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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

I don’t really like to criticize other high-profile sex workers, but Buzzfeed has given the porn performer Stoya an advice column, and bluntly speaking, a lot of her advice is just plain badI criticized one of her responses before, in a column back in February, but the advice she gave that time wasn’t nearly as bad as the advice in this column from April 30th, which if followed is very likely to destroy the questioner’s marriage. Since most porn performers have done at least some escorting, I presume Stoya isn’t completely ignorant of that type of sex work, so I can’t fathom how she completely missed the bus here.  This is an edited version of the reader’s question:

My wife and I stopped having sex regularly after our kids were born.  It dwindled from almost daily sex to maybe once a month…We…tried therapy, but…she would get angry if I suggested sex and would say she found my sexual “neediness” unattractive.  I love my wife and the last thing I wanted to do was push her, so I stopped trying and decided to take care of my needs through masturbation, but she caught me once and said she found it pathetic.  About a year ago…I tried to open up a discussion about our missing sexual life but was quickly shut down.  “That part of my life is over” was my wife’s response.  She’s 41…One day, I went to a massage parlor…there was something so healing about human touch.  Since then, I’ve been to several…and…I’ve found a few regular spots that are friendly and well-run…The women I see are thoughtful, funny, and empathetic about sex and men’s bodies’ needs…While I still desire my wife, I don’t feel the need to press and annoy her, and I understand that part of her life might be over.  (It’s been six years since we even kissed.)  The thing I fear the most is that the image of my wife, of her body, is being replaced by the images of these other women, with these massage ladies fill a gaping hole in my life.  Should I stop?

And here are the parts of Stoya’s answer which caused me to think “What the fuck?”

…to be on the ethical side of things, you would need to at least float the idea of opening things up with your wife.  Ideally your wife would know about and be OK with—or even approve of—your behavior, but her shaming reaction to finding you masturbating leads me to suspect she’d be very upset, so brace yourself for a less-than-enthused response.  Your wife sounds closed off to communication about sex in general, and I agree a life without sex doesn’t sound healthy for you at least, so you’d likely both benefit from a professional third party to help along any future discussion…

No, no, no, FUCK no.  I have no idea what she was smoking when she wrote that, but it’s a recipe for disaster.  This is a woman who shamed and ridiculed her own husband for masturbating after she unceremoniously cut him off; how could anyone who has lived among adult humans for more than a few months believe that asking such a narcissistic, controlling, authoritarian prude for an open arrangement would result in anything but a catastrophe?  Women who are mature enough to accept “open” relationships do not go around calling their husbands “pathetic”, “unattractive” and “needy” for having a sex drive in their forties.  And asking a selfish, judgy, sexually-immature woman for an open relationship is going to be about as productive as throwing a stick of dynamite into a cesspool.  If she doesn’t immediately demand a divorce (which might very well happen), she’s going to A) subject her husband to more ridicule and abuse; and B) become suspicious and start watching his every move to detect “infidelity”.  If this dude had written me I’d ave given him the same advice I give every husband in a similar situation:  find a discreet sex worker you like and trust, keep your damned mouth shut about the subject, and just be satisfied with whatever aspects of your married life have caused you to stay married to someone who, from where I’m sitting, doesn’t seem to give a shit about you.

(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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I’ve been promising that The War on Whores would soon be available on Amazon for a couple of weeks now, and Paul Johnson was mystified as to why it was taking so long when all his other films only took a few days after submission.  Naturally I thought it might be a matter of FOSTA-related censorship since the film could be interpreted as “promoting prostitution”, but I was only slightly correct.  We finally found out the reason, and it’s one Ken Russell would sympathize with:  they objected to the word “whores” in the title.  However, in going back and forth with Amazon customer service, he was told they would not object to the title The War on Sex Workers. The silliest and most eye-rolling part is, the film isn’t going to change in any way; when it’s played from Amazon streaming you’ll still see The War on Whores as the title, and there won’t be any other censorship (or so I’m told).  Only the display title on Amazon will be bowdlerized, presumably to protect the delicate eyes of browsers from the sex rays emitted by a very ordinary English word.  Vimeo will continue to  display the proper title, as will the DVDs when they come out in a few weeks; it’s possible iTunes will clutch its pearls in the same way as Amazon, but that remains to be seen.  And maybe this will generate a bit of buzz it the same way putting “Banned in Boston” on a book cover or movie poster used to.  In any case, it’ll be the same movie, containing the same hard-hitting content and the same opening scene of me in sexy lingerie (you didn’t know that was in the movie?  Oh yes.)  And from an ethical standpoint, I don’t feel as though faking modesty in a title is any different from faking an orgasm:  it’s just done to please someone in order to get them to give me money.

