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Posts Tagged ‘language’

I think that is an interesting attempt to cover their butts.  –  Adam Frank

Here’s another song that I considered my favorite at some point in childhood.  There are several interpretations of the lyrics; any of them present an interesting coincidence, given that I was much too young to have any idea of their meaning (I just liked Freda Payne’s voice and the way the song sounded musically).  The links above the video were provided by Eddie J CunninghamPatrick Nonwhite, ClarissaJesse WalkerMistress MatissePopehat, and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

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The satanic panic…reached a fever pitch…and like most hysterias, it thereafter died away.  –  Keith Hampton

Rough Trade

In the US, the victims would’ve been arrested when they reported the attacks:

Two brothers who threatened and raped sex workers in violent attacks in Canberra…will each spend at least five years behind bars…Ahmed Al Abbasi…and his younger brother Mohammad Alabbasi…pleaded guilty to offences arising from two terrifying ordeals against three sex workers…in early 2016.  One…was dragged into a bedroom, stripped of her clothes, threatened with a knife and raped [by] Ahmed…his brother also showed up [and orally raped her incall mate]…The men fled when two people arrived at the door to help.  In the second attack…Ahmed raped the woman…[after] his brother had driven him [there]…

Harm Reduction

Dan Savage answers a letter from a young woman who regrets cutting off contact with her father for getting caught in a prostitution sting:

…It is possible for someone to be a good dad and a shitty husband.  The good dad you knew your dad to be?  That wasn’t a lie.  It was one of your father’s truths.  That he failed as a husband and hurt your mom—with an assist from laws criminalizing sex work—is another of your father’s truths.  You don’t say why your dad was seeking sex outside the marriage, PH, and I can’t imagine that was a conversation you wanted to have with your dad in your mid-teens—and it may not be one you ever want to have.  But it’s possible your parents’ marriage was more complicated than you know.  (“The victim of an affair is not always the victim of the marriage,” as Esther Perel says)…

To Protect and Serve

The cops took two months to “investigate” a massage parlor. I wonder how many hand jobs that was?

A two-month investigation by Reedley [California] police resulted in a prostitution arrest at a massage parlor…assisted by the Fresno Police Department’s vice unit…Jiang Bing…was cited and released from police custody following her arrest…

Dirty Amateurs

Even though the facts here clearly specify that the disease is spreading among drug users and gang members, the reporter feels compelled to blame sex workers anyhow (without any cited evidence for that):

Syphilis…is returning [in Oklahoma City] and around the country…Syphilis has led [health officials] to members of 17 gangs; to drug dealers; to prostitutes, pimps and johns; and to their spouses and lovers, all caught in the disease’s undertow…in February, a prison inmate tested positive.  In interviews, he listed 24 sex partners — some his own, others the so-called pass-around girls for gangs, usually in exchange for heroin or methamphetamine.  Contact information from the Entertainment Manager, as he called himself, pointed the way to a syphilis spread that, by March, led health officials to declare an outbreak, one of the largest in the country…

Follow Your Bliss 

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

A…[cop] and karate instructor pled guilty…to multiple charges of sex crimes…Bruce Arlie Harvey of Reva, Virginia was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force prior to his arrest.  “Harvey abused his positions of trust…to sexually exploit two of his female karate students beginning when each was approximately 13 years old,” said acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle.  “This case shows that child predators”…flock to jobs that put them in close contact with kids [or give them power over people, such as police work]…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Funny how even when the real reason is clear, “authorities” and reporters prefer to blame sex workers instead:

…The Französisches Gymnasium highschool lies on a sidestreet of the German capital’s notorious Kurfürstenstraße.  The street is…also the center of the city’s street prostitution scene.  Prostitutes can be seen soliciting clients at all hours of the day there.  A build-up of discarded condoms and syringes, as well as excrement, were evidence that the school grounds were being used in unsavory ways.  “There were always complaints about unscrupulous characters including prostitutes walking shamelessly and illegally into school grounds even during the day,” the district school inspector Carsten Spallek [said]…City officials spent 57,000 euros ($67,000) to build a fence to keep such characters off school grounds…Residential developments are increasingly pushing sex workers out of the areas they used to ply their trade, forcing the business into the sidestreets…district coordinator Michael Klinnert [said] “The women have no stations to wash themselves…And they relieve themselves wherever they please”…In 2016 the German parliament, the Bundestag, passed legislation that further [imposed bottlenecks on] sex work in a bid to [force more sex workers onto the street]…

