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Archive for the ‘Obituary’ Category

Sex trafficking is…the crime du jour.  –  Judge Toni Messina

R.I.P. Christine Keeler 

Christine Keeler, the former model at the centre of the Profumo affairhas died aged 75, her family and a close friend have said.  Keeler, then a teenage model and showgirl, became famous for her role in the 1963 scandal…when she had an affair with the Tory cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time at the height of the cold war…Keeler’s son, Seymour Platt…[said] she died on [December 4th]…She had been ill for several months…from…COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  A major BBC series revisiting the scandal is due to start filming next year.  Keeler, who had been living under the name of Sloane for many years, was briefly married twice, both marriages ending in divorce.  She had two sons – James from her first marriage, and Seymour from her second – and a granddaughter..

Lack of Evidence

Name one other “crime” that gets this kind of treatment on nothing more than a busybody’s say-so:

Why should cops bother with investigations and due process when they can rely on anonymous tips and social shaming?…Larksville, Pennsylvania…police are bragging to local news that they bullied a woman out of town after a neighbor suggested she might be a sex worker…[because] here were too many cars pulling up to a local apartment building and too many men getting out of them…Based on that one tip, Chief John Edwards went straight to Facebook to post a warning notice…”‘ALLEGED’ prostitution” is taking place “in an apartment in or near the 200 block of Vine Street…I and my officers will provide you with a never-ending stream of police activity.”  He also said the cops would talk to “all the neighbors in the area” and instruct them “use video and photography to document” the comings and goings on the street.  Then Larksville police—still without talking to anyone at the allegedly suspicious apartment or conducting due diligence of their own—went to the street in question, put physical copies of the warning on any vehicles in the area, and handed them out to people door-to-door…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn

The truth about “sex trafficking” dawns in the mind of a judge:

…sex trafficking…laws are so expansively written that even if a woman voluntarily agrees to be photographed in scant attire in response to an escort ad but later changes her mind, the person who took the pictures could be convicted of sex trafficking for threatening to post the ad without her permission…I tried a case recently where the court found that a Backpage ad was enough to convict my client of sex trafficking in New York even though all of the acts relating to the sex trafficking charge occurred in New Jersey…I was told by Bella Robinson, founder of Coyoteri.org…that sex workers are more fearful of police who jail them than Johns.  Cops can arrest them, take their money, threaten to take their kids, and [rape them]…

Rooted in Racism

Deportation is euphemized as “sending migrants home”, ignoring the fact that if they wanted to be there they wouldn’t have endured such terrible hardships to leave in the first damned place:

The United Nations migration agency plans to fly 15,000 more migrants home from detention centres in Libya before year-end in the wake of shocking reports of rampant migrant abuse and squalid and overcrowded conditions at these facilities [in which they are detained after “authorities” stop them from migrating to Europe, where they actually want to go]…Libya in recent weeks has witnessed a drastic increase in the numbers of migrants [imprisoned] in detention centres – from a usual range of 5,000 to 6,000 to over 15,000…IOM is also scaling up its reintegration support for the migrants in countries of origin and will be working on addressing the root causes of migration, as well as increasing our programming to [force them to stay where they came from]…

Imaginary Victims (#344)

Like Sara Kruzan before her, prohibitionists never gave a shit about imprisoned underage sex worker Cyntoia Brown until they realized they could make political coin from her:

Twenty-nine-year-old Cyntoia Brown has been locked up in a Tennessee prison for 13 years, after she was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the killing of a man who hired her as a prostitute when she was 16…Brown…was a [cognitively impaired] runaway who was raped, abused and forced into prostitution by a man known as “Kut Throat.”  She will be eligible for parole after she turns 69…Brown’s case re-entered the spotlight this month after a group of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg posted their support on social media with the hashtag, #FreeCyntoiaBrown.  An online petition urging Tennessee’s governor to consider clemency for Brown has garnered more than 4,000 signatures…Each year, more than 1,000 [legal minors] are arrested for prostitution in the U.S…Advocates say that in many cases those children are the true victims, and argue Brown’s case should be reconsidered under new “safe harbor” laws that [pretend to] protect trafficked minors from criminal charges [but in actuality only help “perfect victims”, not girls like Brown]…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#346)

While US politicians are marching along with a witch hunt:

…Senator Millicent Omanga has criticised members of Nairobi County Assembly over plans to pass a motion outlawing commercial sex work.  The senator termed the move impulsive and unfair…[and she] challenged the MCAs to provide alternative sources of livelihood for the commercial sex workers before condemning them…At the same time, atheists have come out in defence of commercial sex workers and…threatened to take action against the MCAs if they do not rescind the motion…Atheists in Kenya say the choice to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money is a private and should not be considered a crime, and that prostitution should be recognised as a form of trade…

The Public Eye (#589)

Despite the glaring absence of any escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in Glamour:

…The real stories of webcam models, dominatrices, and porn stars are often very different from the tropes we see in flashy (and often irresponsible) headlines about sexdrugs, and crime.  In fact, plenty of sex workers truly love what they do.  Glamour spoke to 15 women who work in different facets of the sex industry—porn performers, dominatrices, and cam models—about their choices to enter the business.  Even beyond the financial freedom and the ability to travel that their career paths afford, many of them emphasized how they use their platforms to draw attention to social causes, highlight the contributions of marginalized communities, and help destigmatize sex…

Served Cold (#737) 

This megalomaniac’s antics are growing so bizarre and disturbing that even prohibitionists are starting to see it:

When Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard looks at the latest artwork by conservative political painter Jon McNaughton, he gets emotional.  Painted into The Underground Railroad are Ballard and his wife, depicted carrying children they helped rescue from sex trafficking…the artwork’s historical figures, including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln…are flanked by figures whom the painter refers to as “contemporary abolitionists” or “slave stealers”: Ballard’s friends and supporters, ranging from Tony Robbins and Glenn Beck to Utah Rep. Mia Love.  Art curators and Mormon black activists, though, are offended by the painting…“I would call it the epitome of the white savior complex,” says Mica McGriggs…Anthropologist Bradley H. Kramer…[says it’s] culturally clueless…to not realize depicting “white dudes rescuing black people” — under the title of “The Underground Railroad” — would be offensive…“It’s…like a parody of the white savior narrative…It steals the imagery and the power of the Underground Railroad narrative and transforms it into this Trumpian fantasy of brave, powerful white dudes rescuing black people from their squalor”…

Moving Pictures (#782) 

I’m sorry, but I find this both funny and satisfying:

Ashley Judd led a cast of what would turn out to be dozens of actresses in accusing Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment and abuse…[but] an indie drama she starred in, Trafficked…is itself at the center of its own fierce debate regarding…its casting process….producers quietly removed its director, Will Wallace, from the project during postproduction over a disagreement involving the depiction of rape.  And…one actress, Sanchita Malik…contacted SAG-AFTRA the day after attending [a casting] session…May 20, 2015, to convey her displeasure.  (She subsequently filed a lengthy written grievance with the actors’ union.)  In the statement…Malik [reported]…an extended exercise in which male counterparts…were coached to replicate harassment and assault…the scenario played out with her hair pulled, neck licked, body pushed against a wall and a fellow actor simulating rape…producers Conroy Kanter and Siddharth Kara…insist her characterization of the events involves “a significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of intensity, crudeness and physicality of the casting session”…

A description of a work session involved “significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of…crudeness”…Really?  Do tell?  Hmm, that somehow sounds familiar…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like this popular cop masturbatory fantasy has made it across the Channel:

Three men have been arrested in Paris for…their roles in pimping out women for sex work in several apartments…rented out through…Airbnb…The key suspect…has a previous conviction for procurement.  He took 50 percent of the money the women earned…

He “took” 50%; in other words his cut was 50%, same as Nevada brothels.  Try calculating sometime how much of each dollar you earn for your company you get to keep; you’ll find it’s well below 50%.

Too Close To Home (#788) 

Does anyone believe the prosecutor would’ve made the same decision is the accused weren’t a politician?

The Snohomish County Prosecutor…[decided] not to file sexual assault charges against Sheriff John Urquhart…accused by a former deputy of groping him after dining together in 2014 at a Renton restaurant.  The Renton Police Department…recommended…charges of indecent liberties or assault with sexual motivation…The allegations were handled by independent police and prosecutors to [support the pretense of] avoid[ing] conflicts of interest.  Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe…[claimed] that even if the accuser’s accounts were true, the actions alleged did not meet the criteria for indecent liberties…

To Molest and Rape (#795)

What kind of sick fuck enrolls their daughter in a program specifically intended to groom them into members of a gang of violent thugs?

