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Posts Tagged ‘agency denial’

When one of the men caught in Seattle’s anti-sex pogroms offered to write about his experience in “john school” (i.e, coerced “re-education” sessions), naturally I accepted.  Also naturally, I gave him a pseudonym to protect him from retaliation by Val Richey and company.

I was mandated to attend the Organization of Prostitution Survivor’s STOP Exploitation class (in other words, “john school”) in Seattle, WA.  It’s well-known that such classes have no actual deterrent effect; the only things they actually achieve are enriching the organizations which hold them, and disseminating radical feminist dogma.  Over the ten weeks I was forced to attend, the most consistent elements of the sessions were the use of fear and shame to induce conformity, and the toxic perpetuation of sex worker stereotypes and tropes.  Indeed, the existence of sex workers is only barely recognized in this course, and when they are mentioned at all it’s as a “privileged minority”; most sex workers are claimed to be “prostituted persons”, passive objects subjected to constant violence and coercion by “pimps”.  Ironically, it’s parasitic organizations like OPS which are the real exploiters of sex workers; they are manipulated through court mandated diversion programs, lied about by professional “Prostitution Survivors”, and oppressed by law enforcement and prosecutors to perpetuate a cycle of violence via the criminalization of sex work.  Sex workers are not even afforded a voice in a “school” that should have been focused on them and their struggles; instead they are extinguished as individuals with free-will to fuel an anti-sex agenda.

The hypocrisy and falsity of STOP are well-represented by its chief facilitator, Peter Qualliotine; his plastic smile and smarmy manner are inadequate cover for the dangerous oppression he helps enable.  The local media has been unfriendly and unbalanced regarding the topic of sex work.  Sex workers are claimed to be “sex slaves” or “victims” and the lies and disinformation promoted by opportunists like Qualliotine and professional “survivors” like Alisa Bernard are accepted without question or the most rudimentary fact-checking, despite the fact that SWOP Seattle is extremely public and it would be the work of only a few minutes for any reporter to get a statement from them about these claims. Interestingly, even Qualliotine himself seems to know there’s something fishy about his claims; though there’s a gleam in his eye when he tells us that he “enthusiastically endorses masturbation!” as an alternative to seeing sex workers, his shoulders slump, his arms are crossed and he looks down at the floor when he claims that decriminalization will never work and that independent sex workers are a very slim minority.  And disturbingly, he brightens up again when discussing Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer (which he does often over the ten weeks).  The fact that Ridgway claimed it was wrong to pay for sex, just as Qualliotine himself claims, is not ever mentioned.

I paid attention as closely as I could because by the third week I realized that I wanted to write this, but it wasn’t easy; when Qualliotine isn’t quoting Melissa Farley’s bogus “statistics” and infantilizing women by claiming they aren’t psychologically able to make their own sexual decisions (because of “PTSD” and “trauma bonding”), he’s regaling his captive audience with the grade-school baseball analogy for sex, talking about “toxic masculinity” and claiming that simply looking at a woman exists on a “Continuum of Sexual Violence” that leads to rape and murder, with paying for sex at about the halfway point.  He also alluded to BDSM, conflating it with domestic violence, and though he branded male-dominant relationships specimens of “male privilege”, he paradoxically also claimed it’s men’s responsibility to end “sexist” sexual interactions (including money for sex) even if a woman prefers them or demands them.  Almost as an afterthought, he added that the cops need to “go after” madams and female escort service owners as well as male “pimps” and clients.  In a session mostly devoted to intimate partner violence, Qualliotine lists public shaming, outing and debt as forms of violence; presumably, the shaming, outing and debt inflicted by police stings don’t count.  It was all so stultifying a number of attendees slept; Qualliotine either didn’t notice or didn’t care.  I assume he gets the same amount of money per warm body from King County whether anyone actually listens to him or not.

