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Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

There were no open pits spitting forth curtains of brimstone and perdition’s flames to be found, and nary a single cloven-hoofed demon could be seen dancing about the streets of downtown Oklahoma City—and from all reports, nobody seemed any more or less possessed than they were before the event took place.  –  Jason Vaughn

It was a very active week for links!  The top contributor was Grace, with the second video and all the links above the first one (which IMHO as someone with mild OCD is one of Rachel Bloom‘s funniest yet).  The links between the videos were provided by Popehat (“protection” and “seat belt”), Lenore Skenazy (“correlation”), Nun Ya (“html”), Jason Kuznicki (“Karen Black”), Tushy Galore (“preacher”), Saladin Ahmed (“Snark”), Korhomme (“museum”), Cop Block (“trespassing”), Janet Bloomfield (“cannoli”), and Ally Fogg (“addiction”).

From the Archives

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We have to accept the truth…the oldest profession in the world [will only disappear] when humans no longer exist.  –  Khuat Thu Hong

Who Did Your Tits? 

A Tampa massage therapist, Jasmine Tridevil…contacted more than 50 doctors before finding one who would give her [a] third breast…The surgeon she found couldn’t create a silicone areola, though, so she had one tattooed onto the implant, which is made from silicone and skin tissue from her stomach.  While Tridevil’s dream is to star in an MTV reality show, she [said]…she had the surgery to become “unattractive to men” in addition to gaining fame.  “I don’t want to date anymore,” she said…

Alas, there is strong evidence that the story is a hoax.

Safe Targets

Here’s a good example of how criminalization makes sex workers vulnerable to extortion; Terra Jones not only shares the actual letters, but details the total uselessness of Alaska cops in responding to them and explains how “sex trafficking” laws have made conditions even worse.

Anatomy of a Boondoggle

Any amount of criminalization, no matter how slight, gives “authorities” an excuse to harass whores, even to the point of paying men to rape them:  “Fred Allen…is a gun for hire, having received tens of thousands of dollars from Sydney’s…councils in exchange for crucial evidence that is presented in court to help expose and close underground parlours.  In short, Mr Allen has paid sex with prostitutes and ratepayers foot the bill…”  Yes, I would class having sex with a woman for the express purpose of harming her – stealing her job or even getting her deported – as a form of rape.  No, I don’t want to debate it.

Halfway Whores

VIP partyPearl-clutching sociologist agonizes over the “exploitation” involved in recruiting models for VIP parties; she says “This is a system of trafficking in women” and thinks it’s a problem that “the girls don’t seem to mind all that much”, indicating that she absolutely Does Not Get the halfway whore concept at all.

Welcome To Our World

surrogacy opponents…include…social conservatives and Christians, especially Catholics, who either see surrogacy as unnatural and immoral or a gateway for gay parents, and some feminist groups, who see surrogacy as exploitative…Even the ostensibly pro-surrogacy crowd seems to favor making surrogacy more complicated and less accessible…[such] solutions [are billed] as “pro surrogacy” because they don’t outright forbid or criminalize the practice but…create more categories of people who can’t participate and raise financial costs and privacy invasion for those who do…

The Proper Study

A new Canadian study won’t surprise anyone who’s been listening to sex worker activists, but the backup comes at a crucial time:

Researchers have released…the first national report on the sex industry in Canada…based on five studies undertaken in St. John’s, Montréal, Kitchener, Fort McMurray, Calgary, and Victoria…“Many of the people linked to Canada’s sex industry—workers and their intimate partners, managers and clients—have much in common with other Canadians”…The average age of sex workers’ first sale was 26 years old…29 percent of sex workers first sold…sex…before …19…The average sex worker has 10 years of experience…67 percent of sex workers finished high school, and 15 percent have a bachelor’s degree or more…77 percent…identify as women, 17 percent as men, and 6 percent as other genders…Sex buyers purchase a sexual service a median of four times a year…only 17 percent bought sex on the street…

Surplus Women

Angelia Mangum & Tjhisha BallThe bodies of two Tampa teenagers…Angelia Mangum, 19, and Tjhisha Ball, 18, were found…[on a Jacksonville roadside] bound with zip ties and lying on top of one another…both…had been…working there as exotic dancers…”  Naturally, the media cares more about recounting their record of a couple of petty offenses than about two young women whom society considered disposable.  A fundraiser has been started to assist their families with funeral costs.