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

There’s a long US tradition of harmful policies that fly in the face of evidence:

…a few years ago, Congress began to shift funding for sex education to focus on evidence-based outcomes, letting effectiveness determine which programs would get money.  But…the Trump administration recently canceled funding for 81 projects that are part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, saying grants would end in June 2018, two years early — a decision made without consulting Congress…

Challenge (#679)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has slated oral arguments for mid-October in ESPLER Project’s challenge to California’s prostitution law…Earlier this year, industry attorneys D. Gill Sperlein and H. Louis Sirkin asked the appeals panel to toss a lower court’s judgment, remand the case to the lower court and declare the anti-prostitution law unconstitutionality.  In the appeal, ESPLER Project also is seeking a permanent injunction…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

Europeans just adore the masturbatory fantasy of helpless Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

Policia Nacional have busted an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Malaga and Benidorm.  Some 25 people were arrested…Some 16 [sex workers] were [also arrested]…The ring…was present at every stage of the journey of the trafficked sex slaves…The investigation began when agents of the Madrid Asylum and Refuge Office detected [with their magic powers] two young Nigerian women suspected of being victims of trafficking…The victims were forced to submit to various voodoo rituals to “ensure their absolute fidelity”…

Stupor Bowl (#749) 

A lot of reporters are still masturbating to this thoroughly-debunked fantasy:

Minnesota authorities and…profit[eer] organizations are [spreading propaganda about an imaginary] criminal sexual enterprise that has taken hold of the state.  These new efforts are intended to increase programs focused on “keeping teens out of the sex trade” and stopping…prostitution customers…Minneapolis…[is] the host of Super Bowl 2018.  The annual U.S. event attracts…“a small surge in sex trafficking”…The Super Bowl plan led by the anti-sex-trafficking committee is set to work together with…“Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale,” a campaign aimed at [profiting from]…sex-traffic [hysteria]…by [spreading anti-sex propaganda]…

Absolute Corruption (#751) 

At last, a very small measure of justice for Fran & Dan Keller:

Texas will pay $3.4 million to a couple who were wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades on prosecutors’ [fantasies] that they sexually abused children as part of satanic rituals at a day care they operated…The Kellers were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found a doctor was mistaken in determining there was physical evidence of assault…the doctor himself also recanted it…[and] the alleged victim…acknowledged having no memory of being abused…The determination of outright innocence made Dan Keller, 75, and Fran Keller, 67, each eligible for $80,000 in compensation for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned.  They’ll also receive a matching annuity that provides annual payments of 5 percent interest for as long as they’re alive…

Checklist (#755)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system spreads to the UK:

Nurses, social workers and [cops] are being [indoctrinated in ways to brand sex workers as]…victims of human trafficking…Some 180 frontline public sector staff in London have attended [indoctrination] sessions over the past two months designed to [fill their heads with ridiculous & meaningless] clues.  They will be expected to return to their organisations and [indoctrinate] colleagues…people [will now be harangued rather than helped by staff]…in particular in maternity units…

Comfort Zone (#765)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

A…Border Force team at Glasgow Airport has returned almost 100 [migrants]…to their home countries since last November [using the excuse that they were supposedly “potential victims”]…of modern-day slavery or sexual exploitation…Some…were [not even] going into the sex industry…some [were sex workers]…in the country to make better money…more than 250 were Romanians and less than 50 were male…

The rest is a nauseating exercise in cop masturbatory fantasy and pretending that women are mindless, helpless vegetables.

