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Posts Tagged ‘Counter-Countermeasure’

[Sex workers] are selling sex by choice…[no matter] what Demand Abolition says.  –  Alison Bass

The Public Eye 

The more sex workers write and speak in public, the harder it will be to ignore us:

The recent book Philosophy, Pussycats and Porn by the pornstar known as “Stoya”…is…a…collection of essays that discusses different topics from technology to religious iconography…a new generation of porn performers taking an intellectual stand on social issues…intellectual porn stars have turned into the avant-garde academics in this field, philosophers of the flesh and some of society’s most serious thinkers on human sexuality…Angela White is known for her advocacy of women’s rights and body positivity…Conner Habib…was a college lecturer of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst before he began shooting porn scenes.  Now he’s also known for his writing and his thought-provoking podcast Against Everyone with Conner HabibValentina Nappi in Italy and Amarna Miller of Spain are both porn stars who attended art school and grew up in countries where the Catholic Church held a firm grip on the social and political life.  Yet these women have boldly voiced a feminist and hedonistic worldview, pushing the boundary of public opinion…

Vendetta 

Stephen Lemons speculates on the origin of billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s fanatical hatred of sex workers:

…Hunt also frowns on “the use of pornography to masturbate” and seems to take a dim view of the male sex drive in general.  As for the right of sex workers to make choices for themselves, she opines that “every decision must be weighed in the terms of the overall effect on the [State], even at the cost of the impingement on personal freedom.”  Demand Abolition’s donations to law-enforcement agencies have secured the kind of enforcement against “sex buyers” that Hunt favors.  In a groundbreaking article published in The Intercept, Alison Bass…details how Demand Abolition’s donations to law-enforcement agencies in several cities helped fund local crackdowns…But there may be more at work in Hunt’s worldview than radical feminism.  Her father, H.L. Hunt, was an infamous philanderer who maintained two secret families in addition to the one he shared with his first wife…Swanee is the daughter of the woman who would become Hunt’s second wife, Ruth Ray Hunt, following the death of the first Mrs. Hunt…The billionaire oilman would visit his second family when his first wife was off playing bridge…She describes her mother’s “anguish” at the situation…Swanee…admits to wondering as a kid why she “didn’t have a daddy like the children next door”…Such lachrymose reminiscences may add some context to her anti-prostitution jeremiad.  Take, for instance, this passage from “Deconstructing Demand”:  With most monogamous couples, fidelity includes not only abstaining from sex with another person, but also honesty and transparency.  Buying sex, however, is largely a secret affair that requires a web of deception involving one’s location, time, and money…Children’s lives are strained and they may well become disillusioned with their fathers…

The Forest for the Trees

Sex abuse hysteria, like its twin sister “sex trafficking” hysteria, is the child of the Satanic Panic:

Moral panics…have occurred throughout history.  Two of the most notorious are the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690s and the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and ’90s.  The panics almost exclusively involve women and children and fears for their safety, especially from sexual abuse.  We are in the midst of another such panic, but despite the similarities to past episodes, we are still unable to recognize it as such.  The current panic has been playing out in the military and on college campuses for nearly a decade, but…the…hysteria is creeping into our regular legal system as well…five of the biggest signs…of mass hysteria [are]…1. Due Process Goes Out The Window…2. “Believe The Victim”…[accusations are all the evidence needed]…3. Misleading And Faulty Statistics4. Evidence, Schmevidence…and…5. Pseudo-Scientific Theories About Memory Reign Supreme

Traffic Jam (#411)

The ethically-bankrupt Dominique Roe-Sepowitz has invented another idiotic “study” designed to find exactly what its funders wanted found:

“I would also like to share on the record that…we [chose] to place our office in formal lockdown, file a police report, and get sheriff escort”  Khara Jabola-Carolus…of the Hawai‘i State Commission on the Status of Women [claimed dramatically] following [what she pretended was] a threat of “imminent physical danger” her office received…“This is a big business and no one…wants their money flow interrupted.”  The threat, Jabola-Carolus said, was in response to the organization’s [prohibitionist] stance and publication of a [bogus] study by HSCSW and Arizona State University School of Social Work, titled Sex Trafficking in Hawai‘i Part 1: Exploring Online Sex Buyers, that [pretends] prostitution demand is much higher in Hawai‘i than it is in the rest of the U.S.  The study used the O‘ahu and Big Island “Women Seeking Men” personals section of Backpage…

