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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

Vanesa was murdered; the state is complicit.  –  protest chant in Paris

Subtle Pimping

Every damned internet company has profited from sex workers without even giving us credit:

…the porn and adult entertainment industries, and the women whose work built them, were one of the earliest to provide real-time credit card verification, establishing a precedent for models of e-commerce other industries would adopt later on.  Sex workers…essentially created, adopted, and inspired many of the technologies later co-opted by tech corporations and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs long before they reached the mainstream, and continue to do so.  However, [they]…rarely receive proper credit for their contributions…

Finding What Isn’t There

I can tell you why these cases aren’t being pushed, Susan, but it’s going to make you sad:

After [cheerleading for] local [cop] efforts to [persecute people using the excuse of] human trafficking, a [prohibitionist] is questioning why recent prostitution cases are seemingly sitting idle in the district attorney’s office…Susan Peters, executive director of [“rescue” profiteer] UnBound…[says] McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made about 330…arrests of alleged sex buyers since March 2015, but records show prosecutors have not taken action on [almost] any…many of the recent arrests stem from a December 2017 raid in which sheriff’s deputies [stole] video [from] surveillance systems in two massage parlors that [cops fantasize] women [were] forced to work at…Although it is unclear if video evidence in the massage parlor cases will be admissible in court, a total of 18 men have been arrested on prostitution charges since authorities started trying to identify [them]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#40) 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

Janice M. Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws…plans to file suit against Calimesa, California, challenging its Halloween ordinance  [which]…forbids registrants…from decorating their home with Halloween decorations; mandates they leave all exterior or decorative lighting off from 4 to 11:59 p.m. [on Halloween]; and forbids them from answering the door to trick-or-treaters.  In August, Bellucci sent letters to five California cities, including Calimesa, urging them to repeal their Halloween restrictions by Sept. 28 or face litigation.  So far, Temecula has repealed its ordinance, and Lancaster is taking steps to do the same…The state of Missouri has a rule similar to the one that Bellucci fought in Simi Valley, requiring registrants on Halloween to post a sign at their home stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”…The California…Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mandates that registrants who are on parole must remain indoors from 5 to 10 p.m. during which time they can open the door only to respond to law enforcement.  They must turn off all exterior lights, and…homeless parolees are required to spend the curfew hours in [jail]…New York…requires that the roughly 3,000 parolees convicted of sex crimes remain indoors at home on Halloween…until 6 the next morning…[and] are not allowed to have…candy in their possession…

Signs (#783) 

California mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

Two new California laws will require workers in certain industries to go through [indoctrination in] human trafficking [fantasies]…The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going…it may…be capturing your license plate data…the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs…primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors…

Disaster (#832)

Please, prohibitionists, force more deep-pocketed giants like Facebook to fight your evil:

A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform…

Texas especially loves the “Facebook pimps” myth.

Torture Chamber (#852)

The “concerns” and crocodile tears of these kids’ jailers remind me of prohibitionists who say they want to “rescue” sex workers by locking us in cages:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night…and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new [prison]:  a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.  Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room.  They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their…cases.  But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks.  There is no school…Access to legal services is limited.  These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find [cages] for more than 13,000 [imprisoned] migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.  The average length of time…in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59…

Prisoners, especially those government wants to dehumanize, are often shipped off in the middle of the night like this to facilities in the middle of deserts, so as to confuse and disorient them and make escape more difficult.

Monsters (#866) 

No, it’s almost wholly to blame. As we warned it would be.

Vanesa Campos…was shot and killed as thieves tried to rob her client, who survived….her…death…is proof of the growing dangers [sex workers] face since [the French] Parliament [imposed the Swedish model]…clients now demand to have sex in out of the way places, where the police are unlikely to be patrolling.  “Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won’t find them,” said Giovanna Rincon, a former sex worker and transgender activist who leads the organization Acceptess-Transgenres.  “Today, they work in places where we, the old guard working at the Bois de Boulogne, would never have set foot”…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

I love that Christian religious nuts, who started the “sex trafficking” hysteria in the first place, are now being accused of being “traffickers” themselves:

Two West Texas girls are [spreading hysteria] after what they described as a scary encounter at a Walmart in San Angelo…The students say they were approached by strangers inside the store late at night and invited to a Bible study…”They asked us if we were Christians and if we read the Bible, things like that…She started telling us Jesus was the sun and Moses was the moon, just things that didn’t sound right to us.”  One of the girls Googled some of the [statements] as the conversation continued, and [naturally] she [believed]…”… the first article that came up [which] said ‘Korean sex trafficking college campuses’.”…The girls say they went and found a store manager to tell them [that people were talking to them]…and a Walmart employee escorted them to their vehicles so they could…leave [without the danger of others talking to them]…There have been cases in other cities where members of the “God the Mother” church have been [fantasized to be] sex traffickers while trying to recruit members…

