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Posts Tagged ‘cult of the child’

Harris’s contempt for sex workers lies at the heart of her hypocrisy.  –  Stephen Lemons

Feminine Pragmatism 

Wherever there are men making money, there will be enterprising women working to get some of it:

Mongolia’s mining boom started in the early 2000s and mining now accounts for around 20 per cent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product.  The growth…has created a spike in internal migration to mining areas – most notably Ömnögovi…The coal route from the Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit to the Chinese border is synonymous with sex work fuelled by the mining industry…In contrast to the stigma…in the city…the border area [i]s accepting and open…four or five women travel to the border area with a driver and rent a ger (a traditional round felted tent) to stay…If [truck] drivers don’t have cash, they pay in fuel: 40 or 50 litres of diesel for one act, 100 litres for one hour.  The women then resell the fuel when they can…Ulaanbaatar…is [by contrast] a harsh environment for women working in the trade…sex [workers] in…sauna[s] in the capital…[are beaten by] police and customers…ultra-nationalists target sex workers on the street and shave their heads to disgrace them…

Despite the obligatory “sex trafficking” disinformation and nonsense sprinkled throughout, the article is not a bad look at sex work in a part of the world few Westerners know anything about.

See No Evil (#25)

Are the Japanese the only people left on Earth who can tell fantasy from reality?

The United Nations has proposed an international initiative…to tighten…restrictions and prohibition of…child pornography…However…child pornography…”is defined…as ‘any representation of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities…includ[ing]…visual material such as photographs, movies, drawings and cartoons…including when…such material represents…non-existing children”…

Blunt Instrument

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

One South Carolina [politician] is working to shut down massage parlors…Mandy Powers Norrell proposed legislation that could close those places for good.  “It will give labor, licensing, and regulation the authority to close them down and prosecute any [women] found there,” [she bloviated]…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…In case after case, [motorists were robbed by cops claiming]…the cash was found near drugs.  Yet few…ever were arrested.   They were caught in one of the most aggressive [robbery] operations in [South Carolina, where the]…police…[stole] nearly $50,000 from…motorists over a two-year period…$135 for every person living in Nichols.  That’s six times more per resident than any other police department in the state…

An Example To the West (#636)

Ugandan sex workers demand their rights:

Human and women rights activists have appealed to Members of Parliament not to criminalise prostitution as they debate and pass the pending Sexual Offences Bill of 2015…”These arrests are mostly carried out to solicit bribes from sex workers and harass them.  Few of them get to trial.  The provision, is therefore, unnecessary since it is unenforceable,” [said] Macklean Mary Kyomya…of Alliance of Women Advocating for Change…activists brandished placards reading…”outlaw poverty not prostitution…rights not rescue…my body, my business”…

Secret Squirrel (#686)

Conditioning squares to accept intrusive monitoring of every aspect of their lives:

Devices worn on employees’ bodies are an increasingly valuable source of workforce health intelligence for employers and insurance companies.  It’s fueling a boom in the use of wrist-borne health and fitness monitors such as those made by Fitbit, Garmin and Apple…the information is not covered by federal rules that protect health records from disclosure.  And when it’s combined with data such as credit scores, employees are giving up more insights about themselves than they realize…In general, employees in such programs [“voluntarily”] sign up for digital health monitoring.  They are lured by cash, reduced premiums, or reimbursements for co-payments and deductibles…Fitbit is moving aggressively to sign up companies.  It added a call service that [nag]…workers…via text messages and phone calls…whose data shows they are falling short of their [assigned “fitness goals”]…

You amateurs really think being spied on like this is OK?  No wonder fantasies of whores “enslaved” by exploitative bosses who spy on their every move are so popular; it’s just amateurs projecting their work conditions onto us.

