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Posts Tagged ‘Part of the Picture’

[Loitering laws are] a way of harassing people and discriminating when you don’t like the way they look.  –  Amy Paulin

One Size Fits All

Calling rape “sex trafficking” is a good way to inflate numbers:

…the man who raped 13-year-old Laura Skelly has not been arrested or charged…when Laura…ran away…from their Fort Lauderdale, Fl., home, the local police didn’t respond to Mary Skelly’s initial plea for help…Laura finally turned up on her mother’s doorstep 10 days later, with a flower tattoo, bruised, beaten and raped…Although Mary provided the Fort Lauderdale police department with the name, date of birth, address, and even the Instagram account of the 22-year-old man who trafficked her daughter…no one…followed up…This doesn’t surprise John Rode, a…private [dick]…who searches for missing and runaway children in south Florida…“Human trafficking is not only…young girls coming out of containers…Girl runs away from home.  A few days later someone takes her in, gets her on drugs, and she’s held against her will.  Now she’s a victim of human trafficking”…

Just Call Me Nobody

Sometimes the ignorance of pigs is utterly mind-boggling:

[Sow] Debra Stiles of the Longview [Texas Pig] Department [fantasized]…”We have girls selling themselves for $10…on websites and social media…I haven’t had one say they are STD free.  They can’t go get the medical help they need…”

Truth:  Streetwalkers have STI rates half those in promiscuous amateurs (such as cops), and escorts have much lower rates than that.  And it’s amateurs who run around saying they’re “disease free”, because it’s a given among sex workers due to our far higher standards.  But even if that weren’t true, is there anyone at all who is such an ignoramus as to believe that literally every member of any group is infected with STIs?

Bread and Circuses 

Just a reminder:  I owned an escort service like this one, only smaller:

…Brandon Martin and Tameko Lindo [were arrested] for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their ownership and operation of Flawless Escorts, a nationwide [escort service]…Flawless Escorts’ website [was also seized]…U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman [clutched his pearls and spouted a lot of ludicrous dysphemisms about an ordinary business]…HSI [stooge] Angel M. Melendez said:  “In just under four years, these defendants are alleged to have secured more than three thousand hotel bookings”…

In other words, an average of about two a day.  Don’t these idiots realize how stupid they sound?

Choke Point (#593) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

A Wellington brothel owner is furious at banks who will not let her open a business account.  Prostitution was decriminalised 15 years ago but that has not put an end to…discrimination…by the banking industry…”We…approached every bank in New Zealand and no one would take it…We’ve got no criminal record, we don’t have a debt to our name … it’s just crazy.”  Another sex worker, who did not want to be named, said she had a similar experience…when trying to open a business account…”They said they didn’t deem it a real occupation”…banks…are not allowed to discriminate against individuals due to occupation, [but] can decline to give credit or products to certain industries…

Part of the Picture (#665)

This article on how men & women respond to porn contains the following important point:

Sometimes people will call porn a “superstimulus” and it is definitely not.  It does not do anything outside of what the body and brain can already generate by itself.  Dopamine increases when you’re watching porn, but only in areas of the brain where it traditionally increases with other types of rewards as well.  Dopamine does spike with cocaine and it does happen with porn, but it happens with a million other things we don’t consider addictive.  There’s nothing that special about it.  It’s just our brain doing its reward thing…For something to be considered an addiction, it has to meet a lot of different criteria, and if it doesn’t meet all of them then it can’t be called an addiction…For instance, if someone has a problem with methamphetamines and you show them a picture of someone using them…their brain…[has] a higher reactivity.  That does not exist for porn.  We tested that in people who thought they were addicted to porn and found that they had a lower response, if anything…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, tattoo artists:

When Ted Legendre purchased a nearly 30-year-old tattoo parlor in LaPlace [Louisiana] a couple years ago, he had no idea he was buying a business that St. John the Baptist Parish would eventually consider legally akin to a sex shop or strip club.  But when the council changed the parish’s zoning rules last year, that’s exactly what happened.  So when Legendre tried to move Tattoos Unlimited…to a more visible spot in a strip mall…he couldn’t get approval to open — even though the parish had given him a green light to renovate the space…The St. John Planning and Zoning Department denied Legendre a permit because any business classified as an “adult use” is not allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of a day care facility…or…numerous other types of buildings in the parish, including churches, community centers or even residences…the new law…effectively ban[s] any “adult use” businesses on the east bank of the parish…

What the story doesn’t say:  95% of the population of St. John Parish lives on the east bank, and the only ways to the west bank are ferries or driving roughly 20 miles to the nearest bridge, then the same distance back on a winding two-lane highway.  Bet you can guess the excuse (hint: see subtitle).

Profit from Panic (#701) 

The infantilization of sex workers is growing ever more absurd:

…victims of human trafficking have to learn skills many people take for granted, including how to eat right…the average age of a child sold for sex is 13 years old…End Slavery is a group that helps rehabilitate and give life skills to survivors of human trafficking…In Tennessee there are around 100 minors trafficked every month…one issue that keeps them from living fulfilling lives is understanding what consists of a proper diet…

The subtitle-linked article claimed “survivors” don’t know how to tie their shoes.

