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Posts Tagged ‘disease’

DHS…is spending its time knowingly policing paid sex acts between consenting adults (even though prostitution is not a federal crime).  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Japanese Prostitution

A modern descendant of the walled districts of feudal times:

…In its prime from the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s, Japanese civil servants, policemen, and salarymen from the nearest main island would take a 3-minute boat ride to [Watakano]…where a quarter of its 270 residents were sex workers…girls…could each make as much as two million yen ($19,000), or the equivalent of $26,000 today, every month.  Residents who weren’t sex workers ran grocery stores, cafes, and apartment complexes.  Hidden yet prosperous, Watakano Island enjoyed decades of economic wealth.  But when Japan’s economic bubble burst in 1992…high spenders stopped visiting…the[n]…In 1998, Japan legalized [outcall] escort services…

Rooted in Racism

Anti-sex laws are deeply rooted in racism all over the world:

…law enforcement uses sex-negative legislation to enable harm against marginalized communities…Laws targeting sex work and pornography “have sexist, racist, and classist origins”…and those underlying roots continue to manifest themselves to this day.  For example, “anti-trafficking” organization Polaris works with [cops] and ICE to arrest and deport…sex workers with a special emphasis on Asian sex workers.  Between 2012 and 2016, arrests of Asian people in New York City for “unauthorized practice of a profession” and prostitution rose 2,700 percent.  In 2018 Polaris launched a campaign to close “illicit” massage parlors…thousands of Asian women have lost their businesses and their livelihoods…Laws against loitering for purposes of prostitution…empower police to profile, harass and arrest women for existing in public spaces…[using excuses] such as “wearing a skirt” and “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand” as justification

Think of the Children! (#571) 

No doubt the children were contaminated by sex rays!

A Sacramento [woman’s] three young kids were expelled from a Catholic school because she sells sexy videos online.  The principal…[wo]n’t even [let the children] pick up their things left in class.  Crystal Jackson…is making up to $150,000 a month selling access to photos and videos on her Only Fans account.  [Only] some of the pictures include nudity.  But…a [busybody caught her husband looking at]…her site and started a campaign [with her busybody friends] to get her three kids [expelled by sending poison pen letters including screenshots]…to the diocese and school principal…

I’m sure Jesus would approve of punishing children for the sins of their parents.

Lack of Evidence (#897) 

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

Twelve people have been arrested after…police [staged a pogrom] in Woolwich and Kent…[in order] to…exploit…sex workers [to further racist propaganda]…police st[aged an American-style raid]…on…February 16, by battering down the door and smashing glass as they [chased their terrified middle-aged Chinese victims] down [like animals]…This [pogrom resulted in] the arrest of a 44-year-old woman…a 52-year-old man…a 37-year-old…man…a 59-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman.  Another woman was arrested for immigration offences….and two [other] women were…safeguarded…to [be deported] at a later date.  [Two spokespigs oinked a lot of filthy wanking fantasies about]…modern slavery…organised…crime…and money laundering…

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.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1026)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

…the Guardian and the Observer [have] launched…a two-year reporting project [advertised as] investigating and exposing human rights abuses around the world…[but is in actuality sponsored] by Humanity United…[it] builds on [previously-published propaganda and yellow journalism]…on human trafficking…modern slavery…[and] sex trafficking…

Click on the subtitle link for Gustavo Turner’s previous reporting on the previously-published content mentioned above, which includes “articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn…slant“, including providing “a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…Humanity United…[is] a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…[founded by] a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

Social Distancing (#1084)

While India allows deranged prohibitionists to dictate public health policy:

Bangladesh has started inoculating older sex workers at the country’s biggest brothel…to protect the most vulnerable in the pandemic…“If I don’t reach them, they may not come…It’s important to encourage groups…who are disadvantaged,” said Dr Asif Mahmud of the Goalanda district where the brothel is…Bangladesh…launched a vaccination drive in the first week of February and has since vaccinated nearly 2.5 million people…

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

Hysterical fantasies about normal events seem most common in the South:

Savannah [Georgia] is [becom]ing [a hotspot for fantasies about]…human trafficking.  In one incident, a woman claim[ed] a man…was attempting to distract her at a…gas station so that he could take her children…[in reality, the man she intended to inflict cop violence upon] was actually a gas station employee who was attempting to tell [her] that the pump she was at was inoperable.  The second…post [claimed] an unmarked black car with a blue dome light in the dash attempted to pull [her] over…[she] further [lied that she] called 911 and learned the black car and a blue truck have been involved in local human trafficking incidents.  Police [den]y [that there was any such call or any such]…incidents…[in reality] the post[er]…had [simply] been involved in a confrontation in traffic with the other vehicle…

Loose Cannons (#1109)

Too bad the settlement won’t come out of prosecutors’ and sheriffs’ personal assets:

…one of the…[victims of the 2019 pogroms which entrapped Robert Kraft] has filed a federal civil lawsuit to see that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.  Keith Taig is seeking to obtain class-action status for himself and anyone who was [illegal]ly filmed while visiting the…East Spa…and subsequently slapped with criminal charges…While prosecutors [were eventually forced to] drop…all cases against the men who were surveilled, publicly humiliated, and used to make claims of a sham trafficking bust, the women…[are still being] prosecuted [despite being]…the very people police [pretend]ed…they were in this to save.  Four…have already pleaded guilty to prostitution.  Two…are still staring down serious charges…Some local press continues to report that [Lanyun] Ma stands accused of “human trafficking,” although no such charges exist…and…Prosecutors are still planning to use the [illegal] surveillance footage…

