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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

 [A Biden victory] is not a victory for sex workers.  –  Penelope Saunders

A False Dichotomy 

Cathy Reisenwitz on the dogma that sex without “enthusiastic consent” is rape:

…most of our choices in life…[a]re not straightforwardly coercive or cooperative, but somewhere in-between…This leads me to the inevitable conclusion that consent versus coercion isn’t a binary.  It’s a spectrum…On one end of the spectrum you have slavery and rape.  On the opposite end you have enthusiastic consent.  But most choices fall somewhere in the middle…When we say we are “forced” to make a choice, we mean that there’s no acceptable alternative.  We say we’ve been forced to do something if the alternative is death or jail.  When we say we’re “pressured” to make a choice, what we mean is there’s no appealing alternative.  We say we’ve been pressured to do something if the alternative is unpleasant or inconvenient.  The difference then between force and pressure is a difference of scope, not kind.  They’re both coercion, but are different levels of coercion…

Don’t Take My Word For It (#873)

While it’s not surprising to see male sex work increase during the pandemic, I’m extremely skeptical of claims, such as those in this story, that the clients are predominantly female.  Anti-queer stigma is much higher in India than in the US, so naturally male sex workers there are going to claim – as some did for decades in the US – that most of their clients are female in order to save face.  But as usual, the claims in this story don’t ring true, and the quotes from the interviewees only serve to underscore that.

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

…a…Seattle Police…detective…signed up for and used facial recognition app Clearview AI, which…i[s a] violation of the City of Seattle’s Surveillance Ordinance…Nick Kartes…signed up for Clearview in September 2019 using his “@seattle.gov” work email address…he logged into the service over 30 times, as recently as April 22…the devices used to log into Detective Kartes’ account were connected to the City of Seattle network…This follows an established pattern, highlighted this summer, where Seattle police regularly flaunt the law…

But don’t worry, toothless local laws will definitely stop this!

Panopticon (#993)

Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops just keeps getting worse:

…While people buy Ring cameras and put them on their front door to keep their packages safe, police use them to build comprehensive CCTV camera networks blanketing whole neighborhoods.  This…allows police departments to [shift] the cost of buying surveillance equipment…onto consumers by convincing them they need cameras to keep their property safe…[and] evades the natural reaction of fear and distrust that many people would have if they learned police were putting up dozens of cameras on their block…Now…police in Jackson, Mississippi, have started a pilot program t[o convince]…Ring owners to patch the camera streams from their front doors directly to…police…footage [of] your…coming and going…your neighbors taking out the trash, and the dog walkers and delivery people who do their jobs in your street…can now be live streamed directly onto a dozen monitors scrutinized by police around the clock.  Even if you refuse to allow your footage to be used that way, your neighbor’s camera pointed at your house may still be transmitting directly to the police[, plus all cops need do is ask and Amazon will grant warrantless access to your camera without your consent]…


The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1033) 

Censors’ fixation on Pornhub spreads to Thailand:

Thailand’s government said…it had banned Pornhub and 190 other websites showing pornography, prompting social media anger over censorship…many Thai users trended the #SavePornhub hashtag on Twitter and criticised the shutting of a site in a country…which has a globally-known sex industry…A few dozen activists protested the block outside the digital ministry, holding banners saying “free Pornhub” and “reclaim Pornhub”…Internet research firm Top10VPN said it saw a spike in searches from Thailand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN), which help circumvent censorship, by 640%…after Pornhub was [censored]…

And India:

The Cyber Police agency of the Indian state of Maharashtra — the region that includes populous Mumbai — has formally accused several platforms of “transmitting sexually explicit and obscene content online”…[the sites include] Xvideos and Pornhub.  Inspector General of Police Yashasvi Yadav [made furtive movements in his pants while sharing his fantasy that]…”the actresses in these videos have been exploited, lured or compelled to perform the obscene acts. We will be treating the actresses as ‘victims’ and not ‘accused persons’”…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

Since costumed rapists are essentially immune to criminal law, civil law has to do:

A new lawsuit [has been] filed against [typical and representative] Louisville [cop] Brett Hankison…a…sexual predator…who…[has] willfully, intentionally, painfully and violently…[raped at least 10 women over the years and achieved recent notoriety for the murder] of…Breonna Taylor…LMPD has…fired Hankison for his role in the [murder, but ignored all the rape complaints]…nine o[f the] women who…Hankison [raped have made statements in the lawsuit, filed by Margo Borders, a lawyer he raped in 2018]…

(State) Violence Against Women

Two hardline prohibitionists at the top do not bode well for sex workers:

…Phoenix Calida…[of] SWOP-USA…says of a Biden win, “I see things getting worse for sex workers, actually.”  Calida’s assessment is due in part to Biden’s sponsorship of the 1994 crime bill…“‘Tough on crime,’ which Biden has really promoted his entire career, is really not helpful at all to sex workers…Biden is like, ‘Let’s not defund the police, let’s give them more money!’”  Advocates’ concerns around…Kamala Harris, are both more numerous and concrete.  “You couldn’t get a candidate with a worse record on sex work,” says [Penelope] Saunders of [Best Practices Policy Project].  In 2008, Harris called San Francisco’s Proposition K—an attempt at halting the enforcement of laws against prostitution—“completely ridiculous.”  Harris also infamously pursued the shutdown of Backpage and the prosecution of the site’s owners despite warnings that shuttering the site would put sex workers in greater danger and make it harder to investigate sex trafficking cases. (It did.)  She also helped develop the devastating SESTA/FOSTA, specifically as a means of targeting Backpage…[and supports]…the EARN IT Act, a bill…which threatens sex workers’ ability to use encrypted messaging services…as well as free speech online…opponents of the bill…are calling it “SESTA/FOSTA 2.0.”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

Compare the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Democrats in this article to attack someone closely associated with Trump, to the ugly, racist, agency-negating whore stigma used by Republicans just a month earlier to attack someone closely associated with Biden, and then tell me again how they’re so different and why sex workers should trust either pack of fanatics:  “President Trump’s top campaign strategist, Jason Miller…admitted to hiring prostitutes and receiving sexual favors at multiple ‘Asian themed’ massage parlors, an industry known to have connections to sex trafficking rings…”  “Progressives” want sex workers to believe they’re on our side, but they go straight for the anti-whore slurs the second they think it will win them cheap points on the “other team”.

Social Distancing (#1084)

Prohibitionists don’t care who has to suffer to advance their twisted agenda:

India’s sex workers suffered a setback…following a U-turn by the country’s human rights body, which said [sex workers] should not be registered as workers or guaranteed financial aid from the government amid the fallout of COVID-19.  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last month asked state governments to recognise sex workers as informal workers, which would have entitled them to benefits and aid from a $23 billion fund for India’s poor during the coronavirus pandemic…the watchdog’s non-binding advisory was hailed by [human rights experts]… as a boon for the rights of an estimated 800,000 sex workers across India, [but prohibitionists, led by the evil and deeply-derangd Sunitha Krishnan, worked to intimidate the commission by issuing veiled threats of expensive and troublesome legal complaints based in bad “]sex trafficking[” laws.  In response to these threats]…The NHRC…issued a new statement that said sex workers could not be registered officially or categorised as informal workers….[but] should instead be given help on “humanitarian grounds” during the pandemic…

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Though I’ve been a Trekkie since childhood, I had never seen all of Deep Space Nine until recently.  The reason is simple: the series premiered in January 1993 and was midway through its third season when my first husband left me without warning.  My life was thrown into turmoil and it took two years for me to get it straight again, during which time money was much too tight for the relative extravagance of cable TV.  So though I saw all of the first two seasons, half of the third, and occasional episodes (at friends’ houses or via borrowed videocassettes) of the fourth and fifth seasons, I got rather lost due to the complex story arcs and decided not to see any more individual episodes until I could rewatch the whole show from the beginning.  I gave Grace the complete series on DVD for Christmas about a decade ago, but still never got around to viewing it until this year, after I moved to Sunset as my primary residence.  As I watched, I soon found that I agree with many reviewers’ opinion that the series is the best of all the Star Trek sequel series; though it was a direct spinoff of The Next Generation I find it very much superior to its parent, not only because of its greater consistency, better writing, and relief from the pressure of being THE Star Trek show of it decade, but also because it discarded the moral oversimplification which (unfortunately) permeates most of The Next Generation in favor of a universe full of greys in which few characters were either moral paragons or cardboard villains.

