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Posts Tagged ‘adolescence’

Three years ago I wrote “Passive Voice“, an indictment of those who use that sentence form to shift blame from the actual culprit to some amorphous & anonymous scapegoat, or even to the victim.  Cops who murder people, for example, always shift blame from themselves with constructions like “shots were fired” and “he was struck by bullets”; it’s a bit harder when the assault the cop commits is a sexual one, but they still manage a subtle version even when they aren’t claiming it was “consensual” (because obviously women are all running around hankering to spread our legs for whatever random cop pulls us over on the highway).  This is done by a manipulation of the idea of consent; most people understand that consent obtained under certain circumstances is invalid, so it’s easy to choose words that imply invalid consent is a characteristic of the victim of a sexual assault rather than of her assailant.  A couple of weeks ago, for example, I saw a comment about this story containing the phrase, “a prisoner is unable to consent to sex”; though I understand what the commenter meant, I still refuse to phrase that in the way “authorities” prefer:  “She is unable to consent”, as though SHE was defective.  The problem isn’t that prisoners lack something (ability to consent), but that anyone in power in such a situation MUST be presumed to be using it coercively.  The “authorities” don’t want to phrase it as a problem with state actors (“People in power must be assumed to be coercive”), so they phrase it as a deficiency in prisoners (“People in jail cannot give consent”) instead.

This may seem like splitting hairs, but it isn’t by a long shot; years of speaking about legal minors as though they were small children who are literally unable to understand the ramifications of sex and therefore cannot be treated as fully-informed agents, has led to the idea that this is indeed the case.  The notion that a person 17-years-and-assorted-months old is literally a child, actually unable to give sexual consent, while the same person on her 18th birthday is fully adult & sexually competent even if she’s a sheltered virgin, is so ludicrous it tests the bounds of credulity, and yet people run around acting as though this were actually, factually true.  Teens having sex with one another, or even just flirting by sending partially-nude selfies, are labeled “victims” of “child rape”, regardless of how willing they were; whichever partner is older, or sometimes whichever is male, is on the other hand held to be a “sex criminal” or a “predator” because everybody knows that only predatory perverts are interested in sex with anyone below magic 18.  That’s right, there’s a detector in the brain that magically knows the actual, legal age of anyone the eyes gaze upon, and in healthy people of any age it totally shuts down sexual response if the person is even one second below the sacred Age of Shazam.

That such an absurd idea is so common is why I’m so suspicious of stories like this:  “Based on observations or tips, school staff now quietly keep an eye on kids they worry are sexually aggressive…the school intervenes if behavior threatens to escalate, whether the student is a kindergartener or about to graduate…” The story goes on to use words like “attacks” and “sexual assaults”, but in truth the majority of sexual contact between peers or near-peers is consensual; the only “aggressor” is the one teachers or administrators label as such, usually on the basis of age and/or sex.  The phrase “overly sexualized behavior”, which also appears therein, is very telling; it’s US bureaucratese for either “sexual behavior” or “behavior with sexual undertones”.  The reason for the passive construction is the aforementioned official US dogma that nobody under 18 has natural sexual impulses at all, so if anyone below that age demonstrates any sexuality at all, they must have been “sexualized” by someone or something.  Since any sexuality in any person below 18 is held to be “unnatural”, any external sexual behavior at all is “overly sexualized” and the young person displaying it is a “predator” because his peers are all below Magic 18.  Yet cops who commit willful murder, torture or rape are excused by the same linguistic sleight-of-hand; once we accept that responsibility can be shifted by words, we shouldn’t be surprised when the State uses that power to shift responsibility from its own actors, steal the agency of those it wishes to control, and assign blame to those it wishes to crush.

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People have the right to do what they want with their bodies. -Dr Paul Ryan

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

Police in India have arrested eight foreign nationals…for allegedly forging passports and impersonation…The arrested included four Britons who were allegedly trying help four Sri Lankans gain entry into the UK with fake Indian passports…Police believe that the suspected traffickers are part of a wider network that could be helping non-Indian nationals to fly out to other countries on fake documents…entering the UK and getting a job for people carrying Sri Lankan passports is difficult, so they opt for the easier route of travelling with forged Indian passports…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Seriously, has this girl been living under a rock?

A pregnant woman in northeastern Alabama has been charged with rape after…she wrote on a Medicaid application that a 14-year-old boy was the father of her unborn baby…19-year-old Mekenzie Leigh Guffey…[was ratted out to cops by] the state human resources agency…and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex abuse, along with enticing a child for immoral purposes, traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography…If convicted, Guffey could face up to 20 years in prison…

Just think; if the state sends her to prison it will be ruining three young people’s lives with one action.  Of course, prosecutors consider that a win.  Protecting the “children”!!!