Winding Down (#1114)

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

Efforts to thwart voter-approved marijuana legalization…are evidence of a “playbook” that reflects new legal strategies and greater willingness among [politicians] to [disregard] election results…In Idaho, some [politicians] are…trying to preemptively ban marijuana legalization through an amendment to the state constitution…Utah [politicians] enacted a much more narrow medical cannabis program than was called for by a voter-approved citizen initiative…[and] the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the governor and Legislature were within their legal rights to [ignore the voters because they know better]…The Nebraska Supreme Court shot down a medical marijuana initiative before Nov. 3, saying it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot measures…South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem [used a similar rule] to [ignore] that state’s voter-approved…initiative…and now…backe[rs of liberty are] preparing to appeal to the state Supreme Court…In Mississippi, a constitutional challenge to voter-approved medical marijuana…is based on a signature-collection technicality that would nullify “every initiative in the past two decades”…Montana, which also has faced [authoritarian] legal challenges to its voter-approved recreational marijuana initiative, [is in better shape due to]…having a governor committed to upholding the vote…

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Give this man his money.  –  Judge Christine Underwood

Profit from Panic 

A pandemic can’t stop opportunists from wringing every penny they can from this hysteria before it implodes completely:

The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation…hosted its 6th annual Awareness Gala, themed “Rising from the Ashes.” The event centered on raising…funds for [the organizers by exploiting the moral panic around]…sex trafficking…Because of pandemic health guidelines, guests were invited to host in-home parties with only their close circles, family or solo.  SHERO Founder Kimberly Miles hosted the online event from the Stirling Club, with special appearances from Terry Fator, Clint Holmes, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and more…

Disaster (#949)

Australia is joining the US in trying to destroy the internet:

If Australia genuinely wants to minimise online harm, we need to have more nuanced narratives than “won’t somebody please think of the children”.  The federal government’s Online Safety Bill…[will] impede upon our digital rights, harm vulnerable groups, and c[onstrict] the way the majority of Australians experience the internet…part [of the scheme] gives the eSafety Commissioner expanded “take-down powers”…[to] order the removal of…any sexual content…or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”…Sex workers, pornography creators…sex-positive educators and activists are just some who will struggle to work online due to the scheme.  As experience of the controversial SESTA/FOSTA laws in the US…has shown, crackdowns such as these incentivise online platforms to remove or censor sexual content altogether to avoid penalty…this forces sex workers offline and often into unsafe working environments…

A Moral Cancer (#1013)

Crypto-moralists won’t hesitate to add nationalism to “health” rhetoric to advance their anti-pleasure agenda:

British stores could be flooded with “dangerous” bacon and ham from the US, marketed under misleading labels, as the result of a transatlantic trade deal, says the author of a new book based on [statistical illiteracy and militant veganism]…The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it [marginally] increases the [very small] risk of bowel cancer.  But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”…

Robocops

Court declares that cops are too stupid and evil to understand that intentionally burning an innocent person alive is wrong:

…On July 10, 2017, [Gabriel Eduardo] Olivas’ son called 911 to report that his father was threatening to kill himself…[responding cops] found Olivas “leaning against a wall and holding a red gas can”…[one cop] shouted…”If we tase him, he is going to light on fire!”…Olivas [had] poured gasoline over himself…[but pig Jeremias] Guadarrama “fired his taser at the gasoline-soaked man, causing him to burst into flames…The fire spread from Olivas to the walls of the bedroom, and the house eventually burned to the ground”…Olivas…died…the [family]…sued…and…the…court [ruled]…it…”reasonable”…[to set off high-voltage electrical] sparks that could easily ignite gasoline…after a[nother cop] had [already] emphasized it…the 5th Circuit has forthrightly declared that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police from firing Tasers at a suicidal, gasoline-drenched man…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Anti-trans hysteria has shifted from toilets to high-school sports:

A proposed bill introduced in…Georgia…called for banning transgender girls from participating in [organized] sports…a similarly-written law in Idaho…is currently blocked by injunction from a federal court.  So another proposal was introduced…that went even further.  House Bill 372 would redefine gender as “a person’s biological sex at birth” in state law, require state-funded schools and associations to ban participants they deem not “biologically” male or female from sports, and calls for a panel to examine information about the genitalia or chromosomes of any [prospective] participant who petitions otherwise…

I must point out that contrary to some online statements about this buffoonery, it does not call for the panel to inspect students’ genitalia, only “information about” them (presumably derived from a medical exam).  But it’s still akin to the creepy pretense that for students to voluntarily allow other people to examine their genitalia for the purpose of pleasure is a “crime”, but for the same students to be forced by law to allow strangers to examine their genitalia for the purpose of bigotry is “protection”.

