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Posts Tagged ‘The Pygmalion Fallacy’

Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

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

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

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

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.
–  Lenore Skenazy, mocking “sex trafficking” hysteria

Follow Your Bliss 

The naive believe the government propaganda that “child predators” are creepy dudes who hang out at playgrounds; in reality, they are largely people in positions of authority over their preferred targets:

A[n]…administrator on Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has been jailed for five years for a series of sex offences involving young boys.  Heathcliffe Bowen…was convicted of six offences which happened between 2013 and 2015.  Judge Jonathan Durham Hall…said Bowen…was a “predatory paedophile”…[who] had a “deep and entrenched interest” in underage boys and said he had “never shown any shame or remorse”…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#562)

Naturally, my skepticism about this case was wholly warranted:

A legal fight has reached the end of the line between a Florida dominatrix and a former client who claimed she drained his bank account and credit cards of more than $500,000 and took over ownership of his townhouse.  Orange County, Fla., Judge Keith White recently ruled in favor of Goddess Jude, who was sued by client Alex Abrams, granting her motion to dismiss and paving the way for her to recoup legal costs of defending herself.  Abrams…alleged that Goddess Jude should have been found liable for civil theft, unjust enrichment and conversion, as well of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly persons because he was above 60 years old when he first called on for her services…he…opened new joint financial accounts…and made her an authorized user on his credit card accounts…[then] transferred a…townhouse worth $100,000 to her.  After an apparent change of heart and claims of dementia, Abrams sought to recoup all the material assets he had given her…In November, a judge made a ruling…dismissing Abrams claims against Goddess Jude entirely — after Abrams and his attorney, who later withdrew from the case, failed to attend several depositions…A court hearing…over recovery of attorney’s fees and court-imposed sanctions has been set for March…

To Molest and Rape 

Typical cop engaging in typical and representative cop behavior:

The Bexar County [San Antonio, Texas] Sheriff’s Office…arrested a county deputy on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge…[jailer] Clayton Saunders was placed on administrative leave…and a no-contact order was issued.  Further investigation led his formal arrest on [January 27th]…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

At a town hall meeting last summer, members of Toronto’s gay community, worried that a serial killer was operating in their midst, warned that the city’s sex workers might be particularly at risk.  That fear proved prescient…Dean Lisowick, a common face in the Gay Village and long-time sex worker, is believed to be the last known victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur…[who] is also facing four other charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan and Soroush Mahmudi…

Checklist (#702)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

Uber wants its drivers to [spy on passengers and]…to alert [cops] if they [suspect a passenger is a sex worker]…over the past few years, Uber has enlisted its drivers in local and regional efforts to [persecute sex workers]…But the new initiative…targets all 750,000 active U.S. drivers and eventually will expand to other countries…Among Uber’s partners in the U.S. initiative are The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children[Asstoon Kutcher’s vanity project] Thorn, and The McCain Institute…whose efforts to [hound sex workers to death] are led by [anti-human rights crusader “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table in it is a “stadium”:

France’s first ever sex doll brothel has been opened in Paris and it has three silicone sex dolls ready for…rent…France changed its laws in 2016 to make paying for sex illegal, but the laws didn’t say anything about paying for sex with a silicone doll…The official XDolls site advertises that it has three different dolls on offer – Lily, Sofia, and Kim – complete with pictures of each.  The whole operation is shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, the official website doesn’t even offer an address for the brothel – other than to say it’s “somewhere in the 14th arrondissement” of Paris.  To find the location, would-be customers have to pay for a session with a doll, which comes at a cost of €89 for an hour, €149 for two hours, and €19 for the optional virtual reality addition…

Morality Lessons (#730) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

…a new bill being proposed in Virginia…would [try to] lock all pornographic sites from your phones and computers, and the only way to [legally] unlock them is to pay the state $20…[politicians] who proposed the bill [pretend] that by making pornography less accessible on the internet it will reduce the amount of human trafficking…

The huckster behind this legislation [is an]…anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich.”

It Looks Good On Paper (#736)

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely  detain underage sex workers in “safe locations”, i.e. euphemized jails:

[Underage sex workers whom “authorities” deign to label] child sex trafficking victims would no longer be criminally charged for prostitution offenses under a proposed bill introduced this session in the [Washington] state House of Representatives…[cops] would be required to bring minors to one of…two “receiving centers,” or another safe location — instead of booking youth into detention for prostitution offenses…the proposed bill stops short of decriminalizing prostitution for minors, maintaining [cops’] ability to arrest youth [who don’t submit to rape or otherwise displease the pigs]…“But we’re not expecting that (the youth) would be put in handcuffs,” [lied] Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County, who [relies on voter ignorance to advance his schemes]…

Stupor Bowl (#765)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is  always sky-high:

As the Twin Cities prepares to host Super Bowl LII, planning has long been underway to address any accompanying uptick in prostitution or sex trafficking.  While people elsewhere have made claims that the Super Bowl is the biggest time for sex trafficking, a University of Minnesota report noted “the Super Bowl does not appear to have the largest impact.”  Different types of events — such as trade shows, holiday weekends and other sporting events — also generate an increase…with the public’s attention on the Super Bowl, those who work to help trafficked people in Minnesota are seizing the opportunity to get the word out about an issue that endures year-round…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#786) 

Under a “legalization” regime, sex workers are still persecuted using idiotic and arbitrary nonsense like “illegally subdividing a building”:

Police have arrested nearly 100 suspected sex workers…in one of Hong Kong’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns, raiding a building where flats had been illegally subdivided into more than 100 cubicles converted into brothel rooms…[they arrested] two women from Ukraine, one from Kazakhstan, 13 from Thailand and 59 female visitors from the mainland…at least two [criminal]…syndicates had arranged for the 99 suspects to work and provide sex services in the “one-woman” brothels…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like at least some UK reporters are realizing that so-called “pop-up brothels” are just ordinary, mundane escort touring incalls rather than the tools of “sex trafficking” from cop wanking fantasies:

Sex workers…are behind…”pop-up brothels”…[they] tour the country and work out of short-term rental accommodation…For sex workers, there’s no manager taking a cut of their earnings like there is in a conventional brothel.  For clients, there’s no walking through the doors of a known brothel.  When [a sex worker] decides where she’s going, she either gets in touch with…friends she’s worked with in the past, or she gets in touch with other sex workers via private internet forums, looking for people who might be up for joining her on a trip…the pair then hire an apartment together for a long weekend…Then, they’ll use social media to find new clients in the area…Once they’ve got clients, they set up a rota (or work as a “duo” offering threesomes)…

Shame, Shame (#798) 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

The grosser parts of the internet have a new trick: Using machine learning and AI to swap celebrities’ faces onto porn performers’.  The result?  Fake celebrity porn seamless enough to be mistaken for the real thing…And now that someone has made an app—drastically lowering the technical threshold would-be creators have to clear— it’s presumably about to become much more prevalent.  For reasons that are eye-poppingly obvious, these videos…are terrible…It’s a new frontier for nonconsensual pornography and fake news alike…And…If you live in the United States and someone does this with your face, the law can’t really help you.  To many [privileged] people on the internet [who have nothing more important to worry about], especially women, this looks a whole lot like the end times.  “I share your sense of doom,” [said pro-censorship activist] Mary Anne Franks

The Widening Gyre (#801) 

I love Lenore Skenazy’s snarky treatment of these absurd stories:

A worried South Bend [Indiana] mother thought two men might be trying to abduct her daughter at a local store. [Who cares? End of story.]  Police investigated it as a suspicious persons report.  [Because it wasn’t an attempted crime.]  Haley Craig says…“Was just at the T.J.Maxx in Mishawaka and there were men in there who attempted to steal Eva.  I believe there were multiple men inside the store who were in on it together. [And I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.]…Police can’t confirm the mom’s fears of an attempted abduction, but they say it’s still a worrisome situation. [No it’s not.]  What Craig said she experienced inside of T.J. Maxx definitely sounds scary. A strange man comes up to her and starts bombarding her with questions. [“Definitely scary” indeed. Never have I been spoken to by a strange person, EVER.]…“[He was] trying to divert my attention away from my daughter”…Craig said. [Because the easiest way to snatch a child is in public, indoors, steps from its mom, who, distracted by questions about the price of Progresso Lentil Soup, doesn’t notice her child is being dragged screaming down the aisle, past the customers and cashiers, into a parking lot filled with people, and off to sex traffic land]

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Everyone has to have a first time.  –  Michael Diebold

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s so nice to watch them feeding on their own:

Yet another [pig] has been  caught up in a child-sex sting conducted by his colleagues…Michael Diebold—chief of police for the small Western Pennsylvania town of Leechburg—was arrested after arranging a sexual tryst with [a cop] he [should have known] was [not] a 14-year-old girl…Diebold was not initially seeking an underage companion; his ad [on Kik] sought an adult female for a consensual dom/sub relationship.  But the chief was apparently undeterred when the “woman” who responded said she was actually just 14 years old and in the eight grade. “Everyone has to have a first time,” Diebold allegedly responded…

N.B.: Western Pennsylvania cops rape sex workers before arresting them even more frequently than is typical in the U.S.

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

Ireland has witnessed a surge in sexually transmitted diseases with the peak transmission period of the Christmas and New Year party season still to report…rates of all major STIs have dramatically increased from 2012-2016…there has been an increase in detection of HIV (+51%), Syphilis (+11%), Gonorrhea (+53%), Chlamydia (+10%) and Herpes (+21%)…

Scapegoats 

I don’t think ‘ve ever seen the word “molest” used in this context before:

…an [Alabama] man is…accused with [sic] molesting a horse…18-year-old Daniel Bennett was caught in the horse’s stable…The…owner of the…horse, a 20-year-old mare named Polly, told investigators she suspected the horse’s stall had been tampered with several times throughout December…

Unlike a certain fellow Alabamian, I guess Daniel likes older ladies.