Monkey Business 

So much for human uniqueness:

A chimpanzee was filmed using tools to apparently clean the corpse of her adopted son, the first hint that animals other than humans have mortuary practises…Noel…was seen using a stem of grass to remove debris from the teeth of a young male named Thomas, who she had looked after since the death of his own mother four years earlier…Dr Edwin van Leeuwen…said:  “Noel…sat down close to his head…select[ed] a hard piece of grass…and used her thumbs to explore his teeth…she…started to meticulously poke the grass in the same dental area as where her thumbs had been”…Nina, her adolescent daughter, stayed at her side and observed the cleaning efforts of her mother…researchers say Noel might also have been trying to understand how Thomas had died.  She was seen tasting the debris she had picked from his teeth.  A post-mortem revealed that Thomas had most likely died from a combination of a viral and bacterial lung infection…

Across the Pond (#333)

Four years ago, Ipswitch was claiming to have “eradicated” street work:

…The number of calls Suffolk Constabulary has received reporting suspected street prostitution in Ipswich has more than tripled over a year, jumping from three in 2015 to 10 last year…Up until February 7 this year there had been two recorded sightings.  [Politician] David Ellesmere…said plans for a new [snitching] system…were being put in place…Brian Tobin…of Iceni Ipswich…said…“I…believe that in any great shape or form street prostitution won’t return to Ipswich…People are…now [arranging meetings]…online…if people are safe and they are not coerced, they are not under-age…then who are we to judge them?  In a massage parlour or a flat you’ve got more security”…[But] Ellesmere [fantasizes about]…problems of trafficking and child sexual exploitation…[fellow politician] Ben Gummer [drooled over his fantasies of]…“the growing number who are being exploited in hotel rooms and rented accommodation across the town”…

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Traffic Circle

Little by little, bit by bit:

…”Awareness raising” campaigns are typically aimed at two main audiences, namely potential victims of human trafficking and the general public…both types…suffer from serious problems…there is little empirical data demonstrating that public service announcements (PSAs) such as posters in bus stations and airports are effective mechanisms for trafficked persons to access help.  The organisations that [create these] receive vast sums of money…Campaigns aiming…[at] the general public are even more problematic…[they] rely on images of sexual exploitation, and their “further information” links or phone numbers are often either non-functional or [simply connect to the cops]…Both types of campaigns…utilise scare tactics and voyeuristic, often sexualised images.  In addition to being ethically questionable, these can actually redirect our attention and resources away from more common forms of exploitation, such as children engaged in child labour, workers picking fruit, catching fish or packaging chicken…

Guinea Pigs 

It’s absolutely insane that anyone thinks this is OK, even if the notions it was based on weren’t completely idiotic:

A British bank is helping to identify women trafficked here to work as prostitutes by monitoring customers’ accounts for daily purchases of contraceptives…The same unnamed bank has also been looking for payments to “high end restaurants and cheap diners on the same day” in the belief that such transactions could indicate a sex worker dining with a client while her “handler” eats more frugally nearby.  Another financial institution provided 80 tip-offs to [pigs] after identifying accounts which received multiple cash deposits of under £10,000, often paid in anonymously, as well as regular payments to websites advertising “adult services” and flights to Eastern European countries [which are commonly featured in men’s fantasies of] sex trafficking…

I’m not sure if the stupidest premise here is that the only things people buy at pharmacies are condoms, or if it’s that whores pay for our client’s dinners rather than the other way around.  But I have to admit the idea of a pimp following a sex worker around by lurking in McDonald’s is totally hilarious.

Choke Point (#610)

From Sex Worker Helpfuls, here’s a list of payment processors that are openly hostile to sex workers, and others which are friendly so far.  Obviously this can change on a whim as it does so often, but it’s a good starting point.  The post is two years old, but appears to have been kept up to date with edits.

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

More “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy:

My name is Amanda…a Longview, Texas resident.  I’m convinced that our two-year-old daughter was the victim of a potential sex-trafficking scam yesterday.  I got in the check-out line at a local store early afternoon.  I took my daughter out of the cart and the couple ahead struck up the typical conversation about how “cute your daughter is” and then asked about her age…I initially was understanding of what I assumed was a cultural barrier, but I quickly became uncomfortable with the woman’s body language and close proximity…the woman ask[ed] if she could hold her…my toddler reached her arms around the woman before I could really respond…The woman resisted returning her when I physically pulled my daughter from her arms…

“Cultural differences”.  In other words, the woman was an immigrant and therefore (in Amanda’s fear-crazed mind) immediately suspect no matter how mundane the interaction.

