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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Regular readers know that I am not afraid of death, and in fact consider it a positive good.  And so, though I understand why people might want to have a little extra time on this plane, I can’t understand ruining the quality of the whole merely to drag the end out for a few extra years.  Nor do I understand the obsession with or demonization of a natural process; all things die, including nations, species, worlds, suns and even the observable universe itself.  Furthermore, the idea that extending human life would also extend productive life is science fiction; even now people tend to “run out of steam” over time, and even though people in developed countries live longer on average than they once did, there’s no evidence that canalization of the brain takes place any later than it did in ancient times.  What that means is, if you like working your arse off to support the decades-long retirements of a bunch of old dinosaurs whose cognitive norms formed a generation before you were born, just imagine how much you’d love it right now if 90% of the population were born before the Second World War, and a sizeable fraction of the people voting on stuff like sexual rights came of age in an era when it was still considered OK for humans to actually, legally own other humans.  The current rulers of our world were mostly born in the 40s-60s, and their ideas provide ample proof of that; imagine how it would be if most of them had been born in the 19th century.

Even if you believe in souls (as I do), you have to recognize that most of the popular ideas about such life-forces (such as the belief that they are somehow connected to rotting corpses after death) are absurd, childish and impossible.  There is no such thing as changelessness; there are only differing rates of change.  The idea of a changeless entity existing literally forever is utterly ridiculous, and frankly, I think people who imagine they want to live forever – even as a disembodied soul – have not done much thinking about what eternity actually looks like.  Compared to Eternity, the 15-billion year life of the current observable universe is exactly the same as Planck time.  I don’t mean similar; I mean exactly the same.  Indistinguishable.  15 billion years, or 15 trillion, or 15 googols of years (that’s 150,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000), or 15 googolplexes of years, are all exactly the same compared to Eternity.  Eternity is an infinite amount of time, which means any finite number, no matter how incomprehensibly large, is exactly as insignificant in comparison to that as the tiniest number one can define.  Eternal life wouldn’t be a gift; it would be a horror literally beyond imagining.

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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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 It’s not a human thing to do—just take this entire community and completely strip them of safe places to…work.  –  Wills de Vogelaere

Banishment

Because obviously his sex rays might harm sick children:

…at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin…staff prevented Stuart Yates, a 49-year-old man on the sex offender registry, from visiting his severely ill son Kahlil, age 9, who was crying and begging him to visit…”In 1998, Yates pleaded guilty to…inappropriately touch[ing] a 15-year-old babysitter…Yates says he took a plea in the case, thinking he would serve six months in prison.  Instead, a judge handed down a five-year sentence….[and registration] as a sex offender for life…Yates is now suing the hospital to be let back inside“…In the face of a lawsuit, the hospital relented in part, and will permit Yates to visit three times a week, for two hours, under supervision.  But the visits must be approved 24 hours in advance, meaning that if the boy wakes up feverish or…takes a turn for the worse, his dad will not be able to hurry to his side…

Backwards into the Future (#540)

Only the authoritarian mind is so twisted it thinks decriminalization of consensual sex is “complicated”:

Vietnamese officials have expressed their concerns about the complicated nature of recognizing prostitution as a job…figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggest that there are nearly 101,300 sex workers…in Vietnam…“Sex workers should have the right to make a living, contribute to society, and enjoy welfare in terms of healthcare and education,” said Cao Van Thanh, vice head of the Social Evil Prevention Department…at a recent meeting in Hanoi…Tran Van Dat, vice head of the Department of General Affairs on Legislative Development…said prostitution should be considered a legitimate profession…

Though they’re commies and therefore need to bloviate about disease and “regulation”, it’s still startling how much more enlightened these politicians’ views are than those in the backward US.

