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Posts Tagged ‘yellow journalism’

The police department was…dead-set on making sure those records never reached the public.  –  David James

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

As usual, police were disinterested in catching him until he started killing non-whores:

The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has died at the age of 74. The serial killer was serving a whole life term for murdering 13 women…he…died in hospital where he is said to have refused treatment for Covid-19…Sutcliffe, who was also found guilty of the attempted murder of seven women, was convicted in 1981…His killings began with..Wilma McCann…who[m he] hit with a hammer and stabbed 15 times, in October 1975…Sutcliffe’s [other] victims…[were] Wilma McCann…[in] October 1975…Emily Jackson…[in] January 1976…Irene Richardson…[in] February 1977…Patricia Atkinson…[in] April 1977…Jayne McDonald…[in] June 1977…Jean Jordan…[in] October 1977…Yvonne Pearson…[in] January 1978…Helen Rytka…[in] January 1978…Vera Millward…[in] May 1978…Josephine Whittaker…[in] May 1979…Barbara Leach…[in] September 1979…Marguerite Walls…[in] August 1980…[and] Jacqueline Hill…[in] November 1980…Sutcliffe…believed he was on a “mission from God” to kill prostitutes, although not all of his victims were sex workers….Sutcliffe was interviewed nine times during the course of the investigation but continued to avoid arrest and was able to carry on with his killings…

Like Houses

Useful idiots never see where “hate speech” laws inevitably lead:

[Useful idiots] in Norway are celebrating [what they imagine to be] a huge win after the country recently expanded its penal code…[on] hate speech to include gender identity and all forms of “sexual orientation”…The penal code states that those who are guilty of [wrongspeak] face a fine or up to a year in jail for private comments, and a maximum of three years in jail for public remarks. Furthermore, those charged [wrongthink in conjunction with] with violent crimes…will receive harsher sentences…

To Molest and Rape (#782)

“Police explorer” programs are nothing but grooming schemes for predatory cops:

Louisville Metro Police concealed at least 738,000 records documenting the sexual abuse of Explorer Scouts by two [rapist cops] — then lied to keep the files from the public…The [Louisville] Courier Journal last year requested all records regarding sexual abuse of minors…in the Explorer Scout program [by Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts]…Police officials and the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office [claimed] they couldn’t comply, insisting all the records had been turned over to the FBI for its investigation.  But that was…[a lie].  In fact, the department still had at least 738,000 records, which the city allowed to be deleted.  The records could shed light on when department and city officials first learned of [the Rape Explorer]…program and what the officials…failed to do…about it…

Suppression

Politicians will not stop until they can censor the internet as they please:

…a single EU court within a single EU member state [has declared itself] the censor for the world…In…September…the Austrian Supreme Court ordered, pursuant to local defamation rules, that Facebook remove a post insulting a [politician]…keep equivalent posts off its site, and do so on a global scale…Facebook complied…[by making] the…post…inaccessible to users within Austria.  But it objected both to the global reach of the order and to the obligation to look for and keep other, equivalent posts off their site…the European Court of Justice sided with Austria…Under current practice,…global tech companies are [only] bound by local laws…within their jurisdiction…Think Germany’s hate-speech laws.  Or particular variants of the right to be forgotten. Or the Thai government’s prohibition on critique of the monarch.  Or Singapore’s limitations on what is deemed “fake news”…Under the Austrian court precedent, courts in any such jurisdiction would be more or less free to apply their local laws to compel not just local, but global takedowns of posts or comments that violate the vagaries (and often highly speech-restrictive) of local law.  And they could also require that copycat and equivalent posts be kept off—also on a global scale.  This creates a…race to the bottom, with the most censor-prone nation setting global speech rules…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#1062)

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is no better as an accusation than as a defense:

Former Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry was widely known as a sex addict at the network before he raped a junior staffer, a new lawsuit charges…Fox…fired Henry…shortly before [Jennifer] Eckhart went public with her allegations in July…The suit…states that the network ordered Henry to undergo therapy for sex addiction in 2016 after it was revealed he’d had an affair with a Las Vegas stripper…“Everyone at Fox News knows that Henry is a sex addict. That’s no secret,” Fox Business anchor Liz Claman told Eckhart, according to the suit…

“‘Everyone at Fox News knows Tucker Carlson is a reptilian member of the Illuminati,’ Fox Business anchor Liz Claman told Eckhart…”

(State) Violence Against Women

Biden has a long history of using “violence against women” as an excuse for power grabs that increase state violence against women:

President-elect Joe Biden’s plan to end [un-state-approved] violence against women is long, detailed, and ambitious…but…[i]s conspicuously missing any mention of sex work…Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, first introduced by Biden in 1990, will be one of Biden’s top first 100 day priorities…a relatively short but important section of the plan outlines Biden’s intent to [censor the internet by]…creating a National Task Force on Online Harassment and Abuse, giving more funding to law enforcement, and support for [more carceral] federal and state legislation [to use against sex workers who adverise online]…experts…have reservations about how this plan will…actually affect…the lives of…sex workers.  Leaving consensual, commercial adult content out of any plan for internet reform would be willfully ignoring how the internet largely works…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Hungarian politicians are as potty-obsessed as their US counterparts:

…[the government of] Hungary…signalled its intention to…change the constitution to enshrine…so-called “Christian values”…The proposed constitutional amendment…is the latest assault on LGBT rights in the country, where legal recognition for gender changes was ended in May.  “Hungary protects children’s right to identify as the sex they were born with”…the amendment states…[it also] would ensure that only heterosexual married couples can adopt children…For years, Viktor Orbán’s government has relied on an anti-migration agenda…and some analysts suggest LGBT people may be the new target.  In Poland, the ruling populist Law and Justice (PiS) party has made the fight against so-called “LGBT ideology” central to its political messaging…The new laws will have to be debated in parliament, but Orbán’s Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority, sufficient to make constitutional amendments…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Is Hollywood finally starting to back off from promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Melissa McCarthy and HBO Max have announced that they’re pulling their support for the evangelical nonprofit Exodus Cry as part of their “20 Days of Kindness” fundraising campaign…“We blew it,” McCarthy said in a video posted to Instagram…“We made a mistake and we backed a charity that upon further vetting stands for everything that we do not”…Exodus Cry frames itself as an anti-sex-trafficking group but in reality works to abolish sex work entirely.  Its founder, Benjamin Nolot, has called abortion a “holocaust” and homosexuality “an unspeakable offense to God”…the group has spent years lobbying to criminalize the purchase of sex and recently launched a campaign to shutter Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1087)