Valiant Richey, King County Prosecutor (in other words, Demand Abolition’s local propaganda officer) claims most sex buyers are white and well-to-do, a proposal that promotes the concept of patriarchy.  But that’s not what I saw in these sessions, which are at least half men of color, many evidently working-class; one couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that, as with all prohibition, the consequences of criminalization fall upon the marginalized despite OPS’ claims to the contrary.  Qualliotine is an entitled white man bloviating against entitlement, whiteness and masculinity in order to play the hero and set himself up on a pedestal.  His pretense of personal outrage is so clearly false it’s embarrassing; during one of his rants about whiteness I saw two of the men of color firmly close their eyes, as though they could no longer bear to look upon this vulgar hypocrite.  This isn’t about feminism or justice; it’s about feeding Peter Qualliotine’s ego.  His sense of entitlement is immense; he actually expects attendees to trust him and OPS before even working with them, demanding one-way respect before earning it.  There exists no independent review of this dangerous and banal reductionism; it’s a middle school curriculum produced by an art student that reduces complex life issues to abstract polemic theory with no expectation of producing any effect.  Indeed, it reinforces the very stereotypes that it claims to want to expose.  If the goal of STOP was to make an ally, it failed.  Rights, not rescue; I’ve never believed in it more.

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The work you do does not give you dignity; the dignity comes from you.  –  Elena Reynaga

Counterfeit Comfort

The Notorious Badge

An unusual portrayal of sex work in cinema:

…the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket…follows Lea, a young Jewish woman who lives in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Hoping to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg, Lea is forced to register as a sex worker, receiving a “yellow ticket” as proof of her status as a prostitute, or else she will go to prison for being Jewish.  Posing as the deceased Christian sister of her former tutor, Lea reluctantly lives these dual lives until a classmate discovers her at the brothel and she tries to commit suicide…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Fargo [North Dakota] police arrested two men as part of a two-day sting…[during] the annual Big Iron Farm Show…[spokesow Junell] Krabbenhoft [oinked that]…“Any major event, anything that’s going to draw people to the area,” could attract potential buyers…

An Example to the West (#316) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

…sex workers [are] campaign[ing] for an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution establishing the right to self-employed sex work, with a view to it being included in the individual legislations of Latin American countries, given that, although sex work is not explicitly penalised in many countries of the region, it is criminalised in many ways…they managed, after five years of failed attempts, to secure a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The demands presented included the recognition of sex work, that the relevant authorities in each state intervene to end the impunity surrounding crimes against sex workers, and measures to tackle the institutional violence they suffer…The IACHR…“urged member states to design public policies and regulations that protect the human rights of sex workers…and…put an end to the stigmatisation and discrimination to which they are subjected”…

Traffic Circle (#431)

It’s so nice to see an article in which migrant African sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than passive, childlike “victims”:

Bar girls and sex workers have a visible presence in Pattaya [Thailand].  Women and girls from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have made up a large slice of the sex worker demographic for as long as people can recall…Among the most recent round of newcomers are some women from Africa…Last week Pattaya City police arrested 12 women from Uganda…A Cambodian sex worker…[said] she came to the city to earn a living five years ago.  Pattaya improved her life, she says, and she wants to remain there for as long as possible…”Back at home, I can’t even earn 10% of what I am earning here.  I notice a lot more black girls these days but none of us get intimidated by this.  After all, we also came here to find an opportunity to make a better living”…

SWOP Behind Bars

A good article with a horrible headline: sex work is work, not an “offense”:

SWOP Behind Bars…provides a community and concrete aid [to incarcerated sex workers] when they’re released, from clothing and shoes to stamped envelopes, notebooks and hygiene products.  In a new program, the women also get cellphones…Connecting women to resources quickly after leaving prison is crucial.  “When you’re in prison and you get out and you don’t have any money, you’re almost forced back into sex work.  Which may not be where these women want to be, because it does put them at risk for rearrest,” [SBB founder Alex] Andrews said.  She calls this “state-sponsored trafficking”.  Women are cut off from their families and released without resources for finding jobs, getting an education or pursuing a GED.  Sex work is effectively the only way many of them have to make money…Finding cheap, reliable phone service nationwide has been tricky, Andrews says.  Many services aren’t set up to allow people to purchase phones for others, and she’d like to buy 90 days of service at a time, rather than the usual 30-day package.  Most women coming out of prison aren’t in a position to start paying for their own phone after only a month on the outside.  For the moment, Andrews has settled on Straight Talk, a program that’s offered through Wal-Mart and gets good service even in rural areas.  SWOP can send out refurbished iPhone 5S with 30 days of service for around $100 each.  The organization is accepting donations of used smart phones to help expand the program and lower costs…

