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Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

Bounty-hunters can buy information about where we are, in real time…and come after us.  You don’t need to be a replicant to be scared of the consequences.  –  Thomas Rid

A Broker in Pillage

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Chicago…regularly pulls residents into a nexus of ticket-related debt and car seizures that is stunning in its scope.  In 2017 alone, Chicago booted more than 67,000 vehicles for unpaid tickets.  In about a third of those cases, the driver couldn’t afford to remove the boot, and the vehicle was later towed to a city impound lot…[and] sold off, with the owners receiving none of the sale proceeds…the city and its towing contractor pocketed millions of dollars, while residents were left with ticket debt…there have been nearly 50,000 of these sales since 2011…the vast majority…from low-income and minority communities…The city…[calls] those who owe ticket money…“scofflaws”…conflating the inability to pay debts with criminal activity…workers or contractors sometimes [illegally] issu[e]…multiple tickets on the same day…[and] just two or three outstanding tickets will prompt the city’s revenue workers to boot a car.  Owners have just 24 hours to pay $100 to remove a boot…if the window’s missed, the car’s towed, and the owner [is also assessed]…a $150 towing fee…cars can [then] be sold in as little as three weeks, but not before drivers rack up [daily] storage and other fees…

Buried Truth 

Not quite an example of the McNeill Rule, but close:

Donnie Romero, a Baptist pastor in Texas who has a history of making…anti-LGBT…[remarks], told his congregation last week that he would be resigning from his post…Though Romero did not provide details to his congregants…[another preacher] Steven Anderson…weighed in on his “grievous sins” in a [YouTube] video…“The major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling”…Romero, who has called gays “scum of the earth,” also came under immense scrutiny in 2016 after he said he was praying that victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando who were injured would not survive “so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children”…

Sex Rays

The puritanism just keeps increasing:

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show…in Las Vegas selected a sex toy called Osé as one of a handful of honorees in its robotics and drones Innovation Awards program.  But two weeks later, they disqualified the device and banned its exhibition at the event — because it’s an adult product…Osé…(formerly called Vela) is a sex toy developed in partnership with an engineering professor at Oregon State University that uses “biometric mimicry” for hands-free vaginal and clitoral stimulation…It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision…The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years…

Bottleneck (#414)

Canberra is infested with prohibitionists, many of them in the police.  Articles like this one typically spout similar “rescue” and “sex trafficking” nonsense; the rebuttal from actual experts is way down at the end:

…Jules Kim from the national sex worker’s union, The Scarlet Alliance, doubted that human sex trafficking was as widespread in Canberra and Australia as police claimed…a 2017 federal government inquiry…found no sex workers were tricked into the job out of the 14 sex-work-related trafficking convictions nationally since 2004…despite this, there [i]s “a continued focus on framing issues” in the sex industry, particularly those involving South-East Asia migrants, as trafficking…”police raids…ha[ve] been proven to create worse conditions for sex workers, resulting in…barriers to accessing police in the event of a crime“…Ms Kim said the “illegal brothels” police referred to were often situations where more than one worker was working from a premises in order to share costs — which is illegal in some states and territories, including the ACT…


The Last Shall Be First (#785)

Anti-trans bigots often claim transwomen will sexually assault ciswomen in public toilets:

Two North Carolina women…were charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexually battery of a transgender woman in a ladies room of a Raleigh bar…the…victim had just entered the women’s restroom at the popular Milk Bar when Amber Harrell…and Jessica Fowler…followed her in and locked the door….[then] verbally and sexually assaulted her…Both women are also accused of exposing their breasts and genitals to the victim, who eventually escaped the bathroom.  The two…then followed her to the bar and continued the abuse, a bartender testified to police…

It’s not coincidental that this happened in a state where politicians openly encourage such bigotry.

