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Posts Tagged ‘Welcome to the Future’

Every so often one of my news column subtitles branches out so much that it becomes overcrowded and therefore more difficult to use than I would prefer.  With the explosion of surveillance technology in the past few years, the subtitle “Pyrrhic Victory” has swollen from a few items a year to sometimes several per week, so I’ve decided to break it up by repurposing several existing tags and creating one new one.  To make the new headings clear to both you and me, I’ve linked all the “Pyrrhic Victory” items of the past five years below under the headings similar items will appear under in the future.

The new heading Panopticon is now reserved for purely visual surveillance such as license plate readers, Amazon “Ring” and “eye in the sky” systems; previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #609, 648, 680, 685, 746, 796, 810, 865, 878, 894, 897, 914, 915, 923, 957, 960, 963, 969, 970, 980, and 983

Welcome to the Future will now be used for “predictive policing” and similar systems that pretend to be able to predict “crime” or other behavior, Minority Report style; previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #563, 645, 697, 765, 916, 922, 944, 964, 967, 971, and 977

I Spy will now be used for database-related items (record access, cell phone metadata, encryption, etc); previous items of this type appeared in “In the News” #646, 673, 677, 691, 738, 752, 767, 781, 787, 820, 824, 826, 836, 864, 865, 880, 898, 903, 904, 911, 930, 955, 958, 961, 962, and 979

Pyrrhic Victory will now mostly be used for the facial (and other biometric) recognition stories which have almost completely taken over the tag in the past three years.

In addition to these four, items specifically relating to the Chinese oppression of the Uighurs will now appear under Quiet Genocide, items about DNA surveillance have and will continue to appear under Micromanagement, and items about data-mining schemes (which were first tested on sex workers) have and will continue to appear under Guinea Pigs.

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I understand that…people…think…”this protects my kids”, but what they should be thinking…is “Does this protect my rights?”  –  Mark Yuracheck

Surplus Women

Your government wants this to happen more often:

…[Jamel Alexander]…stomp[ed] a woman to death and le[ft] her body outside an apartment complex in Everett [Washington]…Alexander admitted…that he paid the woman for sex, but [claimed] when he left she was “alive and well”…[cops found] a van near the scene that contained women’s clothing, drops of blood and signs of a struggle. They also found a sports beanie…[which] Alexander [was wearing in]…apartment complex surveillance video…

Torture Chamber 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

A…[prisoner of the st]ate [of Connecticut had a heart attack due to]…being [repeatedly] pepper sprayed and [lock]ed in five-point restraints by [screws.  He]…had rigor mortis in his jaw and upper body by the time [screws bothered to take his corpse]…to Yale-New Haven Hospital…Carl Robert Talbot…struggled with serious mental illness all his life and had been jailed for breach of peace and trespassing…[screws attacked him for] refusing to leave the…shower area.  First they]…pepper spray[ed him three times, then locked him in restraints so he couldn’t breathe and dumped him in solitary confinement to die]…

Down Under (#410)

In the US, his victims would have no recourse:

A Canberra brothel operator…told prospective sex workers they had to perform sex acts with him to prove they could do the job…Bradley Lester Grey, 54, allegedly told the nine women they needed to complete “training” as they were new to the industry and needed to know what clients expected.  Grey went on trial in the ACT Supreme Court…on 16 counts of rape, 10 charges of committing acts of indecency, and one of attempted rape.  He has pleaded not guilty…

Cooties (#827)

UK cops keep desperately trying to draw others into their “sex slave” fantasies:

…police in Bristol have urged anyone who is renting out part or all of their home using sites like Airbnb should make themselves aware of the signs that modern slavery or sexual exploitation could be taking place within their properties…the organised crime bosses who have traditionally run brothels have…realised that they are far less likely to be caught if they can rent a property for a week at a time and set up “pop-up brothels” in someone else’s home…

Counterfeit Comfort (#878)

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

A group of [people condemned to the] sex offender…[registry] in Georgia is suing the Butts County Sheriff’s office for [trespssing and vandalism.  Last year]…Sheriff Gary Long directed deputies to place “Warning! No Trick-or-Treat at this address!!” signs in the front yards of over 200 [people without their permission]…from Oct. 24-Nov. 2.  The sheriff’s office plans to use the same tactic again this year, and three [of the victims] have filed suit…“The law allows the sheriff to put a list of [the] sex offender…[registry] at his office, at the courthouse, on the internet,” [said] the lead attorney for the petitioners, Mark Yurachek…“It does not allow him to go door-to-door telling people you have a sex offender living next door to you…They’re coming onto their property [without permission] and putting the signs on there”…Long [bloviated] that regardless of the Judge’s ruling…he would do [whatever he felt like doing]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#944) 