The Next Target (#1099)

One day, “professional ‘survivor'” will no longer be a lucrative job:

…[Morality in Media] filed a…[law]suit in Birmingham, Alabama against Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, [exploiting the claims] of two women who alleged illegal videos of themselves were uploaded to the platform by third-party users…The lawsuit alleges that MindGeek “conspired, facilitated and financially benefited, from sex trafficking ventures between [themselves] and others”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they s[tole from] a man’s rental car…Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in…November when he left his room and found police [ransack]ing his car.  Police [claimed] they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash.  They s[tole] both…[and] sent the cash to…CBP [in order to circumvent state restrictions on such robbery].  When Sanders lawyered up…Mooresville [bureaucrats] responded that [they were] no longer in possession of the cash…[Judge Christine] Underwood…found the city in contempt of her order [to refund the money] and…[gave] them seven business days to comply.  She told the city’s attorney…that she was not afraid to jail town commissioners, the police chief, or anybody else responsible for keeping Sanders from getting his money back…

Yet most courts still refuse to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

Civil asset forfeiture…allows police to s[teal] property they [pretend] is connected to crime without arresting…the owner…the practice demolishes due process and undermines property rights, giving cops a license to steal from innocent people who often lack the resources to resist…[pushers] of [the scheme pretend] it deters and incapacitates drug traffickers…[but] in a new study published by the Institute for Justice, Seattle University economist Brian Kelly…analyzed data from five states that use forfeiture extensively:  Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.  He reports no statistically significant relationship between increased forfeiture revenue and lower drug use rates or higher crime clearance rates.  To the contrary, Kelly found that clearance rates for violent crimes tend to fall as forfeiture revenue rises…[because] the lure of…money diverts law enforcement resources from predatory crimes to drug offenses…

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I think someone stole my chicken.  –  Thomas Ramsey

This week’s video is probably the best-known composition by jazz great Chick Corea, who died late last week.  The links above it were provided by Tracy Quan, Radley Balko, Dan Savage, Mike Siegel, Radley again, Amy Alkon, and Cop Crisis, in that order.

From the Archives

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Public health expert…warnings were largely ignored by governments.  –  Heather Barr

Where Are the Victims?

Do cops realize how stupid their inability to stick with one narrative per statement makes them sound?

…a…ho[us]e in a gated country club…was being used as a brothel…[spokespig] Mike Bruno…[oinked]…“No one is immune from it…[oink oink] victim of human trafficking…[oink oink] protect the [41 and 50 year old] girls…[oink oink] these women may not even know that they are a victim…because obviously someone is making money”…

Under Every Bed 

578,759 people total at a density of about 2 per km2:

…sex trafficking…is happening in Wyoming, and it’s very unidentified here…Terri Markham…founde[d]…Uprising…[an] organization…committed to [mak]ing [money from hysteria] about sex trafficking in the state…she…[claims] sex trafficking is often misidentified as sexual abuse, domestic violence or some other crime instead…she a[lso] said if your child has any kind of online presence, there is a 100 percent chance the child has been seen by a predator…

Fetishists often turn things backward (in reality, domestic violence and other crimes are often mislabeled “sex trafficking” in order to win grants and whip up support for more police-statery), but the most amusing part of this is the claim that for a “predator” to merely see a teenager (which is what she really means by “child”) is some sort of cause for concern (presumably due to sex rays emitted by the dangerous “male gaze” and somehow propagated through the internet).

Guinea Pigs (#1013) 

The snitching “apps” and hotlines first sold as anti-whore technology are widening their nets:

Teachers, students and staff [in Oklahoma] can now report [each other] through text messages…For years…students have been able to r[at on each other]…through a [snitch] line…But [t]hat [didn’t fool them into thinking they’d have]…anonymity, and the…[new snitch line pretends]…a…text messaging system [somehow is.  Surveillance minister Jon]…Parker said once a student reports a[nother student], a s[pook]…will follow up with questions…[because the snitch texts go] right…[to] the[state] fusion center…[informants] also may send…videos and pictures [taken without the victim’s consent]…

Civil rights violations often start with whores, but never stop with us.

License to Rape (#1014)

TSA goons can usually molest citizens without consequence, but this was a bit too blatant:

A [typical and representative TSA goon]…who…[bullied and] trick[ed] a traveler into showing her breasts as she went through security [theater] at [LAX] pleaded no contest…to false imprisonment [in return for a slap on the wrist and bogus “sex addiction” classes]…Johnathon Lomeli…was also barred from working as a security guard [in California]…

Since the government still insists on hiding the identity of this budding rapist from women he might endanger, here’s California AG Xavier Becerra’s picture instead.

Social Distancing (#1043)

Don’t worry, the Swedish model “decriminalizes the seller”!

Norwegian police have arrested sex workers [using the pretext] that they violated quarantine restrictions…the[y now]…face detention and expulsion from Norway…some have already been forced to leave although their clients do not appear to have been arrested…Rights organizations drew attention early in the pandemic to its devastating impact on sex workers…[who] often struggle to access financial safety nets due to the marginalized nature of their work and because many are migrants or members of other groups facing discrimination.  These problems are worsened by laws criminalizing sex work…including…[those] us[ing] the so-called “Nordic model”…[which] harms people who sell sex…[by] mak[ing] it harder for them to find safe places to work, work together, advocate for their rights, or even open a bank account.  It stigmatizes sex workers and leaves them vulnerable to abuse by police…

You Were Warned (#1071)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

Morality in Media…helped file a lawsuit…against Twitter over a third-party user post, based on the Section 230 loophole opened by…FOSTA-SESTA…The civil lawsuit for damages was filed under the federal Trafficking Victims’ Protection Reauthorization Act…but [the pro-censorship group] makes the argument for Twitter’s liability for a user’s post by invoking FOSTA-SESTA.  The case involves a video compilation uploaded by two Twitter accounts that allegedly contain material that an underage “John Doe” shot for strangers who catfished him through Snapchat claiming to be a girl his age…The lawsuit…timed to the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, makes allegations…that mirror the campaign to shut down…Backpage …The lawsuit is the first…of copycat proceedings that religious groups had announced for the first weeks of the Biden-Harris administration…under an effort known as “Project Blitz”…