Checklist (#783)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

According to a 2014 survey of about 100 survivors of sex trafficking, 88 percent said that while they were being trafficked they had contact with a health care provider, typically someone in an emergency department…a growing number of hospitals and health care systems…are putting [surveillance] programs in place.  They want to [indoctrinate] staff to [interfere in sex workers lives and report them to the pigs]…nearly 300 staff members at Huntington Hospital and a family clinic have received [indoctrination] in how to spot [sex workers] and [snitch on] them…

Lack of Evidence (#792) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

An ordinance passed last month by Chicago’s City Council outlawing “prostitution-related loitering” will lead to more arrests of unsuspecting women and transgender people of color, activists said, and is unlikely to stem demand for prostitution.  The ordinance, which passed by unanimous voice vote, allows police to order a person they [claim] is “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” to leave the area for at least eight hours.  If they return, they could face fines ranging from $50 to $500 and up to six months in jail…Responding to [demands] from [prohibitionists]…the final version of the ordinance [cl]aimed to more harshly punish men who buy sex…In a written statement, [bill sponsor Jason] Ervin said…“I…want to punish people for…standing on a public sidewalk”…“It is…our…goal to arrest street prostitutes,” Tina Skahill, general counsel for the Chicago Police Department, told the committee…

Under Every Bed (#844)

The confused babble spouted by “officials” in low-population states is truly stupefying:

Robert Leslie, senior deputy attorney general…[for] West Virginia…[bloviated that “sex trafficking”]…involves children…as young as 6…”it’s such an underground economy that we don’t really know exactly how big it is”…Berkeley County…Sheriff Curtis Keller…said…”These pimps or johns, whatever you want to call them, get these women addicted and then, they starting using them as a means of making money…They can even move these women around at will, so it definitely falls in the category of human trafficking,…We get calls about women jumping out of cars or just trying to take off from other people, and to me, that’s a form of what human trafficking includes,” he said [while furtively masturbating behind he podium]…

“Human trafficking” includes women jumping out of cars, says the sheriff, who appears to be confused about different meanings of the word “traffic”.

Safe Position 

I’ll be watching this race with interest:

…public defender Daron Morris…is challenging [incumbent prosecutor Dan] Satterberg on…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office[‘s persecution of]…sex work…Morris is supported by the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Seattle…[and] supports decriminalizing prostitution…Satterberg…said he…support[s harassing]…sex workers…through violence and coercion…Morris has also criticized the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for accepting grant money from an anti-prostitution group called Demand Abolition.  He said the group was allowed too much influence over county policy, requiring certain statements to the press…

Fair-Weather Friends

Oh, what a surprise:

…a whistleblower…inside the Columbus Police Department…[revealed that] the arrest of Stormy Daniels…[was] pre-planned days before she ever arrived in town…the…whistleblower…contacted the [Fayette] Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and vice [cops].  Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before she would pull into town…The bulk of the emails…are from the…account of Detective Shana Keckley…one of the lead-arresting [pigs] the night that the “sting” operation went down…“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” the whistleblower said…

While I’m pleased at the tipoff, I must point out that this whisteblower is still a cop, and perfectly happy to participate in using consensual “crimes” to destroying the lives of non-famous people who aren’t politically useful.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is almost always “no”:

In many parts of the world, [frogs] are…beginning to accept the use of facial recognition technology to [boil them]…the Lockport City School District in New York plans to [install such a surveillance system]…In light of the [school] shooting…[hysteria of] recent years, parents…might vote to allow it…[but] schools [will certainly]…track students across the campus, profile them, and…collect and store the data…then trade them with the government…the New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the state’s education department to ban the technology from schools, saying it would “have a chilling effect on school climate…Lockport…views students as potential criminals who must have their faces scanned wherever they go,” said Stefanie Coyle, Education Counsel and John Curr III, Director, NYCLU.  The two…further pointed out that [when] the databases linked up to the system include those used for immigration enforcement, it could make [sensible] parents of immigrant students afraid to send their children to school…

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Criminalisation…reinforces the idea that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  –  Frankie Mullin

Whore Madonnas

Melissa Petro on the stigma faced by sex workers with children:

…For sex workers, there are no legal protections against discrimination, should we become associated with our current or former occupations.  Current and former sex workers risk losing their housing or being refused service by landlords, property owners, and co-op boards.  Sex workers are…often unable to transition to other work…and…can also lose custody of their children.  Finley Fawn is a cam model…who has been fighting for custody of her six-year-old son since April…In 2008, a tantra provider lost custody of her children to a man with an extensive documented history of domestic violence…in 2013, former sex worker Tanaha Koontz lost custody of her three children to [her] abusive husband…Then there’s the devastating case of Petite Jasmine…Those who view sex work as incompatible with motherhood often [pretend] concern for the children’s safety.  They conflate issues related to poverty with sex work—unstable housing, food insecurity, and erratic incomes, for example—even though sex work can often be the very solution to these economic woes…the only legitimate concern having to do with…a child’s safety is the fact that individuals working in prostitution are still being criminalized, so these women tend to be incarcerated or face arrest, which can mean having their children sent to a relative or taken under the dysfunctional care of the state…

The Red Umbrella 

A plasterer who was besotted with a prostitute recruited a teenager to pour accelerant over her and set her alight…Mohammed Ali Fouani wanted the Korean woman to…give up her job and live with him…

Real People 

Following in the footsteps of Norma Jean Almodovar, a policewoman decides to turn to honest work:

A Melbourne single mother has traded her role as a senior constable with Victoria Police for high-class escorting in an attempt to make a better life for herself.  After spending several “soul-destroying” years in the police force, Heidi…became an escort after being introduced to the industry by a friend…

Part of the Picture

The author is right; “porn addiction” in women really IS “equally damaging” to “porn addiction” in men, because zero equals zero:

…there is so little open discussion about the effects of porn addiction among women that we don’t even have a vocabulary with which to discuss it. And it is an equally important topic…Women become addicted to the dopamine rush associated with porn in the same way as men.  They feel the shame and the isolation that addiction inevitably brings.  The same loss of interest in sex that doesn’t live up to the extreme material they’re watching.  And the same breakdown of their romantic relationships while their minds are elsewhere.  It’s hard to quantify the scale of porn addiction among either sex and there are no official figures, but even by talking to people off the record, the scale of the damage is palpable…

Ell.  Oh.  Ell.Ozzy the sex addict

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Why does it always take so long for people who know anti-sex dogma is bullshit to finally speak up?