All-Purpose Excuse (#876)

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

Ann…Wagner’s little-heralded [recycling and expansion of the PATRIOT Act], known as the Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act, quietly passed the House [last] Wednesday—sailing through without much attention as the Brett Kavanaugh hearing occupied the media and public [atten]tion.  The bill, HR 6729, passed by a 297-124 vote, with 202 Republicans voting in favor and only 29 against.  Democrats who voted were split equally 95-95…

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As most of y’all can probably guess, I have not been watching the Kavanaugh hearings on TV, because even if I did watch other TV news (which I don’t, and haven’t since I first started reading the newspaper around age 12, recognizing even then that it was entertainment and not news) I would certainly not watch this ridiculous circus designed to further the popular “red-blue” myth in the minds of the hoi-polloi.  I also have the word “Kavanaugh” muted on Twitter, but of course that doesn’t block tweets which don’t directly reference him.  So I was able to see and comment on this very interesting observation by Phoenix Calida:

So you know Rachel Mitchell, the woman who is going to question Dr. Christine Ford?  She’s a prosecutor with the special victims unit.  From Maricopa county.  You know, the place where sheriff Joe Arpaio worked?…The one who bragged about running concentration camps where guards tortured inmates?  And then he was held in Contempt of court for racial profiling and pardoned by Trump?…And remember when Sheriff Joe refused to investigate rape cases?  And cases where children were being sexually abused by adults?  All Bc the victims were Latinas?  That’s where this woman earned her credentials as a sex crimes prosecutor.  Rachel Mitchell is about to question Dr. Ford, an alleged rape victim.  And Mitchell earned her “credentials” working with cops who wouldn’t even investigate rape cases in their county.  How do y’all see this really turning out?

Maricopa County is, of course, a cesspool of political corruption, especially where sex work is concerned.  And Arpaio was a big Trump supporter, so one of his gang turning up in Washington to help Trump is not really a surprise.  But Phoenix’s tweets got me thinking, so I wrote this after quoting hers:

You remember Arpaio, right?  The guy who arrested newspapermen Lacey & Larkin for exposing his corruption?  The same Lacey & Larkin who were persecuted as owners of Backpage, partly thanks to the efforts of Cindy McCain, whom they exposed as a drug addict who robbed her own charity?  The same Cindy McCain, widow of John McCain, warmonger politician from AZ (where Maricopa County is) who has relentlessly demonized Backpage (owned by the men who exposed her crimes) for years?  Arizona is also the site of ASU, home of Dominique Roe-Sepowitz (who says sex work is bad because “body fluids” cause brain damage), who is paid big bucks by the McCain Institute and government cronies to do bogus “studies” designed to “prove” that “sex trafficking” was rampant on Backpage?  Funny how all of this shit begins to fit together when you follow the money and the trail of vendettas, alliances & favors, isn’t it?

And in case you hadn’t noticed, while this big show of “us vs them” was going on, Congress almost-unanimously passed the biggest war-advancing military spending bill in history, and the House passed a bill which expands the PATRIOT Act using “sex trafficking” as an excuse with solid support from both of these supposedly-deadly-enemy parties.  But please keep watching the fireworks and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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To be “Orwellian” is to speak with absolute clarity.  –  Frank Luntz

A few days ago a source shared this image with me; it’s a portion of a report by Luntz Global, commissioned by Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” prohibitionist organization, directing Seattle “authorities” in how to mislead the public about sex work.  It’s only two pages, so you might be interested in taking note of the number of “sex trafficking” shibboleths that appear in it, including “holding sex buyers accountable”, “our girls are not for sale”, “trafficking and prostitution are inextricably linked”, and “your mother, your sister, your daughter…”  This much is unsurprising; I’ve written for years about Hunt’s purchase of the Seattle prosecutor’s office, and two excellent articles earlier this year went into depth about the extent of this depraved and illegal subversion of the so-called justice system.  But what many of you may find interesting is the identity of the spin doctor at work here:  Luntz Global is the company founded by Frank Luntz, best known for his work shaping the language, talking points and propaganda for the US Republican Party, the UK Conservative Party, and pro-Israeli groups.  Luntz was a pivotal figure in the ’90s political campaigns of Pat Buchanan, Ross Perot and Newt Gingrich; he currently contracts for Fox News; he is the creator of the phrases “death tax”, “climate change” (to replace the more severe “global warming”), “energy exploration” (i.e. oil drilling), and many others; he is the man who made the jingoistic term “traitors” acceptable in US political speech again.  His entire philosophy of political speech is that politicians should eschew appeals to reason or intellect and instead concentrate on arousing strong emotions.  This is the man whom “feminist” Swanee Hunt hired to shape the anti-whore language of the recipients of her “progressive” campaign to deny the agency of adult women and unleash the violence of the fascist police state on peaceful people engaged in consensual and mutually-beneficial transactions.  But please, tell me again about “wings” and how the two US political parties are so distinctly different.