Pyrrhic Victory (#697)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

The use of PredPol—a predictive policing software…is far more widespread than previously reported…PredPol claims to use an algorithm to predict crime in specific 500-foot by 500-foot sections of a city, so that police can…surveil specific areas more heavily…PredPol [has] contract[s or] negotiation[s]…with…South Jordan, UT; Mountain View, CA; Atlanta, GA; Haverhill, GA; Palo Alto, CA; Modesto, CA; Merced, CA; Livermore, CA; Tacoma, WA; and the University of California, Berkeley…Los Angeles, Elgin [CA], Oakland [CA], Richmond [CA]…Milpitas [CA]…Santa Cruz, CA; Morgan Hill, CA, Fairfield, CA, Los Gatos/Monte Sereno, CA; Campbell, CA; Salinas, CA; Alhambra, CA; Lansing, MI; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Columbia, SC…Manhattan, KS…Little Rock, AK; Kent, England; Reading, PA; “and many more”…Predpol explicitly encourage[s] police departments to dedicate their resources towards petty crime…Shahid Buttar, the Director of Grassroots Advocacy for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)…[explains] it’s impossible to expect unbiased results from predictive policing technology, because the data it analyzes is structurally biased.  Predictive policing is “driven by…data that itself reflects longstanding and pervasive bias…If you overpolice certain communities, and only detect crime within those communities, and then try to provide a heat map of predictions, any AI will predict that crimes will occur in the places that they’ve happened before”…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are still masturbating to the fantasy that emojis are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

Bay Area prosecutors were trying to prove that a man arrested during a prostitution sting was guilty of pimping charges, and among the [supposed] evidence was a series of Instagram DMs he’d allegedly sent to a woman…with high heels and money bag emoji placed at the end…[a hired gun claiming to be] an expert…in sex trafficking…[fantasized under oath that] the high heels and bags of money supported the interpretation that the defendant was accused of sex trafficking, essentially translating to “wear your high heels to come make some money.”  Another message from the defendant included the crown emoji, which was said to signify that the “pimp is the king”.  Ultimately, the ruling didn’t hinge on the interpretation of emoji, but [that didn’t stop prosecutors from trying to destroy lives based on the masturbatory fantasies of people who’ve never done sex work in their lives]…

Uncommon Sense (#745)

Yet another registration regime fails miserably, as we keep telling y’all:

Only 76 of the reportedly 200,000 women (0.038%) who work as prostitutes in Germany have registered for state services [and of course politicians can’t understand why]…sex workers [can] register for state-run health insurance, pensions and unemployment benefits…[but the price after a new and paternalistic] law was enacted…in 2017 [is] regist[ration with pigs, mandatory “counseling”, prying into their private lives by social workers and compulsory] regular health [inspections]…most prostitutes…register under some different professional category in order to continue working anonymously…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#848)

Never underestimate the human capacity to obsess about things that don’t exist:

…sex robots are rapidly becoming a part of…national [fantasies] about the future of sex and relationships….a number of companies are currently developing [human-shaped sex toys]…with a few already on the market…A 2017 survey suggested almost half of Americans think that having sex with robots will become a common practice within 50 years [the same fraction who think Donald Trump is intelligent and genetically-modified foods are dangerous].  As a [pompous windbag]…I’m interested in the legal and policy questions that sex robots pose…How will [masturbating] with a sex [doll]] affect the human [soul]?  Would sex with a child[-shaped toaster] be ethical?…

These articles are so deeply stupid, I just can’t take them at all seriously any more.  Despite the claims in the title, “sex robots” are not here, and never will be in the form envisioned by both fetishists and prohibitionists.  And the dolls (that’s all they are, silicone dolls) which people insist on incorrectly calling “robots” are inanimate objects which raise no more “ethical issues” than a Baby Alive or a tablet computer.

Held Together With Lies (#858)

We haven’t seen this concentration of ludicrous claims in a couple of years now:

[The rescue industry] is the business of stealing freedom for profit.  [Sex workers labeled against their will as] victims of trafficking are deprived of their basic human rights, dehumanized, brutalized and objectified [by police]…Human trafficking business is [fantasized] to generate $100 billion annually, more than Apple, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Nike combined…there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally…we [masturbate furiously while fantasizing] that there are countless victims, some only young teens…in our own communities…Sex trafficking data is scarce and has many gaps, due to [our making it up as we go]…

As usual, ridiculous numbers are slung about in self-contradictory fashion, mis-citing sources (the 40.3 million fantasy is from the NGO “Walk Free Foundation”, not the ILO as claimed) and claiming knowledge while admitting there is none.  So naturally I had to correct the wording a bit.