To Molest and Rape 

“Former prison transport officer” = “pig who was actively employed when he raped women at gunpoint”:

A federal grand jury…returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley…for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault…Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody…These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017…Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants…In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley [raped] her…Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that…no one will believe her…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s “creepy clown” panic is off to a good start:

An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger’s apartment…Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment…the frightened child ran to a female stranger’s car nearby, jumped inside and said she was being chased by a clown…That woman later told police that the man wearing the clown mask pulled the child out of her car.  Unsure of what was happening, the woman called 911…the child [then] ran into the adjacent apartment of…Dion Santiago…[who] grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window…

The Mote and the Beam (#748)

Liz Brown exposes more horrific laws that destroy civil rights under the pretext of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…two significant expansions of federal power…passed the Senate unanimously…Under these new measures, the FBI and immigration agents as well as state and local police can secretly wiretap suspected sex workers, or those who associate with them.  The wiretapping authority…includ[es] consenting adults on any side of a commercial sexual exchange.  The bills call for a new national strategy to reduce “demand” for prostitution, order all U.S. attorneys offices be trained on treating the sex trade as “a form of gender-based violence”…[ban] federal funds [from] any nonprofit that helps people who profit off sex and…broaden…the term “criminal street gang” [to] capture any five or more sex workers traveling together…[the bills provide] a pretext for ICE and Homeland Security Investigations to join in small-town prostitution stings and massage-parlor raids across America…[another] bill (S.1312) gives the attorney general power to file a civil suit against anyone suspected of…planning to commit “any action that constitutes or will constitute” a violation of various federal statutes…This…could allow the feds to preemptively shut down websites, search engines, social apps, browsers, encryption services, or brick-and-mortar businesses because criminals (broadly defined) might communicate there…The new TVPA will also make fighting…”sextortion”…an invitation for the federal government to get involved in teen sexting cases…

The Widening Gyre (#763) 

I am so enjoying watching “authorities” forced to deny the “sex trafficking” propaganda they helped spread:

Looks like the Roseville, California, police department got a little fed up with social media posts going on about local “sex trafficking kidnappers” and “suspicious people.”  And so it came out with this amazing document on its Facebook page…”kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States.  Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news…children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children…The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade…We…found no evidence that human traffickers were [at shopping malls] recruiting strangers“…

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The trade union movement has to decide whether it’s going to back workers…or…police.  –  Laura Watson

Monsters 

The Swedish model protects sex workers!

Last year, France passed [the Swedish model, under the pretense of]…protecting sex workers from prosecution, but…[as sex worker activists predicted] it is simply driving them further underground and exposing them to far more danger.  Transsexual prostitutes who work in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne…are disproportionately affected…

Prudesville 

A new twist in Everett, WA’s absurd “bikini barista” melodrama:

Bikini baristas…are suing [Everett] over its ban on serving “quick service” food and drinks with bare shoulders, midriffs, or upper thighs…a group of seven baristas and one coffee stand owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of their rights to free expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection…Everett isn’t claiming that the regulations serve any food safety or public health purposes…the point of the dress code is to prevent…baristas from giving customers a peep show for extra cash…Employee violations can lead to fines for business owners, along with a requirement to register for a special license (which the city can deny)…if the owners are judged to have “facilitated” the “lewd conduct,” they can be slapped with a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  Essentially, Everett has created a crime similar to promoting prostitution—but for facilitating skimpy clothing…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A St. Louis man who was employed at a high school is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police said he exchanged illicit texts with a 15-year-old male student at the school.  Michael A. West…told the [young man] he could get him an opportunity to make money for performing sexual acts…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Add Dayton, Ohio to the cities mailing blatantly-unconstitutional “Dear John” letters to the registered addresses of vehicles passing through certain neighborhoods:

So far this year, the Dayton police Vice Unit has mailed 18 [threat letters] to the owners of vehicles that were spotted in areas [police claim to be] known for high levels of prostitution.  The letters are supposed to [scare] people [by claiming that wanting sex]…is a “serious offense” that carries potential…deadly disease and other sexually transmitted infections…[often] the recipients are spouses or business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of [others] when [cops decided to stick their noses into others’ business]…