Top Cop (#1103)

Authoritarian media want people to forget about the true nature of this psychopath, now only an old man’s heartbeat from the power she so desperately craves:

When The Washington Post published a 2019 campaign trail feature about…Kamala Harris’ close relationship with her sister, it opened with a memorable anecdote in which Harris bizarrely compared the rigors of the campaign trail to…life behind bars.  And then proceeded to laugh—at the idea of an inmate begging for a sip of water…But now that Harris is vice president, that awful moment…vanished from the Post’s website after the paper “updated” the piece earlier this month…The scene…did what few political features can accomplish: showing, rather than telling, something about the candidate…Harris made her name as a prosecutor, and her track record includes…laughing off criticism of her history of throwing poor parents in jail when their kids missed school.  The Post profile provided a mask-slipping moment that seemed to perfectly capture a warped sense of justice and lack of basic human dignity…[instead] the Post…[replaced it] with a new opening anecdote…by…Chelsea Janes…who has authored several fawning pieces about Harris…

Caught red-handed, the Post restored the original and downplayed their attempt to whitewash a tyrant as a kind of editorial oversight.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Cindy Falco DiCorrado

I was recently reminded of this December 1972 bit from Sesame Street, which manages to be extremely funny despite being totally sweet and wholesome.  The links above it were provided by Popehat, Dave Krueger, Jesse Walker, Phoenix Calida, Franklin Harris, Rick Horowitz, and Dave Crisp, in that order.

From the Archives

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We open or we die.  –  open letter from Mexico City restaurateurs

Feminine Pragmatism (#913)

One day, reporters will learn that “people work to make money” is not news:

Like many other young Venezuelans, Valery Lopez has found a way to survive the…country’s crippling economic crisis…[by selling] online sexual content…she has found a way to avoid joining the exodus of five million migrants [who] have left the country since 2015.  “I was…[able] to stay in Venezuela thanks to OnlyFans,” [said] Lopez…[her] channel has more than 50 [international] subscribers…each one pays $10 a month: a figure six times the minimum salary in Venezuela…[but professional busybodies like] Abel Saraiba…[bemoan Lopez’ and others’ entrepreneurship, absurdly referring to merely selling pictures from the privacy of her own home as]…”a risky (line of work)”…

Hot Mess Alabama

Alabama is trying to make up for its late start by spewing “sex trafficking” idiocy most other states have quietly dropped:

…the purpose of the event series is “to promote…myths surrounding [sex work]”…focusing on…the sex [fantasies of prohibitionists about]…how traffickers recruit and subjugate young women and children…[chief busybody] Julia Meyers [recited the Shahada and tired old “King of the Hill” tropes about]…I-20 and I-65 as…major human trafficking corridors…the commercial sex industry generates $110 million each year in the Birmingham-metro area…this does not include illegal activity that occurs in massage parlors or strip clubs…90 percent or more people that are prostituted people are actually being trafficked…

“People that are prostituted people” is a tautology that well encapsulates the circularity of these wankers’ parade into their own rectums.

False Witness (#980)

Once the Satanic panic returned as “sex trafficking”, charlatans began to work on rehabiltating the dangerous and discredited doctrine of “repressed memories”, which was use to destroy so many lives in the 1980s and ’90s.  In this article from The Cut, writer Katie Heaney pretends that the science debunking “repressed memories” is “controversial” (it isn’t), and that the theory behind what is now called false memory syndrome originated in a couple’s defense against accusations of abuse from their adult daughter (it didn’t).  She also tries her best to smear Elizabeth Loftus, whose work in the field of memory was the actual origin of the theory.  Heaney’s motivation is probably just page-clicks, but the people who want to re-convince courts that memories can magically reappear decades after the end of a statute of limitations (and the disintegration of any evidence or alibi) have a decidedly more sinister motive, and unless mental health professionals nip this in the bud, we’re once again going to start seeing people’s lives destroyed based on nothing more than delusions created or validated by unscrupulous, malicious cops, bureaucrats and prosecutors.

Nonessential

Working people all over are done with arbitrary authoritarian “lockdowns”:

It was assumed that…[on] January 11, Mexico City and the State of Mexico would [be done with the government-assigned COVID risk category called “]the red light[“, the most restrictive designation, but politicians arbitrarily] decided to extend it for another week.  Given this, many restaurateurs decided to ignore this measure and under the social media hashtag #AbrimosOMorimos, they announced that as of today they will reopen…”Open or die is a reality in the industry in general, from the taco stand to the most sophisticated restaurant…and the oxygen is over,” said José Sánchez…of Sonora Grill…Manolo Ablanedo…of…Fisher’s, said…more than 500 restaurants in [Mexico City] will open…”because…the next option to survive is to fire waiters and cooks”…[in] a letter addressed to the…government…the…restaurateurs requested to be considered essential…”They are extinguishing us…Let’s not condemn restaurant workers to unemployment, or thousands of businesses to bankruptcy!”