Top Cop

Another example of the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.  That’s what pundits from The Nation to the Washington Post fail to grasp about the onetime romance between former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and California Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris.  Harris’s apologists would have people believe that discussion of the relationship, which occurred two decades ago when Brown held the powerful post of Speaker of the California Assembly and Harris was a lowly deputy district attorney in California’s Alameda County, is sexist, racist, or both.  Viewed in light of Harris’s ongoing war on sex workers, however, her advantageous liaison with Brown indicates that she has no problem applying different rules to herself than she does to others…Maggie McNeill [said]…“I have absolutely nothing against the fact that she used her sexuality to get by in the world…What I do have a problem with, is that having gained that power, she used it to attack other women for doing the same thing”…

Disaster (#909)

The successors of Tumblr:

…with Tumblr’s strict adult-content ban…kinky bloggers fled the site–searching for, and trying to build, new communities.  One of the fastest growing of these sites is relative newcomer newTumbl, which has gained about 40,000 blogs since it launched on December 31.  True to its name, the site closely resembles Tumblr–at least the NSFW parts that are now banned…MojoFire, a site created by members of the BDSM community but aspiring to host all types of content, has not yet launched.  Yet others were already in the works before the Tumblr porn ban and have seen a large influx of refugee bloggers.  For instance, Pillowfort–another site meant for a broad community–has been straining with the arrival of former Tumblr users, forcing it to limit new sign-ups…MakeLoveNotPorn…[has] provided a hub for user-generated “social sex” videos since 2009…

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

Up until the nineteenth century in the West (and much later in most of the world), people understood that the point of childhood was to prepare for adulthood.  As psychologist Robert Epstein pointed out, “In every mammalian species, immediately upon reaching puberty, animals function as adults, often having offspring…In most nonindustrialized societies, young people are integrated into adult society as soon as they are capable, and there is no sign of teen turmoil.  Many cultures do not even have a term for adolescence…”  And yet nowadays, we have artificially extended childhood not just past puberty, but in some ways into the third decade of life; people who though most of human history would’ve been working in a profession, been married, and even held positions of responsibility are now un-ironically referred to and treated as “children”.  The confusion between the biological reality of childhood and the increasingly-extended legal concept is so profound that many people quite seriously label sex between someone over 18 and a 17-year-old young adult (above the age of consent in over 80% of the world) as “child rape”, as though the 17 year old were actually (rather than just statutorily) a complete incompetent who might as well be 4 for all the rights she has.  But I’ve discussed this topic on a number of essays, including “The Shape of the Spoon” and “Still a Child“; it’s not really the infantilization of young adults (under the misapprehension that they aren’t adults) which I want to address today, but rather the infantilization of adults that everyone agrees are indeed adults.

I realize that’s probably not very clear, so I call your attention to today’s epigram, and also to Robert Heinlein’s statement that “The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.”  Or the very concept of “family friendly”, which not only pretends that all families have young children, but that the entire family should be limited to what is appropriate for the youngest.  Furthermore, the bluenoses and control freaks want to seal all of society, even older adults who have no dependent spawn, into a worldwide nursery where everything conforms to their idea of what is “safe” for young children; these Procrustean prudes want to censor books, television, movies, the internet and even society until they are satisfied that nothing exists, even in private, which might confuse or upset a 7-year-old.  Lest you think I exaggerate, consider the War on Sex (of which the War on Whores is only the front lines), whose excesses and violence are excused under the banner of “child protection”; sex workers are repeatedly infantilized both in our intellectual and emotional capacities, and in a pretense of fact.  It’s no accident that one of the most ludicrous myths of the “sex trafficking” hysteria, the notion that the average sex worker debuts at the age of 13, is also one that prohibitionists cling to most doggedly and repeat most obsessively:  it implies that we are all psychologically and emotionally locked into a juvenile state due to the supposed “trauma” of our work in a way that the dogma we were all molested as children (or have daddy issues or whatever) can only hint at.  But even this trope isn’t as revealing as the astonishingly stupid statement that “no little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute”; leaving aside the evident absurdities of this non-argument (which I’ve previously discussed), consider what it is actually saying:  that adults (or at least adult women) should only be allowed to do work, or presumably any activity for that matter, which a young child can comprehend.  Obviously, even those who vomit out such idiocies don’t really believe them; nobody complains that “no little girl dreams of being a middle manager” or “no little boy dreams of being an accountant”.  No, it only applies to sex…which is what “family friendly” means too, despite that every family owes its existence to sex.  What it all boils down to is, people who are uncomfortable with their own sexual feelings want to keep everyone else from having any kind of sexual life that hasn’t been sanitized into unrecognizability, and “the children” are just a convenient excuse.

