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Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism’

Readers who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that I had very little to say about the news that Notre Dame de Paris was heavily damaged by fire this week.  I equally ignored those lamenting the loss of an architectural masterpiece, those using the tragedy as an excuse to pontificate about the many sins of the Catholic Church, those failing to comprehend why there was no anguish when recent and unsophisticated buildings used as churches burned down, and those complaining that the destruction of other medieval architectural gems not located in the exact center of one of the greatest cities of the West was not publicized by Western media.  In fact, the only comment I made on it was to tweet that this article in The Onion was the only one I had seen that approximated my feelings on the matter.  Though I agree that the building is gorgeous and understand the sense of loss, and I find rejoicing in the destruction of an artwork to be an act of incredibly bad taste, I also understand what many others are choosing to ignore: that no matter what is done to restore the cathedral, it will eventually burn down again or succumb to some other disaster.  And the same is true of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, St. Basil’s and every other building in the world.  Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one is still standing and it, too, will eventually crumble, as will every building in every city on Earth.  In Oklahoma, my ranch was situated on the top of what was a mountain a hundred million years ago, and the very shape of the continents has changed dramatically in that time.  Similarly, people wring their hands and moan lugubriously about the extinction of animal species, despite the fact that a species is nothing more than a temporary configuration of genes; it is as permanent as a sand dune, albeit on a much longer time scale, and we can no more “save” a species than we could freeze the column of smoke from a burning cathedral into some interesting or beautiful shape.  As I remind my readers every November 1st, all things must pass, and although we may lament those which happen to pass in the flickering moment we exist upon the Earth, they are no more or less mortal than those which have already passed before we were here to see them, or those which will pass in the uncountable eons after we ourselves are gone.

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Registries deter the good guys without having much effect on the bad ones.  –  Alexandra Levy

We Told You So

Oh, what a surprise:

A…couple’s agency obtained a $1.5 million federal grant to [harass sex workers]…in Toronto…[but] the…project appears to be a sham…[La Passerelle I.D.E. used the names] of 26 Toronto women…[who] work in marketing, public relations, consulting and government…[as supposed sex workers]…in danger…La Passerelle is [also]…in hot water over misusing thousands of dollars of sports and concert tickets…The lawyer for La Passerelle, Peter Downard, [claims] the anti-prostitution program…will help young, immigrant francophone women escape from “informal prostitution,” which he describes as [actually getting something of value for their time instead of giving it to useless men for free]…

Ad Absurdum

Age of consent laws were always intended to criminalize teen sex:

The age…[of] consent…is set at the state level in the US…In states such as Montana, and Kansas, anyone over the age of 16 can engage in sex with whomever they choose…while…a 16-year-old high-school junior who has sex with someone in the year below them is…committing statutory rape…in states such as MassachusettsIllinois and California, two minors who engage in sex…might land one of them on the sex offenders’ registry for life…statutory-rape law can be a powerful tool in the hands of parents who want to prevent their teenagers from dating people they don’t like or from dating at all…this means the law disproportionally affects queer and interracial couples…Age-of-consent law as we know it today is a late 19th-century invention…In 1981…the…Supreme Court…held that “because their chastity was considered particularly precious, young women were felt to be uniquely in need of the state’s protection”.  Then the 1990s brought a push to shore up age-of-consent law in order to prevent teen pregnancy…age-of-consent law has always been…primarily focused on preventing consensual teenage sex…

AoC laws became popular as a way for parents to have revenge on young men who got their daughters pregnant, thus ruining their chances for an advantageous marriage.  All that modern crap about “child protection” is just rationalization to cover up the ugly, dehumanizing truth that despite the phrase “statutory rape”, AoC laws are more closely related to vandalism laws than they are to rape laws.

Cardboard Cutouts

Dutch sex workers are being threatened by Swedish plague carriers:

A [prohibitionist] petition is to be handed into the Dutch parliament demanding [the Swedish model]…”I am [worth]less” is the name of the social media-led campaign…[based in] Christian and feminist [dogma]…the group have posted Instagram photos showing [idiots with printed signs]…bearing [inane mottoes like]…I’m [worth]less…[and] “what if it was your sister?”…

A Load of Farley (#571)

Farley’s evil bigotry is finally coming back to bite her:

Florida lawmakers are rapidly advancing a bill they say will tackle human trafficking that would [condemn]…sex worker…[clients] to…a public registry.  But…the measure…relies on the work of [Melissa Farley] an…anti-sex work clinical psychologist who has referred to women sex workers as “house n****rs” [sic] and ”receptacles” and equates consensual sex with a sex worker with “rape”…other psychologists have described her work as “questionable”, “unqualified”, “inflammatory” and “demeaning propaganda”.  In 2010, Farley appeared as a key witness in a prostitution hearing in Ontario. The judge, Justice Susan Himel, dismissed Farley’s testimony [as]…”problematic”…[and] “inflammatory”…Several academics, writers and organizers wrote a scathing commentary on one of Farley’s reports in 2008, citing its biases and ignorance “of even the most basic legal principles”….Farley…initially denied using the racist slur, but when HuffPost sent her the archived link to the 2009 article, Farley said she was comparing “the structural similarities between prostitution and slavery”…

To Molest and Rape

This week’s typical and representative cop:

A Dartmouth [Massachusetts cop]..is facing…charges…[after raping] two children…Shawn Souza was arrested by state police…following a report from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and an investigation by the DA’s special victims unit…