…[When] a…young woman…[was] found her dead of suicide on Nov. 2, 2015…detectives…found one of their own [ilk] suspiciously close to the death. [Francisco] Olmos…had been outside her house even before she was found dead.  While the girl’s father called 911, Olmos asked to used the girl’s phone..[but actually]…deleted…texts and Snapchats [the girl had exchanged with him]…On [November 30th], police arrested Olmos on charges of obstruction of justice and computer trespass…Olmos knew the young woman through Indianapolis police department’s Explorer program, which trains teenagers for careers in law enforcement…In the hours before the young woman’s death, Olmos tried calling her 16 times.  He left 10 text messages and two Snapchat messages…“Answer me you can’t do this to me AGAIN,” reads one of Olmos’ Snapchat messages shortly after the phone call…The girl didn’t answer.  “How can you ignore me like I’m just one of them,” Olmos messaged four minutes later…Two minutes later:  “You can’t do this to me you can’t.  I’m headed to your house right now”…After several more unanswered messages and several hours, Olmos sent a final missive. “I don’t know what the point of ignoring me is,” he wrote. “You make me feel like this is really all my fault…I need to talk to you it’s urgent”…When detectives tried to access the young woman’s iPhone, they found it password protected, raising the question of how Olmos placed a call from the device.  When an investigator asked the young woman’s parents for the passcode, both insisted that the device had not been password protected…Police sent the device to Cellebrite, a firm notorious for helping law enforcement hack into locked cellphones…They found what looked like a sloppy coverup.  Olmos and the young woman had texted 177 times between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, when she died…

For more on the “police explorer” rape trap for underage girls, see below.

To Molest and Rape (#796) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…police frequently target marginalized people with sexual violence.  That includes young women and girls, women of color, transgender women, sex workers, homeless women, women with mental illness, undocumented women, women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, women with disabilities, and low-income women…police presence in schools…allows [cops]…to…abuse searches, harass girls in the hallways, and even sexually assault them…40 percent of police sexual misconduct cases involved teenagers and 34 percent happened during a traffic stop….[cops also] exploit young women…through Police Explorer programs…[and] sexually assault female high school interns in ride-alongs…a case of sexual misconduct by a police officer crop[s] up every five days.  And according to a 2013 study, 41 percent of police sexual violence cases were committed by repeat-offending [cops]…some…move across jurisdictions and keep their certificate despite their history of sexual violence, in what is known as the “officer shuffle”…

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Shame on him that gives me a legal reason to stop him.  –  Patrick Ivey

David Cassidy died this week, and though I wasn’t as big a fan of his as one of my sisters was, I was always very fond of this particular song, with its very distinctive melodic structure and unusual key progression.  The links above the video were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingKevin WilsonRadley BalkoAdjective Girl, and Walter Olson, in that order.

From the Archives

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Ain’t that a shame.  –  Fats Domino

I’m so fucking annoyed by the state of short horror video.  I watched over a dozen short horror films on YouTube to find one for this column, and what did I find? Predictable and not-at-all-scary jump scares.  Over and over again.  So I threw up my hands in despair and featured a video by the late Fats Domino.  The links above it were contributed by Elizabeth N. Brown (“faking”), Angela Keaton  (“period”), Emma Evans (“want”), Tushy Galore (“language”), Radley Balko  (“laws” and “together”).

From the Archives

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I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile.  –  Tom Petty

I know that seeing all one’s favorite entertainers die off one by one is part of aging, but damn, Tom Petty now!  His video for “Don’t Come Around Here No More” is one of my favorite short films, but this video is the one that first made me realize that he was great rather than merely good.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“fascism”, “happens” and “wrong”); Tushy Galore  (“correction”); and Kevin Wilson (“rules”).

From the Archives

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Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Louis Tramunti

Another of my favorite voice artists is gone; this video features many of her better-known roles, but she had so many they’re literally uncountable (included the original “Chatty Cathy” doll and her sinister Twilight Zone twin, Talky Tina).  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (“Skynet”, “planets” & “map”), Franklin Harris (“RIP”), Scott Greenfield (“never”), Tim Cushing (“alley”), and Tejas (“accused”).

From the Archives

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The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.  –  Malcolm Turnbull

This video is two years old, but it first came to my attention last week and was too good to pass up!  The links above it were contributed by Marijke Vonk  (“lawheadedness”), Franklin Harris (“eels”), Jesse Walker (“happens”), Kevin Wilson (“never”), Radley Balko (“sitters”), and Tim Cushing (“together”).

From the Archives

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