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Archive for April, 2018

May Eve 2018

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I’ll break your arm, that’s what I’m about to do.  –  unidentified Alabama pig

I was quite young when this premiered one Saturday morning (Wikipedia says it was January 6th, 1973), and I was immediately taken with it.  It was of course the first episode of Multiplication Rock, which later grew into Schoolhouse Rock; I mention this is because the man who wrote and sang the song (and wrote all the other Multiplication Rock entries, singing all but 3 himself), Bob Dorough, died this week.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (x2), Franklin HarrisJillian KeenanRick Horowitz, and Elizabeth N. Brown (in that order).

From the Archives

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If you really care about us, just listen to us.  –  Christina Parreira

Droit du Seigneur 

This is one of those rare instances where a rapist really was a “former” cop:

…a former [New Jersey] cop…[was] charged with trafficking a teen girl for sex…James Keenan [was] released on home confinement and the custody of a relative…[he] most recently lived in Vancouver, Washington [and] was arrested April 11 in Hazlet on federal charges of sex trafficking of a child, attempted sex trafficking of a child and attempted enticement…police in Beaverton, Oregon…and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been looking into him for a month…When agents went to arrest Keenan, they learned he had [fled] the West Coast…Keenan worked for the Middletown Township Police Department for…26 years…[and] retired in 2016…

Surplus Women 

Unfortunately, this will happen much more often now until a replacement for Backpage appears:

A manhunt continue[s]…for the savage killer of Brandy Odom, 26, whose…dismembered remains were…discovered strewn across…132 acres [of Brooklyn’s Canarsie Park]…Detectives trying to retrace her activities in the hours before she was carved up reviewed surveillance video from around the park in hopes of spotting a suspect…Odom was possibly strangled before the fugitive killer hacked up the corpse…Odom…was…a…hairdresser who…had no…history of problems with the law…[except] one arrest for loitering with suspicions of prostitution in 2012…Her mother was adamant that her daughter wasn’t involved in any illegal activity…

It’s sad to watch the mother forced to disavow “illegal activity”, as though being a sex worker would mean her daughter deserved to be literally butchered.

Elephant in the Parlor 

Yeah, she was a “slave”; I’m sure she was chained up & actually owned in a legal sense:

A Florida politician busted…on prostitution-related charges, allegedly fed and housed a married couple in exchange for being allowed to have sex twice a week with the woman — who claimed…she was kept as a “sex slave.”  Exotic dancer Valerie Surette claimed that…Nick Nicholson…“begged” her last year to “move in and have sex with him,” offering her “very large sums of money” in return…Surette said she eventually agreed to the alleged arrangement — which also included her [husband] Kendel Surette [living] in [Nicholson’s] home…Nicholson paid the couple $100 to have sex with Surrette on Tuesdays and $200 on Saturdays…But things got increasingly worrisome, she [said], claiming the pol made her engage in uncomfortable or painful sex acts that wasn’t part of the deal…

In other words, she made a bad deal and stupidly decided to call in the pigs rather than just ending it like an adult.  Sounds to me like these three assholes deserved each other.

Imaginary Evils (#348)

This sounds like a pretty typical cult; are we now going to retroactively label all of them “sex trafficking”?

Allison Mack…best known for a role in the TV series Smallville…entered a plea of not guilty to sex trafficking and forced labor charges which carry mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years and could lead to life in jail…senior members of an alleged cult known as Nxivm…[were allegedly] instrumental in forcing new recruits to conform to the sexual demands of leader Keith Raniere.  The government alleges that so-called Nxivm “slaves” were forced to starve; ordered to remain celibate; and held down as Raniere’s initials were branded below their hips with a cauterizing pen…

Legislators Gone Wild (#409) 

Every so often the Nevada brothels are threatened by zealots, often making these same dumb claims about stigma:

…The group calling itself “No Little Girl” is petitioning to close the legal brothels in Lyon County, and remove the livelihood of hundreds of women…they make claims that…prostitution is inherently violence against women…[and] cite…data that either has been debunked or has nothing to do with legal prostitution.  The handful of individuals that submitted the petition represent faith-based organizations, and seem to be more concerned with pushing their specific moral agenda…The group suggests that large tech companies won’t move to the county…because of the…brothels, but…Lance Gilman, owner of the Mustang Ranch…helped bring Tesla to Nevada.  The massive Tesla Gigafactory is located seven miles from the Mustang Ranch…Concerning the safety of women in the brothels, the website cites Melissa Farley…