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Jeremy Malcolm is the founder and director of the Prostasia Foundation, the first sex-positive and pro-civil rights child protection organization.  He’s an IT and intellectual property lawyer and consultant, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum; prior to Prostasia he was Senior Global Policy Analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation. When he asked me to be on Prostasia’s advisory council I gladly accepted, and when it came time to start getting the word out I naturally offered this space.

As a child, I remember how terrified I was by a rerun of the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the lead character attempts to sound the alarm about a stealth alien invasion of Earth.  In the final scene of the movie, mounting panic overcomes him as realizes that he is too late, and that the vehicles passing him by on the roadside are already carrying the alien pods that contain the seeds of humanity’s doom.  The movie was widely interpreted as a cold war allegory, because it reflected how the public fear of infiltration of the United States by communists had been worked up into such a frenzy by Senator Joseph McCarthy that it empowered the government (for a while) to get away with taking repressive measures in response—measures that would never otherwise have been considered justified outside of wartime.  Although the red scare has passed, the public feeling of creeping terror about existential threats to our society, and the shrewd and calculating management of that feeling, remains part and parcel of contemporary politics today.  So much so, that international relations scholars have a specific a word used to describe what happens when governments manipulate public fear in this way: it’s called securitization.

When a public policy issue is not merely politicized, but securitized, it is constructed in such a way that authorities assert the right to take extraordinary and otherwise impermissible measures in response.  Whatever the issue happens to be—it might be terrorism, ebola, or migration, for instance—if politicians are able to whip up enough hysteria about the threat that it poses to the integrity and long-term survival of a society, concerns about human rights, public debate, and due process can be hand-waved away.  Too much is at stake—our lives, our liberty!  And very often too: our children.  So it is that we often observe this pattern of rhetoric when child protection laws are put forward.  It is quite right that we should do all that we can constitutionally do to protect children from sexual abuse, and that the political process should be a part of this.  It’s also normal that politicians will selectively use the evidence that supports laws that they favor.  But a healthy political process is one in which that evidence is at least open for debate, and in which the effects of proposed laws on our rights and freedoms as a society are carefully scrutinized.  These democratic safeguards are frequently bypassed when it comes to child protection laws, because of how child sexual abuse is securitized, framed as an existential threat that has to be purged from society at any cost.  This construction of the issue transforms Congress from what should be – a sober, deliberative legislative body (a filter for the views of the people, as Alexander Hamilton would have it) – into a mirror of a society in moral panic, willing to accept with a minimum of scrutiny almost any measure that purports to address the problem.

Proponents of such laws know this full well, which is why they invest heavily in fueling and manipulating the moral panic that gives child protection this privileged status in political discourse.  One way in which they do this is by playing on emotions, rather than evidence—and since child protection involves very strong emotions anyway, all that might be needed to push a law over the line might be the performative retelling of the story of the victim chosen to be the law’s public face (Megan’s Law, the template for America’s ubiqituous, although ineffective, sex offender registration laws, is a good example of this).  It was much the same in the case of FOSTA/SESTA too, for which it was a movie about sex trafficking, along with a series of increasingly fever-pitched (if largely fictitious) stories about the commercial child sex trafficking industry, that made the law unassailable against evidence of its flaws.  In the end, all but two Senators voted for a law that has actually made the fight against sex trafficking harder, while also harming sex educators, putting adult sex workers in physical danger, and seeing a rash of privatized censorship sweeping the Internet.  Even aside from these laws’ harmful side-effects, they aren’t even fit for purpose, because the vast majority of sexual offending isn’t a result of child sex trafficking, nor is it committed by those who are already registered sex offenders.  In fact, notwithstanding popular belief to the contrary, most child sex offending isn’t even committed by pedophiles.  That’s not to say that prevention interventions can’t be aimed at these groups, but if that’s where we stop then we are barely scratching the surface of the problem.  Politicians and the public alike rely a lot on the stereotype of the child sexual abuser as a creepy old man hanging around a schoolyard in a van, or the brazen sidewalk pimp with links to organized crime.  Just as the stereotype of the psycho serial killer represents the much larger problem of violence in America, it can be perversely comforting to be able to focus our attention on these sorts of outlying abusers, as it helps us feel that we have a handle on the problem.