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As so often happens, partisans got outraged last week over something they’ve never given a shit about until they thought it gave them some political advantage:

…Adult film star and locus of national scandal Stormy Daniels was arrested [on July 11th] at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, Ohio.  The stop was part of a tour Daniels is taking across the country…Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, tweeted…that Daniels was arrested while “performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs.  This was a setup & politically motivated….They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this?  There has to be higher priorities!”  Higher priorities for local cops than getting to take in naked ladies for a few hours and then assert their authority over the most famous of them?  Avenatti can’t be that naive…

The charges were dropped the next day due to a loophole excluding featured performers, but the two other dancers arrested with her are not so fortunate; Stormy donated all her tips from the next night to their legal defense.  Naturally, sex workers and supporters of free speech were irate:

…almost any law aimed at free expression can be used to punish a political opponent.  These regulations—typically known as “no touch” or “proximity” rules—are common, and throughout their history they have been used to make end-runs around the First Amendment…erotic dancing is a form of expression protected by the Bill of Rights…so…those who wanted to restrict strip shows were forced to get more creative…Enter the “adverse secondary effects” doctrine…in which the Supreme Court said that the government can’t restrict adult businesses because the government doesn’t like the expression therein—but it can restrict them, using zoning regulations, because of harmful effects the businesses may cause…in reality, these secondary effects rarely actually exist outside of the imaginations of those who want to regulate the businesses…There are a number of dances that require proximity—and not just lap dances:  Think of a hula dance in which the dancer places a lei around the spectator’s neck.  Unfortunately, courts have been hostile to this notion, and almost universally uphold proximity and no-touch rules…Daniels was arrested under one of these laws after an extensive sting operation.  Why did the State of Ohio devote a team of police officers and hours of taxpayer-funded overtime to an investigation, raid, and arrest of a woman for the grave crime of touching another person while semi-nude?…When you give law enforcement a tool that can be used to target someone who has unpopular views, they will use it.  So, not only was the expression demonstrated by the nude dancing suppressed, but the tool of suppression may have been used to punish someone for their political activism…

Democrats have always joined Republicans in enthusiastic support for anti-sex worker laws since such laws first started popping up in the late 19th century, and half of the blame for “sex trafficking” hysteria and the horrible laws it has enabled is scattered all over the Dems’ front lawn like overturned garbage cans.  But now that their chief political enemy has a long history of interaction with sex workers, their opinion of us changes with every news cycle.  When it was revealed that Trump’s wife has a history of sex work, his enemies happily used that as an attack.  But when the Stormy Daniels scandal broke, suddenly we became heroes and the anti-whore laws magically become the fault of “conservatives”, while the “progressive” rhetoric which has been used to push them for this entire century so far is swept under the rug.  So though Susan Shepard’s article on the incident does mention the feminist “exploitation” argument (and contains an excellent survey of “pole taxes” and other anti-stripping laws, many authored by Christian hit-shyster Scott Bergthold), her editor at NBC chose to lay the blame solely on “evangelicals” and to call attention to Shepard’s rather tone-deaf and divisive statement that “club owners and customers generally skate by with a slap on the wrist or a ticket…It’s a double standard that unfairly punishes working women while leaving those who purchase and profit from their work unscathed.”  I’m rather annoyed to see this strongly Swedish-scented assertion from Shepard, a former stripper who co-founded Tits and Sass, but I guess one has to cater to one’s audience, and her audience for this article is composed of holier-than-thou “progressives” now looking for ways to pretend they aren’t anti-whore by blaming everything on holier-than-thou “conservatives”, and, naturally, those nasty old clients who provide sex workers’ income.

