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Archive for August 25th, 2018

It’s kind of like the universe conspired for this to happen.  –  Aidan Hill

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Tameika Lovell was retrieving luggage at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when Customs and Border Protection officers detained her for a…search….[after] a short Jamaica vacation.  Lovell, who is black, had been stopped before, but this time a CBP supervisor began asking questions she hadn’t heard previously.  “Don’t you think you’re spending too much money traveling?”…Inside a secure room…a female CBP officer searched Lovell’s belongings, presumably for illegal drugs, and asked if she was using a tampon or sanitary pad…Lovell replied “no” and complied when told to remove her shoes, lift her arms and spread her legs…the officer squeezed Lovell’s breasts, and, “placed her right hand into [Lovell’s] pants ‘forcibly’ inserting four gloved fingers into plaintiff’s vagina” before parting Lovell’s buttocks “for viewing”…Her case is one of at least 11 since 2011 examined by the Center for Public Integrity…The women who’ve brought these lawsuits, including two minor girls, say CBP…subjected them to indignities — such as strip searches while menstruating and prohibited genital probing — despite finding no contraband.  Four women further allege they were handcuffed and transported to hospitals where, against their will, one underwent a pelvic exam and X-rays.  In one of the cases, the woman…was intravenously drugged at the hospital…

Monsters 

The only positive point here is that local politicians condemned the hatred:

A middle school in Achille, Oklahoma is closed following violent threats by parents on social media against Maddie, a 12-year-old transgender [girl] who…used the girls’ bathroom.  Maddie had been using the staff bathroom at her old school but used the girls’ bathroom at the new school because she wasn’t sure where the staff bathroom was.  She was then accused of peeping under a bathroom stall…[and] the threats began on a private parents’ Facebook group for the school.  The parents called Maddie “it” and “thing”, suggested that her genitalia be mutilated to make her female (“a good sharp knife will do the job real quick”).  One said it was “hunting season on them kind” and said there was “no bag limit”…

Deafening Silence (#427)

A fascinating look at male actor/sex workers in 19th century China:

…the theater was a venue of culture but also an erotic space.  Patrons in particular focused their obsessions on the actors – almost always male – who played the dàn, or lead female role in the performance…There existed an implicit understanding of the theater, and its performers, as sex workers.  It was even assumed in [rape] cases…[where] attackers [got lower sentences for raping sex workers]…Following the fall of the Qing Dynasty, modernizers in the government of the new Republic of China and in the city of Beijing began to issue regulations which they hoped would curtail the brothels and theaters…[but] despite…efforts…to destroy the culture of male prostitution in Beijing, the trade continued into the mid-20th century when even more puritanical…politicians in the post-1949 era would employ drastic measures which pushed most prostitution – male and female – deep into the shadows for the next few decades…

The Public Eye (#439) 

Sex workers who are also performing artists are valuable ambassadors for us:

…Kate McGrew hopes her new stage show will make audiences think, by highlighting the dangers of our new prostitution laws.  The reality TV star, who made her name in the RTE show Connected…plans to hammer home the message in…her new production Hookers Do It Standing Up…“It has serious points, but lots of punchlines, humour, and musings on the experiences and struggles of sex workers, and how bad laws and attitudes affect us”…Under her stage name Lady Grew, the singer, actor and dancer is now taking her campaign to the stage in Dublin Fringe Festival…

Little Boxes (#579)

Being forced by a corporation to have undesired sexual contact with strangers is “team building”, but choosing to have sexual contact with strangers who desire it is a “crime”:

We’ve launched the world’s first “Cuddle a Co-worker” event to provide a unique alternative to the standard team building exercises you’ll normally find…the event lasts an entire working day and involves co-workers cuddling in a “relaxation tent” designed to reduce stress and encourage team bonding…skin on skin contact…promotes Oxytocin and Serotonin release.  Oxytocin has physical and psychological effects on the brain, including influencing social behaviour and emotion, whilst Serotonin is the hormone which allows humans to feel happiness…co-workers will be required to cuddle each other in a variety of different positions and will need to switch partners every two hours – so that you have a chance to bond with everyone…there will also be a group cuddling session, as well as a conflict resolution cuddle session…


Real People (#710)

Here’s a look at the stories of three residents of Casa Xochiquetzal, Mexico City’s home for retired sex workers.  The tales are by turns beautiful and sad, and it would do them an injustice to even attempt to synopsize them here; please read them and remember that these are the women prohibitionists want to demonize as criminals or infantilize as permanent victims.

