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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

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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Perhaps being a victim of privacy invasion will help Jeff Bezos realize the evils of what his company is enabling.  –  Glenn Greenwald

Rough Trade 

Despite this being an insultingly-low sentence, it’s doubtful he’d be convicted at all in the US:

A man has been sentenced to a suspended jail term after he raped a Canberra sex worker during an appointment…Aaron John Miller…and the woman agreed…[on a 2-hour] session…[with] various extra services…The woman explicitly said she would not permit a particular activity.  However, during the appointment Miller went outside the bounds of their agreement…Police identified him through his credit card and when interviewed he said he had engaged in the offensive conduct because he got carried away [while drunk]…

Theatrics (#765) 

Fake “sex trafficking” ads dreamed up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid masturbatory fantasies about our lives and work.  Here’s one a reader recently captured in Atlanta airport.  Note that the white girl in the fake “ad” appears to be about 11, and that the hand of the “client” is dark-skinned.  “Sex trafficking” mythology is rooted in racism, and racism still permeates the sick minds of those obsessed with it.

Little Boxes (#792)

Court rules that a law which allows cops to arrest women but not men “does not discriminate based on gender”:

…the New Hampshire Supreme Court…upheld the convictions of three women who were arrested for going topless on a beach in 2016.  In the 3-to-2 ruling, the court decided that a city ordinance in Laconia, N.H., that bars women [but not men] from exposing their nipples did not discriminate based on gender…

The Course of a Disease (#799)

While the US medical establishment obediently parrots “sex trafficking” hysteria, European medical groups are increasingly following the lead of Médecins du Monde, The Lancet and UNAIDS:

[UK] nurses are calling for prostitution to be decriminalised.  They argue sex workers are more likely to access health care such as regular STI checks.  And they would be able to report violent clients to police without fear of arrest…Bristol nurse Lou Cahill has ensured it will be debated at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in May.  Her motion seeks to decriminalise the trade…[and] the union will demand a law change if the motion is passed…

Worse Than I Thought (#819)

You just can’t keep an out-of-control prohibitionist down:

…Lauren Book’s human trafficking bill had [an idiotic] idea: allow [opportunists] to sue [whichever] hotels [had the deepest pockets by claiming they once had sex there]…[Obviously] the powerful hotel lobby [had no choice but] to kill [something that would’ve allowed unscrupulous lawyers to treat them as ATMs, but]…Book…is back with a new version of the bill…[which] does not include allowing [opportunistic nuisance lawsuits]…but…does require hotels [to indocrinate] their employees [in misogynistic surveillance techniques]…and…Creates a registry of [people who have consensual sex or are related in any way to sex workers]…

The War Goes On (#867) 

I hope you amateurs are enjoying the changes to the internet your silence helped to create:

…As the use of online dating sites continues to increase, so will opportunities for unsuspecting people to be tricked into dangerous situations by human traffickers.  But the companies that own and operate these sites can do something about it.  We are gathering signatures to petition the Match Group, owners of the popular dating sites, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Match, and more, to implement [surveillance] features to help keep [magical ninja pimps] off of their platform…sex traffickers have long learned it’s [sic] benefits for tricking young people into sexual exploitation…

Yes, Polaris (with pigs in tow, as usual) is now coming after your dating apps and websites.  Because though it usually starts with us, it never stops with us.

Vendetta (#868)

Another pogrom to enable a sociopathic billionaire’s twisted psychodrama:

A nationwide [entrapment pogrom] intended to curb [consensual] sex…by targeting [peaceful] people trying to [arrange consensual] sex netted more than 390 arrests since last month, 38 of them in Cook County.  The [bizarrely-named] National Johns Suppression Initiative, the 17th [pogrom] of its kind since 2011, spanned 14 states and ran from Jan. 13 to Feb. 3…[pigs] placed [fake] ads on “more than a dozen…websites [people use to arrange consensual sex with other adults]”…and…led to at least 372 [peaceful men] arrested nationwide, including 21 charged with soliciting a [cop pretending to be an adult woman engaged in ageplay]…another 23 people arrested during the sting are also facing human trafficking charges [for being associates of sex workers.  At least] thirty-five [sex workers] were [also arrested]…

Elephant in the Parlor (#872) 

As long as transactional sex is criminalized and stigmatized, it will be used as a weapon against women:

Since August 17, [Maria] Butina has been [cag]ed at the Alexandria Detention Center…she spent her 30th birthday in solitary confinement, in…a seven-by-ten-foot room with a steel door, cement bed, and two narrow windows, each three inches wide.  She has been allowed outside for a total of 45 minutes.  On December 13, Butina pleaded guilty to conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation.  She faces a possible five-year sentence in federal prison…But…The government’s case against Butina is extremely flimsy and appears to have been driven largely by a desire for publicity.  In fact, federal prosecutors were forced to retract the most attention-grabbing allegation in the case—that Butina used sex to gain access and influence…Despite the lack of evidence…prosecutors—abetted by an uncritical media willing to buy into the idea of a Russian agent infiltrating conservative political circles—were intent on getting a win…

If Men Were Angels (#897) 