Power Play (#701)

Marc Randazza & other 1st-amendment lawyers speak out against the Backpage persecution:

The First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA) is asking new Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra to end the “abuse of governmental power” perpetuated by predecessor Kamala Harris against current and former executives of the classified-ad site Backpage…FALA…sent a letter to Becerra condemning “the abusive prosecution of individuals associated with…Backpage.com, and also the use of expansive search warrants seeking vast amounts of constitutionally-protected material, including personally identifiable information about all of the website’s users.”  In the letter, FALA President Marc Randazza says he can identify “no theory under the First Amendment that would countenance such an abusive use of prosecutorial discretion or such a dragnet demand for information”…

Devil’s Advocate (#714) 

Authoritarians refuse to admit that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The very idea of a child sex doll — a life-size, anatomically correct figure typically modeled after a little girl — tends to evoke abject horror.  But…a Finnish non-profit that has spent several decades promoting “sexual well being” suggested that these disturbing little dolls might actually help to protect children from abuse.  Tommi Paalanen…of the Sexpo Foundation…argued that pedophiles can be prevented from abusing kids if given an acceptable channel for their desires…“A person who uses a lot of money and effort to purchase the doll has already made the decision that he wants to carry out the sexual tendency…Therefore, it is important that…authorities…do not hamper their availability.”  The statement…came following news of an uptick in Norway of imports of child sex dolls from Hong Kong.  Police there have seized 21 such dolls since October and…men in Canada and Australia are currently on trial or being investigated for allegedly purchasing child sex dolls…Milton Diamond, a sex researcher…has long argued that simulated child pornography — meaning pornographic content that features computer-generated images instead of footage of real children— can prevent child abuse.  In 2010, he published a study finding that during a period in the Czech Republic when child pornography was not illegal, there was a “significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.”  Studies have found similar evidence in Denmark and Japan.  From that, he argues, we can conclude that child sex dolls would have a similar effect…

Authoritarians deny this, of course, because their belief-system insists that a human is a tabula rasa for the almighty State to write upon, and all that’s required to change sexual and other desires are sufficiently-punitive laws intended to “send messages” in blood.

The Course of a Disease (#715)

It’s good to see academics in the afflicted countries saying this:

Dr Paul Ryan has been lecturing at Maynooth University…for 10 years.  He is a board member of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland…“Most academics do want a focus on harm reduction, but public policy in Ireland has moved towards a…point where all sex work is seen as a violence against women…The argument is…not backed up by evidence.  Sweden has had this law since 1999 and it still has a thriving sex industry”…Ireland went one step further than its northern neighbours, however, by increasing the penalties criminalising sex work itself…Ryan is concerned the law could have unintended consequences…an advisory group on a project commissioned by the Department of Justice and undertaken at Queen University Belfast…found the law to be largely unenforceable.  The proposal ultimately became law anyway.  So, Ryan asks, “Is it about real change, or sending out a message?”…

Ryan is, of course, being diplomatic by saying “unintended consequences”; politicians in every country which has passed the Swedish model have been very clear that the law is fully intended to harm sex workers. It’s only the model’s prohibitionist cheerleaders who pretend otherwise.

Worse Than I Thought (#717)

It’s good to know there are at least a few sane people opposing the bizarre schemes of Oregon politicians:

…new laws that would suspend professional, recreational, and driver’s licenses of people busted for visiting a sex worker…were tabled last week…[but] “a new bill will be put forward which will combine elements of these two bills”…[and] mandate something known as “john school,” which aims to [brainwash] men [with propaganda claiming fantasized]…negative effects of paying for sex…[blah blah blah] child sex trafficking…the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) [points out that such a law] will only hinder people from getting their lives back on track after a conviction, citing a 2016 state study that found “the inability to obtain or reinstate a driver’s license is one of the single greatest barriers to obtain/maintain stable employment”…professional and recreational license…[suspensions could gravely harm] doctors, teachers, cosmetologists, contractors, liquor licensees, hunters, anglers, and so on…Gail Meyer, an OCDLA lobbyist [also pointed out that]…“The whole issue of whether or not two consenting adults ought to be able to choose whether or not they want to engage in sex for a fee is sort of getting swept under the rug”…

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rock make all grak friend jealous best rock in village. rock work for hitting things.  –  Grak

Surprised to see this on a Friday?  Take a look at the calendar; because of the way the holidays fall this year, it was really the best choice until January.  Anyway, as I told you a few weeks ago, I’ve been binge-watching Doctor Who with Lorelei Rivers, who as it turns out is as big a nerd as I am (and if the idea of sharing an evening with two hot, nerdy, librarian whores sounds good to you, do let me know).  Anyhow, a few weeks ago she showed me this very funny parody starring Rowan Atkinson, and I just noticed it was on YouTube so enjoy.  The links above it were provided by Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Jesse Walker (“kink” and “feathers”),  Nun Ya (“West”), Walter Olson (“ahnt”), Tim Cushing (“whatsoever”), Popehat  (“bottled”), and Mistress Matisse (“Louisiana”).