Ozzy Osbourne is the latest in a string of people (almost always men) to diagnose themselves as “sex addicts”…the concept of sex addiction has been fabricated by “addictionologists,” the people who claim they have the addiction, and the media.  The concept has rapidly been accepted as truth when there is still no substantive evidence that sex addiction is real…“sex addiction”…[has] become…a blanket term we throw over people whose sexual expression is different from “the norm,” without unpacking the actual behavior(s) or empowering the people involved to take responsibility for their own actions…there is no sound research that supports it and the people promoting it often lack training in sexuality…

Profound Ignorance 

Criminologists aim to prove that economists don’t have a monopoly on painfully stupid assumptions about sex work:

With the sale of sex shifting online, today’s pimps are avoiding police detection by using underground websites, social media, mobile apps and even by hiding their ads on mainstream sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.  In a first-of-its-kind study, criminologists from Michigan State University and Loyola University Chicago interviewed 71 pimps in Atlanta and Chicago to determine how their marketing decisions are influenced by police enforcement…”We found that pimps are exploiting the anonymity that new technology and websites allow,” said Mary Finn, lead author of the study…pimps use their own language, symbols and disingenuous photos to advertise their services and communicate with customers…The pimps were recruited through ads placed on Backpage and paid $60 per interview…

IOW, these dumb bunnies advertised that they’d give $60 to any dude who was willing to call himself a “pimp” and tell tall tales to credulous “researchers”.  What’s most shocking is that these educated doofuses continue to buy into the prohibitionist myth that all whores have “pimps”, when (as I explained to Tracy Clark-Flory) that’s total nonsense:

…Maggie McNeill, a sex worker and writer, argues that pimps have become exceedingly less necessary as the internet has allowed sex workers to advertise themselves…But, she argues, the focus often remains on these third parties because it fits an anti-sex work narrative of coercion…

Monsters

Trans sex worker Hande Kader was last seen getting in her customer’s car about a week ago…Her friends and lover…reported Hande’s disappearance to the police…[who] found a burned trans woman’s body near [Istanbul]…Hande was wearing prosthetics which helped identify her burnt body…

Why I Wait

Always be skeptical of any claim about the sexual habits of the “younger generation”:

…Researchers…are boldly claiming that millennials aged 20-24 are having far less sex than previous generations…15 percent of surveyed millennials in that age range reported having no sexual partners since they turned 18, compared to 6 percent of Generation X people…The authors…offered a variety of explanations for their findings — ranging from the funding of abstinence-only education in schools, to fears about STDs, to the premium placed on good looks on dating apps like Tinder, to popular misconceptions about “millennial hook-up culture” — but there are just as many reasons to be skeptical…the information was gleaned from the General Social Survey (GSS), which…[uses] heteronormative language…Another problem, which the researchers noted in their paper, is that the definition of what constitutes “sex” is left up to the…respondents to decide.  It’s entirely possible that earlier generations unintentionally exaggerated their sex lives by lumping all kinds of sexual activity into the broader umbrella term of “sex”, thus skewing the numbers…

I’ve previously discussed the inadvisability of using the GSS to make any predictions about sexual behavior.

Cops and Robbers

The result of stigma, encouraged by criminalization:

“Dirty whores.” “You should be put on fire.” So shouted the 100-strong mob as it surrounded the house of a group of women, thought to be sex workers, in Belfast on Friday 29th July…Since the video went online, sex workers have come out of the woodwork sharing similar stories says Lucy Smith, who run National Ugly Mugs Ireland (NUM)…”Another woman came forward last week and talked about how she’d been beaten up in the street by a gang,” Smith says…Carmen…worked briefly in Belfast last year.  She…found her flat surrounded by a mob of 30 or 40 people…”They broke the glass of our window with eggs.  They were shouting things like ‘£10 prostitute’ and telling us to go home”…Attacks of this kind happen across the UK and Ireland…In east London, sex workers frequently report having objects and insults hurled at them from cars.  In Edinburgh, sex workers have been surrounded and followed.  In Birmingham, since the beginning of this month, sex workers have twice reported having bottles and urine thrown at them from a car.  In some cases, sex workers have had bones broken before the police arrive…

Choke Point 

Fascism in action:

My wife, Carla Sinclair, is editor of Wink Books…she used Paypal to pay Ben Marks his fee for reviewing a photo book…called Castro’s Cuba: An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba 1959-1969.  Carla included a message to Ben in the Paypal transaction, which read, “Hi Ben – Your Castro’s Cuba review is up!  Thanks so much!  Carla.”  As soon as she pressed the send button, she got a pop-up message on the PayPal site that informed her that the payment was being held for review…an email [later] arrived from PayPal. It turns out, the problem arose because Carla’s message included the forbidden word “Cuba” (and/or possibly “Castro”)…

