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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

So last week NBC News tweeted this vile, disgusting example of primitive leader-worship so obsequious it may make you vomit; everyone involved in this, or who thinks it’s wonderful, deserves to be ruled by fucking emperors again.  The childish need for all-powerful, superhuman heroes to tell you what to do is exactly what put Trump in power.  It’s exactly why the US is busily engaged in murdering people all over the world.  It’s why you’re groped before you can get on an airplane.  It’s why cops are murdering innocent people in the street without any repercussions whatsoever.  It’s why you no longer have the civil rights so many fought so hard for.  It’s why the US cages five times as many people as civilized countries do.  It’s why you have Gestapo asking for your fucking papers every time you turn around.  THIS; naked fascist authoritarianism.  And you know what?  I totally wouldn’t care if it didn’t affect me.  You are a free individual who has the absolute right to bow and scrape before an inhuman monster merely because she has a vagina if that’s what you like; go for it.  The problem is that you want to drag me along with you and I DO NOT CONSENT.  I don’t consent to authoritarians and fascists spying on me, robbing me, and threatening me with violence every time I try to do anything they don’t like.  I don’t consent to having my life, my sexuality, my substance use and even my fucking food intake monitored by “authorities” or “experts”.  And I don’t give a shit whether those control freaks have penises, vaginas, both or neither.  Evil is evil, tyranny is tyranny, and I DO NOT CONSENT, now or ever. 

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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Just your regular reminder that just because somebody opposes bad guys, doesn’t make them a good guy.  If anything, the baddies fight each other more than they fight the goodies, because the baddies are fighting for what they both want: power.  Power over you and me.  Power to control your choices, your body, your income, your work, your speech, your interactions with others.  Everyone who wants that is evil, even if one set of them happens to be on your side today.  There’s an old saying, “He who sups with the Devil should use a long spoon.”  But most modern people don’t get that; let a pig or politician say something they like against someone they hate, and suddenly that pig or politician is a goodie they’re not only happy to eat with, but to allow to cook for them.  And they don’t even count the spoons.  You know who killed more Nazis than anybody?  The Commies.  And they were doing it before the Nazis even came to power.  And predictable as fucking sunrise, in the middle of all this week’s anti-Nazi fervor, what did we see?  Historical ignoramuses claiming the Commies weren’t as bad as the Nazis, despite the fact that just Mao & Stalin combined murdered more than three times as many people as Hitler, and that’s not even counting the contributions of lesser luminaries like Pol Pot, Kim Il-sung and Fidel Castro.

Oh, and one more thing:  I’m really pleased to see so many people joining me in condemning fascism, as I have for decades.  Unfortunately, most moderns seem to think the term means something like “organized racism”.  It doesn’t; fascism has a specific meaning, namely rule by a coalition of political, corporate and military or paramilitary interests.  They also seem to think US fascism started with Donald Trump, which is patently absurd.  Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Lawrence Britt’s seminal article on the 14 defining characteristics of fascism; you’ll note that most of these describe American government as far back as the Reagan administration, and a few of them as far back as the FDR administration.

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The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

For years, many of y’all have been urging me to get more rest, take a few breaks, maybe even not post every day.  And while the latter is out of the question, the more observant among you (especially those who have been hanging around here for years) have almost certainly noticed that I’ve done a lot to lighten my workload.  The time and energy I used to use to prepare one weekly news column now produces two; my weekly diary is often quite short and requires little effort to write; Q&A columns flow naturally in response to reader questions and are thus comparatively low-effort; links columns grow from scanning Twitter and thus almost write themselves; I no longer do research-intensive essays (partly thanks to Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who has become the Queen of Debunking); fictional interludes have become occasional rather than monthly; and holidays are now represented by the online equivalent of greeting cards.  But there was still one holiday I always poured considerable effort into, and that one is today, April Fool’s Day.  I’ve always enjoyed gently hoaxing y’all, and longtime readers may remember that some of the pranks were fairly elaborate.  But at least for now, I feel it’s time to retire that six-year tradition.