Stalkers in Blue

She was “found dead” after a cop stalked her. Just a koinkydink:

A Denver [cop] will [get] a 10-day [vacat]ion and a fine for leaving work early to go to a strip club and then using a police database to look up a dancer, who was later found dead.  It is the second time in less than a year that…Shederick Dobbin has [received a light slap on the wrist] for abusing his access to the database…Dobbin was not a suspect in the [stripper’s death even though]…he [stalked]…her…and…two of [her] friends…Dobbin…previously [was rewarded with a] four day…[vacation] for [stalk]ing…the girlfriend of a man [accused] of assaulting a city employee…Denver [cops stalking women via computer]…became a focal point for the city’s Office of the Independent Monitor in 2016…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

It’s almost like feds use high-stigma accusations to force guilty pleas to lesser charges:

Allison Mack…pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy, for threatening to release secret photos of two women if they didn’t engage in “acts of love” with [cult leader Keith] Raniere.  Mack was…arrested along with NXIVM co-founder Raniere in what federal authorities widely described as a sex trafficking case…another example of the FBI using its new favorite buzzword (and desperately trying to rack up actual prosecutions for the same) even when the charges were a huge stretch…There a lot to criticize NXIVM for…and evidence that Raniere is guilty of a host of ethical and legal transgressions…Just not for sex trafficking

Original Sin (#913) 

Nobody wants to admit that forced celibacy exacerbates these issues:

Indian authorities…charged a bishop with repeatedly raping a nun in…Kerala, the first case of its kind in the country and a development that comes just weeks after Pope Francis acknowledged a continuing problem with sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church…Bishop Franco Mulakkal had been charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period starting in 2014…The charge sheet includes statements from 83 witnesses, including a cardinal, three bishops, 11 priests and 25 nuns…Nuns have tried for years to call attention to sexual exploitation in the Catholic Church.  They have recently stepped forward to accuse clerics of abuse in India and Italy, as well as in African and Latin American countries.  But they have also struggled to move the conversation forward among church leaders…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are desperately trying to turn the recent racist Florida pogroms into a huge international conspiracy:

…Yujing Zhang…was charged with illegally “entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds” and with lying to a federal agent…But as of now, any links between Zhang and Li “Cindy” Yang are…circumstantial at best…Despite dramatic insinuations, there’s been no evidence that Yang was actually “selling access” to the president (or other political figures) in any meaningful way…Her consulting company, GY US Investments, arranged tours, visits, and attendance at an array of political offices, business conferences, and political, networking, and cultural events for Chinese and Chinese-American entrepreneurs…Until recently, she ran a chain of massage businesses…one of those businesses she closed in 2013.  It was opened under a new name by a woman with no apparent ties to Yang and, earlier this year, the site of a Homeland Security–assisted prostitution sting that netted…Trump supporter…Robert Kraft on misdemeanor solicitation charges…And yet some people are quickly weaving a new narrative of shady “influence” with her as some sort of centerpiece…congressional Democrats called on the FBI to investigate Yang, even though no one has produced any evidence she’s doing anything illegal…

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The rescue industry is a deeply misogynistic enterprise which…polices the behaviour of women under the guise of saving us.  –  Eleanor Janega

Real People 

The more sex workers come out like this, the better for everyone:

The people that make the porn that a lot of us watch are sick of you pretending that you’re better than them.  Michele James especially is sick of it.  “We are cast out into the shadows…if I could bring a person who didn’t do sex work on set for a day, for them to see what we actually go through, they would realize it’s a job too and we deserve respect, the same as CEOs, and everybody else who goes to work 9-5.”  James…sees part of her responsibility to the industry she loves is helping to destigmatize the performers who make it…she is passionate about her industry; and she gives exactly zero fucks what you think about that…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

A…High School student in the Florida Keys is facing 15 years in prison and life as a registered sex offender for continuing to date his 15-year-old girlfriend after he turned 18 in December…numerous people, including the girl’s parents, his parents and two sheriff’s office deputies, [warned] Tucker [that the shamans of the booga-booga gods would be angry he was violating the Shazam magic, but] the two continued to see each other…[and] the girl’s mother [decided to destroy her] relationship [with her daughter by ratting them out to] the…school [pig]…cops [then eavesdropped on a private conversation and congratulated themselves for destroying a young man’s life]…

The Crumbling Dam (#739) 

Seattle’s vocal harm magnification community is still going strong:

[Shilo] Jama has spent his career advocating for drug users.  With his work at the [People’s Harm Reduction Alliance], he runs syringe distribution sites, including a drop-in site in the U District…They have a nurse practitioner on site who prescribes medications like Suboxone, which helps with withdrawal symptoms…Over the years, Jama has helped countless people who use drugs, but his efforts aren’t exactly appreciated by everyone.  In December, flyers featuring a photograph of his face started popping up in the University District and elsewhere in North Seattle…The flyer accuses Jama (who legally changed his last name from Murphy a few years ago to honor the family that raised him) of “enabling and encouraging harmful behavior that has caused many deaths”…The flyer claims that Jama, his organization, and the U District needle distribution site are a danger to the public, but according to public health experts, harm reduction projects like Jama’s do reduce overdose deaths and other public health issues…The flyer also says that the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle City Council are “almost powerless” to prosecute Jama and lists a phone number for the FBI’s Seattle office, encouraging people to call and report him…Jama…suspects [the source] was members of Safe Seattle, an organization that, among other issues, advocates against safe injection sites…