The nonsense opening this article?  A politician got a flood of organized calls from people opposed to prohibition and chose to frame them as “threats” to cast activists as members of a sinister cabal.  Other interviewees make a number of ridiculous statements, including one favorite claim of the more racist kind of prohibitionist that non-white women are too stupid to be pragmatic on their own, and had to learn pragmatic sexual motives from more-sophisticated-but-evil white people.  In case you’re wondering why this drama is centered around tiny Hawaii, it’s because there is some support for decriminalization in the state legislature and the prohibitionists want that crushed.

Counter-Countermeasure

Since prohibitionists pushing the “pimp” myth have failed miserably to debunk the John Jay study, they’ve decided to attack its primary author instead:

…Four professors at [John Jay] criminal justice college are on paid leave while the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and State Inspector General probe allegations they brought the underworld they studied into the hallways of John Jay.  Accusations of rape, sexual harassment, facilitating prostitution, and using and selling drugs first surfaced several weeks ago in the written complaints of two John Jay graduates…Naomi Haber [and Claudia Cojocaru]…Ric Curtis…received a $520,000 grant in 2005 from the US Department of Justice to research child sex workers in New York City.  He also led a study on young people working in the sex trade as part of a $1.3 million federally-funded research project in Atlantic City and other cities across the US.  But the feds halted the Atlantic City study in 2012 after receiving…[complaints that] Curtis handed out cigarettes to underage sex workers.  Investigators eventually found that Curtis offered smokes to people who agreed to connect him with prostitutes to interview, but he did not give them to interview subjects…Curtis later wrote that “the findings from my research in 2008 and 2010 earned me scorn among a number of leading practitioners in the…rescu[e industry]…because it undermined the rationale behind their appeals for funding,” according to an email he sent to one of the alleged victims that was included in her complaint…

Gorged With Meaning (#711)

People who pretend students need to be “groomed” into sex work are living in a dangerous fantasy world:

The University of Brighton has been accused [by prohibitionists] of encouraging prostitution after [the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project Sussex] ran a stall offering help for students at its freshers’ fairs…In a series of tweets it promoted its attendance, it said: “1 in 6 students does sex work or thinks about turning to sex work…If you…want to talk and don’t know where to go… we’re here for you.  We respect your autonomy, privacy and confidentiality.”  [Prohibitionist fanatics] Julie Bindel…and…Sarah Ditum [called the outreach]…”a grooming operation…preying on the naivety of young students”…academics and students jumped to the defence of the group.  Alison Phipps, professor of gender studies at the University of Sussex, thanked them for their “great work” and doctor Gemma Ahearne, a lecturer and sex industry researcher at Liverpool John Moores University, said their work was “amazing”.  Parker Robinson, student union’s vice president of academic experience at Brighton, said it was “great knowing there are services available ready to help students through difficulties they might be experiencing”…

The fact that Bindel, Ditum and company want young women denied support and advice, potentially resulting in their being harmed or even killed, tells you all you need to know about their sociopathy.

Whither Canada? (#808)

Edmonton has a long history of abusing & dehumanizing sex workers:

Last year, Edmonton [Alberta] police charged more people for purchasing sex than anywhere else in the country.  Edmonton accounted for more than 40 per cent of charges nationwide…The…271 charges in Edmonton…[were] more than double the 114 recorded in Winnipeg, which was second on the list…A vast majority of [victims of the law] were [forced in]to a [“johns school” and made to endure propaganda infantilizing sex workers and demonizing clients]…They pay a $750 [fine], increased from $500 earlier this year, which goes toward…[a prohibitionist] group that runs the day-long session…More than half of the arrests…came from online sting operations…[which] have made clients increasingly skeptical of web-based advertising and [screening]…

Uncommon Sense (#855)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to moral panic:

More…sex workers in Bern are renting apartments through…sites like Airbnb or using hotel rooms to carry out their business, according to a new report…Bern is currently home to 28 licensed brothels [but] this number is sinking…[because] rules introduced in 2013 requiring brothels to register have made sex work more expensive…prostitutes are required from 100 to 150 Swiss francs a day to rent a room in a legal brothel.  However, there are dozens of apartments listed on Airbnb for less than this amount.  The trend towards the use of private apartments for sex work runs counter to the intention of [the] rule changes…which [were] designed to [infantilize] prostitutes…and exploit…[their work with taxes and fees]…despite this tendency, police are positive about the new rules, arguing…that authorities now have much tighter control.  [Bern cantonal parliamentarian Christa] Ammann, meanwhile, is calling for prostitution to be completely decriminalized…

Compare Swiss police’s collective yawning over sex workers renting AirBnBs to work with UK cops’ lurid masturbatory fantasies about “sex slaves” in “pop-up brothels”.

Business As Usual (#871) 

I love it when rival herds of swine feed on each other:

Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs has formally transferred the investigation into the police vice [gang] to the FBI…as [too much] evidence [to hide] has [been discovered] during an internal investigation…The arrest of adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in July by [disguised] vice [cops] and the August [murder] of 23-year-old Donna Castleberry [during an attempted rape] by…vice [pig] Andrew Mitchell have put a spotlight on the 20-member [gang].  Mitchell, a 30-year veteran of the [gang], was relieved of duty [on September 26th.  Besides the rape and murder]…he had been the subject of a potentially criminal complaint that had been filed about a week before…Todd Lindgren, a spokesman for the FBI…[said] a search…[was] conducted…on…Mitchell[‘s home]…

The Widening Gyre (#872) 

Even celebrities are seeing “sex trafficking” everyplace they go:

Lindsay Lohan wins the most bizarre video of the month…as she accuses parents of trafficking her children and then gets punched in the face.  Lindsay, who was in Moscow, gets out of her car and approaches the family — 2 boys and their parents.  She says they’re Syrian refugees who need help…then…accuses them of trafficking their [own] kids, as she speaks in both English and Arabic…After tailing the family for a bit and trying to [abduct] the children, you see the mother snap and attack Lindsay…

I’m really grateful for moments of comic relief from hysterical young women like Lohan, which at least break the tension of the hysteria being used to destroy lives and abolish civil liberties.

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Human trafficking is the new charge du jour.  –  Brian Thompson

Anatomy of a Boondoggle arrested Thai sex workers

Just in case you thought cops raping whores in order to arrest them was mostly a US thing:

…Sa…is from Laos and…[has] been arrested many times, mostly when a police officer who had been her client had informed on her…”They took me out…and…had sex with me.  Next thing I knew I was arrested and sent home”…the superintendent of Udon Thani city police, said the law specifically mentioned that to make an arrest for prostitution…the sex worker has to be caught in the act…Nid is from a Karen hill tribe village and is considered a “star” hostess at a bar in Chiang Mai.  Like Sa, she was “lured” to her arrest by a police officer who was a client…Chantawipa Apisuk, the director of Empower who has been working with sex workers for more than 30 years, said the methods the police used to secure an arrest are unacceptable…in Nid’s case…police produced marked banknotes allegedly handed over to her and a used condom as evidence…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A Brooklyn jury…convicted a sexual predator for the rape and robbery of a prostitute while pretending to be a [cop]…Jason Forgetta flashed a fake police badge to a female sex worker who stopped his car…on July 30, 2014…The 26-year-old victim agreed to go with Forgetta to [her incall]…when he told her she was under arrest…Forgetta…shoved the woman against the wall, put a pillow over her head and raped her…[he then] told the woman to take a shower to “wash all the DNA” off…[and] stole her wallet, cellphone and underwear.  As he fled the scene, the woman ran after him and wrote down [his] license plate [number]…Forgetta…was convicted in 2004 for committing the same…crime.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case…

Lack of Evidence

This is pretty typical of the level of “evidence” in sex work trials:

A woman accused of running a brothel out of a Baltimore County massage parlor was acquitted of all charges…Di Zhang…was found not guilty…of 15 offenses, including human trafficking and prostitution…”There was very little evidence in the case,” said Zhang’s attorney, Brian Thompson…the state had one witness who worked at the business and claimed Zhang was running it…But when police kept watch at the business for several weeks, they only observed Zhang there once…to drop off some medication for the witness…Thompson said police were targeting Zhang after a previous case…Police wrote in charging documents that Zhang “continues to run illegal massage parlors without fear of the police or court systems”…

The Proper Study

This is, of course, obvious to sex workers, but it’s nice to see academics discovering it:

Most migrant sex workers are satisfied with their working conditions in Australia…Despite growing fears about human trafficking…the vast majority are content to be working in massage parlours and brothels for a satisfactory income, and that there is little evidence of widespread sex slavery.  The Australian Institute of Criminology and the Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) surveyed 594 sex workers across Australia, 412 of whom were migrants. Most were female, with only 17 male and eight transgender respondents…One in five were married; one in three were parents; and while a small number had little to no education, the majority were highly educated. About one third said they did not speak English well…

The Punitive Mindset (#337)

Some countries…make condoms available to prisoners, while others cite security issues, or blanket prohibitions of sex…Even in places where condoms are available, guards sometimes limit distribution as a form of control.  In the medical journal The Lancetresearchers at Johns Hopkins cite this as one factor in the spread of infectious diseases in prisons…at rates far exceeding those in the communities from which they came.  Of more than 10 million incarcerated people in the U.S. alone, 4 percent have HIV, 15 percent have hepatitis C, and 3 percent have active tuberculosis.  These diseases are part of our criminal justice system, then, metered out and sanctioned implicitly by the state.  The penal system is also a primary reason that these diseases can’t be eliminated globally…The scale of the problem is due to the fact that so many people are incarcerated in the first place, which [researcher Chris] Beyrer traces to the war on drugs…

Paint By Numbers po-faced twits folding paper

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

A piece of blue paper folded into the shape of a crane bird is a traditional symbol of origami.  In Japan, it’s believed that 1,000 of those symbolise hope, love, honour, and peace.  It’s also believed that if you have the patience to fold 1,000 pieces, your most desired wish will come true.  UCC student Laura Pauwels’s wish is to bring hope to survivors of and people affected by human trafficking.  And so she’s enlisted the help of Corkonians to make that wish come true — together, they will fold 1,000 blue cranes to make a stand against the illegal act…

Traffic Circle

Here’s a long, thorough debunking of “sex trafficking” hysteria by Brittany Turner of SWOP-Shreveport:

In the past year, local broadcast and print media have covered numerous stories regarding the perils of sex trafficking in Shreveport, without exercising due diligence to accurately assess the reality of this problem or the efficacy of anti-trafficking programs. This coverage often excludes key stakeholders from the conversation: sex workers themselves. Instead, the coverage frequently relies on inaccurate data and anecdotal evidence, corralling those who have chosen to work in the sex industry under the umbrella of “trafficking victims,” effectively silencing the voice of many sex workers…

Devil’s Advocate

As usual, the government’s using someone accused of especially nasty crimes to undermine liberty for everyone:

A Dallas, Texas man accused of prostituting underage girls was secretly ordered by a federal judge to unlock his iPhone using his fingerprint, according to federal court documents that are now unsealed…Experts also warned these demands [will] probably not [be interpreted by cop-worshiping courts as] a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination…The authorities were unable to access the phone’s contents…[because] if a iPhone [sic] that has been fingerprint enabled has not been used for at least 48 hours, both the password and fingerprint are required to unlock it…Martavious Banks Keys…is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children…He allegedly forced two girls, ages 14 and 15, to have sex with men who paid him $150 a session…One girl told authorities that Keys made her perform anal sex when her vagina was bleeding from abuse…

