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The law punishes sex workers…and…turns us into criminals.  –  Mai Junta

The Immunity Syndrome (#318)

Don’t try to imagine this in the US; you’ll overload your brain:

On a stage…in Copenhagen stood five adults in bathrobes…Facing [an audience of] children…they stood completely naked, like statues, with their hands and arms folded behind their backs.  And so began a recording of the latest episode of an award-winning Danish children’s program, Ultra Strips Down, which is shown on…the…children’s channel…the program is meant as an educational tool to fight body shaming and encourage body positivity…The program is now in its second season, and…is highly popular in Denmark…[except for the usual puritan minority.  Most] Danes believe children should not be shielded from the realities of life…

Dysphemisms Galore 

When the topic is sex, Philippine reporters seem even less able than most to write In normal adult sane-person language:

With nightclubs closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus…there has been a dearth of customers for commercial sex workers, according to [Iloilo City’s] Task Force on Morals and Values Formation.  Suffering a heavy economic beating from the pandemic, this city’s prostituted women and men…have left, said task force chief Nestor Canong…Workers in the flesh trade were suddenly faced an awful choice between livelihood and health…[blah blah] sex workers…spread…[disease]…

What kind of mind thinks a busybody brigade called “Task Force on Morals and Values” would have anything worthwhile to say about people whose lives are so alien to them they need to make up silly fantasies about them?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#1017)

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sex workers in Thailand have launched a petition calling for prostitution to be decriminalised and urging authorities to remove all penalties for selling sex.  Empower Foundation…said it hoped to collect 10,000 signatures and present the petition to parliament…More than 1,000 people had signed the petition [in its first three days]…activists say the current law, which made prostitution illegal in 1960, [harms]…sex workers…w[ith] repeated arrests and fines [that]…drive…them further into poverty.  The women’s affairs department at Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security said it was in the process of amending the prostitution law and would launch an online public hearing next year, without giving further details…

Disqualified

A report by Hacking/Hustling on shadowbans and similar policies:

Content moderation, censorship, and shadowbanning facilitate sex worker erasure and normalize the digital and physical oppression of sex working and [activist] communities.  Sex workers are disproportionately losing access to social media platforms, having bank accounts seized, being banned from major payment processors, and being used as test subjects for facial recognition databases…This research shows how communities are negatively impacted by content moderation practices, and how surveillance technologies disrupt their ability to both earn an income and organize…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

Trumpists are completely taking control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

…the federal government is awarding more than $100 million in grants to target [migrants and sex workers for increased persecution using the same old excuse of] human trafficking.  The money will [mostly] go to [vice cops]…and…[prisons.  Attorney General William] Barr made the announcement…with pr[ohibitionist] Ivanka Trump and [infantilized sex workers as] “boys and girls”…

Loose Cannons (#1068)

Of course, the non-wealthy victims of this illegal surveillance still had their lives ruined:

After nearly two years, Florida prosecutors are finally giving up on prosecuting…Robert Kraft for [consensual sex]…Florida cops had pretended to be hunting a “human trafficking” ring in order to get a warrant for the secret surveillance cameras…authorities went forward with the “trafficking” lie…and…a…local sheriff called the [arrest of adult women]…”a rescue operation”…now, those “rescued” women may be the only ones still in legal trouble…Hua Zhang, the 59-year-old owner of Orchids of Asia…41-year-old Lei Wang…and…60-year-old Shen Mingbi…[are still] charged with…[various] prostitution[-rated “crimes”]…Zhang and Wang [were] also [robbed by cops using “asset forfeiture” laws]…

Tissue of Lies

Looks like Michael Hobbes has joined the debunkers’ club:

The biggest problem, I’ve found, is the definition of “child sex trafficking” itself. Under the law, anyone under 18 who trades sex for money, drugs, a place to stay or anything else of value is a victim of trafficking.  They don’t have to be recruited by a pimp, moved across state lines or forced into prostitution.  A homeless runaway having sex with some sleazeball in exchange for a warm bed is a tragedy, but it’s a less salacious one than the Taken myths that trafficking memes circulating on social media imply…The internet is awash in exaggerated, misleading and downright fabricated numbers about how many children are forced into the sex trade every year.  This is my attempt to debunk all the false trafficking numbers…

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The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.  China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind.  In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.  In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.  I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way:  Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough.  Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”  As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power.  For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels.  But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend.  We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.