They actually admit that part of the point is to normalize constant surveillance:

…the technology company Bark…offer[s] schools free, automated, 24-hour-a-day surveillance of what students…writ[e] in their school emails, shared documents and chat messages, and sending alerts to school officials any time the [algorithm] flag[s forbidden thoughts]…Before his school used Bark, [one] principal said, school officials would not know [every single detail of]…a student[‘s life]…unless one of their friends [tattled]…Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students…[and it] doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in official school email accounts, chats or documents is monitored 24 hours a day…Tech companies are also working with schools to monitor students’ web searches…internet usage…and…public social media accounts…Privacy experts [explain that] pervasive monitoring…hurt[s] children, and may be particularly dangerous for [those with trust issues]…but…proponents…[claim] monitoring in school [years] helps train students for constant surveillance after they graduate…

Believe Them (#952)

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time“:

At least 25 Illinois prison employees participated in online conversations that mocked, demeaned or disclosed personal and medical information about transgender inmates…in two private Facebook groups, each with more than 4,000 members.  The degrading posts were written by [screws of all pay grades and euphemistic titles]…from across the state.  Members…outed LGBT+ inmates and openly discussed private information about them…Many posts reference a then-incarcerated transgender woman, Strawberry Hampton, who was transferred to a women’s facility…The comments emerged amid a series of lawsuits…including a class-action claim brought by six transgender women…[including] Hampton…[for persistent and pervasive] abuse and mistreatment…

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

…to my horror, a female voice that I don’t recognize starts talking to my 18-month-old son.  He looks around the room and then at the ceiling, wondering who’s there…The voice is laughing…she says we have a nice house and encourages the nanny to respond.  She does not.  The voice even jokes that she hopes we don’t change our password…After about five minutes…the voice starts to get agitated at the nanny’s lack of response and then snaps, in a very threatening voice: “I’m [magically] coming [through the camera] for the baby if you don’t answer me, bitch!”…We unplug the cameras and change all passwords…Still helpless, I started doing the only thing I could [think of] do[ing]…I typed “Nest + camera + hacked” and found out that this happens frequently.  Parent after parent relayed stories similar to mine — threatening to steal a baby is shockingly common — and some much worse, such as playing pornography over the microphone to a 3-year-old…

To Molest and Rape (#966)

Cops show you what they are every day; why don’t you believe them?

In 2017, Carroll, Iowa [cop] Jacob Smith [was]…force[d to resign] after [he molested several]…teenaged girls.  The Carroll Times Herald, published by the local Burns family since 1929, [published the news as they were supposed to], including a comment by Smith’s ex-wife accusing the [typical and representative] cop of being a “pedophile” and revealing that Smith’s previous employer, another Iowa police department, had [also] fired him for [molesting]…a teen girl.  Despite the fact that everything the Herald reported was true, Smith (who admitted [molesting teenage girls] “wasn’t right” and “looks like shit”) was still able to launch a ruinous libel suit in retaliation, thanks to Iowa’s failure to enact anti-SLAPP laws to prevent this kind of conduct.  The judge found [in favor of] the Herald…but they still ended up $140,000 in debt for the portion of the legal fees not covered by their insurer.  Now, the paper is on the brink of bankruptcy, and begging for money on Gofundme

Dangerous Speech (#968)

…history’s being rewritten to claim FOSTA took Backpage down, despite that not being the order in which things happened.  The biggest issue, though, is that taking down these sites makes it harder to fight sex trafficking — and the feds know it…Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown…discuss[es] documents she recently obtained in which federal investigators repeatedly acknowledge that Backpage helped them do their job, and wasn’t run by a bunch of criminals…”

Quiet Genocide

Just in case you weren’t horrified enough by China’s “re-education” camps for Uighurs:

[A Uighur woman who escaped China] explained:  “They came to my house at night, put a black sack on my head and brought me to a place that looked like a jail…my husband and children [had alreadyescaped]…to Kazakhstan…I…was ordered to teach Chinese to follow detainees”…Singing of propaganda songs and reciting slogans such as “I love China”, “Thank you to the Communist Party”…and “I love Xi Jingping” are mandatory…Anyone who didn’t follow the rules was punished…Ms Sauytbay…was beaten and deprived of food for two days after she was hugged by a woman who asked her for help…[cops routinely subject] pretty girls…to…gang rape….Ms Sauytbay…saw [other torture victims]…covered in blood and with fingernails removed…

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The police are the true sex predators.  –  Peter Aiken