Uncommon Sense (#602)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

FIZ, a Swiss NGO specialising in…women’s migration issues…thought that it was very important…that people actually talk about…severe forms of exploitation…the human trafficking framework…has negative effects on other groups of migrant women, and…has turned out to be a framework that is actually a lot about controlling the movement of migrant women, controlling the work of migrant women.  We see this very clearly with sex workers…

Spotlight (#721) 

Asstoon says he’s not just a savior, but an actual messiah:

I have a hard time talking about this issue without being emotional…If you don’t do something about it, then who are you?  It can happen to anyone…Traffickers prey on people…If you look at the place where these [passive, agency-less vegetables] are sold online, its right next to a car, or a sofa or a used bicycle…We basically take a victim, that otherwise is just a posting online, and we turn them into a human being…

Yes, that’s Kutcher claiming to be a literal god who can turn an inanimate object into a human being.

To Molest and Rape (#794)

It’s even easier to get away with rape when you’re literally in bed with the prosecutor:

A Brooklyn prosecutor was caught having an affair with one of the NYPD cops [who raped] a handcuffed teenager…Assistant District Attorney Nicole Manini…is under investigation for potentially violating professional conduct rules…Manini’s illicit relationship with [rapist cop] Richard Hall…was uncovered when investigators with her office reviewed his cellphone records as part of the rape case…Michael David, the lawyer representing Hall’s [victim], said he plans to use the…affair…in his client’s pending civil rights suit against Hall, [rapist cop Eddie] Martins and the city…

The Scarlet Letter (#798)

Who needs the cops to out HIV+ people when dating apps can do it for them?

The gay dating app Grindr says it will stop sharing the HIV status of its users with other companies.  Grindr made the decision…after first defending the practice, which involved sending user profile information — including HIV status and test dates — to two companies called Apptimize and Localytics.  They test the performance of Grindr’s products…

Prudesville (#816) 

Everett expands its argument beyond “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”:

After a federal judge ruled against the city of Everett for banning “bikini baristas” from wearing G-strings and pasties, Everett has decided to continue fighting against baristas’ partial nudity…city attorneys stress—while trying to support a ban on butt cleavage—how easy it is to understand the terms of Everett’s ban on “bottom one half of the anal cleft” and “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola.”  One of the reasons Judge Marsha Pechman blocked the ban was because she ruled those rules were too vague to stand up in court.  She indicated that the argument that the ban limited freedom of expression on the basis of gender was also likely to succeed…

Disaster

Sex workers set up our own social network, just in case we’re censored from Twitter:

…a group of sex workers have apparently attempted to set up their own social network, called Switter.  It’s a Mastodon Instance (Mastodon being the fairly well known open source decentralized social networking platform that allows anyone to set up an individual “instance”)…The stated reasons for Switter are to prepare for the possibility of Twitter banning accounts of sex workers and to have more control over their social media space.  As I write this, the site claims to have about 12,000 signed up users…

And we’re not just fighting a defensive war this time:

Upstart blockchain-based adult outfit, SpankChain, launched an offensive…dubbed “WTFOSTA,” calling for sex workers to expose any politician who’s procured their services and subsequently voted in favor of the recently passed SESTA/FOSTA measure criminalizing web platforms deemed to foster sex trafficking.  The specific bid to the sex worker community, as posted on official campaign site wtfosta.com, is as follows: “We are offering $25,000 to each of the first 10 sex workers who come forward with hard evidence of any politician who voted YES on FOSTA/SESTA engaging their services”…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

Honest headline: “NYPD Creeps Threaten Lonely Men”:

…NYPD [pigs get their jollies]…by planting fake ads and sending [threatening] texts to those looking [for human companionship]…Police have posted phony listings on sites like Backpage.com for years, but always waited until the [victim] showed up and then arrested him. “Advertisements are posted by the NYPD and you won’t know which ads are from us” the [threat lies]…

Actually, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

Elephant in the Parlor (#825) 

Unfortunately, in our post-factual era this doesn’t help as much as it once did:

As Trump’s presidency drags on — having blown past tarnished and into deep, dark ignominy — receipts have become vitally important…Karen McDougal kept receipts.  The former Playboy model’s handwritten notes chronicle an alleged affair in 2006.  These non-coy notes —”we got naked + had sex” — were published in the New Yorker.  A White House rebuttal —”more fake news“— crashed on the shoals of receipts.  Stormy Daniels kept receipts.  The adult-film actress has a copy of the nondisclosure agreement that she signed, and Trump didn’t, requiring her to keep silent about her alleged Trump tryst, on pain of larcenous fines…Nastya Rybka, a Belarussian escort, also kept receipts……she…claims to have audio receipts that show Russian meddling in the U.S. election.  She’s seeking asylum in the U.S. in return for telling all…

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With the advent of FOSTA, all the rats who’ve feasted on sex workers’ dollars for years are deserting the sinking ship and leaving us to drown.  I don’t just mean the ad sites who have closed; several of the companies who’ve been happy to host adult sites for years suddenly threw their customers to the wolves last week without warning, and you can be sure more will follow suit (or be forced to follow suit when their site is stolen by jackbooted thugs as Backpage was on Friday).  So when I saw that Missy Mariposa had set up a new offshore hosting company specifically for sex workers, I asked her for a short introduction for those who might need her services.

I decided to set up Red Umbrella Hosting because I am sick of the very people who utilize our services trying to criminalize our existence.  I wanted workers to have a place to turn where they could feel safe and remain anonymous.  With Red Umbrella, sex workers can secure hosting and web design assistance without having to tie this life to their real identity or without having to worry if they were evading a ToS policy and at risk of being shut down.  I keep no user data, and I have a very liberal ToS.  Red Umbrella is my attempt for us to feel like we have a little bit of control over our careers and lives again.  Right now it’s just hosting, and a free blacklist (opening this week in conjunction with another site – you heard it here first) but I’m hoping to expand it to include Cloud Storage in the not so distant future.  I wish I could drop everything and invest unlimited funds in this and build an internet sex work utopia, but I think for one person that’s an impossible undertaking.

I chose to locate the dedicated server in Iceland primarily for three reasons – strict data privacy laws, no MLAT with the United States, and a proven record of protecting privacy.  It is true that they run the Nordic model when it comes to sex work, however they are also open about the fact their laws aren’t enforced due to a lack of funding and being short staffed.  Between 2009-2013 Icelandic courts only heard 20 cases related to sex work; I also could not find any evidence of them interfering with a sex worker’s internet presence.  In the end, I went with the country that I felt had an overall better track record with internet privacy and security, the country I thought would be the least likely to turn over data to the US without a warrant (as the CLOUD act allows them to attempt).  And as I keep no personal information, I am hoping that this type of situation is never even an issue for my users.

My long term goal is to help as many people as I can.  I am one person leasing a dedicated server, not a large company with a farm (maybe that’s where this is heading though, and I hear Iceland is beautiful), but thanks to a number of generous donations (including two very large ones from clients), my prices are very low for providers:  Managed WordPress: $200/year, paid annually, semi-annually, or quarterly via cryptocurrency or gift card; Domain Hosting $300/year (same terms), and Premium Hosting for $800/year (same terms).  Websites are too important not to have; most of our clients book us because of our marketing material, websites being a big part of that.  If sex workers lose their storefronts and safety tools, two things are going to happen.  Number one, the predators will come out to play and in full force; the guys on the blacklists are going to know they’re gone and go right back to the very things that landed them there in the first place.  Number two, sex work is going to be pushed right back onto the streets and hotel bars by women who will no longer want to see internet clientele and would rather take the risks freelancing.  I can’t idly sit around, doing nothing while people lose the ability to feed their families in the safest way possible.