The Immunity Syndrome (#747)

This outcome was obvious once Trump appointed Huber to HHS:

The Trump administration will shift federal funding aimed at reducing teen pregnancy rates to programs…that [push] abstinence [propaganda upon] teens instead of [actual] sex ed…The Obama administration mostly awarded TPP grants to organizations that taught comprehensive sex education, which…[nonetheless was forced by federal law to include propaganda promoting] abstinence.  But the Trump administration has been shifting toward [pure] abstinence programs since hiring…Valerie Huber, the chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, which oversees the TPP program.  Prior to coming to HHS, Huber led Ascend, a national abstinence [propaganda] group…

The Immunity Syndrome (#757)

The last attempt to start hysteria over this also involved exactly three cases:

A man in the UK who caught the world’s “worst-ever” case of super-gonorrhoea has been cured…He picked up the superbug having sex with [an amateur] in South East Asia…It was the first-ever case of the infection being incurable with first choice antibiotics, but now two similar cases have been reported in Australia…The main antibiotic treatment – a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone – failed to treat the disease…he has since been [successfully] treated with ertapenem

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Charlatans who profit from the “sex addiction” myth are fighting hard to keep the gravy train rolling:

…sex addiction…[is] a vice masquerading as a pathology, an excuse dressed up as an illness.  It’s not a condition that is recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM], the bible of the American Psychiatric Association.  There are no physical symptoms of withdrawal, as there are with…[actual] addiction…However, [charlatans] in the field speak of a growing sexual addiction “pandemic” that a mixture of shame and misunderstanding has kept hidden.  Paula Hall…[claims] the publicity surrounding recent high-profile scandals has been detrimental to an understanding of what she [pretends] is a very real and growing problem…Hall insists the debate about whether or not sex addiction is [real]…misses the point…

Ever notice how people who profit from these scams (the War on Drugs being a good example) never bow out quietly and save face?  Nope, they just keep doubling down, so now this neurologically absurd concept is no longer just an epidemic, but a pandemic!  You know, like the Black Death.

Whither Canada? (#810)

To their credit, the Young Liberals have been pushing for repeal of Canada’s version of the Swedish model since the law first passed:

…the current Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which prohibits the purchasing of sex, does little to protect sex workers and instead pushes them to work underground and in dangerous conditions; the current prohibition of buying consensual sex…creates a climate that makes sex workers unlikely to work with the police and be involved with more serious crimes; BE IT RESOLVED​ the Liberal Party of Canada repeal the 2014 Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, begin a consultation period with those in the sex work industry and advocacy groups, and move to decriminalize consensual sex work, and the purchase of said sex work, for those over the age of 18…

If this resolution passes and the Liberals stay in power, this could be a huge step forward for sex worker rights.

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Back Issue: April 2015

Evasive [escort ad] language…[is] part of an elaborate pantomime our society has concocted to pretend that persecution of private sexual behavior can ever be legitimate.  –  “Time and Companionship Only

The lists of independent posts for these Back Issue columns are even beginning to look short when I’m in the process of writing them!  After the holidays (April Fools’ Day [plus “Look Again“], Easter and May Eve); the guest columnist (Kaytlin Bailey); the fictional interlude (“Surprise“); and the Q&A columns (“Thing of the Past“, “Not With a Ruler“, and “Time and Companionship Only“), the only things left were an article about the ESPLERP case (“Precedent“); the announcement of my leaving Cliterati (“Eating Up Time“); a review of the movie “My Normal“, and a look at the “help” offered to sex workers by Ruhama (“Slim and Nun“).

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In a few weeks I’ll be leaving for the UK, where I’ll be spending two lovely weeks with Brooke Magnanti, gallivanting around the island from Inverness to London and many points in between.  If you’d like to see me while I’m there email me and I’ll see if I can fit you into my schedule, but in the meantime I’ve got a deal for my US readers.  Some of you have probably noticed that whenever I am getting ready for a long trip, I always run a special so I can A) get ahead on my bills & budget, and B) have some extra spending money.  And this time is no exception!  From today until Sunday May 13th, I’ll give you an extra half-hour when you book an hour-long date and an extra hour when you book a two- or three-hour date.  And if you book four hours or more, I’ll only charge you my social rate instead of my full rate!  If you look at the math, you’re basically getting a date of any given length for about 2/3 as much as it would normally cost (up to a whole weekend, after which it starts to flatten out).  Best of all, dates for which I need to travel are still included as long as you meet my minimum time, and you can claim the special as long as you book and pay by the 13th (even if scheduling requires the actual date to be after I come back to the US).  If you’ve been waiting to see me, now’s your chance to do so at what will probably be the best rate I’ll offer this year, so don’t miss out!