What was scariest about Invasion of the Body Snatchers wasn’t the fear an alien might come and kill you or a loved one.  The most terrifying part of the movie (spoiler alert!) was the revelation that your loved one was already an alien, and you didn’t even know it.  The “red scare” was so scary not because of the reds over the ocean, but because of the reds under the bed.  So too, potential child abusers are in every neighborhood, and in many families; they don’t identify (nor would be clinically diagnosed) as pedophiles, and they certainly aren’t going to be prevented from offending by laws aimed at the sex industry or at those who have offended in the past.  It’s a sobering thought.  But the good news is that the scale of the problem doesn’t have to make us feel paralyzed into inaction.  There are things that we can do—it’s just that politicians aren’t going to do them, or at least not for as long as self-righteous morals campaigners and “tough on crime” ideologues control the child protection agenda.  What’s needed is a broader primary sex-positive prevention approach that respects the civil and human rights of all.  Prostasia Foundation is the first child protection organization to simultaneously champion such an approach, while also criticizing laws and policies that while putatively for child protection, are really nothing more than child protection theater.  Formed following the passage of FOSTA/SESTA by a diverse group including child sexual abuse survivors, civil rights campaigners, medical health professionals, and sex industry experts, we are currently crowdfunding with the aim of a full launch next month, and we could use your support.

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Because our political class believes in myths, not solid evidence, they keep creating policies directed at an imaginary bogeyman, not real criminals.  –  Jenny Heineman & Brooke Wagner

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

A MILLION!!!!!

La Porte County [Indiana] Prosecutor John Espar [fed ludicrous propaganda to] local residents at First Baptist Church on human trafficking…He [lied that] the rate of sex crimes spiked between 1998 and 2007 with the growing popularity of Internet usage, which gave offenders access to children…to whom they did not have access previously…As many as one million children are exploited for commercial sex annually…children who become victims typically do so between the ages of 12 and 14…“So many of these (sex) workers, even if they’re not realizing it at this point in their lives, are still victims of exploitation”…

The Proper Study

Ric Curtis, who headed the Jon Jay study, is still debunking prohibitionist lies:

As they crack down on sex workers and pass outrageous new laws, our politicians and moral crusaders make some bold claims: Hundreds of thousands of children…at an average age of 13…is any of this true?…from 2012 to 2014, we spent nine months walking a [stroll] in Las Vegas…We handed out condoms and other harm-reduction material…The primary investigator, Ric Curtis, designed the study based on his experience collecting data from other “hard to reach” populations…The study had several teams collecting data in major cities across the US that had been dubbed as “hubs of sex trafficking”…after interviewing 949 people across 6 cities…[we found] the assumptions that inform government policy on sex workers are merely myths.  And those myths are easily disproved once you bother to get the data, which we did…In our subsample of youth under the age of 18…engaged in survival sex…24%…had a pimp…liberally defined as someone with whom the respondent shared their earnings…one young woman’s experience stood out as representative …Rena, who was 16 at the time of the interview, laughed when we asked if she had a pimp. She tipped her head toward one of her friends.  “That’s my pimp,” Rena giggled.  She was an 18-year-old woman who helped Rena use the internet to get clients and was herself engaged in survival sex. The two young women pooled their money together to meet their shared living expenses…Rena’s friend could be considered a sex trafficker under the current legal regime…

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do  exist are cops:

Police are choosing to allow brothels to operate providing they create a safe environment for women, one former detective – now a brothel owner – has told the BBC…Despite it being illegal to operate a brothel in England and Wales – although not illegal to buy and sell sex – Karl says he has no moral qualms about breaking the law because he does not agree with it, and he says he is not exploiting the women who work for him…