Whore Detection

Another violent cop, another black woman profiled as a sex worker:

…a Washington, DC [cop pinned] a black woman to his patrol car, leaving her feet dangling while he [called] her “a prostitute”.  [Fortunately the attack was captured on video]…by Twitter user @macandcheeks…and…city authorities have…opened an investigation into the incident…the…woman…named Shadon…is…a schoolteacher…she and others at the bus stop were standing up to a man who was harassing another woman when the police intervened…

Rooted in Racism (#577)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…Liberian [football] player Andrew Nagbe is currently in a detention centre awaiting [deportation]…the 22-year-old…was arrested by migration officials at the Stockholm Pride festival at the end of July…Nagbe was taking part in the…events with his boyfriend [when] he was detained…He had originally travelled to Sweden on trial with Swedish third-tier team Umeå FC before plying his trade at a string of lower league teams…It is still illegal to be openly gay in Liberia…“In prison I’ll be beaten and raped every day until I am released and leave the country again. Everyone I know in Liberia knows I am gay now, so they won’t hold back,” he added…The Swedish migration service [pretends] that Nagbe…[is not] gay and that [the danger]…if he returns home [is] not verifiable.  Only by presenting new evidence will Nagbe be able to appeal the ruling…

What a Week! (#656)

So much for “negative secondary effects”:

Do strip clubs bring down property values?…Surveying 317,056 residential sales in Seattle between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2013, researchers found little evidence strip clubs influenced the prices of nearby homes.  This, note authors Taggert Brooks of UW-La Crosse and Brad Humphreys and Adam Nowak of WVU, runs counter to common arguments underpinning local governments’ rights to restrict strip clubs, which typically hold that such establishments have negative “secondary effects,” including a downward pull on property values…“There was nothing we picked up that was really significant in any way, shape, or form,” says Dr. Nowak.

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Behind the opposition to decriminalise both abortion and sex work lies the belief that…women…are incapable of physical autonomy, that their choices are so socially harmful, so deluded, they must be legislated against.  –  Frankie Mullin

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

If you’re raped by a cop, accuse him of offering to pay you for sex instead; that, they’ll try him for:

…Columbus [cop]…Bobby G. Schoolcraft…is charged with solicitation and engaging in prostitution…[after] the woman reported…that an unknown officer had paid her $20 to $40…Schoolcraft admitted 20 days later that he was the officer involved…The woman has a history of drug and prostitution arrests…

Part of the Picture

Is it just me, or is this hilarious?

…Covenant Eyes was created by evangelical Christians…For $10 a month, you can get an Internet Accountability report sent to your spouse, a friend, or anyone who would understand your struggles with erotic desire. This report is customizable, so you can set it to only report what times you went online, or the most “highly mature” sites you visited…You can also add filtering services to your account.  One person, designated the “Filter Guardian,” chooses an age-appropriate level of internet restriction for family members, and Covenant Eyes blocks domains they deem unacceptable…the app also provides a “Panic Button” you can hit when you’re in crisis and worrying you might give in to temptation.  This effectively shuts down all web access until you call Covenant Eyes personally, and ask them to reinstate your connection—after you confess to them that you wanted to look at porn…Whether it’s possible to be addicted to porn or sex…is still officially up for debate…Jessica McGraa

No, it isn’t.

Surplus Women 

This is about the least-infuriating coverage of this story I could find:

A mother was only uncovered as a sex worker after her dead body was discovered in a flat in Aberdeen.  A 25-year-old man, Bala Wadzani Chinda, has…[been] charged with the murder of the woman…37-year-old Jessica McGraa…She kept the nature of her work private, and her friends and ex-husband were shocked to find out she worked as a prostitute…

As you might expect from the sickeningly-yellow British press, other versions of the story focused on how much she charged and other such salacious details.

Whorearchy

The more sex workers and former sex workers come out, the better:

…there exists what sex workers like to call a whore hierarchy: The closer one gets to full service sex work, the closer one gets to being a whore and the further she is from being seen as a whole, complete woman.  As though the qualities of being a whore negate one’s humanity.  At the bottom of this hierarchy are the full-service sex workers who are most at risk by the stigma and fear mongering…Many women in the stripping community harbor a widespread disgust for escorts who come into clubs with clients, porn workers who occasionally perform at clubs and strippers who offer customers “extras” (i.e. more than just a lapdance).  Some even label fellow strippers who dance more aggressively or work at fully nude clubs as “more whore-ish.”  As if by distancing themselves from those further down the whore hierarchy — in this case, those who show pussy or grind harder — they can save themselves from experiencing whore stigma…

The Widening Gyre

Snopes sez: “this warning makes it sound as though the bad guys are stymied in their search for victims and don’t know where to look for kids to abduct until they see pictures of them on Facebook“:

One day you receive a friend request, as you often do every week or so.  It’s a nice looking man who you don’t seem to recognize…Later that day you decide to post photos of your little 6-year-old girls birthday party, and you tag all of her friends through their parents…You’ve essentially just given a trafficker and his customers multiple pickings not to mention the school they attend and the park which they frequent…stop posting your children’s photos on the internet…All it takes is one account to be hacked and you’ve just offered up your children’s images to all kinds of freaks, molesters, and yes, traffickers…Please share this important warning with all your friends! It can prevent a tragedy…

Under Every Bed

Population 126,326.