To Molest and Rape 

The US government claims it takes reports of cops raping women seriously…as long as they’re not US cops:

…two U.S. students…were raped by Carabinieri policemen who [took] them home in a patrol car from a nightclub…three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight.  Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained.  The women…told authorities that the [cops] drove them to their apartment building and raped them…witnesses…confirm[ed] they saw the women enter the patrol car…

Uncommon Sense (#669)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

The GMB and ASLEF have come out in support of the full decriminalisation of sex work in Britain, the first major unions to do so…The unions, which have a combined membership of over 600,000, are calling for the UK to adopt full decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted by New Zealand, which since 2003 has provided sex workers with legal protections…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#687) 

“Sex robot” hysteria gets ever sillier:

A cybersecurity scientist has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads…cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson [fantasized] that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us…hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down…

Does this idea seem familiar to regular readers?

The Widening Gyre (#735)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation [formerly “Morality in Media”], Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference…to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.  The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations [pandered]…Haley Halverson…of…the [NCSE fantasized]…that [the] estimated range of male trafficking victims hovers in the hundreds of thousands”…

The NCSE is a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn organization which is also behind the recent tactic of getting conservative states to declare porn a “public health crisis”.

Comfort Zone (#769)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

…”It had been more than 10 years since Gari, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala…had seen his younger brother.  So he was surprised earlier this year when he received a call from a federal government agency telling him his teen brother had emigrated alone from the Central American country to the Arizona-Mexico border…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…asked Gari to take legal guardianship of his brother….officials [lied]…that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety….[but] Gari…was arrested…by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait“…immigration attorney Yazmin Rodriguez…knows at least three other similar cases…ICE [pretends] using children fleeing violence as bait “[is] part of a broader mission to disrupt human trafficking”…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

The odious Nick Kristof finds it “baffling and perplexing” that internet companies don’t want the internet destroyed by sociopathic politicians on a witch hunt:

Sex traffickers in America have…a…crucial (if secret) ally: Google…organizations it funds have for years been quietly helping Backpage.com, the odious website where most American [passive, vegetable] victims of human trafficking are sold, to battle lawsuits from [ambulance-chasers fantasizing that] children [are] sold there for sex.  Now Google is using its enormous lobbying power in Washington to try to kill bipartisan legislation that would [enable profiteers to sue]…websites that [they claim] promote sex trafficking [or virtually any other federal crime]…as Backpage fights off prosecutors and worries about the legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, Google has emerged as its behind-the-scenes champion…

What I find “baffling and perplexing” is that so few people recognize “One-hand” Kristof’s BDSM masturbatory fantasies about underage girls for what they are.

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The point [of vice laws] is keeping cops busy, giving them a chance to play hero, and letting them seize all the assets they can.  –  Liz Brown

Check Your Premises 

This is why sex workers shouldn’t “debate” prohibitionists; it gives an air of false legitimacy to people who are so stupid and deranged that they make up their own facts, support them with outright lies, then argue that stalking, harassing, humiliating, evicting and impoverishing women is actually “helping” them:

De[ranged politician]…Thangam Debbonaire  [fantasized that]…punishments must remain in place for the “pimps and punters” who “buy and sell other women’s bodies”.  The [ignorant prohibitionist]…was arguing against Niki Adams, a spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes…Debbonaire said [propaganda] produced by the Police Foundation, a [pig-fellating] think tank, [fantasized] women working in three-quarters of Bristol’s 65 brothels were…coerced, trafficked and forced…she [fantasized that]…“if I’m exploited as a prostitute and someone says, ‘I’m going to pay to have sex with you’ and I then change my mind for whatever reason, and they insist on having their commercial contract fulfilled – which legalising or decriminalising would do – then they are raping me, and I have no choice”…Debbonaire said she supported prostitution continuing to be against the law so that [pigs can rape]…women [instead]…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

The anti-porn loons are completely losing their minds:

Uganda’s pornography detecting machine is said to be coming soon…the machine is said to be able to detect both deleted and current pornographic materials stored on people’s computers in Uganda.  This apparently includes detection and blocking of porn photos, videos or any graphics taken or saved on anyone’s phone, computer or camera…The…machine…cost Uganda’s government $88,000…and is reported to have been developed in South Korea…It is not exactly clear what the porn detector machine actually is, i.e. whether it is a content filtering machine which all ISPs in Uganda will be expected to connect to, or whether it is some of a deep packet inspection system…