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The do-not-step-on-sex-workers movement needs someone who, in addition to many other qualities, has the temperament & tolerance of a wronged wolverine.  –  Tanya Charbury

Recently, I saw a gent who told me he’d followed me for years and asked if I’d unmute him on Twitter.  I asked why I had muted him, and he confessed to being a bit bratty to me a while back.  We had a laugh about it and of course I unmuted him before he left my incall, but it did demonstrate to me that it was time to do something I don’t often do:  revisit a question I’ve already answered, in this case the one from “Short Fuse“:  Is it just me, or are you less patient than you used to be?

The answer I gave then was honest and accurate for its time, but that was almost four years ago and a lot has changed since then.  As I said then, “I’ve never been patient with fools, trolls, ninnies, sophists, fanatics and the other assorted riff-raff who attempt to lay claim to my time and energy.  In fact, my impatience with such people is almost legendary…”  But while the set of such annoyances was at one time reasonably small, it has grown over time to encompass a lot of people who, while they aren’t completely blameless, are also not necessarily working at annoying me.  Regular readers know that the past three years have been extremely difficult ones for me, and my emotional reserves have been at a very low ebb; I need to ration my psychic and temporal resources, spending them on myself, my clients, the people I love, and my role in this war the government has been conducting on us for the past two decades (which has recently heated up dramatically).  And that means I simply can’t take the time and energy to deal gently with strangers who step on my tail, either intentionally or otherwise (such as by ignoring my clearly-stated ban on bootlicking or partisanism in my timeline); it’s much easier to simply mute them, with or without delivering a parting shot, and then move on.  Ideal?  Not at all, as the incident with the gentleman I mentioned above demonstrates.  But I’m afraid at this stage of my life, it’s either that or expend my precious energies on unproductive discussions that will drag me down while failing to make a particle of difference in the struggle to which I’m committed.  So for now, at least, my temperament is going to more closely resemble that of a wronged wolverine than a playful pussycat, at least for those who deliberately or carelessly stroke my fur the wrong way.

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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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I consider myself an upstanding guy and a good provider but I’m now engaged in what some consider the lowest behavior a man can engage in and I am feeling tremendous guilt. Up until about 6 months ago I had been completely faithful.  About 9 months ago my wife had a meltdown over something unrelated to this and told me to leave, then a few days later asked me to come home.  Over the following 3 months this happened 4 more times.  One night I was lonely and decided to call an escort.  I’m prepared to be thrown out again at any time, and I found that I really enjoyed seeing escorts and do not intend to stop.  I feel like cheating scum.  I’m honest with the providers and disclose that I’m married.  How do these providers see me?

What low behavior are you involved in?  Are you a cop or politician?  The only thing you mention doing is seeing escorts because your wife has, to put it bluntly, turned into a flake.  You have needs; you’re dealing with them pragmatically.  When she threw you out, did you just stand outside in the rain?  No, you went and rented a hotel room.  If she refused to feed you, would eating at a restaurant have been “low”?  No, it would be sensible.  And so is seeing escorts to get your sexual & emotional needs met now that your wife seems to think you’re a human yo-yo for her to play with.  You mention telling your escorts you’re married; honey, 70% or more of our clients are married.  We are the safety valve which allows the highly unnatural institution of monogamy to exist at all, and civilization itself would be literally impossible without us.  Every person has the right to control their own sexuality, and nobody else’s (unless that’s part of some kink dynamic they both consent freely to).  In other words, your wife has the right to say “I will not fuck you”, but she does not have the right to tell you that you can’t have a sex life because she’s too busy playing non-consensual tease-and-denial games.  By seeing an escort, you are mitigating the harm that would come from extracurricular fucking of amateurs whose ideas of consent, hygiene and respect for boundaries probably range from confused to nonexistent.

And though you didn’t ask for advice on this other topic, I’m going to give it anyway:  at one point in your very long letter you mentioned the difficulty of finding a good therapist for yourself.  From what I can see, you don’t need therapy (except for your inappropriate feelings of guilt for taking care of your own needs, and maybe to uncover why you accept this kind of treatment); your wife does.  It’s not normal to keep repeatedly throwing a partner out and then summoning them back; it’s emotional abuse.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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