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Their job was not to take my report; their job was to convince me that I was not raped.  –  Jennifer Welch

Life Imitates Artifice

Gee, I wonder where they got this idea?

…three are charged in a human trafficking case after a 16-year-old girl was found in a U-Haul truck in Ohio…a missing person report…[was filed on] Apr. 20…The next day, Cincinnati police…found [her]…she was taken by Michael Nason, Tiffany Cheek and Carl Hickman…Cheek is accused of luring the girl from her home “under false pretenses of being her guardian.”  Nason [raped her]…in the back of the truck…

Besides the obvious imitation of the linked fantasy, I must point out that the time scale – one day – is consisent with other true incidents of abduction…unlike the fantasies of girls “enslaved” by “traffickers” for months or years at a time.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I love it when they feed on their own:

A New Jersey [cop] was accused of attempting to lure and sexually assault a 15-year-old girl…Peter Tuchol, Jr…engaged in online conversations with [other pervert cops role-playing]…as a 15-year-old girl…Police executed a search warrant on Tuchol’s home and seized controlled dangerous substances, specifically anabolic steroids…

If they’re going to start arresting cops for steroid use, there are going to be a LOT of cops in prison.

Little Tin Gods

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

In January, an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle argued that the sheriff’s office should be eliminated throughout California.  “No office is less accountable or more reliable in producing scandal,” wrote the author, Joe Mathews.  Although police chiefs can be fired by mayors or city councils, sheriffs cannot..the incumbent usually has an advantage in elections, regardless of his performance…Though sheriffs have arguably become less important with the rise of city police departments, many of their offices have still grown larger, hiring more people every year…Because most sheriffs derive their authority from state constitutions, eliminating the office requires an amendment that, in most cases, must be approved by voters…[in 2000] Connecticut…voters agreed to pass a constitutional amendment to eliminate the position of sheriff…

Gorged With Meaning (#410) 

How things have changed since Belle Knox was mercilessly harassed:

The whispers wound their way through the hallways of Bear Creek High School in Stockton, Calif.  They said a senior at the school was working in adult entertainment…the Bruin Voice, the [school’s] award-winning…newspaper, whose motto is, “The Voice shall not be silenced!”…knew what to do — a profile of the girl…[who is] 18…editor…Bailey Kirkeby…felt comfortable approaching the target of the rumors because both participated in speech and debate.  The subject agreed to cooperate, even asking that her name be used…The profile…[was] set to be published in the May 3 issue of the newspaper…[and] charts the student’s path into…porn…Now, however…school administrators…are threatening to dismiss the newspaper’s faculty adviser, who was recently named educator of the year by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, if she doesn’t submit the article to them for [censorship]…The students are pushing back…and…the faculty adviser, Kathi Duffel, has remained resolute in her refusal to [submit]…the story [for censorship]…“This young woman has quite a story to tell…and we have every right to report it”…

Business As Usual

Buried deep in this story about presidential wannabe Pete Buttigieg’s covering up for violent pigs is the following:

…Two police sources independently recounted to TYT a story of…[cops] murdering a prostitute many years ago and burying her body in nearby Michigan…Other stories, which TYT could not immediately confirm, included rape of sex workers and homeless women, drug dealing, planting evidence, coverups, and more.  One story involved a cop accused of [orally raping] a sex worker…at gunpoint, who was allowed to resign rather than face an investigation…virtually all [sources] reported witnessing or hearing of behavior worse than the [“racist language” and other non-violent] problems Buttigieg cited in his book…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#695) 

You mean physical behavior have stronger effects than pictures?  What a shock!