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Radfems…use terms like “sell herself” as though, at the end of the transaction, a woman has sold off a body part.  –  Lauren Rosewarne

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently Dan Rubinstein has never heard of this thing called “pregnancy”:

…Ronald Lee Love faces a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for exchanging explicit text-messages with someone with whom it would have been legal for him to have had sex.  Love, who lives in Mesa County, Colorado, began corresponding last summer when he was 25 with a 15-year-old girl who lives in New England…he explicitly insisted that their relationship remain digital because he believed physical activity was illegal…In Colorado, however, the age of consent is 15, so long as a sexual partner is not 10 or more years older…Yet authorities in this same state have decided someone…Receiving or possessing sexually-oriented images of someone under age 18…is a felony punishable by one to six years per offense…Local authorities defended their position that sexting is worse than actual sex, contending that…while a real-life sexual liaison might be a one-or limited-time thing, the teen sending Love her photo could “potentially come back to haunt this girl 30 years from now,” said Mesa County District Attorney District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Because obviously being saddled with a brat at 15 wouldn’t be NEARLY as bad as the kind of nudie pics that every ordinarily-sexual woman in the developed world has floating around.  Do pigs (I count DAs as part of that species) ever sound as stupid as they do when coming up with moronic rationalizations for moronic laws?

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Heroic Irish “authorities” save a man from getting his kidney transplant paid for:

A 73-year-old Brazilian prostitute…working in a brothel in…Kildare…walked free from court because she planned to return home as soon as the…case was over…She…was running the brothel…to pay for her 40-year-old son’s kidney transplant.  She also wanted to return home to her seriously ill 98-year-old mother…gardai…found just €80 in cash at the property…but…Judge Zaidan…[stole it anyway] and [gave it to Ruhama]…

Irish judges have a long an sadistic history of robbing sex workers and giving the money to those who want us imprisoned in workhouses and our families destroyed.

The Notorious Badge

You know peak hysteria has been reached when a moral panic features in afternoon soaps:

Young and the Restless (Y&R) spoilers for the week of August 7 and 14 reveal that Sharon…finds herself in grave danger while investigating a sex ring in Genoa City…Crystal…claims she is being held against her will by a prostitution ring…[and] is trying to escape from her captors who are following her… Zack is involved in the prostitution ring and…his dating app project with Abby Newman is linked with the operations of the criminal ring.  Abby Newman will soon find out that the dating app she is developing with Zack is part of a sex trafficking operation…

End Demand

Authoritarians would be even more dangerous if they could actually get their shit together:

People convicted of buying sex have, since February, been eligible for a program to [indoctrinate] them [in anti-sex propaganda]…But no one has been sentenced to it yet…[because] Bismarck [North Dakota]…City Attorney Jason Hammes…did not know it existed…”It appears the municipal prosecutors and judges may not be aware of it,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in a letter to city attorneys and municipal judges on July 25…

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

While women’s libbers have spent decades fighting to get us dominion over our own bodies, radical feminists have spent almost as long trying to insert caveats.  Apparently there are right and egregiously wrong ways to use our bodies – more specifically our genitals – particularly when dollars are involved…I not only vehemently disagree with the radfem position, but I view it as fundamentally un-feminist…If feminists aren’t fighting for my right to use my body how I choose, then they’ve dramatically detoured from their mission…

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

“Lust” is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services.  It uses…anonymity features to escrow funding of the parties and keep their identities private, in order to avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and public shaming.  Leaving aside the thorny moral and social questions raised by the currency’s intended use…the “smart contracts” favor one side of the bargain: the “key has to be scanned later if they make an agreement and meet otherwise the contract gets automatically closed in 48 hours, and the client gets his Etherium tokens back in the wallet”…if the “client” has sex with the worker, and then does not scan her (sic) token, the client gets to have sex, and the worker gets nothing.  Despite high-minded talk about preventing violence against sex-workers, the major threat-model addressed by these smart-contracts is men who don’t feel like they got value for money when having sex, not women who perform sex-for-money and don’t get paid for it…

Despite Cory Doctorow’s pompous pearl-clutching (since when is consensual sex a “thorny moral question” to anyone but authoritarians?) he’s right about the way this would work, which means no sane sex worker will ever use it.  Cash up front, guys, or you get nothing.