From the Archives

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In raids…police and media objectify women in order to publicise state action.  –  Annie Hill

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Enjoy the rest of your life on the “sex offender” registry, “officer”:

Charles County [Maryland] Sheriff’s Deputy Alexander C. Sullivan…has been charged federally with possession of child pornography…the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received four [snitches] from a company that provides cloud security concerning suspected child pornography being uploaded to a specific telephone number in October and November…A [cop] from the Charles County Sheriff’s Department conducted a search on the telephone number and…recognized Sullivan’s name…A state search warrant for Sullivan and his telephone was executed in Charles County on November 17…[finding] more than 200 images and five videos containing child pornography…If convicted, Sullivan faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison…

Wise Investment

Much more of this, please:

…three suburban teenagers are suing six Detroit police officers over accusations of arresting and mistreating them during a summer prostitution sting that ended with the teens getting dropped off in an unfamiliar area of the city and ordered to walk home to Dearborn…the [pigs] drove the boys through neighborhoods at “reckless speeds” without activating emergency lights or sirens; impounded their car and said it would cost “thousands of dollars” to get it back; took a photo of one of the handcuffed boys and broadcast it on the Internet using the Snapchat app, and laughed and joked about the arrest…All of this…because the…teens were trying to flag down a relative and stop him from approaching a [lying pig pretending to be a sex worker]…The teens were charged with interfering with police activity, but the charges were later dismissed…

Surplus Women 

The Daily News is so dedicated to its sleazy language, it won’t even skip it when reporting the brutal murder of a young woman:

A Long Island woman hired for sex via Craigslist was bludgeoned to death with a hammer when her unhinged client didn’t want to pay…At some point during the carnal quid-pro-quo, an argument over compensation led [Raphael] Oyague to attack the victim…Two delivery workers found the woman’s battered body in the weeds behind Oyague’s apartment building [the next day]…Detectives later found a trail of blood leading from the body to the vicinity of Oyague’s back door…

The Shape of the Spoon

Even if the mother is angry at what she obviously sees as interference in her family, does she actually believe suing her own offspring will result in some positive outcome for their relationship, especially given that the most she could accomplish is delaying the transition by a few months (until the magical Moment of Shazam)?

A Minnesota mother is suing her teenage child for transitioning from male to female without her permission.  Anmarie Calgaro is also suing the 17-year-old’s doctors and public health and school officials…Calgaro says the St. Louis County school district, where the teen is a student, has taken away her parental rights and refused to release records to her.  The lawsuit includes a copy of a letter of emancipation the teen obtained from a lawyer, but notes that the letter doesn’t constitute a court order.  Calgaro is asking the court to halt all medical services…

This kind of nonsense will continue until the law recognizes “teenage child” as an oxymoron.

Imaginary Evils

Huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

On Sept. 30, 2005, UK West Midlands police raided a massage parlour called Cuddles…”As we anticipated that there would be a lot of half-dressed ladies…25 female [cops] went in…first, to ensure that the women were decent before the male officers went in”…[bragged  Inspector Mark] Nevitt…[of course] male [cops] had already seen “half-dressed ladies” when they entered Cuddles posing as clients.  The difference on this day was that police had invited the media to record the rescue of “sex slaves”…[so] millions of people in Britain and beyond would view these women via media coverage…Within days, police [admitted] they had not discovered victims of trafficking, but women engaging in sex work…Although police raids operate on the premise that they make the invisible visible – exposing the hidden world of trafficking – the[y actually render]…the visible invisible.  That is, the raid hides the repression of sex workers in plain sight by framing it as the rescue of “sex slaves”.  Raids thus appear to produce happy endings…but…cloak…rights violations against sex workers…

Sex Rays

Our descendants will be confused about why we thought this sort of thing was noteworthy:

Cheetah Gentlemen’s Club in [Florida] has again partnered with Rodriguez Charities to host their annual 1,000 Free Turkeys event to help families in need this Thanksgiving holiday…The free birds are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis…

Traffic Jam (#347)

Look for similar headlines 22 years from now about people railroaded on “sex trafficking” charges:

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals…ruled in favor the “San Antonio Four”…who have fought to clear their names after being convicted…in 1994 of sexually assaulting Ramirez’s young nieces…Seven of the nine judges heard the case.  All agreed that the women should get a new trial, and five said the women are actually innocent, a move that paves the way for them to seek state compensation for their imprisonment…Their case was the subject of a documentarySouthwest of SalemThe women…said the toughest part of prison was serving time in solitary for refusing to take part in the sex offender program…attending was a condition for early parole, but it required inmates to admit deviant behavior, which they couldn’t do…