The Crumbling Dam (#1057)

Remember this when apologists claim prohibitionists are “well-intentioned”:

A divided federal appeals court…blocked…the nation’s first supervised drug-injection site from opening in Philadelphia, saying it ran afoul of a federal law originally passed to [further criminalize] drug [users]…The decision overturned a lower court ruling in favor of Safehouse, a non-profit that aims to open a facility where drug users can safely inject heroin, fentanyl or other drugs in the presence of medical professionals who could treat them for overdoses…[attorney] Ilana Eisenstein…who represents Safehouse [said]…”We remain confident that the law was not intended to force Americans to stand by as idle witnesses while our brothers and sisters are dying.  Conscience compels us to pursue all legal options, and we shall”…The government[‘s case relies on]…a provision of the Controlled Substance Act commonly known as the “crack house statute,” which makes it a crime to knowingly open or maintain a place for distributing or using controlled substances [such as a doctor’s office, hospital, or pharmacy]…

Quiet Genocide (#1086)

Another firsthand account of China’s torture of Uighurs:

My [family] fled to France…in May 2006, just before Xinjiang entered an unprecedented period of repression.  My daughters, 13 and 8 at the time, were given refugee status, as was their father.  In seeking asylum, my husband had made a clean break with the past.  Obtaining a French passport in effect stripped him of his Chinese nationality…[but] I couldn’t bring myself to do [the same]…so instead, I’d applied for a residence permit that was renewable every 10 years…[then in November 2016] I [was tricked into] going back to Xinjiang…[so the police could] pull [me] in for questioning…[about] a photo…[of] my daughter Gulhumar…in Paris…[holding] a miniature East Turkestan flag in her hand, a flag the Chinese government had banned…I…was [condemned]…to…two years…of…violent…brainwashing…[until] on 2 August 2019…a judge…pronounced me innocent…[after] they had tortured my body and brought my mind to the edge of madness…

One of the more subtle ways that Western governments enable this abomination is by supporting the evil doctrine that countries permanently own their citizens, even if those citizens choose to live elsewhere.

You Were Warned (#1099)

Remember that whores are even less popular with the Establishment than MAGA types are:

Parler has — for now, at least — vanished, after Amazon canceled its web hosting contract with the company…Google also banned Parler, on [January 8th], with Apple following suit [the next]…day.  The companies cite posts making threats against Mike Pence, organizing last week’s events in Washington, D.C., and making plans for further action to challenge the 2020 election results…Plenty of digital platforms — including those much bigger and more mainstream than Parler — provide a place for conspiracy theorists, MAGA riot organizers, and threats of violence, as well as the politicians who back and encourage these forces.  To take action against Parler and no other social media sites or web forums — and to do it so swiftly, without providing them with a little buffer to find new options — feels…designed to stave off becoming a target themselves…this provides…a…glimpse of what a world without Section 230 would look like all the time, not just in the wake of incidents that rattle us.  Nobody would want to even tangentially do business with apps and other web forums that don’t aggressively police and limit user speech, for fear that liability would work its way up the food chain to them…

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My friend Brooke Magnanti has a new project named Body of Work on the new platform Substack, and to call attention to it I’d like to share my favorite of the posts she’s published there so far. It’s both a moving memoir and a powerful rebuke to the sheltered puritans who pretend sex work is “The Worst Thing a Woman Can Do“, which is incidentally the title of this piece.

My dad was mowing strangers’ lawns on the day that he died.

He woke before sunrise – the habit of a blue collar lifetime – with his schedule for the day written out on a piece of college-ruled paper, copied from the app where homeowners booked him for reasonably priced lawn services. He had the rest of the week drawn up as a grid too, with blank spaces for last-minute jobs that might pop up on his newly purchased smartphone.

He loaded the truck with the tools of his trade: edgers and whips, a spade and a rake, a refurbished secondhand push mower, and drove the ride-on mower (also a refurb) onto the small trailer behind his 15-year-old F150. He put a lunchbox with two turkey sandwiches and four bottles of frozen water into the cab. They would melt during the hot Florida spring day, keeping his food cold and providing hydration as he worked in the full sun.

Sometime after 8am, he started having abdominal pains. The worst of his life. My father – no hypochondriac, also the habit of a lifetime – called 911. The hospital did some tests and discharged him by 10am, diagnosis mild constipation, prescription two kinds of laxatives. He didn’t feel better. His last few outgoing texts were to friends letting them know he couldn’t meet up later, he was sick. He went on to complete 3 of the 5 jobs on his schedule.

He died that night. 70 years old, retired not even one day of his life. When we found his phone, most of the missed texts and calls were from the app, set to automatically ping when he didn’t check in online for his agreed jobs.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“What, are you too proud to scrub a toilet?”

That was a question I have heard a lot. After coming out as a former sex worker in 2009, I could count on at least one know-it-all standing up to pronounce more or less this exact accusation at every book signing, public speaking event, or festival I appeared at.

The question askers never stuck around to hear, really hear the answer: it’s hard to get a job in the UK as an American student, I couldn’t work more than 15 hours a week, no one was allowed to hire me if any qualified EU applicant was available, and that wouldn’t have made a dent in my bills anyway. ‘Too proud to scrub a toilet’ also seemed to be the takeaway most columnists went with when discussing my writing. According to everyone with a public opinion my problem was not lack of cash but that I was too proud, or precious, or whatever to do real work. I was spoiled.

Thing is, I wasn’t just spitballing about whether or not scrubbing toilets pays the bills. I knew already, from experience, that it would not – because cleaning was the very last job I held before moving to London. I worked for months at a hostel in Aviemore while writing up my PhD thesis. In between changing beds and mopping bathrooms, I collated data on forensic pathology cases and assembled chapters on the processes of human decomposition. Because I also was the hostel’s cook and lived on site, I was able to save almost everything I earned. I thought this would put me in good stead for the autumn, when I planned to submit my PhD back in Sheffield, then move to London to look for work.