Counter-Countermeasure

I’m not really sure why this article is discussing a two-year-old study as if it’s new, but I really don’t care.  All that’s important is that more and more mainstream media are presenting information that debunks “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…The results contradict some of the most common stereotypes we have about sex trafficking and sex work.  For example, only 14 percent of female New York respondents said that they worked for a pimp, and in New Jersey that number was just 13 percent including males and females; 47 percent in New Jersey said that they didn’t even know a pimp.  Most reported that they had not been introduced to sex work by a stranger at all, but rather by a family member or family friend, and most said that they were not forced into sex work by any one person, but rather because of a lack of housing, or money, or that they couldn’t get by on low-paying jobs.  The…research also calls into question the narrative of helpless girls and violent pimps who throw them into hotel-brothels…Busting the myths matters, because we pass laws and make policies that don’t help the people who need it most…

The More the Better (#544)

I’d be much happier with an article doing something like this for escorting, since there are literally thousands of escorts for every Nevada brothel worker.  However, every little bit helps to undermine the “sin and degradation” narrative:

Insatiably curious about what the process for becoming a legal, full-time sex worker might look like, I couldn’t help but wonder how a person even begins to go about working at a place like one of Nevada’s brothels.  Did someone like me have what it takes to become the object of another person’s desire?  Well, one cursory Google search later later, I discovered these places actually have online applications for employment!  And that is how I ended up applying for a job at Sheri’s Ranch…

Property of the State (#640) 

It’s impossible to overstate how important this reversal is:

The Indiana Court of Appeals…overturned the 2015 feticide conviction of Purvi Patel…In a 3-0 ruling, the judges said that the state feticide statute was not intended to apply to abortions, and legal experts said that…it should give Indiana prosecutors pause before bringing similar charges against pregnant women in the future…the court relied heavily on how prosecutors have applied the feticide law in the past, noting that this case was an “abrupt departure” from its typical usage:  cases in which a pregnant woman and her unborn child are the victims of violence…It stopped short of clearing her of any criminal responsibility…upholding a lower-level felony neglect conviction for failing to provide medical care to the baby, who medical experts testified was alive and breathing after birth…

If It Were Legal (#656)

I’m rather skeptical of the claimed disparity here, but at least they’re not pretending the escorts flocked from out of town for the conference:

It’s been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland…Republican National Convention attendees…are clamoring for their services.  “Business has been way better. I’ve seen 10 clients so far,” one male escort said…Another escort said he had already earned $1,600 since Monday — over six times the amount he usually makes…But ladies of the night weren’t reaping the same benefits…females for hire said they’re making much less money than normal…

To Molest and Rape (#657)

And please don’t think South Africa is any worse than the US in this respect:

More than 400 sex workers reported cases of abuse at the hands of the police between 2011 and 2015, according to a Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) report on cases of physical assault‚ rape‚ harassment and unlawful arres…414 sex workers reported 682 instances of abuse‚ mostly harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of the police.  Almost 20% of those who reported police abuse said they had been physically assaulted and 3% said they had been sexually assaulted…

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When we say “science” we can either mean any manipulation of the inventive and organizing power of the human intellect: or we can mean such an extremely different thing as the religion of science the vulgarized derivative from this pure activity manipulated by a sort of priestcraft into a great religious and political weapon.  –  Wyndham Lewis

tobacco ad pseudoscienceWhile unsupported arguments from authority are a powerful persuader for a certain fraction of the population (especially when they agree with existing cherished beliefs), they simply aren’t enough to carry bad policy any more.  Don’t get me wrong; they’re still the basis for the majority of laws, rules and regulations.  However, the internet provides a powerful tool for those who actually know something about a subject to present facts which refute the propaganda, no matter how heavily it is promulgated by establishment media.  This allows them to break the government’s information control over skeptics and people with at least a grade-school level of scientific literacy, who can in turn make their own arguments from authority to counter the official narrative.  Bogus studies have thus become a vital tool for keeping the masses sedated; since most people aren’t scientifically literate or well-informed enough to recognize a fake “study” when they see it, this gives the mythmakers their own “facts” with which to counter those disseminated by the real experts.  And even though those experts can debunk the faux “statistics”, the establishment’s lies are much louder and shouted through a far larger number of megaphones, so countermeasures may not be believed even when they’re heard.