The Widening Gyre (#546)

The New York Times piously decries the harm caused to dozens of “real people” by “fake news sites” spreading exaggerated lies about “sex trafficking”, while ignoring the damage to millions of real people caused by its OWN spreading of exaggerated lies on the exact same topic:

Days before the presidential election, James Alefantis, owner of a…pizza restaurant called Comet Ping Pong, noticed an unusual spike in the number of his Instagram followers.  Within hours, menacing messages like “we’re on to you” began appearing in his…feed.  In the ensuing days, hundreds of death threats…started arriving via texts, Facebook and Twitter.  All of them alleged…that Comet Ping Pong was the home base of a child abuse ring led by Hillary Clinton…Alefantis discovered…dozens of made-up articles about Mrs. Clinton kidnapping, molesting and trafficking children in the restaurant’s back rooms.  The articles appeared on Facebook and on websites such as The New Nationalist and The Vigilant Citizen, with one headline blaring: “Pizzagate: How 4Chan Uncovered the Sick World of Washington’s Occult Elite”…Alefantis…and his 40 employees had unwittingly become real people caught in the middle of a storm of fake news…

Dysphemisms Galore (#577) 

Because nobody would care about a headline reading, “Co-workers mind woman’s children while she works”:

Sixteen people were arrested after a prostitution ring came to Knoxville [Tennessee.  Pigs]…discovered that one of the women had two…young children, a one-year-old and a three-year-old, [who] were found returning to a hotel with two non-related men.  The children [were abducted from their mother and given to]…the Department of Children’s Services…

To Molest and Rape 

Because “improper sexual activity” sounds so much nicer than “rape with a club”:

Investigators have arrested a Hidalgo County jailer accused of [raping] an inmate with a baton…At about 7 a.m. on Nov. 1, [the victim] was sleeping on a bench…Jailers attempted to wake [him] so they could fingerprint and photograph him…A jailer who witnessed the incident filed a sworn statement “confirming that he observed…Michael Hinojosa push his ASP Baton into [the victim’s] anus…at least four to five times”…Several jailers confirmed the [report]…

I’m really pleased to see pigs turning on one another; they’ve begun to realize that surveillance works against their lies.

Opting Out (#639)

Only three years from the time I predicted this to actual implementation:

Web users in the UK will be banned from accessing websites portraying a range of non-conventional sexual acts, under a little discussed clause…of the digital economy bill, [which] would force internet service providers to block sites hosting content that would not be certified for commercial DVD sale by the British Board of Film Classification…It is contained within provisions…designed to enforce strict age verification checks to stop [legal minors] accessing adult websites…many mainstream adult websites would have to render whole sections inaccessible to UK audiences…despite the acts shown being legal for consenting over-16s to perform and for adults in almost all other liberal countries to film, distribute and watch…The censorship regime has led to bizarre understandings between the producers and regulators…[such as] the “four-finger rule”, which limits the number of digits that can be inserted into an orifice…

British readers: here you go.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Note that this reporter, who resisted the truth when Liz Brown called it to her attention, has now dropped all talk of “sex trafficking” and “slaves” from her reporting on the matter:

Two men arrested in the sex-solicitation bust…in January were sentenced…to 240 hours of community service, a [propaganda program]…and fines…Another man connected to the case…was sentenced…to 60 days in jail, 12 months probation, community service and…the same [propaganda sessions].  They were arrested along with more than a dozen others for…discuss[ing consensual adult sex]…Several court cases related to the bust are ongoing…

Wise Investment (#673)

A better memorial to this woman would be eradicating the horrible laws she fought so hard against:

Hamburg recently announced that it would name one of its streets after a famous German activist who was once a prostitute.  Domenica Anita Niehoff, who passed away in February 2009 due to a lung disease, was a fierce advocate for the rights of sex workers…and made efforts in appearing on television shows in order to re-sculpt social attitudes towards sex and prostitution.  She also worked towards helping [drug-addicted sex workers]…Niehoff gradually began starring in feature films like Desperado City (1981) and Messalina – Kaiserin und Hure (1977) and became an increasingly known figure in mainstream conversations…she was laid to rest in the Garden of Women at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery…among honoured women (many of whom died opposing the Nazi regime)…

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For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.
–  1 Corinthians 13:12

through-a-glass-darklyAuthoritarians always have some high-sounding excuse to justify why they have the “right” to meddle in others’ lives, up to and including rationalizations for inflicting violence (or recruiting proxies to do so).  Very often, those excuses involve imaginary villains (or real people cast as villains) upon which the authoritarians can project their own sick need to control others; they can then pretend that their own actions are intended to “protect” (and sometimes “serve”) those they wish to dominate.  It is the traditional duty of journalists to shine light upon claims publicly made by those in power or seeking it, but at some point in the past few decades most of the profession abdicated that responsibility in favor of becoming the handmaidens of the powerful and mindlessly parroting whatever narrative will increase their power.  And so we find journalists publishing dark, lurid sexual fantasies like this one:

A Texas teenager was lured into sex trafficking after meeting her alleged captors on Snapchat…John Clark, a Houston-area energy executive, turned detective to rescue his 18-year-old daughter weeks after she went missing in April of this year…Clark hired a private kidnap and rescue firm, consulted experts, and even bought his own 1-800 number to get tips…Clark [says]…his daughter was “groomed” by her alleged captor starting at age 16.  The trafficker was in his 20s…The teen…was still in high school when she went missing…Last month, Clark launched a petition to strengthen Texas’s anti-trafficking laws.  The petition, among other things, asks the state to increase the age to work in sexually oriented businesses from 18 to 21…in a Facebook post describing how traffickers and their recruiters groom their victims, Clark warned parents “never [to] worry about being over protective…The only luck we had with Snapchat was to literally grab my daughter’s phone unexpectedly… and look at recent communications, but even that had limited effectiveness”…

Such a brave hero!  He went above and beyond to protect his “child”, and now he wants to help others!  How noble!  But look a little closer: the daughter is a legal adult, and he hired thugs to literally abduct her…and if he actually admits to literally assaulting his daughter to grab her phone, what else did he do that he didn’t admit?  Elizabeth Nolan Brown, one of the minority of journalists who still practices real journalism, found out:

A Texas father’s story of “Snapchat sex traffickers” has gone viral as he pushes for legislation that would, among other things, allow parents to have their 18- to 20-year-old offspring involuntarily committed to psychiatric facilities for engaging in sex work…John Clark…has claimed repeatedly that Heather was lured by a sex trafficker…But…the facts he offers suggest Heather left her parents’ home willingly, did not want to return, and only did so after Clark had her tracked down by FBI agents and private investigators…on Saturday, April 30…Heather ditched her car and cell phone and…didn’t return home…According to a May 21 Facebook post from John Clark, he and his wife…”went through her phone several times a week”…[she] wasn’t allowed to take her cellphone upstairs to her bedroom and “when she went upstairs she had to leave her phone on the kitchen counter, so we could check it.”  They required Heather to provide them with “all her passwords”…and installed a GPS tracker on her car…they “Facetimed her every time she went out to make sure she was where she was supposed to be, and she was with the people she was supposed to be seeing”…he writes:  “Children…have no right to privacy.  We have a responsibility to search EVERYTHING.  Install an application like mobistealth or Mobil-spy on your kid’s phone”…I can’t say I’d blame an 18-year-old for wanting to get away from that environment…

Since then, Clark has been meeting with Texas and federal lawmakers, circulating an online petition, and [demanding new laws]…Changing the minimum age requirement for working at a sexually-oriented business (such as strip clubs or adult-video stores) to 21 years old…[and] “Providing extended parental guardianship in specific circumstances and emergencies”…The guardianship period could be triggered if at least four of following six criteria are met: the young adult 1) lives at home, 2) is still in high-school, 3) is a full-time college student, 4) was claimed as a dependent by the parent(s) on the prior year’s tax return, 5) has never been married, and 6) has not been the subject of any child protective services (CPS) investigations…Here is a man who permitted his 18-year-old daughter almost no privacy, went to great lengths to track her down after she left home and told him she didn’t want to return, and has publicly assigned more culpability to Snapchat than his daughter…and…he’s now asking for…changes to…law that would allow him…to continue treating adult offspring like literal children…Under Clark’s proposal, a 19-year-old single woman who lives on her own, attends college, and makes money selling sex in her spare time could find herself back under her parent’s rule (and subject to their medical whims) so long as her parents were never investigated by Texas CPS and had claimed her on tax returns the previous year…

fogged-up-glassesThis is just one case; there are a myriad of others like it, all over the world, every day.  And in most cases, the tyrants trying to gain greater control over other people’s lives don’t even have the dubious excuse of a misguided sense of parental responsibility, because the people they want to control are not their children.  Furthermore, Liz didn’t have to go to any extraordinary lengths to discover the truth; all she had to do was look at Clark’s public Facebook page.  Kate Briquelet, the Daily Beast reporter responsible for the first version, could’ve done the same thing; she simply couldn’t be bothered (or else she intentionally spread Clark’s warped view of events on purpose, which is even worse).  And that’s the real tragedy of modern moral panics:  the facts which could dissipate the fog generated by authoritarians are readily available to all, but neither ordinary citizens nor those with the duty of disseminating facts are willing to put forth the minimal effort required to wipe the glass clean.