It’s not only to reduce my stress levels, however; it’s also because hoaxes just aren’t fun any more.  The internet is full of parody news sites which, unlike The Onion, Clickhole and Reductress, make no effort to be amusing or witty; they just print stupid shit that isn’t true and yet isn’t silly enough to be distinguished from the actual absurdities published by the mainstream news sites.  Furthermore, even the “real” news media are positively riddled with idiotic nonsense about “sex trafficking”, the “War on Cops”, supposed “epidemics” of things that are actually less common than they’ve ever been, and other tall tales that could be easily debunked by ten fucking minutes on Google if reporters actually cared to practice journalism rather than stenographically reporting every moronic, impossible and self-serving lie vomited out by cops, politicians, prohibitionists and all the other bipedal vermin who glut themselves on others’ suffering and profit from human misery.  Mathematically-impossible, scientifically-illiterate and sociologically-absurd poppycock too ridiculous for a ’50s science fiction B-movie is routinely presented as fact even by “respected” sources like The New York Times, and politicians base laws on fantasies roughly as credible as the contents of Malleus Maleficarum, complete with penalties that would’ve found approval from those who employed that book.  Clowns are widely presented as objects of terror (and are the subject of a recurring moral panic), which perhaps makes sense given that our rulers are themselves violent clowns who send forth armed thugs in clownish costumes to terrorize, rape, rob and murder the populace based on excuses Caligula himself might recognize as mad.  And their cringing subjects attempt to impose order on a world gone completely insane by artificially dividing their overlords into teams, swearing fealty to one of those teams and then obstinately ignoring all the evil done by “their” leaders while blaming the other side for everything no matter what the facts show.  In short, we live in a world in which the highest points are all occupied by professional full-time fools, and it seems pointless for a sane person to even attempt to compete with them.

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The TSA…[is] an expensive, intrusive show, put on by poorly trained, poorly managed and…dangerously out-of-control actors.  –  Scott Greenfield

License to Rape

The TSA joins cops in the elite group who can rape, sexually assault & molest citizens without consequence:

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has declined to say exactly where—and how—employees will be touching air travelers as part of the more invasive physical pat-down procedure it recently ordered.  But the agency does expect some passengers to consider the examination unusual.  In fact, the TSA decided to inform local police in case anyone calls to report [a TSA agent sexually assaulting her]…The physical search, for those selected to have one, is what the agency described as a more “comprehensive” screening, replacing five separate kinds of pat-downs it previously used.  The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency’s employees may get…

Criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield had this to say about it:

…Put aside, for the moment, that TSA agents are not law enforcement officers, but rather the nice folks who you last met inquiring whether you wanted to supersize, now wearing blue shirts to create the impression of important authority…the way to improve [their inept performance] is to direct these pizza lovers to engage in conduct that would, under most other circumstances, constitute crimes.  Why isn’t it a crime?  Because it’s consensual, travelers having consented to their children, their spouses, themselves, being touched on any part of their body…by electing to travel by airplane a privilege, not a right.  Hey, you could walk across country.  Is it TSA’s fault you chose to fly?…

Follow Your Bliss  

What better job could there be for a queer sadist with control issues?

…John Smyth…stands at the center of a widening scandal of sadistic abuse of dozens of boys over three decades…Smyth…“quoted from the Bible and told me I had to bleed for Jesus,” said a…victim, who attempted suicide on his 21st birthday, after Mr. Smyth promised him “a special kind of beating” for the occasion.  “When he was done, he would lean in towards me and put his face on my neck telling me how proud he was of me,” said the man…Some of the victims received up to 100 strokes at a time for masturbating, having indecent thoughts or looking at pornography — beatings that caused some to faint or bleed for up to three weeks…Smyth was removed from the trust in 1984 and sent to Zimbabwe, where he set up similar Christian summer camps for…boys…In 1997, Zimbabwe’s prosecuting attorney arrested…Smyth on a charge of culpable homicide in the death of…a 16-year-old boy who was found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool of one of Mr. Smyth’s camps…a year later all charges against him were dropped…In 2002…Smyth moved to South Africa, where new accusations of abuse have surfaced in news outlets in recent weeks…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

Dozens of sex workers and human rights campaigners gathered in Kiev on [Sex Worker Rights Day] demanding the [decriminalization] of prostitution in Ukraine.  Some 50 activists holding red umbrellas and wearing red plastic helmets staged the first-ever march through the capital…the protesters held placards reading “Sex work is work”, “We stand for decriminalisation of sex work”, and “My work is my choice”…there are some 80,000 sex workers in Ukraine who feel vulnerable — particularly to police abuse…[Yuliya] Dorokhova said…“women…have to hand police their…earnings as ‘protection’ money”…to avoid fines and…beating[s]…

Capricious Lusts

Another study shows what’s already been shown over & over again:

Paul Bisschop of SEO Amsterdam Economics…compare crime data for nine Dutch cities with tippelzones and 16 cities without.  The data from 1994 to 2011 include measures of sexual, drug-related and violent crime…The authors provide “causal evidence” of a 32 to 40 percent reduction in rape and sexual abuse within two years of a city opening a tippelzone…

No Friend of Ours

More evil prohibitionist drivel from Nevada:

A state lawmaker has proposed that Nevada give cities and counties the explicit authority to shut down hotels where prostitution arrests are repeatedly made…John Hambrick [fantasized] that his bill would help curb human trafficking…at by-the-hour hotels that work with or overlook [unlicensed] pimps operating at their establishments.  “I’m trying to get to a situation where communities can be safe and not have to worry about the scourge of human trafficking,” Hambrick said…

Monsters 

In which the Daily Fail pretends to care about transwomen so it can print torture porn pics:

A transgender woman was brutally beaten to death by a group of thugs who dragged her from her home and attacked her in a sickening transphobic attack.  Dandara dos Santos…was…kicked, punched, and hit with shoes and a plank of wood…in Fortaleza…Brazil.  Harrowing footage of the attack shows Dandara begging the savage attackers to spare her life, but her…attackers simply lift her into a wheelbarrow and roll her away to a back alley where she was beaten to death amid cheers and laughter…

Dysphemisms Galore 

One wonders if the author has similar sadfeelz about the “forced smiles” of people in other retail & customer service jobs:

…hundreds of women who are trafficked to Hong Kong from mainland China, Southeast Asia, Europe and South America for forced prostitution in the city’s brothels, bars, spas and pornography industry, [prohibitionists pretend]…Many victims do not speak out for fear of being punished by their traffickers, some of them linked to the powerful Triad organised crime group.  Others are afraid of being deported home or criminalised for being in the possession of fake papers arranged by their pimps…cocaine, marijuana and other drugs are used by clients and forced on the girls…

Because sweet, innocent women never snort coke or smoke weed, not ever.  And it’s funny how all the actual studies, ignored by this single-interview-based article, repeatedly find what activists keep saying: sex work in Asia, like everywhere else, is work.

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

Tens of thousands of immigrants detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were forced to work for $1 day, or for nothing at all — a violation of federal anti-slavery laws — a lawsuit [explains].  The lawsuit, filed in 2014 against one of the largest private prison companies in the country, reached class-action status…after a federal judge’s ruling.  That means the case could involve as many as 60,000 immigrants who have been detained.  It’s the first time a class-action lawsuit accusing a private U.S. prison company of forced labor has been allowed to move forward…At the heart of the dispute is the Denver Contract Detention Facility…in Aurora, Colo., owned and operated by GEO Group…detainees at the…facility are forced to work without pay — and that those who refuse to do so are threatened with solitary confinement…

Morality Lessons (#689)

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

Justice Dept. lawyers are asking a federal court to drop a case against a dark web child porn site because it says it [will] not reveal how it used a browser exploit to target thousands of unsuspecting visitors to the site…because the government is “unwilling to disclose” how it carried out the hacks, it has “no choice but to seek dismissal” of the case…Playpen…[was] a dark web site accessible over the Tor anonymity network…[the FBI] seized the server…[and] continued to run the website for almost two weeks…[it used] malware…to deanonymize the users of the Tor browser…[and] gather…IP addresses…which should have been protected by Tor…

Morality Lessons (#703)

Yeah, it’s porn making men less interested in marriage.  Horrible divorce laws couldn’t have anything to do with that:

A joint resolution in the Tennessee General Assembly condemning pornography as a “public health crisis” that is making men less interested in marrying passed unanimously in the Senate…without any discussion…It calls for education, policy change, prevention and [bogus] research [specifically designed to “find”] negative effects of pornography…

I’m sure that “call for education” doesn’t include actual sex education.

All-Purpose Excuse (#718)

Hey Democrats, are you ready to disavow this lunacy you helped create & abandon it to the GOP?