To Molest and Rape (#842) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

In one of the first releases of records under a new [California] law that [removes the previously-existing laws which allowed]…police [departments to hide] misconduct, documents show the Burlingame Police Department fired a [rapist cop] last year after…he [pressured] a woman [for sex by claiming he would interfere] with [her] DUI [case] if she would [not]…David W. Granucci…was later found to have made similar proposals to two other women, one [of] who[m submitted to letting]…him [rape her]…Granucci…obtained her phone number and address and went to her house the…day [after she was arrested] and made the [threat]…She rejected Granucci’s advances and reported him to police.  Granucci was [miraculously] fired [probably because Bay Area police departments are covering their arses due to the Celeste Guap affair]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#864)

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

Whereas it’s common knowledge that [pigs] can track phones with [stingrays or] a warrant to service providers…at least one company, called Microbilt, is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters…this spying capability is also being resold to others on the black market…mobile networks and the data they generate are…open to surveillance by [cops], stalkers, and [other] criminals, and comes as media and [informed citizens] are paying more attention than ever to how location and other sensitive data is collected and sold

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#879) 

Truly dedicated prohibitionists never let the fact that a thing doesn’t actually exist stop them from banning it:

…Bryan [Texas]…put…the definition of a sex robot into the city [zoning] ordinance….[so] any [sex doll arcade]…would be required to be located only in the area of the city that’s zoned for adult-type businesses.  The move comes mostly as a precaution after someone tried to open a similar type of business in Houston…

Censor Chic (#894)

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

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor…Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block.  He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath.  He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders and scandals, or the memes that touch on subjects the Chinese government doesn’t want people to read about.  Mr. Li, who [has been well-brainwashed, believes]…his job…“helps cleanse the online environment”…For Chinese companies, staying on the safe side of government censors is a matter of life and death.  Adding to the burden, the authorities demand that companies censor themselves, spurring them to hire thousands of people to police content.  That in turn has created a growing and lucrative new industry: censorship factories…

Imaginary Victims (#896)

Naturally, he had to show how big his dick is by delaying her release for seven months:

Cyntoia Brown…is due to be released on Aug. 7…She has [been kept locked in a cage] since she was 16…Gov. Bill Haslam…granted Brown a…commutation to parole…for 10 years…Brown will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth.  She also will be required to get a job [with a murder conviction on her record].  Her Aug. 7 release marks 15 years since the date of her crime.  Brown’s attorneys said 15 years is a typical sentence for a second-degree murder conviction…

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Efforts to abolish sex work…since the 1860s have one thing in common—failure!  –  Paul J. Maginn, Raven Bowen, and Maggie O’Neill

Not So Different

If amateur women weren’t so busy trying to ruin sex workers’ lives, they could learn a lot from us:

…Why don’t more people outside the sex industry organize against the dangers of sexual or intimate abuse in the way that sex workers do?  It’s not because sex workers have more resources or support.  In part, it’s because so many women outside the sex industry still believe that [women] are responsible for the abuses committed against them because they stepped outside of respectable behavior and “should have known better”.  Sex-work communities are often more resilient against these messages…Sex-worker feminism shows us that our safety and freedom should never be conditional, and that we have to come together—on the corner, online, at marches, and beyond—to prevent sexual abuse and resist its insidious effects on us…

Scapegoats 

Why doesn’t this say what kind of animal? A goat? A bitch? A hen? An iguana? A carp? A sea urchin? A cockroach?

A Bossier City [cop]…has been arrested for filming himself having sex with an animal…Terry…Yetman’s residence [was searched for undisclosed reasons, possibly involving domestic violence and]…detectives found pornography involving sexual acts with an animal…The investigation is still open and may result in additional charges [if the cops can figure out what kind of animal is involved]…

Fever Dream (#679)

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

The newly opened Together Cafe…in Chattanooga…is…dedicated to [harassing sex workers]…Every dollar [of profit after the considerable overhead of cafes]…will go toward [creating prohibitionist propaganda]…Chattanooga has become a focal point…for…sex trafficking because of its geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, which provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation [repeats the impossible masturbatory fantasy that] that one in four children who run away will be propositioned by a sex trafficker within 48 hours of leaving home and every year 1.2 million children worldwide are trafficked for sex…the average age of a child sold for six is 13 years

This is not the first coffee shop “rescue” scam we’ve heard of.  Note that the language about Chattanooga, interstate highways and “pimps” is plagiarized verbatim from pig propaganda at least two years old.

