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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

A lot of people under 18…are only considered “trafficked” because the law says so.  –  Raani Begum

Capricious Lusts

Some people can’t seem to understand that while sex workers can help men to manage their sexual frustration, there is nothing we can do once they grow to believe they’re entitled to free sex and go down the twisted “incel” rabbit hole.  I think Dan Savage does a good job of explaining that difference here:

…Sexual deprivation can make a person miserable, even suicidal…and, as a society, we seem fine with that.  People who can’t get sex are often told that…no one has ever dropped dead as a result of being deprived of sex.  (Loneliness, however, can hasten death; it may be a greater risk factor for early death than smoking or obesity)…sexually deprived people…who…identify as incels…[don’t] feel…depressed or blam[e] themselves…[they] are filled with rage and blame…women…And when an incel with social or mental health issues—issues that doubtless contributed to his being an “involuntarily celibate” in the first place—violently attacks women (men are often killed too), the online incel breaks into cheers…I don’t think throwing sex workers at violent, deranged incels will solve the violent, deranged incel problem.  Our culture has to change in enormous ways to solve this problem…men have to stop being socialized to believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies…adults who do sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals) and adults who hire adults doing sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals).  The former cultural transformation will solve the “incel” problem; the latter will solve the problem of sexual deprivation, i.e. involuntary celibacy…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  coalitions of fundamentalist anti-sex groups are in no way “surprising”:

If you had told radical feminist and [writer for SWERF/TERF rag Feminist Current] Natasha Chart five years ago that she would be fired from her advocacy job for objecting to the prostitution of minors, she wouldn’t have believed…She opted to speak with The Christian Post…”because…there is a significant and influential portion of…mainstream human rights activist community that…believes…youth sex work[ers]…should [not be raped and caged by cops]”…Chart is a former Jehovah’s Witness…no one is served when trusted civil society institutions utilize their clout…to quietly further a “pimping agenda“…If this goes unaddressed it is only a matter of time before the sex industry is considered “respectable” enough to emerge from the shadows and begin openly sponsoring a political caucus, as is the case in the Netherlands and Australia…

Yes, this is a Christian publication masturbating at very great length about the “pimp lobby” and approvingly quoting Meghan Murphy.

Seizing Power (#679)

Can we please stop pretending that Dart’s actions are anything other than a power & money grab?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants [to profit from]…a recent plea deal [by Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer]…Dart filed a motion…asking [a]…Judge…to require Backpage.com LLC and its attorneys to pay the county for its legal fees in connection with a legal battle that dates back to 2015, when the Dallas-based online classified advertising site obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the sheriff’s office from [threatening] credit card companies [to force them to stop] processing payments for the site…

Broken Record (#733)

Prohibitionists just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Three local groups are hosting an outreach event to warn the community about the dangers and reality of human trafficking during the Kentucky Derby…If you spot [any of these] red flag[s, report the person to the cops]…Hotel guests with little luggage…”Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly on a hotel room door…Housekeeping services refused for many days…Adults with…cell phones…A person is vague about his/her profession…

Can you imagine these phone calls? “Hi, Officer Porky, I’d like to report a man with a cell phone who told me to mind my own business…”

License to Rape (#806)

US prisons are hotbeds of rape in every form:

Jeannette Reynoso dreaded visiting her husband at…Rikers Island…She knew she would wait hours to be processed, go through several metal detectors and be subjected to a search by dogs sniffing for drugs and weapons.  But she never thought she would be…naked and in tears before two [screws raping her using the excuse of searching]…her body cavities for contraband…When she [resisted the supposed search]…the [screws] threatened to cancel her visits for 45 days…[among other violations] the [screw]…violently inserted two fingers into her anus…she was menstruating at the time…The search Ms. Reynoso described is prohibited in city jails.  In state and federal prisons, strip searches of visitors are permitted with consent, but not cavity checks…Elias Husamudeen, the president of the [Porcine Propaganda Perpetrators]…[mocked] the [reports made] by the women in the lawsuits and [claimed that]…“People are coming in with weapons in their vaginas, up their anus and in baby bottles”…

Because every woman I know can fit a 0.44 magnum in her pussy and a knife up her arse, at the same time.