The shadow government led by former President Barack Obama is working overtime to delegitimize President Donald Trump and his administration…Why is Obama remaining in Washington D.C. and moving his top adviser Valerie Jarrett into his new mansion?…the mainstream media is ignoring Trump’s massive sex trafficking busts…the MSM…appear to be censoring stories that expose child sex trafficking and pedophiles…could the shadow government’s coup against Trump be tied to child sex trafficking?…Hillary and Bill Clinton’s [have] ties to sex crimes…there are people at the top tied to child sex trafficking…our corrupt MSM [has a] sick scheme to protect pedophiles and cover up sex trafficking…

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The reason it took so long was we kept looking for something we couldn’t find.  –  Joe DiSalvo

Election Day (#45) trump-the-circus-peanut

It was interesting, but not at all surprising, to look back at my comments after the last presidential election and discover that the issues literally haven’t changed at all.  Once again the world was subjected to Americans vomiting poison all over each other for over a year while flushing some two billion dollars down a colossal toilet of hate in a mad contest to convince the undecided that an unbalanced TV clown who has bankrupted more businesses than I’ve owned would be a better Chief Sociopath than a power-mad harpy who never met a non-Anglophone brown person she didn’t want to bomb, and vice versa.  We endured months of propaganda claiming that a word-salad-spewing orang-utan the color of a circus peanut candy could somehow manage the largest corporate complex on Earth even though he couldn’t successfully manage any of his own companies; that a robotic war criminal with the fashion sense of Kim Jong-un and the charisma of your average DMV functionary was somehow less evil than her public behavior would indicate because she has a vagina; and that people so disgusted with these two utterly repellent specimens of homo sapiens that they threw their support behind either a stoner hick with a loose-cannon running mate or a crackpot prohibitionist so deranged even she doesn’t actually know what she believes, somehow owed the Two-Winged Fascist Party their votes lest the madman beat the megalomaniac or vice versa.

Well, we all know how that turned out; Trump won the popularity contest in spite of his own best efforts to sabotage his campaign, which means we may soon be forced to endure the spectacle of a sitting US president defending himself against a slew of lawsuits and even criminal charges.  His cabinet suggestions are a veritable rogues’ gallery of tyrants and malefactors, including the psychopathic Joe Arpaio, who was finally ousted from his position as dictator of Maricopa County, Arizona under the shadow of pending federal criminal charges.

There was some good news, though; California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis, while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved cannabis for medical use and Montana reversed an attempt by prohibitionist politicians to castrate access to medical cannabis in their state.  Prohibitionists convinced the bootlicking yahoos of Arizona to vote down recreational use, but a fat lot of good it’ll do them with weed being legal now in both California and Colorado.  Given that even the Texas legislature is considering legalization, it seems likely that the federal government will soon give up its evil and hopeless efforts to eradicate usage of the drug by destroying hundreds of thousands of lives.  In fact, it would be a smart move for Trump, one of the most hated men ever to win the Presidency, to reschedule marijuana and thereby basically end the most costly and devastating campaign of the War on Drugs, thus winning brownie points (sorry, y’all) with a large fraction of the people who hate him most while doing absolutely no damage to his reputation with his fanatical followers.

Also, Michael Weinstein’s bizarre one-man crusade to drive the porn industry out of California by allowing any individual to sue the makers of porn movies that don’t include visible condoms (thereby financially destroying the industry) has finally failed at last; while we probably haven’t seen the last of the fanatically-evil Weinstein, it appears that the voters of California aren’t going to give him the power he wants.  And perhaps the defeat of a mindlessly-restrictive prohibitionist law aimed at destroying one segment of the sex industry is a harbinger of flagging support for prohibition of other forms of sex work, just as expanding access to cannabis is a harbinger of failing support for prohibition in general no matter who is in the White House (especially given that despite Trump’s many horrible characteristics, this is the first time we’ve had a former sex worker as First Lady).

Like a Horse and Carriage

Taiwan appears set to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage…Taiwanese lawmakers are currently working on three bills in support of marriage equality, one of which is already listed for review and could be passed within months.  Same-sex marriage also has the prominent support of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female head of state.  About 80 percent of Taiwanese between ages 20 and 29 support same-sex marriage…That’s seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s ready acceptance of multi-party democracy and other inclusive attitudes, as well as the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people largely follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

A possible move toward decriminalization in India:

A Supreme Court panel formed to look into the status of sex workers…has recommended that sex work be given legal recognition…Recommendations include that state authorities should issue ration cards to sex workers, that sex workers should be given voter identification cards, and that the children of sex workers should be given admission in government schools…The panel has also recommended that [programs for transition out of sex work] be made a right for those who seek it…The panel has also called for recommendations to amend the existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act…[including] changing the definition of brothel…not penalising those living on the earnings of a sex worker…deletion of the section on soliciting…and the doing away of the section on the removal of a prostitute from any place…among others…