Long story short: my calculations of expenses for life in the capital city were way, way off. By the time I paid the extortionate deposit and rent on a sad little room in Kilburn, I was already out of cash. But with my PhD not yet approved I couldn’t apply for science jobs. So I became a call girl. A choice that I thought (also mistakenly as it turned out) would be lucrative, not require a particular visa, and that I could leave behind as soon as I started my “real” career.

That was then.

This is now: I’m scrubbing a toilet in a million dollar house in one of my county’s fanciest neighborhoods. American Standard. The water in the American Southwest is mineral-heavy and leaves rings on everything; I’m not so much scrubbing as chipping away at stalagmites of built up lime.

It’s the first toilet I’ll clean today, the first of four bathrooms in this house, but it’s not the last time I’ll think about those people who imagined I was too proud to scrub a toilet. I’ve been scrub-a-toilet poor before; it’s not that big a deal. No, instead they were telling me the thing they considered to be the last-resort job of choice before “selling your body.” Their deepest fear, the most undignified thing short of being a whore (which as we all know is the worst thing a woman can do).

That’s the calculation according to society. Whore is worst, cleaner is second worst, and no one in their right minds would do either. Let alone both. Yet the jobs persist. Even in a recession. Even in a pandemic. Key workers both. Not the front lines, accumulating accolades and sometimes hazard pay, but the back lines, doing jobs few want to admit always need done.

Even in the midst of a global pandemic it seems cleaning after oneself is still a job for someone else. Lifestyle columnists Sarah Ditum and Janice Turner raised a few eyebrows when they staunchly declared the unavailability of house cleaners in the first wave of covid to be beyond bearable. Not for them picking up the mop, or worse yet, asking one’s husband and children to chip in. No, went the logic, cleaners wanted the work. They loved their clients.

I’ve heard people say things like that before almost word for word. People who are the customers of sex workers. Do I have to tell you women like those are just the sort of people whose husbands I once would have fucked for money? I know it, and I guess they know it too.

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If you too are in possession of a house and neither the time nor the inclination to clean it, you could book me or someone like me through any number of websites and apps. They all have slick, modern sites, enormous market capitalisations, and most importantly in this buoyant gig economy: they employ none of the people who show up at your door to do the work.

The landing pages show clean, modern homes resplendent in bare wood, white tile and brushed metal fixtures. Homes with six-burner gas ranges and fresh cut peonies in fishbowl vases. The kind of homes that few of the cleaners could ever dream of calling their own. The vibe is upscale, quiet suburb or cool high-rise urban.

And if you don’t mind what happens to your body, to your health, then there are always jobs like this, just not careers. With ubiquitous smartphones and widespread internet services that previously were available mainly to the well-heeled can be booked at the touch of a finger. In many ways the rise of sex workers on the internet when I was an anonymous blogger presaged the way many would soon be working in the 21st century.

My entry into cleaning for apps is straightforward. Sign up, submit a photo of my driver’s license, wait for a background check. Answer a few (very few) questions on my experience as a cleaner. I have a bit, from the aforementioned pre-London days turning over an 80-bed hostel in the Scottish Highlands for a summer, to helping out friends with holiday cottages.

I’m accepted on the platform and my rate is set at $15 per hour. That’s 4 dollars an hour above the nearest city’s minimum wage, more than twice the Federal minimum of $7.25, but well below anything that could result in the “thousands” the app’s ads on Craigslist promised. Up to thousands, I remind myself. Technically that means anything above zero. I’m assured through a short series of videos that work is straightforward and easy to come by, and that any problems I might experience with the app itself are quick to figure out. I’m told if I book 10 jobs this week my rate goes up, maybe as high as $22. I complete the series of Youtube videos that constitute training and log on.

There are no jobs. At all. Not today, and not tomorrow.

There’s one in three days! I click, eager to “claim” before anyone else does (because that must be what’s happening, right? There are no jobs because they’re already taken?) But when I google the location I find it’s in central Colorado – a 330-mile round trip from where I am now. Sure, there’s a $20 “bounty” for picking this one up, should I choose. But I decide to forego it. There is zero chance at this rate I will ever earn more than $15 an hour through the app.

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We live in the age of the side hustle. Everyone I’ve met since moving back to the US has one. The fine artists with an Air B&B, the candle maker who cleans for them, the solar installer who is also a part-time fire captain, the fire captains who sell third party phone cases on Amazon. The jiu-jitsu instructor with a window washing business. The college professor who works as a part-time paramedic on ski patrol. The ski patroller who proctors exams at the college.

There is no mystery as to why. None of these people are rich or have any illusions of becoming so. Side hustle as a phrase sounds cool, as if a few hours of your week here and there will make it rain and make the Moet pour. The reality is more prosaic. Life in the land of opportunity is expensive. With a stunted public transport infrastructure, cars are a necessity if you want to get by in most of America. The college degree has more or less taken the place of a high school diploma, sought out even for entry-level customer service, and the expansion of the student loan industry leaves many in debt long beyond their 40’s. Credit rating determines everything from your ability to rent accommodation to even whether or not you get a job, obliging people to spend and keep spending in the name of being a trustworthy consumer. Being a consumer obliges you to work. Once entered, the cycle has no end. Not even retirement, for those (unlike my father) lucky enough to contemplate it: in 1985, 10.8% of people over 65 in America were still working. The number in 2017 was double that, and expected to become still higher when the twilight years of Baby Boomers give way to geriatric Generation X.