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We see no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.  –   Hayley Gorenberg  and Richard Saenz of Lambda Legal

Rough Trade 

Be careful out there, my sisters in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia police say a predator who’s attacked female prostitutes earlier this year may be responsible for two more recent attacks…the most recent incident occurred Oct. 1 when a man on a bike propositioned [a street worker] for sex…the man choked her until she lost consciousness…Police believe the same man also accosted another prostitute at gunpoint Sept. 19.  He took her to an alley and [raped] her while holding a knife to her face.  Police believe the same man attacked a prostitute with a brick then stabbed [to death]…on July 16. She died.  The same man, often arriving on a bike, is believed to have attacked at least one other prostitute, slashing her throat April 19.

The Lesser of Two Evils

As I’ve pointed out before, most laws governing sex work prior to the late 19th century were aimed at drawing lines between harlots and “good” women, rather than at advancing a quixotic crusade to “eradicate” the ineradicable.  Here’s a list of garments prostitutes were required to wear in various medieval European cities:

Beaucaire: a mark on the left arm…
Berne: red cap.
Bristol: striped hoods.
Castres: a man’s hat and a scarlet belt.
Florence: gloves and bells on the head…and high-heeled slippers.
Languedoc: a cord belt.
Leipzig: yellow cloak trimmed with blue.
London: striped hoods.
Mantua: white cloak and badge on chest…
Marseilles: striped tunic.
Milan: black cloak.
Nimes: a sleeve of a special colour.
Pisa: a yellow headband.
Strasbourg: black and white sugarloaf hat.
Toulouse: a mark on their sleeve.
Venice: yellow scarf.
Vienna: yellow scarf.
Zurich: red cap.

Saving Them From Themselves

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A man [in Australia] who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene…Now [Ashan Ortell] has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry…for eight years…

Frankly, I’m glad this idiot got what he deserved.  If anything, anyone who would report his own daughter to the pigs for the “crime” of having a sexual relationship deserves much worse than 8 years on the registry.

Gullible’s Travels

Even if this were true (which it isn’t), it’s a testament to the entrenched stupidity of authoritarians that they refuse to see that binge drinking on US university campuses only became common after the drinking age was raised to 21:

A growing number of college are banning hard liquor on campus in a move to curb extreme drinking — but students are still getting their party on, and some are adding an extra element of risk to their binges…the phenomenon dubbed “drunkorexia”…University of Houston Professor Dipali Rinker said in a study of 1,200 students, he found up to 80 percent were restricting calories, overexercising, purging or using laxatives in combination with binge drinking…

Bogeymen

No, the sex trade in Ireland is no more “controlled” by “gangs” than it is in the US.  This is little more than a cop wanking fantasy of there being “bad guys” to target, aided and abetted by the pathological liars at Ruhama:

Five major vice gang members are behind three-quarters of the sex-for-sale business in Ireland, according to data taken from the most popular website used to advertise prostitution.  One gang this week has links to 80 advertised women and more than 10 transgender prostitutes, who can each make €1,000 a day.  Ireland’s multi-million euro vice trade is set for a massive blow as a new law to make it illegal to buy sex is due before the Dáil this week…

But just for fun, ask yourself:  If there really were mobsters behind all the sex work in Ireland, would they want decriminalization or increased criminalization?  Did the Mafia like the end of Prohibition?  And what happened to Mexican drug cartels’ profits when Washington & Colorado legalized cannabis?

The End of the Beginning 

This is what happens when you don’t fight tyrannical laws from the beginning:

A federal class action…challenges a Mississippi statute that requires people convicted of having anal sex to register as sex offenders.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Mississippi residents who say they were convicted under various sodomy prohibitions, including the “unnatural intercourse” law, and Louisiana’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law…the [registration requirement] is discriminatory and unenforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional…

You know why they can get away with this despite Lawrence?  Because the Great Unwashed said nothing when federal courts established the precedent that the horrific persecution and ostracism inflicted on “sex offenders” are not punishments, but merely side effects of a record-keeping process.

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

[In 1993] Anthony Gay…pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.”  Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison…he was warehoused at the notorious…Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois [where]…”his actions…driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door.  By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091…he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010“…He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to…convince…the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked…his new release date is set for August of 2018…Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay…

Making It Up As They Go 

Seattle pretends to be “liberal”, but it’s home to vile bullshit like this:

Escape to Peace launched…a…center for survivors of sex trafficking in Bellevue on Oct. 6….Carol Loya was inspired to create the non-profit after a 2012 mission to Thailand, during which she was shocked to see and talk to young…sex work[ers]…At any given time in King County, 300-500 underage girls are being trafficked.  The average age of entry is 12-14 years old, with some as young as 8 or 9…

Yes, they’re actually claiming that Greater Seattle has 20% of all coerced underage prostitutes in the entire US.