She Should Know Better

As I’ve pointed out before, Arianna Huffington is a world-class hypocrite. Despite the fact that she made a tremendous amount of money via her sexual liaisons with men, she allows her rag to host propaganda claiming every other woman who does it is a “victim”.  And now she’s hosting some of the most vile filth I’ve seen in a while; prohibitionists drunk on blood and money have now expanded their claims from the usual “women have no sexual agency” to the much larger “no person has sexual agency”.  And as usual, the silence from Gay, Inc is deafening despite the fact that a very large fraction of gender and sexual minorities have participated in the sex trade from either the selling or buying side, or both.  I’m not going to quote any of this regurgitated feces; suffice to say that the lunatic who wrote it has expanded the “money is a magic mind-control spell” idiocy to a whole new level.

The More the Better 

Sex work is work, and there is no specific “sex worker type”:

…Rosie Renee, a 22-year-old from Queensland, quit her job as a personal trainer to enter the lucrative “camming” industry and decided to share her story to break down sex industry stereotypes.  But after reading comments from critics claiming she needed to “go to school” and that she “can’t possibly be proud”, Ms Renee took to her Facebook page to address them directly.  “I’ve worked harder and have done more than just about any other 22-year-old I know…I built, owned and operated a gym, I’ve managed restaurants, I ran my own cleaning business, I PAID out of pocket to get an education after high school and yes I am proud of what I do because I’ve worked damn hard (I’ve worked harder as a cam girl than I have in even the most hands on vanilla job I ever had)”…

Bogeymen

Remember this next time you hear pigs oinking about how many “pimps” they arrested:

A husband and wife…were arrested.  She was charged with a misdemeanor.  He’s facing a human-trafficking charge and decades in prison.  The case perfectly encapsulates how harsh laws against human trafficking are used to target sex workers’ families, friends, and colleagues who so much as drive them to meet a client.  It also showcases the sexism at work…Neither [Jason] Hicks nor his wife Heather…were involved in anything the average person would think of as sex trafficking; this was just an old-fashioned vice sting…

The Public Eye 

Another sex worker turned performing artist, this one a rapper:

…Chae Buttuh is definitely true to this…HoFi and its sexiness was inspired by a brief time in my life when I escorted.  I don’t escort now, unless I have to.  I hate it…it’s the customer that matters type shit…I’ve been a sugar baby for almost 10 years now…I met my main sugar daddy when I was 18, he was 42.  He fed me, housed me, and  really helped me a lot (He actually funds a lot of my touring)…from the outside it all seems good, but it’s not always.  I’m constantly worrying about when he may just stop and I’m left stranded…I want to be able to survive off my art and quit the sugar baby game…

I Saw My Brain

Your regular reminder that Grady Judd is an utterly loathsome excuse for a human:

A Florida sheriff said…he’ll arrest people with open warrants who seek shelter from Hurricane Irma…”If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn [law enforcement officers] will be at every shelter, checking IDs.  Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office tweeted [last] Wednesday morning as the hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. “If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail”…

Just a reminder: most “registered sex offenders” are only guilty of “offenses” like public urination or sexting/having sex with peers while teenaged.  And most “warrants” are for garbage like unpaid fines or missed court appearances; most of those fines are for things like broken tail lights or expired license plates.  For most of my twenties I had warrants on a regular basis, probably about once a year; in much of the US, especially the South, having warrants is almost synonymous with being poor.

Lower Education

Emily Yoffe takes a deep dive down the “campus rape crisis” rabbit hole:

…[Kangaroo courts] were mandated or strongly encouraged by federal rules that govern the handling of sexual assault allegations on campus today.  These rules proliferated during the Obama administration, as did threats of sanctions if schools didn’t follow them precisely…a new attitude about due process—and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty—has taken hold, one that echoes the infamous logic of Edwin Meese, who…argu[ed] against the Miranda warning.  “The thing is,” Meese said, “you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime.  That’s contradictory.  If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”  There is no doubt that until recently, many women’s claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded—or that many still are in some quarters…But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence…

The Mote and the Beam (#762)

Jeremy Malcolm uses the imminent destruction of the internet by SESTA as the jumping-off point for a broader discussion of censorship in the name of “THE CHILDREN!!!!!