This realistic portrayal of the ethical tangle that is real life was on full display in a 6th-season episode we watched a couple of weeks ago, “Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night“.  In it, Major Kira Nerys discovers that her mother, whom she believed to have died in a concentration camp during her planet’s half-century-long occupation by the militaristic Cardassians, actually survived for seven years after the very young Nerys had last seen her…as a “comfort woman” claimed by the Cardassian governor, Gul Dukat.  At first, Kira (who started the series as a morally rigid, almost puritanical character, and only slowly grew to accept that real life rarely resembles such abstractions) refuses to believe that her sainted mother could have been guilty of collaboration horizontale, then as she explores the truth (with the help of a mysterious alien device which grants her visions of the past), she instead becomes terribly angry with her mother for literally sleeping with the enemy.  But as the vision goes on, she realizes that her mother’s position as the governor’s mistress not only resulted in better living conditions for herself, but also for her husband and children, who might otherwise have died in a labor camp.  By the end of the episode she has not forgiven her mother, but has come to accept that she did what she thought best for her family, just as Nerys herself had to make hard choices (including becoming a terrorist) in her own struggle to survive the occupation.

The episode is not a highly rated one; perhaps the topic is too uncomfortable for many viewers, especially in these neo-Victorian times.  But as a sex worker and hard-nosed pragmatist, I deeply appreciated the show’s willingness to recognize that sex work, even under duress, can almost never be fit into a pat narrative of villain and victim, and its repeated depiction (in this episode and many others) of war as a filthy business from which nobody emerges entirely clean.

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Haggling isn’t actually about the relative expense of a sex worker’s price; it’s a means of trying to circumvent her boundaries.  As I explained nine years ago in “Head Games“,

…[most] men who haggle can easily afford the girl’s price, they simply want to get her to back down from it in order to feel as though they’ve won a victory over her…men who have reviewed expensive escorts will still haggle with girls who charge half as much; this demonstrates that it’s not about the money but rather about getting the girl to accept a compromise.  More subtle types will accept an escort’s price, but will try to get her to compromise one of her other rules in some way; for example, if a girl has published hours they’ll try to get an appointment just before or just after those hours, or if she refuses same-day appointments they’ll try to get one.  A girl who only accepts certain forms of communication will be pushed for another form (for example, her personal phone number)…

Since the demise of the quickie ad sites in the last two years, we’ve seen another type of haggler become more common:  the guy who tries to avoid screening.  This kind of sleazebag is hardly new; every sex worker has dealt with men who seem to think their nervousness is more important than her safety.  These self-important schmucks love to pretend that outing clients is a real concern, despite the fact that

Every whore understands that it’s wrong to out clients; “about 20% of men see sex workers occasionally…yet we don’t see anything like 20% of men exposed as clients.  The fact that ignorant people believe the nonsensical claim that fewer than 15% of men have ever paid for sex tends to point toward the lifetime exposure rate as being even lower than that…”  And it isn’t only a matter of ethics; a whore who got caught outing clients would be destroying her own brand for good, so there are good practical as well as moral reasons for keeping our mouths shut about the famous men who end up between our legs…

Sometimes a request for screening information will provoke a torrent of abuse, clearly demonstrating why being alone with such a man would be a spectacularly bad idea.  But on other occasions, the wannabe client will try to convince the sex worker to eschew screening by insisting he’s a “nice guy”; appealing to her avarice by waving fantasy sums of money and/or promises of an “ongoing relationship” should she relent (a promise worth precisely as much as it cost him to make); or proposing she spend all the prep, travel, and social time to meet him in person to “see if we’re a good fit” (conveniently providing him with social time while demonstrating next to nothing about how he’ll behave in private).  I had one of these clods attempt all three with me in a five-text conversation last week; given that his last text was a flurry of insults, pomposity, and accusations of dishonesty and impersonation (“my guess is you’re…posing as an escort“), he unwittingly demonstrated, as such men generally do, that my decision not to see him was a wise one.

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This was written at the request of a sex worker who wanted to explain the business to someone close to her who objected to sex work and believed most sex workers were trafficked.  The writer is a well-known person who wishes to remain anonymous.