Shift in the Wind (#510)

The Adam Smith Institute continues its support of decriminalization with a commentary on a new paper by Ron Weitzer:

…sociologist Ronald Weitzer…gives new insight into the sorry state of the academic literature on these topics.  First on his list of grievances is the unreliability of the data that is often used…[but] Flawed data is just the tip of the iceberg…[often] the authors’ approach to study design also leaves a lot to be desired…”The authors use aggregate national trafficking estimates (which combine labor, sex, and other kinds of trafficking) in their attempt to assess whether legal prostitution makes a difference. This means that there is a gross mismatch between the trafficking figures and prostitution law:  In assessing whether prostitution law is related to the incidence of trafficking, figures on sex trafficking alone should be used, not the totals for all types if trafficking“…A subsequent study by Cho (2016) using a different data source contains another howler…”Without citing any source, Cho claims that ‘prostitution is closely linked to human trafficking because sex trafficking for the purpose of prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking and constitutes the largest fraction of trafficking victims’…This claim is contradicted by the International Labour Organization (ILO)…[which states] ‘Forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 11% of all cases’ of forced labor worldwide“…Weitzer’s paper would be an interesting academic exercise in the perils of low-quality data and poor research methodology, except for the fact that policies being enacted on the basis of [these bad] studies are hurting marginalized women…when it comes to scaremongering stories about sex trafficking epidemics and accompanying calls for the “Nordic Model”, extra caution should be exercised.

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

More vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

A new [chat]bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time…[was] tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington…[it] lurks behind fake online ads…posted by [anti-sex worker profiteers]…and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.  The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.  But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into [prohibitionist propaganda]…”Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking…Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning”…Project Intercept’s lead partner, Seattle Against Slavery, is working with counterparts in 21 other U.S. cities, including Boston and Houston, to deploy the bot more widely…Project Intercept was started in 2012 by two Microsoft employees after seeing a [movie] about sex trafficking…

Given the involvement of the vile SAS and the list of cities involved, methinks Swanee Hunt’s foul reek is all over this.

Lack of Evidence (#696)

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

On July 31, an undercover cop in Columbus, Georgia, invited a 51-year-old woman into his car and offered her $5 for oral sex. When she rebuffed his offer and tried to get out, he arrested the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution…a controversial charge commonly used by the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to target those such as homeless women, people who’ve previously been arrested on prostitution charges, or people who don’t meet a [cop’s] standard of gender conformity.  On Sunday morning, CPD officers arrested a 24-year-old homeless woman for allegedly waving at two passing cars from the side of the road…Last summer, 24-year-old C. Williams was arrested while sitting at a bus stop because…Williams was carrying condoms and “dressed as a woman”…the city statute…expressly says evidence of an intent to commit prostitution or sodomy includes the person being “a known prostitute, pimp or sodomist”…

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

Given the number of companies profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria, it should come as no surprise when individuals start using it for publicity stunts:

British model Chloe Ayling…claims she was held captive for almost a week after being lured to Milan, Italy, for what she was told was a photo shoot.  Her alleged captor, Lukasz Pawel Herba, [supposedly] drugged her and placed her in a large suitcase in a car boot…Ayling was allegedly held hostage for up to six days as her abductors [supposedly a group called “Black Death” with ties to the Russian mafia] tried to sell her as a sex slave…The gang says its victims can be “transported globally” and advertises its activities, saying: “If you wish, we can kidnap a specific target for your needs…The advert claims the abductors “do not sell girls that are terminally ill, pregnant, have STDs or are young mothers”.  It has been suggested the gang let Ms Ayling go after realising she had a two-year-old son…While [sensible] people have raised doubts about her story, her lawyer, Francesco Pesce, said investigators believed her claims…

That cops, whose credulity on the topic of crime knows no bounds, believe the story is an argument against its being true, not for it.  Another is the notion of a gang which has no problem selling women into slavery, yet revere the sanctity of motherhood, and yet another is the fact that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes with her alleged abductor during the time she was supposedly bound to a chest of drawers (?) at a farmhouse.

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My business was…illegal, but it shouldn’t have been.  –  Jeffrey Hurant

Safe Targets 

Naturally; they can steal more money from whores, and we don’t shoot back:

…Scotland Yard has been…threatening to prosecute women who work in brothels rather than pursue an armed gang of robbers who have been repeatedly targeting premises used for sex work…The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer…has written to the Metropolitan police in support of one of the victims…who is a constituent of his…Starmer said letters sent by the Met threatening women with prosecution…“could make it more difficult to stay in touch with victims of violent crimes”…The Met denies there is evidence of connected attacks on brothels and [pretends] that criminalising prostitutes is not a priority…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A huge human trafficking ring that has been flying hundreds of Iranian migrants, some as young as five, into Britain has been smashed…The alleged leader of the criminal gang was detained at Heathrow as he tried to escape justice by flying to Brazil.  Another 14 gang members were held in Malaga…more than 200 people a year had been smuggled by the gang for around 10 years…Europol said the gang had run a “perfectly structured” criminal operation in which each migrant was charged around £22,000 and provided with accommodation, transfers and flights.  There was no immediate information from the Home Office about how many Iranians have managed to enter Britain illegally or whether any of those detained have been removed from the country…