Gullible’s Travels

Americans will believe basically any scaremongering about teenagers:

Fort Bend County [Texas cops] are [fearmongering] about a [supposedly] new teen drug trend called, “Robo Tripping” [AKA drinking cough syrup]…to get high…”Robo Cough…[is] a legal substance [that we’re trying to scare people with,” bloviated Sheriff Troy] Nehls…Robo Cough…is…[an ordinary] Dextromethorphan [based]…cough suppressant [which pigs seem to imagine is more]…potentially dangerous [than other over-the-counter cough medicines] because cops’ little tin badges magically grant expertise in pharmacology without the trouble of having to earn a degree]…

Anyone who thinks trying to get high on cough syrup is something “new” is too ignorant to be allowed to run around loose.

The Last Shall Be First 

Since their “bathroom bills” keep getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by spreading hysteria:

Drugs that are being used to halt puberty in gender-confused youth have been linked to thousands of adult deaths…The Food & Drug Administration has recorded thousands of deaths associated with Lupron, a…drug…routinely used to treat prostate cancer in men and [both breast cancer and] endometriosis in women…since 1984…there have been 40,764 adverse reactions…[including] 6,370 deaths…

For those unfamiliar with prohibitionist propaganda tactics: when prohibitionists claim that a drug is “linked to” or “associated with” a death or other serious effect, what that means is the drug was present in the person’s system when they suffered the effect.  For example, if I died today cops could say my death was “linked to” cannabis consumption, because there are detectable levels of THC in my system.  Given that Lupron’s most common use is in cancer patients, the statements made in this article would be equally true when made about insulin, painkillers, antibiotics of last resort, etc.  Also: barely over 1000 adverse reactions a year to any drug as widely used as Lupron is not exactly a crisis.

Bullies With Badges

Big masked heroes in riot gear prove their manhood by brutalizing naked women:

[Pigs invited reporters along to humiliate dancers]…as [they dressed up like little boys playing soldier and frog]marched employees in handcuffs out one by one at the Wacko’s Gentlemen’s Club [last] Friday night…Other clubs in Jacksonville [Florida] are taking legal action in response to recent raids…[which clearly] violated the constitution [sic] rights of the dancers….Emperor’s Gentleman’s Club and Flashdancers…filed a federal lawsuit against the city and Sheriff Mike Williams on Thursday…[thus precipitating retaliation the next day]…the…raids violated a 2004 court order that stated performers should be given a “notice to appear”, rather than be arrested for minor violations…dancers [abducted by violent pigs] in those raids…were shackled in leg irons…While Wacko’s is not a party in the recently filed lawsuit, [it] was the lead plaintiff in the case resulting in the 2004 court order…

Rescued To Death

The Asian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Authorities rescued some 91 Chinese women and 4 Filipino women inside an upscale…bar allegedly used as front for prostitution in…Makati City [The Philippines]…the victims…[charged] at least P15,000 [$288 US]…They…will face [charges] for violating…the Expanded Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2012.  This is the third incident this month that authorities have rescued several foreign women involved in the sex trade…

“Rescued” from jobs in which they made as much money as many US sex workers (in an economy where that represents a lot more buying power), then prosecuted.  And you can bet deportation will follow whatever time they’re locked in cages for.

Bait and Switch

Cops don’t care how many lives they destroy with their sick fantasies:

Hamid Keshmirian committed suicide…after bonding out on charges related to his conversations…with a…[pig fantasy role-playing a teenage girl]…on…SkipTheGames.com, where Keshmirian responded to an ad that appeared to be for an adult escort…but [was really placed by lying pigs]…Keshmirian, a [62-year-old] single man, whose two adult daughters say he was battling depression and loneliness…ultimately agreed to meet up with the [imaginary] girl on Thursday, Sept. 19 — his birthday.  He was arrested upon arrival, spending two nights in jail because…[pigs] denied him a phone call and kept his arrest out of the computer system while they continued to hunt other men…the [victims]…were looking to talk to other adults on legal, adult dating sites and…would never have considered talking to underage teens…[but] bait-and-switch tactics on adult dating sites have become more frequent for [pigs] that seek to boost arrest numbers related to sex crimes…[lying pigs] have resorted to teasing men who didn’t want to meet up with underage teens, pushing conversations about sex on men who didn’t want to talk about it, and offering gas money to convince one man to make a trip he initially declined.  Some men are arrested for their conversations with decoys, even if they don’t ever travel to meet up…most of the [cops’ victims]…have no real criminal history and suffer from behavioral and/or emotional disorders…Some…are autistic…

