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Posts Tagged ‘disease’

Sex workers tend to find [“feminist”] attitudes offensive, paternalistic and…detrimental to their rights.  –  Gabriele Koch

Japanese Prostitution

If Koch was really “surprised” by any of this, she isn’t much of an anthropologist:

Gabriele Koch’s new book Healing Labor: Japanese Sex Work in the Gendered Economy…is…a menagerie of “sex for sale” stories from one of the largest markets in the world.  An assistant professor of anthropology at Yale-NUS College in Singapore, Koch spent almost two years on ethnographic fieldwork, exploring how Japanese sex work is woven into a culture and economy that frequently puts women at a disadvantage.  Along the way, Koch says, she had to be open to surprises.  “I soon realized that the kinds of [unscientific fantasies and bigoted misconceptions] I had as an American about what sex work is, who’s involved and how (the women) think about their work didn’t really fit what I was hearing or seeing,…One surprise was how the sex industry is more or less accepted as socially necessary in Japan…But despite this…sex workers still face a lot of stigma.  Both in Japan and in the United States, people often think of the sex industry as somehow different from the rest of society.  But it’s an ordinary industry made up of ordinary people”…

Warning: the (male) reviewer insists on editorializing about how sex work is “sexist”, “problematic” and accompanied by “attendant ills”, despite Koch’s apparent rejection of these bigoted tropes.

Rotting Fruit

I wonder how long it’ll be before she conveniently “commits suicide”?

British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, an ex-girlfriend of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, is facing charges in the US…includ[ing] enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and two counts of perjury.  She was…arrested in New Hampshire and…has denied any involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged sexual misconduct…

Moving Pictures

Apparently “sex trafficking” fetishists think all films about coercive sexual interactions must promote their specific fantasy narrative:

Netflix said…it will continue to stream the Polish film 365 Days [despite demands it be censored]…including by [a] British [pop star who apparently thinks it will undermine the sales of her own book about being raped]…the film…based on a bestselling Polish book trilogy by Blanka Lipinska…follows a woman…who is imprisoned by a Sicilian mafia boss…who gives his hostage a year to fall in love with him…

Stalkers in Blue

Hey female cops, how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

[Cop] Heather McWilliam was sexually harassed for years by her supervisors, including a sexual assault…part of a culture of sexual harassment that exists throughout the Toronto Police…However, the…[judge merely]…ordered…$85,000 as compensation…and…yearly…training…[on] dealing with sexual harassment…

Ordering cops receive more “training” is a popular way for judges to pretend they’re doing something while preserving the status quo.

Topping from the Bottom

Every amateur “sex scandal” makes me even more glad I’m a professional:

A case against the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list can move forward, per a federal judge’s ruling…in a lawsuit brought by…writer and director Stephen Elliott, best known [to sex workers for being a creep]…The issue at stake this round was whether Elliott is a public figure.  If so, the standard for proving defamation is higher, and the chances for [list creator Moira] Donegan’s motion to dismiss would have been much greater.  [The judge] ruled that Elliott is not a public figure for purposes of this case…Next up: figuring out what Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has to say about all this…Donegan argues that Section 230 applies here because she, as the creator of the list, is the provider of an “interactive computer service” and should not be held legally liable for potentially defamatory shitty-men allegations made by others…

Social Distancing (#1025)

So many “enlightened” countries still believe that disease is caused by “sin”:

Several dozen prostitutes…staged a protest in Berlin…against…restrictions…[that] are preventing them from making a living…sex work has been banned since mid-March [using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…[despite the fact that] “Hairdressers, massage parlours, beauty salons… fitness studios, tattoo shops, saunas, restaurants and hotels have been allowed to reopen”…[in Germany and] brothels have been allowed to reopen in neighbouring countries such as Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands…

Social Distancing (#1050)

Compare with Germany’s disdain for sex workers’ livelihoods:

With performers wearing facemasks as well as bikinis, Bangkok’s red-light districts reopened on [July 1st]…after more than three months of shutdown…Bars, karaoke venues and massage parlours were in the latest category of businesses allowed to reopen…It meant a return to work for some of the hundreds of thousands of people in the nightlife industry who have been struggling to survive…But Thailand’s economy is forecast to sink further than any other in Southeast Asia with the number of foreign tourists expected to drop 80% this year…

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As I’ve written before many times, nations and empires are as mortal as the humans who build them, if somewhat longer-lived; and despite the childish beliefs of many Americans, the US is not an exception.  It will die as all political entities must, and it has already passed the point at which future historians will draw an imaginary line dividing the “classical” US from the imperialistic police state which succeeded it.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen a succession of events which has dramatically undermined whatever prestige the US enjoyed:  the ascension of a mad emperor who has made himself an international laughingstock, burned nearly every bridge, and weakened the economy with a ridiculous trade war; the exposure before the eyes of the world of the violent, racist, authoritarian rot that permeates the entire fascist sytem; the childish bickering and deranged tyrannies of nearly every member of the US political class, trying to one-up each other instead of fulfilling one of the few legitimate functions of government, disaster management; and said government’s shameless funneling of money into the hands of the well-connected on a scale unseen since the collapse of the Ancien Régime.  But these were just the visible ulcerations of a cancer which existed for decades before (itself developing from the nation’s ugly birth defect, the morally repulsive notion that people do not own themselves, but can be owned by other people, groups or rulers).  As I wrote in 2013,

…the rulers, rather than admitting the systemic problems, prefer to treat government as a colossal game of hot potato, eternally passing the ball forward in the hopes that it will be in someone else’s hands when the music at last stops as it inevitably must.  But as the events of the last few years have amply demonstrated, the piper is growing steadily more exhausted, and will soon demand his due.  Soon we will be forced to change the way we’ve done things for the past century, whether we like it or not, and the actions of the ruling class (especially that of the US and UK) over the past few decades bode ill for that change being a peaceful one.  I think it’s safe to predict that there will be fireworks, and not of the pleasant kind…

The era of US hegemony is over; it looks, may the gods help us, as though the dominant world political power of the twenties is going to be an empire even more outrageously evil and single-mindedly authoritarian than the US ever was.  I suspect it won’t be long before the process of Balkanization which is already underway becomes obvious even to those who are deeply invested in ignoring it, and Washington joins Rome as a relic of crumbling monuments which was once the most powerful city on Earth.

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities.  –  A  Cab

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because you saw a man painting his house”?

A San Francisco woman who questioned a man writing “Black Lives Matter” on his own home has apologised for…[trying to get him beaten, abducted or murdered by] calling the police on him…In the video, shot by James Juanillo on his phone, [Lisa] Alexander is seen asking Mr Juanillo, who is Filipino, whether he lives in the house, saying that he is defacing private property as he uses chalk to write words on his wall…[luckily for] Juanillo…the [cop who came]…recogni[zed him and declined to brutalize him]…

Monsters (#949)

In which yelling “stop faking!” is described as “trying to wake her”:

New footage outside the Rikers Island [solitary confinement] cell…where transgender woman Layleen…Polanco died last June reveals that guards tried to wake her for approximately an hour and a half before calling for…medical care that could have saved her life…after an epileptic seizure…

Fallen Idol (#976)

I suspect this isn’t going to end well:

Ginger Banks…who co-starred in the 2018 Evil Angel documentary-style feature Cam Girls, has filed a police report for “sexual battery” with the West Hollywood Police Department against company owner and director John Stagliano for an incident while they were shooting a scene for that project in February 2018…Banks [also] posted a series of videos on social media describing her frustration with “the lack of accountability” she felt the adult industry dispensed to powerful stakeholders like Stagliano…Banks [said] that the recent decision to file charges now stems from a realization that what had happened to her and her co-star, cam model Jenny Blighe, was indeed a reportable offense under California law…

Choke Point (#1013) 

More fascism in action; don’t say sex workers didn’t warn you:

Covid Bail Out NYC, a group raising funds to get people out of jails during the…pandemic, has a list of hundreds of people waiting to be bailed out.  But because of constant security freezes and transfer limits imposed by PayPal and its mobile payment service Venmo, the group is only able to bail out around five people— $20,000 worth of cash bail—per week…In response to the pandemic, several grassroots bail out organizations popped up, using community outreach, social media, and payment processing platforms like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App to raise funds quickly.  The crisis became even more urgent during the Black Lives Matter protests, as police a[bduc]ted and [cag]ed thousands of [citizens exercising their First Amendment rights] across the U.S…the…process starts to break down because of payment platform’s transfer limits…PayPal…users can transfer up to $60,000 a week, but may be limited to $10,000 in a single transaction …But unusual activity—like a mutual aid fund going viral on Twitter and having its account flooded with donations, for example—could trip PayPal’s fraud monitoring service.  Those holds can stay…for weeks…[while] PayPal [continues to collect interest on the balance]…

Social Distancing (#1042)

At their core, the Netherlands are still prohibitionist:

…Like other freelancers [Jeanet] applied for emergency government funding but…has not…received a penny,  [so she] works illegally as an escort…from home, usually with clients she has known for a long time. “I do not take too many customers, for safety reasons,” she says. But, even with the infectious disease spreading, there are still plenty of customers who are willing to pay for her services…Sex workers in the Netherlands have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic…[because] the government has [declared them “nonessential“, so many must]…work…illegally…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1048)

Oh look, Microsoft also wants to have its cake and eat it too:

Microsoft CEO Brad Smith declared during an online Washington Post event…that his company “will not sell facial-recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place…that will [allow us to pretend we aren’t evil for developing] this technology.”  This follows Amazon’s announcement…that it is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of the company’s …facial recognition platform…These moves follow IBM CEO Arvind Krishna’s letter to Congress announcing that his company is getting out the facial recognition business…The digital rights group Fight for the Future has issued a statement calling Amazon and Microsoft’s moves “essentially a public relations stunt.”  The companies’ researchers will “spend the next year ‘improving’ the accuracy of their facial recognition algorithms, making it even more effective as an Orwellian surveillance tool…The reality is that facial recognition technology is too dangerous to be used at all…Congress should act immediately to ban facial recognition for all surveillance purposes”…

The Cop Myth (#1048)

Will you believe that there’s no such thing as a good cop if a cop tells you so?

I was a police officer for nearly ten years and I was a bastard.  We all were…It’s a time in my life I’m ashamed of.  It’s a time that I hurt people and, through inaction, allowed others to be hurt…Under the guise of public safety, I personally ruined people’s lives but in so doing, made the public no safer…so did the family members and close friends of mine who also bore the badge alongside me.  But enough is enough.  The reforms aren’t working. Incrementalism isn’t happening.  Unarmed Black, indigenous, and people of color are being killed by cops in the streets and the police are savagely attacking the people protesting these murders…

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[US police] violence appears so widespread and consistent that you could…think…it’s coordinated at a national level.  –  T.C. Sottek

The Widening Gyre (#864)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the “scrap paper” variant of the “sex traffickers marking cars” scary tale:

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety said…post-it notes left on various cars throughout Lubbock were…not sex trafficking ploys…Lubbock Police…looked into the matter and found that the numbers were, in fact, from a legitimate hail damage repair company…three Facebook posts claiming the notes were sex trafficking ploys…had been shared over 3,000 times…

Hail causes sex trafficking!

You Were Warned (#926)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…The Court of Appeal for New South Wales has just dismissed an attempt by several Australian media outlets to overturn a 2019 ruling that they could be held liable for Facebook comments about [the state torture of a young man named] Dylan Voller…Voller…sued some of the media outlets that covered him—not because the news reports defamed him, but because other people writing on the outlets’ Facebook pages were accusing him of having committed various crimes.  Australian courts have not yet ruled on whether these comments defamed Voller.  This fight is about whether media outlets could even be sued for Facebook comments.  The outlets argue that…Facebook does not let them preemptively stop individual readers from posting comments on their page.  They do have the option to delete, hide, or report individual comments, but only after they’ve been posted…But the fact that these outlets have the ability to delete comments after the fact was enough for Judge John Basten to declare them publishers…Another judge suggested that a potential solution would be…censor[ing] content…If this ruling stands, it’s going to force Australian media outlets to monitor all comments and beef up their social media teams at a time when they’re having to lay off staff and even shut down newspapers

Censor Chic (#948)

It’s so convenient to outsource tyranny to computers:

…certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from [YouTube] within a few short seconds…[without] warning or reason…The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely 共匪  (“communist bandit”) and 五毛 (“fifty cents”)…the term 共匪…was used by Nationalist partisans led by…Chiang Kai-shek against…Mao Zedong and the reds.  Today, it is considered a slur against the CCP…五毛 is a cleverer anti-CCP troll.  It’s basically calling a pro-CCP commenter a paid shill, albeit a cheap one.  The joke is that human CCP NPCs get paid fifty cents for each pro-CCP post; ergo, the “fifty-cent army” or 五毛党…those terms would not disappear from YouTube comments if you typed them out in English or in Pinyin…only…in the original Hanzi…YouTube is already banned in China and can be a pain to access without a good VPN and strong desire to do so…We are asked to believe that YouTube’s pesky algorithm just happened to accidentally disappear these very particular Chinese anti-government phrases since at least October of 2019…Perhaps the fifty-cent army flagged these phrases enough to become automatic triggers that the algorithm would automatically pull.  But it is also possible that someone at YouTube manually added these terms to a blocklist…Pressure from politicians of both parties contributed to Google winding down its proposed “Dragonfly” Chinese search engine that would have been compliant with CCP censorship demands…

Panopticon (#1007)

FWIW, the DEA mostly conducts old-fashioned Stasi-type surveillance:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd…Attorney General William Barr issued a statement…blam[ing the protests on]…“anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics”…He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”  Barr did not say what those agencies would do, however…

Panopticon (#1030)

Pigs now routinely use spy drones for surveillance :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is regularly flying Predator drones…above American cities for surveillance.  This includes cities farther than 100 miles from the border…In two instances last month, CBP…flew [a drone] either close to or directly above Minneapolis…[another] recently flew around half a dozen times above or near San Antonio, Texas, which is also outside the 100 mile border region.  In some cases the Predator drones circled above the cities for an extended period of time…

Social Distancing (#1041)

Australian sex workers are challenging crypto-moralism:

Sex workers in Australia could operate under a COVID-19-safe framework…according to the adults-only industry association.  The industry has been crippled by bans in all states and territories during the…pandemic.  As other industries are included in road maps for restarting, only the Northern Territory has given clear advice to sex workers on when they can return to work.  In a letter to Health Minister Greg Hunt…the Eros Association expressed concern that shutting down the sex industry was being “motivated by moral judgments…rather than any justified concerns regarding public health…strip clubs, escort agencies and brothels should be allowed to operate (with appropriate restrictions) at the same stage as other body work practitioners such as massage therapists…Attached to the letter were proposed guidelines for restarting the industry…

But for Video

Just a few choice selections of police brutality from the past week:

…A New York City [cop] tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray…New York City [cops]…rammed a crowd in a street…[cops] in Minneapolis marched down a quiet residential street and shot paint canisters at residents who were watching from their private porch…Police in Louisville raided a public square, [stealing] and destroying water and milk…used to counter irritants like pepper spray…Atlanta police [shot] two black people…with tasers and t[ore] them out of their car…A New York City [cop] used two hands to throw a woman to the ground…San Antonio Police used tear gas against people. So did Dallas policeSo did Los Angeles policeSo did DC police. The list goes on…A freelance photographer in Minneapolis…went permanently blind in her left eye after being [intentionally] shot [in the face with a rubber bullet at close range]…

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Diary #519

The last time I had my nails professionally done before everything started closing down was March 3rd; I was due to have them done again on March 23rd, but of course that didn’t happen.  By the first week of May they were a mess, and my friend Winnie did them for me; unfortunately she’s not a professional and lacks the proper equipment, so after about a week I started breaking nails again.  So it was a huge relief to have them done last Monday; now I can use my hands with my typical dexterity again instead of fumbling with a bunch of broken, soft nails alternating with awkwardly-overlong ones.  It was also a relief to get a proper pedicure again!  The day before I returned to Sunset from Seattle, my hairdresser called to set up an appointment, then on Friday my regular nail salon called to do the same; I have them both set up for Saturday the 20th.  I’ve been really able to get a lot of long-overdue care done on my house this spring; it’ll be great to get all my self-care on that same track.

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He fed the police and didn’t charge them nothing.  –  Odessa Riley

Rube Goldberg machines are even more awesome when constructed in an ordinary yard, as in this video contributed by Phoenix Calida; the links above it were provided by Cathy Reisenwitz, Kevin Wilson, Missy Mariposa (x2), Mark Bennett, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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When I was younger, I made it a point never to say “I told you so” even when I had, because it struck me as annoying and arrogant even when it was justified.  Well, those days are gone.  I’ve been warning people about what I see coming, and largely being ignored (when I’m not being dismissed as paranoid or overly cynical), for decades now, so maybe if I rub some noses in it when events prove me right in spades, a few more will start fucking listening.  Take the current protests, for example; regular readers know I’ve been writing about police brutality for a very long time, and I’m certainly not alone in recognizing policing as a dangerous societal malady.  But even many soi-disant “leftists” who claim to be against police violence haven’t been against policing itself, and have long comforted themselves with fantasies about “reform”; many of them now seem to be waking up to the recognition that the only “reform” that will work is defunding, disarming, downsizing and eventually abolishing them.  Furthermore, these same people have blathered nonsense about gun control for years, foolishly concerning themselves with rare acts of violence by private citizens instead of recognizing the need for citizens (especially minorities) to be armed against the depredations of government actors; I notice they’ve been a lot quieter for the past week, and some have even started talking about the Second Amendment they until recently idiotically criticized as an anachronism.  And then there are the protests themselves; I’ve been predicting since at least early April that the first riots would occur on May 1st (I was off by one day; it was April 30th) and would become a major crisis by the end of May.  Obviously, the current riots are mostly about cop violence, but if you really think anger at government declaring them “nonessential”, stealing their livelihoods and “locking them down” like prisoners aren’t contributing factors, I have nothing to say to you.  Also:  if the whole idiotic “lockdown” scheme was really necessary to control the spread of the virus, why isn’t anybody panicking & shaming the protesters gathering in vastly larger crowds than their “leaders” declared acceptable?  I think that’s enough; you get the picture, and if I keep listing examples I’m just going to get more insufferable than I already am.  But Cassandra is done being polite, and isn’t ever going to let y’all forget that she warned y’all about that fucking horse.

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To tell you the truth, erotic services could have resumed earlier.
–  Alain Berset

Secret Squirrel (#715)

For every weapon, there is a defense:

YouTube has plenty of videos on how to fake your GPS location, and teens are doing it…[spokespig] Grady Thigpen [oinked a lot of ridiculous nonsense about how privacy from intrusive surveillance]…can actually be really dangerous for teens.  [He infantilized]…young adult[s as]…child[ren and pretended that total violation of their privacy and trust is]…about their safety…

Choke Point (#723)

[sex worker] Sophie Ladder noticed that different…platforms had different notions of what they considered “restricted content.”  So [she]…decided to compile the variations in the form of a shareable spreadsheet…“It was interesting to see how different types of sites are, as a whole, more or less restrictive.  The free tube sites overall are the most open, banning few things.  The clip stores are somewhat restrictive.  And the live camming sites are the most strict”…One challenge…was determining exactly what a particular site’s rules actually are….“many of these sites’ rules are vague to avoid the crackdown from their payment processors that would come with explicitly allowing X, Y, Z content, so instead their rules just don’t really mention X, Y, Z”…

Social Distancing (#1037)

Scotland out-Herods Herod, not only refusing relief money to sex workers but giving it to prohibitionists:

A sex worker charity [w]as…excluded from a Scottish Government pledge of £60,000 to support women affected during the Covid-19 pandemic…the government [instead gave the money]…to…nine [prohibitionist] organisations…[activist] Molly Smith…said…”That the Scottish Government sees organisations which campaign to harm us as appropriate vehicles for our ‘support’ during this crisis shows just how screwed up policy-making on sex work is in Scotland”…

Robocops

One of the greatest legal abominations ever conceived:

The Supreme Court created qualified immunity in 1982.  With that novel invention, the court granted all government officials immunity for violating constitutional and civil rights unless the victims of those violations can show that the rights were “clearly established”…th[is]…is a legal obstacle that’s nearly impossible to overcome.  It requires a victim to identify an earlier decision by the Supreme Court or a federal appeals court in the same jurisdiction holding that precisely the same conduct under the same circumstances is illegal or unconstitutional.  If none exists, the official is immune…in February, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a Texas prison guard who pepper-sprayed an inmate in his locked cell “for no reason” did not violate clearly established law because similar cited cases involved guards who had hit and tased inmates for no reason, rather than pepper-spraying them for no reason…In the last year alone…courts have granted qualified immunity to [cops] who stole $225,000;  a cop who shot a 10 year old while trying to shoot a nonthreatening family dog; prison officials who locked an inmate in a sewage-flooded cell for days; SWAT team members who fired gas grenades into an innocent woman’s empty home; medical board officials who rifled through a doctor’s client files without a warrant; county officials who held a 14 year old in pretrial solitary confinement for over a month; a cop who body-slammed a 5-foot-tall woman for walking away from him; and police who picked up a mentally infirmed man, drove him to the county line, and dropped him off at dusk along the highway, where he was later struck and killed by a motorist…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Compare to the contrived prohibition in Australia & the Netherlands:

Swiss politicians have decided that sex workers can soon get back to business while activities and sports involving close physical contact such as judo, boxing and wrestling will remain prohibited.  Prostitution …can resume from June 6, along with cinemas, nightclubs and public pools…Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset [said]…“To tell you the truth, erotic services could have resumed earlier.”  Switzerland has dramatically slowed its Covid-19 infection rate while avoiding the strict confinement imposed in neighboring countries…It was among the first countries in Europe to reopen shops, restaurants and schools earlier this month…The [good sense of the] Swiss…contrasts with [the official whore stigma of]…the Netherlands…

The Course of a Disease (#1043)

German sex workers answer the ugly lies of prohibitionist politicians:

The coronavirus ban on sex work, including the closure of brothels must be lifted, said Germany’s Federal Association of Sex Services (BSD) in an open letter…to 16 [prohibitionist] members of Germany’s parliament who recently [demanded imposition of the Swedish model]…The sex work industry must also be able “to generate income again and to offer customers a good service that is human and grounding for them,” states the letter [which] presents a “hygiene concept” that outlines how sex work could continue while minimizing infection…German states [have begun] to ease restrictions such as reopening restaurants, swimming pools and non-sexual massage parlours.  Yet the blanket ban on all types of sex work remains in place…

Like Houses (#1043)

It’s just to keep people SAFE!

Despite the mayor’s claim that police have enforced social distancing equally across Chicago…almost all arrests and citations for congregating have been issued on the city’s South and West sides.  All 13 arrests and 11 of 13 citations have been issued in majority-Black and Latino neighborhoods…Between March 20 and May 21, 13 people were arrested for violating the stay at home orders.  Ten were Black, one was white and two were juveniles whose race and arrest reports were withheld…

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It will be neither an easy fight nor a quick one, but neither was the struggle for LGBT rights and look how far that’s come.  –  “Galvanized

Today is International Whores’ Day, a celebration of the power and resilience of sex workers in the face of state violence and social stigma alike.  This year, when our community is suffering from pandemic-caused privation in addition to the evil crusade which many governments subject to US hegemony have increasingly inflicted upon us since the beginning of the century, it may seem as though there is little to celebrate; some even worry (and others hope) that current conditions will accomplish what no other menace in history has been able to, the end of sex work as a viable profession.  The yellow journalists at CNN even published a story whose headline shrieks, “Can the world’s oldest profession survive the age of social distancing?” and I’m here to answer it:  Of course we fucking can.  As I wrote over three years ago in “For My Sisters“,

We have survived the fall of empires and the disappearance of whole peoples.  We have survived fire, flood, famine, pestilence, war and every other disaster.  We have survived persecution, pogroms, confinement in brothels, literal slavery, mutilation & even burnings.  We will survive this too…and our tribe will exist when The USA is nothing but a thing kids learn about in history, then forget.  We are as eternal as the sea; our enemies are mere insects, who annoy for a season and are then gone.  In order for them to win, they would have to completely destroy human sexuality; in order for us to win, all we need do is practice the patience and courage which we have in abundance.  And though it’s difficult to remember that in trying times, it doesn’t even matter if we do or not because even if we as individuals forget, we as a group will survive and triumph nonetheless.

The prohibitionists’ best attempts to crush us have all backfired; public support for decriminalization is higher than it has ever been, and a week doesn’t pass that some prominent magazine, newspaper, website or even politician calls for it.  Every prominent human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has studied the subject agrees.  Sex work is even increasingly viewed as “cool” by young people, and the same pandemic which is causing us so much pain right now has also turned “sex trafficking” hysteria into yesterday’s news (a fact even prohibitionists are starting to grasp).  Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.

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