As part of my job, I have interacted with bankers, lawyers, doctors, government officials and diplomats of the highest professionalism.  So it is no exaggeration when I say that sex workers are among the hardest-working professionals I have ever met.  It takes great skill to be a successful sex worker; the physical act of sex is only a small part of the job.  You have to be a therapist and a mind-reader, anticipating your clients’ moods and needs.  You need to be an entrepreneur and a time-management specialist.  You need to always be on your game, because word of a bad experience quickly gets around; unlike most other jobs, you can’t keep screwing up or your clients will ultimately stop seeing you.  You also need to keep yourself in shape and pace yourself so you don’t burn out.  You’re often working by yourself, so you have to ensure you don’t get too isolated.  Most women get into sex work for the money, but who doesn’t seek the most money for any job?  This is one job where success leads to more success and even higher rates.  You don’t wait for a promotion; you promote yourself.

Despite lurid headlines about sex trafficking, there are relatively few examples of that in the United States.  Statistics show that virtually all sex workers in the United States are in the business because they want to be sex workers; even Asian massage parlors are filled with workers who want to be there.  (Occasionally you may read about a bust, but then the charges are quietly dropped later because prosecutors can’t prove the women were coerced.)

Here are examples of some of the sex workers I have been privileged to know:

  • A gifted PhD from an Ivy league University, with well-respected published papers under her name, who decided she could make far more money with her beauty and charm than working in a think tank after getting her doctorate.
  • A zoologist who supplements her income with sex work so she can afford a nice apartment.
  • A single mother who found that sex work allowed her to finish her college degree and provide a better life for her son.
  • A high-profile business executive who does sex work when she’s traveling on business in other cities because she gets a kick out of it.
  • A life coach in her late 40s who turned to sex work because a bad investment left her short of the money she needed to build her core business.

Each of these women had their own reason for deciding to engage in sex work, but they all loved doing it.  They got to meet many kinds of men, from different walks of life, some of whom become close friends.  They are empowered and set their own schedules to fit their lifestyles.  And yet this is what some want to call “exploitation”.

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Collaborating with the police is not something…a mathematician should be doing.  –  Jayadev Athreya

Fallen Idol (#792)

These charges followed the accusations by almost three years:

Porn star Ron Jeremy has been charged with sexually assaulting four women on four separate occasions dating back to 2014…Jeremy…is accused of sexually assaulting two women at a bar in West Hollywood in 2017, and of forcibly raping another woman at that same bar during the summer of 2019.  He is also accused of forcibly raping a woman at a home in West Hollywood…In 2017…more than a dozen women had come forward accusing [him]…of sexual misconduct, including groping, inappropriate touching, nonconsensual digital penetration, and sexual assault.  Most of the women accusing him were in the adult industry…[one of them,] former adult performer Jennifer Steele, [said]…“[He] know[s] if someone’s a porn star and they say they’ve been raped, people aren’t gonna take it seriously”…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Removing excuses cops use to persecute people is always a good thing:

The Seattle City Council voted unanimously…to repeal the law [against “loitering” for the purpose of prostitution]…following a 2018 recommendation from a working group on reentry problems faced by people exiting incarceration.  “The prostitution loitering ordinance has a discriminatory legacy that impacted primarily people of color, women and our LGBTQ community,” said [politician Andrew] Lewis in a statement. “I’ve received hundreds of emails from constituents almost uniformly in favor of repealing these ordinances”…

Welcome to the Future (#916)

I’m afraid they’ve discovered their moral compasses at least 20 years too late:

…A group of mathematicians in the United States has written a letter calling for their colleagues to stop collaborating with police because of the widely documented disparities in how US law-enforcement agencies treat people of different races and ethnicities.  They concentrate their criticism on predictive policing, a maths-based technique…[that pretends to be able to] stop…crime before it occurs.  The letter, dated 15 June, is addressed to the trade journal Notices of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), and…more than 1,400 researchers have now joined the call.  In recent years, mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists have been developing algorithms that crunch large amounts of data and [pretend] to help police reduce crime…the mathematicians write in the letter. “It is simply too easy to create a ‘scientific’ veneer for racism”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#979)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives aren’t a bug; they’re a feature:

On a Thursday afternoon in January, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was in his office at an automotive supply company when he got a call from the Detroit [cop shop demanding he] come to the station to be arrested.  He thought…it was a prank…[until] he pulled into his driveway…[and] a p[igmobile] pulled up behind, [vomiting out]…two [pigs who then insulted] and [brutalized] Mr. Williams…in front of his wife and two young daughters…[before dragging him] to a [cage and putting his biometric information into a database from which it will never be removed despite the fact that they were trying to frame him for grand theft based on]…a still image from a surveillance video…[which] was clearly not Mr. Williams…his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm…

Working From Home

Most porn performers have long had to supplement film income with outside work:

…When COVID-19 shut down the adult entertainment industry, performers fell back on many of the things they were already doing, creating and selling content directly to their fans.  Realizing professional porn isn’t necessary for a lucrative career, many performers are now making even more money in a safe environment they control…the promise of [higher] payment may not be enough to entice performers back to set.  Three years after allegations of sexual assault enveloped the reputations of James Deen and Ron Jeremy, arguably the most iconic male performers of their generations, new alarms are being raised among female performers…women in the industry are speaking out on social media, exposing a rash of predatory behavior from companies, directors, and in some cases their agents.  Liberated from institutional misogyny, performers are creating content and cashing in on themselves for once, and not without a discernible sense of schadenfreude…

To Molest and Rape (#1047)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A…Harris County [Texas cop attempted to molest]…a teen girl he was assigned to investigate after she was reported as a runaway.  Aaron Isaac Mayes…went to the [girl’s] home…in March…to speak with the girl’s mother…[and] discovered the girl was at home and not missing…the mom [later] told investigators Mayes seemed interested in [her daughter], but [idiotically] believed he simply cared “beyond the scope of the law enforcement duties…in a healthy way”…[but her] daughter…[showed her] screenshots from Instagram conversations…[with] Mayes, which included [dick pics and]…an exchange in which Mayes offered her $80 in cash…[which] Mayes [claimed was] trying to…help her avoid…prostitution [by paying her for sex]…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

A few statistics to further dispel the myth of heroic cops:

…Americans have witnessed video after video of cops assaulting unarmed demonstrators and even bystanders unlucky enough to cross their path…Many try to explain away cases like these as “isolated incidents” carried out by “bad apples”…[but] if anything, most public discussions may be too narrow and myopic to capture how extreme, pervasive, and multifaceted police abuse of power actually is…So far this year, 481 civilians have been shot to death by police in the United States…Since 2015, cops fatally shot at least 352 people who were unarmed (that is, not even possessing a toy, blunt object, or other instrument)…hundreds more civilians are killed by cops every year with taserspepper sprayrubber bulletschokeholdspositional asphyxiablunt force trauma, [pigmobiles] and other causes…Deaths…only represent a small fraction of overall police violence…at least 985,300 Americans experienced non-lethal threats or use of force from police in a single year:…There are also widespread…rapes, sexual assault, and sexual harassment incidents [committed by] on-duty cops every year…many more cases likely go unreported…cops also regularly commit crimes, and carry out violence, when they are off duty.  For instance, rates of domestic abuse are as much as four times higher among law enforcement than in the broader population…The level of aggression cops deploy in an area seems to have no correlation with that area’s level of violent crime—nor does it seem proportional to the actual danger law enforcement agents face on the job…the overall line-of-duty law enforcement homicide rate…[is] 9.74 per 100,000 officers…the homicide rate for men…[in the general population is] 9.5 per 100,000.  That is, police officers were just a little more likely to be a victim of homicide in the line of duty than the typical American male living his day-to-day life…

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How dare you!  –  Greta Thunberg

Here’s yet another unusual song cover to prove that “cultural appropriation” is awesome; it was provided by Radley Balko, and the links above it are from Franklin Harris, Rick Pettit, Kevin Wilson, Popehat (x2), The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, and Stephen Lemons, in that order.