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Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  –  Mao Zedong

I’ve written on many occasions about how government is at best a necessary evil, and how modern governments of large countries are so powerful that they couldn’t help harming people by the millions even if they wanted to, which they don’t.  The reason they don’t is quite simple, yet somehow most people are either unable or unwilling to see it:  the only actual power government has is to inflict violence.  Government is a non-producer; like any parasite it is wholly dependent on its host for sustenance.  And so the only way it can accomplish anything is to force others to do it by the threat of violence.  Every government operative is paid with money extracted from individuals or corporations, and the reason those individuals pay up is that government threatens to inflict violence on their persons (and/or extract the money by direct robbery) if they don’t.  An ever-increasing army of thugs and petty functionaries provides the muscle, and these operatives are paid with stolen money; like any criminals, their demands for loot inevitably increase over time, and because the government was foolish and/or uncaring enough to allow these thugs to form public sector unions (ie, unconstitutional organs of government not answerable to the subject population even by the charade of elections), they are able to demand more money, more power and more numbers with every passing year.  Naturally the government gives in, because without these thug armies it would have no power to force everyone else to obey its whims; besides, the government doesn’t pay them with its own money anyhow, and it can always demand more with its ever-growing power.  This is what anarchists call “the gun in the room”:  every single law derives its power from the open or indirect threat of violence, the spoken or unspoken “do what we say, or else“.  And while the American faction which claims the label “left” likes to pretend it’s more gentle and concerned for individual rights than the soi-disant “right”, the truth is that, as I wrote in “Against Conscience“:

A few years ago, Americans who like to imagine themselves as “the political left” eschewed the traditional label “liberal” in favor of the older term “progressive”; this is especially interesting since the progressive philosophy (which holds that the world should be ruled by experts who are “scientifically” trained to know what’s “best for society” and therefore have the right to impose their will on everyone else “for our own good”) is if anything the exact opposite of classical liberalism (which holds that each person has the right to self-ownership and self-determination).  In other words, the shift in nomenclature revealed the truth previous leaders tried to hide under the “liberal” label:  the only…difference between the American political parties lies in the fact that soi-disant “conservatives” think the all-powerful ruling elite should be made up of the wealthy and religious authorities, while soi-disant “progressives” think it should be made up of those “educated” for the task in state-controlled systems.  In practice, however, there is no difference at all.  Both flavors of fascism favor infinite expansion of government power with the ultimate goal of total establishment control of all wealth and every individual; both dole out bread and circuses so as to call attention away from what they’re actually doing…

Even so, I’m continually amazed at the obtuseness of white “leftists” who acknowledge that the police state disproportionately harms the poor & minorities, yet support ever more things being criminalized.  Somehow these people imagine that their censorship, gun control, bans on substances (e.g., tobacco & sugar) and behaviors they dislike (e.g., sex work and “revenge porn”), and other laws won’t also be enforced more against black folks, despite the blatantly obvious fact that such laws always are.

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The 4th of July is now a memorial rather than a celebration, and the Spirit of ‘76 is nothing but a ghost.  –  “The Spirit of ’76

Humans have a rather pathetic tendency to mistake form for substance, and to confuse symptoms with causes.  So if I had thought about it hard enough, I probably would’ve been able to predict that eventually Americans would realize they were living in a fascist police state, but that they’d do so long after such a state was established and reach the conclusion for completely wrong reasons.  It’s become fashionable to refer to Donald Trump and his government as “fascist” due to his openly-racist rhetoric, but the US government has always been racist since its inception, and as I wrote almost a year ago,

…fascism has a specific meaning, namely rule by a coalition of political, corporate and military or paramilitary interests.  [Americans] 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.

I might also point out that FDR openly admired Mussolini, and Hitler openly praised FDR, right up to the point when that tyrant historians celebrate as one of the “greatest presidents” decided US interests would be better served by joining the Allies.  Furthermore, though the anti-Trump crowd loves to style themselves “The Resistance”, they also unironically talk about government officials committing “treason” (you know, the charge used by tyrannical governments for executing actual resistance members), obsess about Russian agents more than Joe McCarthy did, and blindly support candidates every bit as fascist as Trump (though, admittedly, saner and more polished).  Moronic blue hat/red hat partisanism has rotted Americans’ brains to the point where they actually blame the other party for every ill they can identify, even when a few minutes of research on the internet will demonstrate that our current tyranny is solidly bipartisan.  Our idiotic, shallow, appearance-obsessed culture is long overdue for collapse, and when it does “the ash left behind [may] provide…fertile soil for new (and gods willing, healthier) growth“.  The moribund American Empire will produce no more good in the world except by its collapse and replacement, and though I grieve the innocent blood which will be spilled, it isn’t like US policies aren’t spilling rivers of innocent blood right now.  The sooner it happens, the better for the world; the end of this monster who once promised so much can’t possibly come soon enough.