Notice the use of “ring” as dysphemism for “business”, and “gang members” as dysphemisms for “employees”; note also the pretense that just because a business violates stupid laws makes it somehow surprising that it’s well-run.  Nobody would consider it newsworthy that an ordinary travel agency had only 200 customers a year; if anything, that qualifies as a rather small business.  Note also the phrase “as young as five”, borrowed from “sex trafficking” propaganda; why are we supposed to be shocked that people moving to another country would take their children along? Personally, I think it’d be more newsworthy if they left them behind.

Dutch Threat 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam’s policy that prostitutes must share personal information with brothel owners, is in violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, the court in Amsterdam ruled…The court was dissatisfied with Amsterdam’s policy on various points, especially on the intake conversation brothel operators have to have with prostitutes before they start working there.  The municipality made this intake conversation obligatory in 2013, with the idea that operators will notice [magical] signals of human trafficking during the talk…The intake forms also contain information about the sexual life of the sex worker and operators must store these forms and present them during inspections…

Policing for Profit

Almost nobody still believes cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit:

…Adrienne Chapa was arrested [in Minneapolis] and spent a few days in jail before she went home to Las Vegas…[but] the Hennepin County attorney’s office filed a lawsuit to keep [her] money through [legalized robbery]…It took two years to resolve the legal cases, and $21,000 is finally getting distributed [among various pigpens]…Minnesota legislators outlawed civil forfeiture in 2014…[but Chapa eventually plead guilty on condition that the conviction will be erased in two years]…her attorney, Avery Appelman, said seizing the cash was a “large motivating factor” for her prosecution and that police use forfeited property as a “slush fund”…

What’s that word for men who use force to take money that a woman earns via prostitution?

Lack of Evidence (#678) 

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

…New York Penal Law Section 240.37 has criminalized loitering in a public place by anyone the police determine is present for the purpose of prostitution.  “Purpose” is not defined…thus the reason for one’s presence is ultimately decided by the opinions of arresting officers…A woman may be surveilled, searched, and detained, in part because an officer takes issue with her clothing…pre-printed affidavits…include “indications of prostitution,” such as:  the defendant was standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand; the defendant was carrying money or “sexual paraphernalia”; the defendant was with someone known to have been previously arrested for prostitution-related offenses…The…N.Y.P.D…Patrol Guide…offers no objective criteria on what attire is suspect, thus failing citizens the ability to anticipate how their fashion could establish cause for their arrest…From 2012 through 2015, nearly 1,300 individuals were arrested in New York City under the law…85 percent of them were black or Latina.  According to a class-action lawsuit filed September 30, 2016 by the Legal Aid Society of New York…transgender women are especially victimized…

Now They Notice (#680)

It’s sick and sad how, after an initial show of calculated outrage, Gay, Inc abandoned him to the government:

A federal judge…sentenced Rentboy.com founder Jeffrey Hurant to a six-month prison term…Federal authorities [had] already [stolen] about $1.5 million that they claim was laundered money from Hurant’s company…[but] did not pursue a seizure of $101,000 from Hurant’s personal bank account…the…judge…also fined him $7,500.  After sentencing, Hurant told reporters…that…sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized…

Backwards into the Future (#743)

Virtually no government “commission” will ever suggest taking power away from government:

…the South African Law Reform Commission chose fiction over facts…After taking two decades to draft its final report, it has recommended the continued full criminalisation of consensual adult sex work…The commission also included a last-minute secondary option of [The Swedish model]…These recommendations were made despite mounting evidence that shows that the full decriminalisation of sex work is the most effective and respectful model to ensure improved access to health, justice and support services for sex workers…We have had this apartheid-era model in South Africa for a long time now.  What have the results been?  High levels of violence and abuse, stigma and discrimination when sex workers attempt to access basic services, and high rates of new HIV infections…And this violence is most often committed by police officers, as illustrated by a review by the Women’s Legal Centre of cases reported between 2011 and 2015.  Of the abuse reported to the centre by sex workers, more than 60% of cases identified the police as perpetrators…