Pyrrhic Victory (#810) 

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

In cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents can mine local police reports using COPLINK, a data program little known outside law enforcement circles…The software ingests local police databases, allowing users to map out people’s social networks and browse data that could include their countries of origin, license plate numbers, home addresses, alleged gang membership records, and more…[“authorities” pretend] these databases and analytic tools helps ICE…tackle serious crimes, like child pornography and [the catchall] money laundering.  But…ICE…agents are also involved in questionable immigration enforcement actions nationwide…

Watershed (#815)

When stuffy NBC News publishes an article which openly calls for decriminalization, you know things are changing:

…the true targets of the [so-called] war on trafficking have been the marginalized, low income consensual sex workers whose livelihoods and ability to stay safe have long been dependent on the resources being scrubbed from the internet in the name of ending trafficking…It’s likely that these [“sex trafficking”] laws will be challenged in court and eventually overturned…Even the Department of Justice has said [FOSTA] could…be found to be unconstitutional…But while overturning these bills in court would be a good first step, it’s not enough.  As long as consensual sex work is treated as functionally indistinct from abusive, forced or coercive situations, our laws will continue to punish some of the vulnerable people we claim to want to protect.  Criminalizing and aggressively cracking down on all sex work pushes consensual sex workers underground and into unsafe environments…and…does little to discourage or combat people who profit from coercing others…In contrast, decriminalization…allows…sex workers to more openly and thus safely conduct business…A wide range of groups including Amnesty InternationalFreedom Network USAGlobal Alliance Against Traffic in WomenHuman Rights WatchUNAIDSWorld Health OrganizationInternational Women’s Health Coalition and numerous sex worker advocacy and support groups have thrown their support behind…decriminalization…

Negative Secondary Effects (#817)

Normally, the pretended “secondary effects” are concrete things, not silly nebulosities:

[Prohibitionists] have been granted a judicial review against Sheffield’s strip club licensing policy in a move that could…have significant implications for other councils considering strip club licences.  It could force them to take into account the [imaginary] impact on women and gender equality, rather than just the wellbeing of [actual people like the dancers who these prohibitionists want unemployed]…

Funny how nobody is crusading against businesses that employ mostly men on grounds of “gender equality”.  Don’t men have an equal “right” to be forced out of high-paying work to appease prudish lunatics?

Disaster (#832)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

“What the new law does is it allows the FBI and law enforcement and individuals to sue platforms of any kind online for third-party hosts and content,” Barb Brents, a professor of sociology at UNLV, told KNPR…She explained that platforms like Craigslist and Backpage…are simply platforms for information and couldn’t be held responsible for what people posted on that format.  But under the new law, people can sue them for what other people post…Brents said there is no real evidence that real traffickers are using those sites, but the sites are used by consensual sex workers.  With them shut down or otherwise threatened…sex workers are losing an important screening mechanism…

And here’s a good introduction to FOSTA and its related tyrannies:

…Hillary Clinton would have signed it, too.  It…has had an overwhelming bipartisan majority…FOSTA-SESTA does nothing but places liability on online platforms by asking them to tackle an enormous “real world”/not online problemFOSTA-SESTA spooks online platforms into pre-emptively censoring free speech for fear of criminal liability, which has all sorts of horrible consequences for free speech…You can no longer share “explicit and vulgar content” on any Microsoft product, which means that no longer allowed to do anything sexual with anyone on their platforms, regardless…if…paid or unpaid…Here is an incomplete list of products and institutions that discriminate or ban sex work or adult products

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FOSTA’s real purpose is making it easier to file lawsuits against online companies, while politicians pat themselves on the back.  –  Ron Wyden

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

A documentary glorifies the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

…Judge Toko Serita…presides over Queens’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court…where she processes women who have been arrested on charges of prostitution…The women…are offered a choice:  Instead of [being given constitutional due process]…they can [submit to]…a set number of [brainwashing] sessions.  If, in six months, they have not been arrested again, the charges are dropped and the case is sealed…about 80 percent of the women take the [brainwashing] option…[less] than victims, Serita sees them first and foremost as…[objects to be processed.  Filmmaker Stephanie] Wang-Breal…says…in the film’s notes: “Who am I to say she doesn’t have agency, who am I to say what she should be doing with her life?” [and yet she glorifies this grotesque denial of women’s agency anyway]…

Nobody involved in producing this mess stopped to question the court’s assumption that human beings are mere objects to be “processed”.  You know, like in a food processor.