This is why it’s always a relief to see debunking of “sex trafficking” mythology reported in large media venues; the moral panic will not end until our debunking of the fetishists’ claims begin to receive equal publicity to statements of those claims.  Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about:  the “trafficking” paradigm pretends that huge numbers of underage girls are forced into the trade by evil “pimps”.  But unfortunately for pimp-fantasy-lovers, this is not only false, it was disproven by a major study funded by none other than the US Department of Justice:

…the John Jay study…“thoroughly obliterated the…core assumptions about underage prostitution…Only 10 percent were involved with a…pimp…about 45 percent got in…through friends…Nearly all…said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.  In other words, the typical [underage sex worker]…is not a tween girl, has not been sold into sexual slavery, and is not held captive by a pimp”…law enforcement “authorities” were very unhappy with the results…which is why they have been buried…the DoJ…immediately ditched [principal researcher Ric] Curtis in favor of his younger, hungrier and less-principled assistant [Meredith] Dank, who was obviously instructed to do another study which would find what the DoJ wanted found – that pimps run the whole show – so as to shore up “sex trafficking” mythology and justify the vast expenditures and rampant civil liberties violations of the War on Whores.  Since interviewing real sex workers would merely find the truth again, they were largely avoided except for an easily-manipulated handful in prison…And since interviewees might still tell some truth despite incentives to the contrary, the fantasies of cops and prosecutors were included to balance that…

White Slaves of ChinatownOf course, this countermeasure was touted far and wide; it was called a “landmark” study and its preordained “conclusions” were trumpeted in every news source in the US and many abroad, and the fact that it was as bad a piece of bogus “research” as anything Melissa Farley or the Schapiro Group ever produced wasn’t obvious to the average consumer of establishment infotainment.  Not to be outdone, Curtis and others performed a data analysis of the John Jay and several other studies to serve as a counter-countermeasure to Dank’s countermeasure.  While Dank interviewed 36 jailed street workers, the new study drew on interviews with 372 still in the business; while Dank encouraged 73 jailed “pimps” to tell tall tales, the new study drew on non-leading interviews with 85.  Naturally the results were totally the opposite, and best of all they were reported in several major venues.  International Business Times was first, though its headline bizarrely contradicts the article itself by claiming “half” of underage sex workers were “lured by pimps”:

…Although 87.2% of these young sex workers reported wanting to leave their line of work, none of them stated that a controlling pimp was their reason for staying…The most popular cause for staying…was economic status [and] problems with finding…alternative employment…only 10% of the minors had a pimp at the time of the research, only 1.6% lived with a pimp and 47% reported not knowing a pimp…pimps were only responsible for initiating 8.1% of the minors into sex work.  Instead, minors were coerced into joining the industry by their peers 47% of the time and their customers 23% of the time…

Slate’s coverage a week later was even better:

…the researchers…found…that the narrative of [underage prostitution]…they had been sold by local activists—one where knife-wielding pimps lure girls into prostitution then brutalize them into compliance—existed in only rare cases and didn’t describe most people’s experiences…“stereotypical pimps are far less common and important to street sex markets than would be expected…all sex workers in both Atlantic City and New York City described experiencing increasing, rather than decreasing, agency and control over their work over time.”  Many of the girls and boys they interviewed “had left pimps because they were violent, mentally abusive, lazy, poor business associates, unable to protect them, extracting too much money, or no longer fun to be around,” sometimes within days or weeks of meeting…Pimps, too, failed to fit the stereotypical mold.  “We were told pimps were not approachable because they were too dangerous and didn’t want to talk,” [said Dr. Anthony Marcus]…“But all they wanted to do was talk, talk, talk—that’s what they do for a living”…One pimp told them that going after underage girls constituted “pimp suicide…teenage prostitutes don’t earn enough money”…And while some pimps boasted about exerting control over “their” sex workers, the women working with them told a different story…

The war of information continues:  sex workers explain what the demimonde is really like, prohibitionists counter by pretending we don’t know what we’re talking about and presenting lies and exaggerations as though they were facts, then activists and sex work researchers debunk the bogus reports.  Measure is followed by countermeasure, which is in turn answered by a counter-countermeasure; though it may seem hopeless, big lies take a lot of effort to maintain, while we only have to keep repeating the truth.

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