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of sex workers:

December saw another raid on a sex workers’ workplace in Tel Aviv, with 11 people arrested on charges of running a “prostitution ring”…The majority of those arrested are [charged with] money laundering and evading millions of shekels in taxes.  Hebrew media reports have been sensationalist…Over the last year, the district surrounding the central bus station has been targeted for increased raids, and many argue this is related directly to gentrification of the area.  There is an increased police presence, and landlords have taken to increasing rents at rapid speeds and evicting people they suspect to be sex workers…many of whom have been based in the area for decades…

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized how common this sort of thing is:

Eager to please the young leader of a promising potential ally in the Middle East, the CIA enlisted the help of billionaire Howard Hughes’s longtime fixer to find women for Jordan’s King Hussein…during his spring 1959 trip to the United States…[the arrangement] likely turned into a relationship between Hussein and B-movie actress Susan Cabot that may have produced the son who eventually beat Cabot to death in 1986…the agency used private investigator Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent, to find “female companionship” for the 23-year-old King during his trip to Los Angeles…The document refers only to a “foreign head of state” but the timeline included in the memo corresponds to the times Hussein was in the United States…

Dysphemisms Galore 

One day, “People who need money do lucrative work to get it!” will be recognized as the non-story it is:

As homelessness mounts…a growing number of young men are selling sex online.  [Manchester’s] male sex workers often use websites like Craigslist to advertise to clients…And…”survival sex” is becoming increasingly common amongst the hundreds of young men selling their bodies…Many…have recently been released from prison…Charity workers say they can look unremarkable, making it difficult to identify [them for targeted “rescue” persecution]…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

Hours after…ACLU…accused it of censorship, New Jersey prison officials rolled back a ban on Michelle Alexander’s influential critique of mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow…State prison systems ban thousands upon thousands of books…Texas, one of the most censorious prison systems in the nation, bans roughly 10,000 publications, including  The Color PurpleWhere’s Waldo?, and John Pfaff’s Locked In, another book on mass incarceration.  It does, however, allow Mein Kampf.  Just last week, new rules went into effect at three New York prisons banning care packages that aren’t purchased through one of five approved vendors…NYC Books Through Bars, a volunteer group that sends free books to inmates across the country…wrote in a letter last week to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that…”The approved vendors’ catalogs are currently limited to the following books: five romance novels, fourteen bibles and other religious texts, twenty-­four drawing or coloring books, twenty-­one puzzle books, eleven guitar, chess, and how-­to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus.  No books that help people learn to overcome addictions…no…literature…No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release“…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#604) 

Nope.  The primary customers for male sex robots, like the primary customers for male sex workers, will also be male:

…Matt McMullen, CEO of Realbotix…[said] he is aiming to release a male [sexbot]…which he is yet to name…Dr Cathy O’Neil [fantasizes]…that sex robots could rending men obsolete…Dr David Levy [fantasized] male [robots]…could be more popular than sex toys such as vibrators and dildos.  He [moronically stated] “I’m sure women will find robots equally appealing as men”…

O, Canada! (#785)

After you read this prohibitionist propaganda, follow the title link back for the truth about the recently-renamed “Operation Northern Spotlight”:

…They’re called vice probes, or door knocks.  London [Ontario]’s human trafficking unit was formed in early 2016, and uses [deceiving sex workers] as a way to [force contact with] women they [claim] might need help…[cops] pore over advertisements posted on popular websites advertising sex work, looking for [fantasized] signs of trafficking — women who move around frequently, look very young, are branded in some way, such as a tattoo, or who have few restrictions about the sex work they offer…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

I’m afraid this might be too little, too late:

Craigslist has hired its first federal lobbyists…from the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, including former Rep. Rick Boucher…The hires…were prompted by a pair of sex trafficking bills that has galvanized opposition from web companies [because]…they threaten the legal framework underlying the [internet]…the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act…would make it easier for prosecutors and [profiteers]…to go after…Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that gives broad legal protections for web platforms from content posted by their users…The legislation also appeared to prompt the popular forum site Reddit to hire its first federal lobbyists

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Sex workers…are fed up with being used as pawns…in…a publicity stunt.  –  Valerie Scott

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

A new campaign’s being launched by Public Health England to get more under-25s to use condoms…a survey carried out by PHE and YouGov revealed almost half of 16-24-year-olds have never used a condom with a new partner.  One in 10 of them had never even used one…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