Follow Your Bliss

No, he didn’t “turn pedophile”; he took this job on purpose to enable and cover up his crimes:

…Gregory Pyle…of…Illinois…was sentenced to 50 years in prison…after confessing to sexually abusing a child and distributing images…online.  Pyle was a 10-year veteran of his police department who…worked in a child predator task force…and…used his position…to obstruct the investigation into his actions…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

88-year-old grandfather, Edwin Venn, was arrested…for prostitution, along with his john Amanda Pearson, 23.  Police had been watching Venn for several months and noticed a peculiar  pattern…Mr. Venn stood most weekend nights with cardboard sign on Hollywood Blvd that read:  “I’m for sale.”  Pearson admitted during her arraignment that when she found the 88-year-old Venn trying to turn tricks she and her friends decided it would be funny to sleep “with an old guy”.  Word spread and lots of girls paid Venn for sex.  Pearson said he only charged five dollars and gave them lollipops afterward.

The Public Eye

Here’s another sex worker on a reality TV show:

Kate McGrew [says sex work] is…”an aspect of my feminism…sex workers…have good strategy.  People say it cheapens the experience [of sex]…No, it doesn’t, it makes it more expensive”…

And one who was previously on a show runs for office:Charlotte Rose

One of the independent candidates for the Clacton by-election is Exeter sex worker Charlotte Rose…[who] previously appeared in a…TV series…called Love For Sale…[with] Rupert Everett and Russell Brand.  “My main policy is about sexual freedom…I also want there to be better sexual education in schools”…The former teacher and mother-of-two…was hounded out [of her neighborhood] by locals following media attention sparked by the TV show…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another case in which the truth is so obscured by exaggeration, dysphemisms, myths and lies that we’ll probably never know what really happened:

A…[Missouri] Judge sentenced 24-year-old Tiffany Piper to eight years in prison for selling two high school girls for sex…managed the [girls' work]…and placed ads online…[prosecutors claim that]  someone was [previously] trafficking Tiffany Piper for sex…[and] said…”At some point she was no longer a victim…because she perpetrated the same crimes that were perpetrated upon her”…[they] can`t say who first trafficked Piper, or who worked above her, because Piper never said…

The narrative simply doesn’t allow the prosecutor to admit that there is no shadowy “pimp” pulling the strings here, so Piper becomes the scapegoat.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #42)

in recent months a fierce debate over whether to legalise and regulate the sex industry [in Vietnam] has sprung up online and in the official press…even the National Assembly is due to address the issue at its next session in October…Researchers estimate there are around 200,000 sex workers in Vietnam…”We should legalise prostitution because it is part of human rights. Everybody has the right to enjoy sex,” said sociologist Le Quang Binh…

Comfort Zone (TW3 #311)

Given that the Immigrant Council is one of the groups trying to impose the Swedish model on Ireland, I trust you can see the endgame here:

A report…finds that victims of sex trafficking are left vulnerable to further abuse in…[Ireland's] direct provision centres because they can be easily contacted or intimidated by pimps and traffickers…the Immigrant Council of Ireland said…”traffickers have actually used the asylum system for residency and accommodation while simultaneously trafficking victims”…

rubber stampLack of Evidence (TW3 #316)

California Governor Jerry Brown [signed]…legislation which now requires district attorneys to get a court’s permission to use possession of more than one condom as potential evidence [of]…prostitution…”  How this will play out in real-world courtrooms:

DA: Your honor, I need permission to use these condoms as evidence, because “sex trafficking”.  It’s for the children!

Judge:  Granted.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #403)

sex workers…and advocates submitted a report to the United Nations…on human rights violations committed in the U.S. against sex workers…and those profiled as such…Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), Desiree Alliance and Sex Worker Outreach Project-NYC (SWOP-NYC) [documented] extensive violations of the right to equal protection before the law, the right to be free of cruel and inhuman punishment, and the right to health…Due process violations are also rampant…The report…[calls] on the U.S…to make good on a [2011] commitment…to address discrimination and violence against sex workers…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410)

Another good article attacking the “rape culture” myth:

…Both critics and supporters…note [that]…While the CDC estimates that nearly 2 million adult American women were raped in 2011 and nearly 6.7 million suffered some other form of sexual violence, the NCVS estimate for that year was 238,000 rapes and sexual assaults…[the high numbers result from a loose definition of rape, but by this standard]…the…CDC [found] that women rape men as often as men rape women.  The CDC also reports that men account for over a third of those experiencing…“sexual coercion”…defined as being pressured into sexual activity by psychological means:  lies or false promises, threats to end a relationship or spread negative gossip, or “making repeated requests” for sex and expressing unhappiness at being turned down…We must either start treating sexual assault as a gender-neutral issue or stop using the CDC’s inflated statistics…