Oh, what a surprise:  “A Harford County grand jury has added 10 counts of child pornography possession to the child sex abuse case against [typical and representative] Baltimore [cop] Donald P. Hildebrandt…

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[COVID-19 schemes] are throwing the working class under the bus.  –  Dr. Martin Kulldorff

Don’t Take My Word For It (#592)

The Australian site Mama Mia, like the US site Jezebel, seems unable to make up its collective mind about sex work.  It has often published anti-sex work propaganda, like its notorious “Faces of Prostitution” article from March 2015 (which featured pictures of bruised, emaciated, drug-ravaged women accompanied with propaganda text from the notorious Christian anti-sex group “Exodus Cry”), or the October 2013 article in which it opined that for sex workers to have Amazon wishlists was “creepy” and “bizarre” (Jezebel wrote on the same topic the same week).  On the other hand, it also published several good articles by the late Grace Bellavue, and now this new one interviewing a male escort who caters to women, and one of his clients.  And of course Jezebel now features the pro-sex work writer Tracy Clark-Flory, so maybe there’s hope for both sites yet.

Unchristian Nation (#907)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Border Patrol [thugs abducted] 19 people [from] a No More Deaths camp near Arivaca, Ariz., on [October 4th]…12 were in the country without [document]ation…[and] the remaining seven…were No More Deaths volunteers…No More Deaths representatives described the incident as a “military-style” raid with a “massive show of armed force”…[including] “dozens” of trucks…and a [tank]…This was the second raid against the humanitarian camp south of Tucson, near the U.S.-Mexico border, this year, and along with the escalated actions, Border Patrol officials also amped up their rhetoric against the group, [referr]ing t[o] the organization[‘s]…saving lives…as “harboring” people…

Between the Ears (#923)

Yet another ill-conceived, internet-connected dick gadget:

…the Qiui Cellmate internet-connected chastity lock…works by allowing a trusted partner to remotely lock and unlock the chamber over Bluetooth using a mobile app.  That app communicates with the lock using an API.  But that API was left open and without a password, allowing anyone to take complete control of any user’s device.  Because the chamber was designed to lock with a metal ring underneath the user’s penis…it may require the intervention of a heavy-duty bolt cutter or an angle grinder to free the user…There is no emergency override function either…Qiui, based in China…missed the three self-imposed deadlines to fix the vulnerable API…Several user reviews of the app complained that the app [also] had bugs that would cause the device to stay locked…Qiui joins a long list of sex toys with security problems that inherently don’t exist in non-internet-connected devices…Practice safe sex; don’t use a smart device.

Counterfeit Comfort (#984)

Halloween has become a focal point for challenging “sex offender” awfulness:

Every year in the run-up to Halloween, Patch publishes maps showing the homes of “registered sex offenders” in various cities….[the fantasy] that…children might be molested while trick-or-treating…ha[s] no basis in reality, and these stories—like the warning signs and restrictions imposed by local police prior to Halloween—mainly serve to stigmatize people who have already completed their sentences, along with their spouses and children, who have committed no crimes at all.  That stigma invites harassment, vandalism, and violence…This fall a petition organized by the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws (NARSOL) is urging Patch and other outlets to cut it out…the petition asks news organizations to “cease a hurtful publication practice that has no positive effect at all on child protection or public safety”…

Working From Home (#1032)

Another example of sex worker ingenuity:

…In early May, one [of the] dancer[s from the East Hollywood hipster strip club Jumbo’s Clown Room] named Gabrielle reached out to a few of her coworkers to create a virtual strip show…within 24 hours they launched Cyber Clown Girls, which has now become a twice-weekly three-hour show featuring current dancers and alumni from Jumbo’s, and other performers from exotic dance communities…the show has given the strippers a new sense of agency and empowerment in an industry that is notorious for taking advantage of women…The co-founders take turns hosting and performing in the virtual show.  Each follows a theme — “Star Wars,” disco and funk, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — and features a different lineup of dancers who perform two short pieces in their homes.  Some dancers use portable poles, and others make creative use of bathtubs, windowsills, cars or apartment corners transformed by a makeshift set.  Like an in-person strip club, viewers (about 100 for each show) are encouraged throughout the night to tip the dancers using payment platforms like Venmo or Cash App.  The tips are eventually pooled and split evenly among all the performers…

The Widening Gyre (#1046)

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

Mysterious white dots have been popping up on windshields of cars…in Chester County [South Carolina]…Most of the reports and calls say they are finding white dots on their windshields after going into the Walmart…A rumor started on social media saying it was linked to sex traffickers trying to mark your car [sic]…Deputies say there is no evidence linking any type of human trafficking…[people have spread similar silly rumors about] car windshields…in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama…

Quiet Genocide (#1058)

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

…the aim of China’s actions in Xinjiang is clear:  to homogenize Uighurs into the country’s Han Chinese majority, even if that means erasing their cultural and religious identity for good.  What is taking place is a cultural genocide.  The repercussions bear heavily even on Uighurs living outside of the country.  Their burden is more than just raising awareness about what is taking place in their homeland—a task many have taken up at great cost to themselves and their families.  It’s also about preserving and promoting their identity in countries where few people might know who the Uighurs are, let alone what the world stands to lose should their language, food, art, and traditions be eradicated…

Tissue of Lies

A few journalists are beginning to see the danger of “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Trevontae Shareef…didn’t know that his girlfriend of seven months was a runaway from state foster care…until…a dozen [heavily-armed pigs and spooks barged into]…his mother’s house…and…searched [it without permission] until they found the 17-year-old girl hiding under furniture in the garage…They allowed a TV news crew to tag along for the raid and record footage…as [the thugs dragged] Shareef and his mother’s fiancé, Kirk Waters, outside and handcuffed them…Public announcements about the operation, vague on details but full of loaded terms, led to weeks of social media [hysteria] about…a [fantasized] child sex trafficking ring in Georgia…The Atlanta Journal-Constitution examined the criminal charges…and found that, by combining a variety of cases, [pigs intentionally and maliciously] fostered a false perception that confused the public and…harmed [innocent] people…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m glad prominent physicians are starting to weigh in on this, at long last:

Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues…[that] lockdowns result in too much collateral damage…and impose unreasonable costs on the working class and the young in particular …”For older people this is much worse than the annual flu.  For children the risks are much less than the annual flu…We don’t close schools because of the annual flu.  We don’t ban people from driving cars because there are people who die in car accidents.  We let people live normal lives with standard precautions…As a scientist I have worked with infectious disease outbreaks for a couple of decades.  Then suddenly in the spring, I was hearing that we should “follow the science” by doing something that I think is contrary to science. That was absolutely stunning to me…among…infectious disease epidemiologists, the majority are in favour of an age-targeted strategy.  A minority are in favour of lockdowns and contact tracing”…

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American cops seem to have become dissatisfied with merely brutalizing their victims; now, it seems, they feel they have to humiliate them as well.  A few years ago, Reason‘s Elizabeth N. Brown noticed that when cops hunt street workers, they often offer fast food so they can then make fun of these desperately-poor women by telling reporters (who obediently regurgitate whatever the pigs vomit into their mouths) that they requested to be paid in nachos or chicken McNuggets or whatever.  Or, they invent some ridiculous request so they can mock the sex worker trying to cater to it.  They also give their “stings” idiotic names so as to invite ridicule of those entrapped by them, and now they’re incorporating humiliation directly into their jailhouse torture:

Two [typical and representative screws] and their supervisor were charged…after an investigation found inmates at the Oklahoma County jail were [subjected] to the popular children’s song, “Baby Shark,” on a loop at loud volumes for extended periods of time.  At least four [prisoners] were subjected to the “inhuman” [torture] in an attorney visitation room of the jail last November and December…[while] forced to stand [for hours], hands cuffed behind them and secured to the wall…[the screws] were Gregory Cornell Butler Jr….[and] Christian Charles Miles…and [their supervisor was] Christopher Raymond Hendershott…District Attorney David Prater charged them with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy…Miles confirmed that he and Butler…”used the…attorney booth as a means to…’teach [prisoners] a lesson’…the music was said to be a joke between Miles and Butler”…[but] put “undue emotional stress on the [prisoners] who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors”…Hendershott learned of the mistreatment on Nov. 23 but “took no immediate action to either aid the inmate victim or discipline the [screws]”…

Ha, ha, ha, so funny.  It has long been known that loud, repetitive noise is a kind of psychological torture; the US armed forces have used it in siege situations since the ’80s.  The fact that the weapon was in this case a ridiculous children’s song doesn’t change that fact that their victims were forced to endure the racket while restrained in a position that could cause serious physical damage, nor the reduction of human beings to playthings for the sadistic amusement of thugs whose moral development is on a similar level to their chosen song’s intended audience.  This year, Americans are finally beginning to notice the wanton savagery police inflict upon people unlucky enough to fall into their clutches; it won’t surprise me if the increased attention also reveals many, many more cases of brutal clowns trying to rob their victims of even the slightest shred of dignity.

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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What seems obvious to citizens is far too often deliberately unclear to government agencies.  –  Tim Cushing

Negative Secondary Effects

Busybodies are trying to ban dancing by cribbing language from the federal “obscenity” test:

The city council of Drain, Oregon passed new regulations…with the specific purpose of outlawing a…[strip club by] introducing business licenses to the city’s Code of Ordinances…[and adding a] new pro-censorship ordinance [featuring nonsense about]…”public morals, public safety, public health and public convenience”…and…“public nudity…appeals to the prurient interest…and…lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value”…Ray Hacke, an attorney with the…religious [pro-censorship] group Pacific Justice Institute [bloviated that]…“an adult entertainment business has no business…next to a church…[or] any place where children congregate…These places do [magically] attract sexual predators”…

Choke Point (#859) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

Last month Kiwibank rolled out a “responsible banking policy” stating that it would no longer deal with any companies involved in [fossil fuels] and blacklisting the adult entertainment industry, casinos, military grade weapons, synthetic drugs, palm oil, tobacco and predatory lending.  But after representations from the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, Kiwibank agreed to work with strip clubs and brothels that could demonstrate good practice.  The NZPC argued that banning brothel owners would have a flow-on effect to the people who worked for them.  Since then, [prohibitionist group] Wahine Toa Rising has written to Kiwibank applauding its initial commitment to [misogyny and discrimination]…and asking them to reconsider.  Kiwibank is still considering its response…

Even in New Zealand, the yellow press colludes with prohibitionists.  From the headline claiming that bigotry and dicrimination are “principled”, to the mischaracterization of a rescue-industry organization employing paid “survivor” shills as a legitimate sex worker group, to the prohibitionist propaganda which makes up the bulk of the article, to the Swedish criminalization snake oil, to the ugly prohibitionist masturbatory fantasies such as “the majority of sex workers…[were] sexually abused as…child[ren]”, this garbage would be more at home in a US tabloid than a New Zealand website purporting to be a news magazine.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#938)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

BammRose…is…the CEO of Stilettos Inc., a grassroots organization led by sex workers that provides support to Black dancers, and has called for a strippers’ strike in Philadelphia. The Stilettos, as they call themselves, are not alone in mobilizing for the workplace rights of Black dancers in the stripping industry. In Portland, more than a hundred strippers went on strike in June against…racist hiring practices, and organized rallies pressuring strip clubs to…hire Black dancers…and give them profitable shifts…At the root of the strippers’ strike is a demand for better, safer working conditions, fair wages, and protection from sexual assault…

A Broker in Pillage (#988)

Michigan is among the greediest, most unscrupulous states in this regard:

[The Michigan supreme] court…[ruled in favor of] two plaintiffs suing…Oakland County…[over its] forfeiture policy…a…tax lien…[was] put on [Uri Rafaeli’s] property when…he…[underpaid his property taxes by] “$8.41 in…2011, which grew to $285.81 after interest, penalties, and fees. Oakland County and its treasurer, Andrew Meisner…foreclosed on Rafaeli’s property…sold [it] at public auction for $24,500, and retained all the sale proceeds”…the county turned less than $300 in delinquencies into a $24,200 profit…Another property owner, Andre Ohanessian, saw $6000 in taxes, fines, and fees turn into a $76,000 net gain for the county when it auctioned his property for $82,000 and kept everything…

The Widening Gyre (#1014)

I can’t tell you how satisfied I am that Trumpaloons are taking over “sex trafficking” hysteria:

a [Facebook] post shared over 1,000 times reads…“Did you KNOW that a child in AMERICA is over 66,000 x more likely to be human trafficked than to get COVID-19?”  Similar [Facebook] posts contend that upwards of 800,000 children go missing every year, and that mask-wearing makes a child more likely to be trafficked.  These posts also criticize government officials and businesses for promoting mask use, [fantasiz]ing they are endangering children.  “We have now COMPLETELY taken away identifying our children’s faces.  We’ve made it much easier on these child abductors and human traffickers!” a post shared almost 8,000 times reads…“A child is 66,667 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19,” another post shared 2,000 times reads. “In addition, your masks assist in them being transported undetected and unidentified to anyone”…

Best part: the article then goes on to attempt to debunk these hysterical fantasies while simultaneously wallowing in other claims nearly as wacko as “masks cause sex trafficking!”