The Notorious Badge (#760)

This does a good job of synopsizing my discomfort with The Deuce:

The Deuce uses its promise to reveal the behind-closed-doors happenings of sex work to argue relentlessly for the regulation and oversight of the industry…it is nervous about the way it represents sex work, anxious to inform but not to titillate.  In pinpointing…sex-work…as a “secret,” however, and then exposing it through a surveillance-cum-safety structure, the show satisfies an intellectual craving for knowledge that echoes the pleasures of pornography…[it] takes care to pat viewers on the back, framing their pleasure as different from that of the porn viewer.  Through gridline-marked shots of pornography in the making, for example, The Deuce allows viewers to indulge in pornographic voyeurism under the guise of cautionary surveillance.  At the same time, it frames their viewing position as a sanctimonious one…

“Regulation and oversight” = “legalization”, which only politicians and cops want.  Sex workers, human rights groups, medical groups and academics who have studied our work all recognize decriminalization, not “regulation” by outsiders, as the best model for everyone.

Checklist (#811)

Despite some pandering to “sex trafficking” beliefs, this isn’t a bad article about “signs of sex trafficking” indocrination:

…every year…ahead of the Super Bowl…anti-prostitution [crusaders]…campaign [to indocrinate]…everyone from hospitality employees to Uber drivers…in…anti-[sex worker propaganda such as the claim that]…as many as 40.3 million people were “in modern slavery in 2016”, up more than 5 million compared to five years ago.  And in 2014, the 35.8 figure rose by 6 million people in just a year…the…figures are so alluringly extreme [because profiteers]…are often under pressure from poli[tician]s into producing overestimated figures…crusades of this nature are not…concerned with accuracy, as appearing to be leading the charge against [consensual sex]…hotel chains like Marriott have been reported as looking out for women travelling alone and sexually provocative clothing as signs of…sex…[work, which makes it clear that] consenting adult sex workers [are]…being targeted…

Unfortunately, Lyft may not be a safe alternative to Uber for much longer:

…we are working to help raise awareness and taking action to prevent human trafficking.  Through partnerships with [prohibitionist] organizations like…Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), we are [indoctrinating] drivers…on how to spot [escorts] and [rat them out to the pigs]…

Original Sin (#824) 

A new statement from a man who says men who seek consensual sex with women are “criminals with a sick mentality”:

Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves…his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.  It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy.  He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”…

Rooted in Racism (#854)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

…[it has been] two years since Italy, backed by the EU, did a deal to spend tens of millions of euros funding the Libyan coastguard, which intercepts boats heading for Italy and returns refugees and migrants to a war zone…detainees in nine different detention centres…use hidden phones to reveal what’s going on at huge risk to themselves.  EU [politicians] continue to promote the idea that arrivals in Europe  and deaths at sea are dropping.  But…thousands of men, women, and children…speak of going days without food and of drinking toilet water to survive.  Some have stopped speaking, forgotten their families, sit crouched in a corner and wet themselves from trauma…Couples are separated – some of the roughly 640 detained children are held with their mothers, though those over 14 are kept in adult cells…infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication…In October, a 28-year-old Somali set himself on fire…after saying he saw no other way out.  In early January dozens of refugees and migrants, brought by the coastguard to the Libyan port city of Khoms, were forced back to smugglers by Libyan [cops]…[and] now risk torture if they can’t raise an the $5,000 ransom that has already been demanded…

Feminine Pragmatism (#891) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

Increasing numbers of public sector workers are [making the pragmatic decision] to [do] sex work due to austerity measures and welfare cuts…a leading campaigning group…says more women in public sector roles are doing sex work to top up their income due to employers making no allowances for the fact they have children…the organisation, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), [has] release[d] a new report comparing sex work with other jobs commonly done by women.  The report found sex workers earn significantly more per hour than women working in the other jobs – including those in public sector positions such as nurses and midwives.  Women cited higher wages as their primary reason for entering the sex industry…

Case Study (#892) 

One day, reporters will get that “people sublet flats” is not news:

A special constable and his Hungarian wife have been jailed for [rent]ing [flats to] women from Hungary [in] a Chelsea apartment block [nicknam]ed “10 Floors of Whores”.  Karl Ring and Ivett Szuda…[arranged sex workers’ travel on] the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air to fly women into London from Budapest as they made more than £600,000 [over several years] from [subletting flats]…Szuda…[will be locked in a cage] for six and a half years, while Ring…[will be] locked up for four years…the couple [charged sex workers 50% of their fees, a fairly typical rate for brothels]…Judge Robin Johnson [bloviated a lot of pompous, moralistic nonsense about “exploitation”, ignoring the fact that] the sex workers were happy with the arrangement…

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell:

Traffickers are targeting desperate young women in Venezuela by flying them to the Costas to [do lucrative, flexible work]…at least 208,000 have fled the crisis-hit country in the hope of a better life in Spain.  Nearly all of those have travelled on official three month tourists visas which are readily available as Venezuela was once a Spanish colony.  However, a flight costs £1,000 which is a fortune in a land where a cup of coffee costs a month’s wages thanks to hyperinflation of 80,000 per cent…This is when the heartless trafficking gangs of Caracas are stepping in and [giving people a chance to escape despite politicians’ efforts to keep them trapped in Venezuela]…SICAR Cat, a religious organisation that pro[fits from hysteria over]…sex trafficking, [pretends these women are ignorant children who don’t know what sex work is, and calls their jobs]…modern day slavery…Venezuela’s economic mix of unemployment, poverty and inflation has created the perfect conditions for [mass emigration] to flourish…

These stories sure sound stupid when the hype is replaced by objective language, don’t they?