…SESTA will cause significant harm to those who have nothing to do with sex trafficking, impacting free speech and innovation across the Internet.  And this is only the latest in a long line of measures taken in the name of child protection by both governments and private companies that actually have much more sweeping ramifications for users…

The Mote and the Beam (#763)

Now that “sex trafficking” hysteria is endangering the entire internet, the ACLU and other groups have finally decided to pull their thumbs out of their arses and say something:

We, the undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations, write to convey our significant concern with S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was introduced earlier this week…the approach of SESTA, to create substantial new federal and state criminal and civil liability for the Internet intermediaries that host third-party speech, will lead to increased censorship across the web…These entities – including website operators, email providers, messaging services, search engines, access providers, and more – form the platform on which all online speech depends.  These intermediaries in turn depend on protections from liability for the user-generated speech they host and transmit.  Without this protection, intermediaries would face a potential lawsuit in each one of the thousands, millions, or even billions, of posts, images, and video uploaded to their services every day…

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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Our justice system considers a reasonable and compassionate solution sentencing a child under the coercion of a pimp to nearly six years in prison for online chatting.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Saving Them From Themselves

A fairly typical abomination, but with an extra racist component:

…Levar Allen is an award-winning wrestler, football and basketball player [in Bossier City, Louisiana] who has never had problems with police until now.  [17-year-old] Levar exchanged naked pictures with a 16-year-old classmate…she sent Levar a nude video and then he sent her one in return…But Levar is black…she [is] a white girl and they live…in a racist area.  Her parents called the police when they discovered the video.  Naturally, the police arrested Levar and charged him with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and possession of child pornography…

Schadenfreude 

In other news, a bear was discovered shitting in the woods:

A Swedish NGO, Love and Hope (formerly LoveNepal) in Nepal collected donations from Swedish people based on false claims of “saving children from brothels” and posting photographs on social media of three girls they claimed to be sex workers…Håkan Gabrielsson, from the charity organisation Out of Ashes based in Nepal described this post as “purely fantasy”…the photos used…are the same photos he showed…[to] one of the founders of LoveNepal [in 2009]…the pictures have been used nonconsensually, and that the accompanying story has been made up to solicit donations.  Hannah Badi, a Nepalese woman who has spoken out about her experiences with the charity, said the charity often uses fake stories to elicit emotions and money…[she] said Mikael [Alfven of Love and Hope] coached her to lie about her background to make a “better story” to increase donations.  When she shared her story for the first time, she says Mikael told her “this is not enough, this is not a strong story.”  He…encouraged her to talk about sex slavery in brothels and to cry when talking about the Badi people…

US prohibitionists refer to this kind of lying as “reframing experiences”.

Something Rotten in Sweden (#44)

It’s nice to see at least a few reporters waking up:

…local authorities [fantasize about]…Sacramento County’s underground sex economy…39 people were arrested during “Operation: Hot Spots” on August 16…A narrative [was] quickly [concocted] about why the operation took place and what it supposedly accomplished.  “[blah blah blah]…fighting human trafficking by targeting sex buyers”…District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said…“[blah blah blah] send a…message that purchasing sex from trafficking victims will not be tolerated in our community.”  And yet, nearly two weeks later…the…alleged johns aren’t the ones facing criminal charges.  A 20-year-old black woman is…While the horrors of human trafficking draw big talk from elected officials and donation-seeking nonprofits, the ones who most often end up in handcuffs are women…

Uncommon Sense (#345)

Though it genuflects to ugly myths, I think this is a step in the right direction:

The German brothel owners’ association, BSD, has made a bid to introduce “controlled quality, transparency and service” to the country’s sex industry with the launch of a “seal of approval” for brothels…BSD said that the purpose of the seal was to “counter the general vilification and many false conceptions about the structures and working procedures” in brothels…The seal…requires owners to sign a pledge to oppose violence, forced prostitution and crime, and to provide fair, responsible and hygienic working conditions…The owners also have to prove that all the prostitutes are self-employed and working voluntarily, and can decide which customers they want to serve and which services they want to provide…

Halfway Whores (#439)

