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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

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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Our perception of what makes a service “safer” isn’t always universal.  –  Lux Alptraum

Bad Jobs

Like something Melissa Farley would make up, only true:  “A new survey shows 90% of social care workers [in Ireland] have experienced violence in the workplace…75% experienced physical assaults – some on a daily basis…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever, especially if you’re a whore:

A prostitute was arrested after she told police a clients handcuffed her and robbed her of $2,000 in cash and her belongings…At some point after the man paid her…he pulled out a police [badge], claimed he was a [cop] and handcuffed her with fake cuffs…He took his $190 off the hotel room dresser, swiped $2,000 in cash…and…the woman’s $1,000 iPad Mini, a $40 backpack and a $100 MetroPCS phone…Police arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution…However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case…

Above the Law  creepy-cop-neil-hempsall

There’s nothing here saying he harmed or threatened any of the sex workers he looked up, but of course there’s no way to know that given that he stalked them by looking up their fucking police records:

A disgraced cop who used his force computer to contact sex workers…was allowed to keep his job…[Neil Hempsall] admitted four charges and escaped with a community order…[the prosecutor said] “He…had been using the services of sex workers and accessing their record on the police computer system”…There was…[also] evidence he was tracking down a former lover…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#46)

I can’t help laughing at pathetic losers wanking to their fantasies of superhuman sex robots, but but the ones who suffer reaction formation from such fantasies elicit a mixture of pathos and disgust:

According to a [soi-disant] expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial-intelligence lovemaking.  Joel Snell is an [academic who fantasizes]…there’s a real risk linked to the robots…because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night…it’ll never be able to turn you down.  “People may become obsessed by their ever-faithful, ever-pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.  “People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions”…

Bonus stupid anti-sex trope: “sex addiction”.

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

It’s a sign of our culture’s deeply-sick sexual attitudes that people still believe in “virginity tests”:

[Dear Dr. Petra, my boyfriend is] like me…a virgin.  But when he checked my vagina he said he could tell I wasn’t a virgin and he doesn’t feel able to be with me until I can be truthful.  I don’t know how to convince him that I am a virgin and don’t know what signs he can see that tell him I’m not…I’m now worried I might be mistaken about myself…[Dr. Petra Answers:] I’m sure everyone reading this [is]…wondering what the circumstances were that led up to him checking your vagina?…You may have told him to get better educated about virginity and women’s bodies.  You might have told him his actions felt alarming and controlling…You could have said he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.  Any or all of these responses would have been reasonable.  And all of them are a good enough reason…to end the relationship without further discussion…There will be other people who are kinder, more sexually informed, more respectful, better communicators and won’t subject you to virginity checks…

Cardboard Cutouts

Note that 1.5% is my standard estimate of coercion among Western sex workers:

This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking [and]…the city of Amsterdam…the Dutch Rapporteur reported…1,321 possible victims of trafficking…66%…from the sex industry…these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims…if…there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000…it would come down to about 4,1%…only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam…[which] would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam…what’s interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges…in 2015…33 victims actually [pressed] charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013).  In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as “possible” victims…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  NO, a coalition between two different fundamentalist groups to fight what they perceive as a common enemy is in no way “surprising”:

…the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time.  In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women.  In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws.  And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws…[while] TERFs…approvingly cite…anti-trans [Christian]…right-wing scholars and writers…Feminists…and…Conservatives don’t oppose porn because they want to protect women; they oppose porn because they oppose sexual licentiousness and free sexual expression.  Just like they oppose protecting trans people because transgender reality scares them, disgusts them, or offends their outdated theologies.  A similar shell-game has recently arisen in the context of sex trafficking…This was a deliberate deception on the part of anti-sex activists like the anti-prostitution group Demand Abolition.  As exposed by The Washington Post in 2014, that group’s internal document said that “framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support”…

Hey, Jay Michaelson:  I appreciate your mentioning my work, but the standard practice when doing so is to name the author rather than just the publication, and to include a link to the piece cited.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin Bailey, on coming out to her father:

…I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad.  I didn’t want him to think one had anything to do with the other.  I didn’t want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that “your daughter was a prostitute” would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn’t…We talked for hours, never addressing my prostitution directly. We got tipsy, and…he said…that he was proud of me, and that I could always come home.  “No matter what.”  I could see he wasn’t angry.  He was nervous for me the same way he’s always been…

Go read it.  Please. playing-cowboy-in-cartagena

They Never Learn

Since this self-aggrandizing fascist wankfest hasn’t sold as a TV show, they made a pilot movie:

“Just like the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought awareness to slavery and helped start a civil war, this movie can instantly turn that dial of public awareness to sex trafficking,” [fantasizes] director Chet Thomas.  Toward the beginning of The Abolitionists, a film with a limited release…the audience is introduced to “Batman”…a flawed hero with a troubled past who now works largely in the dark of night, protecting the vulnerable from unimaginable horrors…Batman…spent 15 years laundering money for drug cartels in Latin America…[until he had] a Christian epiphany…Nowadays, he works undercover, largely with a former Homeland Security officer named Tim Ballard.  The two of them set up sting operations worldwide that result in the capture of those who sell children as sex slaves…The directors of the documentary…also are working on a TV show.  They say they have enough video — taken with cameras disguised as sunglasses, pens and phones — for 25 episodes…Ballard’s organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has rescued 573 children worldwide and put 160 criminals behind bars…

Choke Point (#610)

The government-encouraged gentrification of the internet is tightening the noose on sex workers:

Lately, it seems like every website wants to see my ID.  Facebook was the first…then Airbnb started asking me to submit both a Facebook account and legal identification…And now Twitter’s opened up its verification process to all sorts of users—provided, of course, those users are willing to send the staff a copy of their legal identification…this push towards a verified internet…makes me concerned that the next iteration of the social media sites that have been essential to the destigmatization of sex work…won’t be quite so amenable to sex work…It should be relatively obvious why a tweeting escort would want to avoid providing her legal information…but even practitioners of legal sex work such as porn and stripping might not be too keen on the idea…it’s…possible that the potential chilling effect on sex worker voices is more than just an unintentional side effect…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

A reminder that in most of the US, the situation is still worsening:

When he was 18, David Clark had sex with a 14-year-old.  In 1982 he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct…and was sentenced to four years of probation.  The following year, the state legislature passed a law that retroactively required Clark to register as a sex offender.  In 2009 he was arrested for failing to register…He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Last week a federal appeals court [pretended] there was nothing constitutionally amiss about this series of events, because the law threatening to put Clark behind bars is [supposedly] not punitive…retroactive application…violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws…[but politicians and courts pretend that] forcing sex offenders to register is not a punishment…

Of Course It Is

It’s nice to know that at least a few reporters get this:

…TV stations plastered [Celeste Guap’s] image on newscasts.  Reporters hounded her for interviews and shared images from her social-media accounts on their websites.  During this time, Guap was [using heroin]…to cope with depression related to her [sexual abuse by cops]…last week…Florida deputies arrested Guap and charged her with felony battery…How did the Bay Area media react to this news?  At least four local outlets — including KTVU, SFist.com, ABC 7 and KRON — published Guap’s true identity and legal name, along with a “mug shot” from Florida jail…some local journalists are arguing that Guap’s case already was widely publicized, so it was OK to disclose her legal name…Bullshit.  The only reason her story is news…is because she was an underage victim of sexual assault [by cops]…And her legal name and identity should be protected as such…and…what the hell was Guap doing [in Florida] in the first place?…She’s a witness to…crimes committed by numerous Bay Area [cops, including]…human trafficking, statutory rape, interfering with a police investigation, illegal use of a police computer system, and pandering…she’s…trapped with a $300,000 bail and detoxing from hard street drugs cold-turkey, and…experiencing [jailhouse] harassment from [jailers]…

It’s What They Do

Thanks, Iain, but we don’t want to be “legalized and regulated”; we just want to be left the Hell alone:

The politician in charge of the Commons committee reviewing the laws on prostitution is caught in a prostitution scandal.  It is right for Labour MP Keith Vaz to resign as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs committee for the time being…But beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn is right about it being “a private matter”…Mr Vaz has done nothing illegal.  Even the “poppers” he was alleged to have taken are a legal stimulant.  But a lot of people seem to believe that Mr Vaz should now stand down as an MP simply because he was unfaithful to his wife…Yet…people have always had affairs…gay men should surely not be forced do disclose their sexuality if they feel uncomfortable about doing so…Some of the criticism has clearly come from supporters of what is called the “Nordic model” who believe that the buying of sex should be illegal.  But this story vividly illustrates the problems associated with changing the law to criminalise men who purchase sex…I can’t really understand why the sale of sexual services should ever be illegal unless it involves trafficking, pimping, compulsion or other forms of coercive behaviour.  The Vaz case – if the allegations are true – demonstrates why prostitution should be legalised and properly regulated.  So long as it is underground, the sex trade will remain in the hands of the criminals and blackmailers…

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Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newton’s sleep!
 –  William Blake

William Blake constructed an elaborate artificial mythology full of original concepts, gods, places and terms.  One of these concepts is Ulro, an utterly fallen state divorced from all abstraction and transcendence; he imagined four states of being, with Eternity (also called Eden) being the highest and Ulro being the lowest.  Beings in Ulro have “single vision”; they see only mundane physical reality uncolored by imagination, inspiration or even fully developed eroticism.  Ulro is the state occupied by the dullest sort of human, who is unable to see any of the complexities of the world around them; it is a kind of spiritual sleep, dominated by the stomach and intestines, and people who exist this way can be visualized as going through the world with one eye closed, seeing everything flat and without proper perspective.  The second state, Generation, is the one in which more intellectually & spiritually aware humans exist; it is dominated by the genitals and can be imagined as seeing with both eyes.  The third state, Beulah, occurs when the individual is open to the spiritual or imaginative dimension; it is dominated by the heart and characterized by “threefold vision”, which one might think of as the “third eye” of mysticism, the “altered consciousness” experienced by psychedelic drug users, an ecstatic religious state or even a transcendent erotic experience.  Finally, Eternity, dominated by the head and characterized by “fourfold vision”, allows connection to the entire universe; it is a condition of total bliss which few humans can reach, and even then only for very short periods of time while existing in this plane.

I’ve been fascinated by Blake’s mysticism ever since I first studied it while working on my bachelor’s degree in English; my major concentration was on the Romantic Period, and Blake was the subject of at least one major term paper and a number of lesser ones.  I wove many of his concepts into the D&D universe I created, and I often find myself looking at the world through a Blakean lens, especially when thinking about the incredible, half-blind ignorance with which so many people view the world, especially when the topic is sex.  Traditional religions, authoritarian governments, power-hungry collective entities and the popular media all work  –  separately and in conjunction  –  to immerse the population in a dense fog of obfuscation, a Veil of Ulro which allows them to be just awake enough to serve their masters, but not awake enough to actually penetrate that fog and see the world around them as it is.  They believe in the most ridiculous nonsense about sex, imagining men to be such eunuchs that they can simply be ordered to be celibate by churches, military officials, prison officials or prudish wives, and women to be so asexual that the only possible reason they might engage in pragmatic sex is because some evil man forced them to.  They are “shocked” when government actors behave exactly like other men would under the same conditions, and refuse to understand that interesting costumes don’t magically make men into paragons, but rather make them much worse.  They actually think that the leaders they have chosen to follow are better and more noble than those on the evil Other Team, and obediently close their one open eye whenever those leaders order them to ignore spying, brutality, looting, racism and even mass murder.  And they’re willing to believe in grandiose fantasies utterly divorced from all known facts about statistics, economics, psychology, sexuality, anthropology and plain common sense rather than accept that some women can have pragmatic sex, that most men are willing to pay them for it, and that many people are happy to strive for truly Pinocchian levels of dishonesty in order to make a profit, seize power, get rid of people they’re bigoted against or even seek petty vengeance.  Even Blake himself only claimed to have fourfold vision in moments of “supreme delight”, and most of us need drugs, meditation or superlative sexual experiences to get our “third eyes” open.  But is it really too much to ask that people just wake the hell up and open the second eye that’s waiting and ready right there on the fronts of their heads?