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Because our political class believes in myths, not solid evidence, they keep creating policies directed at an imaginary bogeyman, not real criminals.  –  Jenny Heineman & Brooke Wagner

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

A MILLION!!!!!

La Porte County [Indiana] Prosecutor John Espar [fed ludicrous propaganda to] local residents at First Baptist Church on human trafficking…He [lied that] the rate of sex crimes spiked between 1998 and 2007 with the growing popularity of Internet usage, which gave offenders access to children…to whom they did not have access previously…As many as one million children are exploited for commercial sex annually…children who become victims typically do so between the ages of 12 and 14…“So many of these (sex) workers, even if they’re not realizing it at this point in their lives, are still victims of exploitation”…

The Proper Study

Ric Curtis, who headed the Jon Jay study, is still debunking prohibitionist lies:

As they crack down on sex workers and pass outrageous new laws, our politicians and moral crusaders make some bold claims: Hundreds of thousands of children…at an average age of 13…is any of this true?…from 2012 to 2014, we spent nine months walking a [stroll] in Las Vegas…We handed out condoms and other harm-reduction material…The primary investigator, Ric Curtis, designed the study based on his experience collecting data from other “hard to reach” populations…The study had several teams collecting data in major cities across the US that had been dubbed as “hubs of sex trafficking”…after interviewing 949 people across 6 cities…[we found] the assumptions that inform government policy on sex workers are merely myths.  And those myths are easily disproved once you bother to get the data, which we did…In our subsample of youth under the age of 18…engaged in survival sex…24%…had a pimp…liberally defined as someone with whom the respondent shared their earnings…one young woman’s experience stood out as representative …Rena, who was 16 at the time of the interview, laughed when we asked if she had a pimp. She tipped her head toward one of her friends.  “That’s my pimp,” Rena giggled.  She was an 18-year-old woman who helped Rena use the internet to get clients and was herself engaged in survival sex. The two young women pooled their money together to meet their shared living expenses…Rena’s friend could be considered a sex trafficker under the current legal regime…

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do  exist are cops:

Police are choosing to allow brothels to operate providing they create a safe environment for women, one former detective – now a brothel owner – has told the BBC…Despite it being illegal to operate a brothel in England and Wales – although not illegal to buy and sell sex – Karl says he has no moral qualms about breaking the law because he does not agree with it, and he says he is not exploiting the women who work for him…

The Widening Gyre 

New York is way behind cities like Seattle, Phoenix & Houston in promoting the hysteria:

Inside a handsome brick building on a tree-lined street near Brooklyn’s Prospect Park lay one of the city’s dirtiest secrets…two 16-year-old girls were allegedly being kept inside as sex slaves…the teens’ captors forced them to strip to their underwear, pose for Backpage.com ads and have sex with up to 10 johns a day…thousands of sex slaves being trafficked under the noses of New York City residents every day…[vice cop] Jim Klein [said]…“It’s modern-day slavery”…the average victim is…as young as 12…“One guy kept [a girl] in a dog cage because she wasn’t cooperating”…a…14-year-old…was found locked in a closet surrounded by pots of urine…

Original Sin

Welcome back to the 16th century:

Priests attending an annual exorcism conference in Rome are set to discuss whether pornography has a demonic influence.  Over 250 priests and theologians as well as criminologists and psychologists from 51 countries have gathered at the week-long Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation conference…attendees will discuss the prevalence of pornography in modern society, and consider if it is a “modern cultural phenomenon of an evil that harms people,” and to what extent it may have what he described as a demonic influence…

Imagination Pinned Down (#551)

Stereotypic conformation in progress:

Jessa Dillow Crisp has spent the better part of the last decade learning who she is…as a child victim of human trafficking.  Now, she works to help others who are or have been in the same situation.  She is co-founder and executive director of Bridgehope…As a child…in…Canada, Crisp was abused and sold into the sexual human trafficking sector by her family…she would eventually be sold to a circuit operating in the United States…“during the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was…sadistic pain and horrific evil.”  Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said that he sees more sex trafficking in the way of consensual sex workers, not forced abusers…during large events like Thunder Over Louisville or the Kentucky Derby…her identity was also stripped away by her abusers, who controlled where she went, what she ate, how she sat, how she talked…Some of the signs are behavioral, like having a…phone, the connection to [a partner]…styles of dress that [busybodies claim] are way beyond their years…