Cedar Rapids is a crossroads for human trafficking.  Police say our location between larger mid-west cities makes eastern Iowa a frequent stop for victims and those who control them…”Only 1-2% of human trafficking victims are ever rescued,” says Teresa Davidson, President of Cedar Rapids Gives…

How do you know this, Theresa? Are you in collusion with the “traffickers” and therefore know how many “victims” they enslave?  And do you possess even the most rudimentary form of common sense?  Meanwhile, in Ohio, cops ominously inform us that “the same Ohio roads that are used legitimately are also used by human traffickers and smugglers to transport their victims and further their operations…” OH MY GOD!  NO!!!! SAY IT ISN’T SO!! THE SAME ROADS???? THE FIENDS!!!!! I’ll bet they even use standard transportation that wouldn’t raise eyebrows.

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” stunts grow ever stupider:

Members of a [University of Florida] fraternity used a children’s game to [indoctrinate] students about human trafficking…60 silver and red blocks each had a [propaganda trope] about human trafficking.  A student would read the block he or she picked before placing it back on the stack…Rafael Cruzado…learned human trafficking is a problem in Alachua County because of its proximity to Interstate 75…Jason Feliciano…[said] “People don’t know that it is still happening”…

Seriously, debunking this nonsense isn’t even fun anymore; it’s just too easy.

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

People ensnared in the cycle of prostitution and the criminal lifestyle it engenders now have a lifeline…[Shreveport, Louisiana] District Court…in partnership with faith-based Purchased: Not for Sale…have begun a diversion program called Exit Strategy…[It is] the brainchild of Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness…[who despite her apparent possession of a law degree, and thus presumably understanding the principle of separation of church and state] said, “The idea behind the name is that no person is for sale, we’ve already been purchased by Jesus”…Most people who engage in prostitution and other “sex industry” crimes, which begin as victimless misdemeanors, cannot engage in other meaningful productive work and often have underlying drug or mental problems that contribute to their cycle of criminal activity…

I wonder what underlying mental problems contribute to an attorney’s flagrant violation of one of the most basic principles of American government?Eliot Spitzer

Droit du Seigneur (#401)

Reminder: Spitzer’s a fan of choking women during sex:

…Eliot Spitzer was [regularly] seeing a…25-year-old blond [escort]…but became enraged when [she]…wanted to move back to her native country…The disgraced former governor is accused of attacking Svetlana Travis…a day before she flew home…Travis…wrote a 2014 article for…Medium that was headlined “Sex Is Sex, But Money Is Money”…after Spitzer…allegedly choked and pushed Travis…she cut herself with a broken glass…In the hours after the alleged scrap, Spitzer was caught on hotel video wearing a wool cap pulled down low over his eyes, sources said. While Travis was in the hospital, a man identifying himself as “George” called twice to ask about seeing her…but was told he could not…Police believe the caller and the visitor were Spitzer because hospital video shows him wearing the same wool cap…

Property of the State 

As with abortion…so with sex work…almost every form of labour reflects and is shaped by social inequality.  Yet there’s no call to ban, for instance, the cleaning industry…No one is claiming that agency always equals feminism.  However, the removal of it, the demand for state intervention in women’s choices, is deeply anti-feminist.  There’s nothing radical about denying us agency over our bodies.  A view of the state as a responsible arbiter of justice, and of the police as a benign force for good, is one that comes from a place of privilege…[prohibitionists often] claim to be protecting the vulnerable – unborn babies, trafficked women – but by allowing the state increased access, the outcome is yet more danger…

Full of Themselves (#553)

Oh, California Massage Therapy Council, please never change:

City Attorney Barry DeWalt will present a report to the Redding City Council…on the connection between illegal massage parlors and sex-trafficking, highlighting the need for an ordinance regulating businesses that could act as a front to human-trafficking…the Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition suggested the Police Department send officers to personally inspect each massage business and issue city permits, with associated fees…DeWalt will recommend massage therapists operating in Redding receive certification by the California Massage Therapy Council, ensuring therapists have at least a minimum number of hours of therapy education.  The report will also suggest hours of operation for the businesses and appropriate dress or conduct for massage therapists…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

Some [politicians] including…MP Fiona Bruce are calling for buying sex to be criminalised under laws similar to those in Sweden…But the idea has drawn an angry response from Britain’s sex workers, who say they fear it could put them in danger.  Around 96 per cent of those who took part in the survey by National Ugly Mugs…said people should not be criminalised for buying sex from a consenting adult and 82 per cent said they would feel less safe if the law were introduced.  More than 200 sex workers took part in the survey, along with 52 organisations that offer frontline services to between 20 and 2,000 sex workers…

Cooties (#612)

Remember, kids, the Swedish modelTM eliminates prostitution!

…Swedish police reported an increase in human traffickers taking advantage of people renting out their homes through…Airbnb.  This is an obvious nightmare for anyone whose bed has been used to host this kind of sexual exploitation, but an even more nightmarish situtation for people being prostituted, often having to face numerous sex-buyers every day.  The vast majority of people exploited in prostitution are trafficked into it…[“pimps”] are in fact intentionally luring innocent people into contributing to what is best described as transnational organized crime…Sweden’s sex purchase act…has come to be regarded as the archetype for preventing prostitution and trafficking of human beings for sexual purposes…Because of the significant increase in knowledge among hotel staff to be alert to possible prostitution…traffickers now seem in desperate need of new venues to ensure the continuation of their criminal activities without being detected by police…the police badly need more resources.  This has even been pointed out many times by the police themselves…

Wow, what a surprise; the police agree that they need more money and power.