The Scarlet Letter (TW# #413)

At least a few reporters are publishing critical views of currently-fashionable “john shaming” tyranny:

…“This violates the bedrock principle that punishment should not begin until you are convicted,” says Jonathan Simon…[of] Berkeley Law…“It’s the police saying, ‘We’re going to punish you upfront’…This isn’t just a few days in jail.  It’s distinctly degrading treatment, public exposure that puts people at risk of long-term internal trauma …it’s the kind of thing that the 8th Amendment…was designed to prevent”…assistant professor Andrea Roth says…“Public humiliation affects a lot of people besides the johns…People say, ‘I saw your dad or husband on Facebook,’ and that can be devastating.  Your career can be affected—maybe permanently, given that once something goes up on the Internet, it’s there forever. It can disrupt entire families”…

Full of Themselves (TW3 #418)

Of all the semi-whores, none are as pompous as masseuses; they even infect those who write about them:

…Many [massage parlors] are locally owned small businesses staffed by well-trained professionals who provide high-priced services.  On the other hand, some are fronts for brothels…California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill that acknowledges that the state’s last attempt to regulate the massage industry struck the wrong balance…centralizing power moved massage parlors outside the authority of local governments, which are more likely to know when a business is illegitimate…

Given that most unlicensed massage parlors are Asian-owned, there is a strong whiff of racism in phrases like “locally owned” and “high-priced services”.

The Roof Caves In

Somaly Mam has spoken out to defend herself for the first time…in the new issue of Marie Claire, Mam tells Abigail Pesta, “I didn’t lie”…she adds that she didn’t mount a legal fight against the claims because “I didn’t need a lawyer…I did nothing wrong.  My heart is my lawyer”…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #423) 

Alan Young…summed up…bill [C36] as “a very confused response to a very clear judgment”…when…asked if the bill could be amended, he was unequivocal:  “No.”  As a constitutional lawyer, he said, he’d “have a field day” with the bill, given…irreconcilable inconsistencies between the objectives, as laid out in the preamble, and the text of the proposed laws…Young also challenged the assertion that the government had struck the appropriate balance…”How can you even talk about ‘balance’ when you use the word ‘asymmetrical’…I’ve never seen anything in the history of [Canadian] criminal law that sets up asymmetrical prohibitions”…

A Whore in Church (TW3 #433) 

If George is smart, he’ll call off his protests first:

…A letter to Pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries and Foxhole North strip club owner Thomas George was sent by city officials asking them to stop the weekly protests of each other’s establishment…the feud is straining local law enforcement and hurting the community…[but] they can’t legally be stopped from protesting…George explained to [reporters] that he…believes it is necessary to draw attention to…harassment by Dunfee and his congregation…

Above the Law (TW3 #434) 

Another one from Oklahoma:

A Tulsa County sheriff’s deputy…accused of sexual assault and indecent exposure resigned…as investigators search for more victims…Gerald Nuckolls…was arrested…[after using drugs as a pretext] to ask [a woman] inappropriate questions and…exposed himself to [her]…Nuckolls reportedly said he had a problem with pretty women…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on August 31st; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

To those who aren’t sex workers and don’t make a full-time job out of following the developments in our  persecution, it must sometimes seem as though I’m exaggerating the awfulness of the situation.  Furthermore, those same people may not think the difference between decriminalization (as practiced in New Zealand) and legalization (as practiced in The Netherlands) is all that big a deal; many times I’ve been asked some variation of “every other job is regulated these days, so why should sex work be an exception?  And what about all the trafficked children?”  So I’m always glad to see someone else write about some specific aspect of the War on Whores in a degree of detail that neither my format nor my crowded schedule allow me time to match.  Today I present highlights of a recent article by the Dutch sex worker Zondares; the original is almost 5000 words and only the last in a series of six.  However, it is well worth your time, especially if you’re skeptical about the situation as I’ve described it; I’m hoping to whet your appetite by these selections, so that you’ll be moved to read the whole thing.