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When something goes wrong, we never call [the cops]…we know they will arrest us.  –  Maria, a Romanian sex worker in London

Check Your Premises

Florida cops claim to be “helping” marginalized women by brutalizing them and giving them criminal records which will make them forever ineligible for on-the-books jobs:

Seven women have been arrested in a prostitution operation along US 19 in Pasco County…Many of the women have been arrested before for the same crime…Captain Chris Beaman…said prostitutes lead dangerous lives, sometimes targeted by serial killers or human traffickers…Beaman said business owners are afraid of becoming victims of crimes themselves…

The article goes on to say that some business owners are “elated” at the pogrom, which is exactly why we now live in a police state.

Across the Pond

Is anyone really surprised by the fact that young migrant women bear the brunt of police harassment under a system which declares them infantile “victims”?

…Between 2010 and 2014, the number of young women [18 to 25] the police arrested in London for prostitution-related crime nearly trebled…The increase contrasts with steep falls in the number of arrests of men and across all the other ages for crimes related to prostitution…Laura Watson, from the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), calls the rise in arrests of young women “horrifying…The police use public concern for young people’s wellbeing to justify targeting and ‘saving’ young people from working as sex workers by arresting them…No alternatives are given, just criminalization”…treating young prostitutes as victims does more harm than good…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

When will lawheads learn that whores cannot be made to vanish by proclamation?

Thailand’s…sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister [fantasizing she can] rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks…Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy…Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors…”We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the sex industry gone,” she said…

Would somebody from Las Vegas care to school the minister on the likely outcome of her Disneyfication fantasy?

If It Were Legal (#27)

Let’s hope this myth is dead, or at least nearly so, by the next election:

As thousands prepare to descend on Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, a coalition is helping spread the word about a crime that often accompanies large gatherings…Experts say trafficking tends to spike around large-scale events…”It’s definitely a concern,” Hugh OrganMoe the bartender, associate executive director at Covenant House PA, said…”But it’s not anything like the Super Bowl.”  The Super Bowl is the top human trafficking event in the United States, Organ said…

Of course, other people whose names don’t sound like something Bart Simpson would ask Moe the Bartender to page are saying similar things about Republicans:

…The top strip clubs in Cleveland, Ohio, are all preparing for the inevitable influx of horny, cash-flinging Republican out-of-towners who will drop by during next week’s GOP convention…A huge gathering of drunk, lustful Republicans—much like drunk, lustful Democrats, or drunk, lustful registered independents, or drunk, lustful Green Party members—is sure to be great for business…Jeff Kallam, general manager at the Crazy Horse Cleveland strip club…insists…“Republicans love strippers, so we’re just hoping to make some money”…

Traffic Jam (#29)

“Pimp” classification schemes are some of the most painfully stupid tropes of this whole panic:

…The Empower Youth Program…[has] identified five “disguises” that a person looking to exploit someone may take on to gain trust.
1 – Pretender — Someone who pretends to be something s/he is not, such as a boyfriend, a big sister, a father, etc.
2 – Provider — Someone who offers to take care of an individual’s needs, such as for clothes, food, a place to live, etc or their wants, like cool cell phones, purses, parties, etc.
3 – Promiser — Someone who promises access to great things, like an amazing job, a glamorous lifestyle, travel, etc.
4 – Protector — Someone who uses physical power or intimidation to protect (but also control) an individual.
5 – Punisher — Someone who uses violence and threats to control an individual. When the previous disguises have been exhausted, an exploitative person often becomes a Punisher to maintain control…

King of the Hill

If interstate highways are so dangerous, why aren’t prohibitionists calling for them to be banned?

The internet makes commercial sex largely invisible, but northeast Wisconsinites need only pull up a map and draw a line down Interstate 41 to see where much of it happens.  The corridor of cities along I-41 — Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay — is not only convenient for those working the sex trade, but is another form of control for a pimp, since women and girls who don’t feel familiar with their surroundings are less likely to flee.  “It’s a major thoroughfare,” said Carl Waterstreet, a [moron with a penchant for stating the obvious]…

Torture Chamber

Calling a prison an “immigration centre” doesn’t make it any less of a prison:

The Home Office is refusing to reveal if any female detainees have been sexually assaulted or raped inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre…A member of staff reportedly told a newspaper that “disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests” of people involved with Yarl’s Wood such as Serco, the private company that runs the facility…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Super-ally Anne Elizabeth Moore has published a new book, collecting her comic-strip-format exposes of the deep connection between the rescue and garment industries:

…The through line of Threadbare is that, due to a combination of US trade policies with developing nations…and cultural restrictions on women working outside the home, the garment industry is the only legal job available to the majority of women in the world.  But…when there are no other legal job opportunities…women will do what they can to get by…So, where the garment trade exists, there is generally a healthy sex trade as well, and it’s often tolerated or legal until the US steps in and criminalizes it, often as a rider in trade deals.  These are presented as “anti-trafficking” measures…the garment industry supports the arrests of, and finances the supposed rehabilitation of, women who leave the garment trade, forcing them to return to these low-paying, high-risk jobs that more often than not include a likelihood of sexual exploitation…

Little Boxes (#504) whore in denial

Sex workers who pretend they aren’t are almost as bad as prohibitionists:

There’s been plenty written about the Power of Human Touch…That’s the concept of the professional cuddling company Snuggle Buddies…Professional cuddling is not meant to be sexual.  It’s a point [Lisa] VanArsdale can’t emphasize enough, though she seems aware of the fact that clients may not fully understand, even when respecting the rules…The Snuggle Buddies website addresses these rules plainly in the contract its clients must agree to electronically.  Clothes are required, sexual requests are forbidden, and anyone who doesn’t abide by the cuddling contract—even with rogue questions asked via email—is blacklisted…Strip clubs and prostitutes offer the fulfillment of more promiscuous desires, anyway…

Every sex worker has some kinds of physical contact she won’t allow; having an especially long and/or strict list doesn’t magically make you into a non-whore.

What a Week! (#648)

It’s a “shock”, except to people who habitually go through life with their heads outside of their own rectal cavities:

Dr Emily Cooper…carried out dozens of interviews…which she said “smashed” her preconceived ideas about massage parlours…and how they affect people’s lives…“They evoke feelings of safety and security via their often 24-hour presence, they are distractions from the mundane hours of work, they contribute economically via the use of taxi services and other amenities for clients and sex workers, and finally, a role that is never reported, the sex workers are also neighbours and friends who ‘put the bins out like everybody else’”…

Guinea Pigs (#650) 

If you think that American whores don’t have to worry about prohibitionist nuns as our Irish sisters have to, think again:

Through a $100,000 matching grant the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has helped the Exchange Initiative and two developers create TraffickCam, an app that helps [cops hunt down sex workers like animals]…TraffickCam allows anyone with a smartphone to help [expand universal surveillance] by uploading photos of hotel rooms when they travel…Sex [workers sometimes] post photos of [themselves] in hotel rooms in their online advertisements.  [Cops] can use these…to find [sex workers to arrest]…

Traffic in Nonsense (#651)

NPR is a hotbed of empty-headed prohibitionism, so it was only a matter of time before they lauded “Truckers Against Trafficking”:

…”Trafficking happens everywhere,” [Kylla] Lanier says. “It’s happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere.  You know, it’s an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere.”  And these days TAT stickers, wallet cards and posters — showing a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline — are becoming ubiquitous in the trucking industry.  TAT [indoctrinates] drivers to try to spot sullen, hopeless-looking children, teens and young adults.  Perhaps they’re wearing revealing clothing, or maybe have tattoos like bar codes or men’s names that might indicate ownership…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#653) 

Pro-censorship loon wants parents to panic about “artificial necrophilia”. I am not making this up:

…Internet pornography is a real problem for the 66 million American parents with children under 18.  Parents don’t have to believe that such material is a direct cause of sexual violence to be driven a little crazy by it.  It’s bad enough that it’s giving our sons and daughters some very creepy ideas about how they’re supposed to look and act…Two bills passed by Congress to restrict minors’ access to pornography over the past two decades were struck down by the Supreme Court because they infringed on adults’ First Amendment rights…In addition to making pornography hard to contain, the internet is making it weirder and weirder…The fetish that’s trending right now…is necrophilia — “artificial snuff films”…I…don’t want my preteens watching actors having sex with corpses, even fake corpses, before they’ve begun to date…

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