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Only death goes deeper than sex.  –  Mason Cooley

One obituary, ten updates and three metaupdates.

R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

The beloved fantasist died Wednesday morning at the age of 91; he was one of my favorite authors and wrote one of my favorite books and one of the scariest stories of all time.  Here are a story and an article from Bradbury himself (courtesy of the New Yorker), my tribute tale “Penelope”, lovely remembrances from Neil Gaiman and regular reader Hal 10000, and a video from singer and comedienne Rachel Bloom; Bradbury had a great laugh when he saw it and gave her an autographed copy of The Martian Chronicles.

Updates

Think of the Children! (September 30th, 2010)

So, school personnel, think you’re safe because you’ve never done sex work and/or don’t have direct contact with kids?  Think again:

Des Moines school superintendent Nancy Sebring resigned last week…for sending sexy emails at work…Sebring was forced out of her position because school district staffers discovered…emails she’d sent…to an adult man with whom she was engaged in a consenting sexual relationship…district…policy forbids using school computers…for personal correspondence…

Had the emails been about him taking her to a movie nobody would’ve said boo; she was sacked for being sexual, because sex rays can flow through the school’s computer system or become embedded in memo paper and thus imperil students (i.e. helpless, asexual fetuses) in a different part of town.

The Scarlet Letter (March 29th, 2011)

Public shaming of whores and clients without due process is evil and twisted enough, but this takes it to a new level of piggishness:

…[In Chicago] a disproportionate number of transgender individuals are apparently being arrested for patronizing or soliciting for prostitution…Transgender “buyers” are much more likely than non-transgender buyers to be black…[and] are also, on average, almost 10 years younger.  We should note that 10.5% of the arrestees were transgender, a shocking statistic…It seems much more likely that these individuals were “sellers,” not “buyers”…

As the Swedish Rot begins to pervade more American jurisdictions, it has become less politically popular to arrest women; so, Chicago cops simply lie and accuse transgender hookers of being clients instead due to their biological gender.  Since neofeminists hate transgender people anyway, this is a bonus for them.

Down Under
(One Year Ago Today)

Australian politician Craig Thomson is under fire for misappropriation of funds, and though less than 6% of those funds were spent on whores guess what everyone’s talking about?  Kelly Hinton of Project Respect comments:

…The question of whether or not [Thomson] actually did this has been lost…as a woman…dared not only to come forward publicly saying she could identify him from a photo, but accepted money to do so.  It seems that what she has to say is irrelevant – we have already scrutinized, judged, degraded and discredited her in a public trial by media… from all sides.  Owners of escort businesses and brothels in Sydney…have been quick to discredit her (and ultimately, other women in the sex industry)…[by] depicting [them] as stupid…[or] manipulative…Mr Thomson is quoted as saying:  “To buy a story from a prostitute is cheque book journalism at its worst”…Is he suggesting that because she has been in the sex industry, we must assume she has no morals, is a liar and will do anything for money?…

This is yet another demonstration of why sex work must be completely decriminalized:  any arbitrary limitation which doesn’t apply to other people besides hookers will be used as a weapon by those in power:

…A local sex worker…said prostitution laws in Queensland were much harsher than in other Australian states…sex workers may only enlist the services of a registered bodyguard and a driver.  They are not permitted to have a receptionist book their service or handle payments.  Detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins…said enforcing these laws helped prevent the exploitation of sex workers…

So to “protect” the girls, cops trick and arrest them, “helping” them into a criminal record and “helping” the state to some of their money.  I’m sure they’re very grateful.

Part of the Picture (August 29th, 2011)

Behold the result of the childish belief that pictures of sex are magically different from all others:

Young women who report that their romantic partners look at porn frequently are less happy in their relationships than women partnered with guys who more often abstain… said…Destin Stewart [of]…the University of Florida…Discovering explicit material on a partner’s computer “made them feel like they were not good enough, like they could not measure up”…women who reported that their boyfriends or husbands looked at more pornography were less likely to be happy in their relationships than women who said their partners didn’t look at pornography very often.  When women were bothered by their partner’s porn use, saying, for example, that they believed he was a porn addict or that he used porn more than a “normal” amount, they were also more likely to have low self-esteem and to be less satisfied with both their relationship and their sex life…that doesn’t prove that porn necessarily caused the women’s self-esteem to drop…women who feel bad about themselves might seek out or stay with porn-loving guys more often than secure women…

Or, women who believe in nonsense like “porn addiction” might be labeling a normal amount of porn-watching “excessive”, or might even be classifying as porn materials that more secure women don’t think of that way (e.g., I don’t call Playboy porn).  Or, a woman with self-esteem problems, or who is dissatisfied with her relationship, could be much less interested in sex, which drives her man to look at more porn.  There’s just no way to tell anything at all from sloppy studies like this, but that sure didn’t stop the anti-sex crowd from trying.