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

This procedure has come a long way in only three years:

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first complete penis and scrotum transplant on a former soldier who had his genitals blown off after stepping on a hidden bomb while on tour in the Middle East.  The 14-hour operation performed last month at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, was the most complex and extensive penis transplant ever attempted…The young [man]…received an entire penis, scrotum (without testicles), and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor…It took a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons…The surgery took place on March 26 and nearly a month on doctors seem confident of its success but will continue to monitor the patient’s recovery…

Shame, Shame (#649)

My friend Mark Bennett takes down Texas’ overbroad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” law:

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, took another law down for violating the First Amendment.  This time, it was…the so-called “revenge porn” law.  In Ex parte Jones, the 12th District Court of Appeals…held that the statute was facially unconstitutional.  As has been argued from the day Mary Anne Franks began her efforts to create a criminal revenge porn statute, it clearly implicated the First Amendment’s prohibition against laws infringing on free expression, to which she merely screamed her denials and did her best to deflect by creating a fantasy interpretation of the First Amendment…The State argues…relying upon Franks’ and Danielle Citron’s “legal” arguments…that [such images fall] within a new concept of obscenity, “contextually obscene”.  Except there is no such category outside of their imaginations, nor can anything be found obscene except by a jury…the court noted that the law failed to make any effort to narrow its prohibitions, which was a fundamental tenet of the Franks approach to criminalizing revenge porn lest anyone get away with it…

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

Jack Johnson…became the first black heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908.  Two years later, he defended his title against boxer James J. “Jim” Jeffries, who…was referred to as the “great white hope” by racist…fans who wanted him to…take back the heavyweight crown for whites…Jeffries lost the fight…[but] what racism could not do to Johnson in the boxing ring, it found other ways to accomplish.  Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act…the Justice Department…argued that Johnson’s relationship with a white woman was a “crime against nature”…criminalization of sex work in the US is rooted in racism, and modern campaigns do little to mask that lineage…The “white slavery” campaign of the early 1900’s…led directly to the enactment of the federal Mann Act, (a.k.a. the White Slave Traffic Act), in 1910.  “[O]nce prohibition of sex work was in place,” writer Maggie McNeill has noted, “it was enforced disproportionately against poor people and ethnic minorities, especially black people, just as all prohibitionist laws are.”  As Andrew Glass wrote for Politico, the first person prosecuted under the Mann Act…was Jack Johnson…That Donald Trump should look to a pardon for Johnson in the same month he signed…FOSTA…into law, is bitterly ironic…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

Lewis & her friends are naive fools; what they’re asking for is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

New Zealand sex workers are furious that foreign prostitutes who come on temporary visas can advertise their services here despite it being illegal for them to work.  High profile escort Lisa Lewis is one of several who have taken their complaints to Immigration New Zealand…calling for a harsher stance against migrant sex workers…She wants INZ to shift its focus from just deporting migrant sex workers to punish [advertising venues] that profit from helping the promotion of these illegal sex workers.  Lewis said the increase in number of foreign prostitutes coming over has hit local sex workers in the pocket…

Permanent Record

Note that other states have similar (if less broad) laws, and that the tendency toward such penalties is increasing:

Currently in both Maryland and Tennessee, a criminal past — or even just being accused of a crime — often stands between people and a job.  This is because many occupational licensing laws prevent ex-offenders from being able to obtain a license for the jobs they seek…these restrictions aren’t targeted at people whose criminal history relates to their desired career; instead, they can serve as blanket bans for those hoping to enter hundreds of professions including plumbing, cosmetology and interior design.  By prohibiting wide swaths of people from licensure, these boards aren’t protecting health and safety — they’re just making it more likely these individuals will remain unemployed and unable to support themselves or their families…in some cases, people need only to be accused of a crime — not even convicted of it — for the board to deny them a license.  Many of these bans are also permanent…In one instance in Tennessee…a woman convicted for prostitution over a decade ago learned she couldn’t become a radiation therapist…

I’m going to start using this heading for the many cases of people who lose their jobs due to a history of sex work; they currently appear under the overbroad “First They Came for the Hookers…”

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

In this confused mess, a lawyer complains that anti-immigrant actions “hurt efforts to stop human trafficking”, even though “human trafficking” is a dysphemism used to demonize immigration:

If Trump truly cared about victims of human trafficking, he would put an end to his ongoing assault on immigrants.  Statistics on the number of victims of human trafficking are notoriously unreliable because of widespread [ov]erreporting…Since Trump assumed the presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has used the fight against human trafficking as justification for its crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  ICE arrests have surged by more than 40 percent…[which] has aggravated the fear of coming forward among undocumented victims of human trafficking, undermining the U.S. government’s own efforts to tackle the problem…

In other words, “Trump’s crackdown on migration is interfering with existing attempts to prevent migration”.