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As I’ve written several times recently, we’re seeing a lot of new wannabe sex worker allies, from politicians to journalists to regular folks without any special platform.  And though some of them are very much on-point, or recognize that they can help best by amplifying the voices of sex workers, others seem to have a lot of uninformed, dumb, stereotyped or just plain wrong ideas about sex workers, clients, our work, third parties and the demimonde in general.  So today I’d like to welcome you all to the war zone, and to clear up a few persistent errors I keep seeing (other than the ones covered here).

This is Trump’s (or the GOP’s) war on sex workers.

Nope, not even close.  The US War on Whores, like so many bad US policies, is rooted in institutionalized racism.  The very first federal anti-prostitution law was the Page Act, which was intended to harass Chinese immigrants, and though it was indeed passed under a Republican president, that president was Ulysses S Grant.  And the Congress which passed it (in 1875) was Democrat-controlled.  The War was really ramped up under the administration of another Republican, William Howard Taft, but most of the action was in Congress (Democrat-controlled again) and at the state level (party control differing by state, though all Southern states controlled by Democrats).  The first chief executive to take direct presidential action against sex workers was Woodrow Wilson (yep, a Democrat, in fact one beloved by “progressive” scholars who make a point of ignoring his tyranny and racism).  After him, the war wound down on the federal level for a few decades; the groundwork for its revival was laid down in the latter days of the Clinton administration, begun in earnest under Bush the Younger and wound up to a fever pitch under Obama.  And no, it wouldn’t have been different had Hillary Clinton been elected president; not only did she participate in the promotion of anti-sex work rhetoric as a senator and cabinet secretary, she also identifies as “feminist” and…see the next entry.  The important takeaway from this one, though, is that the War on Whores is solidly bipartisan, and most “sex trafficking” bills (thinly-disguised anti-prostitution or even anti-sex bills) have one sponsor from each party. The awful FOSTA was passed nigh-unanimously, with only one “nay” from each party.

Feminists support sex worker rights. People who don’t are social conservatives.

I wish.  In truth, most factions of feminism have been against sex work for as long as feminism has existed, and in fact feminists have usually been in bed with evangelical Christians on the matter.

It would be best if sex work were legalized and regulated.

Nope.  Every sex worker organization, human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has actually studied sex work recognizes that decriminalization is the legal regime which produces the best results. Under legalization, sex work is still pretended to be a “crime” for which the law make allowances; a large fraction of sex workers (over 99% in Nevada, for example) prefer to work illegally than to submit to onerous “legalization” regimes which often require licensing, background checks, confinement in brothels, and other repressive (and expensive) requirements that marginalized sex workers won’t or can’t comply with.  Furthermore, most of us don’t want amateurs putting “laws and programs” in place that are claimed to “protect sex workers and clients”.  We just want to be left the fuck alone.  The majority of our problems come from government “laws and programs”, administrated by rapist thugs. No thanks.  If you want more explanation of the differences between legalization and decriminalization, you might consult this.

Sex workers need special protections (such as the Swedish model) from violent clients.

No. Violent clients are rare, and violent men pretending to be clients are like robbers who enter a store pretending to be customers in order to rob it; both groups (and also violent and/or exploitative third parties such as “pimps”) are empowered by criminalization, and the Swedish model both infantilizes women and increases our vulnerability to violent men, of whom the majority under every single regime where sex work is even partially criminalized (ie every place but New Zealand & New South Wales) are cops.

Nobody chooses to be a sex worker.

I have actually seen this stated by people who claim to be allies; it’s a deeply misogynistic and infantilizing notion based in the fallacy that women are fragile, asexual beings for whom sex without “loooooove” is uniquely damaging.  Just because you couldn’t have sex with strangers for a living doesn’t mean I can’t, so get this out of your head.  Related: a woman’s worth does not reside in her sexual “purity”, so selling sexual services is not “selling her body”, nor is the average sex worker “traumatized” or “ruined” by our work.

We’re really pleased to see our new allies, and welcome you to supporting our movement.  But if you go around spouting garbage, you’re actually helping the prohibitionists.  Please learn the facts before speaking about sex work, and you’ll be the kind of person we cherish and celebrate rather than the kind who does more harm than good.

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