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Normal people are growing increasingly sick of prohibitionism and puritanism:

French label Guy Laroche has raised eyebrows by celebrating prostitution in its Paris fashion week show just a day after police in the city raided a modelling agency linked to the Epstein scandal.  Designer Richard Rene defended “cocking a snook” at political correctness by lionising the [late]…Fernande Grudet, known as Madame Claude, and the band of…girls [who worked for her]…high-class call girl agency in Paris in the 1960s and 1970s that counted several heads of state among its clients…Rene [said] the show was a reaction to…a growing atmosphere of uptight puritanism…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine (#806)

A documentary about how the Swedish model led directly to the death of a young Swedish sex worker is now available on Amazon, and is included with a Prime subscription.  I recently watched the film, entitled Everything’s Better Than a Hooker, and I highly recommend it to anyone who still has any illusions about the Swedish model being “well-intended”; the film unflinchingly portrays how Swedish “authorities” ruthlessly and maliciously persecuted a young woman to death and wrecked the lives of her entire family because they disapproved of her pragmatic choices.

Fair-Weather Friends (#906)

Every sex worker arrested in a “sting” should sue the cops if at all possible:

Stormy Daniels settled her lawsuit against the city of Columbus, Ohio, over her arrest last year at a strip club…Daniels will receive $450,000 and drop all claims made in her federal civil complaint against the city…[she] could have reached a settlement for more…but she was satisfied with changes implemented by the Columbus Police Department following her arrest…“Her main goal was to make sure people weren’t going to be treated like she was going forward” [said her attorney]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#964)

As I’ve repeatedly stated, it’s far too late to put this evil djinni back into its bottle:

…Unilever…is among companies using AI technology to analyse the language, tone and facial expressions of candidates when they are asked a set of identical job questions which they film on their mobile phone or laptop.  The algorithms [supposedly] select the best applicants by assessing their performances in the videos against about 25,000 pieces of facial and linguistic information compiled from previous interviews of those who have gone on to prove to be good at the job.  Hirevue, the US company which has developed the interview technology, claims…that it provides a more reliable and objective indicator of future performance free of human bias [and that this isn’t anything like astrology or phrenology, no sirree]…

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You can say, “No sex without a condom”. You can say, “No sex until we’re married”.  But you can’t say, “No sex until you pay me”?…that…really undermines what consent means.  –  Katherine Sears

Bad Girls

I guess it runs in the family:

A judge found a[n Ohio] woman guilty of felony theft charges..[for] swindling an elderly war veteran out of tens of thousands of dollars before his death earlier this year.  Latasha Wisniewski, 38, used the false promise of romance to gain the trust of Charles Bauer, an 89-year-old Korean War veteran and widower, then looted much of his life’s savings in a matter of months to purchase botox injections, breast implants and butt implants…Wisniewski and her boyfriend, Daniel Scholz, are also charged with additional felony charges of misuse of credit cards in a separate case…Wisniewski’s conviction was based in part on the testimony of her aunt, 39-year-old Lisa Dotson…[who] was a home health aide charged in a separate case that accused her [of] stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from elderly and disabled clients.  She pleaded guilty to charges in both cases in August and agreed to [snitch on] Wisniewski…

Check Your Premises 

How about “women who were forced to work as cashiers were watched over by security guards so that they didn’t escape”?

South American women who were forced to work as prostitutes were watched over by security guards so that they didn’t escape.  [Cops sexually fantasized that] the 22 women were available 24 hours a day…The[y]…apparently…[worked for] two months [before]…new women would be introduced…

The word for a security guard posted to keep potentially-unruly, possibly-drunk customers in line is “bouncer”.  Bouncers in sex work establishments (such as strip clubs & brothels) are there to protect the workers, not to keep them from “escaping”.

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

…attorney…Katherine Sears…began working as a prostitute three years ago, at…a…Nevada…brothel…By speaking about her experience, Sears hopes to educate people on a taboo topic…her husband John…isn’t bothered by her part-time job…Katherine…works in the brothel for three weeks before coming home to Iowa for a week…“You’re really less likely to get an STD from a prostitute than you are from the general public,” Sears said.  In the past year, she has taken time off to focus on her law practice and her 4-month-old son.  But it hasn’t stopped her from trying to break down misconceptions around prostitution…and…is so passionate about the decriminalization of prostitution, she is willing to take prostitution cases on pro bono…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralism is back in the news again lately:

…Regular consumption of soft drinks — both sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened — was associated with a greater risk of all causes of death, according to research…in JAMA Internal Medicine.  Participants who drank two or more glasses of soft drinks per day had a higher risk of mortality than those who consumed less than one glass per month…two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases.  For sugar-sweetened soft drinks, one or more glasses a day were associated with deaths from digestive diseases…researchers cautioned that elevated soft-drink consumption may be a marker for an overall unhealthy lifestyle.  “In our study, high soft drinks consumers had a higher body mass index (BMI) and were also more likely to be current tobacco smokers,” said the study’s chief researcher, Neil Murphy…

Given that 100% of humans die, it’s not possible for anything to lead to “a greater risk of all causes of death”.  Also, this is your reminder that “sugary” is a ’70s-era dysphemism for “sweet”, appearing at roughly the same time as “natural” became an advertising buzzword; note that while the article writer mostly used more objective language, the headline writer couldn’t resist the pejorative term.

Monsters 

This was the 17th murder of a trans person this year; the majority were black trans women:

…Bailey Reeves…A [17-year-old trans woman]…was shot and killed in Baltimore over Labor Day weekend…the…body was found by a 16-year-old who said they heard three gunshots and a girl screaming “My friend! Someone help my friend! Call 911!”…the victim was transported to a hospital where she died…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#699)

Canadians join Americans in filling kids’ heads with anti-sex propaganda:

An Ontario school board is reviewing a new curriculum that would [indoctrinate] Grade 7 and 8 students [in anti-]sex [worker propaganda]…TK Pritchard [dreamed up] the [propaganda, which includes the usual lies about how]…the average “age of entrance” to trafficking is between 12 and 14…[boyfriends are] “Romeo pimps”…love and trust of [anyone who isn’t an “authority” is bad, etc]…”Waterloo region is a hotbed for human trafficking,” said Pritchard [while stroking himself]…”a lot of curriculums [sic]…use [propaganda] from the States…our curriculum is made with Canadian [lies which are exactly the same]…Police say they [wish] more trafficking [were] happening [so they could use it as an]…intimidation tactic…[like US cops do]…

Checklist (#852) 

Though that word doesn’t appear in this story, ask yourself why a racist airline employee was interrogating passengers about a fantasized international criminal conspiracy:

…an Alaska Airlines employee [intentionally set off an alarm and] yelled “evacuate” at [Newark]…airport on Labor Day…sen[ding] 200 panicked people fleeing amid fears of a mass shooting attack…the…employee…[claimed] she believed two male passengers were acting suspiciously…Han Han Xue…was waiting…to board his delayed…flight home to San Francisco….[when] the…employee…[pushed] him from behind…then approached Chunyi Luo, a…student standing near him.  “Are you scared? Are you nervous?” Luo said she asked him.  Luo…said he told her he was feeling nervous because the flight was late…but she stood “too close” to him so he stepped a few feet away.  Then she began asking Xue questions.  She asked if he knew Luo (the two were strangers) and what his itinerary was.  She then asked, “Why are you acting suspiciously?”  Xue said he struggled to know how to respond as the questions…became more bizarre.  “How much are they paying you?…Did they give you a visa?  Did they give your family a visa?  Do you make a lot of money?  Do you work on Wall Street?  Are you on an American visa?”…Xue..a [Canadian] citizen [who] works as a product designer at Lyft…said…he felt like he was being racially targeted and harassed, so he…join[ed] the passengers boarding the flight, hoping she’d bother someone else.  But she followed him, saying, “I’m onto you guys. The cops are already called”…[she then] yelled, “Evacuate, evacuate!” and pressed an emergency alarm…Xue ran with the crowd to another gate and…Luo [did too because he] believed there was a shooter…

The employee didn’t dream up these rude, prying questions herself; they’re the type of questions the mandated “training program” urges employees to harass brown people with in order to “fight sex trafficking”.

Pyrrhic Victory (#964)

The fascist establishment thinks nobody should have any privacy, even in their own thoughts:

A new frontier in lie detection is now emerging…projects are using AI to combine multiple sources of evidence into a single measure for deception.  Machine learning is accelerating deception research by spotting previously unseen patterns in reams of data…The algorithms behind such tools are designed to improve continuously over time, and may ultimately end up basing their determinations of guilt and innocence on factors that even the humans who have programmed them don’t understand.  These tests are being trialled in job interviews, at border crossings and in police inter[rogations]…the frontline for much of the new government-funded lie detection technology has been the borders of the US and Europe…the Avatar unit has a microphone, an infra-red eye-tracking camera and an Xbox Kinect sensor to measure body movement…[the system displays a creep cartoon “agent” to distract and unsettle subjects and] uses an algorithm to combine all of these types of data…to send a verdict to a human border guard within 45 seconds, who can either wave the traveller through or pull them aside for additional screening…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#965) 

Will porn companies be the next to face the music for exploiting sex workers?