Disaster

Here’s another article about FOSTA, which despite many good points expended so much effort in licking prohibitionist arseholes it nearly made me vomit.  Since there are plenty of good articles which denounce censorship and promote human rights without sucking the dick of power, there’s not a lot of reason to bother with this one; however, if you feel compelled you’ll see this “journalist” ceding ground to prohibitionists and otherwise making ignorant, unhelpful statements all over the place.  It starts in the lede, which proclaims that FOSTA was “a rare moment of bipartisan agreement”, a deeply stupid statements which ignores that the two main US parties have never disagreed on prohibition as a principle at any point in the past century, and that literally every single anti-sex work bill of the past two decades has had nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.  The article misstates the case against Backpage, repeats prohibitionist lies, characterizes third parties as “pimps & traffickers”, downplays the breadth of opposition to internet censorship with phrases like “some argue”, and even claims that “FOSTA was pitched with a very specific (and noble) goal in mind”; apparently author Kate Knibbs believes that censorship, denial of human rights, and negating the agency and consent of half a million women are “noble”.  I certainly don’t.

This Means War (#830) 

Megalomaniacal US rulers believe they have the right to disrupt the lives of millions all over the world:

Before New Zealand Cracker – a classifieds website used by sex workers – was shut down by the FBI, Wellington woman Sarah (not her real name) says she received at least five enquiries from clients each day.  Now, she is lucky to receive two a week through other advertising platforms.  “It has totally ruined our lives”…the FBI seiz[ure of]…Backpage.com…[has produced] a global and profound disruption of the sex work industry, including in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.  New Zealand Cracker was one of the many subsidiary sites Backpage.com hosted around the world.  For more than a decade it was at the heart of New Zealand’s sex work industry – offering businesses and sex workers a cheap, effective way of connecting with clients.  Its closure has, without warning, taken livelihoods away, leaving workers without the resources to operate their businesses or, in some cases, survive…

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No matter how many times I explain it, police-state defenders keep popping up in my timeline to defend prohibition, cops and state violence.  So I thought that perhaps my language was too complex for them; however, I have trouble with simple language, so I decided to enlist the help of the late, great Theodore Geisel to rephrase my feelings on the matter.

Cops are glam
I’m a fan!

Police-state fans!
Police-state fans!
I do not like police-state fans!

Don’t you like the smell of ham?
I do not like it, Fan-I-am.
I do not like those thugs of ham.

Would you like them here or there?

I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.

I do not like police-state fans.
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

Would you like them in a house?
Would you like them with a mouse?

I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like police-state fans!
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

Would you like them in a box?
Would you like them with a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like police-state fans.
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

Would you?  Could you?  In their car?
Lick their nice boots!  Here they are.
I would not, could not, in a car.

You may like them.  You will see.
You may like them in a tree!

I would not, could not in a tree.
Not in a car!  You let me be.

I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like police-state fans.
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

A camp-bound train!
A camp-bound train!
Could you, would you, on a train?

Not in a train!  Not in a tree!
Not in a car!  Fan!  Let me be!

I would not, could not, in a box.
I could not, would not, with a fox.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like police-state fans.
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

Say!  In the dark?
In a cell so dark?
Would you, could you, in the dark?

I would not, could not, in the dark.

Would you, could you, in the rain?

I would not, could not, in the rain.
Not in the dark.  Not on a train.
Not in a car.  Not in a tree.
I do not like them, Fan, you see.
Not in a house.  Not in a box.
Not with a mouse.  Not with a fox.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!

You do not like men made of ham?
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

Could you, would you, with a goat?

I would not, could not, with a goat!

Would you, could you, on a boat?

I could not, would not, on a boat.
I will not, will not, with a goat.

I do not like them in the rain.
I do not like them on a train.
Not in the dark!  Not in a tree!
Not in a car!  You let me be!
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!
I do not like police-state fans!
I do not like them, Fan-I-am.

You do not like them.  So you say.
But I will hound you anyway.
I will not respect your “nay”.

Fan!  Since you won’t let me be,
I will mute you.  You will see.