From the Archives

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In Hollywood movies, robots are characters; they are often funny, charming, resourceful or even heroic.  So naturally, in the movie Robocop, the title character was heroic, resourceful, and, to a degree, even funny and charming.  Of course, in real life, robots have no personality; they are (as Isaac Asimov once observed) “high-speed morons” which will do anything they are instructed to do, no matter how stupid, destructive or violent, without the slightest delay due to judgment, instinct, empathy, ethical considerations, or other human factors.  From the standpoint of rulers, then, real “robocops” would be ideal; they would inflict whatever violence they were instructed to inflict, using whatever criteria they were programmed to use, without an iota of conscience or personal ethics.  They would “only follow orders” and faithfully “do their jobs” by carrying out the whims of the rulers, no matter how idiotic, abominable or mutually-contradictory, without a moment’s hesitation.  So perhaps it’s a matter of judicial wishful thinking that in this century, US courts have increasingly ruled that cops are so robotically stupid that they are absolutely devoid of human moral judgment, and therefore cannot be held responsible for even the most flagrant violations of law, ethics or even basic common decency unless they are specifically instructed that the exact act, described in the most precise detail, is wrongful:

Two businessmen who [were robbed by] Fresno police [of] more than $225,000…are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to close a legal loophole that shields [cops] from liability.  Under “qualified immunity” victims can only sue government officials for damages if they prove that their rights were violated and that those rights were “clearly established.”  So when the two men, Micah Jessop and Brittan Ashjian, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the [robbers], their case was dismissed.  “There was no clearly established law holding that officers violate the Fourth or Fourteenth Amendment when they steal property seized pursuant to a warrant,” the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in September…Ashjian told the Fresno Bee last year…“if the police have a search warrant that’s valid, they could steal your things and you don’t have the ability to pursue it…I am about as pro cop as anybody, but what happened doesn’t make any sense”…
It’s really too bad that we can’t, through some super-scientific reprogramming of the brains of these supposed “heroes”, force them to limit their depradations to judges, politicians, and other “pro cop” douchebags.  Alas, some things exist only in science fiction.

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Phrases like “essential worker” and “nonessential business” are now being bandied about by the collectivists without any apparent recognition of what such phrases say about their ugly view of humanity.  People are complex individuals who often find comfort in belonging to something larger than themselves; they are not ants or mechanical parts to be reduced to “workers” and declared “essential” or “nonessential” (for the latter read “disposable”) by their owners.  The idea that bureaucrats have the right to make such pronouncements over the lives of individuals, and to dictate that some people are unworthy of being allowed to make a living and feed their families, is a totalitarian abomination.  Even if you accept the extremely shaky premise that it was “necessary” to forcibly cut off some people’s income in order to manage a pandemic, no society which pretends to be “free” has any business sorting human beings into categories as though they were produce.  Rather than subjectively (and such decisions were extremely subjective, varying wildly from state to state and country to country) declaring some people’s businesses, jobs, and needs expendable, governments could instead have established clear, objective criteria to which businesses had to adhere in order to go unharassed.  For example, the plexiglass shields which have now appeared in grocery stores and other “essential” outlets would be equally effective in many other businesses, regardless of whether politicians declared them “essential” or not, and cops have repeatedly demonstrated in the past few weeks that they imagine their busybody interference in the lives of people who are doing mundane things that aren’t remotely unsafe (such as walking with a spouse in a park) to be “essential” despite its potential to expose people to infection (especially when they actually manhandle such people and lock them in the filthy cages which have become breeding grounds for pestilence).  In short, the only people who have demonstrated themselves to be “nonessential” during this crisis are the sociopathic control freaks who imagine that everything they do and say is important, while other people are simply interchangeable objects to be sorted through and either used or discarded.

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Government needs to back off…[Christian] moral…judgments…when it comes to women’s work.  –  Leah LaGrone

Where Are the Victims?

Does this fit your idea of what “sex trafficking” is?

