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Yule 2014

Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right.
 –  George Harrison

Some people wonder why I, a pagan, celebrate Christmas.  Certainly many pagans don’t, and the same could be said of many atheists and many others of non-Christian faiths.  At the same time, many other non-Christians do indeed celebrate Christmas; it’s the single most popular holiday in the world, with thriving observances outside majority-Christian lands in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and South Korea.  It’s also the oldest, with roots reaching back roughly 6000 years to a land whose name is now lost to memory.  In a very real sense, the story of Christmas is the story of human civilization, and it belongs to everyone rather than only to the members of the Johnny-come-lately religion whose label and rationale is now most commonly associated with it (and whose leaders, until quite recently, wanted absolutely nothing to do with it because they recognized it as the pagan rite it is).

Though people have affixed all sorts of mythology to the holiday, the real reason it exists is the event which occurred last night at 23:03 UTC:  the winter solstice, when the apparent course of the sun reaches its southernmost point.  Last night was the longest of the year, and for the next six months the days will increase in length while the sun’s apparent course moves northward.  For modern people, wrapped in our technological cocoons and insulated from Nature, it hardly makes any difference; but for our ancestors, dependent upon the return of the spring for their crops to grow, the “rebirth” of the sun was a cause for joy and celebration.  It meant they could be sure that, no matter how cold the rest of the winter to come might be, that it would eventually end; the snow would melt, the plants would blossom and the crops upon which civilization depended could be cultivated.  There’s still a lesson there for us:  no matter how bleak things may appear, and no matter how oppressive the weight of tribulation, there is yet hope; the sun always returns, and spring always comes, even if we must endure dreadful storms before it does.  And if that isn’t a reason to celebrate, I can’t think of a better one.

Links #233

By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight, off duty, carrying my gun.  –  Phillip White

It was a pretty sad (read: virtually nonexistent) crop of Christmas links this year; I mean, here we are hours away from the solstice and…nothin’ (imagine Yukon Cornelius voice). So please enjoy the one single solitary holiday feature this week, a video of porn actresses reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas from Michael Whiteacre.  The first video was provided by Radley Balko (as were the links above it), and the links between the videos were contributed by Popehat (“do” and “megalomania”), Dave Krueger (“doughnuts”), Walter Olson  (“brilliant”), Nun Ya (“threefold”), Tushy Galore (“speech”), Cop Block  (“waiting”), and Elizabeth N. Brown  (“dragged”).

From the Archives

[Sex workers] can’t be slandered, apparently, because our status is THAT low.  –  Mistress Matisse

Out of Control

This was obvious to anyone who’s actually known any actual men, and whose mind is not fouled entirely with “social construction” dogma:

Priests’ vows of celibacy may have led to paedophilia, the Roman Catholic Church in Australia has said…A group advising the…Church on how to deal with thousands of cases of child sex abuse said celibacy may be psychologically damaging for some priests…The…conclusions were quickly dismissed by the Vatican…

Think of the Children! 

The statute under which these people were arrested defines “near” as 100 feet:  “Eleven people…were arrested and charged with prostitution near a school…[in] Memphis…the…arrests were all within a mile and a half from [any of several schools]…Thierry Schaffauser

Lack of Evidence

On December 16th…Thierry Schaffauser, founding member of STRASS, was distributing leaflets and condoms when he was arrested [in]…Paris…He was accused of having spoken to a sex worker.  Two plainclothes police officers then committed acts of violence against him including strangulation…He was handcuffed …and taken to the police station…without being able to request…a lawyer.  The sex worker he was talking to…was also arrested…Homophobic and racist remarks were made during the arrest, incl. “it is because of people like you that mamas bring in African women for prostitution in France”…

Welcome To Our World

Not the late actor, but rather the president of a fundamentalist Christian group:

…Tony Perkins [claims]…his fight against gay rights is necessary to prevent an economic crash and [is] no different than saving someone from a burning building…the Family Research Council president…told [the Faith & Liberty podcast]…that gay rights present such a grave “threat to religious liberty” that the movement for LGBT equality will inevitably lead to “a rapid downward spiral of our nation, including our economy”…Perkins insisted that his anti-gay activism is motivated by love for the gay community.  Just as an onlooker would try to wake up a person sleeping inside of a burning building, Perkins explained, he is simply trying to tell gay people about homosexuality’s destructive nature…

Whores know all about people who “love” us and want to “help” us by denying our basic human rights, criminalizing our lives and locking us up in state brainwashing centers.