Wise Investment (September 19th, 2011)

I’m really pleased to see more sex businesses counterattacking with civil litigation.  Escort review and message board ECCIE is suing a blogger who refers to the owners as “pimps” and has repeatedly accused them of “human trafficking” (sound like anybody we know?);  the buffoon doesn’t seem to comprehend that actual felony accusations cross the line from criticism into libel.  Meanwhile, Backpage is suing the state of Washington to prevent implementation of a new law which would require escorts to place ads on websites in person rather than over the internet, and would hold any website (including Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc) criminally liable for outside submissions, which as the lawsuit points out would “bring the practice of hosting third-party content to a grinding halt.”  Apparently federal judge Ricardo Martinez recognizes the implications, because he has temporarily blocked enforcement of the new law while the suit proceeds.

Don’t Take My Word For It (September 29th, 2011)

When one of Dan Savage’s readers asked him for advice on how to become a straight male escort, he enlisted the aid of an expert:

“There is no gigolo industry,” says Dominick, the former escort who writes Ask Dominick, an advice column…at Rentboy.com…“What STUD is seeking is a fantasy—one that has been fueled by cultural products like American Gigolo and HBO’s Hung,” says Dominick.  There are no reputable agencies…that book male escorts to see female clients, just as there are no websites like Rentboy.com for straight male escorts.  “The fact of the matter is, almost all clients for escorts are male…”  When [Dominick] was working as an escort in New York City, his ads stated that he was available for male or female clients.  “Over three years, I went on exactly one call with a female client…and one call with a married couple for a cuckolding scene, which was initiated by the husband.  During that same period, I averaged about 5.5 calls per week with men”…

Higher Education (December 11th, 2011)

I think you’re probably better off just learning on the job (from the Spanish with Google’s help):

A “serious” Spanish company offers a €100 course in “professional prostitution”, at least according to a poster…in the city of Valencia…adult students (both male and female) are trained to charge for sex.  They learn the Kama Sutra, both common and uncommon positions, and the use of toys; the number of classes is optional according to student needs.  Upon graduation, a student can apply to be a teacher in the school, or explore a world of other possibilities to “make big money quickly and easily”…

The Course of a Disease (February 16th, 2012)

Swedish Model proponents just won’t give up trying to inflict their filth on Canadian society, and are even trying to hijack the term “decriminalization”:

The Quebec Council for the Status of Women is calling on the government to decriminalize prostitution, and instead go after the clients and escort agencies…[The group claimed] the average age young women become involved in the sex trade is between 14 and 15 years old.  Many, they say, have been sexually abused as children…[and that] bodies need to stop being objectified, including in strip clubs…

Finding What Isn’t There (April 17th, 2012)

The Irish Police have been forced to admit that prohibitionists are full of crap:

…Gardai…are examining information gathered in last week’s…raids on apartments that were being used mainly by foreign prostitutes…all the young women who were detained or questioned said they were working in the sex trade here voluntarily…Gardai disagree with claims by Catholic and feminist groups that there are high levels of human trafficking involved in Ireland’s sex trade…

Hard Numbers (April 20th, 2012)

This account from a Congolese whore clearly demonstrates why criminalization and legalization schemes are dangerous both for women and for public health:

When Redempta…came to Kenya, she quickly had to find a source of income to feed and house herself and her two younger siblings. But as an illegal immigrant with no knowledge of local languages, her options were very limited.  “I met some women from my country…and they introduced me to sex work…When I refuse to have sex with [men] without a condom, some threaten to report me to the police.  They say they will tell the police I stole from them…I don’t have any papers to allow me [to stay] here, so I just have sex with them without a condom when they want.”  Redempta sometimes has up to eight clients in two days, but…has only been tested for HIV once in the last two years.  “I just tested once when they conducted a public one [testing campaign], but I fear going to a facility to test for HIV.  I don’t know what the health workers will tell me when I go there because I am not a Kenyan,” she said…

Metaupdates

Shifting the Blame in TW3 (#18) (May 5th, 2012)

These are obviously the same two who were questioned before:  “Two men have been arrested in connection with the Backpage.com murder investigation…[they] were questioned by homicide detectives and will be held pending expected charges.”

Feminine Pragmatism in TW3 (#18) (May 5th, 2012)

Nadya Suleman accepted a topless dancing gig in order to promote her porn video and says “that she would accept adult entertainment offers, although she ‘wouldn’t even kiss somebody for money’.”  But despite her “dreams of building a business ‘empire’ that will pay for food, shelter and college educations for her 14 children” and her “hopes to become a role model for other women facing major struggles”, she backed out of the contract after “the club’s bartender said [in a TV interview]:  ‘She must be a little crazy, normal people don’t have that many children’… and…the club’s manager said that ‘maybe after a few shows she gets comfortable, we’ll see more’ [than just her tits].”  Wake up, Octomom; your kids can’t eat your pride, and if you’re that easily offended how the hell do you hope to handle Howard Stern’s comments when you ride a Sybian on his show on June 20th?

Traffic Jam in TW3 (#21) (May 26th, 2012)

Another gang leader was sentenced on “human trafficking” charges for the prostitution of female gang members; the story is chock full of the sort of melodramatic language one expects from a 1930s B-movie and of course portrays female gang members as innocent lambs.

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Faith…tries to retain a primitive mental condition on merely sentimental grounds.  It is unwilling to give up the primitive, childlike relationship to mind-created and hypostatized figures; it wants to go on enjoying the security and confidence of a world still presided over by powerful, responsible, and kindly parents.  –  Carl Jung

The universe is a very complex place.  When human civilization was young we weren’t really able to grasp how complex, so we imagined that most things were largely as they appeared to be and that  the mysteries of the world were all caused by intelligent, free-willed beings like ourselves, only more powerful.  Thus was religion born; in its earliest form it served to explain the world, to give emotional comfort and to provide a unifying structure over related (but separate) groups of people, thus allowing organization of tribes into cities and nations.  But as time went on, humans developed science (which explained things better than religion ever did), civil government (which organized things at least as well as religion ever did), and social and political philosophies which…well, two out of three ain’t bad.  And thus religion became a solution in search of a problem, and so it remained until the increasing complexity and uncertainty of the modern world caused many people, overwhelmed by a world they could not understand, to retreat into religions and religion-like belief systems which promised them simplicity and certainty.  Since these systems are rigid and simplistic, they cannot possibly describe the world as it is; they therefore exclude facts which do not fit the picture by denying or simply ignoring them.  A simple, static view of the world is impossible unless one considers only part of the picture.

Sex is one of the most complex of human realities; it is dark, violent, chthonic, animalistic and occurs in a bewildering multiplicity of forms, yet forms the basis of our most powerful emotions and most enduring social relationships and is an intrinsic part of the human life-cycle (every one of us is the product of heterosexual copulation).  Small wonder that it makes nearly everyone uncomfortable to one degree or another, and that humans have been trying to control it, individually and collectively, since practically the dawn of civilization.  Primitive societies and religions had few sexual laws, but as humanity aged cultures felt an increasing need to make laws against sexual behavior they considered somehow disturbing.  Due to the fact that though the mother of a child is always known, the father never actually was until DNA testing was invented, most of these laws at first concentrated on controlling female sexuality so paternity could be ascertained with a reasonable degree of certainty (in theory, anyhow); the laws which applied to males mostly dealt with incest, bestiality and that sort of thing.  For reasons we’ve discussed before Judaism had an unusually high number of sex laws, and when the followers of a certain 1st-century rabbi managed to build their sect into an international phenomenon those sex laws went with them; when combined with the Platonic distrust of the material world absorbed from the Gnostics, they engendered a rejection of sexuality more aggressive and complete than that of any previous religion.

But though Europe was entirely Christian in name by the end of the first millennium CE, a pagan view of sexuality was still the norm among most of the population (especially the lower classes) until the Protestant Reformation, when the Church’s light-handed supervision of politics and broad tolerance of what it considered minor vices were replaced in many areas by near-theocratic governments and total suppression of vice.  Laws derived from religious teachings became more and more common, ebbing and flowing in waves until the “social purity” crusade of the late 19th century succeeded in establishing anti-sex laws based in a rigid, Protestant interpretation of Christian morality over virtually the entire Western world.  And though these laws are still the norm in the United States, they are beginning to erode here and have already largely decayed in most other Western countries.  Those of us who believe in self-determination, individual liberty and other such rational principles feel this is a good thing, but those who are disturbed by moral complexities and afraid of self-reliance yearn for a time when puritanical notions of Christian morality were enforced at gunpoint.  So they join religious groups whose avowed doctrine is the eradication of “sin” and the promotion of laws against prostitution, porn, homosexuality and other behaviors they perceive as “immoral”.

But lest one believe that these people are thoroughgoing hypocrites, consider this August 21st article from CNN about various Christian anti-porn “therapy” programs (the link seems very temperamental, so I’ve saved it in PDF form just in case you can’t get it to work).  Most of those interviewed are men who have bought into the twisted delusion that masturbation or even looking at pictures of women to whom they aren’t married is a form of infidelity, largely based on a literal reading of Matthew 5:28 (“whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”) and an 18th-century interpretation of the story of Onan.  This is really nothing new; the idea that some kind of “therapy” can prevent masturbation and “lascivious thoughts” dates to the end of the 19th century.  What is new, though by no means surprising, is the fusion of Christian dogma with feminist rhetoric and “sex addiction” pop psychology; “addiction” is portrayed as an outside force which tempts the “pure” mind to fall into “sin” and thus causes it to depart from “God’s plan”, just as devils were once imagined to do.  Some of the programs are simply ordinary therapy with a Christian component; others are a more equal fusion, and still others rely largely or entirely on the imagined power of prayer to exorcise unholy lust.  Web-based services hawk porn-detection spyware that sends copies to the user’s spouse or a friend in order to shame him into refraining.  And as you can probably guess, practitioners of each method strongly criticize all the other ones.

Nor is it only men who join these programs; because women are generally less at ease with normal sexuality than men are, the majority of anti-sex crusaders are and always have been women.  In the past female sexuality was not a subject “proper” women would discuss in reference to themselves, so the fingers of accusation were (and still are, in the case of neofeminists) pointed outward at other women.  But now that female sexuality has been removed from the dark cupboard in which it was kept for centuries, women who are uncomfortable with their own sexuality are now free to hop on the self-loathing bandwagon and pronounce themselves “sex addicts” and “porn addicts” just like men.  The CNN story rightfully treats Crystal Renaud’s “Dirty Girls Ministries” as part of the larger Christian anti-porn, anti-masturbation movement, but an article in the September Utne Reader rather oddly chooses to portray it as an isolated phenomenon.  Considering the magazine’s target audience this was probably done in order to sell the “feminist” angle, but I wonder if the fact that some feminists really do believe male masturbation to be adultery might not have something to do with it.  Whatever the reason, the writer, like a Christian anti-sex “therapist”, is only presenting part of the picture.

One Year Ago Today

Whore Madonnas” offers an anecdotal refutation of the Madonna-whore duality by relating the stories of three women who only became whores because they were Madonnas first.

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