I do not like states, threats and ham!
I do not like their spineless fans!
I still avoid them in a boat.
I still avoid them with a goat…

And I still hate them in the rain.
And in the dark.  And on a train.
And in a car.  And in a tree.
They are so bad, so bad, you see!

So I will mute them in a box.
And I will mute them with a fox.
And I will mute them in a house.
And I will mute them with a mouse.
And I will mute them here and there.
Yep, I will mute them anywhere!
I always mute police-state fans!
Fuck you! Fuck you, Fan-I-am!

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The latest government attacks on online platforms used by sex workers are directly undermining [their] safety, health, and human rights.  –  David Grosso

Cuckoo Advertising (#601)

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

A [slight] majority of America’s cheaters identify as Republicans, according to…Ashley Madison…The site surveyed nearly 1,000 users on their political affiliations…60 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, while nearly 40 percent said they affiliate with the Democratic Party…a vast majority (89 percent) of those surveyed said “opposing political views” would compel them to cheat on their spouse, while 55 percent said they’d prefer to cheat with a Republican-identifying voter…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#609) 

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Sex workers are complaining that their work is being hamstrung by ludicrous laws in Queensland that police what they can and cannot say to potential clients…advertising regulations…go into an almost perverse level of detail.  Phrases sex workers could get arrested for using in ads includes seemingly innocuous terms such as “natural,” “tasty,” “kissable” and “sweet nectar”…stating they offer oral sex is prohibited, but oddly, saying they specifically do not offer oral sex is just fine…guidelines…also lists words that are fine to use including “magic hands,” “dominatrix,” and “man action”…

Full of Themselves (#614)

If there’s ever an award for the most pompous, stuffy, bootlicking language in anti-whore propaganda, we need to name it after the California Massage Therapy Council:

…California…massage therapists are dogged by a big problem: criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes.  This situation isn’t unique to California.  However, a new [fascist] partnership between [cops] and the entity that administers voluntary massage certification is a novel weapon in the fight against [sex workers]…CAMTC…[claims he right to define] what constitutes legitimate massage therapy services…and…has…created a Sexually Suggestive Advertising Task Force as a tool to weed out criminals posing as massage therapists…police agencies throughout the state are especially [sexually obsessed] with sex traffickers using the massage industry as a cover…

Scapegoats (#697) 

Because obviously pigs still don’t have enough excuses to cage people yet:

The [Louisiana] Senate has approved a bill designed to make it clear that bestiality is illegal…A law on the books prohibits “crimes against nature,” but it also outlaws so-called sodomy and was ruled unconstitutional in 2003…Senator JP Morrell says it’s important that the state has a way to arrest someone for having sex with animals.  He told fellow lawmakers, “God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it.”  Ten senators did vote against it…

The War Goes On (#711) 

The idea that women have free will is incomprehensible to the misogynistic sociopaths in “law enforcement”:

The Backpage shut down…has…prompted fear of where prostitutes and pimps will look to advertise their services…Utah Attorney General’s Office Assistant Chief Nate Mutter [said]…“The demand is going to be there, what this will do is slow the supply side down a bit…My guess is a lot of advertisement from Backpage will find its way to more applications…People need to be aware of that they can accidentally find themselves being involved in trafficking.”  Mutter says sex traffickers are manipulative and may try and extort online dating app users…

Look out, dating app users, someone may offer you quality sex at a set price!  THE HORROR!!!!

Traffic in Nonsense (#747)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:

A new law passed by the Colorado legislature will require applicants for commercial drivers licenses…to go through indoctrination] on how to spot signs of human traffickers and their victims…Truckers Against Trafficking has fully supported the bill…

Amnesty At Last (#781)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for three years now:

D.C. Council member David Grosso…issued a statement…calling on District Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers…Grosso said his request was based on concerns raised by sex worker advocacy groups that the recent forced shutdown of websites that allowed sex workers to operate with a “greater degree of safety than on the streets” has placed them in danger of violence and arrest…

O, Canada! (#785)

Canadian cops are really invested in pretending their sexual harassment of women is to “protect” them:

[Toronto] has launched an investigation into the conduct of some of its bylaw officers in relation to [reports] from women working in…body rub parlors…Kristyn Wong-Tam said…women working at the parlours…felt they are being racially targeted…“They felt that having an officer come in three to four times a week…was rather punitive…It was very disruptive to their business”…the women were forced to sing for the officer’s entertainment, told to stand as a form of punishment and barred from using the bathroom during an inspection…