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#905)

Indian sex workers are chipping away at the prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…four organisations…have released a report which states that close to 77% women voluntarily return to sex work after their rescue into shelter homes…the National Network for Sex Workers Association (NNSWA) and UMKO, Saheli – HIV/RAIDS Karyakarta Sangh, SANGRAM and Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), have released a report “Raided – How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices”…79% of the women documented in the study returned to sex work – “escaping” their rescue from shelter homes, while almost 11% of the women continued to live in these homes…Kusum, President [of the] All India Network of Sex Workers explained the “horrific” condition of shelter homes and why women want to escape it…“There is no food to eat, and when there is food it is insect infested which makes people sick.  No health care to take care of inhabitants…and even if that was provided the stigma that exists towards HIV persons within these homes is bad enough to kill someone well before their time”…the report contests the…present understanding that most women in the flesh trade are trafficked women ‘pushed into prostitution’…These homes manifest an environment of isolation and deprive the women of identity and income…

The Indian media is so thoroughly brainwashed by prohibitionists that even in an article citing statistics debunking prohibitionist mythology, the reporter feels compelled to put the word “escape” (from a literal prison) in scare quotes, and also scare-quotes the word “horrific” (used to describe conditions any decent person would agree are horrific), while omitting scare quotes from the word “rescue” when used to mean “arrest”.  He also uses “live in” to mean “remain imprisoned in”, and “present understanding” to mean “popular myth”.  It’s going to be a long, uphill battle.

Pyrrhic Victory (#906) 

Please, masters, don’t use this tool we made you in exactly the way it was designed to be used“:

Amazon unveiled new proposed guidelines…for any national legislation regulating facial recognition technology…civil rights groups and privacy advocates…criticized Amazon’s Rekognition contracts with law enforcement agencies, [absurdly concentrating on the] point…that the technology has misidentified people of color [rather than recognizing that high accuracy is even worse for privacy]…Amazon…responded [with the lie that]…”In the two-plus years we’ve been offering Amazon Rekognition, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement”…The proposals from Amazon focus mainly on ensuring that law enforcement uses the technology [to surveil citizens more] effectively and without [being less able to identify] minorities.  “New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” Amazon said in [typical tech-geek morally imbecilic fashion]…”Instead, the…[overlords] should be [free to do whatever they like]…and…that the[ir ability to oppress the citizens with the] technology…is continuously enhanced.”  Amazon said any national legislation should ensure facial recognition technology [is profitable for]…Amazon…and…governments [alike]…

A Woman’s Point of View (#912) 

Kaytlin Bailey responds to drama some want to whip up against “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

We are disappointed in [Emily Shugerman’s] editorial choice to focus on Rob Kampia in your February 3rd, 2019 [Daily Beast] article titled, “Rob Kampia Weed Activist With #MeToo Past, Is Now Pushing Sex Work Reform”.  By focusing on Rob’s past instead of our efforts to decriminalize sex work, you reduced a rich and vibrant movement to one man’s conduct.  You have also diminished the contributions of the women on our team, who have devoted decades to this cause in order to center the only man among our directors.  You minimized our accomplishments and our mission by publishing a piece that misrepresents not only our organization but the entire sex worker rights movement…whose voices are historically absent from all media reporting.  Yet, you wrote about Rob…To call our life’s work a “vanity project”…is an insult and a willful misrepresentation of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’re trying to do.  To suggest that allowing Rob Kampia to use his extensive network of donors and political resources to further our work is a betrayal of the sex worker rights movement is to minimize the diversity and breadth of this work, and to minimize the need for change.  We can focus on Rob, or we can talk about the immense harms of criminalization…

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I got a rock.  –  Charlie Brown

As usual, I don’t find any good Halloween videos until it’s too late to feature them before Halloween.  I’ve actually featured this one before, back in 2012, but at that time it was only available on the Funny or Die site and couldn’t be embedded; thanks to Franklin Harris for bringing this YouTube copy to my attention.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingPopehatWalter OlsonNun Ya, Tim Cushing again and ACLU.

From the Archives

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It’s time to stop letting zealots…not only destroy the lives of innocent people but hijack police and media focus for their weird authoritarian ends.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Lack of Evidence 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted what they believe to be a suspected brothel in Moseley…[they] discovered dozens of condoms and…around £200 in cash in…[a woman’s] purse…Sparkbrook Police tweeted… “SparkbrookWMP have raided a suspected brothel in Moseley today.  Two females have been safeguarded…often you find organised Sex Trafficking behind them”…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.  Plus condoms and pocket change as “evidence” of “sex trafficking”.  What a pathetic, misogynistic wanking fantasy.