The Pro-Rape Coalition

In which David Horsey un-ironically uses the phrase “women performing like whores” in a fact-free anti-porn rant:

…Thanks to the Internet, Americans have been pushed, unwittingly, into a vast social experiment testing whether unfettered access to the most freakish and foul pornography will warp sexual relations for generations to come…Raunchy actually does not begin to describe the things that any kid can find with a few search words and a couple of clicks…It’s a quick descent into an endless display of photographs and videos…dominated by perverse male fantasies of women performing like whores for men whose sexual techniques appear to have been learned in a prison cell…This is soul-disturbing stuff most human beings have never seen or experienced before…

Because obviously whores aren’t women.  Would-be censors are fond of claiming that online porn is “dominated” by extreme stuff, and that it’s easy to find, but try it yourself sometime.

Imaginary Crises

Women who tell outlandish rape tales undermine the credibility of all women:

In a now-infamous…story in Rolling Stone, disgraced journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely asserted that at least five members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity gang-raped a freshman named Jackie at a frat house party…The Washington Post’s reporting now suggests that Jackie fabricated huge swathes of her gory rape tale, and that Erdely abrogated her duty to properly investigate it…the number of completely fraudulent rape allegations made by women on American college campuses is far from trivial.  With very little effort at all, The Daily Caller has found eight twisted, totally false and especially astonishing rape hoaxes proffered over the years by female college students.  In each case, the cruel hoaxes were initially accepted as true.  In some cases, real lives were ruined…

Surplus Women 

A man obsessed with the Yorkshire Ripper brutally attacked a prostitute and planned to carry out more murders than his idol…David Parsons, 21, bought a claw hammer because it was Peter Sutcliffe’s weapon of choice and used it to repeatedly bludgeon a…call girl he lured to his flat…he was spooked by her screams and fled…[then] told police:  “I have just tried to kill someone”…The victim…suffered head injuries and…psychological damage…Parsons pleaded guilty to attempted murder…[but] showed no empathy or remorse…[saying] “She is a prostitute, I am not even bothered”…

Profit from Panic 

The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) recently released its annual peer reviewed publication, the Anti-Trafficking Review…[this year’s] theme…is “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking“…The majority of funding dedicated to anti-trafficking initiatives is spent in either prevention or prosecution…there has been little research undertaken into the…effectiveness of funded anti-trafficking initiatives…whether a person is recognised as a “victim” or “migrant” is defined by the media, who are influenced by…political expediency…

Above the Law 

A Louisiana [cop]…has been arrested…[for groping] a woman during a traffic stop…Michael Dayne Selders…touched her breasts…and private areas and tried to kiss her lips…Selders let her leave, saying “don’t tell anyone about this”…Selders [pretended that]…the woman initiated a hug, but denied wrongdoing…he’s [been rewarded with] paid [vacation]…

Meanwhile, in Tennessee:

…Nashville [cop Jonathan Mays] was arrested…for raping a prostitute…The victim had gone to police in June…[and they]…constructed a [sting] to catch Mays in the act…Once confronted, Mays tried to deny having any previous involvement with the woman, but later confessed to the [previous] incident…

The Naked Emperor

Chase Madar’s article about the horrific consequences of the US obsession with policing sex is quite good on issues like “sex offender” registration and the War on Whores…yet breathes not one word about “sex trafficking” hysteria, despite its condemnation of the Satanic panic.

Shift in the Wind

A TED talk about sex worker rights is definitely a step forward:

The Public Eye

Changing the narrative about sex work and battling the stigma  associated with the adult industry are among the primary goals behind a series of events [last weekend]…the Seattle chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project…[held] a three-day sex-work symposium to educate the public about consensual sex work, advocate for sex-worker rights and build community among a diverse group of practitioners.  “I hope people who have heard that all sex workers are victims and all sex work is exploitative will see…the adult industry is vast, complex, diverse and not inherently exploitative,” said Savannah Sly…

Property of the State

a…Wisconsin…woman [was] arrested for drug use…brought to court and twice refused lawyers (even though her fetus was given one), and then sent to jail for 17 days, where she was placed in solitary confinement, denied prenatal care even as she began cramping, and not given her thyroid medication for two days…Tamara Loertscher…refused to submit to in-patient treatment because…she…had stopped using drugs.  She was then jailed for contempt of court…the state of Wisconsin then informed her that it considered her a child abuser, which will prevent Loertscher from ever working again in her profession, as a certified nurse’s aide…

Bread and Circuses

They must have threatened him with decades in prison to secure this deal:

[Eric “Red” Omuro]…pleaded guilty…to facilitating prostitution by running a website that allowed sex workers to advertise services…it was the first federal conviction of a website operator for facilitation of prostitution…MyRedbook…allowed users to post and respond to ads offering services including massage, stripping, domination and sex in San Francisco and throughout the West Coast…the website generated more than $5.4 million in revenue…Omuro…agreed to forfeit $1.28 million in cash and property and the domain names…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #429) 

At long last, Seattle’s The Stranger owns up to its part in promoting Chong Kim’s lies and the movie based on them:

…Mistress Matisse, a professional dominatrix and longtime Stranger contributor…sent an e-mail to her editors here in late June referring to a potential lawsuit.  “You’re getting this e-mail from me because I want some answers,” Matisse began. “I believe that…filmmakers Colin Plank and Megan Griffiths”—the producer and the director—”have perpetrated a fraud in their movie called Eden. Allegations have been made, and it’s time for them to either double down—or fess up.  And as The Stranger played a role in promoting the film, it’s appropriate that The Stranger play a part [in] the truth being told about it”…She [discussed] with a lawyer “the possibility of a class-action lawsuit against the makers of Eden“…[but his]  opinion was that “it would be difficult to prove damages, because the prevailing sentiment of the legal system more or less goes along with us being either helpless victims, as in the movie, or just plain criminals”…

The article debunks Kim’s tragedy porn in great detail, but that wasn’t actually very hard because her own published narratives of her supposed “exploitation” in sex work have grown dramatically in the past decade; had the filmmakers bothered to do even the slightest bit of research they would’ve known she was lying from square one.  But hey, the lies are only about whores and our clients, so it’s all good.

Surplus Women (TW3 #445)

Hong Kong was shocked by another brutal murder [of a sex worker]…as the half-naked body of a 15-year-old girl was discovered bound and gagged at a local dump – just weeks after a British banker was charged with the killing of two escorts…Kwok Wai-ming…had hands and legs bound together with plastic strips and adhesive tape and might have died during a sex game…the girl was involved in compensated dating…and also posed for nude pictures for money…Police have arrested a 34-year-old former clerical worker after analysing security camera footage from buildings in the area…

The Public Eye (TW3 #450)

Nick Clegg today backed Liberal Democrat MPs who are opposing a ban on a list of erotic acts being shown in porn because they have been judged “harmful”.  Three days after a face-sitting protest outside Parliament against new curbs on what can be shown in internet video porn, the Deputy Prime Minister said…the state should not invade the privacy of people’s bedrooms…

A Year Later

The headline makes it sound like “heavily regulated” rhetoric, but what they’re actually calling for is decriminalization:

The Canadian Public Health Association is calling on the government to regulate the sex industry…under existing occupational health and safety regulations…The testimony [leading up to the new law] laid bare a bitter divide…over whether prostitutes are victims or whether they are making a free and valid career choice.  The government considers prostitution a crime against women, and [pretends it can be] stamped out entirely…

That bit about a “bitter divide” is more prohibitionist nonsense; virtually no actual sex workers support client criminalization, and the ones who claim to are a tiny minority of ex-whores paid by prohibitionists to be human sock puppets.

A Year Later

This essay first appeared in Cliterati on December 14th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Canadian Supreme CourtA year ago tomorrow, the Supreme Court of Canada decriminalized prostitution in every part of the country with its ruling in Bedford vs. Canada, which struck down the criminal laws (very similar to those in the UK) which attempted to “control” and “discourage” the sale of sex by making it more difficult and dangerous.  Unfortunately, though the judges ruled the only way they could ethically rule under the circumstances, they still allowed themselves to be swayed by prudishness and deference to busybody ideas about government control of the personal lives of individuals:  they voluntarily stayed their own decision for one year to give the government time to cobble together some new, equally-indefensible, equally-vile law to replace those the court was striking down.  There’s little doubt that the resulting hot mess, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (or if you prefer something a bit less Orwellian, Bill C36), is merely a ridiculous rephrase of the rejected laws, combined with new, even more oppressive statutes, with the whole smothered in popular tinned Swedish sauce.  The government knows the law will never stand constitutional muster, and has known from the beginning; it simply didn’t care. The sole purpose of C36 was to delay the issue and “send a message”; even though it will certainly be struck down, that may take years, and the Conservatives will be out of power by then. In other words, they know they’ve lost and have now switched to a “long game” strategy, minimizing the political fallout by trying to ensure that the hot prostitution potato is in some other party’s lap next time the Supreme Court stops the music.  But Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne may have derailed that plan:

Just one day after a new and controversial federal prostitution law came into effect, the premier of Ontario is calling on her attorney general to look at the “constitutional validity” of the law…Kathleen Wynne said she is gravely concerned the new law will not protect sex workers or communities.  Wynne has asked Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur to advise her on the options available to the province, should it be found that the legislation’s constitutionality is in question…Wynne’s comments come as more than 60 organizations, including the Canadian AIDS Society and John Howard Society, demand the new laws be scrapped.  Now Magazine, an alternative publication in Toronto, has also said it will defy the new law, and continue to run advertisements by sex workers…Supporters of the new rules [pretend] the law will help reduce demand for prostitution…

Chronicle Herald editorial cartoon 7-9-14 by Bruce McKinnonBut even police state functionaries know that it will do no such thing; one cop interviewed in the Edmonton Sun said, “At best, it’ll be useless…at worst, it will make things worse than the old law.”  Politicians like Joy Smith are either entirely dishonest or entirely delusional when they call for the censorship and suppression of those who reveal the facts about prohibition and debunk prohibitionists’ propaganda and outright lies; fortunately, however, they are in the minority.  Most of the Canadian media and academia, and a large fraction of the population, understand that threatening people with violence and caging for consensual behavior is an abomination, and it’s inevitable that laws that enable such tyranny eventually go the same way as laws criminalizing BDSM, homosexuality, masturbation and other private sexual behaviors in which the government has no legitimate interest.

Up to Date

screening“Sex trafficking” hysteria has given cops and prosecutors a rationale for harassing the screening services sex workers use to protect themselves, often obliterating them in the process, and it won’t end anytime soon; even after the moral panic subsides in another two to three years, the laws and procedures it spawned will continue to exist and will be used to justify pogroms for years to come.  So a friend of mine (the escort who wrote “Something in the Milk“) has decided to start a new screening service, not just for escorts but for anyone who wants to meet someone she only knows from the internet.  It’s called “Up 2 Date” and it will be just a screening service; it will never carry escort ads or reviews, because those things give official busybodies excuses derived from “pandering” or “trafficking” laws.  Up 2 Date doesn’t know or care why anyone needs to check up on somebody else; that’s their business as consenting adults.  All we do is monitor members’ reputations to ensure that they are who they claim to be.  Yes, I said “we”; I’ll be making a share of the profits, and since my reputation will be affected you can be sure I’ll be keeping a close eye on things.  Here’s the explanation I wrote for the site:

The internet has created a revolution in the ability to meet new people for friendship, dating and business.  Websites, online forums and other tools allow people to meet up with like-minded others they would previously have had to rely on introductions, chance meetings, conventions and print ads to reach, with a dramatic increase in privacy and convenience.  Unfortunately, some of the people who use these resources are not what they pretend to be; they may intentionally deceive others in order to stalk them, harm them, ruin their lives or draw them into other dangerous situations.  The key to avoiding this is screening, which is to say examining a potential contact’s reputation before deciding whether to meet him in real life; expert screening consists of piecing together bits of information to view the whole picture that they create.  Sometimes just noticing little details can turn out to be what helps you to identify a dangerous situation.  There are a number of services which check out their members’ online backgrounds in order to declare them OK; some even maintain a roster of other members who have met each individual and found nothing to cause alarm.  But any defense which can be designed, can also be subverted; unscrupulous and unprincipled individuals (such as members of law enforcement agencies looking for people to harass for consensual adult activities) may expend considerable effort to create false profiles and establish false reputations before moving in to harvest anyone who innocently meets up with the false member under the mistaken impression that he is someone looking for a mutually-beneficial arrangement, when actually he is a predator out to inflict harm on anyone he can trick.

Up2Date performs background checks upon members upon joining, just as other reputation services do; what makes us different is that we periodically re-check as long as they remain members to ensure that no new information has cropped up to tarnish that reputation.  When faced with difficult situations, some people might succumb to pressure and wind up doing desperate things to improve their immediate circumstances; for example, a person who has been arrested may be inclined to inform on others or even cooperate in a scheme to entrap people who trust them.  It is our mission to allow our members to maintain their privacy by providing a secure background check and screening system to help them protect themselves from potentially embarrassing or even dangerous situations; our unique series of screening techniques provide the safest, most up to date and reliable estimation of safety when taking online interactions to the next level with real-life meetings.  Up2Date is ideal for MeetUp groups, swingers, escorts, clients, online dating or any other situation; simply message admin privately, or reply here for help.

So, there you are.  The site should be fully active by the time you read this, and ready to enroll members; we hope it becomes a staple in the toolkits sex workers, clients, kinksters and even vanilla daters use to keep themselves safe.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.  –  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

red umbrella, rainy streetMost sex worker gatherings are either celebratory (such as our conventions and June 2nd events) or vehement (such as our protests and March 3rd events); many partake of both.  But on this one day a year they are more solemn, for it is the day we honor our dead.  Whether we would like to or not it is something we must do, because in places which would prefer to pretend we don’t exist, or places (like the US) where our very existence is criminalized, there is no one else to do it; were whores to fail to remember our dead, they would be forgotten entirely…and we refuse to let that happen.  Some prohibitionists say we bring violence upon ourselves by our choice to live outside of the sexual restrictions that repressive cultural norms have imposed on women for the past several millennia; others try to rob us of our agency, claiming that the violence comes from imaginary “pimps” and demonized clients.  But the truth these would-be social engineers don’t want you to know is that the majority of violence against whores is inflicted by the police, either with the blessings of the state (in the name of “fighting prostitution” or “rescuing victims”) or in the shadow created by the state’s definition of harlots as creatures outside the bounds of humane treatment.  The state, Western religions, and carceral “feminists” teach that a woman who has sex for practical reasons rather than emotional ones is robbed of her “purity”, and that an “impure” woman would be better off dead.  Furthermore, since they only value women for our sexual characteristics, they teach that a woman who sells sex “sells her body” or even “sells herself”; a person without a body is a ghost, and a person without a self is nothing at all.  Given these beliefs, is it any wonder those who adhere to them think dead hookers are of no great import?  As far as they’re concerned we were dead already, or worse than dead.  And if we are, is it any surprise that violent, weak-minded thugs in or out of uniform believe they can rape, rob, brutalize or even kill us with impunity?

Exactly one month ago tonight, I sat in a room with three of my sisters; we ate together, talked about our lives, swapped war stories, laughed and hugged and shared a kind of intimacy I’ve never felt with any group of amateur women.  That intimacy was itself one of the topics of conversation, and we understood that one of the reasons for its existence is that, in the eyes of the state, we are all outlaws – career criminals – fallen women whom the state has to use violence to cage lest we infect others with our dangerous notions about freedom, independence and self-ownership.  That was a night of celebration and joy, but I wish that tonight I could be with that same group again to mourn others who were not as fortunate in escaping doom as we have been.  Just as nobody else can understand our bonds of camaraderie in life, so too can they not understand how we can care so deeply for departed sisters we never met while they were still alive.  The answer to both is the same: we must love and care for each other so, because none of the “good”, “righteous”, “upstanding” members of “law-abiding” society will.

Diary #233

I’m slowly getting my head back into the necessary space for catching up on my work, but it hasn’t been easy; Monday and Tuesday last week were largely occupied with car-buying tasks, Wednesday was dominated by shopping and Thursday and Friday involved a lot of long-overdue house cleaning in preparation for company.  One rather nice thing about the latter task is that I keep running into things I had either misplaced or forgotten about, including my long-lost nested screwdriver set, a nice coil of poly rope and a brand-new corset still in the bag from the lingerie shop (and purchased how long ago, I have no idea).  Maybe this will inspire me to clean up more often…but somehow, I doubt it.

Last Tuesday brought me two great pleasures:  the first was being my friend Rachel Mills‘ guest* on the very first episode of her brand-new podcast, Liberty After Dark; the second was discovering (after I got off the phone) a rather large donation from the ever-generous Dan O’Connell, enough to pay the taxes on my touring car and also have it fully checked out and tuned up by my mechanic.  Given that I had depleted my account completely, it was a great relief!  I also received two Christmas presents already; Kevin Wilson sent me The Kingdom (series one) and Daz sent The Omega Factor (which I want to see due to the presence of Louise Jameson, who played one of my favorite companions in Doctor Who).  Some of my readers have gently chided me for letting my Amazon wishlist become depleted; they’ll be glad to know I’ve restocked it a bit.  But if you’d rather not try to figure out which thing to get me for Christmas, a donation to my activist work is always nice!  Just PayPal any amount you like to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net, or you can subscribe using the buttons at right to make small, regular donations.

*I was Rachel’s guest in person when I visited North Carolina; it was she who took the cheesecake pictures I’ve been sharing in this feature lately.

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