Against Their Will (#799)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Two…sex workers… died after falling from the third floor of a building while trying to escape a police raid in…Mumbai…by climbing down…with the help of a rope…while climbing down, they slipped and fell…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…prostitutes operating in…Bulawayo [Zimbabwe]…have expressed dismay over the abuse they endure at the hands of [cops] who continuously arrest them and demand sex in return for their freedom.  Some…make the demands daily and sometimes more than once in a single night…The prostitutes…[are] threatened with arrest and to avoid the inconvenience would [allow themselves to be raped]…to avoid sleeping in the cells and losing business.  The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in May 2015 outlawed the arrest of prostitutes on charges of loitering “for purposes of prostitution”…

Disaster (#826)

Some activists believe that FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government; even the Christian-leaning American Conservative sees it as a bad idea:

…The language of FOSTA is both vague and extremely expansive.  It prohibits website owners from “promoting or facilitating prostitution”.  That can obviously be subjected to wide interpretation, and the penalty for violating the new law is up to 10 years in prison.  Hence, multiple websites are erring on the side of self-censorship…Amending Section 230 is a terrible precedent and a slippery slope towards government regulation of the Internet and censorship…several privacy and personal freedom organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have criticized the expansive nature of the bill, worried that it could ultimately affect web content unrelated to prostitution…

The deeply-confused Rolling Stone published an article by our own Siouxsie Q:

The debilitating shock, sadness and panic that is moving through the sex-working community right now is palpable…Still, the community is rallying as hard as we are grieving, organizing in an unprecedented push to let the voices of those who will be affected by these pieces of legislation be heard.  Survivors, allies, and sex workers from all over the country flooded the congressional phone lines last month…The #LetUsSurvive and #SurvivorsAgainstSesta social media campaign has garnered over 5 million impressions and even mainstream celebrities have started speaking up and standing with sex workers and survivors…

This Means War 

Millions of sex workers can thank Carl Ferrer for selling them out to save his own skin:

Backpage…CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea…[saying] he knew that the “escort” section of Backpage was largely ads for prostitution…Court documents in the cases against Ferrer and Backpage don’t reveal any damning new information about the company, nor any new discoveries that allowed authorities to make their case…But this time, Ferrer decided to break from his colleagues and play ball with the state rather than fight.  In exchange for the plea deal, he’ll provide information on the Travel Act and money-laundering cases against his colleagues…Money-laundering may sound sinister…but it’s one of those charges (like conspiracy) that our nation’s cops and courts often abuse.  In this case, Backpage originally accepted payments for its…ads…via typical digital payment mediums…But thanks to hounding and intimidation by various government entities, Backpage was forced to stop accepting all those payment methods….and…to encourage people to use cryptocurrency for payments.  The company also created intermediary companies to handle payments, so that the transactions wouldn’t raise alarms with risk-paranoid bankers and financial processors.  Ultimately, the money-laundering that…Ferrer admitted wasn’t about shielding assets in offshore tax havens or otherwise hiding the company’s profits from government tax collectors…without subsidiaries and crypto, Backpage had no way to accept payment for…ads…

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

It’s dangerous to be a woman who knows the sexual secrets of powerful men:

[Thai] police have filed new charges against…a woman who claims to have evidence of Russian ties to U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign…Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, has attracted widespread attention for claiming to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a crony of President Vladimir Putin, discussing interference in the U.S. election.  She is being held in an immigration detention center and has pleaded not to be expelled to Russia….[she was] arrested with eight others for holding a sex training course…