Dirty Amateurs

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

Rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have climbed for the fourth consecutive year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced…Last year, nearly 2.3 million US cases of these sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed…That’s the highest number ever reported nationwide, breaking the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases…

Change a Few Words

A good example of why “legalized” sex work is a bad idea:

In November 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  But nearly two years later, there are still no stores licensed to sell pot to the public.  One business owner now she faces criminal charges for trying to find a way around the roadblock…Humble Bumble, a since-closed health and wellness store, would overcharge for regular items.  In return, customers were “‘gifted’ specific amounts of a green, leafy substance consistent with marijuana”…Humble Bumble…wasn’t technically selling marijuana to customers, and it seems like the store did its best to comply with local regulations…Under Massachusetts law, it’s not illegal to give away weed for free.  The transfer simply can’t be “advertised or promoted to the public.”  Other companies in the state have been taking advantage of this loophole as well.  But…only Kattar has been prosecuted…

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

Another inmate has died in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, making 12 deaths this month.  Troy Pittman…died at Promise Hospital…The manner and cause of death are pending autopsy but [Coroner David] Ruth [claimed] Pittman likely died of “natural causes”.  Pittman was an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, making him the fifth inmate death at the facility this month…The ages of the 11 other deceased inmates in August  range from 24 to 78.  Three were housed at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, four were at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, three were at Parchman and one was housed at the privately run Wikinson County Correctional Facility…

Dirty Laundry (#438)

More on child abuse by nuns at US orphanages:

…for all the…[recent] revelations [about abusive Catholic clergy] — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history…remains all but unknown.  It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children.  Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms:  People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item.  They were forced to eat their own vomit.  They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes.  Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten.  They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings.  They were sexually abused. They were mutilated…[some] entered orphanages but did not leave them alive…these deaths…were not natural or even accidents, but were instead the inevitable consequence of the nuns’ brutality…

To Molest and Rape 

Another prosecutor claims he let a serial rapist cop off to “protect” his underage victim:

…Georgia [cop Richard Gooddine]…accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl…has been fired…and is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation…Gooddine detained the girl [on August 19th] for violating curfew…he…drove [her] around for hours and sexually assaulted her at an apartment complex before driving her home…GBI previously investigated Gooddine over a 2011 sexual assault [of]…a minor.  The case wasn’t prosecuted.  Fulton County D.A. [pig mouthpiece claimed]…the office was concerned about traumatizing the victim in that case…

Victimless “crimes” such as curfew violations exist for the sole purpose of giving cops excuses to harass and victimize peaceful people who are harming nobody.

Vendetta (#664)

Liz Brown on this year’s Swanee Hunt psychodrama pogroms:

Last week concluded the latest “National Johns Suppression Initiative”, an appropriately draconian name for a coordinated cross-country targeting of sex workers and their customers…The [ChicagoTribune headline describes it a “national sex trafficking crackdown”.  But let’s do the math from the figures it gives us:  473 people arrested for attempting to pay for sexual activity…6 people arrested for pimping…0 people arrested for sex trafficking…This “national sex trafficking operation” has a zero percent success rate if the goal is, you know, actually catching sex traffickers.  Even counting the six alleged pimps, these arrests make up less than 1.3 percent of the total arrests reported (and that’s without including sex workers arrested in the course of these stings)…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

…Aura Dolls is launching what it claims is the first sex doll brothel in North America on Sept. 8…Names, photos and descriptions of the dolls can be found on the company’s website along with rates which range from $80 for one doll for 30 minutes to $960 for two dolls for four hours…the customers will only interact with the dolls when they visit the business, which will have a private entrance at the back and a buzzer system to exit.  “They put their payment down on the counter and they go straight to their room,” [marketing director Claire] Lee said…“We don’t have staff there, just a camera”…The company also encourages the use of lube and condoms and said the dolls will be cleaned after each customer using a three-step routine to get them as clean as possible…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a 30-year-friend touched your butt”?

…”Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years under President Obama, was arrested…and charged with groping a woman in his apartment in October 2017″…Before the vicious attack occurred, the “survivor” was deeply involved in the #metoo movement as an artist creating #metoo art…In April, she wrote an article in an online publication describing her transition from activist to victim, and related the events of that night without naming her abuser.  What was this horrifying act of depravity that cause her to go to the police ten months later to seek criminal charges against this person she’s known for more than 30 years?  He touched her butt…She said Dr. Frieden groped her while their spouses were not looking, and apologized later…It was certainly prescient of Judge Yavinsky to order the surrender of his passport to avoid him fleeing to a tropical island to avoid prosecution, and issue a no contact order, since there was a grave chance that Frieden might stalk her to touch her behind one more time…

What kind of mind files criminal charges against a lifelong friend who got a little handsy?  Especially a YEAR after the incident?  Wouldn’t it have been enough to say, “Whoa, hands off!” and ask for an apology?  Or at most to tell his wife?  What justice is served by feeding non-criminal people into the police state sausage grinder?

Legislators Gone Wild (#862) 

Judge slaps down two out-of-control politicians:

A federal judge ordered Nye County to restore and reinstate Dennis Hof’s brothel and liquor licenses for his Love Ranch South brothel…Judge Richard Boulware ordered a preliminary injunction based on perceived First Amendment retaliation by Nye County Commissioners Dan Schinhofen and Andrew “Butch” Borasky.  Hof has lawsuits against both commissioners for comments and actions they’ve made about him…Boulware banned the pair of commissioners from voting on any action regarding Hof and his brothel licenses while pending litigation goes forward…

Hof is a complete douchebag, but these little power games hurt the sex workers and other employees of the brothel.