Pyrrhic Victory (#781)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook…to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so [pigs and spooks can eavesdrop on private]…conversations…resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance…The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but…three [whistleblowers reported] that Facebook is contesting the…demand.  The…government [is trying] to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request…If the government prevails…it could…force companies to rewrite other popular encrypted services such as Signal and Facebook’s billion-user WhatsApp…

The Lion and the Ox (#796)

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

…a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that former film executive Harvey Weinstein can be sued under a federal sex-trafficking law by an actress who claims he coerced her to have sex in exchange for a movie role that never materialized…Police have not charged Harvey Weinstein with sex trafficking.  But the judge’s ruling means that the civil suit, brought by British actress Kadian Noble, can proceed…Weinstein’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Welfare recipients are another guinea pig for invasive surveillance methods:

Officials with the Department of Human Assistance, or DHA, in Sacramento, California, have been using license plate readers since 2016 to investigate welfare fraud…DHA violated California state laws dictating that any entity using a license plate database must institute a privacy-and-usage policy that includes regular audits and record keeping…The DHA was using a feature of the license plate reader that collects data about every single vehicle in a particular location, regardless of whether the vehicle belonged to a welfare recipient…and…19 agencies that have been sharing such data with the DHA, including police departments in Texas and Iowa…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#825) 

Texas is replacing Washington and Arizona as the most active producer of “sex trafficking” idiocy:

…Houston…is a known hub for sex trafficking…said Dennis Mark…[of] Redeemed Ministries…As efforts to criminalize prostitution in the city increase, the underground industry is spreading to surrounding areas…he said.  Debi Tengler…[of] Arrow Child and Family Ministries, [which runs a private prison] in Spring, [ludicrously bloviated] “The tighter you squeeze the tube, the more toothpaste squeezes out”…Texas…has the second most of any state…“We…hit…the streets and go…after the prostitutes…and…also online tactics,” [oinked a filthy pig]…Police are also cracking down on brothels disguised as businesses…such as massage parlors and hotels…A December 2016 University of Texas [fantasy claimed]…there were…79,000…juvenile sex trafficking victims [in Texas]…

Disaster (#850)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

SESTA-FOSTA…received bipartisan support [like most truly awful police-state expansions]…Since the law was passed, there has been a swell of protests, political actions and new forms of grassroots organizing among the American sex worker rights community…Perhaps the highest profile efforts to repeal SESTA-FOSTA emerged on June 28th, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government…on the grounds of First and Fifth Amendment violations…

There’s more in this article, which also mentions Salazar’s candidacy (see below).

Safe Position (#851)

If the Democratic Party were run by people who care about human rights, this would be its official position:

Julia Salazar, a candidate for the New York state Senate, is doing what [only a minuscule number of] Democratic politicians have done before:  taking sex workers’ rights seriously.  The 27-year-old democratic socialist, who is shaping her policy by consulting the sex work community, is one of the first candidates to…support those workers, including by proposing concrete steps toward decriminalization…Salazar, who is challenging eight-term incumbent Democratic state Sen. Martin Dilan, has centered her campaign around affordable housing and other policy positions championed by the insurgent left.  But her plan to defend sex workers’ rights has energized a community that has been understandably skeptical of electoral politics.  One hundred sex workers and their allies have signed up to attend a canvassing event in the Brooklyn district for Salazar’s campaign on Sunday, ahead of the September 13 primary.  This follows an event earlier this month, when upward of 120 sex workers and activists hosted a pizza party for Salazar…[whose] platform outlines steps toward decriminalization that include an end to raids on massage parlors; working with district attorneys to stop charging sex workers with crimes; and creating a network of optional social services to address workers’ needs, such as housing, child care, syringe access, and…repealing the exemption for sex workers under New York’s rape shield law…

The Widening Gyre (#864) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; this one’s even funnier than usual to me because it’s from Baton Rouge, roughly 50 miles from where I grew up, a city so cheap and dead it wasn’t even worth keeping an escort service ad posted in the phone book there.  And the mentioned towns are the kind of hick places where the opening of a new auto parts store is the highlight of the season’s social calendar.  One wonders if Kylie and her legion of dumbass retweeters think these “perfume samples” are actually phials of the fabled pimp mind-control philter which will enable them to instantly enslave any hapless girl who whiffs them.

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