It gets worse. A shocking number of America’s personal bankruptcies are due to inability to pay medical bills. From a high of 1.5 million in 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act came into law, it declined to 770 thousand in 2016. And yet the problem is not solved: the requirement to buy insurance even on price-capped markets still leaves a lot of room for expenses in the form of deductibles that can be thousands of dollars or more. People still avoid accessing preventive care and instead end up in the emergency room, sometimes not until they are on death’s door. We may be in post-Obamacare America, with many on the left making noises about some form of universal, free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare, but the wolf of sudden medical emergency could turn up and destroy your life anytime. Even in the coronavirus pandemic America did not manage to elect a candidate who promises universal healthcare.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Four-Toilets is not a bad job as these things go. I know that immediately. It isn’t a 330 mile round trip to get there, for starters; only an hour from my house. The place is owned by a couple of about my age, pet- and child-free. They are not hoarders, and while some of it requires elbow grease (the aforementioned hard water in toilets situation) they’ve not left cleaning so long that any of it is out of hand, save a giant walk-in shower I spend about a third of the allotted five hours scrubbing.

The man goes out, and when he comes back, has brought me a sandwich. I don’t have time to eat on the clock of course. The app’s clients feed in the size of the job and the app gives them an estimated finishing time (no breaks). I do the last toilet, vacuum and mop, and am done bang on the hour the app predicted. I can’t help but wonder if there was a box they ticked that said “our house is already pretty clean” (it was) or if, in the future, similarly-sized jobs with less scrupulously tidy clients will be assigned the same five-hour time slot.

I don’t think about that, just sign on to the app to confirm completion of the job, load up my car (you are required to bring all supplies, including mop and vacuum, and more recently, PPE), and accept a shyly-offered $30 tip from the man. They want to book me again, once every fortnight. I say I’ll have a look on the app but I’d like that.

I have no illusions: few jobs will be as straightforward as this. On the drive home, I start making a list of what I need to replenish. Paper towels, microfibre rags, oven cleaner, furniture polish. Pick up some limescale remover! And some drain unclogging liquid. The tip covers my time driving to and from the house, and the gas, just about. It reminds me of being an escort when the client’s tips usually covered my transport.

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In the name of protecting women, [Kamala] Harris has pushed sex workers back onto dangerous street corners.  –  Cherie DeVille

The Puritan Recrudescence

A deep dive on the history of the current US pro-censorship cabal:

Adult content [i]s now routinely described…by both sensationalistic tabloids and supposedly liberal establishment papers as “a scourge”…“a danger,” “harmful,” “exploitation,” and “infestation.”  Newspapers and TV news segments f[eed] this rhetoric to politicians around the world…who happily regurgitate…exaggerations, deliberate obfuscations and outright cant such as “porn is a form of human trafficking,” “no person can consent to be a sex worker,” [and] “all sex workers are victims”…Porn, they declare…is not free expression protected by the First Amendment in the U.S. and by long-standing traditions of freedom of speech in other lands.  It is “a public health crisis,” “a drug” and “slavery.”  This language and these notions are, of course, not new.  They have been brewing for years — in some cases decades — in well-funded, religiously-motivated think tanks and lobbies.  These groups literally have an agenda: to shut down, by whatever means necessary, online porn…

To Molest and Rape (#843)

It took four years for a serial rapist to actually be tried. Guess his profession:

Roger Golubski…w[as a Kansas City cop for]…35 years…before retiring in 2010.  But it was[n’t until] 2017, when Lamonte McIntyre was freed from prison after serving 23 years for two murders he did not commit, that [“authorities”] began to…[final]ly [pay attention to stacks of complaints] about the [typical and representative]  cop who…had [used threats and sexual violence to] cultivate…a vast network of informants…Golubski, whose [lies] led McIntyre to prison…used his police badge to [threaten] vulnerable Black women [into submitting to rape] and coerced some of them into fabricating testimony to c[age innocent human being]s he [targe]ted.  In at least one instance, he…repeatedly rap[ed] a woman whose children he’d promised to help get out of legal trouble…[in a hearing for] the civil lawsuit filed by McIntyre and his mother, Rose McIntyre, who[m] the [typical and representative cop brutally raped]…Golubski [took the Fifth]…555 times…the McIntyres’ law[yers demonstrated that]…Golubski’s superiors in the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department [well] kn[e]w…[that he was a serial rapist of women stigmatized as] prostitutes [by the state]…and either look[ed] the other way or tacitly endors[ed the rapes.  Reports of]…Golubski[‘s behavior] date back 25 years…[but] “The Department never accepted] any formal complaints regarding misconduct” [said a spokesow]…the suit names [as accomplices]…Wyandotte County/Kansas City, detectives W.K. Smith, Clyde Blood, James Brown, Dennis Ware and the estates of…[cops] Dennis Barber, Steve Culp and James Krstolich…

Everything Old is New Again (#863)

This absurd language and association of sex work with pizza is not limited to Christian prohibitionists:

It is hard to believe the testimonies of Israeli tourists returning from the UAE, in which they describe Dubai as the Las Vegas of the Middle East…8,000 Israelis travelled to Dubai to celebrate the New Year.  They apparently took hashish and marijuana with them…the…dark reality…[is] gangs of Israeli men who set out for the new holiday destination with prostitution in mind…any Israeli tourist in Dubai can…pay $1,000 and jump into the pool of iniquity…The[y] can sit and eat next to a swimming pool while watching frenzied scenes of sexual activity…”Everything is open, like a menu with pizza toppings”…it is…an extension of the Israeli sex industry, with prostitution apps advertising women…The fruit of normalisation is that Israelis are now heavily involved in the whole shameful business…

The “swimming pool of iniquity” may be my favorite Middle-Eastern ludicrosity since “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”.