Business As Usual (#866)

More on the rapist cop who murdered a sex worker in Columbus, Ohio:

…Andrew Mitchell…has already made 80 prostitution-related arrests in 2018, overwhelmingly of women…he is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, opened before the shooting, and multiple previous complaints…Though [cops gave the victim’s married name, Castleberry, to the media]…she went by Donna Dalton…a…CPD spokesman…[referred to the victim as] a nuisance to the neighborhood…[and her murderer] as a 30-year veteran.  It declined to discuss the dozens of arrests he made for prostitution-related offenses like “soliciting” and “loitering soliciting”…Mitchell faced at least eight complaints since 2006…in two he was found be “outside of policy”…In 2018, there have been 17 incidents involving [Columbus cops] shooting people…Seven of those people died.  Between 2013 and 2017, CPD officers fatally shot 28 people.  Columbus officers are also almost always cleared of wrongdoing…In fact, since Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien was elected in 1996, he has never indicted any [cops] for fatal on-duty shootings…

The article also points out that it was the Columbus police who arrested Stormy Daniels on bogus charges in July.

Full of Themselves (#867)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

…Massage Envy is facing a rash of lawsuits by women who say…they were sexually assaulted while getting massages in at least five Florida locations.  The Arizona-based company, which has some 1,200 franchises across the country, was the subject of an investigation by BuzzFeed last November that revealed more than 180 customers said they had been sexually assaulted at the spas…attorneys for the…women claim the company knew of these allegations and took steps to make sure they were never brought to law enforcement…and/or state massage therapy boards…The Palm Beach suit comes on the heels of a lawsuit by five plaintiffs in San Mateo County, California, who accused Massage Envy of negligence, sexual battery, gender violence, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, after they they were allegedly harassed or sexually assaulted at franchises…Buzzfeed’s original investigation found…[that] women…were groped, digitally penetrated, and raped [by masseurs] all across the country and that the company either ignored or mishandled the complaints…

The Widening Gyre (#867) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; as you can see they’re getting stupider and more dangerous all the time.  This one is an attempt to replace wariness of the very real phenomenon of “phishing” (clicking on the link could download spyware or other malware into your device) with panic over an imaginary peril.  105,000 retweets for this idiotic garbage; is it any wonder the US has turned entirely into a police state, with the enthusiastic support of the Great Unwashed?

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Fucking over sex workers is a way [Democrats] can be bipartisan.
– Sean McElwee

Life Imitates Artifice

Prohibitionist tactics remain the same no matter what they’re trying to prohibit:

Members of Congress…held a press conference…to announce a letter signed by 56 GOP lawmakers calling for investigations into a report from discredited anti-choice group Live Action Network accusing Planned Parenthood of covering up child sexual abuse…[this] follows a familiar game plan, including coordination between an anti-choice activist group and Republican lawmakers.  This round of attacks come as the Trump administration looks to reinstate a…restriction blocking federal family planning funds from organizations that provide abortion services in the same location as Title X-funded services…The Live Action report…includes discredited and extensively edited “sting” footage originally reported in 2008 and 2011…

This laudatory article from Christian Post has a bit more meat:

Laura J. Lederer, president of Global Centurion…[fantasized] that abortions and the sex trade are “inextricably linked.”   She recently conducted a study…in which the findings revealed that approximately 30 percent the trafficking victims surveyed reported multiple abortions.  Traffickers would routinely threaten their lives and beat them if they became pregnant, Lederer said.  One survivor whose abuse was especially brutal at the hands of her trafficker “said that she had 17 abortions over the time she was trafficked, all of them at the same clinic”…

I’m honestly surprised that the “forced sex trafficking abortions” myth didn’t become more popular, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore and anti-abortion activism.

Moloch 

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

…18-year-old Mariea Starr…[of] Waynesboro, Pennsylvania…was caught by another student allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in a school stairwell…Because Starr had turned 18 two months before the incident and the boy she allegedly engaged in oral sex with…was [16, school pig Matthew Gordon]…charged [Starr] with…felony unlawful contact with minors which carries a Tier II sex offender designation…for 25 years, including being photographed by Pennsylvania State Police twice a year…Gordon brought the case without oversight from the district attorney’s office or school district administration because in Pennsylvania [pigs have absolute power to inflict charges on students]…Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal…reduced the charges against Starr to open lewdness.  She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and will not be placed on the registry.  Nonetheless, Starr will graduate from high school with a criminal record, which will significantly affect her educational and job opportunities…Starr is far from the only student that Gordon…has [fed] into the criminal justice system…

Dirty Laundry

And yet the Times supports the evil of Ruhama, the Magdalene orders’ rebranding:

…220 survivors of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries convened for a state-sponsored meeting in Dublin…The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children…The Magdalene Laundries were part of an interlocking system of orphanages, industrial schools, “mother and baby homes” for unwed mothers and church-run institutions in which Ireland…confined…At least 10,000 women and girls…between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996…

The Spiral of Absurdity 

Why do reporters repeat this egregious nonsense without fact-checking?

A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced…Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI’s Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies…The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences…

Really?  If cops had really discovered 160 kids being held hostage, this would be international news, not a minor local story.  Looks to me like some mouthpiece repeated the number of arrests as the number of “rescued children”.

Between the Ears (#407)

Velvet Swing is the first female sex aid that actually works:

…it’s not exactly surprising that [Mistress Matisse] ended up in the cannabis industry…It’s even less surprising that her first product is a weed lube, called Velvet Swing.  While weed lube—rightly touted as the first truly effective female sex aid—is nothing new, Velvet Swing is the first water-soluble version.  Which kind of means it’s the first one that really qualifies for the term weed lube.  Oil-based lubricants are…not condom safe, meaning that products like Foria or Bond Sensual Oil are effectively restricted to people in monogamous partnerships…

And naturally, Matisse uses the interview to wake up pot-business folks to sex worker rights.