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More than eight and a half years ago I predicted that when the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria came, it would not simply fade away, but rather violently implode.  A year later I described it this way:

…This doesn’t mean that things will get steadily better…in fact, they may get worse in some ways…In “The Widening Gyre” I referred to the “trafficking” myth as “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates”, and…[in] this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt…Because it’s a useful tool of social control and a versatile excuse for tyranny, governments (especially the US government) will work hard and invest huge sums to continue the panic well beyond the time when it would have died naturally; that, however, can only work for so long, and once the edifice of prohibition starts to collapse the US will no more be able to halt the process than the communists could stop the destruction of the Berlin Wall…

As it turned out, government and private funds were able to extend the lifespan of the panic by about three or four years, and it was their own overconfidence that eventually triggered the death-spiral:

…the hubris of those who yearn for power over others above all else undermined their own plans; in the spring of [2018] power-drunk US politicians tried to use the hysteria to achieve their long-desired goal of control over the internet, and the result of that power grab – the massive internet-censorship bill called FOSTA – badly backfired, galvanizing sex worker activism so powerfully that neither the media nor up-and-coming politicians could ignore it any longer…sex workers who once preferred to remain silent have become extremely vocalacademics in many fields are urging decriminalization…and the broken-down Hollywood celebrities who champion police violence against women are increasingly finding themselves ignored or even publicly mocked for their cluelessness.  “Feminist” anti-sex rhetoric is finally being recognized as the puritanical garbage it always has been, and the hysteria, as I predicted it would long ago, is rapidly approaching the point of implosion

Less than three months after I published that came the plague, and as their funds started to dry up prohibitionists began to lose their shit, desperately attempting to somehow tie the pandemic into their profitable wanking fantasy.  But what not even Cassandra McNeill could predict was that the process of collapse would be accelerated by the most unlikely of unwilling and inadvertent allies, the Trumpaloons.  And the schadenfreude is so sweet, it almost hurts my teeth:

…the…#SaveTheChildren…hashtag [has been] trending…[thanks to] followers of QAnon, the sprawling pro-Trump conspiracy theory…[combining prohibitionist fantasies about] human trafficking…with…[inconvenient-to-prohibitionists fantasies about] a global conspiracy involving a ring of Satan-worshiping, child-molesting criminals led by…Hillary Clinton…[who] are kidnapping and eating children…in order to harvest a life-extending chemical from their blood…[unlike “]legitimate[” propaganda which claims sex workers and brown people are]…doing the [imaginary] trafficking[, QAnon cultists claim it’s] a cabal of nefarious elites that includes Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francisthe…[recent nonsense] about…Wayfair…trafficking children under the guise of selling expensive cabinets…went viral…in [part thanks to QAnon followers]…and…In recent weeks, Facebook engagement on human-trafficking-related content has surged…Even the Trump campaign has begun sharing more anti-trafficking content to its millions of Facebook and Twitter followers.  The QAnon strategy of pushing some [politically-approved prohibitionist nonsense]…in addition to [inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy theories has [forced the rescue industry and anti-sex media to attempt to draw arbitrary] lines between [so-called] legitimate anti-trafficking activism and…[inconvenient, unprofitable] conspiracy mongering.  Recently…QAnon believers [are even infiltrating pro-police state “awareness raising” events], toting signs with messages like “Hollywood Eats Babies”…Tim Ballard, the [pro-Trump] founder of the [dangerously deranged, violently racist] group Operation Underground Railroad, see an opportunity to reach a new, hyper-engaged online audience…Other…[rescue industry profiteer]s worry that QAnon will divert valuable resources from [established, well-connected] groups trying to stop [sex work and censor the internet]…After the Wayfair incident, the Polaris Project…issued a news release saying its hotline had been overwhelmed with…reports…it…[couldn’t] spin [for its own profit]…longtime anti-[sex] activists…[a]re alarmed by QAnon’s recent incursion onto their turf.  They ha[ve] worked for years to [invent and disseminate] fa[ntasies] about child trafficking, only to see them [hijacked] by [a rival gang of] partisan opportunists.  And they worr[y] that…QAnon belie[fs are so bizarre they] could undermine the [rescue industry]’s bipartisan credibility…