Though the numbers are of course exaggerated to make it more lurid, the story itself is a huge yawn:

A young model has claimed prostitution is rife within the fashion industry after she was offered cash to sleep with wealthy men…Jazz Egger, who recently turned 20, makes the extraordinary claim that “big agencies” and “established models” are involved in seedy underground dealings, with young women paid up to $2million (£1.54million) to spend the night with male clients.  Shockingly, Jazz claims she was even told that two young supermodels who have become household names have “spent time” with men for money in order to get ahead in their career…

Signs

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…human traffickers…lurk on places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and SnapChat…”This can happen to any child; it doesn’t matter what family they come from,” said [profiteer] Shea Rhodes…the best way for schools to prevent trafficking is to have experts in the field come in to give presentations to the girls 13 years of age and up, since they are the most vulnerable to trafficking…School personnel should go through a similar training as well to be better prepared to identify trafficking…the…signs being [sic]…Having new clothes and belongings that the student hasn’t always been able to afford…Wearing clothes that are oversexualized…Sleeping in class…Changes in school attendance…Cutting class…An older boyfriend…

Sleeping in class?  Older boyfriend?  Obviously I was “trafficked” even in high school!  Here are previous examples of dopey “sex traffcking education” programs.

The Mote and the Beam (#728) 

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Motel 6 has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the city of Los Angeles alleging that the chain’s management allowed one of its locations to be used as a hub for human trafficking and gang activity…Motel 6 agreed to pay $250,000 to settle the suit…the Los Angeles city attorney [pretends] that the money would be used to [magically] deter human trafficking…The settlement requires the motel to post signs about human trafficking in its lobby, hire security guards and ask guests to show photo identification when checking in.

Check Your Premises (#730)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

A Kansas teen who messaged a friend about getting into prostitution with her was sentenced to 71 months in prison for aggravated human trafficking of a minor—even though the girl herself was a minor at the time and operating under the influence of a coercive and violent older man.  Hope Zeferjohn, now 19…will be subject to lifetime court supervision, registration as a sex offender, and a permanent ban on carrying a firearm…

Full of Themselves (#765)

Indian journalists are even more brainlessly credulous of cop lies than American ones are:

Close to 10 days after a crackdown on an international sex racket involving high-end spas, 34 women from Thailand  who were rescued by…police, said they want to return to their country…[and] did not wish to continue staying at a local rescue home where they were being kept…A petition is likely to be moved soon seeking permission for their return to Thailand.  After this, a local court will take a decision regarding the same…

There’s a word for a place people are kept against their will, and it isn’t “home”.  Nor can the act of confining a person to such a place against her will be considered “rescue” in any but the most warped of minds.

Broken Record (#768) 

Is anyone so stupid they can’t grasp that when the pigs are actively engaged in stings, arrests rise?

Las Vegas police saw a spike in prostitution arrests this past weekend as fight-enthusiasts flocked to the city to watch Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off…118 prostitution-related arrests were made between Friday and Sunday…In contrast, the first weekend of August had just 34 of these arrests…

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Officialdom should never have the right to tell grown adults when, how, with whom and for what reason they can have sex.  –  Ella Whelan

Feminine Pragmatism 

The capacity of lawheads for denying reality is nothing short of astonishing:

The [Samoan] Ministry of Health has made it a priority to educate and counsel “commercial sex workers” despite the government downplaying their existence…the number of female sex workers in Samoa was estimated at around 400.  It was also revealed that most women are doing sex work for economic reasons…The…report was rubbished by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi who laughed at claims that poverty and hardship are to blame for the growing number of sex workers in Samoa…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

A woman who works at a Tulsa massage parlor…has been charged with trying to persuade colleagues to not testify against their employer.  Stefanie Lea Thomas…was charged…with intimidation of a witness…Thomas is the manager…The owner…Willie Charles Whitman, was arrested earlier this month as the result of a…[sting and] charged with two counts of human trafficking…On the night of Whitman’s arrest, he called Thomas from the county jail and told her he “needed the other girls in the shop to go to court and say that he was not human trafficking anyone”…

Of course, he’d have said the same things if he was innocent & simply intelligent enough to realize that the pigs are trying to pin BS “sex trafficking” charges on him, but of course that’s not important now that presumption of innocence is a thing of the past.