Bait and Switch

Entrapment so blatant even a judge couldn’t swallow it:

…In 2014…Skagit County [Washington] detective Theresa Luvera…posted a sex solicitation on Craigslist’s casual encounters…Craigslist’s rules required all participants to be 18+. something that has undermined sex stings in the past…After some online exchanges between the detective and the defendant, the detective claimed she is underage (“almost 15 but waaay advanced”).  Even further in…the detective brought up money-for-sex.  At every step along the way but the end, the defendant seemingly made it clear he was seeking free sex with a female adult.  Eventually the defendant shows up at the designated rendezvous point baitwith the requested items…The trial court dismissed the prosecution because the “State engaged in outrageous misconduct in violation of a defendant’s due process right to fundamental fairness”…Now that Craigslist has shut down its personals section, I’m not clear where law enforcement will conduct its online sex stings…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle’s efforts to find a location for its…supervised injection site has turned up nothing, and now the mayor’s office is looking to go mobile.  Jeff Sakuma…point person in finding a site…[said] there are no city or county-owned buildings that meet the criteria…the $2 million the council had set aside is to low to purchase an existing building or buy land and build…a private party that could partner with the city to allow the use of their property as an injection site, “could be subject to seizure by the federal government”…As an alternative…Seattle & King County would purchase a recreation[al] vehicle and remodel it…The mobile [unit] would park either on the street or in a parking lot near a facility that would provide space for a reception area, a waiting area, restroom storage and utility space…

Worse Than I Thought (#745)

Another shitty law specifically designed to harm sex workers:

Phoenix is ramping up the penalties for [adult consensual sex] as part of the city’s ongoing effort to curb [adult consensual sex].  The City Council voted…to fine individuals convicted of soliciting sex workers $2,000 for a second offense, $2,250 for a third offense and $2,500 for each additional conviction. The mandatory fines will be in addition to jail sentences of 15-180 days.  “If we catch you … we’re going to make it as unpleasant for you as we possibly can and I don’t feel bad about that at all,” said Councilman Jim Waring, chair of the Phoenix [anti-consensual sex] Task Force…

The Widening Gyre (#764) 

Yeahno.  This still smells like a publicity stunt gone wrong:

British model Chloe Ayling has thanked those who “believed in me from the beginning” after a Polish man was jailed for kidnapping her.  Lukasz Herba held Chloe Ayling captive for six days in a farmhouse near Turin in Italy, after abducting her during what she thought would be a photo shoot last July.  He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate, and has now been sentenced to 16 years and nine months in jail…Ayling…has always insisted she has told the truth about her captivity.  She told police she never tried to escape because she was terrified and believed Herba’s threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that was watching her constantly…

Pyrrhic Victory (#836)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data…in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people.  It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments…HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate…face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings.  Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships.  These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias…

Blunt Instrument (#841)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

Three indictments were unsealed…alleging massage parlors in Topeka and Lawrence were fronts for prostitution…Five people were charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging prostitution businesses generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Charges included conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering…

Note the way pigs try to make this seem like a big-time cartel by throwing around terms like “millions”; any business that doesn’t gross at least $1 million over a five-year period is probably failing.

Safe Position

If the Democrats were smart, they’d adopt this as their official platform:

…when it comes to the rights of…sex workers…elected Democrats still overwhelmingly side with the religious right and consistently fail to consult the people most affected by their policies…Now, however, a small but growing group of…candidates are heeding the outrage of their constituents and have turned against laws that make it harder for sex workers to safely practice.  At least three Democrats running in competitive House primaries are currently campaigning on their opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that passed in April and holds websites criminally liable for any [claims of] sex trafficking that occurred on their pages…the bill effectively shut down the websites that were the safest venues for sex workers to ply their trade.  Following its passage, Backpage.com and the personals section of Craigslist immediately folded.  Their collapse has already prompted many sex workers to return to the streets, where conditions are much more dangerous…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

The recrudescence of a public health nightmare:

…If you believe that all prostitutes are forced into it against their will…then prostitutes are victims.  If you believe it’s possible that it’s just a transaction between consenting adults, then it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  If you’re just a prude determined to tell other people how to conduct their sex lives in accordance with your sniffling sensibilities, then it doesn’t matter…As advocates like Maggie McNeill have made clear, there are women who choose prostitution as their occupation without shame or excuse.  This is what they choose to do, and they don’t give a damn about your Victorian mores.  You don’t have to like it, but…the demand exists and always has, and despite your sniffling, it’s not going away.  But is the answer to force prostitutes, and their customers, to risk the choice between contracting a loathsome, if not deadly, disease or enhance their time in jail?  That’s what Allegheny County is trying to do…the possession of condoms means the difference between a summons and a custodial arrest…

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I have an incurable, fatal disease: my doctors advise me to expect to live another 30-70 months.  I’m not afraid of dying and in examining my life the only thing that really bothers me is the state of my spiritual life.  While I was born and raised Catholic, I left organized religion as my mind matured and my path to access spirituality became intimate times with my lovers.  I haven’t experienced that connection with something greater than ourselves since my wife left me on the mountaintop 10 years ago.  Regular, long sessions with professionals have immeasurably improved and enriched my life but don’t reach that level.  Tantra specialists offer a kind of enhanced FBSM but none seem to seek that connection to the infinite.  Meditation, yoga, chanting, all are relaxing and enjoyable, but just don’t get me to that higher plane.  Small doses of some recreational drugs have been useful in the past, but only in the context of the intimacy that comes with great sex.  It’s my one and only spiritual life and it’s not what it ought to be.   I’m not sure how to fix it, and don’t want to find myself on my deathbed with this deficit.