Most professional “survivors” don’t last long; it’ll be interesting to see if this one graduates to including classic elements like brutal clients and being dragged behind a car.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

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

…in the United States, Rep. Dan Donovan…introduced legislation to ban [child-shaped sex] dolls, in a bill named Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots, otherwise known as the CREEPER Act…some [actual experts] suggest…dolls could be used to deter the real-life fulfillment of pedophilic urges…[but politicians and other prohibitionists pretend human sexual impulses are learned and can be eliminated via threats of violence] Donovan [claims] “Once a child sex abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to an innocent child…[puritans pretend] these dolls reinforce, normalize, and encourage pedophilic behavior”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

Ken White explains the latest wrinkle in the Stormy Daniels case:

…Conventional wisdom is that federal courts are better for the defense and more likely to enforce arbitration agreements.  However, federal judges move faster and abide by deadlines and rules more closely, and are substantially less tolerant of bullshit than state judges.  If substantial portions of your defense are premised on bullshit and delay, don’t remove to federal court…the main issue is whether the nondisclosure agreement [is]…enforceable.  If [so]…Trump…could conceivably get a gag order against Clifford and get massive damages against her for breaching the confidentiality agreement, and could do so through a private arbitration proceeding instead of in public…

It’s complicated, so you’ll need to read the whole thing.

Disaster (#831)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

The US’ latest attempt to silence sex workers…has begun to chill free speech across the internet.  A number of websites have had to either shut down or actively distance themselves from the notion that they support sex work. And the problem is only going to get worse as time goes on…It’s not just…adults-only websites and platforms that are now having to crack down on discussions of sex.  Microsoft and Google have moved to alter their terms of service…and…not even private discussions are safe…Microsoft…claim[ed] the right to examine your content…[and] Google is purging adult content from private Drive accounts…sex workers are attempting to protect themselves against the bill by building platforms beyond the reach of American authorities….Red Umbrella Hosting…offers judgment-free, anonymous and sex-worker-friendly hosting.  Then there is Switter…launched in response to FOSTA-SESTA and Twitter’s alleged shadowbanning practices.  In a few short weeks, it has already acquired nearly 23,000 followers…

But it didn’t take long for Switter to feel the government’s boot:

[Last] Wednesday,  Cloudflare terminated its content delivery network services for…the weeks-old Switter…Cloudflare has confirmed…that the company terminated service to Switter because of FOSTA, but also said it’s “a very bad law”…When [Switter] organizers…reached out to Cloudflare for explanation, they were met with a vague notice  that Switter violated the company’s Terms of Service…Switter moved to a new content delivery network and is still up, but Cloudflare’s decision to terminate service was jarring…Cloudflare, historically, has been a vocal supporter of the open internet…

And here’s a heads up from a confidential source: the sleazebags behind FOSTA are butthurt that everyone sees their tyranny for what it is and they’re preparing for a major PR offensive to convince people that censorship isn’t censorship.  The first of it started on Sunday.

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On Tuesday night I had an uneventful flight to Los Angeles and proceeded to have a lovely week with Angela Keaton, as I do every time I visit.  On Wednesday evening we went to Norma Jean Almodovar’s house for a screening of Rachel Wotton’s documentary Scarlet Road, and I got to meet Rachel herself!  Regular readers may remember that she’s one of my sex work heroines, so I was fangirling very hard when I got there, and you can imagine how I reacted when the first thing out of her mouth was, “Maggie, I’m so happy to meet you at last!”  She’s an amazing woman: personable and down-to-earth, a regular whore in addition to being an amazing activist and a deeply empathetic soul.  I sincerely hope I get to meet her again soon; she said given that I can freely fly now, I have no excuse not to come visit her in Australia.  Perhaps one day I shall!  Before we went to meet Rachel I recorded an interview for a Canadian news outlet, then later in the evening Angela and I recorded a podcast with M.K. Lords (content warning: butt stuff and soap).  On Thursday I recorded a podcast (out in the next week or so) with Conner Habib, and after we got back to Angela’s from there I did my level best to be sober for as little time as possible before returning to Seattle on Saturday evening.  And on the trip home.  And after I got home.  And the next day.  Because hey, I work hard, and now that I’ve learned to refer to inebriation as “self-care” I can even do it without feeling guilty.

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