Pyrrhic Victory (#1060) 

Facial recognition systems have quietly become ubiquitous:

A would-be class action lawsuit alleges that the Macy’s department store chain violates Illinois law when it identifies customers recorded on its surveillance cameras by using facial recognition software…the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act…bars some private companies from obtaining scans of facial geometry without written consent.  Macy’s uses software provided by Clearview AI Inc., which scrapes data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other internet platforms…Clearview…provides facial recognition services to more than 200 corporate clients, including Macy’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart.  Some of the companies used the software on a trial basis, but Macy’s is a paying customer that has completed more than 6,000 searches…

Top Cop (#1062)

This psychopath is only two steps from the power she so desperately craves:

Joe Biden announced [last week] that he had picked [Kamala] Harris to be his running mate as he seeks to become the next president of the United States.  The good news is that it keeps Harris—who has a long and authoritarian history on criminal justice issues—far from the [post of] attorney general…[where she] would have the potential to do much more damage than as vice president.  The bad news is that it puts Harris next in line for the presidency should anything happen to [the man who would be the oldest ever elected to that office] and sets her up nicely for a future presidential run.  In Harris, we would get a leader with President Donald Trump’s penchant for unchecked executive power and modern Democrats’ tendency to consider no issue outside the reach of government.  The pick is somewhat surprising…[considering] Harris’ backhanded busing stunt during the Democratic candidate debates last summer, and…[her] troubling history…[on] law-and-order issues [for which she] is despised…by many young left-of-center voters…That’s a particular liability as Americans streets are still erupting with protests over police violence and calls for criminal justice reform…

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The fear of ending up homeless is bigger than that of Covid.
–  Fernanda Ponciano

Panopticon (#609)

Buried lede: cops were using a license plate reader to manufacture “probable cause”:

[Cops arrested] and [terrorized] a Black mother and four children [at gunpoint] after [claimining] their SUV [was really] a stolen motorcycle from another state…[fortunately] several…witnesses [recorded the cops’ crime]…The [cops had been] us[ing] a license plate scanner to…[spy] on vehicles in the area…[the boss pig] blamed the license plate reader but could not explain why the dozens of [cops] who responded [were too goddamned stupid to comprehend that a truck isn’t a motorcycle]…Video shows over a dozen [cops] standing around the traumatized family…

Too Close To Home (#760)

The fanatically-prohibitionist Seattle Times demonstrates what an eager copsucker it is with this pathetic op-ed from a prosecutor and a prohibitionist profiteer that absolutely reeks of desperation in its mixture of begging and demanding Seattle politicians to prop up the dying “sex trafficking” scam by continuing to send cops to stalk, surveil, rape, harass, rob and otherwise ruin the lives of consenting adults.  When all this is over, we can only hope that the Seattle Times is one of the businesses that perishes, and good riddance.

Pyrrhic Victory (#846)

More on Amazon’s partnership with fascist surveillance pusher Marinus:

…the founders of Marinus Analytics created Traffic Jam, a [program] designed to [collaborate with cops to persecute sex workers]…by sifting through digital information gathered from the[ir] online a[ds]…Over the past year, Marinus worked with Amazon…and used the cloud-based graph database Amazon Neptune to boost the efficiency of Traffic Jam and help automate tedious manual processes to create a system capable of quickly identifying relationships and providing [more private] in[formation about sex workers] to [pigs]…Traffic Jam collects data from websites…used by [sex workers to advertise]…and rel[ate]s…[it to other] information as imagery, dates, locations, [stage] names…and [government names in order to out sex workers to cops so they can be targeted for persecution, up to and including rape, robbery, and forced brainwashing programs]…Once connected through Neptune, Traffic Jam received a giant boost to its capabilities.  The system could now traverse relationships between data points up to 2.5 degrees of separation and expand to collect more than 350,000 data points daily…queries run…twice the speed despite using a dataset that is now four to eight times larger than before…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1011)

Trumpists and anti-Trumpists continue to fight for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

The Trump administration…announced more than $35 million in Justice Department grants to organizations that pro[fit from hysteria over]…human trafficking [but are now hurting due to decline in public interest in their fantasies due to the pandemic]…Ivanka Trump called human trafficking the “gravest of human rights violations”…[she has embraced the eradication of sex work as one of her causes despite her stepmother’s history of sex work].  The grants will be shared by 73 organizations in 33 states [that pretend] to provide…assistance to survivors, [though in actuality the supposed “assistance” is usually just a photocopy of public aid offices, etc]…Among organizations sharing the grants are [Hookers for Jesus]

Above the Law (#1056)

Another UK politician has been accused of rape:

A [member of parliament and]…former minister ha[s] been [accused of rape] by an…employee….[who] alleg[es]…four separate [attacks]…between July 2019 and January 2020…he…left h[is victim] so traumatised that she had to go to hospital…

Bureaucrats are calling this a “serious matter”, yet won’t identify the rapist.

