Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2020

Bathhouse 24

On Monday of last week, our cee purlins were delivered; now we’re only waiting for the notice that our order of roof panels is ready. We’re also preparing to start building the roof infrastructure; Grace has shown me sketches of the brackets that will be attached to the rafters of the existing house, but before we could begin I had to buy a number of clamps and such to replace those lost in the pillage three years ago.  In the meantime, however, we had a few frosty days that left the deck very slick in the mornings (and sometimes all day), so I decided to go ahead and build the ramp down into the paddock so we could climb down more safely when it’s time to feed the animals.  After the roof is in place, the sides of the deck will be walled in, and a door will lead onto this ramp.  But even without that, it’s nice to be able to walk down from the deck rather than having to climb down a rickety scaffold on uneven ground in the rain while carrying feed buckets.

Read Full Post »

Every so often I like to present a short collection of tweets that you didn’t see unless you follow me on Twitter.  If you enjoy them, you may wish to rectify that situation.

Read Full Post »

 [A Biden victory] is not a victory for sex workers.  –  Penelope Saunders

A False Dichotomy 

Cathy Reisenwitz on the dogma that sex without “enthusiastic consent” is rape:

…most of our choices in life…[a]re not straightforwardly coercive or cooperative, but somewhere in-between…This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that consent versus coercion isn’t a binary.  It’s a spectrum…On one end of the spectrum you have slavery and rape.  On the opposite end you have enthusiastic consent.  But most choices fall somewhere in the middle…When we say we are “forced” to make a choice, we mean that there’s no acceptable alternative.  We say we’ve been forced to do something if the alternative is death or jail.  When we say we’re “pressured” to make a choice, what we mean is there’s no appealing alternative.  We say we’ve been pressured to do something if the alternative is unpleasant or inconvenient.  The difference then between force and pressure is a difference of scope, not kind.  They’re both coercion, but are different levels of coercion…

Don’t Take My Word For It (#873)

While it’s not surprising to see male sex work increase during the pandemic, I’m extremely skeptical of claims, such as those in this story, that the clients are predominantly female.  Anti-queer stigma is much higher in India than in the US, so naturally male sex workers there are going to claim – as some did for decades in the US – that most of their clients are female in order to save face.  But as usual, the claims in this story don’t ring true, and the quotes from the interviewees only serve to underscore that.

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

…a…Seattle Police…detective…signed up for and used facial recognition app Clearview AI, which…i[s a] violation of the City of Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance…Nick Kartes…signed up for Clearview in September 2019 using his “@seattle.gov” work email address…he logged into the service over 30 times, as recently as April 22…the devices used to log into Detective Kartes’ account were connected to the City of Seattle network…This follows an established pattern, highlighted this summer, where Seattle police regularly flaunt the law…

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

Panopticon (#993)

Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops just keeps getting worse:

…While people buy Ring cameras and put them on their front door to keep their packages safe, police use them to build comprehensive CCTV camera networks blanketing whole neighborhoods.  This…allows police departments to [shift] the cost of buying surveillance equipment…onto consumers by convincing them they need cameras to keep their property safe…[and] evades the natural reaction of fear and distrust that many people would have if they learned police were putting up dozens of cameras on their block…Now…police in Jackson, Mississippi, have started a pilot program t[o convince]…Ring owners to patch the camera streams from their front doors directly to…police…footage [of] your…coming and going…your neighbors taking out the trash, and the dog walkers and delivery people who do their jobs in your street…can now be live streamed directly onto a dozen monitors scrutinized by police around the clock.  Even if you refuse to allow your footage to be used that way, your neighbor’s camera pointed at your house may still be transmitting directly to the police[, plus all cops need do is ask and Amazon will grant warrantless access to your camera without your consent]…


The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1033) 

Censors’ fixation on Pornhub spreads to Thailand:

Thailand’s government said…it had banned Pornhub and 190 other websites showing pornography, prompting social media anger over censorship…many Thai users trended the #SavePornhub hashtag on Twitter and criticised the shutting of a site in a country…which has a globally-known sex industry…A few dozen activists protested the block outside the digital ministry, holding banners saying “free Pornhub” and “reclaim Pornhub”…Internet research firm Top10VPN said it saw a spike in searches from Thailand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which help circumvent censorship, by 640%…after Pornhub was [censored]…

And India:

The Cyber Police agency of the Indian state of Maharashtra — the region that includes populous Mumbai — has formally accused several platforms of “transmitting sexually explicit and obscene content online”…[the sites include] Xvideos and Pornhub.  Inspector General of Police Yashasvi Yadav [made furtive movements in his pants while sharing his fantasy that]…”the actresses in these videos have been exploited, lured or compelled to perform the obscene acts. We will be treating the actresses as ‘victims’ and not ‘accused persons’”…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

Since costumed rapists are essentially immune to criminal law, civil law has to do:

A new lawsuit [has been] filed against [typical and representative] Louisville [cop] Brett Hankison…a…sexual predator…who…[has] willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently…[raped at least 10 women over the years and achieved recent notoriety for the murder] of…Breonna Taylor…LMPD has…fired Hankison for his role in the [murder, but ignored all the rape complaints]…nine o[f the] women who…Hankison [raped have made statements in the lawsuit, filed by Margo Borders, a lawyer he raped in 2018]…

(State) Violence Against Women

Two hardline prohibitionists at the top do not bode well for sex workers:

…Phoenix Calida…[of] SWOP-USA…says of a Biden win, “I see things getting worse for sex workers, actually.”  Calida’s assessment is due in part to Biden’s sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill…“‘Tough on crime,’ which Biden has really promoted his entire career, is really not helpful at all to sex workers…Biden is like, ‘Let’s not defund the police, let’s give them more money!’”  Advocates’ concerns around…Kamala Harris, are both more numerous and concrete.  “You couldn’t get a candidate with a worse record on sex work,” says [Penelope] Saunders of [Best Practices Policy Project].  In 2008, Harris called San Francisco’s Proposition K—an attempt at halting the enforcement of laws against prostitution—“completely ridiculous.”  Harris also infamously pursued the shutdown of Backpage and the prosecution of the site’s owners despite warnings that shuttering the site would put sex workers in greater danger and make it harder to investigate sex trafficking cases. (It did.)  She also helped develop the devastating SESTA/FOSTA, specifically as a means of targeting Backpage…[and supports]…the EARN IT Act, a bill…which threatens sex workers’ ability to use encrypted messaging services…as well as free speech online…opponents of the bill…are calling it “SESTA/FOSTA 2.0.”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

Compare the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Democrats in this article to attack someone closely associated with Trump, to the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Republicans just a month earlier to attack someone closely associated with Biden, and then tell me again how they’re so different and why sex workers should trust either pack of fanatics:  “President Trump’s top campaign strategist, Jason Miller…admitted to hiring prostitutes and receiving sexual favors at multiple ‘Asian themed’ massage parlors, an industry known to have connections to sex trafficking rings…”  “Progressives” want sex workers to believe they’re on our side, but they go straight for the anti-whore slurs the second they think it will win them cheap points on the “other team”.

Social Distancing (#1084)

Prohibitionists don’t care who has to suffer to advance their twisted agenda:

India’s sex workers suffered a setback…following a U-turn by the country’s human rights body, which said [sex workers] should not be registered as workers or guaranteed financial aid from the government amid the fallout of COVID-19.  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last month asked state governments to recognise sex workers as informal workers, which would have entitled them to benefits and aid from a $23 billion fund for India’s poor during the coronavirus pandemic…the watchdog’s non-binding advisory was hailed by [human rights experts]… as a boon for the rights of an estimated 800,000 sex workers across India, [but prohibitionists, led by the evil and deeply-derangd Sunitha Krishnan, worked to intimidate the commission by issuing veiled threats of expensive and troublesome legal complaints based in bad “]sex trafficking[” laws.  In response to these threats]…The NHRC…issued a new statement that said sex workers could not be registered officially or categorised as informal workers….[but] should instead be given help on “humanitarian grounds” during the pandemic…

Read Full Post »

Diary #542

I’m getting good at scheduling my appointments closely enough together to keep my trips to Seattle short and sweet.  I drove in on Wednesday, got my nails done, then on Thursday saw a new client I’ve known for some time online (he is an “out” client, but professional discretion still forbids my naming him unless he chooses otherwise) and found him both lovely and generous.  And speaking of generosity, I got three new presents: the DVDs for Thundarr the Barbarian from Brad Carter; a book of ghost stories from Nick Fowler; and a lovely snakeskin summer top from my friend Angela Keaton.  I also found out who sent the kitchen scale (RockyJimBeam) and the red cashmere sweater (Antonio Lorusso).  Jim will be glad to know that I already used the scale in preparing Saturday’s dinner, and Antonio asked for a picture of me in the sweater (I’m sure he won’t mind if I share it with everyone).  Thanks so much to all my wonderful, generous friends, clients, and readers; y’all have helped make this a very lovely birthday season!