I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to watch the New York Times forced to debunk the prohibitionist propaganda it has eagerly promoted for almost 17 years.  As in tales of black magic, the “sex trafficking” fetishists, propagandists, and profiteers have lost control of the evil forces they unleashed under the delusion that they could control them, and now those forces are threatening them as well.  If this keeps up – and I fervently hope it does – the media and political opportunists are going to have to choose who they hate more:  sex workers and our clients, or Donald Trump and his horde of idiots.

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Seven years ago I published “Catching Up“, in which I gave a new reader advice of how to get started reading my blog.  At the time, I compared the strategy of starting at the beginning and trying to read every post with “hacking your way across the Amazon Basin with a machete,” and since there are now roughly 3.5 times as many posts as there were then, that is barely even hyperbole any more.  Some of the advice is still good, such as the following:

…subscribe to the blog and read the new columns as they come out; most of them contain links to older columns, which you could then read as they come up…[twice a week] I publish a news column…made up of…short subsections; each item has its own title, and the vast majority of those titles refer back to older posts (each containing a link to the referenced post).  This will lead you to a lot of older columns every week, assuming you have the time!  Also, every Sunday I publish a “Links” column, and the bottom section, “From the Archives”, contains links to the posts from that same week for the past two years; you could click on and read any that sound interesting.  You can also follow me on Twitter, where I share lots of interesting links…and also remind readers of my columns from that same day one, two and…three years in the past…

But now that I’ve been publishing for over a decade, the best way to start is to simply buy my “best of” collections, The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I and Volume II; they’re available in both paperback and Kindle editions, and each contains 52 hand-picked, revised and edited essays from the first six years of the blog.  Then watch this space for future “best of” collections, including Ask Maggie, Volume I (a collection of 80 answers to reader questions, which should be available later this week) and Volume II (same, should be available in October).  In addition to presenting what I think are my most important essays in a more accessible and easier-to-browse format, these volumes give you the chance to support my work in a tangible way, which is especially important in these difficult times; it’s a perfect example of a win-win situation!

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The ACLU of old is, alas, no more.  Gone is the organization so passionately devoted to civil liberties that it paid for a team of Jewish lawyers to defend literal Nazis’ right to free speech; in its place is an organ of the Democratic party whose main concern is keeping its cash flow as high as possible by parroting its primary donors’ beliefs (often in childish tweets repeating some a priori statement in all caps, over and over, without a word of justification), and never ever ever challenging those beliefs, no matter how anti-civil-rights and factually wrong they may be.  So it was unsurprising when they recently tweeted the silly rhetorical question, “Prisons and jails aren’t drug rehab centers, so why does our country use them as such?”  The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t; it uses them as cages to lock people up for the “sin” of drug use, so as to “correct” them.  The newer model of drug use as “disease” has been overlaid on the old “vice” model, but has not replaced it, just as newer brain architecture has overlaid but not replaced the old architecture of emotions, instincts, etc.  The same process is visible in cops vomiting out the new “whore as victim” rhetoric while still actually enacting the old “whore as criminal” model.  It’s what happens when a system is bad at phasing out obsolete processes, such as the ACLU being unwilling to change its name despite the fact that it no longer has very much concern for civil liberties.

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It’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public.  –  Emma Best

Pathologization

The abuses committed by the “therapeutic state” are rarely so blatant:

A 16-year-old boy [locked in] a Los Angeles County [cage stack] developed enlarged breasts after he was [forced to take] estrogen [against his will to make him docile]…a move that baffled doctors who said the [so-called] treatment defied medical logic…The teen…was [claimed to have “]oppositional defiant disorder[“, a label invented to medicalize teens’ natural resentment of being treated like children]…Medical records…show that the teen’s testosterone levels were “slightly high” when the doctor [assigned to control] him prescribed daily doses of estrogen…After taking approximately 13 daily doses of the hormone, the teen was diagnosed with gynecomastia…James McGough, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA…[said]“You won’t find a reference anywhere that supports the use of estrogen for ODD”…The doctor who prescribed the estrogen, Danny Wang, [is being sued along with the county by the young man, who]…will require surgery to treat the [malformity]…Wang prescribed a daily regimen of 2 milligrams of estrogen…without the parents’ consent…

2 mg of estrogen is roughly 4x the typical amount taken for hormone replacement by post-menopausal women.

Lying Down With Dogs (#412)

What other country does this sound like?

In mid-June, Tunisian Islamic political party El-Karama launched an initiative to ban all forms of sex work in the country and penalise sex workers…[using the moronic excuse of] “the dignity of…woman”… “Political parties [used to] shun sex work issues. It’s a taboo subject,” says Souhaila Bensaid, founder of the Tunisian Association for Positive Prevention (ATP+) for sexual and reproductive health. But increased animosity against sex workers over the past decade has turned into “a moralistic crusade,” according to Bensaid, leaving women in increasingly precarious situations with little to no protection…

Censor Chic (#882)

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

Twitter has banned the account of the collective that published almost 270 gigabytes of leaked documents from police departments all over the country…Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets…said that Twitter had taken down the official account of the DDoSecrets collective, which is made of activists, journalists, and technologists…when a Twitter user now clicks on a link that leads to the DDoSecrets’ site, it’s redirected to a warning that labels it as “unsafe”…“it’s disheartening to see Twitter side with the police against researchers, journalists, and the public”…[said] Best…

Forward and Backward (#894)

A prohibitionist attempt to destroy the Leeds red light district has been defeated:

The University of Huddersfield…[was] tasked…with investigating how effective the [Leeds] Managed Approach (MA) was, amid [attempts by] some [politicians to]…abandon…[it] altogether…the review concluded: “The MA was found to be more effective at reducing the impact of problems associated with on-street sex working than any other approach or model.  There are currently no alternative models or approaches that promise to be more effective and which fit within existing UK law on sex working”…[unfortunately NIMBY] residents [have] stag[ed] regular protests…[using the usual hackneyed claims of] littering and soliciting creeping into residential areas

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with beating:

[A] Dover [New Hampshire cop named Ronald Letendre beat his wife] Sarah [so severely he broke four of her ribs, then had her arrested] and charged her with domestic violence [on him]…the…husband…is a[lso]…a…former MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter…[since] the incident…The…police are…con[tinuing to harass]…Sarah…stopp[ing] her vehicle [and trying to brutalize and re-arrest her on bullshit charges]…Fortunately [s]he…was [able to escape] and…ha[s] not yet [been tracked down by]…police…

The Mote and the Beam (#1016)

Hawley has a long history of spouting self-aggrandizing lies about sex workers:

When Missouri police raided several Springfield massage parlors in 2017, as…Josh Hawley…tells it, it was a righteous rescue mission led by a promising young attorney general who would later go on to become a rising Republican star in the U.S. Senate…While this tale nicely reinforces Hawley’s long-standing preoccupations with public morality  and Chinese hegemonythe evidence doesn’t back up his version of events.  The real story is one about police and prosecutor overreach at the expense of potentially vulnerable immigrants, followed by grandstanding and falsehoods from a senator intent on rewriting his own history.  Three years after the initial raids, Missouri has [only] managed to elicit six guilty pleas to misdemeanor offenses against the state’s massage licensing law…Hawley’s…raids…[were] largely based on…the fact that they all advertised on the now-seized classified ad site Backpage

Safe Position (#1042)

Under the current zeitgeist, Swedish model pushers are being increasingly seen as the copsuckers they are:

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz [lied during] her campaign [by] promis[ing] to end the criminalization of sex work…[in reality she is pursuing a Swedish criminalization strategy…Amnesty International found in a study published in 2016, that [this] Model violate[s] the rights of sex workers by creating an atmosphere of fear built upon surveillance, evictions, and deportations…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

Are Western media finally going to stop tiptoeing around calling this what it is?