The Widening Gyre (#756) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

A Facebook post [reporting] illegal immigrants are trying to kidnap young girls for human trafficking…[states] Mentor [Ohio] Police are aware…that men are sitting in parked cars in…parking lots…Police [claim] they have received no reports of any human trafficking or related suspicious behavior.  Police also [allege] they’ve reached out to security at Great Lakes Mall and the mall has not received any reports…

The War Goes On (#757) 

If Backpage is so awful, why do politicians need lies to attack it?

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claimed he has “new evidence” showing that the classifieds site “Backpage has directly and actively promoted illegal sex trafficking.”  But the only thing new is Hawley’s level of desperation and deceit…Among the “new” evidence…is a January report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Despite the senators having access to all of the internal Backpage data and hosting a theatrical in-person inquiry, they found nothing sufficient to spur a criminal investigation or any charges.  Hawley also submitted the transcript of an audio recording seized from Philippines company Avion, in which an Avion employee contacts a London sex worker…A state attorney general cannot attempt to prosecute foreign contractors for ads created and posted in foreign countries.  And it is legal for Backpage contractors to generate adult ads abroad, where the rules governing web-publishing platforms and legal liability for content vary (and prostitution in certain forms may be legal).  Hawley’s actions here should be seen for what they are: a sneaky attempt to build credibility in his illegal crusade…

The Mote and the Beam (#762) 

The Unsinkable Liz Brown with more on the censors who want to destroy the internet in the name of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…The underlying reason why no one’s been able to pin criminal charges on Backpage isn’t a “loophole” in federal law that lets Backpage knowingly profit from human trafficking but the fact that the evidence doesn’t support claims that it does so.  If it did, Section 230 would be irrelevant, and Backpage execs could be charged under a number of laws—including one 2015 law crafted for just this purpose. The Stop Advertising Victims of Sexual Exploitation Act specifically prohibits the knowing advertisement of sex trafficking victims, under threat of a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence…Section 230 doesn’t apply to content that a platform has itself created “in whole or part,” nor to one that…”is directly involved” in the alleged crime.  But a website operator “who edits user-created content… retains his immunity for any illegality in the user-created content”…If Backpage is more like the first category, it’s already punishable under criminal statutes and subject to civil claims.  If it’s only the former, than opening up Backpage to criminal charges and civil payouts opens up all of the internet to the same…

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My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay

I think I’ve said before, somewhere in this massive edifice of words, that I really hate it when other women respond to the realization that I have the figure I have without special dieting or exercising every day with “I wish I had your metabolism”.  I used to simply reply with “thank you” or a Southern belle “I guess I’m just blessed that way”, but I’ve grown so weary of the hidden bile in such statements that I now reply with a cutting glance and a darkly-intoned, “You wouldn’t want what goes with it.”

Engineers, scientists and medical professionals understand what most people don’t: that every dynamic system (such as a human body) exists in a state of homeostasis, and that a gain in one part of the system can only be achieved by shorting another part of the system.  Squeeze the balloon in the middle and the ends will enlarge at the expense of that middle, not to mention putting considerable pressure on the structural cohesion of the plastic if one squeezes hard enough.  Burn the candle at both ends?  Twice the light, but half the life.  Yes, I have a great metabolism…and it’s so finely-balanced that I become completely non-functional if anything knocks it out of that balance.  You know how most people can push themselves to go without sleep if necessary?  If I try that, when I get to about the 20-hour mark I get dizzy, start shivering and vomiting (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea and/or hives) and then literally pass out.  Some of my friends can walk around in public while high; I have to crawl to make it to the bathroom.  And on the rare occasions when I succumb to some illness, it generally manifests as 24 to 48 hours of dizziness, vomiting, chills, weakness so profound I can barely move, and fever so high that those attending me (if they can handle all the screaming at them to shut up, go away and turn off every light in the house) get frightened.  And that uncannily-high pain threshold some people envy?  It’s because sensations below the “imminent threat of maiming” level just don’t register on my hyperactive nervous system.  Consider what that does to my ability to sense pleasure, then tell me you still wish you had my physiology.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about that hyperactive nervous system.  On the good side: extremely high intelligence, quick wit, lightning-fast reflexes, and hyper-awareness.  On the bad side: debilitating vertigo, OCD, ADD, insomnia and anxiety (the latter three all aggravated by long summer days).  That prolificity and vocabulary envied by other writers?  Paid for by a nigh-complete inability to shut up (ask my long-suffering friends how literal this is) unless I’m deeply drugged or unconscious.  And that superhuman memory of mine, the one everybody thinks is so bloody wonderful because I can pull up facts faster than Google and order them in a way no machine yet built can manage?  While the joy of good things fades with the neurochemical changes generated by those experiences, the emotional damage done by the bad ones remains and never completely heals, if it heals at all.  It has been said that no woman would ever have more than one baby if she could actually remember how it felt to have the first one; if that’s true it’s probably best I couldn’t have children, because I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.