Read Full Post »

Though I’ve been a Trekkie since childhood, I had never seen all of Deep Space Nine until recently.  The reason is simple: the series premiered in January 1993 and was midway through its third season when my first husband left me without warning.  My life was thrown into turmoil and it took two years for me to get it straight again, during which time money was much too tight for the relative extravagance of cable TV.  So though I saw all of the first two seasons, half of the third, and occasional episodes (at friends’ houses or via borrowed videocassettes) of the fourth and fifth seasons, I got rather lost due to the complex story arcs and decided not to see any more individual episodes until I could rewatch the whole show from the beginning.  I gave Grace the complete series on DVD for Christmas about a decade ago, but still never got around to viewing it until this year, after I moved to Sunset as my primary residence.  As I watched, I soon found that I agree with many reviewers’ opinion that the series is the best of all the Star Trek sequel series; though it was a direct spinoff of The Next Generation I find it very much superior to its parent, not only because of its greater consistency, better writing, and relief from the pressure of being THE Star Trek show of it decade, but also because it discarded the moral oversimplification which (unfortunately) permeates most of The Next Generation in favor of a universe full of greys in which few characters were either moral paragons or cardboard villains.

This realistic portrayal of the ethical tangle that is real life was on full display in a 6th-season episode we watched a couple of weeks ago, “Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night“.  In it, Major Kira Nerys discovers that her mother, whom she believed to have died in a concentration camp during her planet’s half-century-long occupation by the militaristic Cardassians, actually survived for seven years after the very young Nerys had last seen her…as a “comfort woman” claimed by the Cardassian governor, Gul Dukat.  At first, Kira (who started the series as a morally rigid, almost puritanical character, and only slowly grew to accept that real life rarely resembles such abstractions) refuses to believe that her sainted mother could have been guilty of collaboration horizontale, then as she explores the truth (with the help of a mysterious alien device which grants her visions of the past), she instead becomes terribly angry with her mother for literally sleeping with the enemy.  But as the vision goes on, she realizes that her mother’s position as the governor’s mistress not only resulted in better living conditions for herself, but also for her husband and children, who might otherwise have died in a labor camp.  By the end of the episode she has not forgiven her mother, but has come to accept that she did what she thought best for her family, just as Nerys herself had to make hard choices (including becoming a terrorist) in her own struggle to survive the occupation.

The episode is not a highly rated one; perhaps the topic is too uncomfortable for many viewers, especially in these neo-Victorian times.  But as a sex worker and hard-nosed pragmatist, I deeply appreciated the show’s willingness to recognize that sex work, even under duress, can almost never be fit into a pat narrative of villain and victim, and its repeated depiction (in this episode and many others) of war as a filthy business from which nobody emerges entirely clean.

Read Full Post »

He’s mine now.  –  “Officer” Michael Fattaleh

It’s only been two months since animation great Joe Ruby died, and now he’s been followed by his partner Ken Spears.  The duo created many cartoons, but their most famous and enduring creation was Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, and since it hasn’t been long since Halloween I decided to pay tribute with this 1999 parody of The Blair Witch Project which Cartoon Network created as bumpers for a Scooby Doo marathon.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Cop Crisis (x2), Brooke Magnanti, Franklin HarrisWalter Olson, and Kendra Holliday, in that order.

From the Archives

Read Full Post »

We’re not…doing anything…criminal…It’s the laws that are criminal.  –  Emily, UK sex worker

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Just protecting and serving:

…[typical and representative Bakersfield, CA cops] Logan August and Derrick Penney pleaded guilty to a massive conspiracy in which they would arrest people for selling drugs only to turn around and use those drugs to enrich themselves.  These two [typical and representative] cops received probation only, for their crimes…last year August was charged — again — with with 15 felony counts, including conspiracy and burglary, in connection with stealing over 400 pounds of drugs from a sheriff’s storage locker and [selling] them…he…was sentenced to four years in prison…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Dame Diana Johnson…[bloviated a lot of paternalistic nonsense claim]ing [that]…men in the UK who…[seek consensual] sex were “fuelling a brutal sex-trafficking trade that is destroying lives”.  She [also called websites which sell advertising space to sex workers] “pimping websites” [and said they] should be [magically] banned [even though the internet is international]…The Home Office said its priority was to…target…vulnerable people…[especially from] Romania…[on] BBC Radio 4’s Today programme [Johnson shared her sexual fantasies about passive, doll-like]…women trafficked to the UK…from Romania and…sold into the sex trade…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…[Columbia South Carolina]’s…hate speech ordinance…has been invoked seven times since it was enacted more than a year ago…five of six accused of using racial slurs are people of color.  One [other black] person is accused of derogatory language related to sexual orientation…lawyers for some of those charged [have pointed out that]…the new rule [criminalizes]…speech protected under the First Amendment…two of the accused [were] homeless [black men targeted by]…the same [cop]…