Two recent disturbing events may finally awaken the world to the scale and horror of the atrocities being committed against the Uighurs…One is an authoritative report documenting the systematic sterilization of Uighur women.  The other was the seizure by U.S. Customs…of 13 tons of products made from human hair…forcibly removed from Uighurs imprisoned in concentration camps.  Both…evoke chilling parallels to past atrocities elsewhere, forced sterilization of minorities, disabled, and Indigenous people, and the image of the glass display of mountains of hair preserved at Auschwitz.  The Genocide Convention, to which China is a signatory, defines genocide as specific acts against members of a group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part.  These acts  include (a) killing; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm; (c) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the group’s physical destruction; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and (e) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.  Any one of these…constitutes genocide.  The overwhelming evidence [is that] Chin[a’s]…campaign [against]…the Uighur people…meets [all] of the[m]…Over a million…Uighurs are…subjected to electrocution, waterboarding, repeated beatingsstress positions, and injections of unknown substances…The repeated government orders to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins”…demonstrate a clear intent to eradicate the Uighur people as a whole…

Disqualified

Twitter accidentally admitted what everyone already knew:

[Last week]s hack of a large number of prominent Twitter accounts — which led to the company’s disabling of…verified…accounts for part of the day — also resulted in the unexpected confirmation of the practice known by users as “shadowbanning,” and by Twitter as “blacklisting”…the secret re-categorization of certain Twitter accounts, without the knowledge of the affected user or their followers, so that they do not show up in searches, predictive auto-complete fields or trending topics.  Even though…companies like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have in the past denied knowing what “shadowbanning” meant, large numbers of sex workers…are verifiably victims of this…practice…a…Motherboard article…[showed] a screencapture from Twitter’s back-end reveal[ing] some accounts labeled under “Trends Blacklist” and “Search Blacklist”…[reporter Samantha] Cole explained…“A Twitter spokesperson told Motherboard on the phone that these blacklists are the same ones it explained in 2018 (though it didn’t use the term ‘blacklist’ at the time and has not used that word publicly)”…

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One Neck

Would that the Roman people had but one neck!  –  Gaius Caligula

I’m not going to analyze this propaganda too deeply, parse out which of the statements make sense and which don’t, or discuss the long and tortured history of the construct of “whiteness” and how it has changed over the past 400 years.  I’m not even going to comment (beyond this sentence) on the fact that this was lifted from a 30-year-old book by a white woman.  All I’m going to do is remind you that the National Museum of African American History & Culture is part of the Smithsonian; it is owned and run by the US government, and therefore heavily invested in promoting that government’s interests (because he who pays the piper calls the tune).  And then I’m going to ask you why a government might want the most oppressed minority under its rule to associate individualism, independence, autonomy, and rational thought with their oppressors.

 

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Tracking protestors…and calling it “news” is still surveillance.
–  Andrew Ferguson

I Spy (#691) 

Twitter joins the fascists who claim surveillance isn’t surveillance:

…[fascist surveillance company] Dataminr [collaborated with cops to] digitally monitor the protests that swept the country following the killing of George Floyd, tipping off police to social media posts with the latest whereabouts and actions of demonstrators…The monitoring [proves the dishonesty of] claims from both Twitter and Dataminr that neither company would engage in or facilitate domestic surveillance…Twitter, up until recently a longtime investor in Dataminr alongside the CIA, provides the company with full access to a content stream known as the “firehose”…a…privilege…that lets Dataminr…scan every public tweet as soon as its author hits send.  Both companies denied that the [surveillance] meets the definition of surveillance…But…Dataminr relayed tweets and other social media content about the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests directly to police, apparently across the country…despite current terms of service that explicitly bar software developers “from tracking, alerting, or monitoring sensitive events (such as protests, rallies, or community organizing meetings)” via Twitter…

The Widening Gyre (#869)

Observation: overpriced furniture.  Conclusion: “sex trafficking”!