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Nothing about the human animal is absolute; we’re all complicated organisms with the ability to feel several conflicting things at once.  So even though I’m among the most cynical creatures you’ll ever encounter, there is still a part of me that wants to believe that there is a limit to the stupidity of most of the creatures I encounter.  Alas, I am disappointed in that respect on the order of several times a day, with the result that my cynicism increases still more.  It is my fervent hope that sometime in the next three years I will achieve such a high density of cynicism that no hope of any kind will be able to resist it, and I will collapse into a sort of black hole of cynicism, from whose event horizon not even the slightest particle of faith in humanity is able to escape.  Then and only then will I be able to resist the urge to either beat my head against a wall or actually strangle every yahoo endowed with a one-dimensional sense of ethics who brays that the current sorry state of the American empire is the fault of whichever “wing” of the US Fascist Party he does not identify with.  The idiocy of this tribalism has only increased with the waxing of this century, and despite the fact that the venue in which most of it is displayed happens to be the greatest research tool ever devised by Man, we are still forced to endure deeply, deeply stupid pronouncements from deeply, deeply stupid people that it’s all the fault of Clinton Bush Obama Trump despite the fact that most of what’s wrong is the predictable result of processes going on at least since the Adams administration, picking up speed during and after the American Civil War, exploding during the Progressive Era and New Deal, and coalescing into the basis for their current form during the Reagan administration.  The latest example (and as most of you have probably surmised, the one which inspired this rant) is seeing apparent humans with the attention span of a goldfish and the research skills of a ficus tree blaming FOSTA (the 100% predictable end product of a War on Whores with its roots in the Clinton administration, midwifed by the Bush administration and raised to sturdy adolescence by the Obama administration) on a man who couldn’t find his own moral center with both hands, Google maps and a burning dumpster full of advisors.  No, this scheme for purging all sexual content from the internet is not the product of Trump, the GOP or even “Trump’s America” (whatever the fuck that intensely-moronic phrase means); it is a wholly bipartisan tyranny, and the only difference is that the Republicans are slightly more apt to claim that sex is “immoral” while the Democrats are somewhat more apt to claim it’s “demeaning to women”.  Don’t fucking take my fucking word for it; go fucking look at the fucking vote totals for every fucking “sex trafficking” law ever fucking passed, up to and including fucking FOSTA.  You will find overwhelming numbers of members of both official parties lining up to shred the Constitution, censor the internet, grow the power of police and other government functionaries, and heap every harm and indignity imaginable upon sex workers, our clients, or anyone else who dares to be openly sexual.  Hell, we’ve already got the concentration camps (though we now call them “correctional institutions”); all that remains is to see what final solution they dream up to “help” us.  And whatever it is, you can bet it will be passed with near-unanimity while a vast chorus of toadies cacophonously croak that it’s all the other party’s fault.

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I’m really, really sick of deeply-stupid internet commenters using the word “libertarian” to mean “Republican”, “Nazi”, “plutocrat”, “Monsanto” or other bogeyman.  Now, I obviously have no problem with anyone using rhetoric to attack one’s opponents, and the “your life belongs to almighty ‘Society’ and ‘rightful authorities’ have the right to use violence to compel your obedience” crowd are obviously going to be opposed to any philosophy which embraces self-ownership and rejects collectivized violence.  Furthermore, libertarians only have themselves to blame for this; after all, the entire movement is based in the recognition that nobody can be trusted with power, and yet libertarians allowed racists, dissident Republicans and other malign filth to apply the term to themselves after Obama’s election ten years ago, when they should’ve shut that shit down immediately to avoid guilt by association from collectivist nitwits.  Moreover, as I wrote in “To the Ground” over three years ago,

…I only call myself a libertarian because it’s the only popular term which has some general resemblance to the way I see the world.  Technically, what I am is a minarchist, someone who is to an anarchist what an agnostic is to an atheist; I’m also more or less an agorist.  But use either of those terms to most people, even to many libertarians, and you’ll be greeted with blank stares…For most uses, “libertarian” is good enough, though it means that I have to endure opprobrium from semi-literates who…seem to believe that “libertarian” means “caricature of a fundie plutocrat” or even “whatever I don’t like”…

Well, I’m exercising a woman’s prerogative and changing my mind.  Though I’m still friendly with many people who use the term “libertarian”, the same holds true for the term “feminist”…and for me, both terms are polluted beyond reclamation by the behavior of bad actors and the one-dimensional thinking of authoritarians.  While I’m still going to describe myself as a minarchist or anarchist, when I want a more general term I’m going back to the traditional one for the philosophy opposed to authoritarianism: “liberal”.  At least until the American Civil War, the term “liberal” meant more or less what is now properly meant by “libertarian”:  the belief that each individual owns himself and no other, that fundamental liberties are inalienable, that differences between individuals should be tolerated and even embraced, and that large collectives (especially governments) are to be distrusted and controlled.  It’s the sense in which George Washington was using the word when he wrote, “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government.”  At some point in the late 19th century, people largely abandoned those old liberal ideals, and though there were people calling themselves liberals for most of the 20th century, they were actually progressives still clinging to a few liberal points (but willing to compromise on even those in order to establish their social engineering schemes and/or “beat” their so-called “conservative” opponents).  Then, less than a generation ago, the term “liberal” was unceremoniously dumped as the progressives finally embraced being just a different flavor of authoritarian, one committed to licking the boots of “experts” while their opponents preferred to lick those of preachers (and both loudly proclaim their love for cops and caging people by the millions).  Well, if they’re not going to use a proud old term (whose memory they insulted by misusing it for a century anyway), I’m going to.  And if people are confused by that, good; maybe they’ll ask what I mean instead of ignorantly imposing their weird wanking fantasies onto me like the “sex trafficking” fetishists do.