Social Distancing (#1056)

I’ve corrected the blatantly false claims The Times makes about economic relief for sex workers:

When the mayor of Modica [Italy]…learned that a sex worker in the area had tested positive for the coronavirus, he immediately [descended into “dirty whore” tropes]…the…situation…highlight[ed] the…dangers of keeping sex work in the shadows…prostitution is not illegal, nor is it regulated as an official occupation, making the country’s 70,000 sex workers largely ineligible to receive economic relief.  Many have been forced to take their chances by returning to work in order to avoid poverty…the Netherlands and Germany [have forced] sex workers [naive enough to]…officially register…with the government [to go without work, even after all other close-contact businesses have re-opened]…Scotland also [ex]cluded sex workers [from] its relief programs.  In Greece…brothels were allowed to reopen on June 15, [albeit with government demands they violate professional discretion by revealing] clients’ names [to the “authorities”]…In Italy, various charities and associations have raised money for groceries, medicines, bills and rent to benefit the country’s sex workers…

Traffic Circle (#1062)

I’m glad to see more podcasts having Liz Brown on to debunk “sex trafficking” BS:

Reason senior editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown has done extensive research and coverage on the topic of sex work and…explains how authoritarians use the…term [“sex trafficking”] to punish and harm…sex work[ers]…how criminalization of sex work protects rapists & abusers…and how [massage parlor raids have]…become the #1 way for [cops] to make themselves look like they are…fighting trafficking…

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People who haven’t had an online presence aren’t gonna make money right away.  –  Arabelle Raphael

Welcome To Our World

I hope you amateurs enjoy being hunted like animals by armed thugs:

[Cops are gleefully using violence to force peaceful] people [to] comply with the shelter in place orders across North Texas…[Pigs] have [been granted imaginary] authority to [harass] people to make sure they are…workers [the state has declared “essential”] and not [free citizens] out and about…“We did hear some complaints…of people being stopped going to work.  Let me be clear, [fuck you and we’ll keep doing it]” [oinked a pig] of the DeSoto [cop shop.  In addition, cops]…across the region are trying to…fill up the jails with people committing nonviolent or misdemeanor crimes [just as usual.  In fact, prosecutors]…will enhance crimes co[ps accuse people of] during this period [which means]…more jail time and higher fines…

But hey, I’m sure y’all won’t mind because politicians have declared that giving violent thugs permission to harass you just for existing, and robbing you of money you can’t afford to lose, is “for your own good”.

Maggie in the Media

I appeared last week on the All In A Day’s (Sex) Work podcast, speaking on (among other topics) how sex workers have often been blamed for epidemics.  Despite the grim topic, I think you’ll enjoy listening.

Property of the State 

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

The Texas Attorney General’s office…ordered all clinics that provide abortion to immediately stop providing the procedure in order to comply with the state’s temporary suspension of surgeries that are not deemed “medically necessary” [by politicians]…Those in violation will face “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time”…

The Cult of Coupling

Too much “togetherness”, y’all?

Divorce filings are skyrocketing from quarantine-weary and financially stressed couples…matrimonial attorneys…are experiencing a 50 percent rise in inquiries from potential clients…[some] Manhattan family-law experts…[say] couples forced to spend time together while quarantined…haven’t fared well…[and] dramatic sways in the financial markets will further spur a wave of wealthy divorces, because richer spouses may decide they want out while their net worth dips…

Top Cop (#995)

This psychopath is still far too close to power for comfort:

Joe Biden is in the process of narrowing down his list of potential running mates, and his allies in the business community are weighing in with their favorite choices.  Since Biden announced earlier this month that he plans to pick a woman as his nominee for vice president, leaders of…industries have been reaching out to him and his presidential campaign about whom they think should join him on the ticket…The names being floated and pushed to Biden by this group include Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar…

Social Distancing

As always, sex workers take care of our own:

…workers…and…professionals whose livelihoods are tied to in-person meetings…are currently suffering from coronavirus-related job cuts….37 million jobs are vulnerable to layoffs due to social distancing measures…one group facing particularly acute challenges are sex workers, whose work is often illegal…or not covered by unemployment laws…many come from marginalized communities and have trouble accessing other forms of employment…the advocacy organization Bay Area Workers Support (BAWS)…launched a microgrant program that gives out payments of $50–$200 to sex workers in need…Similar efforts are taking place across the country: the Sex Worker Outreach Project…is organizing mutual aid fundraisers for sex workers in places like Los AngelesAustin and New York, and sex workers in Las Vegas have been fundraising via crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe …Taking their work online through photos, videos, phone sex and videoconferencing is one way sex workers have [adapted]…But changing how one does business is not as easy as starting an account…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1023)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

Over the past few months, several articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn propaganda slant have been appearing under the banner of The Guardian, the influential transatlantic news organization…These articles look almost exactly like the rest of The Guardian online content, with the same font, design, artwork, layout and out-links to other stories…Recent articles…[gave] a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…the “Exploitation in Focus” series is “supported, in part, through a grant…[from] Humanity United, a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…with [a] very vague name…and mission…[which] respond[s] to a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

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Judging from the epic case of [“Super Bowl sex trafficking”] mass psychosis…Floridians could easily give the Flat Earth Society a run for its ducats.  –  Stephen Lemons

Not for Everybody

Another ex-sex worker thinks its her job to cheat her sisters out of money:

…dominatrix Francesca Freeman…has become a sex therapist [of the puritanical, exploitative kind and now claims she can]…straighten out men’s kinks…“thank goodness I had this spiritual ­­awakening or I could have ended up in prison.  The things I was doing to these men were becoming increasingly extreme and could’ve easily gone wrong”…[she claims she can “help” men] beat their sex addictions [even though there is no such thing]…“I had an ­incredible lifestyle as a…dominatrix and thought I was really happy.  But after I was dumped [by some dude] I was heartbroken and fell into depression…[she also claims that people are kinky due to] ­traumatic pasts [though there is no evidence for this, and wrongfully called consensual kink] “a cycle of abuse”…“Leaving the industry was an easy decision and I cried with disgust at the end of my last session”…

Sounds like somebody needs therapy, but it ain’t the clients.