A new [masturbatory fantasy] surrounding products advertised by the home goods and furniture seller Wayfair now joins previous [masturbatory fantasies] like Pizzagate regarding worldwide pedophilic sex trafficking…The Wayfair [fantasy]…began with a[n idiot’s] post to the Conspiracy subreddit…”Is it possible Wayfair involved in Human trafficking with their WFX Utility collection? Or are these just extremely overpriced cabinets? (Note the names of the cabinets) this [gives] me [tingles below] my stomach if it’s true”…[naturally the fantasist] described themselves as “involved in a local organization that helps victims of human trafficking”…

Clearly, Wayfair was envious of all the “sex traffickers” at Ikea, and so decided to get into the business itself.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

It’s sad that in the 21st century we’re still debunking claims that pictures have magic powers:

A new study by a neuroscientist from the Kinsey Institute found no scientific basis to the persistent myth, peddled by religiously inspired War On Porn crusaders and #NoFap semen-retention cultists, claiming that watching porn can cause erectile disfunction in men…[Dr] David J. Ley…explained [that] the lack of correlation between exposure to porn and erectile dysfunction suggests that “rather than getting distracted by pornography use, we can best support men struggling with erections by attending to personal motivational and behavioral factors”…

The Course of a Disease (#925)

Sex workers already gave their views before this tyranny was inflicted on them:

Sex workers and other “stakeholders” involved in or associated with the sale of sex are to be asked for their views on a review of Ireland’s prostitution law [years after their views were ignored to enact the law in the first place]…the act [cl]aimed to decriminalise prostitutes…[bu]t has been widely criticised by the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland…[because] it actually puts prostitutes at greater risk…The 2017 Act specifically provided for a review…after a period of 3 years…[and SWAI]…said the forthcoming review “will show the current law is a failed experiment”…

The Course of a Disease (#961)

Israel’s plan to force sex workers into low-paid menial “women’s work”:

A law criminalizing the procuring of sex services went into effect…over the objections of some government offices and welfare groups, who [fantasize that the law will magically result in] thousands of newly out-of-work prostitutes [even though that never happens anyplace prostitution is criminalized].  The [Swedish model was] approved a year and a half ago by the Knesset…[but] de[layed until] mid-2020 to give the state time to form re[-education camps]…for sex workers…to [force them into sweatshops and other menial work]…Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said…“Women are [the] property [of the state and only politicians and bureaucrats may decide how they may use] their bodies”…

The Crumbling Dam (#1018)

Cato & ACLU join forces to stop deranged prohibitionists from killing people:

…Safehouse wants to provide a supervised injection site (SIS) for compulsive opioid users…[but] the federal government is trying to block Safehouse by invoking a 1980s crack‐​house law that makes it a crime to provide a place to take illicit drugs, even without compensation.  Safehouse won the first round when a federal district court ruled that the Department of Justice couldn’t stretch the crack‐​house statute to cover Safehouse’s lifesaving SIS.  Now on appeal to the Third Circuit, Cato, joined by the ACLU and the ACLU of Pennsylvania, has filed a brief supporting Safehouse…the federal government is largely responsible for the current overdose crisis…Because of the “iron law of prohibition”…during alcohol Prohibition, beer and wine essentially disappeared and were replaced by hard spirits.  For the same reasons, drug traffickers prefer high‐​potency opioids like fentanyl even when the users are not demanding it…

To Molest and Rape (#1052)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A[n Ohio cop got]…a 12-year-old girl drunk and expos[ed] himself to her during a Father’s Day party at his house.  Roy E. Stephens…was [only] charged with indecent exposure and providing alcohol to a minor, which [means]…placing Stephens on the sex offender registry will be up to the discretion of the judge, so there is a chance he will avoid that [because cop]…Stephens gave the…girl between three and five alcoholic beverages throughout the night, and at one point encouraged her to chug one of the drinks down fast so it would “mess [her] up faster”…so he could have his way with her…She…felt the effects of the alcohol, but was luckily still coherent enough to prevent the encounter from escalating.  It is not entirely clear how she was able to get out of the situation, or how well Stephens was known by the girl and her family…

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Do you have any idea why some people’s Twitter follower count either stays the same or slowly drops?  Mine used to climb pretty steadily, but lately I’m losing followers even though I’m not doing anything different.