…The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986, which conflates trafficking and sex trade…and…other laws under the Indian Penal Code…look at trafficking only from the perspective of sex work…people being tricked into or forced into moving for labour related activities in construction, factories etc are left out of the equation…The proposed new anti-trafficking Bill makes small amends.  [sic] But, leaves a lot more to be desired…interestingly, the version of the Bill that was distributed to the stakeholders for feedback is not the version that is with the Cabinet.  So, when the Bill will be introduced in the Parliament in the Winter Session, the chances are that parts of it will come as a shock to various communities that will be affected by it…Sex workers have constantly expressed their opposition to the Bill, claiming that it presupposes that sex work always entails trafficking and can never be voluntary…

End Demand 

The “end demand” strategy carried to its logical conclusion:

21-year-old Creio Chance Bishop did not want his girlfriend dancing at JB’s Gentlemen’s Club in West Virginia.  The jealous boyfriend is facing second-degree arson charges after…he set the exterior of the strip club where his girlfriend worked on fire at 3:30 a.m. on December 13.  The manager…Jim Reed…[said] “It’s stupid.  She’s trying to make a living for herself.  He’s not doing nothing.  She’s paying the bills, from what I understand.”  Bishop fled the crime scene on foot, only making it as far as a Walmart parking lot right across the street before Cabell County Sheriff’s Department deputies detained him…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 28 this year:

A transgender woman was shot to death in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood early Wednesday, Dec. 13…Brandi Seals, 26…is at least the 28th trans person murdered in the U.S. in 2017, the deadliest year on record for the community.  The vast majority of victims, including Seals, have been trans women of color.  Four of the murders have occurred in Texas.  Seals was repeatedly misgendered in a Fox 26 report about her murder, including by a Houston police detective who referred to the victim as “a man in women’s clothing”…

Bait and Switch

If you’re tempted to badge-lick about this, reread the original article of this heading:

A 22-year-old college student at Ohio’s Youngstown State University was arrested after falling for a fictional 15-year-old boy created by local cops…[who] used a phony dating-app profile for…an adult to lure in the student…After chatting, the catfish “revealed” he was [supposedly] 15 years old.  The college student, A.G. (not his full name), indicated he didn’t have a problem with his age.  The conversation eventually turned sexual and A.G. sent the faux boy some nude photos of himself.  It was clear from the exchanges, police [admit], that A.G. was developing feelings for the imaginary teen.  A.G. described him as “my one and only” and talked about being his husband someday.  On December 12…A.G. showed up at what he thought was the boy’s home with homemade chicken alfredo, soda, and lubricant…This a young man who is about 5’7″…weighs 450 pounds…[and] is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes…he…was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him.  And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life.

Harm Reduction (#627)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

Norway is to become the first Scandinavian country to decriminalise drugs as it focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The majority of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, backed the historic shift…and…directed the national government to reform its policies on drugs.  Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, [said]…“It is important to emphasise that we do not legalise cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalise…those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment”…

Of course, the vast majority of people who use prohibited drugs have no “problem”, and if this new policy forces people into “treatment” it’ll just be another Scandinavian scheme to dress authoritarianism up as social justice.

The Puritan Recrudescence

“Environmental cost” = “public health crisis”.

…Is pornography in the digital era leaving a larger carbon footprint than it did during the days of magazines and videos?…if pornography experts’ estimates are accurate, they suggest a rare scenario where digitization might have increased the overall consumption of porn so much that…people to spend so much time looking at porn that it’s actually worse for the environment…

The Course of a Disease (#634)

It’s good to see Médecins du Monde make this position official:

Médecins du Monde has officially announced its position in favor of the total decriminalization of sex work…adopting a position similar to that of Amnesty International…Dr Françoise Sivignon [said]…”In France, a little more than a year and a half after the adoption of the law aimed at fighting against the prostitution system, we clearly see the deleterious impact of measures adopted…we are witnessing the isolation…of sex workers, their distance from care and prevention structures, as well as increased exposure to sexually transmitted infections and increased violence”…Doctors of the World had already made known its position against the penalization of the customers during the parliamentary debates of the previous years…The organization…explains…[that] criminalization policies are…incompatible with good access to [medical] care or prevention…

To Molest and Rape 

Two more cops, protecting and serving:

Two [Alabama cops]…Jonathan Perry Works…and Brian Edward Walker…were…charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy…[for raping a] mentally incapacitated [woman]…

Whither Canada? (#748)

Articles like this are much more common in Canada, while US media self-destructively cheer censorship:

Recently, the owner of a [Greater Toronto] bar began a campaign against NOW Magazine.  Decals reading “NOW Sells Sex Slaves” have been appearing in parts of Toronto, including on public art.  Letters making false and misleading claims that NOW “facilitates human trafficking” have been sent to many of the magazine’s advertisers and to Chief Federal Prosecutor Morris Pistyner…NOW does not “facilitate human trafficking.”  In fact, quite the opposite.  By publishing the ads of sex workers, NOW facilitates our ability to remain safe and independent.  But religious fundamentalists – and some old-school feminists –  have formed alliances and been quite successful in redefining all sex work as human trafficking.  In their view, all adult women are incapable of making the choice of whom to have sex with if money is involved…

Scrupleless in Seattle (#772)

These guys dodged a bullet, but you may not; STOP going to see unknowns who may be cops!