The Crumbling Dam (#849)

I’ll be rather pleased if Philadelphia beats the pompous, priggish politicians of Seattle to the punch:

The international law firm DLA Piper has signed on to represent Safehouse — the nonprofit organization attempting to launch a supervised-injection site in Philadelphia — pro bono…the move gives Safehouse some added clout in the legal fight [against federal prohibitionists]…Although Philadelphia’s mayor and district attorney support the opening of a privately funded supervised-injection site, federal authorities have threatened legal action…DLA Piper’s decision to represent Safehouse “demonstrates there’s an ever-increasing group of lawyers who respectfully disagree with the U.S. Attorney’s position,” said Ronda Goldfein…director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania…DLA Piper, which has offices in 40 countries, is also representing the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma…[against a nuisance lawsuit] brought by New Jersey’s attorney general over its marketing of…Oxycontin…

The Widening Gyre (#851)

This article by three academic allies covers a lot of ground, but starts here:

In 2015 British journalist Suzanne Moore wrote a piece lavishing praise on US hip-hop star Nicki Minaj…the…piece…celebrated Minaj’s agency and hypersexuality…[yet] Moore…shudders at the idea that women—especially middle-class women—would engage in real forms of sex work…she…seems to be[lieve] that sex workers come from lower-class backgrounds and lack agency, business acumen and even intellectuality…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#863)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…Days after it passed in the lower house of India’s Parliament in July, two United Nations experts said the bill leans too heavily on the criminal justice system.  Without more of a “human-rights based and victim-centred approach,” the UN special rapporteurs on human trafficking and modern slavery warned, India “risks further harming already vulnerable individuals”…In major Indian cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Sangli, sex workers are well organised and politically engaged.  Yet no sex worker groups were consulted during the drafting of the legislation…[which like all “sex trafficking” laws] promotes a dangerous idea that everyone in the sex trade is either a victim or a criminal…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

Posts on Facebook are spreading quickly, claiming women are attempting to lure other people into sex trafficking at stores in the Mid-South…Memphis [Tennessee] and Southaven [Mississippi] police…said no one has made any official reports…One woman [claimed] she was shopping at…Walmart…when she was approached by two women inside the store…[who] the[n]…followed her back home…[yet]…she didn’t call police…[an]other post…shows a picture of two women…[and] claims they were trying to lure women into sex trafficking [by] taking pictures [of women, like the poster did]…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Everyone knows prohibitionists are mathematically illiterate, but I figured they could at least count to ten:

The Knesset is set to pass a landmark law against prostitut[es]  making hiring sex workers a crime…The new law will make Israel the 10th country to institute what is called the “Nordic Model” of [persecuting sex workers]…the law…offers the Justice Ministry the option of instituting other punishments, such as “John Schools,” meant to [indoctri]ate [people in anti-sex propaganda]…The law…[also] budgets NIS 90 million over the next three years for the [brainwashing] of [captured sex workers]…the “Nordic Model” [was] first adopted in Sweden in 1999.  In recent years, others passed similar laws, including Ireland, France, Canada, Norway and some states in the US…

So far, only Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the two Irelands, France and Canada have adopted the Swedish model; that’s seven, plus one is eight.  And no US states have adopted it, though of course that’s among the smaller lies in this authoritarian screed (another claims the average sex worker dies at 46).

The Red Umbrella (#885) 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

Alexander Popenkov, who is trained as an MMA fighter, and his wife, Maryana Kayumova, both 25, trolled online sex [worker] ads for victims [to] set…up phony appointments…on victims they [knew would]…be easy targets and vulnerable…Popenkov and Kayumova savagely beat and robbed at least eight women [in Manhattan], most of whom are Russian immigrants…[They] were arrested on charges including burglary and robbery and released on $35,000 bond each.  [Prosecutor] Danbee [Kim] asked [Judge Maxwell] Wiley to hike the defendants’ bail to $500,000, arguing that they had threatened numerous victims to discourage them from coming forward…[but] Wiley [refused because their victims were just whores]…

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Babies have shit taste in music.  –  Clickhole

What better way to celebrate the Yuletide season than with William Shatner’s legendarily-bad singing?  The links above the video were provided by Franklin Harris (“does”), Scott Greenfield (“karma”), Sola Love (“nightmare”), Emma Evans (“justice”), and Tim Cushing (“evidence”).