Above the Law

If a non-cop had done this, he’d be facing “sex offender” registration:

A [typical and representative] federal [cop] in Arizona was sentenced to probation…after being caught on video smelling a 3-year-old girl’s underwear. The girl’s unnamed father received a motion alert from the nanny cam in his daughter’s room last May…when he checked the video recording he saw Deputy U.S. Marshal David Timothy Moon digging through the laundry hamper in the girl’s room and pulling out a pair of dirty underwear…[and] sniff[ing it] as he brought it to his face. He returned to the child’s room a second time just minutes later…[and] notice[d] the nanny cam.  “Goddamn it,” he can be heard saying while covering his mouth…the U.S. Marshals Service fired him when it heard the allegations…Moon’s girlfriend said “he threw out his computer” [probably to hide evidence of child porn] after learning police were looking for him…[he] was initially charged with two counts of felony trespassing with sexual motivation, but [the judge let him] plead down to misdemeanor trespassing [so he wouldn’t have to endure “sex offender” registration]…Judge Katherine Cooper [also] denied requests from prosecutors that Moon be subject to psychological evaluations and…said [the lenience was specifically because he was a cop]…

Guinea Pigs (#690) 

To flush civil rights, just apply a label like “prostitute” or “gang member”:

The [California] Department of Justice [claims it] has been working to fix CalGang for two years…but…state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra signaled last month that he may backtrack…[cops have repeatedly lied about how] additions [are made on mere] rumor[s and cop guesses] without evidence — until [long-hidden paperwork finally became available to public scrutiny]…CalGang…currently [even] allow[s] inclusion of people such as girlfriends or family members.  Its precursor began in the 1980s…and [cops]…can use anything from a sports jersey to a casual conversation with a [passerby to claim as supposed]…proof that a person belongs on CalGang…Concerns [were first publicly admitted by bureaucrats during]…a scathing 2016 state audit, which found it lacked oversight, and…could not substantiate the claims.  Auditors found records for children as young as 1 year old when their names were uploaded, prompting the Legislature in 2017 to put the database under the purview of the attorney general and demand new rules for its use…[but] thousands more [people] have been added while new rules are debated [by politicians]…

Think of the Children! (#696) 

“Community concerns” is a euphemism for “busybodies”:

Because of community concerns, Cary [North Carolina] police… conducted a [pogrom on two] massage businesses and]…arrested [two migrant women]…Both women are charged with practicing massage without a license…Moana Anderson and her husband brought their four daughters to the indoor playground next door…”That’s kind of scary because we wanted our kids to be safe [from sex rays, except for the sex rays generated by our barebacking often enough for me to pop out four brats]” Anderson [said]…”there’s no place for [safe sex] here in Cary”, said Angel Island Fun Park manager Cecilia Soto.  “Cary is a nice city…[where consensual sex] has no place [unless it results in spawn]…It has to go”…

Morality Lessons (#783)

Another Utah politician thinks he’s discovered a way to circumvent the First Amendment:

Any pornography distributed in Utah must carry a warning label describing [fantasized] negative impacts to youth, under…House Bill 243, sponsored by…Brady Brammer…The warning label would read:  “Exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts to brain development, emotional development, and the ability to maintain intimate relationships. Such exposure may lead to harmful and addictive sexual behavior, low self-esteem, and the improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among numerous other harms”…the [label is intentionally] similar to California product label requirements…For videos, the [compelled speech] must be up for 15 seconds.  On printed publications, it must be prominently displayed…the Free Speech Coalition…[will] oppose the bill [as]…”compelled speech…unconstitutional on its face”…the bill…[is also unconstitutionally over]broad and could cover “basic nudity” and even “non-explicit sexual situations” such as a Kim Kardashian selfie or the TV show Game of Thrones…”It’s a lawsuit bonanza,” [FSC spokesman Mike] Stabile wrote…

Note that the censors are still pursuing the idea of using “public health” rhetoric, supported by nonsensical Gail Dines propaganda about “health effects” of porn, as a model for trumping free speech.

Traffic Jam (#905)

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is just a new excuse for persecuting the same groups as usual (sex workers, racial minorities, migrants, young people, etc), and as I have explained many times its mythology bears a strong resemblance to that of the Satanic Panic.  So it’s really fascinating to see prohibitionists comparing “sex trafficking survivors” to cult members; that is actually true, but in the opposite way prohibitionists claim.  This group appears to imagine that doing flexible work to earn a living is somehow cultlike, when in actuality it’s the process of stereotypic conformation and “reframing experiences” imposed on “exited” sex workers by prohibitionists which displays cultlike characteristics. Furthermore, take a look at the speaker list:  all cops and “rescue” profiteers, authority figures in the “sex trafficking” cult who can be counted on to belch forth the “correct” dogma and shut down independent thought.  Moral panics become increasingly extreme until implosion, and this one is from way beyond the Looking Glass.

A Broker in Pillage (#918)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

For decades, Detroit [cops]…and…prosecutors have systematically abused…drivers by [stealing]…and sell[ing] thousands of cars…from completely innocent owners…the Institute for Justice…has partnered with a group of Detroit drivers to…file a class action lawsuit in federal court seeking to end the cont[emptible] practice once and for all.  Melisa Ingram, [one of the] plaintiff[s, had]…her car [stolen]…by [cops] after she lent it to her then-boyfriend…[and cops claimed he] slow[ed] down in an area known for prostitution…he was never charged with a crime [but] police nevertheless [stole] Melisa’s 2017 Ford Fusion…[when] she explained that the car wasn’t his…the clerk explained that Melisa’s only option was to pay the city $1,800…she did not have…plus the cost of towing and storage…she was forced to give up her car and declare personal bankruptcy…

Prudesville (#954) 

Baristas are again appealing Everett’s legal claim that it has the right to police their clothes because “women who dress like sluts cause rape”:

…Everett’s bikini baristas and their lawyers [have] petition[ed] the Supreme Court…[to resolve the] issue [of] whether serving coffee wearing a bikini…is…free speech…the city of Everett [has been harassing] espresso kiosks staffed by [bikini-clad] women [for the past ten years.  Since November 2017, it has even claimed that the kiosks cause rape to justify]…ordinance[s] impos[ing] a minimum dress code on drive-thru food and drink stands…[and criminalizing the exposure of] specifically-defined parts of the butt or female breast…Two lower courts have…agreed [to pretend that the actual issue is]…the term “bottom one-half of the anal cleft” [rather than women’s ownership of our own bodies]…

Blunt Instrument (#963)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown takes a deep dive into the ongoing racist government campaign against massage parlors:

…law enforcement agencies frequently go on fishing expeditions, searching for needles in a haystack and then arresting anyone in the vicinity of the barn…and…the people most harmed by the attention…are the ones cops…claim they’re out to save…[in this] carceral charade…the twisted “help” offered to “exploited” women includes jail, seized assets, and deportation…Federal law enforcement officials are being enlisted…to [help local cops] round up women for giving unapproved hand jobs or offering ordinary back and foot massages without the right paperwork…these workers—mostly middle-aged Asian immigrant women—are treated as victims long enough to get authorities in the door and then as criminals once law enforcement officials are done playing hero to the press…