After more than a hundred people were arrested early September following an eight-day prostitution sting in Bellevue, 61 of those cases have now been dismissed due to [cops’ violation of] Washington state law…Part of the [scheme] included hidden cameras…[but] state law requires two-party consent to record audio conversations…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

A talking toaster is still a toaster:

In February…I ran an experiment in which I sexually harassed Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home to document how these digital personal servants—whose names and voices are already feminized—peddle stereotypes of female subservience, putting their “progressive” parent companies in a moral predicament.  Now, those findings are being cited in a petition on the social network Care2 asking Apple and Amazon to “reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment”…

The idea that words and phrases without sexual motivation shouted at a circuit board constitute “sexual harassment” is like something out of a Monty Python sketch; the fact that people seriously think of this nonsense as a “moral predicament” doesn’t say much for their grasp of reality.

Against Their Will (#795)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Yang Song fell four stories onto a sidewalk in Flushing, Queens on the night of November 25th…while [fleeing] police…attempting to arrest her for allegedly engaging in sex work…Hai Song, Yang’s younger brother…and his 65-year-old mother, Yumei Shi…are haunted by details she shared with them over the phone this year.  Yang described being sexually assaulted by a man who flashed a badge and gun and claimed to be an undercover cop, they say.  Yang also told them that the police [pressured] her to become a [snitch] this fall…“I hope to know the truth,” Shi [said via]…a translator.  “We want to know whether this was a retaliation from the police and they forced her to die”…While the police [claim] that they were not in the room when Yang jumped…both Hai and Shi insist that she would not kill herself…they are left with the stories Yang shared with them about her life in Flushing — and of the police she…[was] harassed and intimidated by…

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American police are…obsessed with enforcing exactly which body parts can be massaged and by whom.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Where Are the Victims?

There was no evidence…[of] threat…or any form of…coercion…

Hong Chin, 45, his former partner Li Wei Gao, 44, and lover Ting Li Lu, 47, [brought sex workers] to the UK from China, Hong Kong and Korea…Chin was given a prison term of four years by Judge Philip Katz…[who bloviated a lot of inane nonsense about “bosses” and “conveyor belts” before admitting that] there was no evidence Chin had made women work by threat of forceful use of violence, or any form of physical coercion, but [denied that women are adults capable of choice by adding]: “It seems to me this was a sustained, cynical and organised exploitation of women”…

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

A [ratout] call…chronicled blood splatter, vomit, and undeterminable stains on nearly every surface of a downtown strip club.  The dance poles were filthy with bodily fluids, as were the beds in the secluded VIP rooms upstairs.  The women there had caught warts, scabies, and microbugs…Minneapolis inspectors uncovered soiled pillows and comforters…and…A [single] used condom…inspectors…harvested samples of semen stains from 11 out of 17 businesses.  But rather than crack down, they sought to understand what was happening with the city’s flesh merchants…[a bureaucrat] asked…the University of Minnesota to assist…[under] the [false] impression [that the “research” was not disguised] government surveillance [driven by] the moral preoccupation of [prudes]…social workers could be the city’s [spies in] the clubs…

Strip clubs have tons of problems, including (sometimes) floor goo.  But these derive from the shadowy legal zone in which politicians and cops force them to operate, not vice-versa.

To Molest and Rape 

This week’s rapist cop is a good example of the McNeill Rule:

A retired NYPD [cop]…who was part of a sex crimes unit…[was] arraigned…on more than 80 counts of child sexual abuse… Nicholas McAteer…molested two family members who are not his children for nearly a decade…his victims were 12 and 13 when the abuse began…The…assaults…took place in McAteer’s home while his wife was sleeping and in his unmarked NYPD patrol car, while he worked for a sex crimes unit in Manhattan and its…Bureau [to get cops off when they commit crimes]…

Full of Themselves (#650)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

Every week, headlines from across the country announce undercover operations, often months long, dedicated to catching and punishing people for offering erotic massages.  And the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are increasingly involved…”Happy endings” have apparently become a matter of national security…In Suffolk County, New York, police just raided an Asian spa based on the neighbors’ suspicions…Colorado cops spent a year investigating Yoshiko Therapy after seeing an ad for the place on Backpage…Phoenix police spent five months investigating a middle-aged woman under suspicion of offering sensual massages from her home…In…Oswego [Illinois], a “long term investigation” into one local spa led to…[arrest] of two middle-aged Chinese women…In San Francisco, city prosecutors have been suing massage parlors out of business if workers there are arrested on prostitution charges.  Landlords of the buildings where they operate are also be sued and fined…Hemet [California] recently went fishing for evidence of prostitution or human trafficking at the city’s massage parlors.  Finding instead small businesses operating exactly as advertised, code-compliance cops issued 44 violations for things like inadequate signage…Rockford, Illinois, found no evidence of human trafficking or prostitution at two local massage parlors but shuttered them anyway…for operating without a…license…A six-week operation in Fresno, California…targeted [a] strip-mall spa…sending undercover cops there multiple times…

The Prudish Giant (#659)

Once Patreon caved to PayPal the first time, this was  inevitable:

Adult content creators are worried they won’t have a safe, viable income source in Patreon anymore…[after] the site…made its [so-called] community guidelines on adult content more strict…the platform is [now] casting too wide of a net about what’s considered “pornographic”…it’s currently very difficult for adult content creators to get paid online, and Patreon has in recent years emerged as one of the main sources of revenue for many…many of them have spent years building up a fanbase of people who support them financially—if they’re kicked off the platform…their livelihoods will be at risk.  A spokesperson for Patreon [lied]…that porn was never officially allowed on Patreon…

Every online giant builds itself on the backs of sex workers, then throws us under the bus in the name of “respectability” once it gets established.

Pyrrhic Victory (#673)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

…Section 702 [of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)] is set to expire on December 31.  The draft reauthorization…would extend it through 2025…[the] bill…would “allow the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other agencies to search through emails, text messages, and phone calls for information about people in the U.S. without a probable cause warrant from a judge”…in eight…domestic offense categories, including “human trafficking”—a crime U.S. law-enforcement has broadened to include sexual exchange between consenting adults and any aid to undocumented immigrants—and sexting between teens…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s clown panic was extremely disappointing:

A [South Carolina] man reported seeing a clown with a knife…[on a] road…around 1 a.m….two [cops] responded…[but] were unable to locate anyone dressed as a clown…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#714) 

Say what you like about Playboy; it’s always been in the front on social issues:

Playboy responded to backlash against its first transgender Playmate with a series of tweets comparing recent social media reactions to reader letters about its first black Playmate in 1965…Ines Rau…[became] the first openly transgender person to be named a Playmate.  The move drew criticism from some users on social media…most notably, former porn star and Playboy cover model Jenna Jameson.  “I have a problem with it just like I have a problem with a transgender competing against biological women in sports,”she tweetedPlayboy responded to the backlash with a series of powerful tweets…Caroline Cossey, the first openly transgender woman to appear between the covers of Playboy…[noted] that Hefner’s decision to feature her helped change cultural perceptions of trans people in the 1980s…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#724) 

Once again:  woman-shaped toasters have no “moral code”.  They are objects without minds, rights or feelings:

The sex robot phenomenon looks set to sweep the nation, with prostitutes fearing they will soon be out of work.  Hyper-realistic bots will even be able to fake orgasms and have fully-blown conversations, inventors [fantasize]…Sergi Santos…claims his…[robot] Samantha will be able to tell if [masturbators] are naughty or nice…Santos has claimed that her arousal level will be directly affected by how nice a person is…based on their previous conversations and sessions…

The only prostitutes who “fear they will soon be out of work” from these overgrown Talky Tinas are either very stupid or suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder.

Too Close To Home (#742)

Ugly regurgitated sexual fantasies from a sexual predator with the Washington State Rape Department:

Carlos Rodriguez…pursues [adults for private sexual acts using the excuse of]…juvenile sex trafficking…Since August 2015, Rodriguez and his two detectives have conducted eight undercover sting operations…and [arrested] 22 [underage sex workers they labeled as]…victims…”People order girls like they order pizza,” he [panted while fingering himself furtively]…”it’s everywhere…It could be right next door…Somebody is being abused right now…I can [take] some heroin…Ecstasy or pills, methamphetamine, and…once [the trip is over], it’s gone.  It’s used up.  When [I masturbate to thoughts of] a child, that’s a reusable commodity.  I can [fantasize about] that over and over, and I still have it…So, when [I] think about it [while masturbating, I]…don’t have to worry about [any] other [fantasy material]…”

The Mote and the Beam (#777)

Some companies are willing to destroy the internet to secure a temporary business advantage:

…Manus Cooney…Chairman of the Board of NCMEC…basically lists every…big Hollywood/legacy copyright player as a [lobbying] client.  Viacom, Time Warner, the Authors Guild, Comcast (owners of NBC Universal), the Copyright Alliance, the Music First Coalition (an RIAA front group), Random House, Reed Elsevier, SoundExchange (an RIAA spinoff), Songwriters Guild of America, and others…Hollywood really wants SESTA to pass for a variety of reasons, nearly all of them focused on its weird visceral hatred of one company:  Google…the Sony Pictures hack a few years back revealed the existence of Project Goliath — in which the various Hollywood studios colluded to try to support doing anything to harm Google.  The key part of the Project Goliath strategy was to convince…state Attorneys’ General to target Google for basically anything bad found on the internet…including counterfeit pharmaceuticals, sex trafficking and, of course, copyright infringement…That flopped, in large part because of CDA 230, which protects sites from the actions of third parties.  Now, along comes SESTA, whose entire point is to punch a giant hole in CDA 230, such that if a site is used to “facilitate” trafficking, the site suddenly loses its immunity.  Another key point in SESTA: saying that claims brought by states Attorneys General are no longer immune from action under CDA 230. Hmmmmmm…

The Widening Gyre (#785) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Several posts about a human trafficking ring in Tulsa are making rounds on Facebook, but Tulsa Police say the rumors are untrue.  One of those posts got more than 2,500 shares…One of the posts even says police confirmed it.  Police say this is untrue…Some of the posts also talk about people approaching children, asking them to get into their vehicles.  While this may have happened, Sgt. Todd Evans says it doesn’t amount to child sex trafficking…

Cooties (#786) 

Understand what this actually is:  a cop non-consensually using sex workers as props in a public recitation of his BDSM masturbation fantasy:

Men who [hire] sex workers in pop-brothels operated by [imaginary] crime gangs are committing rape, Cornwall’s most senior police officer has [fantasized]…The [fantasy of a] sex den epidemic in Cornwall first [became popilar among cops]…in July 2016, and…[cops exploit sex workers in theses fantasies by slandering them as] not technically consenting…

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“Sex addiction”…is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  –   Angela Mollard

Friday the Thirteenth 

Deviant Ollam, who designed our “McNeill/Matisse 2020” T-shirts, tells hackers why they should support sex workers:

Sex workers face many of the same stigmas that hackers do.  In addition to being misunderstood by the general public so often that they may choose to not even self-identify publicly unless they are in “safe” environments and surrounded by their own kind, the mainstream portrayal of such groups of people is riddled with the most ostentatious and over-blown stereotypes…If we search for the word “hacker” what are we going to see for the results?…Black hoodies and balaclavas everywhere.  The stock image sites are among the worst offenders, as always.  But that’s what editors (and, by extension, their readership) sees in their mind when they hear the word “hacker.”  By and large, we are seen as scary, malicious, and out to cause mayhem.  Let’s try a google image search for “prostitute” now…Is it much of a surprise to anyone that the trope of the “at-risk street walker” is far-and-away the most returned image?…I put it to you that the “prostitutes” in these photos are no more representative of the sex work population than the “hackers” in the earlier images are of our own community…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad a few people recognize how loathsome it is to use talk of “slavery” to oppose human rights:

…The click bait power of slavery and human trafficking, often encouraged by sensationalist headlines such as “victims branded like cattle”, operates to obscure real problems.  This is tied up with how we label people.  People entering the UK illegally, for example, are characterised as one of two types: either they are seen as undesirable migrants, or else as victims of slavery.  Our use of such labels – “slave”, “trafficking victim”, “refugee”, “migrant” – highlights our need to distinguish between those who deserve protection and those who don’t…the continued use of the idea of slavery to invoke an emotive response…promotes overly simplistic solutions – such as awareness raising campaigns…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Men, women and children took to the streets of Newcastle to make a stand against human trafficking.  With their mouths taped shut, more than 100 people dressed in black walked in single file through the city centre down to the Quayside on Saturday, stopping briefly to make a silent demonstration at the Monument…One of the Newcastle Walk for Freedom organisers, Rachel Jobes…said: “When we say this is a crime that’s happening under our noses we aren’t exaggerating.  We [fantasize] there have been trafficking victims in nail bars, held as slaves in parts of our city and we [masturbate to thoughts of] people…sexually exploited on the streets where we walked”…

Available Weapon

How can people read this and still think prostitution laws are a good idea?

…in Henrico County, Virginia…the number of female inmates at the county jail has more than doubled in the past year…due to…an intensifying police crackdown on sex workers and on people with drug dependence issues…[prosecutor] Michael Feinmel…claims that…these people are a nuisance to the public…or pose an immediate danger to themselves.  But this isn’t true.  Henrico County vice cops go out of their way to arrest these women…They troll online ads, reach out to sex workers pretending to be customers, and rent rooms at local motels where they can lure these women in order to arrest them…They do this under the guise of fighting “human trafficking,” but it’s just punishing women who sell sex…

Moloch (#572)

State actors keep trying to crucify a young man after their first attempt to destroy him failed:

Zach Anderson, the young man…whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation…He stopped by for dinner at his parents’ home.  His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother’s friend.  The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17.  Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings.  There was one other thing.  Anderson works on the tech team at his local church.  Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern.  While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week…Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof…