The problem isn’t Catholicism, Christianity or even religion; it’s teaching kids to blindly submit to authority:

Debbie Vasquez…was 14…when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger [Texas]…It was the first of many assaults that…destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant…In June 2008, she paid her way to Indianapolis, where she and others asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and its 47,000 churches to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers…Southern Baptist leaders rejected nearly every proposed reform.  The abusers haven’t stopped.  They’ve hurt hundreds more…In the decade since Vasquez’s appeal…more than 250 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes…since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct…They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches…Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.  About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending…More than 100 are registered sex offenders.  Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today…

Pyrrhic Victory (#903) 

While Amazon keeps supporting the fascist surveillance state, Bezos demands his privacy be exempt:

…Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos…published emails in which the [National] Enquirer’s parent company explicitly threatened to publish intimate photographs of Bezos and his mistress…unless Bezos agreed to a series of demands involving silence about the company’s conduct.  In a perfect world, none of the sexually salacious material the Enquirer was threatening to release would be incriminating or embarrassing to Bezos: it involves consensual sex between adults that is the business of nobody other than those involved and their spouses.  But that’s not the world in which we live…The prospect of naked selfies of Bezos would obviously generate intense media coverage and all sorts of adolescent giggling and sanctimonious judgments…The…Enquirer  was…actively devoted to Donald Trump’s election…while Bezos, as the owner of the steadfastly anti-Trump Washington Post, is viewed by Trump as a political enemy…the NSA, FBI [and] other agencies…have a long…history of [such spying], which is why…Democratic adoration for those agencies, and the recent bipartisan further empowerment of them, was so disturbing…one of the stories we were able to report using the Snowden documents…is an active NSA program to collect…browsing records of porn site and sex chats, of people regarded by the U.S. Government as radical…in order to use their online sex habits to destroy their reputations.  This is what and who the NSA, CIA and FBI are…[which is] deeply ironic…because Amazon…is a critical partner for the U.S. Government in building an ever-more invasive…surveillance state.  Indeed, one of the largest components of Amazon’s business, and thus one of the most important sources of Bezos’ vast wealth and power, is working with the Pentagon and the NSA to empower the U.S. Government with more potent and more sophisticated weapons, including surveillance weapons…

Top Cop

Kamala Harris is now telling her brainwashed fans that she was a “progressive” prosecutor:

The 1990s were among the most punishing decades in the recent  history of American justice.  Zealous prosecutors competed to put the most people behind bars, and politicians were eager to pass new laws to extend sentences.  In San Francisco, Terence Hallinan was one of the only prosecutors in America bucking the trend.  A legendary civil rights activist, defense attorney…and…outspoken advocate for marijuana legalization, Hallinan rode a wave of discontent…to become San Francisco district attorney in 1995.  He swiftly fired senior prosecutors…and called drug use a victimless crime…Yet Hallinan…was expelled in 2003 after just two terms in office, despite San Francisco’s notorious liberal bent.  An up-and-coming young career prosecutor named Kamala Harris…carefully cultivated a base of support among [cops]…wealthy donors, and [other authoritarians]…Far from the “smart on crime” mantra she touted in her successful bid to become California’s attorney general…Harris’s first campaign reflected familiar tactics in an era of booming mass incarceration…

Pyrrhic Victory (#912) 

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

San Francisco’s government does not own an all-seeing network of surveillance cameras that watch people as they go about their daily business.  However…if officialdom wants to find out what people have been up to, it has access to thousands upon thousands of surveillance cameras that record exactly that.  In many cases, private residents and businesses installed these cameras themselves and offered access to [the pigs]…the modern surveillance state…is largely driven by good intentions, private fears, and innovative entrepreneurs vying for government contracts.  A map and dataset of 2,753 cameras owned by private and public operators in San Francisco was published last week by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)….”The District Attorney refused to reveal the locations of an additional 510 cameras,” notes EFF…A small number…are official government surveillance cameras…a few are [repurposed] red-light cameras…Two hundred and forty-nine of the cameras are maintained by the Union Square Business Improvement District (USBID)…But the vast majority—2,406 never-blinking lenses—[we]re…installed by private businesses, individuals, and associations…

Stupor Bowl (#912)

Virtually the only people who still profess to believe this nonsense are cops and politicians:

…[prohibitionist propaganda claimed] Atlanta was supposed to be a bastion of sex during Super Bowl week, with both…sex work…and sex trafficking…on the rise.  Yet sex workers say that [as is typical for sex mega sports events] neither seemed to be occurring at higher levels than usual in Atlanta.  The lack of sex trafficking wasn’t surprising:  The claim that sex trafficking increases during the Super Bowl is a manytimesbusted myth.  But I wondered why sex workers weren’t raking in the cash.  According to them, the sex trafficking stings, particularly an FBI anti-trafficking operation in beginning on Jan. 23, were partly to blame…

Only partly; I can assure younger sex workers that the Super Bowl and similar events have never been good for business, for reasons that should be obvious.

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Beyond the Pale

Last week I saw this question linked on Twitter, and I was rather dissatisfied with the answer the advice columnist gave.  So even though it wasn’t directed at me, I am going to answer it in case any of my readers is ever in a similar situation.