New research casts doubts on the claim that pornography undermines men’s sexual satisfaction by promoting a preference for porn-like sex.  The findings, which appear in the journal Personal Relationships, provide some preliminary evidence that pornography could in some instances bolster sexual satisfaction by promoting sexual variety…There was no evidence that the desire for porn-like sex was related to reduced sexual satisfaction — but there was a relationship found between increased masturbation and reduced sexual satisfaction…“It’s possible that porn use causes an increase in masturbation, which then causes sexual dissatisfaction. But it is also possible that sexual dissatisfaction causes solitary masturbation, which then results in people seeking out pornography,” [said study author Dan] Miller…Despite the findings of reduced sexual satisfaction among those who frequently watch pornography, most men don’t feel that is has caused significant problems in their lives…

Morality Lessons (#720)

Remember this the next time politicians tell you that the point of anti-porn laws is to “protect children”:

The Department of Justice has been dismissing child pornography cases in order to not reveal information about the software…used as the basis for the charges…the private entities who developed these tools won’t submit them for independent inspection or hand over hardly any information about how they work, their error rates, or other critical information.  As a result, potentially innocent people are being smeared as pedophiles and prosecuted as child porn collectors, while potentially guilty people are going free so these companies can protect “trade secrets”.  The situation suggests some of the many problems that can arise around public-private partnerships in catching criminals and the secretive digital surveillance software that it entails (software that’s being employed for far more than catching child predators)…

Your regular reminder that the term for “public-private partnerships in catching criminals” is “fascism”.

Shift in the Wind (#733)

It’s weird how moral panics can even ensnare people with decent brains.  Angela Keaton pointed out that this article, which reads like an explosion in a Froot Loop factory, was written by a guy who is usually quite sensible and pro-civil liberties; I’m not even going to bother quoting it or playing “Count the Idiocies” because virtually every single sentence contains some lie, myth, wild exaggeration, prohibitionist wanking fantasy or just plain lunacy.  Read it if you like, but if you don’t want your jaw to drop so hard it may become dislodged from your skull, you might want to put a bandage around it like Marley’s ghost.

Whither Canada? (#799)

Given that Canada’s version of the Swedish model bans carrying sex work ads, it will be interesting to see if they go after the billboard company:

High above Portage Avenue near Aubrey Street [in Winnipeg]…stands a billboard with large yellow lettering on a black backdrop, advertising the services of “Sensational Serena,” an escort licensed with the City of Winnipeg…police say they have never before seen an escort or sex worker advertise their services in such an open and public fashion.  Sgt. Rick McDougall…[of] the Winnipeg [vice squad incorrectly]…said…there’s no law against [sex work] advertising…

Negative Secondary Effects (#836)

UK feminists’ latest attack on women’s financial security: releasing revenge porn of women who disagree with them:

In Sheffield and Manchester, men hired by the [soi-disant “Women’s Equality Party”] covertly filmed nude and semi-nude dancers in legal strip clubs. In their self-appointed mission to “save” dancers, the WEP continues to put women’s livelihoods at risk, while ignoring the explicit wishes of the women involved…Filming people…without explicit and direct consent and in clear violation of their right to privacy, is not just immoral — it is unlawful. Sharing…”revenge porn” of naked women, obtained with the explicit aim to undermine and harm them, constitutes harassment and misuse of private information under UK law. We demand that the WEP and its collaborators destroy immediately all footage obtained illegally inside clubs and apologise to the dancers…[who] have made it clear that they don’t need rescuing. They need a dignified workplace where they can earn a living to support themselves and their families…

Lack of Evidence (#838)

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are [impotently] threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments…[due to a perceived increase in incall] sex work…Even though some landlords have succeeded, most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [defeat the discrimination]…by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…but…[misogynistic clients don’t like to see escorts being comfortable, and cheapskates]…are…complaining that all the beautiful women have quit the streets…

To Molest and Rape (#885) 

Know why cops don’t like to investigate rapes?  Professional courtesy:

Unbeknownst to [a rape victim], while [creepy cop Lukasz] Skorzewski was assigned to her case, he was under investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for kissing and groping a rape victim whose case he was assigned to investigate…a high percentage [of rape cases in Queens are] closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser or because the rape was unfounded…meaning a false report or complaint that does not fit the definition of a penal law crime…[Queens’ rate] is significantly higher than that of any other borough…NYPD…data show…24.6 percent of rape cases were closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser.  Though some accusers may choose not to go forward with an investigation, the department has used the…“Uncooperative Complainant” classification to close cases even when victims want to pursue their case…a high rate of rape victims not cooperating with the NYPD indicates there may be problems with…the treatment of victims by investigators.  In Manhattan, the police closed nearly 40 percent of all rapes by indicating victims…no longer wished to participate…

Business As Usual (#905) 

Sex workers harmed by cop behavior need to keep suing until every department is buried in lawsuits:

Six women have filed a lawsuit against two Columbus [vice cops]…Steven Rosser and Whitney Lancaster, [report]ing malicious prosecution and abuse of process in violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments.  The women…were targeted for arrest by Lancaster and Rosser after the general manager of Kahoots fired a bouncer who was [acting as a snitch]…Rosser approached the owner(s) of Kahoots and threatened that if…[the snitch] was not rehired by Kahoots [and given free reign to spy on women]…Rosser would “file a bunch of tickets”…the club eventually rehired the bouncer…[after] a number of [retaliatory] charges were filed against…the women…

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You’re on my property with a gun in your hand, threatening to shoot me, because I’m picking up trash.  –  unnamed cop victim

When Angela Keaton and I were quite stoned one night while she was visiting two weeks ago, she played this video for me and I instantly recognized the guy as the one who did the minor-key “Kiss the Girl” which sounds like the soundtrack to a lesbian bondage scene.  In this one, the key shift actually completely changes the perceived meaning of the song (play it and see if you think I’m wrong).  The links above it were provided by Popehat, Mike Siegel, Radley Balko, Mike Chase, Lauren Chief Elk, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

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If you aren’t already familiar with “Ode to Billie Joe”, the song I featured in yesterday’s column, do yourself a favor and listen to it before continuing to read this one.  For over fifty years, listeners have speculated just what it was that the narrator and Billie Joe threw off of the Tallahatchie Bridge, and Bobbie Gentry – a woman almost as enigmatic as the song that made her famous, who abruptly stopped performing at the height of her fame forty years ago and has barely been heard of since – has steadfastly refused to explain it, or even to comment on the disappointing “solution” used by screenwriter Herman Raucher in the 1976 movie inspired by the song.  Given that she is approaching 80 and is more reclusive than ever, it seems likely she will take the secret to her grave, just as her character in the song apparently did; rather than share her grief with others, the narrator “spen[t] a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge/And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”  As a young teen, the general consensus among the girls in my circle was that the object thrown into the water was a self-aborted fetus which had resulted from the narrator’s relationship with Billie Joe, and that the overly-sensitive boy had killed himself in a fit of inappropriate guilt, possibly due to being seen by the “nice young preacher, Brother Taylor”.  And while a number of other possibilities have been proposed, and good arguments could be made for some of them, it’s the one from my adolescence that inspired this essay upon my re-listening to the song last week.

Not everyone wants to “shout her abortion” as the activists urge; some prefer not to talk about it, and some may feel shame, sorrow or some more complex mix of emotions and prefer not to discuss the subject at all.  Similarly, while sex workers like me are almost belligerently open about it and others are only out with close friends, still others prefer not to admit their history of sex work to anyone.  Some LGBT people are “out and proud”, some more quietly queer, and some still deeply closeted.  The same range of coping strategies (if that’s even the right phrase) can be seen in relation to kinks or fetishes; mental health issues; a history of rape or sexual abuse; drug use; a criminal record; family issues; and nearly anything else for which guilt or shame, appropriate or not, can be heaped upon an individual by society, family members, or even one’s own psyche.  And while it’s certainly true that repressed shame can lead to all sorts of harmful outcomes (like jumping off of bridges or letting one’s life be consumed by bottled-up grief or anger), and that talking about taboo subjects certainly helps to normalize them, not everyone has the psychological mechanisms or social tools required to “shout” her abortion, discuss her whoredom on television, march in pride parades or display family skeletons in the front yard.  Some people have the psychic anatomy necessary to be honest about subjects that were or still are considered shameful, and some don’t; some may feel comfortable displaying some skeletons and not others (for example, being open about queerness but not about sex work).  And the only person who is qualified to make decisions about which laundry to air and which to pack away in the cedar chest is its owner.  While I would like it if more sex workers were “out”, I have no right to pass judgment on anyone who isn’t; their lives are theirs to live, not mine, and they are the ones who will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of their decisions.  And the exact same thing is true of every other such secret.  To drag someone’s secrets into the open against their will is an act of psychic violence which could potentially trigger physical violence in some circumstances, which is why outing, “doxxing”, and tattling are condemned by all ethical adults.  Minding one’s own business is a virtue, locked closets should be respected, and sometimes silence really is golden.