Checklist (#612)

More “beauty salon sex trafficking” idiocy from Ohio:

…100,000…cosmetologists throughout the state of Ohio…are now the latest allies in the fight against human trafficking…In Ohio alone, it is estimated that more than 1,000 girls and boys, between the ages of 12 and 17, are involved in the sex trade.  Last year, Ohio’s state cosmetology board approved a requirement that human-trafficking awareness training become a mandatory part of obtaining a cosmetology license…[fetishists fantasize that] traffickers or so-called pimps may take a victim to a hair salon in order to change their appearance to avoid detection…If stylists see anything suspicious, there are things they can do like get a license plate number and call police…

In a police state, even your hairdresser may be spying on you.

One Born Every Minute (#645) 

I’m pleased for the very small part I played in helping to expose this rapist:

Matt Hickey…has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney with three counts of rape in the second degree.  The charges…contain allegations from three women, including two women The Stranger wrote about earlier this year…who said Hickey told them he was working with a female porn recruiter, and asked them to audition for them…Not long after the first piece came out, three more women came forward to accuse Matt Hickey of rape.  These women told The Stranger that Hickey got them blackout drunk and raped them while they were unable to consent.  Hickey denied all of the allegations…

Vendetta (#664)

A look at the aftermath of one of the private pogroms bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

Cory Walcott, was chair of the Military Science Department at the University of Nebraska Kearney until he was busted in a highly-publicized national sting…Prosecutors have now announced they are dropping the charge against Walcott and another man, Maurice Briggs…Their arrests were both part of the “National John Suppression Initiative”…[in which] police departments across the country pose undercover as either sex workers or their clients, arrest a lot of adult men and women for things like prostitution and solicitation, then put out splashy press releases about all the “sex trafficking arrests” they’ve made…the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

  • no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered
  • no force, fraud, or coercion discovered
  • four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution
  • five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with marijuana possession…

Send In the Clowns

The most interesting part of the clown panic isn’t the hysteria itself (which is kind of a yawn to anyone who’s studied such panics before), nor the copycats trying to get attention by mimicking the imaginary bogeys (ditto), but the bizarre things one finds in news stories about clown incidents.  One story says “Three ‘juvenile clowns’ were taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the influence of marijuana“; Holy Reefer Madness, Batman!  One wonders what the Kentucky man who “fired a semi-automatic rifle at a woman walking her dog because he thought she was a clown” was under the influence of; like some others, this story tries to blame the clown hysteria on Stephen King, specifically a new production of It which I doubt has anything to do with the panic.  Then there’s this Massachusetts Halloween haunted house which features “scary clowns” among its attractions, reassuring the public that “they would know if there was a clown impersonator among them.”  Self-important Australian “experts” pronounced the hysteria “dangerous” and “sinister” after it spread to Perth and to cities in Victoria (one wonders why they haven’t opined on the far-more-serious “sex trafficking” hysteria).  But those all pale beside the horrifying statements made by cops in (wait for it) Arizona:

The Phoenix Police Department reports five juveniles ages 14 and 15 were charged with scary clown threats. Mesa police [arrested]  two juveniles…[one maniac said] “I would call it a hate crime.”  To prevent copycats, [pigs] and county prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach.  “Every image, every text, every mention will be investigated,” said [Commissar] Nik Rasheta…prosecutors plan to prosecute anyone else making scary clown threats to the full extent…[propaganda operatives] say don’t think social media will be a shield to make scary clown threats. Authorities have the technology to see who’s posting and spreading them…

Challenge (#679)

Lambda Legal has honored the commitment it made to sex worker rights last year by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

…At the heart of Lambda Legal’s most groundbreaking victories and continuing mission is self-determination, including bodily autonomy.  When the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas, it rightly rejected assertions against us that “public health” justified sodomy laws.  The movement for reproductive justice, from which we draw key legal precedents, similarly fights for facts over fiction when government tries to limit the right to contraception, abortion, or other similar personal decision-making.  Lawrence explained that the constitutional right to liberty protects all of us when we make our own decisions about adult, consensual sexual intimacy…sometimes relationships are transactional…consider prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and hook-up websites; the fact that money is involved does not obliterate constitutional protections for marriage, parenting or sexual intimacy.  All of these truths animate Lambda Legal’s position that the government may not constitutionally criminalize consensual adult sex solely because it is bought and sold.

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I’m just making sure they don’t kill you.  –  John Walker

Since I’ve been taking a lot more selfies than I used to, I figured a selfie-themed creepy short would be appropriate.  The links above it are from Jason Kuznicki  (“kitty”), Dave Krueger (“ironic”), Kevin Wilson (“never”), Tim Cushing (“unions”), and Charles Hill (“together”).

From the Archives

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