From the Archives

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In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Spain:

The Spanish government is proposing a spate of new legal measures to [persecute] prostitut[es].  These include penalizing clients who solicit for sex and punishing landlords who make properties available to sex workers.  Further measures would also look to prosecute [people cops decide to label] traffickers…and…decriminalizing [sex workers, even though they are not currently criminalized]…Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Prime Minister Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly [misogynist] agenda and promising to fight the e[mployment and sexual autonomy] of women…

Traffic Jam (#694) 

24 years of state-inflicted torture finally end for the San Antonio 4:

…Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl handed out orders…expunging the records of Elizabeth Ramirez…Cassandra Rivera…Kristie Mayhugh …and Anna Vasquez…all government agencies that house information on criminal charges, indictments, arrests or convictions related to the cases in which the women were found innocent must seal or destroy the records.  The women consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit…After the women served nearly 15 years in prison, one of the nieces publicly recanted.  She said family members upset that her aunt had come out as a lesbian told her to lie.  So did her father, who…was upset that Ramirez had spurned his advances…it was also shown that [bogus] science helped support the charge…each of them…[has] receive[d] state compensation of about $80,000 for each year they were imprisoned — a little more than $1 million apiece…

Too Close To Home (#760)

Another exercise in cop-fellation and myth-regurgitation masquerading as journalism:

…Charles Peters…[of] the self-titled “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after a jury convicted him in October of nine counts of second-degree promoting prostitution.  Peters…is appealing his conviction…[and free on] $75,000 bond while his appeal is pending…

Though she didn’t write that moronic headline (“Ringleader”?  Who the fuck uses that word with a straight face any more? Has the editor been watching ’30s gangster movies?), Sara Jean Green still needs to be ashamed of herself for this garbage, especially considering that I know for a fact she has the phone numbers of several prominent Seattle sex workers (including mine).  Prohibitionists claim what I do for money is “demeaning”, but I don’t have to infantilize peaceful women, demonize peaceful men, or lionize violent thugs.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Despite some conciliatory language and ground-ceding, this is a good article:

…the Tucson Weekly accessed a spreadsheet of all [Southern Arizona “sex trafficking”] investigations in the three years since the beginning of the grant and found 10 people who were convicted of trafficking and related crimes.  Out of 516 investigations…[only] 23 people were categorized as arrested for trafficking…of those 23…[only] 14 were [actually] charged with trafficking [or] other sex crimes…Of the 14…10 people were convicted or took plea deals, three have ongoing court cases and one committed suicide after being released on bail…[only] two cases resemble the mainstream narrative of a…[woman] forced to commit commercial sex acts against her will…In one case, a drunk, 71-year-old registered sex-offender in a wheelchair persistently and crudely offered a 14-year-old girl money for sexual favors at a bus stop…In another case, a man offered to pay three 15-year-old boys and one girl to [perform] sex acts in front of him.  Some of the cases involve runaways…In other cases, the…[so-called] trafficker [was the sex worker’s] friend or boyfriend…The spreadsheet indicates 52 misdemeanor arrests related to prostitution or not having an escort license…

Traffic in Nonsense (#831)

Anti-whore indoctrination has wholly infested the US trucking industry:

…Kendis Paris…of Truckers Against Trafficking…is one member of the 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in October.  The group’s goal is to develop strategies for [encouraging truck drivers to snitch on sex workers]…The committee includes leaders of [rescue industry] organizations…[anti-whore propagandists] and representatives of the trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port industries…Truckers Against Trafficking leads [indoctrination] programs and distributes [propaganda] materials to various sectors of the industry…About 40 states have adopted aspects of Truckers Against Trafficking’s [indoctrination] model.  The group has worked with [pigs] who give [propaganda] wallet cards to truck drivers…

Imaginary Victims (#839)

Even by despicable modern US standards, this is an incredibly evil ruling:

A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who [assaulted] her…must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court…The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a…[client] in 2004 when he [roughed her up and]…she feared he would kill her…Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution…

Brown’s only chance now is the outgoing Tennessee governor, who can pardon her and commute her sentence.

Shame, Shame (#853)

New York just won’t stop trying to subject nude-pic-posters to police violence:

Under [New York politician Joseph] Borrelli’s measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense “to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,” punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Sexually explicit means anything showing “genitals, pubic area or anus of any person”…It’s already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors…[and] already illegal…to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them.  So sending sexually explicit images “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.  What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image…The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges…The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week’s so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement…

A Broker in Pillage (#858)

With any luck, SCOTUS will shut down this extortion scheme and others like it:

A Detroit woman [named Crystal Sisson] is suing Wayne County, Michigan, after police [stole] her car [because she bought] $10 worth of [legal] marijuana…[from] a [licensed] Detroit medical marijuana dispensary…the sheriff’s deputies cited her for “illegally occupying a place where controlled substances are sold” and seized her 2015 Kia Soul…To get her car back, Sisson had to pay the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office $1,200 to settle the forfeiture case, a typical practice in the county…the Supreme Court is currently considering a similar asset forfeiture case, Timbs v. Indiana, that revolves around the case of Tyson Timbs, whose Land Rover, worth $41,000, was seized after he sold two grams of heroin to a [narc]…Court watchers strongly suspect the Supreme Court will incorporate the Eighth Amendment, making the Excessive Fines clause apply to states.  Sisson is only one of hundreds of Wayne County residents who’ve been surveilled, pulled over, had their car [stolen], and been forced to pay out more than $1,000 to get it back, all for visiting legal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries…

Banishment (#870) 

Caging people permanently, without trial or sentence:

…William Welsh has a number of convictions for child molestation and sexual abuse dating back to 1979.  In 2011 he was no longer in custody, having served his required prison and probationary sentences. He was, however, required to register on Oregon’s Sex Offender Registry because of his prior convictions.  When he traveled to Belize in 2011 and failed to update the address listed on his registration, he was charged, and pled guilty, to violating…registration requirements – a felony – and he was sentenced to 673 days in prison.  A few weeks prior to his release, the Attorney General designated him a “sexually dangerous person”; the reviewing court agreed, and he was [indefinitely] committed…In 2016, however, his conviction (for having failed to update his registration) was vacated, after the Supreme Court, in US v. Nichols, 136 S.Ct. 113, held that SORNA did not require a person to update his registration when he was traveling to a foreign country.  So he petitioned for a release from custody, arguing that because he had not lawfully been “in custody” of the Bureau of Prisons…he could not, lawfully, have been subject to the commitment proceeding for “sexually dangerous persons” in the first place.  But his request for release was denied, first by the federal district court and then by the 4th Circuit

Surplus Women (#873) 

Let’s play a game:  Is this a rationalization of cop behavior or serial killer behavior?

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with capital murder after telling investigators he killed four female sex workers because he considered them worthless and that he thought he was doing something good for his Texas border city…[the] prosecutor said…he will seek the death penalty if Juan David Ortiz is found guilty…

Feminine Pragmatism (#892) 

Dreams“. How old is the imbecile who writes this shit? Eight?

…Escalona was one of at least 41 Venezuelan women murdered abroad from February 2017 to this November.  They had fled Venezuela’s economic turmoil. They left their homeland with dreams.  Some were forced into prostitution.  All met death…

No.  These women weren’t “following dreams” like refugees from a fucking Hallmark card; they were trying to survive by fleeing a collapsing socialist dictatorship.  They were not naive children like so many American women; they were adults who had to take risks thanks to authoritarians criminalizing their pragmatic choice to cross borders to work.  And since criminalization attracts criminals, sometimes they lost those gambles.  The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell.

Disaster (#893)

I’m not sure how much this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt:

…the new platform Tribunus has allowed web users to weigh in on critical issues when petitions and digital comments are no longer viable steps.  On Tribunus’ simple site, US residents can contact legislators directly by placing a phone call, sending them a fax, or — if their fax machine is turned off — quickly sending them a paper letter instead.  Tribunus’ creator, a Bay Area programmer who asked to be identified as Michael, said he first launched the platform to help defeat a legal measure threatening California sex workers (successfully, after protests and hundreds of letters).  Later on, he added pages addressing immigrant family separation and net neutrality…

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Facebook turns the dial on its anti-sex “standards” up to 11:

Facebook just…adopted…new “sexual solicitation” rules…[that] ban “implicit sexual solicitation”including the use of sexual slang, the solicitation of nude images, discussion of “sexual partner preference,” and even expressing interest in sex…the new policy [even] bars “vague suggestive statements, such as ‘looking for a good time tonight’”…discussion of sexual exploitation is allowed, but discussion of consensual, adult sex is taboo.  That’s a classic censorship model: speech about sexuality being permitted only when sex is presented as dangerous and shameful…such…rules can incentivize abuse from…bad actors…[including] state actors…This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.  Given the rules’ focus on sexual interests and activities, it’s easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets:  sex workers…[and] members of the LGBTQ community…

From the way these rules are worded, they seem to even ban bland statements like “I’m lesbian” (which is “expressing sexual partner preference”).

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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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