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The government has…tried to financially strangle these defendants at every turn.  –  Ariel Neuman

Droit du Seigneur

Hey, King County; maybe you should consult Matthew 7:3 for your “sex trafficking” policy:

Mark L. Norton, the superintendent of transit security…for King County Metro, was arrested…for allegedly “coercing a female to engage in commercial sex acts in King and Snohomish Counties.”  Norton…allegedly “groomed” the victim for five years while [she] was a babysitter for Norton’s children, using “emotional and psychological coercion [to] convince [her] to participate in prostitution for his benefit…the suspect operated as a pimp and pressured the victim to engage in prostitution on numerous occasions…and kept [her fees]”…ironically, King County Metro’s buses were recently covered with anti-trafficking signs as part of a [propaganda] campaign…by the…County…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#335)

Destroying sex workers’ safety net, one internet “improvement” at a time:

…Google could be putting [Irish sex workers] at risk by blocking key functions on an app used to warn of dangerous clients.  The tech giant decided…to include limits on call logs and SMS permission access on apps in the Google Play store…[this could cripple] an Android app called Ugly Mugs, which…has been using advanced access features since 2013…[to] screen…incoming calls and text messages to sex workers and alert…them if [the initiating] number…is in the app’s database…

He Said, She Said (#624)

A psychiatrist who has sex with patients is a fool.  A male psychiatrist who draws vulnerable female patients into kink relationships is a dangerous fool:

…psychiatrist…Keith Ablow…[is facing malpractice lawsuits from three female patients who say he] abused his position while treating them for acute depression…the…therapist…encouraged women to trust and rely on him, then coaxed them into [BDSM] sexual activities, often during treatment sessions for which they were charged…three women who worked for Ablow [also] agreed to file affidavits, included in the lawsuits…that Ablow sexually harassed them, too.  One former staffer, Amy Dixon, said she had sex with Ablow during which he would regularly hit her and that he told her he wanted a “master/slave relationship”…In all three cases, the women…relocated from other states, at Ablow’s request, to be closer to his Newburyport [Massachusetts] office where he…treat[ed them] for depression…[with] Ketamine…in conjunction with talk therapy…

Ablow, who was a consultant for Fox News for years, has been mentioned in this blog before.

To Molest and Rape

When a cop rapes kids, there’s usually at least some chance of a conviction: “…[cops from] the Cascade County [Montana] Sheriff’s Office and agents from Homeland Security [quietly] arrested [rapist pig] Virgil Wolfe on 80 counts of sexual abuse of children…

False Target (#873)

Using “gayness tests” to deport refugees spreads to the UK:

A [67-year-old] man faces deportation to Malaysia, where homosexuality is illegal, after the Home Office [claimed] it did not believe he was gay – suggesting it was suspicious that [a 67-year-old migrant] did not have a boyfriend.  Yew Fook Sam…will be persecuted and imprisoned for his sexuality if he is deported to Malaysia, where homosexual acts are punishable under federal and sometimes sharia law.  He fears he will be forced to undergo gay conversion therapy should he be returned to the country, where the opposition leader last year blamed gay people for causing earthquakes and a lesbian couple were caned publicly for having sex in a car…

Dangerous Speech (#880)

The government keeps making up new rules in its war on thought:

…federal prosecutors are arguing that they’re entitled to all money made by Backpage, even proceeds derived from unquestionably legal ads, and that decades worth of earnings made by former Backpage leaders before the website even existed are also tainted…their lawyers [state in a recent filng that] “Virtually all of the Defendants’ assets have been seized, virtually all of the money in their attorneys’ trust accounts designated to fund the defense has been been seized or is effectively frozen,” and defense lawyers “may expose themselves to criminal liability if they use those funds to pay fees” from the case…the Cato Institute, DKT Liberty Project, and the Reason Foundation…filed a brief in support of the defendants on this matter…”The government has shut down a major internet site and confiscated millions of dollars of assets and proceeds not only from that site, but also from defendants’ numerous other publishing venues—ventures completely unrelated to the alleged criminality of the site and indisputably protected by the First Amendment…The history of government efforts to suppress and censor disfavored speakers, particularly speakers who offer sexually explicit materials, is long [and has]…involved tactics…designed to bankrupt speakers by forcing them to litigate on multiple fronts to prove that their speech is protected by the First Amendment”…

Dutch Threat (#885) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

…the De Wallen neighborhood…could soon face [forcible gentific]ation as local government officials strive to implement a new policy, set to increase the number of sex-work permits beyond De Wallen in an attempt to p[ush] sex workers…elsewhere…the Netherlands has been increasingly [aggressive] in [selling its Disnification efforts as] combating human trafficking…the…government…shut down many coffee shops and 112 sex-worker windows…pushing many sex workers towards illegal work or abroad to Brussels…[due to increased harassment] it’s often no longer in the interest of many independent workers to be registered under Amsterdam’s Municipal Ordinance…because sex workers [are rightly concerned] that their…work might be [criminalized or they might be branded “victims” against their will]…sex workers are increasingly demanding…the ability to book clients online and work [legally]  from home…