The Widening Gyre 

New York is way behind cities like Seattle, Phoenix & Houston in promoting the hysteria:

Inside a handsome brick building on a tree-lined street near Brooklyn’s Prospect Park lay one of the city’s dirtiest secrets…two 16-year-old girls were allegedly being kept inside as sex slaves…the teens’ captors forced them to strip to their underwear, pose for Backpage.com ads and have sex with up to 10 johns a day…thousands of sex slaves being trafficked under the noses of New York City residents every day…[vice cop] Jim Klein [said]…“It’s modern-day slavery”…the average victim is…as young as 12…“One guy kept [a girl] in a dog cage because she wasn’t cooperating”…a…14-year-old…was found locked in a closet surrounded by pots of urine…

Original Sin

Welcome back to the 16th century:

Priests attending an annual exorcism conference in Rome are set to discuss whether pornography has a demonic influence.  Over 250 priests and theologians as well as criminologists and psychologists from 51 countries have gathered at the week-long Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation conference…attendees will discuss the prevalence of pornography in modern society, and consider if it is a “modern cultural phenomenon of an evil that harms people,” and to what extent it may have what he described as a demonic influence…

Imagination Pinned Down (#551)

Stereotypic conformation in progress:

Jessa Dillow Crisp has spent the better part of the last decade learning who she is…as a child victim of human trafficking.  Now, she works to help others who are or have been in the same situation.  She is co-founder and executive director of Bridgehope…As a child…in…Canada, Crisp was abused and sold into the sexual human trafficking sector by her family…she would eventually be sold to a circuit operating in the United States…“during the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was…sadistic pain and horrific evil.”  Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said that he sees more sex trafficking in the way of consensual sex workers, not forced abusers…during large events like Thunder Over Louisville or the Kentucky Derby…her identity was also stripped away by her abusers, who controlled where she went, what she ate, how she sat, how she talked…Some of the signs are behavioral, like having a…phone, the connection to [a partner]…styles of dress that [busybodies claim] are way beyond their years…

Most professional “survivors” don’t last long; it’ll be interesting to see if this one graduates to including classic elements like brutal clients and being dragged behind a car.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

…in the United States, Rep. Dan Donovan…introduced legislation to ban [child-shaped sex] dolls, in a bill named Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots, otherwise known as the CREEPER Act…some [actual experts] suggest…dolls could be used to deter the real-life fulfillment of pedophilic urges…[but politicians and other prohibitionists pretend human sexual impulses are learned and can be eliminated via threats of violence] Donovan [claims] “Once a child sex abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to an innocent child…[puritans pretend] these dolls reinforce, normalize, and encourage pedophilic behavior”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

Ken White explains the latest wrinkle in the Stormy Daniels case:

…Conventional wisdom is that federal courts are better for the defense and more likely to enforce arbitration agreements.  However, federal judges move faster and abide by deadlines and rules more closely, and are substantially less tolerant of bullshit than state judges.  If substantial portions of your defense are premised on bullshit and delay, don’t remove to federal court…the main issue is whether the nondisclosure agreement [is]…enforceable.  If [so]…Trump…could conceivably get a gag order against Clifford and get massive damages against her for breaching the confidentiality agreement, and could do so through a private arbitration proceeding instead of in public…

It’s complicated, so you’ll need to read the whole thing.

Disaster (#831)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

The US’ latest attempt to silence sex workers…has begun to chill free speech across the internet.  A number of websites have had to either shut down or actively distance themselves from the notion that they support sex work. And the problem is only going to get worse as time goes on…It’s not just…adults-only websites and platforms that are now having to crack down on discussions of sex.  Microsoft and Google have moved to alter their terms of service…and…not even private discussions are safe…Microsoft…claim[ed] the right to examine your content…[and] Google is purging adult content from private Drive accounts…sex workers are attempting to protect themselves against the bill by building platforms beyond the reach of American authorities….Red Umbrella Hosting…offers judgment-free, anonymous and sex-worker-friendly hosting.  Then there is Switter…launched in response to FOSTA-SESTA and Twitter’s alleged shadowbanning practices.  In a few short weeks, it has already acquired nearly 23,000 followers…