I Spy (#1001)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In recent years, [cops] have realized that automobiles — particularly newer models — can be treasure troves of [surveillance data].  Their onboard computers generate and store data that can be used to reconstruct where a vehicle has been and what its passengers were doing.  They reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories…Privacy4Cars…makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships…[Pigs mostly root] in…two main information sources: the telematics system — which is like the “black box” — and the infotainment system.  The telematics system stores a vehicle’s turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information…when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed.  The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds.  It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device…

The Widening Gyre (#1019)

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter.  I find them both funny and sad;  funny because Chicken Licken here doen’t realize that there has never been a single case of an adult woman abducted by so-called “sex traffickers” from any public place (much less a crowded retail store), and sad because the hysteria feeds weak-minded panic over ordinary social interactions such as conversation and nodding “hello” to strangers (which I do almost every time I pass someone in public).  Add to that the uncritical acceptance of utterly absurd “King of the Hill” propaganda (“[Atlanta is] the human trafficking capital of the world“) and we have a nearly perfect cross-section of late-stage moral panic; all that’s missing is an actual violent attack on the people to whom she’s attached this waking nightmare.

I Spy (#1035)

I’ve been saying this would happen since politicians started belching about “contact tracing”:

Singapore has admitted data from its Covid contact tracing programme can also be accessed by police…Officials had previously [lied in order to trick as many people as possible into “voluntarily” downloading a surveillance]…programme, which is used to [track people’s movements and] also monitors who [the patsy has] been in contact with…To encourage people to enrol, Singaporean authorities [lied that] the data would never be used for any other purpose…But Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan told parliament [last week] that it can in fact also be used “for the purpose of criminal investigation”…

Top Cop (#1065)

Sex workers cannot let people who claim to be allies forget about this psychopath, now only an old man’s heartbeat from the power she so desperately craves:

Kamala…Harris’s hatred [of sex workers] goes back to her days as San Francisco District Attorney.  In 2008, Harris opposed a San Francisco ballot initiative to legalize prostitution.  “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris told The New York Times.  She proclaimed the law would roll “a welcome mat out for pimps” and…“compromise…the quality of life in a community.”  In other words, sex work looks terrible.  As a district attorney, senator, and presidential candidate, Harris has trafficked in outdated sex-worker cliches.  Out reports that California Attorney General Harris fought in court in 2015 to ensure the state continued criminalizing sex work…[claiming that] sex…[workers are] disease…[vectors]…

Working From Home (#1079)

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the great sex boom of 2020…has been…widely publicized.  Outlets that usually skirted such tawdry subjects published how-tos for aspiring online sex workers.  Masturbation made The New York Times headlines, and reports of sex toy sales enjoying a 200 percent increase (tripling in New Zealand) were heard around the world…Then…no matter your age, race, gender or even perceived good looks, for the financially upended by Covid-19, OnlyFans became The Promised Land…and porn began to feel like yesterday’s news…especially once the celebrities caught on.  Bella Thorne elicited immediate backlash from online sex workers after [scamming] a record-breaking $1 million dollars in her first day on the platform…prompting OnlyFans to cap tips and pay-per-view charges.  While the move may have infuriated existing cam girls, it brought the platform widespread attention…

To Molest and Rape (#1098)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Chatham County [Georgia cop]…Christopher Crick was [arrested for raping]…a minor…he was booked on three felony charges: aggravated child molestation, sodomy and statutory rape.  The victim is apparently someone previously known to Crick…

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I thought y’all might enjoy this Twitter conversation I recently had, primarily with Matisse and Carol Leigh; it touches on a number of themes that recur frequently in my work.  Twitter conversations tend to branch, but I think I’ve managed to gather the main elements I want to share.

 

 

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How is it that the US mass media can simultaneously fret about the fraction of people who are obese, and proclaim foods or activities that promote a lower body mass to be “healthy”, yet simultaneously claim that, for women at least, obesity is “healthy”?  It’s because the word “healthy” is not, and has not been for decades, a semantically neutral one.  “Healthy” is one of the modern signifiers of moral purity, and “unhealthy” = “sinful” (as openly proclaimed on the packaging of both “decadent” and “guilt-free” desserts).  So even though obesity is objectively sub-optimal for “wellness” by medical standards, using that word in front of the Great Unwashed signifies a moral judgment on the overweight person.  In order to conform to the current rules of “wokeness”, media must proclaim that obesity is “healthy” when what they actually mean is, “Obese people are not lesser humans, and it isn’t your job to shame them for being fat.  It’s their business, not yours”.  In the popular media, “wellness” isn’t an objective word but a declaration of moral fitness, a judgement on a person’s character.  It would certainly be a lot better for society as a whole to stop pretending that illness is due to divine retribution for an “unhealthy” (read: sinful) “lifestyle” (a word long used by crypto-moralists to judge others, especially queers and sex workers).  But given the considerable energy US culture has invested in that myth (cf preachers who blame hurricanes on same-sex marriage, and busybodies who cast shame on, or even call the cops on, people for visiting their friends against politicians’ “orders”), that’s unlikely to happen anytime before the collapse of the Empire.

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