Traffic in Nonsense (#896)

The “sex trafficking” propaganda from these fetishists is some of the most blatantly derived from sexual fantasy in the entire rescue industry:

A national group is trying to get people not to…[listen to] sex workers, but to [instead label] them as…victims of human trafficking [no matter what they say about their own lives].  The group Truckers Against Trafficking [indoctrinates] truck drivers–and others–[in] how to [project their fantasies about] modern day slavery [on other people without their consent]…Ohio has been [trying to convince people that it’s] a hotbed of human trafficking in recent years…

A Broker in Pillage (#896)

SCOTUS demolishes a major pillar of government extortion schemes:

States are bound by the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines and fees when they seek to [steal]…assets from individuals charged or convicted of a crime, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously…It’s a decision that hands a major victory to critics of civil asset forfeiture, and it opens another avenue to legal challenges against that widely…abused…practice by which states and local governments can seize carscashhomes, and pretty much anything else…[under the pretense that it was] used to commit a crime…Timbs v. Indiana, involved the seizure of a $42,000 Land Rover…from Tyson Timbs…During oral arguments in November, Indiana’s solicitor general got boxed into a corner by Justice Stephen Breyer, who managed to twist the government’s lawyer into arguing that Indiana should be allowed to seize vehicles for as small an offense as driving 5 mph over the speed limit, which literally elicited laughter in the courtroom…

The Crumbling Dam (#901)

The law is the law and if more people die, tough shit“:

…The U.S. Department of Justice took aim…at the movement to open a supervised consumption site in Philadelphia…[with] a civil lawsuit…against Philadelphia-based nonprofit Safehouse, asking the the U.S. District Court to rule that safe injection sites violate federal law…Ronda B. Goldfein, vice president of Safehouse…said the federal government is using the “crack house” statute in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986…[which] was [supposedly] intended to prevent businesses from profiting off drug consumption…

The Widening Gyre (#911)

I’m really happy to see Uber hoist on its own “sex trafficking” petard:

On February 19 2019, a woman shared a [fantasy of the type common in moral panics]…that a phony Uber driver in Tampa had nearly successfully abducted her for the purposes of sex trafficking…Within 48 hours, the post had been shared more than half a million times…[because of] its similarities to long-circulating urban legends involving nearly identical scenarios at locations [such] as Target, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart…police were able to verify that she did indeed get in the wrong car, but [pretended] they were perplexed as to how Hurley concluded that the mix-up was due to “sex trafficking” [despite the fact that they have themselves been spreading scare stories about “sex trafficking” for a decade now]…the car entered by Hurley was in fact a legitimate Uber driver, not an Uber impersonator.  The [hysteric] called for an Uber at the airport and appeared to have entered one of the several other Ubers not there for her…[her claim that] she “later found out” that the Uber driver was “a sex traffic worker”…[even though] police said [no]thing like that at all [is typical of the way “sex trafficking” propaganda tales are boosted by false claims of official verification]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#913) 

The fascists don’t want their surveillance powers limited by mere civil rights:

Microsoft is pushing back on a bill sponsored by a…group of Washington state [politicians] that would ban local and state governments from using facial recognition until certain conditions are met…Microsoft has endorsed a [much weaker]…bill…[with largely cosmetic] facial-recognition rules…Shankar Narayan, director of the technology and liberty project of the ACLU’s Washington chapter, says requiring public notice of face recognition won’t check its use, and he warns that authorities [will] use the “emergency” exception as a loophole. “Microsoft’s bill has us heading to a world where face surveillance is ubiquitous and the norm,” Narayan says…

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

Feminine Pragmatism 

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

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

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

See No Evil (#25)

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

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

Blunt Instrument

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

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

Policing for Profit

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

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

An Example To the West (#636)

Ugandan sex workers demand their rights:

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

Secret Squirrel (#686)

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

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#697)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

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

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

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

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

Uncommon Sense (#745)

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

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

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#848)

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

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

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

Held Together With Lies (#858)

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

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

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

Top Cop

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

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

Disaster (#909)

The successors of Tumblr:

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

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