I’ve been mulling over how to best answer your question, and I don’t mind telling you that I’m not sure I can give you a good answer.  The problem is that spirituality is so damned hard to pin down and define; religions have been trying for at least 5000 years and probably longer, and yet they all disagree on what exactly it is.  Even the words we use to describe the spiritual dimension are maddeningly vague; we speak of “the ineffable”, “the supernatural”, “the unknown”, “the beyond” and the like.  Since you were raised Catholic you may remember what the religious phenomena associated with the life of Jesus are called (in the context of praying the rosary): mysteries.  And that term predates Catholicism; the “mystery religions” were a group of cults that flourished in the time roughly between the Golden Age of Greece and the fall of Rome, a time when the old functions of religion (social control and explanation of natural phenomena) were being replaced by newer institutions (non-religious legal codes and science).  Classical civilization produced societies far more stable than any which had gone before, and the privileged classes were secure enough in their physical existence that they began to have the luxury of asking questions like, “Is this all there is?” and “What is the meaning of life?”

The mystery religions, more mystical outgrowths of traditional pagan religions, promised to answer these questions.  Hinduism grew out of the old Vedic religion and Buddhism grew from Hinduism; in the West, cults arose around the Egyptian Isis, the Anatolian Cybele, the Persian Mithra and many others.  All of these religions had various circles of initiation which the devout had to work to rise through; Christianity’s innovation (which caused it to rapidly supplant all others in Europe) was that there was only one circle, and every convert had access to all the mysteries right away.  We all know them; transsubstantiation, the Trinity, the virgin birth, etc, logical impossibilities that could not be explained rationally and were supposed to be meditated upon in order to obtain salvation.  The fall of Rome plunged Europe back into a precarious state again, and religion once again assumed its old roles until the Age of Reason gave the privileged classes back the freedom of not having to worry about where their next meal was coming from.  The modern industrial age took that a step further, giving virtually everyone in developed nations that freedom to wonder, “What else is there?”, and of course the result has been the return of old mystery religions (such as evangelical Christianity) and the creation of new ones (such as Mormonism and Scientology), each with its mysteries, circles of initiation, transcendent experiences (such as speaking in tongues), etc.  They all promise to answer The Question, and of course none of them do; oh, they provide the devout with explanations sufficient for many of their adherents, but if any of them could really provide a better answer to the ultimate question than “forty-two”, everyone in the world would’ve converted to that religion long ago and the Millennium would’ve arrived.

By now you may be beginning to get the idea that I don’t actually have an answer to your question, and on one level you’d be right; the truth, however, is that no priest, yogi, guru, prophet or adept in the world does either.  And the reason they don’t is that there is no one answer; the point of The Great Question is not to be answered, but to be asked in the first place.  In other words, the seeking of truth is the point in itself; it’s a limit approaching infinity, but as you and I both know any point along that journey is equally far from its infinitely-distant end.  The observable universe is an infinitesimal particle of all that there is; it’s elephants all the way down and all the way up, and all the way in every direction you can conceive of and an infinity of directions that you can’t, except for “elephants” read “math”.  It is, by definition, utterly incomprehensible to finite beings such as ourselves; the only meaning in existence is the meaning we as conscious beings give it.  So, while sex, drugs, religion, music and other temporal lobe phenomena may give one a sense or feeling of connection to the Divine, the truth is that we’re always connected; we’re just not always aware of it, because if we were we’d be unable to carry out the functions of mundane existence, and would instead merely lie physically inert while contemplating higher dimensions.

I said at the beginning of the previous paragraph that the point of the question is the process of answering it, and that’s not just inscrutable bullshit intended to cover the fact that I have no idea what I’m talking about; I meant it exactly as stated.  Imagine yourself a passenger in a vehicle, travelling a road or railway around a majestic mountain; as the vehicle moves, you need to change your position within it to keep looking at the mountain.  And life is like that, too.  In your youth, sex provided the proper angle to see the mountain, but now it no longer does; you’re still looking out of the same window, and though you’ve tried others none of them have yet given you that which you seek.  Perhaps the answer is larger doses of recreational drugs, or trying others you haven’t yet tried; perhaps you should try doing so in a ritualized setting, like a peyote or ayahuasca journey.  I myself have achieved remarkable results with edible cannabis, listening to instrumental music.  Perhaps you might try visiting sacred places, or exploring your own psychosexual landscape through kink, painting or writing.  And here’s the good news:  you can’t get this wrong.  You needn’t worry about a deficit; I can’t promise you won’t feel a sense of disappointment or regret on your deathbed, because we all leave this world in the same way we enter it: in blood and pain, wholly ignorant of what comes next.  But I can assure you that on a spiritual level, no one seeking as earnestly as you are can be considered to have any kind of spiritual deficit.  The point of the question is to be asked, and you’re certainly asking.  The point of the journey is the journey itself.  And when the end of your biological life comes, and you move on to a different plane of existence, you will be able to do so knowing that you succeeded with flying colors in your mission on this one: to never cease asking questions and searching diligently for an ultimate answer neither you nor I nor any other sentient being can ever find.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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