Pyrrhic Victory (#984) 

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

A campaign to ban facial recognition on college campuses has just been launched by the non-profit organizations Fight for the Future and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.  Facial recognition technology is already being deployed in some public school systems…[and] Vendors like FaceFirst and Ellucian are already offering biometric surveillance…Raja Saravanan…of…Ellucian…cheerfully [explain]s that facial recognition software can be configured to check class attendance while also monitoring students’ nonverbal reactions in real-time as they listen to lectures…[and] noted…”Beijing Normal University…[uses] facial recognition system to prevent intruders entering student dorms.”  That…is not…reassuring considering that China’s authoritarian government is deploying hundreds of millions of cameras hooked to facial recognition as a mainstay of its social credit surveillance state.  In order to “foster a culture of [false] trust around facial tracking,” Saravanan recommends that campus facial recognition be rolled out incrementally [so the frogs don’t simply leap out of the pot]…

Micromanagement (#999)

They didn’t refuse on principle, but because the warrant was “improperly served”:

Ancestry.com, the largest DNA testing company in the world, was served a search warrant to [let pigs root in] its database of some 16 million DNA profiles, but the company did not comply.  “Ancestry…challenged the warrant on jurisdictional grounds…[it] was improperly served…and we did not provide any access or customer data”…Ancestry and its main competitor, 23andMe…have publicly vowed to defend their customers’ genetic privacy, and say they will fight efforts to open up their databases to [rooting] by police…Until now, only two [DNA] databases…GEDmatch…now owned by the f[ascist copsucking] company Verogen, and…FamilyTreeDNA — have been open to search requests from police…[but] GEDmatch contains [only] about 1.3 million profiles and Family Tree DNA has around 1.1 million.  So if cops were to gain access to the much larger databases operated by Ancestry or 23andMe, it would make s[urveillance of everyone in the US] much easier…

To Molest and Rape (#1007)

Ever notice what a large fraction of rapist cops’ victims are teenagers?

A Las Vegas [cop] has been arrested [for rape]…Christopher Peto [raped]…two girls between the ages of 13-17…at Laughlin…High School.  Peto was arrested…on charges [rape]…soliciting a child for prostitution, kidnapping…[raping] a minor under 14 and child abuse…Peto has been [rewarded]…with [a paid vacation] pending official charges…

Stupor Bowl (#1011)

The Miami Herald‘s Chicken Licken act is at the center of this debunking:

Doubling and tripling down on the most debunked and disproven zombie lie of all time, politicians, the press, law enforcement and an array of money-grubbing non-profits plunged Miami, and Florida in general, into a bizarre state of paranoia and panic over the myth that the Super Bowl is “the largest human-trafficking event on the planet”…Alex Andrews…of…SWOP Behind Bars…says Miami-Dade County has been awash with legions of “rabid prayer people”…on the lookout for sex trafficked children, talking to the media, passing out promotional stickers, and in a bizarre, puritanical touch, bars of soap… According to the FBI’s own crime statistics, sex trafficking is a relatively rare phenomenon…but you wouldn’t know that to read or watch Florida’s mainstream media, particularly the daily Miami Herald, which has done its best to ramp up the anti-trafficking hysteria by trading in bogus stats and narratives…

Here’s one especially-horrifying example of this freakshow, in which local news station WPEC pretends to be surprised when prohibitionist rent-a-pig John Rode gets a lot of answers when he calls a bunch of mid-range escort ads (in other words, less-established ladies who don’t screen) pretending to be a client; that the women he slanders as “sex trafficking victims” deny to busybody reporters that “they were being forced to sell their bodies“; and that when the reporter tries to embarass the manager by shoving a camera in his face and demanding to know why he isn’t spying on his guests, “he made us leave the property”.

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Any gun-rights advocate or pro-choice voter understands that making something illegal doesn’t make it go away, only more dangerous.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

…Mbalaminwe Mwimanzi was watching sports at a friend’s apartment on the evening of January 15, 2019…[when pigs] stormed the apartment with a warrant allowing them to search [the location but not the people] for drugs…[cops] searched Mwimanzi three separate times [anyhow]…[when the first two pigs] found no[thing]…Joshua Wilson, who is being sued by Mwimanzi and the ACLU-DC…[forced] Mwimanzi, who was still handcuffed, to spread his legs…[so he could grope] Mwimanzi’s backside and…[violate his] anus…the[n]…he…fondled [Mwimanzi’s testicles]…Mwimanzi told [the other cops] that Wilson had sexually assaulted him….[and] asked to be taken to a hospital as he was experiencing pain…ACLU-DC has already filed three previous lawsuits over similar [sexual assaults]…

Paint By Numbers

Silly “awareness raising” stunts by crowds of idiots are mostly a thing of the past; now they’re usually marketing gimmicks:

The Greater Dallas Restaurant Association’s 24Hour Dallas initiative introduced an anti-human trafficking program…[which purports to] give…businesses a way to help trafficked persons…“realize they are not free [because they’re very stupid and restaurateurs who have never done sex work know more about their lives than they do] and give them steps to take to escape their captors”…[magic] signs will be placed in public restrooms…on the sex…trafficking superhighway

This is the first time I’ve seen the ludicrous “sex trafficking superhighway” term for I-20 outside of Alabama.

Choke Point (#665) 

Fascism in action:

Following the US government’s assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, PayPal has delayed and blocked numerous small donations to The Grayzone that mentioned this website’s news coverage of Iran.  At the same time…Facebook has censored a The Grayzone video reporting on the US government’s escalation against Iran and its ally Hezbollah.  In 2010, PayPal froze donations to WikiLeaks…Now independent journalism websites…are suffering from blockages imposed by PayPal that appear directly linked to Washington’s aggressive actions in the Middle East…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Anti-vaping lunacy is quickly reaching “sex trafficking” levels of disinformation:

This is not simply wrong, it’s unbelievably wrong…For starters, the death rate of jumping out of airplanes without parachutes is 100 percent (the odd Vesna Vulović story notwithstanding).  For vaping, not so much…even New Jersey’s official site for anti-vaping propaganda admits that there is only a single confirmed case of a Garden State vaper—out of what must be hundreds of thousands if not millions of users—dying from illness related to electronic cigarettes…also…neither of the vaping devices pictured…are the sort that use the black-market THC cartridges that have been most plausibly linked to most serious illnesses, let alone deaths.  But when you’re dealing with propaganda, it’s best not to get too lost in the weeds (perhaps especially when the propaganda is somehow related to weed)…

See also “Unsafe for Human Consumption” for more unbelievably-exaggerated lies about drugs.