I’m not saying I would have it any other way; I am who I am and what I am, and it’s all I know.  What I’m saying is, when you look at someone else’s life and human condition, please apply at least as much thought as you apply when shopping for a new piece of technology, and consider the actual cost of what’s in front of you.

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I regret that we had not sufficiently understood that others would see this event so differently.  –  Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

Longtime readers will appreciate this video…what if one of my favorite musicians did a version of the theme music of one of my favorite shows?  The links above it are from Tim Cushing (“does”), Clarissa (“pro”), Tushy Galore (“headline” and “never”), Walter Olson (“books”), and Brooke Magnanti (“tender”).

From the Archives

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The cops are the villains of this story, not the heroes.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Torture Chamber 

It’s unusual to see them actually use the word “rape” in this context:

A deputy jailer at Hardin County [Kentucky] jail has been arrested after…inmate Amanda Chambers [reported] that Deputy Stephen Renfrow provided her with tobacco dip in exchange for sex…He was arrested on Friday and is facing charges for rape, promoting contraband, and official misconduct…

If it was a true “exchange” as the story suggests, why did Chambers report him, and why the charge of rape?  It seems more likely he raped her and then gave her the tobacco in an attempt to bribe her into silence.

Case Study

Is it sexist of me to wonder why men seem to be pearl-clutching even more than women these days?

There are two brothels operating…[in an apartment building]…each containing several “sex workers”.  They advertise their services openly on websites.  Clients pick a woman from a menu of hundreds and make a phone call to get directions…A garda familiar with the case confirms there are several brothels operating out of apartment complexes in the area, as well as “pop-up” brothels in the local hotel.  He says there is little that can be done unless they witness cash been handed over…Street prostitution still exists but the vast majority of prostitution is now advertised on the internet.  Ruth Breslin of Ruhama, an organisation [that persecutes sex workers]…estimates there are no more than 70 prostitutes working on the streets in Dublin…“Women are moved around an awful lot in the indoor trade because the market is all about new girls. Buyers are often not interested in going back to the same woman,” Breslin says…

Scare quotes for a job title.  Advertising being described as “open” as though there were another way for it to be effective.  Can you imagine a site featuring ads for physicians or lawyers being described as a “menu”?  Ruhama interviewed instead of sex workers.  Women described as passive objects who “are moved” rather than being able to move themselves. And it goes on from there…

Moving Pictures 

Salon’s definition of “everyone” excludes all people who actually know anything about sex work, or have critical thinking skills and access to Google:

“It’s all a lie. It’s all a big lie.”  That’s how director Josie Swantek Heitz, her face stunned and expressionless as she leans against a wall, informs director/cinematographer Dave Adams that they have been hoodwinked.  This discovery occurs moments into the intro of their film The Wrong Light…[first intended to be a fakumentary] about trafficked girls in the stateless Hill Tribe communities that border Northern Thailand.  After this initial confusion…we are suddenly plunged headlong into the world of Mickey Choothesa and COSA (Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia), a [rescue profiteering] organization…A half hour in, the film flips to include an intricately woven fiction that fooled everyone, including both filmmakers, the producers, a slew of international donors, a parade of interns, and even foreign correspondent Adam Ramsey…It is as though the [fantasy] of witnessing pretty girls being trafficked…[turns moralists on so much that they]…open…their…wallets without further investigation…

Readers with long memories will remember that I debunked COSA in this blog five and a half years ago.