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

For 46 hours, Andrew Holland’s legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County jail.  The [helpless human being], who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing.  He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell.  When he was finally unbound, [screws] dumped him to the floor of a nearby cell.  Within 40 minutes, he [died]…

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s not “erroneous”, which implies an honest mistake; it’s a willful conflation:

…The way police involved in…sting[s] chose to spin their costly efforts to entrap the buyers and sellers of sex is just one more example of how law enforcement and others routinely conflate consensual prostitution with far rarer instances of actual sex trafficking…in [a recent “Operation Cross-Country”]…which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, only six underage prostitutes were found out of a total 85 prostitutes…only 14 “pimps” were arrested and there is no evidence that any of them actually engaged in trafficking according to the legal definition.  It’s not just law enforcement that…[conflates] victimless sex work with trafficking.  Many politicians…and others persist in conflating the two for their own political benefit…

Dating Game

Melissa Petro on her post-sex work dating experiences:

Aside from losing my career in dramatic fashion, dating was one of the toughest parts of being someone with sex work experience.  Whether you’re a dancer or an escort, a porn star or a cam girl, the same questions arise:  how and when to tell the person you’re dating, and then, how to manage their reaction (they always have one).  “Do prostitutes really date and marry?” is an actual question some men ask.  And some men think the answer ought to be no.  Whether our experiences in the industry are positive, negative, or — as they very frequently are — neutral, many people paint all sex workers with the same broad brush.  They’re morally corrupt, or else so emotionally and even physically damaged by their experiences as to be undatable…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#698) 

As regular readers know, “expert sex therapists” have never labelled “sex addiction” a disorder:

In the world of sex therapy, there is no consensus on what constitutes a sex addict…Answers from therapists vary wildly.  And for now, nobody is right and nobody is wrong, as there is no standardized “sex addiction” diagnosis.  This could soon change, and a bitter battle is raging behind the scenes over whether it should change…

No, there is no “bitter battle” among actual, qualified sex therapists; those who wish this imaginary syndrome labeled  a true disorder are opportunists, few with actual qualifications as therapists, who want their pet label officially recognized so they can cash in on insurance. But credulous reporters don’t want to hear that.

Decentralization (#718)

Did you ever wonder why the government stopped harassing bitcoin?

Computer science [bootlickers] at the University of California, Berkeley have developed new tools to identify sex [workers]…making them easier for law enforcement to target and prosecute…The new technique [pretends to]…find…stylistic similarities between ads for sex services posted to sites like Backpage.com…[in order to pretend they’re all posted by] criminal organizations posting multiple ads…Because Backpage is the most used portal for advertising sex services, credit card processors like Visa [were threatened into choking off payment processing by a megalomaniacal Chicago politician]…starting in 2015.  That left Bitcoin as the preferred means of paying for ads.  The Berkeley researchers took advantage of Bitcoin’s public blockchain — a record of all transactions — to identify payments for sex ads…and even to connect them to real-world names…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

I’m really enjoying “grocery store sex trafficking” hysteria:

A creepy trend has been scaring mothers across Sarasota County who say strangers are approaching women in stores and parking lots, asking intrusive questions about their children.  This has…many people panicked on social media…[one hysteric] says two pretend shoppers [no doubt wearing labels that said “pretend shopper”] approached them in the toy aisle…one woman asked strange religious questions while the other was fixated on her daughter…asking direct questions about [her] looks and features…“It just made me even more afraid that they were going to try to grab either just my daughter or both of us”…

Because nobody but a “sex trafficker” ever attempts to be polite by complimenting a child’s looks.

Like Houses

The leading edge of a wedge is often extremely thin:

A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.  On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless…However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution…The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”  This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment…[but] only five Congressmen…voted against it…This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S…and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#767) 

Bindel is increasingly becoming a transparent laughing stock:

…In framing prostitution as modern slavery, something that holds women captive, Bindel plays on the classic and sexist damsel-in-distress motif.  Yes, in other countries women do not enjoy the same rights as we do in the UK.  But sticking with the country Bindel is based in and writes about in her piece – Britain – there is simply no epidemic of “sex slavery” here.  Prostitution happens, often in unpleasant circumstances, but these women are not chattel; they can make decisions…

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