…nearly two dozen young women say that they responded to Craigslist ads seeking models and were then tricked into performing in internet pornography…producers behind a website called Girls Do Porn…were seeking women to make so-called amateur porn…Respondents…were directed to innocuous websites, with pictures of clothed women, that asked for their contact information and photographs.  Instead of being offered modeling jobs…they were offered roughly $5,000 to make pornography…[that] producers [claimed]…would be distributed only on DVD outside of the United States and would never be published online…[instead] the videos [were published] online, on Girls Do Porn…[and] also distributed to major sites, like Pornhub.  Shortly after the videos were posted, the women’s names and identifying information popped up on a [now-defunct] site called PornWikileaks, which [doxxes] people who have done porn…The women are seeking $22 million in damages…[and] their videos removed from the website…

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We…help…people…learn to integrate their sexuality into their whole self, rather than separating it from the rest of their life.  –  David Ley

Part of the Picture (#23)

Dr. David Ley vs. the childish belief that pictures of sex are magic:

Max Bennet…[of] Stripchat…and Dr David Ley…teamed up to give the customers of the camming website help on sexual struggles and shame…Max [said]…“Nearly 40% of our users experience a deep connection with the models, or are able to access a fantasy that may not be available in reality.  By bringing doctors like Dr David Ley on to speak with users, it alleviates some of that shame and conflict, and offers them a way to integrate this…with their relationships”…Dr David [has] discovered that…“many users worry…that it is infidelity and could negatively affect their relationships…Sexual shame is the real enemy to intimacy, and that’s what these sessions are trying to address”…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

Oh look, another man says women shouldn’t be compensated for services men can’t perform because we’re too stupid to make decisions about our own bodies:

Proponents of a proposed law allowing women to be paid to donate their eggs for research [point out that]…research subjects in other fields can get paid…men can get paid for donating sperm….[and] it’s legal for women to be paid for eggs to assist couples undertaking fertility treatments.  But it’s illegal for researchers to compensate women for their eggs…[politician] Autumn Burke…[revived] this idea…[after] Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by former [politician] Susan Bonilla…in 2013, [bloviat]ing [misogynistically and self-righteously]…“Not everything in life is for sale, nor should it be“…Burke’s bill, Assembly Bill 922, passed the Assembly without a single “no” vote in May…so it’s likely to pass the Senate handily.  Gov. Gavin Newsom thus may be the only person standing in the way of its becoming law…[Like sex work,] this…would [give] California women, especially low-income women who may [welcome]…the compensation, [a way to make money that isn’t dependent on subjugation to men, so] he should kill it…

Though he hastens to distance himself from them, this writer’s arguments were mostly formulated by an anti-abortion group which opposes the bill for predictable reasons.

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [prisoner of the state of] Florida…with a history of epilepsy says he was beaten and thrown in solitary confinement for seven months after he involuntarily bit a [screw]…while having a seizure…Dean Higgins…suffered a grand mal seizure last September…[and] while the guards tried to restrain Higgins—an improper way to handle someone having a seizure—he bit one of the[m] on the arm…he was then beaten and…[locked] in…a tiny cell….[where] raw sewage would seep in…at times a number of inches deep…in addition to having epilepsy, Higgins is also on the autism spectrum…

Pyrrhic Victory (#922)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

…In early July, the FBI posted a solicitation notice for a “Social Media Alerting Subscription,” which would “acquire the services of a company to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests through a means of online sources.”  The request singles out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram “and other social media platforms” for snooping.  Essentially, the FBI is looking for companies to build a tool to comb through…social media posts and pinpoint possible threats ahead of time.  Think of it like a meme-illiterate Facebook-stalking precog from Minority Report…this system could empower the Red Flag law ideas that have since gained prominence.  This kind of “proactive identification” could allow [cops] to target and even disenfranchise social media users whose posts may have been [intentionally or not] misinterpreted…

You Were Warned

Yes, I’m going to say “I told you so”, because I’ve been telling you so for nine years now:

FOSTA [turned] the internet…into a more exclusionary place almost overnightInternet companies became significantly more restrictive in their treatment of sexual speech…The law also threw important harm reduction activities into a legal gray area…Congress failed to listen to the people it was removing from the internet, and put them in more danger as a result…The entire history of censorship shows that it magnifies existing imbalances in society, sometimes intentionally…there are many, many stories of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter taking down important work to document human rights violations under their anti-extremism policies.  Politicians…routinely treat Section 230 as a handout to tech companies — or a “gift,” as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently put it…Let’s not forget that Facebook and other big internet companies actively lobbied for FOSTA, a law that made it considerably more difficult for a startup ever to unseat Facebook…Section 230 isn’t a gift to big internet companies.  It’s a gift to rural LGBTQ teenagers who depend every day on the safety of their online communities.  It’s a gift to activists around the world using the internet to document human rights abuses.  It’s a gift to women who rely on dating apps to meet people more safely

Think of the Children! (#936)

Obviously this sex-ray contaminated money would have “sexualized” their patients!