Theatrics (#549)

People who can’t admit their kinks unknowingly display them to the world:

The group ‘Yet She Rise’ hopes people will see their human trafficking displays this weekend in [Chicago’s] Wicker Park and feel uncomfortable…there is a box with two child actors inside it, tape over their mouths and wrists.  “In a box, you know, roped and tied, with tape across their mouth, just to show how [sexy], and how [arousing], this situation is,” sa[livate]d Lamar Flowers, who’s with the organization…

This is at least the fourth iteration we’ve seen of this same inane stunt.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

Italy sends its navy to stop brown people from coming into the country; everyone pretends it isn’t racist:

Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni…announced…that the Italian navy would be patrolling with Libyan ships just off the Libyan coastline…to curb human trafficking and [turn] migrants back…to Libya…Italy has already threatened to stop allowing boats carrying rescued migrants to dock in Italian ports…Most of the migrants are from African countries, and many try to travel on to France…However, the border is being policed by French officials.  Migrants who are caught are sent back to Italy.  Austria has announced that it too will close its border with Italy if the number of migrants starts to rise…The interior ministry has…announced that it will reinforce repatriation programs…

“Repatriation” is the currently-fashionable euphemism for “deportation”.

Power Play (#701)

The only part of this I disagree strongly with is Petro’s conciliatory statement that “There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris”:

…Like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the rest, casual whorephobia and anti-sex work sentiment and views — even among so-called progressives — is endemic…The latest and most vivid example of this is the growing popularity of superstar Democrat Kamala Harris…[who] has been called a “liberal hero” and a “rising star” in the party…There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris…But the fact that Harris was an active force behind a campaign that endangered the lives of sex workers makes it understandably difficult for people with experiences in the sex trades to throw her our support…

No, there are no good reasons to root for Harris; she’s a corrupt, self-serving, two-faced demagogue who, in addition to her anti-whore campaigns, participated in political cover-ups and actively campaigned against prison reform because, she claims, California needs the slave labor prisoners are forced to do.  She is a vile, loathsome monster even by the standards of politicians, and that’s saying something.

Devil’s Advocate (#723) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

A surge in the number of seizures of child-like sex dolls by border officers has led investigators to identify dozens of previously unknown suspected paedophiles.  The…dolls…are a “relatively new phenomenon” in the UK and should be criminalised, said Hazel Stewart [a sex cop]…those who order them can be prosecuted under a specific charge of importing an indecent or obscene article…[but] it is not illegal to own a child sex doll…Stewart said: “I think it’s got to be through the full range of this criminality, from manufacturer to sale, to import, to possess – the full range.  And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of…sex robots”…

I’m sure you guessed this would merge with the sex robot hysteria.

The War Goes On (#731) 

Prohibitionists just don’t realize how obvious their masturbation to the “pimp” fantasy is, bless their little hearts:

For pimps and prostitutes, gift cards have become a currency to pay for sex ads on Backpage.com, anti-prostitution activists say…Credit card companies [were illegally threatened into cutting off] business with the website two years ago.  People could still buy Backpage ads, but it became more difficult:  They had to mail in checks or use complicated digital currencies like bitcoin.  But now, Backpage has begun accepting gift cards from major retailers…that means a pimp could walk into any local grocery store and pick up a convenient, untraceable way to pay the site to post ads selling women…[prohibitionists publicly masturbate to the fantasy that] Backpage’s new payment system will make it easier to sell vulnerable girls online…

What’s also fascinating is the number of anti-sex women who insist that other women are far too stupid to do anything as simple as pay for an online service by themselves, without an all-powerful male doing it for them.

Too Close To Home (#760)

Liz Brown on the warped thought patterns of Seattle prosecutor Val Richey:

In Seattle, sex must be a “leisure activity” for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to…Val Richey—a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County…”What you have is someone paying this person essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes,'” Richey [said]…”these women, as a leisure activity, are not looking to have sex with 10 guys in a day. They’re doing it for the money.”  By that logic, anyone who wouldn’t perform their job without remuneration is a victim of labor trafficking!  But Richey is “adamant”…that what Korean sex workers…”were doing could not be called consensual because they were being paid”…

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