Most internet companies are more subtle than censorship-happy Facebook, which openly and proudly censors posts and bans users using a set of “community standards” so bluenosed they’d make a Puritan swoon.  Google is only slightly less censorious, using secret algorithms to monkey with search results in order to boost its advertisers and “de-weight” any site containing “adult content” (which is why my traffic to this blog from Google is only about 1/6 what it was seven years ago); it also “demonetizes” videos on YouTube (ie, makes them ineligible for moneymaking ads) using similar esoteric criteria.  Twitter, by contrast, likes to represent itself as the most free-speech-friendly of the social media sites, and to a degree that’s no empty pose; it’s the only one left which still allows (some) nudity, frank sexual discussion, and the open presence of sex workers.  But behind the scenes it still has a number of secret mechanisms, most of which it denies the existence of, that are intended to push nasty, dirty, sex into the shadows to make room for nice, fully-clothed bigots.  One of those is the shadowban, a blanket term for a number of occlusions which can be secretly installed by the corporation on the accounts of (mostly but not only) sex workers so as to make their accounts much harder for new readers to find while allowing them to appear normally to those who already follow them:  Twitter used to deny that there was such a thing as a shadowban, but as of January 1st its TOS states that it “reserves the right to limit distribution or visibility of content”, IOW to shadowban users.  But what you’re describing is different.  According to the shadowban checker I linked above, I’m not shadowbanned; yet my follower count, which used to increase by hundreds every month, has now been static for over two years.  I get at least 10-20 new followers every day, yet my count just bobs gently back and forth like a buoy on a calm sea, as though something were draining away followers at the same rate I gained them.  Then since about April, I’ve been slowly losing followers; it’s very gradual, about 220 followers so far, yet I’m still gaining a dozen to a score new followers evey day.  The only thing I can figure is that this is part of their anti-bot campaign; apparently, the site is methodically checking every account over time, and when an account trips some condition that Twitter has decided makes it “suspicious”, that account is either closed entirely or at least “disqualified” as a follower.  I know I’ve had a number of people tell me that Twitter has “unfollowed” me for them without their permission, such that they wondered if I had left the site until they saw someone else retweet me; I suspect a lot of the lost followers are due to a similar process.  But riddle me this:  if it’s an innocent by-product of that kind of routine site cleaning, why are all the people who have noticed it either “adult” or otherwise “controversial”?

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

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth?  As the anti-cop protests go on, cops are responding in their usual unhinged, brutal fashion, thus making things worse and winning more support for the protesters.  And because video cameras are now ubiquitous, most of the attacks by deranged animals in uniform are caught on video.  Criminal defense attorney Greg Doucette started a Twitter thread to collect them; when I wrote this column on Thursday night, there were just over 300, and by the time you read this I wouldn’t be surprised if it had risen to up around 500.  A teacher named Jason Miller has taken on the Herculean task of cataloging each one in a Google document, which might give you some sense of an answer to my initial question, if you’re obsessive enough to count.  In the great majority of these cases, politicians and boss pigs have first responded with denials and/or prevarications, then after examining the videos closely enough to recognize that the violence is undeniable, they shift to excuse-making or pretended horror (followed by rewarding the attacking pig with a paid vacation until such time as the incident can be swept under the rug).  Note that in many if not most of these cases, the cops are fully aware they’re being recorded and carry on anyhow, counting on their riot gear and their covered-up nameplates and badge numbers to protect their anonymity and powerful police unions to protect their jobs.  A very small number of these will be prosecuted or fired; the rest will get away with it because the politicians are afraid of them and bootlickers grovel before them.  These monsters can no more be “reformed” than a rabid dog can; the only way to deal with them is to utterly remove their power by defunding them, disarming them and then dissolving them entirely.  And if that doesn’t happen, expect the next uprising to be far bloodier and far less transitory.

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