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

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

PornHub…uses a tagging system to categorize all its content…But videos already outpace humans’ ability to keep up and tag everything, and so the site is turning to help from software…using facial ID tech not unlike that which Facebook, Amazon, and other media entities apply…There’s nothing illegal about making…from porn…[but] it’s…not a line of work one really discusses in-depth with the neighbors.  Performers, especially amateurs, may well prefer to keep their public, working persona separated from the name and identity they use in private life…[so] this particular use of facial recognition is a privacy disaster in the making…A video that has been uploaded and tagged on PornHub won’t necessarily stay on the service, but will instead travel the internet — and bring the performer’s auto-tagged name along with it.  There’s also the entire challenge of revenge porn…although the site has tried to make it easier for victims to report content and have it removed, it still exists on the site until or unless someone flags it…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to women:

A…Pennsylvania…[cop] will serve no more than two years — and possibly less than one — for [repeat]edly raping two boys and threatening to kill them.  David Turkos…accepted a plea agreement in June on misdemeanor charges…His two victims came forward as teenagers and told police that Turkos began sexually abusing them in 2001, when they were 6 and 4 years old…Turkos threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.  One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and…held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.  “I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys…Turkos frequently pointed his gun at the brothers to frighten them…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#645)

Say what you like about Larry Flynt, but he’s a dedicated foe of tyranny:

…Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#671)

I may soon need to come up with a heading for stories that combine “sex addiction” nonsense with “sex robot” nonsense:

…sex experts say vibrators–no matter how technologically advanced they become—will never surpass human intercourse.  What’s more, they say any addiction to automated sex is downright impossible.  “The term addiction is often misused,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk…says…”A true addiction would mean the behavior would negatively affect the person’s day-to-day life…and using it to the exclusion of intimate live partner play.”  She says there’s “absolutely no research” to indicate vibrators’ addictive properties…Nicolette Heidegger…said that her clients often raise the question—a result of our collective 21st century fear that sex dolls…could one day replace actual intimacy…between humans…But “the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical data to support the claim that you can become physiologically or biologically addicted to a sex toy”…

The Maze of Consent

Attempts by “authorities” to negate the consent of adult women via psychobabble won’t stop with sex workers:

Forced into sex with large groups of strangers, stripped of their freedom and ferried from house to house by their controlling pimps, the story of how a group of vulnerable young women were turned into modern day slaves is brutal and uncompromising…thanks to the efforts of Greater Manchester Police officers the women were eventually freed and the gang who had trafficked them jailed…Why had these women – alone, afraid and forced into degrading and unsafe sex…never tried to escape their pimps?…police in Manchester turned to a leading expert in trauma to help them understand.  His report…paints a bleak picture in which the victims of the case were portrayed as being “brainwashed” into “childlike dependency” through controlling behaviour…Dr Michael Korzinski…[fantasized that] “Trafficking robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality”…

Between the Lines (#782)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown looks at this year’s “Operation Cross Country”:

The FBI just wrapped up its 11th annual “Operation Cross Country,” a massive multi-day vice sting conducted under the guise of stopping sexual predators…The media will largely lap up this sensationalist pageantry, as it has in previous years.  And once again, everyone will ignore the real victims of Operation Cross Country: the vulnerable women and girls tricked, frightened, robbed, detained, arrested, incarcerated, and otherwise mistreated by police and federal agents as part of this sick charade that claims to help them…[they] have any money they have on then taken by the cops…may spend days in jail (and away from families or day jobs) before even going to court…have their names and mugshots plastered all over local news and online (sometimes in conjunction with degrading details and comments from cops); and…face court fees, fines, and a criminal record…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#783) 

If you get caught paying for sex, you may be charged with “sex trafficking”.  But cops?

In an Oakland case…most were let off the hook, including three…whose cases were dismissed last week…NYPD [cop]…Raul Olmeda was indicted this week for allegedly paying a teen girl to have sex with him on multiple occasions and filming the sexual activity…Denver Police Department…[cop] Zachery Phillips…was recently given a 15-day suspension without pay after admitting to an encounter with a sex worker…The woman…was…charged with prostitution and possession of a controlled substance…in Cleveland…Mark Reilly is back on the job after spending 10 days in jail for paying for sex…In Vermont, police dispatcher Earl Benway was charged with paying for oral sex and leaking information to the sex worker he paid…And, finally, Abraham Flores Galvan…in Tunnel Hill, Georgia…was caught in his own colleagues’ sting operation [last] Thursday.  Galvan responded to an online ad posted by [wanker cops pretending]…to be a teenager under age 18…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#783) 

Weinstein has inadvertently made it possible to publicly attack “sex addiction” as malarkey:

…I am not a sex addict but my attendance at an SLAA meeting was part of a six-week investigation I undertook into sex addiction for a British newspaper.  Posing as a PR girl who went out several times a week to pick up men, I sought help via a psychotherapist, a phone counsellor and one of the world’s most reputable rehab clinics.  My conclusion?  That “sex addiction” — the malady Harvey Weinstein claims is responsible for his deplorable behaviour — is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions…

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