My husband wanted to try anal…I let myself be talked into trying.  I hated it.  We tried again.  I hated it.  We tried with toys of slowly increasing sizes. I hated it…We try it now every few months at most…and I inevitably cry during and after…I want to never ever do this again or even hear him ask about it, suggest it, or joke about it.  He keeps saying he doesn’t want it to hurt, but thinks it’s fair for him to keep wanting it and keep asking for it…thinking of my husband as the man who sometimes pesters me to go through this kind of pain on his behalf has done a lot of damage to my enjoyment of sex and intimacy in general.  He says he needs some variety.  An open arrangement is not on the table.  Is one of us being unfair?  Are both of us?…

First of all, I really hate the word “fair”, and this is a perfect example of why.  Reality is reality, and it doesn’t change just because one person (in this case your husband) is unhappy with the results.  It isn’t “fair” to my friends that I get to claim the front seat in every car ride where I’m not driving, but because of my severe vertigo it’s necessary unless somebody wants to clean up vomit and listen to me crying like a little girl.  It doesn’t matter whether your aversion to anal is physical, emotional or something else; the fact is that it exists, and that’s that.  You clearly want to make your husband happy, but you’ve made the effort many times with the same result, and he needs to accept that; now it’s his turn to make you happy by giving up this butt obsession before it utterly destroys your sex life and possibly your relationship.  You say you don’t want an open relationship, and given his inability to respect boundaries I think that’s wise; however, please recognize that if he’s as obsessed by this as it seems, he may go behind your back anyway, and if that happens you will need to decide if you’re willing to continue trusting him.  In any case, stop trying to do something that distresses you so; set a firm boundary and tell him you are done even talking about it.

For the husband:   Dude, WTF?  I understand you’ve got a fetish for anal, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But there’s plenty wrong with your insistence on repeatedly violating your wife’s consent.  It was fine for you to ask her once, and even to wheedle her a bit if she was reluctant.  But to continue insisting, begging, haranguing or whatever else you’ve been doing to get her to try something she obviously hates over and over and over is sadistic, and I don’t mean that in a good way.  You are harming both her and your relationship, and for what?  If you absolutely must experience this, do what ethical men have done since time immemorial and go hire a sex worker who is open to this activity.  Do not try to pick up some amateur in a bar, or go on some dumb dating site, unless you actually want to destroy your marriage; find a discreet professional who offers this service and see her as needed.  Do not just pick an escort at random and assume Greek is on the menu, because not everyone offers it (and the ones who do may not offer it to everyone, or not on the first date, or some other stipulation) and it requires special preparation (which, judging by your wife’s letter, you seem not to comprehend).  And if you do go that route, please be discreet yourself; it’s OK to get your needs met, but it’s not OK to hurt your wife because you’re too damned selfish to think with the big head.

(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 recently had an appointment with a male escort, and when I arrived and asked the room number he said he had decided to host a friend in his room and asked me to wait for 2 hours past my appointment time.  Naturally I didn’t want to wait, and pressed the issue; he agreed to see me on time and the session was fine.  However, he asked me to leave early and brought up the possibility of a partial refund.  I didn’t take him up on it at the time, but a few days later decided to ask for it; he was surly and complained that the title for the payment I used on my payment app (“Fun”) got his account flagged.  The whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth, so how do I write a frank, honest review that encapsulates my feelings about this without royally screwing him? I feel like I couldn’t really justify more than 3/5 stars on the rating site; how much detail should I give so future buyers can beware?

It seems to me that your escort behaved in an extremely unprofessional manner.  While emergencies can arise on either side of the transaction, “I decided to have a friend over” is not an emergency.  Moreover, given the situation, the proper solution is for the escort to say to the friend, “Hey, I need to work for two hours; here’s $50 so you can get dinner in the restaurant and I promise I’ll make it up to you,” not “Hey client, would you please loiter in a hotel lobby or parking lot for two hours so the staff will get suspicious and call the cops, and we can both be busted.”  And having decided to do the session, asking you to leave early was shitty.

Your offenses weren’t nearly as bad as his (and not only because he is supposed to be the pro, not you), but they’re not trivial, either.  Since you didn’t accept his offer of a partial refund right away, asking for it later was kind of graceless.  And putting “fun” or any other such word in the memo for a payment could potentially cause him to lose that account entirely, not to mention possibly being put on some kind of list (I don’t know such a list exists, but in the current police-state climate I wouldn’t be surprised).  Since you were not entirely without fault yourself, I wouldn’t write any review at all if I were you.  I definitely think his offenses were worse, but what purpose would such a review serve?  Frankly, “so future buyers can beware” strikes me as disingenuous; it seems more to me like you want to get back at him.  I’m not saying I don’t think your annoyance is justified, but I see this as feeding into drama when you could nip it in the bud.  Of course you shouldn’t see him again, and if another review board member directly asks you what the encounter was like you shouldn’t lie.  But if his behavior is often that unprofessional, others will write bad reviews without your help; I think you will be better off just shaking the dust of his room from your sandals and considering it a lesson learned.

(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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