Disney and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association were reportedly lobbying against the bill behind the scenes…the outcome here is undoubtedly a good one.  Allowing the victims of sex trafficking to sue hotels…does nothing to prevent exploitation…or to punish those responsible for it.  It creates enormous incentives for fraud…It creates a new imperative for hotel staff to harass innocent customers and invade their privacy.  It ensures that sex workers will face more arrests…we don’t allow the families of people murdered in hotels to file such suits…And it paves the way for more third parties to be held legally liable for the actions of criminals…

Japanese Prostitution (#601) 

The Japanese government still denies it did this:

Documents and video footage have been found showing massacres of Korean comfort women by the Japanese military shortly before the end of World War II…the city of Seoul and the Seoul National University (SNU) Human Rights Center made public for the first time footage of the aftermath of a massacre of Korean comfort women…This footage flatly contradicts the Japanese government’s denial of the forced mobilization and massacre of the comfort women.  The footage shows a Chinese soldier, apparently on a burial detail, looking at naked corpses and then removing the socks off one of them.  Smoke is rising from one corner of the frame…“It’s blurred out in the version for public release, but the original footage shows corpses missing heads and other body parts, allowing us to infer the cruelty of the events in question,” the research team said…

Bottleneck (#638)

Welcome to our world, ridesharing companies:

This local CBS report from the Windy City asks the worrying question of whether or not traffic congestion is getting worse in their city and if ride-hailing services might be to blame…If a new cab company opened up, purchased a thousand new cars, painted them up and put them on the road, you’d have a thousand new cars hanging around downtown, clustering near common pick-up areas and just cruising.  That would increase traffic.  But Uber drivers use their own vehicles which were already on the road before they started driving for the company.  And they don’t wait around by hotels or train stations.  They pick a central location and park, waiting for the app to offer them a rider…cruising around would waste gas and cut into their bottom line… We rarely heard any of these “traffic congestion” complaints before except for some occasional griping, but look what other items popped up, all in the space of a couple of weeks…if someone wanted to do some digging I’d wager the National Taxi Worker Alliance and state level lobbyist groups like the Virginia Taxicab Association would be good places to start…

Finding What Isn’t There (#778)

The actual number of people arrested (not tried or convicted) for “human trafficking” in Louisiana during this period: 16.

New numbers recently released by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services showed an overall 50 percent increase in human trafficking in the state from 2016 to 2017.  For victims under 18, there was a 77 percent reported jump.  According to the report, there were 681 human trafficking victims in the state in 2017.  Of those victims, over half (356) were under 18.  DCFS…gets the numbers from agencies across the state and more agencies are now reporting, so it is worth noting that’s a possible cause for the increase…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#795) 

Are there still people who believe the French are sexually liberal?

A group of French lawmakers wants a fine of at least 90 euros ($110) for people caught making sexist catcalls as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares a sweeping new law targeting sexual [behavior]…proposals…included a fine for “comments, behavior or pressure of a sexist or sexual character” that [cops decide to label] degrading, humiliating, intimidating, hostile or offensive.  Details of how it would be enforced are unclear…

Stalkers in Blue 

I have no doubt that had her kids been absent, this would’ve turned into a rape:

…Patricia Wilson…says [a Tennessee state] trooper, Isaiah Lloyd, pulled her over for not wearing a seat belt in August last year, according to a lawsuit…Lloyd asked her to get out of her car and lift up her camisole and shirt, then felt around her waistline…put his hands in her underwear and touched her buttock and pubic area.  Lloyd ticketed Wilson for not wearing a seat belt — a…violation the DA’s office later dismissed — and she continued on to work…Three hours later, Lloyd pulled her over again, as Wilson’s children — 3 and 8 years old — were in the vehicle.  “We have to stop meeting like this,” Lloyd allegedly said.  He also said he would not give her a ticket for having tinted windows and asked her where she was going…

Not So Easy

New Orleans club owners cover their arses by throwing dancers under the bus:

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control has released details of the consent orders reached with nine French Quarter strip clubs after January raids…mandatory [indoctrination] will include twice-yearly sessions…[of sex] trafficking [propaganda even though]…ATC officials have acknowledged there were no human trafficking-related arrests in their raids…The clubs must also begin using “mystery shoppers” to check in on the businesses once a month…to see if any illegal activity is taking place…[surveillance] cameras must also be installed in all public areas, VIP rooms, private rooms and stages.  Recordings from these cameras must be kept for 30 days and “made available to ATC immediately upon request”…the business[es are required] to fire employees or independent contractors [cops decide to accuse of] prostitution or drug sales…Hustler Barely Legal Club and Hunk Oasis, both owned by the same ownership group…are [also] required to [search] the bags of employees, dancers and entertainers at the start of their shift.  They are also required to hire additional [thugs] to “regularly patrol the floor and VIP areas”…

Morality Lessons (#811) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA)…a…[censorship] bill…[which] would…threaten your free speech and privacy in [an]…attempt to block and tax online pornography.  EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them.  Now HTPA is back…Device manufacturers would be forced to install “obscenity filters” on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices.  [The censorship software] could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee…allow[ing] the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices…HTPA…has been introduced in…Hawaii…Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey…New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee…Virginia, West Virginia…and Wyoming…the bill has died in committees in Mississippi and Virginia…[and] senators in New Mexico…pulled back the bill days after EFF raised the alarm…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Monkey see, monkey do:

The [UK] National Crime Agency (NCA) claims Google and Facebook are “making profits” from sex trafficking…Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when human traffickers use their sites to “pimp” their victims to potential clients…New US laws are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites.  It will make firms liable if they “knowingly assist, support or facilitate” content that leads to trafficking…

Maybe someone should tell the UK media that these laws aren’t even passed, much less “set” to do anything.

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The school crossing patrol at this location has been asked to stop ‘high-fiving’ and to concentrate on his core duty of ensuring highway safety.  –  council spokesman

Many Filmation cartoons of the ’60s and early ’70s featured songs “performed” by an animated band of characters from the show; of course, these were actually written and performed by a behind-the-scenes house band, and occasionally they scored an actual hit which got substantial radio play.  The most famous example was “Sugar Sugar” from The Archie Show, but this one from the Groovie Goolies show (a favorite of mine at the time) hit #9 on the Billboard charts in February of 1971.  The links above it were provided by Elizabeth N. BrownAmy AlkonTim CushingClarissaRadley Balko, and Richard Ahlquist, in that order.

From the Archives

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