But it didn’t take long for Switter to feel the government’s boot:

[Last] Wednesday,  Cloudflare terminated its content delivery network services for…the weeks-old Switter…Cloudflare has confirmed…that the company terminated service to Switter because of FOSTA, but also said it’s “a very bad law”…When [Switter] organizers…reached out to Cloudflare for explanation, they were met with a vague notice  that Switter violated the company’s Terms of Service…Switter moved to a new content delivery network and is still up, but Cloudflare’s decision to terminate service was jarring…Cloudflare, historically, has been a vocal supporter of the open internet…

And here’s a heads up from a confidential source: the sleazebags behind FOSTA are butthurt that everyone sees their tyranny for what it is and they’re preparing for a major PR offensive to convince people that censorship isn’t censorship.  The first of it started on Sunday.

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Here’s a recent article about a strategy for protecting children from sexual abuse:

…children have a natural ability to sense who is safe and who is not safe.  “You, the parents, need to trust this sense and foster its development rather than try to change a child’s mind.”  So, believe your children and cultivate a “No Secret” family…Susan Caruso…argues that it is vitally important to use the correct terms for a child’s private parts and talk about body safety.  Caruso encourages parents to use the terms “surprise” or “safe secrets” when it comes to temporarily withholding information for birthdays or holidays.  Outside of this, parents need to be clear that “we don’t keep secrets in our family”…

That’s all very commendable and well-intended, but it was clearly dreamed up by straight, vanilla people who either developed late or don’t remember their own childhood sexuality, and therefore think of sexual secrets as only something that a child would be asked to keep by a molester, when in actuality a child might have their own sexual secrets that have nothing to do with molestation.  While it’s true that some children, perhaps even the majority, have rather low-key sexualities that don’t go much beyond “it feels good when I touch myself like this,” many others fall into sexual or gender minorities that stand out in sharp contrast to what they see around them or on television.  As I’ve written before, I was attracted to women from a young age, and though I didn’t realize my fascination with bondage and power exchange (especially science fiction mind-control) was “sexual”, I did understand that other people were not similarly fascinated, and I felt intense feelings of shame around it.  Nor am I alone; many of my queer and/or kinky friends report feeling that way from a young age, and most of us recognized it as something we should keep to ourselves because our parents wouldn’t accept or understand.

Though my mother assiduously avoided sexual topics with me, and dismissed me or gave me non-answers when I cautiously asked sexual questions, I do think she would’ve believed me had I been molested and told her about it.  I suspect that’s not so unusual; I can imagine that many people, especially in the present climate of child sex abuse hysteria, would be ready to believe that their child was molested, but would freak the fuck out if the child admitted to homosexual or kinky feelings themselves, or declared that they were of other than their biological gender.  In fact, I can easily imagine parents blaming a nonexistent molester for “putting those ideas” in the child’s head (the anti-sex mob calls this “prematurely sexualizing” them) rather than admit that their “precious, pure little angel” was a queer or a pervert or trans or all of the above.  The result could be even more traumatic than a molestation, and instill lifelong shame and trust issues.

The fact of the matter is, children are people separate from their parents; they are not part of their parents, and they aren’t owned by them, nor are they blank slates to be written neatly upon in whatever style and language their parents desire.  They are individuals with their own personalities from the very beginning, and a certain fraction of them are born with (or develop at an early age via mysterious channels) sexual or gender patterns that have nothing to do with what their parents might prefer or choose to “teach” them.  And individuals of any age past toddlerhood deserve a certain degree of privacy, especially in the realm of their own thoughts.  So by all means, tell your children that it’s wrong for anyone to ask or order them to keep secrets from you, but before you unilaterally declare that “we don’t keep secrets in our family,” you had better give some thought to how you’re going to react if your little darling trustingly confides in you about “weird” sexual feelings you’d really rather they didn’t have.

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

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

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

An Enormous Big Nothing

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

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

Dirty Amateurs

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

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

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

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

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

So Close and Yet So Far

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

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

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

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

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

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

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

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

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

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

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

Under Review (#733)

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

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

I Saw My Brain (#773)

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

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

Wise Investment (#775)

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

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

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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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