Morality Lessons

We’re lucky to have such outstanding moral exemplars to “protect” and “lead” us:

The FBI reportedly ran 23 child pornography websites to try to ensnare users, according to an affidavit from the agency acquired by the…ACLU…It was previously reported that the FBI had seized and maintained the child pornography website Playpen to install malware on its users’ computers…[so as to] gain users’ identities and apprehend them.  But the…FBI had not revealed that it also operated the 23 other child porn websites until the new affidavit…the…websites…were hosted at a government facility…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-eutt-sharp

I’m pleased to see the actual word “rape” being used for rapist cops more often these days:

An Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy was arrested for first-degree rape…Eutt Sharp was arrested on [October 29th] after a woman reported she was raped by an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy…

Of course, this probably has a little bit to do with damage control after Daniel Holtzclaw.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#669) 

The defense of choice for sex offenders, plus ADHD:

During a trip to a tanning salon, a Saskatoon woman spotted something in the mirror while applying lotion — something she soon realized was a cellphone…a…police investigation…revealed videos taken of 18 other women, without their consent, while undressing in tanning salons around Saskatoon…Harley Zane Irwin…received a 12-month conditional sentence…after pleading guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism…Dr. Derek Doan, Irwin’s family doctor and psychotherapist, assessed Irwin as having Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  A second doctor diagnosed him as having a sex addiction that resulted from childhood trauma.  Dr. Fred Reekie, a psychologist deemed an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of sex addiction, said Irwin is making strides in his treatment and has shown tremendous growth…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Because “I was wrong” isn’t in the cop vocabulary:

James Reed, the Illinois sheriff whose Halloween alert confused Crunch Choco Bars with THC…treats, now admits the error, reporting that…”was positive for containing cannabis.” In a press release issued last week, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office says “the suspicious candy bars…were found to be imported from Japan, and the design on the wrapper is actually a Japanese Maple Leaf, which [does not in any way] closely resemble…a cannabis leaf”…Instead of apologizing for unnecessarily scaring parents and lending credibilty to the mythical menace of marijuana-infused Halloween candy, Reed offers lame excuses…claim[ing]…”attempts to locate [the candy] on the internet were unsuccessful.”  It is hard to imagine what those attempts entailed, since a Google image search for “Crunch Choco Bars” immediately revealed Reed’s confusion…this incident was a completely bogus scare, a fictional example of a nonexistent phenomenon.  Had Reed’s warning proved accurate, it would have been the first-ever documented case of cannabis candy distributed to trick-or-treaters in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use…

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Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.  –  D.H. Lawrence

defend-the-1st-amendmentEvery year, the last week of September is designated as “Banned Books Week“; the name seems to imply the kind of top-down state censorship which was at one time very common even in the US, and is still common in many countries we generally think of as advanced ones with Western values.  But this kind of censorship is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have.  Nor are those thoughts only sexual ones any more, though obviously those are still the most common reason; nowadays, demands that books be burned controlled are just as likely to come from soi-disant “progressives” as from cultural conservatives, and the reasons may include “racism”, “sexism”, “religious viewpoint”, “violence” and so on.

In a way, the name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  As I wrote above, “banned” implies a top-down regime, while in reality the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture; the word also implies a governmental action, when in reality the rise of social media and mega-media corporations has resulted in a de facto delegation of the censorship authority to them.  And if you’re tempted to suggest that this isn’t as bad, I suggest you ask yourself how much distribution your book will get if Amazon & Wal-mart refuse to stock it and Google monkeys with your search results to make it difficult to find.  Furthermore, “books”, as much as I love them, are now only a tiny fraction of the ways information can be shared; people who would balk at the idea of censoring actual paper books suddenly feel very differently when the conversation turns to magazines, or movies, or pictures, or music, or video games, or public lectures, or articles, or blogs, or other social media postings, or (most especially) advertising.  The same “right-thinking” folks who would march in protest if a school library declined to stock And Tango Makes Three grow strangely silent when Twitter bans a member’s account for “hate speech”, and may even be willing to march in support of censoring escort ads on Backpage.  As I wrote last year,

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them…

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  And the only way to stop them is to oppose every attempt to limit the free expression of ideas, even if you disagree with them or find them offensive.  Correction: especially if you find them offensive.  Because as always, tyranny starts with those nobody really wants to defend.think-for-yourself

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