The owner of The Salt City Inn…Rezvan “Ray” Saisani, and the inn’s manager…Sameer Syed, are both facing numerous felony charges related to using the motel to run [what pigs and prosecutors fantasize was] a sex trafficking operation…Saisani and Syed would…charg[e clients a] $10 [incall fee]…[and] rent…rooms to…sex workers in exchange for sexual favors…Saisani and Syed would not charge them upfront for the room, knowing they would make money by using the room for sex work and would be able to pay later…

Bait and Switch

When cops call other people “predators”, refer to the original of this title:

[Virginia cops fantasy role-played as women interested in ageplay in order to entrap]…30 men…during [a cop fantasy-fest absurdly labeled] Operation COVID Crackdown[predictably, most of] the men [targeted for this “operation” were racial minorities, as is typical in cop “stings”]…

All-Purpose Excuse

With their anti-whore schtick failing, the rescue industry is desperate to find new things they can call “human trafficking”:

Buyers of [wooden] products…may unknowingly be financing organized crime gangs, human trafficking and deforestation in an industry tainted by illegal logging, [profiteers claim]…Criminal groups are increasingly involved in the illegal timber trade in the [Mexican] state of Chihuahua which borders the United States, according to [claims] by [a group alling itself] the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime…Diana Siller, director of the…profit[eer] group Jade [shouted]…”The…children[!]”…

Social Distancing

Cassandra wishes to share this with you:

…Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts…Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.  Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.  The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent…Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding…Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem…Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections…Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.  The overwhelming evidence…consistently shows that a clearly defined group — older people and others with underlying conditions — is more likely to have a serious illness requiring hospitalization and more likely to die from COVID-19…it is a commonsense, achievable goal to target isolation policy to that group, including strictly monitoring those who interact with them…

I Spy (#1029)

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

…public health [commissars] desperately want the ability to track people’s movements to [see if the proles are obeying] social-distancing [diktats] and also to trace contacts between people who carry the disease and [non-consenting] members of the public they [contact]…cellphone tracking…promises to fulfill every Big Brother-ish fear privacy advocates have ever raised.  “When California officials…tapped…Facebook [to] provide…location coordinates of tens of millions of smartphones [without their owners’ knowledge or permission]…show[ing]…that large numbers of people were still [visit]ing…beaches and in public parks.  So…Gov. Gavin Newsom…ordered them closed to vehicles, sharply restricting…people’s…ability to escape to the healthy outdoors

Social Distancing (#1032)

Op-eds like this have become very common since FOSTA:

…businesses that provide “live or recorded performances” or “receive more than 5 percent of [their] gross revenue” from the sale of products with any depictions of a “prurient nature” are ineligible for [pandemic loans].  Owners of clubs and other small businesses may file lawsuits over their exclusion, but it is the women carrying the industry who will suffer.  Though…sex [workers]…can still file for aid through unemployment and possibly receive the $1,200 stimulus checks given to millions of Americans, they are ineligible for the…far larger [SBA] loans…When the government excludes the sex industry from economic help, it is because it considers this work immoral, a judgment that devalues women’s labor and sex work more broadly.  Treating the sex industry as illicit reinforces flawed moral judgments and makes workers in this industry, especially women, particularly vulnerable…

Like Houses (#1034)

If you didn’t expect the pandemic to be used as an excuse for censorship, you are hopelessly naive:

It has been six weeks since…[cops murdered] 21-year-old Duncan Lemp in a 4:30 a.m. raid at his family’s home in Potomac, Maryland, an affluent and sedate suburb of Washington, D.C.  Montgomery County Police have thus far refused to provide any e[xcuse for murdering] Lemp.  But a county prosecutor leaped to action…[by] threatening any Lemp family members who attend a protest over his killing with a $5000 fine and a year in jail…[using the excuse of]…Maryland’s strict stay-at-home [diktat]…

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I’ve grown very, very tired of the whole “billionaires are intrinsically evil” idiocy over the past couple of years.  As I’ve said many times over the past several decades, wealth and power do not create evil; they merely enable the evil that is already inherent in the human brain.  Oppression is enabled by wealth and/or power, but not created by them; poor and powerless people are not morally superior to the rich and powerful.  In general, they are just as shitty; they merely lack the means to inflict their evil on others by any means other than direct interpersonal violence.  That’s why it’s impossible to “fix” authoritarian systems by giving more power to historically disenfranchised groups; given money and/or power they soon become indistinguishable from the other pigs.  The only way to “fix” systems in which people abuse power over others is to elimate abusable power.  In short, St. Augustine’s observation about children is also true (if you substitute socioeconomic weakness for physical) of the poor: “The weakness of little children’s limbs is innocent, not their souls.”

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