Stalkers in Blue

No woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

A New Jersey [cop]…harass[ed a teenage girl with]…sexually explicit text messages…after he arrested her…Damien Broschart…arrested her on drug charges and several traffic violations…[then] deactivated his body camera and mobile video recorder and asked for her phone number…Broschart went on to send “sexually explicit messages” and tried to meet her at her home after his shift ended…but she refused and…blocked his phone number…he [then] called her three [more] times from the [cop shop phone] and left a message requesting a call back…she…instead reported [him]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#1004) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Hundreds of people have been arrested for [sex work using the pretext of “]brothel-keeping[“]…in the last four years under laws that sex workers [have repeatedly explained] put them at risk…While selling sex is legal in the UK, keeping a brothel – defined as more than one sex worker working from premises – is not…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#1064) 

But this isn’t trafficking, no sirree:

U.S. border [thugs] have been expelling migrant children from other countries into Mexico…[using] the [pretext of] coronavirus…[even though] the terms upon which the Mexican government agreed to help implement the order…were that only Mexican children…who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border…children from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador [have been intentionally put] at risk by sending them with no accompanying adult into a country where they have no family connections…The expulsions, which appear to number more than 200 over the past eight months, reflect the haphazard nature with which many of the administration’s most aggressive immigration policies have been introduced…

You Were Warned (#1073)

Authoritarians all want the same thing, but please tell me more about “wings”:

The comforting anonymity in spaces made for and by queer or questioning people…is the first step for many in accepting their identities.  We take them for granted now, but the creation of these spaces was never preordained…The internet went in this direction because Congress chose to codify common law precedent and extend First Amendment protections to online communities and moderators…Section 230 established that legal liability for illegal content online should be aimed at the individual who shared it rather than the platform that hosted it.  It is based on the very reasonable principle that individuals, rather than the tools they use, hold responsibility for their own actions..[but] today, Section 230 is under the attack from…politic[ians]…at least 10 bills have been introduced to significantly alter Section 230…to…flip the current incentives for websites to allow speech…If I were a lawyer for Facebook or Reddit and Section 230 was revoked, I’d urge them to remove all content that had a hint of controversy to protect us from legal liability…That’s exactly what happened after Congress passed SESTA-FOSTA, which…made sex work far more dangerous…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

Is the word “trafficking” missing here because of the pushback on other, similar scams?

A [so-called] rescue operation in Virginia resulted in [cops bragging about what they’re calling] the recovery of 27 missing children…[and infantiled young adults, mostly from non-custodial parents]…Deputy US Marshals l[abel]ed the five-day effort…”Operation Find Our Children.”  They collaborated with the agency’s Fugitive Task Force [because many of the arrested young people were actually fleeing abusive parents]…the…Deputy Attorney General [bloviated a great deal and bragged about how big the cops’ dicks are]…

To Molest and Rape (#1087)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

Rodney Vicknair was the first New Orleans [cop] to arrive at the scene when a 15-year-old girl reported being [raped], and he drove the teen and her mother to a hospital for a [rape kit].  But in later calls and meetings, his own agency says, Vicknair began [trying to seduce] the girl with compliments about her body, asked her for her underwear and [groped] her…Vicknair [was fired and arrested and faces up to 23 years in prison]…

Read Full Post »

Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the previous occurence in March. and the one before that from last December.  But since the US has just seen two unrepentant prohibitionist authoritarians elected to the presidency and vice-presidency – the latter of which founded her national-level political career on censoring sex workers’ advertising and demonizing those who provide our advertising platforms  –  your support is now more important than ever.  If you generally support the “red hat” crew, I don’t need to give you extra reasons to oppose the new regime’s policies; if you generally support the “blue hat” crew, you probably don’t need my urging to oppose policies that give cops more money, power, and excuses to lock people in cages for consensual sex; and if you recognize that the two crews don’t differ by much other than the color of their hats, you’re probably already opposed to the abominable concept that peaceful, consensual acts of any kind can be crimes.  Most of the recent pack of Democratic presidential wannabees, including the new vice-president elect, pretended to accept the need for deciminalization of sex work (even though they really support Swedish criminalization); over 50% of Americans support true decriminalization, and the same elections which resulted in a new president also resulted in a wave of drug decriminalizations and legalizations in many states.  Governments sending brutal thugs to inflict violence upon those who enjoy themselves in ways their overlords dislike is less popular in this country than it has been in a century, so now is the time to push even harder to chip away as much of the edifice of prohibition as possible before the pendulum inevitably begins to swing the other way again.