…very hostile actions against prostitutes have become not just accepted by the general public, but are actually viewed as productive efforts to combat trafficking…It started out with police raids on window prostitution areas.  The neighborhood would be closed down, a huge police force would storm the streets, with a ratio of more than 8 policemen per girl…These policemen would force their way into the work areas and take the sex workers to…government buildings for an all-night interrogation.  Meanwhile, police ravage the working areas and adjoining rooms, destroying any closed lockers, boxes, suitcases or bags…Police claim the women are free to go during these raids.  However…if you do try to leave they can order you to stay, and you’ll be arrested if you don’t comply…Every raid is claimed to be a success…[but] very few arrests are attributed to raids – and on closer inspection, this is always found to be false.Die Wallen  So far none of the raids have started any investigation ending in conviction…

So if the raids don’t do what they’re supposed to do, what’s the profit in doing them?

…Communications equipment like telephones or computers are taken, mostly never to be returned, and…there is…great emphasis on tracing your money.  If they can track down where your money has gone, it will be impounded, and never be released.  This is supposed to strike at the heart of trafficking.  If you don’t have a pimp to siphon off your earnings, you can lose much.  Hiding it at home doesn’t help you, because while you’re being interrogated, police has broken down your home door and is ransacking the place…As long as [your money was] moved legally, they can easily find it and take it…They claim you could get it back if detective work shows it to be clean, but so far I haven’t heard from anyone who actually had any returned.  Procedures to get anything returned are a waste of effort…

Think it’s better for independent escorts? Think again:

…The municipality is informed you’re working without a license…whether you need [one] or not…you’ve been in violation during your whole career, and they’re able to fine you tens of thousands of Euros…unless you submit to some other stipulation, like leaving the municipality or joining a licensed brothel.  Police will inform your building society, landlord or mortgage bank that you’re “running an illegal bordello” in your house.  This very often means eviction…If you’re the owner of your house, and it is not mortgaged, there is still the option of evicting you because you’re in breach of zoning laws…If [a part time] sex worker is caught…and they manage to track down where you work, they commonly inform your employer.  This very often ends in dismissal…In rare cases, insurance companies and banks have been informed their client was a sex worker.  Even those few financial institutions that don’t flat-out refuse services to hookers will do so after being “warned” by police.  Whether this is done intentionally to further ruin the sex worker or is a side-effect of police trying to track down money to impound is unclear…As if all the above weren’t enough, they go after your loved ones.  Not only do they tend to inform parents if you’re still in your early 20s, but if you have kids, those will come into the sights of youth services….Men in the house must mean violent pimps, another woman must mean that this was a crowded brothel where clients are tag-teamed, and when a 15-year old girl was present…the press…[didn't ask who she was]…Prostitution to them is a world of cardboard cut-outs, who don’t have relatives, who can’t babysit for a neighbour when between clients, who don’t live in houses where they also have a family, so anyone near them must be part of the misery porn story…

So why all of this torture; is it just petty sadism?  Not quite:

Once they’ve threatened you with all they’re willing to do to make you miserable, childless, homeless and jobless, they explain that if you would turn out to be a trafficking victim, then all this would disappear.  You would even get help, if you wanted.  All you have to do is claim that you were coerced, and accuse somebody.  Then everything will be right…every time a sex worker doesn’t want to give enough information to actually put anyone in prison, the cops are baffled…the National Rapporteur in her reports calls for even more explicit explanation of the choice between the government ruining your life or you coming up with an accusation.  Because if it isn’t because we’re too stupid to understand the decision we’re making, then she doesn’t understand why we would choose bearing the brunt of what government can throw at us over falsely accusing an innocent.  It can’t be morals, whores don’t have any, right?

The driver for all this, as you may have guessed, is “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The police [are] pretending to be fighting…gangs that don’t exist anymore, mafia structures that never did exist, claiming success after success, but never getting any real gangsters.  They use excessive violence to force whores to help them shore up their fantasy war on trafficking…the media are completely uncritical of government…and…choose to be complicit in hoaxes…pornographic element in the stories is camouflaged by pretending it is a story of heroism and courage…A small number of semi-professional victims dominate the soft news, misery porn books and documentaries.  They get new fake names for each publication, and because their stories change each time to fit prohibitionist fashion, the public tends to view each appearance as a new case…Nor are the media ever disillusioned when large scale police raids fail, over and over, to uncover any significant amount of trafficking, let alone coercion…

And absolutely everything constitutes “evidence”:

…If your husband picks up your work phone, he is obviously controlling you.  If you both testify you love each other, then that is an obvious lie, because no real loving husband would tolerate his wife doing something so vile as prostitution…If you work during your period, you’re working while sick, and that’s proof of coercion.  If your friend spots for you by calling for security words before and after bookings, that’s controlling your work and therefore evidence of coercion.  If your man bought lingerie or condoms, then he is supplying your work and this is proof of coercion…If [your husband] carries your handbag, he’s controlling your documents …If there are deeds to his name, that’s evidence of him exploiting you – and if the deeds are to your name, that’s evidence he’s using you as a shield…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the idea. Of course, some who read this still won’t believe it:

People are very hesitant to question trafficking dogma, even if they can see that it defies facts.  They will not…doubt the overarching mythology despite seeing it conflicts with reality in any part they can actually see for themselves…They view us as bizarre caricatures, and find it difficult, inconceivable, embarrassing, painful even, to consider that we might be people in charge of our life, with different choices and different values…Toy theatre c.1845-50

Cardboard cutouts are useful for acting out childish narratives; they can be moved around and put in any part of the flat, simply-colored background picture one wishes.  And unlike real people, they don’t argue and refuse to play the parts for which they were created.

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You have the right to shut up.  –  unnamed Louisville cop

The videos were the first thing to be placed in this week’s column.  The first is a simple demonstration of exactly how integral John Williams’ score is to Star Wars; it was pointed out by Popehat, who also provided the links above it.  I thought I had already featured the second video soon after Ray Bradbury died, but Jesse Walker‘s mention of it reminded me that I hadn’t; it’s a Russian adaptation of Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains”, made in 1987.  The links between the videos were contributed by Cop Block (“colors” and “toys”), Sarah Woolley (“headlines”), Tushy Galore (“gaze” and “power”), Molly Crabapple  (“cosplaying”), Lenore Skenazy (“bakers”), Grace (“drinkers”), Franklin Harris  (“Uber”), Rick Horowitz (“window”), and Mistress Matisse (“entrapping”).

From the Archives

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I was…struck by how the…treatment for these women mostly consisted of convincing them that they were victims.  –  Jessica Gutiérrez

Bad Girls 

I suspect missing information:

…sex worker…Aarti Yadav…was arrested…[for] the murder of a constable, Dilip Borole…”Yadav owed him money and Borole had been insisting that she [repay him]…Yadav offered him a drink laced with a sedative.  After he passed out, she strangled him…[then]  wrapped the body in a mattress, before setting it on fire…”

Maggie in the Media IMDb logo

Jayant Bhandari, who attended my presentation in Philadelphia, interviewed me for his podcast by phone last week after I returned home.  And a few weeks ago, I got my own IMDb page because of my appearance on The Independents.

Perquisites

Tip for reporters who don’t want to look like prohibitionist ignoramuses:  when reporting on sex work in East Asia, don’t simply say “prostitution is illegal”, but rather point out it was traditionally legal and only criminalized in the past few years due to American pressure:

…just as [US] companies…pick up the tab for employees’ lunch meetings, in Korea they subsidize…hard core boozing and…the…sex trade (never mind that prostitution is illegal)…To Koreans, the business districts of American cities appear staid, orderly and a bit dull…[Koreans say] North America is a “boring heaven” while their country is an “exciting hell.”  No salesman…gets far here unless he can sing mean, inebriated karaoke and then slug through negotiations the next morning with a thumping headache…

Against Their Will

Nobody in the Indian media seems to think it’s strange that “rescued” women want so badly to escape their “rescuers”:  “The Pune rural police have launched a search…[for] three women who escaped from a government hostel…A few months back, [they] were rescued from a brothel in Aurangabad…”  See also the next item.

Law of the Instrument

A social worker explains why she rejected the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A few years ago I worked as a psychotherapist in a governmental institution in Mexico…we [were forced] to participate in…raids…to “rescue” victims of human trafficking…I saw how the rights of the women found in the hotel were trampled on.  I witnessed [their] physical maltreatment…This single experience made me resign my job…psychologists and social workers…were…sent in to win the confidence of the women and then use this information in an unethical way…the…["victims"] were unwilling or even angry at the idea of receiving therapy.  Some escaped from the refuges where they were housed “for their protection”.  They didn’t seem to see it as rescue…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical Slender Man

ABC News [wrote]:  “A 14-year-old girl was arrested after allegedly setting her family’s house on fire in what authorities suspect is the latest case of Slender Man-inspired violence“…This past spring, two girls stabbed a classmate as part of a bizarre plan to prove the fictional creature was real…many reporters seemed to think it was not a weird one-off but a harbinger of a new trend, and a short burst of Slender Man media hysteria followed…the supposed Slender Man connection in the new story?  “…The teen…admitted to using the websites  Creepypasta.com and SoulEater.com, which are associated with The Slender Man“…She…”admitted” to “using” (which I assume means “reading”) Creepypasta.com, a vast depository of online horror stories that is “associated with The [sic] Slender Man” in the sense that he is one of the many characters one might encounter there…

So What Else Is New?

a…recent report…published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology  by Emmanuele Jannini…found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra…a…2012…study by…Dr. Amichai Kilchevsky…found…that…what [women are] likely experiencing is a continuation of the clitoris…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

Given that politicians who obsess about certain kinks are nearly always practitioners of those same kinks, what are we to make of Joe Arpaio’s crusade against zoophilia?

…Arpaio says sexual deviants continue to flock to Craigslist…to locate like-minded deviants to engage in sex acts with animals.  Several suspectshave been arrested by Sheriff’s deputies, and many were later convicted and jailed…Terry Wayne Haupt…went to meet up with the Sheriff’s Office undercover black lab for the purposes of engaging in various sex acts…Arpaio says he has written to Craigslist…on three separate occasions asking the company to consider forbidding this type of solicitation…Craigslist…has never responded…

Yes, Arpaio is now doing bestiality stings.  Meanwhile, nearby in Albuquerque…

Broken Record

How low can they go?

Prostitution is common during the [New Mexico State] fair, and Albuquerque police are running…[stings in which] female officers dress up as prostitutes and [trick]…men [into talking to them]…“The officers have to be very careful about how they approach…to avoid entrapment,” [pig mouthpiece Tanner] Tixier [lied]…police are seizing the vehicles of men who are arrested…

As regular readers know, they aren’t “careful” in the least; they simply invent accusations against anyone they choose to target.  And what, pray tell, constitutes “dressing up as a prostitute”?  High-heeled boots or skinny jeans, perhaps?

The Widening Gyre

Lock up your daughters!  Sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!

A new study…reveals…victims of sex trafficking are recruited in places we like to think are safe havens…girls as young as 12 and 13 are first approached…at schools, malls and even parties…The study looked at five years of cases in Minneapolis…Some 40 percent…come from families [with whom] child protection had contact…a potential [excuse] for intervention…police say major events like this summer’s All-Star Game can change the dynamics of what has become a big time business…

FYI:  looking at a bunch of police reports doesn’t qualify as a “study” of anything except cops’ and prosecutors’ masturbatory fantasies about underage girls. Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick

Like a Horse and Carriage

Gay marriage supporters claim that for two men who love each other to marry “makes a mockery of marriage”:

Two men got married in New Zealand…and people aren’t happy about it.  Heterosexuals Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick tied the knot…as part of a radio competition to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup.  The “best mates” got hitched…with tens of thousands listening live.  But…gay rights groups and social conservatives…have both condemned the sham marriage…

Picket-fence gays:  if the state is going to involve itself in people’s interpersonal contracts, I support your right to make such contracts as you see fit.  But your busybody concern for whether two people who make such a contract are habitually shoving their body parts into each other’s orifices is deeply disgusting, and you need to STFU.

Under Every Bed 

I had an ad in the Baton Rouge phone book for years, and it only barely justified its cost:

…Emily Morrow-Chenevert…said the Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 corridor makes Baton Rouge a hub for sex trafficking.  New Orleans is among the top 20 cities…and Houston and Memphis are other big destinations.  Baton Rouge…serves as a convenient stop between those places…there’s an estimated 27 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide…

It’s a “convenient stop” an hour away from New Orleans and on no credible route between it and Memphis.  Note also that the 27 million claim has shifted from all “human trafficking” victims to specifically “sex trafficking” victims.

Lower Education 

Ohio State essentially defines all unscripted human contact as rape:

At Ohio State University, to avoid being guilty of “sexual assault”…you and your partner now apparently have to agree…“regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place”…[this] impractical “agreement” requirement…[also applies] to…“touching”…[and] Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center seeks to radically narrow the concept of consent further (and ban “kissing” without verbal consent as “sexual assault”).  It says consent must be “verbal,” “enthusiastic,” and must be “asked for every step of the way”…Consent also must also be a litany of other things, such as “sober,” “informed,” “honest,” “wanted,” and “creative”…

Sold Out drag queen Facebook protest

Would Facebook dare to target picket-fence gay folk this way?

In a frankly creepy overreach of authority, Facebook is going after…drag queens, requiring that they use their “real names”…In some cases they’ve requested users send in a copy of their drivers license to prove a name is legit…Facebook just rolled out gender-neutral family options, so clearly they’re trying to appear sensitive to nonconforming identities.  So what’s with the name police?