Mount Sinai Health System said on Friday that it will make a charitable contribution equivalent to the money it received from…Jeffrey Epstein.  The money will go to an organization focused on p[ersecu]ting [sex workers]…and toward the health system’s own program Sexual Assault and Violence intervention program, which provides immediate treatment and counseling to sexual assault survivors.  The hospital did not say how much money was donated by the disgraced financier…

Loose Cannons (#949)

If this is happening to this rich, prominent man, with access to the best lawyers…what happens to the rest of us?

One of the women arrested in the [Robert Kraft massage parlor] case…pleaded no contest…to misdemeanor charges, leaving only one of the women arrested yet to take a plea in the case.  Qing Hua Zhang…pleaded no contest to engaging in prostitution and use of a structure or conveyance for prostitution.  The most serious charge — racketeering — was dropped…

Yellow Fever (#956) 

Another hodgepodge of idiotic lies, myths, wild exaggerations, wanking fantasies and long-debunked propaganda was shoveled into a column by Business Insider and represented as “journalism”; apparently they’re tying to go in the clickbait direction taken by The Hill.  This one uses the term “trafficking” no fewer than 21 times in a not-very-long article and presents a misogynistic weltanschauung in which women can be either passive “victims” or malevolent “perpetrators” but never anything else, making the Shazam-style leap without passing through any of the complex human behavior between due to “weaponization” and “normalization” by powerful, Svengali-like men.  A by-no-means-exhaustive list of dysphemisms from this trash includes “offenders”, “ring”, “traffickers”, “cult”, “slaves”, “lifestyle”, “abusers”, “groomed”, and my favorite, “sexual pyramid scheme”.  If you want an article on this topic written by an actual adult who understands concepts like “facts” and “agency”, here you go.

Across the Pond (#964)

UK cops are increasingly using the jolly, kumbaya word “team” to mean “vice squad”:

Police are [raid]ing residential properties believed to be used for sex work…to [spy on] what is happening behind closed doors…potential [targets are determined by snitching]…from local residents…[chief swine] Paul Whitehouse [oinked that intimidating people and violating their privacy is a means of]…”gaining their trust and confidence…We [don’t find enough women to harass on the street anymore]…so now we can pick [on] the off-street work[ers]…We do not want to criminalise the females.  We are looking at [pinning] criminality on a[ny available] third party”…

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This is how the United States of America, the mightiest and richest nation there is or ever has been, treats incarcerated people.  –  Ken White

Torture Chamber 

Ken White on the inhuman abominations that the US calls “correction”:

Jeffrey Epstein’s name and face are everywhere following his death…Americans who believe in their justice system assert that it is obvious that he was murdered, and that jailers could not possibly be so incompetent, cruel, or indifferent as to let such a high-profile prisoner commit suicide.  Here, to help you evaluate that claim, are 32 short stories about in-custody deaths or near-deaths in America…

Regular readers know these stories are nauseating, but you really need to read them all. Every last one.

Uncommon Sense (#435)

The correct term is “tippelzone”, not “sex booth” or some other snickering adolescent coinage:

The mayor of [Berlin]…is proposing “Verichtungsboxen”…at Tempelhof Airport.  His proposal for the establishment of the sex booths…came as part of a discussion about street prostitution in his district and how to improve the safety of Berlin’s sex workers…

Across the Pond (#757)

UK cops are increasingly using the jolly, kumbaya word “team” to mean “vice squad”:

More than 200 letters have been delivered to residents [near a stroll] in…Nottingham…to [intimidate] residents…in[to informing on their neighbors]…the…letters were hand delivered to [make the]…int[imidation feal more real]…Since 2004, Nottinghamshire Police’s Prostitution Task Force has been working to find ways of [pretending that harassing and stigmatizing] sex workers [is] get[ting] the[m] help…whilst gradually removing the[ir income.  The cops bizarrely imagine harassing people and choking off their income will]…break down the barrier between sex workers and the police…

Soap Opera (#809)

Magical stickers, secret-squirrel codes…this is like a bad episode of Get Smart!