Rotting Fruit (#973)

An account of Epstein’s crimes that doesn’t devolve into torture porn:

A lawsuit filed…by the…U.S. Virgin Islands alleges that…Jeffrey Epstein sexually trafficked hundreds of young women and girls on his private island as recently as 2018 by using a web of shell companies to carry out and conceal his crimes…The allegations…shed new light on the tactics Epstein used to hide his illicit activities.  Epstein…brought girls as young as 11 to his private island, known as Little St. James, and maintained a database to track their availability and movements…Most of the companies were created in 2011 and 2012, soon after Epstein registered as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands following his 2008 guilty plea…[in return for] a…non-prosecution agreement from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta…[which] shelved a federal sex trafficking indictment that could have put Epstein away for life…The lawsuit…is the first…to allege that Epstein continued to commit crimes after 2005…

Little Boxes (#975)

SCOTUS leaves the conflict between the 7th and 10th Circuits unresolved:

The U.S. Supreme Court…will not consider an appeal by three women who were arrested for exposing their breasts at a New Hampshire beach more than three years ago.  The women — who are now part of a global campaign called Free the Nipple — were arrested in 2016…Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair and Ginger Pierro argued in their appeal that the local ordinance that resulted in their arrests and convictions violates their 14th Amendment rights because it applies to women but not men.  The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld their convictions…ruling that…laws that…criminalize…women but not men [for the same actions somehow don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, because tits]…

Shift in the Wind (#983)

A pro-decrim article by a former sex worker in a conservative-leaning newspaper:

…Time and money spent hunting grown-ups for doing consensual adult things with each other could be used to test rape kits, investigate reports of sexual violence and provide emergency support to victims.  But politicians…throughout the country are trying to increase raids on massage parlors, increase surveillance at hotels and make men like Robert Kraft register as a sex offenders…cracking down on consensual adults in the sex industry won’t make any of us safer…prohibition…creates black markets where career criminals thrive…

I Spy (#1000)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

Attorney General William P. Barr declared…that a [single] shooting [incident outweighs the privacy interests of every single Apple customer because]…terrorism, and he asked Apple…to [break encryption it developed to be unbreakable so the government can snoop in]…two phones used by the gunman…Barr…call[ed] on Apple and other technology companies to find a solution [to the laws of mathematics.  Spooks pretend]…they need access to [Mohammed Saeed] Alshamrani’s phones to see messages from encrypted apps like Signal or WhatsApp [because he is Muslim]…

With Friends Like These… (#1003)

So helping!  Many respectful!

…Louis Theroux[‘s] documentary, Selling Sex, [exploited three sex workers named] Caroline, Victoria and Ashleigh…Ashleigh and [her best friend] Georgina…published an open letter to the show’s creators and the BBC, describing their disappointment and mistreatment…[by] Theroux and his collaborators…[who] set out to tell a certain narrative on sex work[ers as]…victim[s]…Theroux[‘s]…faux-naive narration…constantly referred to unspecified people finding sex work unsavoury and “unhealthy”..[though] no evidence of this was presented in the programme…Theroux…ask[ed] every woman he interviewed about the…“damage” [he assumed caused them to begin sex work]…There was…no mention of the closure of Backpage…which forced thousands of sex workers further into the fringes…Selling Sex felt lazy and uncontentious, challenging its subjects rather than its viewers…

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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.  –  Desmond Tutu

2019 will be remembered as the year it became fashionable for opportunistic prohibitionists to pretend to be concerned about the harm done to sex workers by the policies of criminalization they have supported for the past two decades.  While the deranged puritans who deny our agency, share their disgusting sexual fantasies about us in public and intentionally send thugs to deceive, rape and cage us (while pretending they want to “rescue” us from the bogeymen who reside only in their fevered imaginations) are just as awful as ever and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future, those who merely jumped on the “sex trafficking” bandwagon to sell something or gain power are now pretending to have been “neutral” before, but sympathetic now because they finally bothered to look at the mountains of data we’ve been showing them since the turn of the century, or something.  But because these sociopaths wouldn’t know a moral compass if one were driven into their faces with an impact wrench, their attempts to sound sympathetic are pathetic at best and deeply insulting at worst.

Power-mad shitbag Elizabeth Warren, for example, has signed on to support a “study of the impact of FOSTA” while simultaneously scheming (again) to steal sex workers’ money and shut us out of the banking system.  But while her duplicity is disguised well enough to fool the insufficiently-cynical, this recent effort by the staunchly-prohibitionist New York Times is embarrassingly transparent.  The newspaper which launched “sex trafficking” hysteria 16 years ago this month with a fantasy called “The Girls Next Door”, and which has since then functioned as one of the primary organs spreading “sex trafficking” hysteria with lies, masturbatory fantasies from Nick Kristof, and copsucking propaganda, now wants us to believe that it gives a shit about us.  And yet, it isn’t even trying to remove prohibitionist fecal matter from its lips before speaking up.  It starts in the lede by referring to censorship as “holding tech platforms accountable” and then refers to sex workers’ ads & online activism as “sex-trafficking schemes” and “the ills of the internet”.  It then goes on to argue that censorship is mostly a good thing as long as the government precedes that censorship with years of propaganda demonizing & dehumanizing its intended targets, and describes FOSTA-enabled censorship as “mostly positive” (“the results are not all positive” is semantically equivalent to “the results are mostly positive”).  And that’s just in the first two paragraphs; a little further along sex work is dysphemized as “the bartering of children and adults” and a law specifically designed to censor the internet and opposed by every human rights and speech group in the country is said to have been “hailed as a way to catch up to…reality”.

The most astonishing part of all this?  The Times’ writers are so clueless they really think this milquetoast admission of the harms of FOSTA is enough to erase a generation of cheerleading for tyranny.  It will be interesting to see how they, and myriad others of their ilk, try to avoid being “held accountable” for their incredibly irresponsible actions as sex worker rights follows the footsteps of LGBT rights into the mainstream of US political discussion.

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