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When I was an undergrad, I came up with a model for how cultures develop over time.  It was divided into four stages:

Barbarism:  All substance, little form.  Barbaric cultures have youth, vigor, drive and often a lot of good ideas; they just haven’t learned to apply them to best effect yet.  Barbaric cultures often borrow or steal ideas from older cultures, as the young Romans borrowed Greek mythology and the young US borrowed from England and Rome.

Civilization:  Form and substance in balance.  Civilized cultures are mature, but still strong, and have developed institutions, systems and mores that reflect their values and ideas.  History often speaks of this period as the “Golden Age” of a culture, the period of its greatest accomplishments.

Decadence:  All form, waning substance.  Decadent cultures have outlived their youth and vigor, and are obsessed with their own past greatness.  They look down on other cultures and are often xenophobic, focusing on elaborate rituals and worship-words which no longer have any meaning.

Decay:  Corrupt form, no substance.  Decaying cultures are those which have completely lost their way; they mistake their institutions and procedures for the ideals they were created to further, which a decaying culture no longer remembers.  These cultures may collapse or be conquered, but sometimes go on decaying for many centuries before that happens.

At the time, I wasn’t sure if the US was at the very end of the second stage or somewhere in the third.  I hadn’t even thought about that for many years, until recent events made it very clear to me that it’s the latter.  Remember when I criticized the way US media were more concerned with the fact that Trump had said the word “pussy” than that he was admitting to sexual assault?

…someone at CNN actually seems to believe, and undoubtedly many people agree, that the most salient point of the controversy was Trump’s language, that he had uttered taboo words which would presumably ritually pollute the dainty hearing of anyone viewing the video.  The fact that he used these common words about women is presented as though that somehow makes it worse than if he had used similar words in talking about men, children, mixed groups of people or Shetland ponies; the assumption seems to be that women are delicate china dolls who are magically harmed when men emit certain sounds from their vocal apparatus, even if the woman in question did not even hear them.  If he had joked about violating the physical boundaries of women without using those words, perhaps saying “I attempted to get her in bed” and “grab their crotches” instead, would that have made it all better in the minds of this unknown CNN editor and others like her?  Because that’s certainly the implication…

Now this week, we’re faced with a one-two punch from the New York Times which leaves little doubt that we live in a culture obsessed with forms and uninterested in substance.  First, the Times lavishly praised and obsequiously fawned on the sister of a murderous dictator, a monstrously evil woman with an important role in her brother’s totalitarian regime, a person who has herself ordered and directed literal mass enslavement and actual “human trafficking”…because she gave a dirty look to a US politician Times editors don’t like.  So now we know the secret, ladies.  Do honest work making people feel good? The Times will say you’re a “victim” and a “slave”.  Literally enslave and “traffic” people?  The Times will admire you and call you a “diplomat”.  And how would the Times (not to mention actual human rights organization “officials”) react to another murderous dictator ordering that women be sexually maimed?  Why, by complaining that he didn’t give those orders in nicer language, naturally:

President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine strongman who has earned a reputation for dirty tactics and language, was criticized…for having boasted that he had ordered soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals…the president said in a speech…“We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina”…the criticism of his choice of words has been fierce.  It “is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” said Carlos H. Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch…This is not the first time Mr. Duterte had been criticized for crude remarks about women…
Presumably, if Duterte had ordered rebels be maimed in a genteel way, and he gave some Republican a dirty look while doing so, the Times and all its allied talking heads (not to mention the legions of marching morons who take their cues from such pompous ninnies) would be perfectly OK with that.  A society more concerned with words and pictures, which talks about “porn as a health crisis” while its cops are actually shooting people down in the street and torturing them to death in cages, and worries more about politicians’ language and manners than the fact that they are murdering their own people by the thousands, is long overdue for collapse.

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