An Iowa newspaper employee recently {claimed to have] helped save a[n unnamed] woman trapped in a sex trafficking ring…after she flagged the delivery driver down on the side of the road…a 25-year-old East Dubuque Woman was arrested and charged with pimping….[a Cedar Rapids, Iowa] Bar…[posted a] sign in the woman’s restroom [reading]…”are you in an uncomfortable situation, do you need our help?”…[and] lists a code word drink…that customers can order to alert the bartender they’re in need of help… Teresa Davidson…of Chains Interrupted [wants] more …stickers that read “Are you safe” in bathrooms across the state….The organization is also working to [indoctrinate] convenience store employees…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

As I’ve repeatedly stated, it is far too late to put this evil djinni back into its bottle:

…Beijing has gone to [great lengths to] identify and control Uighurs…Within Kashgar…residents must line up to…swipe [ID cards] at each checkpoint….[and] expose their faces to [omnipresent]…facial recognition…[cops] need neither probable cause nor a warrant to detain Uighurs and check their phones for the surveillance software that they’re legally required to install….”re-education” camp[s imprison]…hundreds of thousands, or even millions of Muslims…[now] Ecuador is using a “national emergency response and video surveillance system built entirely by Chinese companies and financed by Chinese state loans”…As this technology improves and gets cheaper, it will likely become affordable to every two-bit dictator on Earth…

Disaster (#935)

The sweet smell of schadenfreude:

Verizon is set to sell the social network Tumblr to Automattic Inc, the owner of online publishing tool WordPress.  A source familiar with the deal puts the price-tag…below $10 million…Tumblr…was…considered a major player in the social media space.[when it]…was acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in 2013, before moving under Verizon’s umbrella through the carrier’s acquisition of Yahoo in 2017.  [But] Verizon…[intentionally destroyed the network by ill-considered censorship]…last year.  Automattic’s Chief Executive Matt Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal that he plans to maintain the ban [so as to use the dying site as a tax write-off]…

Where Are the Victims? (#945)

Despite their pious posturing to the contrary, this is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

Fianna Fáil has called for an anti-prostitution law to be reviewed, because of the consequences it has on sex workers who live together.  The main opposition party has suggested that it would be open to considering decriminalising sex workers who live together.  The majority of Irish political parties want the government to review and possibly scrap a law which punishes sex workers who live together under a harsher “brothel keeping” offence which was brought in two yeas ago…It follows a high profile case earlier this summer where two migrant sex workers were both jailed for nine months after they were prosecuted for brothel keeping.  One of the women was pregnant when she was jailed…Sex worker advocates had warned at the time that most of the people who were being prosecuted for brothel-keeping were independent sex workers…B[u]t…Fianna Fáil had voted down the amendment…now…it wants the law to be reviewed, after…the “[wholly]…intended consequences” [became public]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#956)

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

Amazon Web Services…has rolled out more terrifying features for its cloud-based facial recognition system—including, it claims, the ability to detect fear…Emotion recognition is a facial analysis technique that…works by training a machine learning system to look for certain features on a detected face which indicate emotional content…Amazon has updated the range of detectable emotions for Rekognition’s face analysis to include “fear,” adding to a list of seven other emotional states: “Happy”, “Sad”, “Angry”, “Surprised”, “Disgusted”, “Calm”, and “Confused”…the efficacy of emotion recognition is in dispute…[but used by] government agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement…and Customs and Border Patrol…

Between the Lines (#962)

Liz Brown tries to assess the damage from the rebranded “Operation Cross Country” pogroms:

…The FBI no longer reports the number of adult sex workers whom these initiatives claim as collateral…However, local news and law enforcement agencies often do..in Alabama, 49 “sex workers and their facilitators” were arrested around the Birmingham area…[and] 14 [in Homewood]……Northern Ohio [arrested nine] women…Pennsylvania [two]…Mississippi [five]…In South Carolina [five]…In…Florida [three]…In the San Diego area, six…Louisiana…25…in Shreveport…and…seven…in Baton Rouge…Police have portrayed the 4-year-old [abducted from one of their victims] as being rescued from “human traffickers”…

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

Surplus Women

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

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

King of the Hill

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

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

Buried Truth 

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#683)

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

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

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

Out of Control (#767)

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

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

An Example to the West (#776) 

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

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

Amnesty At Last (#831)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for four years now:

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

Devil’s Advocate (#832) 

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

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

{Insert Ben Franklin quote about liberty and safety}:

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

Censor Chic (#904)

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

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

Safe Position (#928)

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

Top Cop (#938)

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

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

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