Facebook temporarily backed down after protests, but hasn’t changed its policy.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, Zurich’s was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Vienna is considering installing…”drive-in brothels”…to improve working conditions for street prostitutes…The facilities were first installed in Zürich a year ago…Street prostitution in Vienna is generally legal, but…more and more restrictions [have been] enacted in recent years…

The rest of the article is actually a very good discussion of the bottleneck effect.

Paint By Numbers

Yet another cut-and-paste “sex trafficking” story:

Florida…ranks among the top five states for human trafficking…local authorities formed a team to recover victims and…increase public awareness…”it’s hidden…everywhere”…Polaris Project…Traffickers…use drugs to keep their victims…Florida…has enacted stricter laws…such as requiring strip clubs to…keep [workers' personal] information on file…Parents should monitor…their children…on social media…because…traffickers…Salvation Army…conference…how to get men to stop purchasing sex, along with a prayer walk outside of massage parlors and strip clubs…

The only novel element is the assertion that “Traffickers often change locations…using standard transportation that wouldn’t raise eyebrows…”  As opposed to what, howdahs?  Pogo sticks?  Dirigibles?  Amphibious landing craft?

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #405)

a public inquiry into historical child abuse…has heard…of the abuse…at the Sacré Coeur orphanage…[in] Jersey, [where nuns] beat children with spoons and forced them to work in a knitwear factory…in one nightmarish instance, nuns confined a child no older than six to a room where a dead nun had been laid in a coffin…Other punishments included the children having sheets pulled up tightly over their heads so they couldn’t move and having to eat meals in a toilet…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) David Ley

Dr. David Ley shares the story of a young man with OCD who made the mistake of telling a “Mental Health Crisis Team” (which includes a cop) about his persistent rape fantasies, resulting in his suspension from university and dozens of strangers prying into his private thoughts.  Ley writes,

…This young man is terrified that his thoughts…of rape make him dangerous to others.  Unfortunately, that’s the message that he is getting, everywhere he turns.  I’m truly sad that this young man…is now learning that asking for help can result in punishment…he…is…surrounded by a system…driven by panic and fear…[which] is making problems worse, not better…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The German Association of Female Lawyers (DJB)…rejects the prohibition of prostitution and criminalization of clients…A ban would mean a return to the times of social stigma and lack of rights for women, yet would not change the fact that prostitution takes place…[if clients alone are criminalized] an important group of witnesses in criminal proceedings would be lost…the DJB rejects the introduction of [licensing] for sex workers…the risk of stigmatization is…high and the benefits of such a scheme questionable…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435)

Ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when  hookers use them:

The company that operates Ireland’s biggest sex-worker website has moved its headquarters to Spain and is expanding its business across Europe…Escorts Ireland…[was] previously…based in London  to avoid [Irish anti-advertising laws]…chief executive Audrey Campbell…confirmed the company has moved to Spain because of its “more accepting” attitude…[and favorable] tax [framework]…Campbell set up the company with…Peter McCormick…who has a conviction for brothel-keeping in…the 1990s…McCormick’s son Mark was imprisoned for 16 months for brothel-keeping in 2010…

Translation:  “Internet-based company expands its operations and moves its domicile to a country with more advantageous laws and regulations.  Both owners are experienced in their field.
Whither Canada? (TW3 #437)

Terri-Jean Bedford…[has a list of] names of politicians who hire sex workers…compiled from sex workers across Canada, and…is carefully considering which…to release…after [C-36]…receives royal assent.  This would shame the hypocrites who secretly go to prostitutes while publicly moralizing against sex work or [voting] for laws that endanger sex workers…C-36 will either be undone by the next government or struck down by judges…[it] is a doomed rearguard action — aimed at winning donations and votes — and the Conservatives know it.  What they don’t know:  whose names are on Bedford’s list.

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on August 17th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

kangaroo courtI’ve written on many occasions about what I call universal criminality, the crowning achievement of the modern police state, under which there are so many vague, overbroad and counterintuitive laws that every single person is in violation of at least a few of them at all times.  Nearly any encounter with the police can be turned into “assault on a police officer” or “resisting arrest”, almost any business can be twisted into “racketeering”, virtually any financial transaction can be redefined as “money laundering” and even normal friendships or business interactions can be tortured into “conspiracy”.  But while charges like these can be used to harass, bankrupt and imprison the target, possibly for many years, they often lack the firepower necessary to totally destroy his life forever; after his release from prison he might still be able to find work, have a normal social life and rebuild his shattered fortunes into some semblance of a comfortable existence.  Worst of all (from the prosecutorial viewpoint), the public might even side with the victim, turning him into a martyr both during and after his state-sanctioned torture and caging.  But there is one weapon in the state’s arsenal which, used properly, will utterly destroy a person’s life.  At the end of the process he will have no money, no friends and no home; he will be completely unemployable and condemned to everlasting surveillance, shunned by society and unable even to avail himself of even paid companionship without triggering still more awful consequences.  If the prosecutor is really lucky, his victim may even be murdered by the police or other thugs or take his own life.  And all it takes to detonate this thermonuclear weapon of modern law is the sending of a single email.  Consider this recent case:

Two men have been convicted for “storing” extreme porn on their smartphones — despite the fact they were sent it by a third party, and in one case didn’t even watch it…Gary Ticehurst and Mark Kelly were both sent images and videos from another person via WhatsApp…Kelly… “deleted the videos…but I had no ideas they would save to my camera roll”…Ticehurst…said…he…“decided not to look at them” [but neglected to delete the files]…

The judge was “lenient” in that he “only” stole £500 from each and “only” put them on probation for two years rather than caging them.  Because, as everyone including the judge admits, these taboo images were sent them unsolicited by a third party.  That third party could be anyone, including the police themselves trying to manufacture a crime:

Simon [Walsh] was a successful professional and politician…who, amongst other things, prosecuted police officers accused of disciplinary offences…the police had to “interrogate” Simon’s personal email account…in order to discover a few images they deemed questionable” …the images were in an incoming email and may not have been opened.  In other words, it’s highly likely that the police simply sent the images to him, then pretended to “find” the “evidence” as they do with planted drugs.

In fact, thanks to the fascist surveillance complex, the police might actually know about the “evil” collections of ones and zeroes (that’s what an electronic image actually is, after all) before the mark does:

…a Houston man, John Henry Skillern, was arrested by police for possession of child pornography [after]…Google…spotted three allegedly pornographic images of children in [his] email and…tipped off the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…Google has never made a secret of the fact that it scans email content…an attempt by non-Gmail users to create a class action suit against Google for non-consent of its scanning failed…those who already have concerns about privacy will wonder what other circumstances might cause Google to inform authorities of one kind or another…

Don’t use Google?  Don’t worry, the “authorities” can spy on you directly:

USB devices…have a fundamental flaw that [allows] a malicious hacker to take over your computer and infect any other USB device that is plugged into it…this is not limited to USB drives…Because the exploit lives in a USB device’s firmware, it can be passed around by any USB device, like a mouse, Bluetooth dongle, your printer…anything.  The malware can also be spread from the computer to any USB device plugged into it…If someone plugs in an infected USB drive…every…USB device plugged into that computer afterward would become infected…This USB exploit sounds very similar to the NSA’s “Cottonmouth” device…it could…be using the exploit to increase its access to as many computers as possible…

thumb driveIn other words, millions of computers may already be affected, and could be controlled to download child porn from a government source without the owner even being aware of it until the cops show up at his door in the middle of the night, beat him, throw him in a cage and then proceed to “find” the pictures they put there in the first place.  And even if the owner could somehow prove his ignorance, that’s not a defense:

…even if everyone involved was pretty sure you never even saw the pictures…prosecutors are so inhuman and irresponsible [that they]…charge people with crimes they know aren’t in the spirit of the law…The career incentives are that investigations must lead to charges, and charges must lead to convictions…once something is investigated prosecutors are motivated to make sure someone goes to jail…the law effectively treats every bit of crufty data, every teenage file system mistake or selfie indiscretion as if the possessor had abused the child themselves…

As long as our society clings to the primitive belief that an inanimate object can be intrinsically evil, there is absolutely no way to stop this. And literally everyone with an internet connection, or who ever uses any usb device which is not exclusive to his own computer, is vulnerable; any government operative can literally destroy his entire life simply by hitting “send” and then dispatching uniformed thugs to pick him up.

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We cannot turn a blind eye to these violations.  –  Chuck Sykes

I’ve got a couple of animation videos for you this week; the first one is a short documentary from the planning stages of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and the second another installment of The Kronies (a series mocking fascism by casting crony capitalists as ’80s superhero toys).  The links above the first video  are from Jason Kuznicki, and those between the videos from Michael Whiteacre  (“headline”), Lucy Steigerwald (“stranger danger”), Scott Greenfield (“purdah”),  Rick Horowitz (“libertarianism”), Jesse Walker (“Stonehenge”), Grace (“cat lovers”), and Popehat (“cycling”).

From the Archives

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