Read Full Post »

So it looks as though another wave of COVID is starting, and with it another wave of bargain-basement Canutes making arbitrary declarations about the value of individual human lives and pretending human rights are a luxury.  As I wrote back in May, my problem with “lockdowns” and other abridgements of liberty is, was, and always will be megalomaniacal politicians setting themselves up like Jehovah at the Last Judgment, proclaiming that this person is “essential” and that one “nonessential”.  The only really “nonessential” jobs are politician, bureaucrat, and cop, and a disproportionate number of the people declared “nonessential” by these control freaks are women and ethnic minorities; funny that.  And yet all the bootlickers choose to characterize concerns for service providers’ livelihoods as “white women bitching because they can’t get a haircut”.  It’s vile.  Some have said the rulers should close down everything that isn’t necessary to “keep people fed”, but that is still a bullshit standard; humans need things other than food, and such arbitrary rules are what lead supermarkets to rope off “nonessential” sections as they did in Michigan and the UK.  Establish objective criteria (occupancy and spacing, etc) or do nothing at all; anything else is discrimination.  Discrimination on the basis of profession is just as wrong as on the basis of race, sex, etc, and there is no clause in the Constitution that says equality under the law can be suspended when it’s politically inconvenient.

Read Full Post »

The wars of the 21st century, unlike their 19th and 20th century counterparts of finite length, will continue on interminably until the Empire waging them is consumed in the flames of its own collective insanity.  –  “War Without End

In the year since my last Armistice Day polemic, the severity of the cracks in the American Empire have become far more evident to everyone who isn’t willfully ignoring them.  As I wrote in “Post-Imperial“,

…whatever prestige the US enjoyed [has been undermined by] the ascension of a mad emperor who has made himself an international laughingstock, burned nearly every bridge, and weakened the economy with a ridiculous trade war; the exposure before the eyes of the world of the violent, racist, authoritarian rot that permeates the entire fascist sytem; the childish bickering and deranged tyrannies of nearly every member of the US political class, trying to one-up each other instead of fulfilling one of the few legitimate functions of government, disaster management; and said government’s shameless funneling of money into the hands of the well-connected on a scale unseen since the collapse of the Ancien Régime…The era of US hegemony is over; it looks, may the gods help us, as though the dominant world political power of the twenties is going to be an empire even more outrageously evil and single-mindedly authoritarian than the US ever was…

Last week, the process of replacing that mad emperor with a senile and more conventionally authoritarian one began, and how exactly that process will unfold is, at the time of this writing, not entirely clear.  But while the antics of the new god-king are likely to be less openly clownish than those of the deposed one, all of the other problems listed in the quote above will remain.  And the wars will go on and on, because as I said a year ago today:

…given the popularity of astonishingly-wasteful military adventurism across the monolithic ruling party naive Americans absurdly refer to as “the political spectrum”, including among those who profess to have better and far more productive ideas for the trillions being flushed down Ares’ toilet, it seems obvious that…a great deal of the impetus for modern warfare, like the impetus for the domestic wars (on drugs, whores, “crime”, etc), comes directly from those reaping profits and gathering political power from the bloodshed…

Furthermore, we can expect most of the voices which have criticized all of this over the past few years to grow silent, as the pretentiously-named “Resistance” evaporates almost as completely as the Bush-era antiwar movement did after the inauguration of Obama, leaving “their guy” free to indulge himself in “empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with“.  I say “almost” because it seems at least some of those who describe their beliefs with the silly 18th-century label “left” are at least somewhat more skeptical of Emperor Biden than they were of Emperor Obama, and appear to be at least beginning to comprehend that would-be rulers who choose a jackass as their totem are just as enamored with violence and just as devoted to the principle of “might makes right” as their chums who prefer the totem of a clumsy, lumbering pachyderm.  One way or the other, it’s far too late for the American Empire.  But perhaps those of us who have been sounding the warning for decades may be joined by at least a few extra voices over the next four years.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »