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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Diary #419

Any week in which I see four of my favorite clients is a good one.  It was also lovely to take Jae out to Sunset for a couple of nights, and to spend the time mostly relaxing, eating, drinking, watching superhero movies, getting high and planning the next few construction projects (not in that order).  The place is starting to shape up; everything is still in considerable disarray and the list of necessary repairs and renovations is long, plus the dry season that close to the rain forest is very short.  But as long as I have enthusiastic and competent helpers and the money keeps coming in, we should eventually get around to doing everything I want done out there (which is more than I could have ever said for poor, lamented Avalon).  Now, last week wasn’t perfect; I didn’t get any work done on the new book, nor did I make much progress toward getting my overdue taxes paid; my summer anxiety is making it very hard to sleep properly or go for very long without drugs, and trying to get established with a new online pharmacy after my old one shut down has been an immense pain.  But I’ll take “didn’t get everything I wanted done” over “disaster accompanied by deep depression” any day, especially when all the nice things were so very nice.  And here’s to at least a few more months of that.

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This is bigger than us…it’s a world wide crackdown on freedom of expression.  –  Vex Ashley

Real People 

I suspect this sort of story isn’t all that unusual:

There’s a misconception that sex work only entices clients who are entitled, disrespectful or predatory, yet this wasn’t my experience…phone sex…attracts some of the most struggling and deeply hurt clientele: people with agoraphobia, people with intimacy issues, other sexual assault survivors…as my friendships with my clients continued to progress, I learned I was more like my regulars than I wanted to acknowledge.  My clients and I had arrived on the opposite ends of phone sex — me as a sex worker, and them as a patron — but we sought similar resolutions.  Sex work…was quietly contributing to my healing…I realized I gravitated toward the sex industry in part to reprocess my trauma in an environment that was safe, to redevelop a way to have a healthy connection with men, and to explore my sexuality…

They Still Don’t Get It

This vile farrago of lies appears to be an attempt to slander the good work done by SWOP Behind Bars:

Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release…Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.  Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention.  Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail…Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor for the district attorney’s office in Orlando, Florida, said the bail bond system was routinely exploited by traffickers…Once they have identified a potential target inside a prison or jail, traffickers will try to establish a relationship by using letters, phone calls and promises of money and housing when the victim is released.  Prison bank accounts are also used to send money to women, establishing a debt that is used to coerce them into prostitution on their release…Pimp-controlled prostitution is now [fantasiz]ed as one of the most brutal and pervasive forms of human trafficking in the US…

The notion that clients would go to this kind of trouble, when most of them can barely even handle the normal screening and booking process, would be hilarious if it weren’t being used to undermine human rights.

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

A Columbia University student whose global campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children earned him berths to speak alongside [politicians]…was himself charged…with a series of sex crimes against children…Joel Davis…[faces] a series of sordid allegations, including an admission by Mr. Davis that he had sex with a 13-year-old boy in his New York apartment.  The complaint also outlines text messages Mr. Davis sent undercover F.B.I. agents seeking sexual images of children as young as 2.  “The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening,” [a prosecutor bloviated]…

This is only “unfathomable” to idiots who neither understand psychology nor read the news.  The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.

Welcome To Our World (#600)

Welcome to our world, infertile women:

Five people in Cambodia were arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police found 33 pregnant women during a raid on a…[banned] surrogacy operation…Cambodia is one of four Asian countries — along with Thailand, Nepal and India — that have banned commercial surrogacy in recent years.  Experts say the bans have pushed some surrogacy agencies underground while also fueling demand for the practice in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where local regulations are more welcoming.  “Most bans don’t…work”…said Sam Everingham, the founder of Families Through Surrogacy, a nonprofit based in Australia that provides advice and support for people seeking surrogacy arrangements…

Shame, Shame (#649)

“Revenge porn” laws keep getting struck down because their proponents refuse to tailor them narrowly, insisting instead on unconstitutional broadness:

[Censors, prudes and showboaters] blamed [Google] for helping to…kill a [FOSTA-like] bill in New York that would have [allowed opportunists to sue web hosting companies for]…nonconsensual…sexually explicit images [found on their site.  The censors wanted to also expand mass incarceration]…by making the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail…[but] the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google and other web companies,  stepped in…to [point out to] lawmakers [that] language in the legislation that would have allowed [opportunists] to sue web companies [is unconstitutional and violates section 230 of the CDA]…Mary Anne Franks…began working with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein on New York’s bill back in 2013.  That original version…was…one of the [most mindlessly-draconian revenge porn laws in the country…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…police in Pennsylvania who are using the state’s hate crime statute…against people who [insult] them.  On Sept. 23, 2016, Robbie Sanderson, a 52-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was arrested for retail theft…During the arrest, Sanderson [correctly] called police “Nazis,” “skinheads” and “Gestapo”…For that, he was charged with a hate crime.  “This is completely ridiculous,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “This is not what the hate crime statute was for.  This is criminalizing pure speech and that violates the First Amendment”…

Does someone need to explain to Mary that all “hate speech” laws criminalize pure speech?

The Prudish Giant (#787)

Once Patreon started caving in to PayPal, this was inevitable:

Adult content creators on crowdfunding site Patreon are facing a sudden spate of suspensions, with many reporting “implied nudity” as the reason their pages are shut down…”We have been ramping up the [censorship] of content on Patreon due to requirements from our payment partners,” a Patreon spokesperson [said]…Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have [in the past few decades] faced discrimination from payment processors and banks…Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but [like PayPal and so many others, they are throwing sex workers under the bus now that they’re successful]…

The Punitive Mindset (#790) 

In which two groups of warring scumbags pretend to be unable to understand that locking human beings in cages tends to induce pathological behavior:

A federal judge refused to dismiss lawsuits from female public defenders and [screws] who claim Cook County, Illinois, inmates have been exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them, a problem they say was exacerbated by a program rewarding detainees with pizza for not engaging in such behavior…the women…alleg[e]…that Dart had created solutions to the problem only to reverse them…[so as to support his] proposed legislation that would [subject] inmates [to more time under Dart’s control] for sexual [behavior]…

Soap Opera (#809)

A functioning police state needs no police:

…Kent Couch, owner of Stop and Go in Bend, Ore., was skeptical that human trafficking was happening in his community.  Then three years ago, he met Nita Belles, founder…of In Our Backyard, a [rescue industry profiteer group]…She asked him to display a [magic] sticker in his store’s bathroom that offers…a toll-free number to call [for women too stupid to remember the numbers “911”]…Couch put the sticker up and covered it with a frame so that it wouldn’t attract graffiti…“A week later, the frame was ripped off the wall and thrown in the garbage and the sticker taken…I hung up a new one, and the frame was again broken and the number scratched out.  So that was a heads-up to me that in fact we do have human trafficking here”…Employees are instructed to alert him if they’ve seen anything suspicious…Recently, a woman came into the store with black-and-blue eyes, making no eye contact and with her hood up.  “We called 911 right away and gave [her] license-plate numbers,” he says…

He put a frame on the sticker because he has a problem with vandalism in his bathroom, so when more vandalism happens that “proves” it’s “sex traffickers”?  And they turn customers into the pigs for having injuries?  Are these people living in reality at all?

Disaster

Since the UK is becoming a colony of the US, this “monkey see, monkey do” was inevitable:

Ministers…[came] under intense pressure from a [prohibitionist] group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning…[sex work advertising] websites amid [repetitious and unsupported claims] that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.  Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to [criminalize] websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork [if they remain on UK soil]…

India and Israel have also introduced FOSTA copycat laws.  Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Too Close To Home (#830) 

A pet judge isn’t going to be able to make this scandal go away:

King County…Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (“KCPAO”) entered into a funding agreement with an organization called Demand Abolition that channels funds from the Hunt Alternatives family foundation…KCPAO and other local law enforcement agencies have garnered a great deal of positive publicity in the past few years for…saying that they are aggressively tackling sex trafficking.  In reality, their efforts target buyers of sex who purchase from adult consensual sex workers…Why did Satterberg describe this as sex trafficking when there was no evidence of trafficking? Don’t prosecutors have to follow rules and be careful about how they describe arrestees’ alleged criminal conduct in the media? (Short answer: yes)…Public records show that [Val] Richey made a sustained effort to…push the tactic of targeting sex buyers.  He also encouraged a shift in how prosecutors handled defendants’ cases after arrest, halting the diversion that they typically offered to first-offender buyers and instead imposing fines and fees while requiring enrollment in a buyer intervention course (that just so happened to be offered by an organization that also received funding by Demand Abolition).  Richey also worked closely with Demand Abolition and with consultants hired by Demand Abolition throughout the time he received grant funding, including to craft communications efforts that deliberately conflated adult consensual sex work and trafficking…

To Molest and Rape (#846) 

Oregon’s just full of rapist cops lately:

Michael Goff, a parking [cop] for the City of Newport, was [arrested]…a day after…Newport police sergeant [Brad Purdon] was [also] arrested  on sex abuse charges…involving the same [underage] victim…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#850) 

Total number of frogs in Lisa Lewis’ self-destructive chorus: 3.

…By presenting…Lisa Lewis as the voice of sex workers, [The New Zealand Herald] allowed a nuanced issue to be hijacked by a small group with an axe to grind.  It claimed that New Zealand sex workers rejected the NZPC’s support of migrant sex workers, based solely on a letter written by Lewis, signed by two other sex workers and backed by a member of Family First — an organisation that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers…Of the hundreds of escorts in my community…not one shares Lisa Lewis’ vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC.  The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which…come from non-sex workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers currently active in New Zealand would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful…The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers”, as Lewis’ letter claims.  They are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry…

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You’re going to jail. Have a seat in my car. We’ll make shit up as we go.  –  John Kovach Jr.

Sometimes YouTube does an OK job of “suggesting” things that are actually interesting.  Sometimes.  The links above the video were contributed by Mike SiegelFranklin HarrisTim CushingTracy Clark-FloryJesse WalkerDave Krueger, and Angela Keaton, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s time to set aside childish things, and start dealing with one another like grownups.  –  “Childish Things

A friend of my family’s once said, “Maggie was born adult.”  Just about everyone who knew me (with the exception of my mother) felt that way to one degree or another, and I can remember being frustrated with what I perceived as childishness in the greater world from a very young age.  For example, I can remember being extremely annoyed with commercials during kid-TV programming (such as Saturday morning cartoons) claiming that some mundane task like tooth-brushing needed to be “fun”.  Even at that tender age, I understood that it wasn’t necessary for every single thing in the world to be “fun”; some things just need to be done whether they’re “fun” or not.  I had a similar reaction to the “condoms are sexy” campaign of the ’80s:  No, condoms are not sexy; in fact, they’re really kind of nasty.  But until something better comes along, they are necessary whether they’re “sexy” or “fun” or not, and anyone who would eschew a reliable protection against contagious disease because it isn’t “sexy” is a childish imbecile and a danger to himself and others (see also “consent is sexy“).

There are a number of similarly-idiotic words used to influence the intellectually immature, and I despise all of them.  The odious word “deserve” is used to sell luxuries and deny basic human rights; “privilege” is used to subtly excuse and shift the blame for tyranny; “fairness” is used as an excuse for entitlement; “love” is reduced to the temporary neurochemical derangement we wrongly call “romantic love”, and represented as the only valid reason for sex or marriage (when actually it’s just about the worst reason for engaging in either); and prohibitionists use moronic phrases like “selling their bodies“, “the commodification of sex is sad“, and “no little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute” as excuses for inflicting violence on adults for engaging in consensual sex.  “Dreams”.  Seriously.  And yet these people, who actually believe the fantasies of undeveloped minds should be given the same weight as actual facts in adult discussions, are not only treated as grown adults, but actually deferred to as though this pablum constituted valid logical argument.  See also “follow your dreams”, possibly the most inane, naive, and – dare I say it? – privileged bit of non-advice ever to adorn a bumper sticker, right alongside such wisdom of the ages as “Baby on Board” and “Virginia is for lovers”.  But it doesn’t stop there, oh no; as I wrote in “Childish Things“,

Worse and more foolish still is the belief that a nonhuman thing, either material or immaterial, can be “bad”…too many [people]…imagine that plant matter or technological devices can be intrinsically evil; that certain words or images can be literally harmful…that the mere action of taking a photograph of a naked person…is intrinsically inimical; that certain forms of human interaction can mystically harm the participants even if they freely choose to engage in the activity and suffer no physical damage; that magical vestments or talismans can grant power over other people or absolve the wearer of moral culpability for his actions; that official pronouncements from anointed leaders can make things vanish; and even that being given a spell-scroll of one variety can make a “dangerous” action into a beneficial one, while being given a different kind of rune-inscribed parchment can make an innocuous action evil…

All this arrant, primitive stupidity make me want to vomit.  Human beings have the right to control our own bodies & lives regardless of motive, whether anybody “loves” or “dreams” or “deserves” whatever, or whether or not our actions are “fun” for us or anyone else.

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In 2003, Barbra Streisand tried to suppress photos of her palatial house in Malibu, California, which appeared in a collection of photos documenting coastal erosion.  Prior to her filing the lawsuit against the photographer, the image had been accessed only six times (two of those times by her lawyers); after news of the suit broke, the image was viewed 420,000 times in one month.  Two years later, Mike Masnick of Techdirt coined the term “The Streisand Effect” to describe the phenomenon wherein attempts to censor information succeed only in making it more widely known.  The Effect has resulted in some pretty spectacular pratfalls since Streisand’s original one (some notable examples are listed in the Wikipedia article I linked above), but today I’d like to call your attention to two in the making.

The first case is that of Olaf Tyaransen, the Irish journalist who raped the late Laura Lee; Brooke Magnanti told the story in an essay back in February, shortly after Laura’s death.  The essay was published on Medium, but mirrored on this blog; so when Medium displayed its supple spine in the face of empty threats from Tyaransen’s lawyers, the article outing Tyaransen as a rapist didn’t go away.  Now, up until two weeks ago, Irish newspapers were afraid to report on the story because they didn’t want to risk an expensive defamation suit; however, either Tyaransen or his lawyers or both were apparently drunk on the few successes they had threatening Irishwomen to get them to remove their retweets of Brooke’s tweets on the subject, so they stupidly wrote to Twitter demanding Brooke’s tweets be removed:

…yesterday I was contacted by Twitter’s legal team, asking me to remove tweets which they felt contravened “Irish law”…Twitter is based in the US and so am I.  Olaf has never served me with a suit (though he has done to several people, all in Ireland, for RTing my tweets).  The Irish law in question, defamation, is not relevant to either me or Twitter being as we’re in the States…I dashed back a quick note assuring them the guy who writes grumpy letters to jerkoffs for me would be in touch.  I haven’t actually written to said lawyer since the last time some thin-skinned lick of shite tried to wave a baseless libel threat at me, back in September or so, but he’s good at this stuff…I’m pretty much committed to…paying someone to explain to Twitter what they should already know… that as a platform which has long defended the free speech rights of all kinds of deplorables worldwide, bowing down to a baseless threat in a jurisdiction whose judgements — should any come into existence — are not enforceable here, is (to use the legal term) “fucking nonsense.”  I’ve started a GoFundMe to offset my legal fees, if you’re at all inclined to bung a few quid my way…

Of course, the threat itself is newsworthy, which means Irish papers can now safely call attention to the rape without any risk of a defamation suit, simply by reporting on Olaf’s attempt to censor the accusation itself:

Twitter has warned an American author that it may need to “take action” over tweets containing allegations about the Hot Press writer Olaf Tyaransen.  The social network intervened after being sent legal correspondence warning that eight tweets by Brooke Magnanti…could be in breach of Irish defamation legislation…One of the tweets carried a link to an article by Magnanti that included allegations against Tyaransen…

It’s a classic Streisand Effect case, and here’s hoping that Olaf’s efforts continue until nobody in the entire English-speaking world is unfamiliar with his awfulness.  But he’s not the only vile Irish person currently involved in counterproductive efforts to censor the truth about what a piece of shit he is; prohibitionist Rachel Moran is doing much the same thing.  Last Tuesday, Moran’s lawyers threatened Gaye Dalton, who four years ago swore an affidavit that Moran’s story (as told in a book and countless speaking engagements sponsored by the pro-slave-labor organization Ruhama) is nothing but a pack of lies.  Naturally, Gaye tweeted about the letter and included this image (notice the absurd “strictly private and confidential” at the top, a dodge the deeply stupid believe will keep their victims from doing what Gaye did and telling others about the threat).  Here’s her response, demonstrating the same courage she displayed by swearing out an affidavit against the nuns’ pet fabulist in the first place.  In the past, simply saying “she’s a whore!” about a woman who accuses another of wrongdoing was basically enough to shut her down in the public eye, and perhaps Irish people who enjoy hurting sex workers should’ve just relied on that.  But since they haven’t, here’s to the Streisand Effect and the egg it’s liable to splash all over the faces of those who ignore its power.

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I’m 23 years old and okay with waiting until I’m where I want to be career-wise to meet a nice girl and settle down, but I didn’t want to stay a virgin, so I went to a soapland.  I was really scared and nervous, but the girl was really nice and I think it was a great decision.  It was like going to a therapist, or a doctor, and even though I didn’t feel any romantic attraction to the working girl, it felt like she was a good friend helping me with my problems.  And of course it felt good to have sex.  I would like to go back, but I have a few questions.  Will seeing soapland girls instill me with a false sense of confidence?  Should I keep going to that one girl or try other girls out as well?  When I left, the people at the front desk gave me the address to a sister branch that was much closer to where I live.  Also, I feel weird when I hog the conversation in a normal situation, and I want to make the girl feel comfortable too, but at the same time I don’t want to pry into her personal life too much.

I don’t think you need to worry about “false confidence” as long as you remember that sex workers are professionals.  We are paid to make men feel good, emotionally as well as physically, and even though a genuine liking can develop it is not the same thing as romance.  I think you already understand this, and that understanding isn’t going to evaporate just because you keep seeing sex workers.  Some men like to keep seeing the same girl, whereas others like a lot of variety, and still others are somewhere in the middle (they have their regular lady but also see others as time & money allow).  I think you should probably adopt that strategy to start: keep seeing the girl you like regularly, say once a month, and if you have extra cash try other girls out.  As you become more experienced you’ll learn what works best for you.  Don’t worry about monopolizing the conversation.  Even if she likes you, it’s still a business transaction at its core, and if it makes you happy to talk most sex workers won’t have a problem with that.  Make conversation just like you’d make it with your barber, manicurist, or any other professional you spend time with, and you’ll be fine; the same rules of good manners (don’t ask rude or prying questions, etc) apply in this interaction just as they would anywhere.  Sex workers are people like any other, and will have different comfort levels; you’ll be able to suss that out just as you would with anybody else.  I understand this is new & strange to you, but you’ll quickly become comfortable with it over repeat visits.  Unless you’re intentionally rude, it’s very unlikely you will cause offense.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

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

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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