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Posts Tagged ‘Schrödinger’s cat’

Fuck you, Gawker and your puritanical bullshit.  –  Lynsie Lee

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

If you think 100,000 “child sex slaves” in the US is ridiculous, how about in a country with ¼ the population?  “There are over 100,000 women working as sex slaves in Turkey, of which half are children, a non-governmental organization has revealed…”  This is supposedly an “estimate” of the number of streetwalkers (compare with 70,000 in the US), all of whom are said to be “victims of the ‘prostitution mafia’.”

Elephant in the Parlor

Benny Johnson from BuzzFeed…messaged me, asking…about…an innocent yet charming flirtation I had…with…mayor [Cory Booker] at the beginning of the year… the [resulting]…article…was cute and, to me, satirical…[then] calls and emails start pouring in from reporters.  It was surreal.  How could something so simple be seen as a scandal?  Oh wait, I’m a stripper and nude model (how dare someone flirt with my kind!)…Gawker released a story…[implying] that…anybody I associate with is a bad person, especially men…strippers, or anyone in the adult industry, are real people, with real lives and real human relationships.  What we do for income doesn’t mean we are doing those things 24 hours a day.Doctor Mordrid  Accountants don’t sit at home with calculators at the dinner table, nor do proctologists go around sticking their fingers in people’s butts at the grocery store…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

A reader called Daz sent me a DVD I’ve been curious about for some time: Doctor Mordrid starring Jeffrey Combs, which was originally meant to be an adaptation of Marvel’s supernatural superhero Doctor Strange.  Thank you, Daz!

Change a Few Words

The Silk Road, a Web based black market for…narcotics…and other illicit goods, has been shut down by the FBI, and its alleged mastermind, Ross William Ulbricht, has been arrested…I can’t help but conclude…that the world is actually going to be a more dangerous place in [its] absence…The FBI…[wrote] “the site has sought to make conducting illegal transactions…as easy and frictionless as shopping…at mainstream e-commerce websites”…compared to the epidemic violence that has characterized the drug trade for the entirety of the War on Drugs…that…[seems] like a relative utopia…[and] successor sites…are…already up and running

The Profumo Affair

Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, the friends who became household names when the Profumo affair was exposed in 1963, are no longer even on speaking terms…[and have] not seen [one another] for three decades…Rice-Davies has leant her support to Lloyd Webber in the making of Stephen Ward, a stage show about the society osteopath who also played a pivotal role in the scandal…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Politicians want to protect the “good” women of Saskatoon from sex rays:

A new…proposal would isolate…strip clubs in industrial areas…City administration is recommending a 160-metre separation for adult entertainment venues from residential neighbourhoods, schools, parks, childcare centres, preschools…recreational facilities…[and] other adult entertainment venues…”You don’t [get] more street crime because of strip clubs,” said Mariana Valvarde, a professor of criminology at the University of Toronto…”It’s a myth”…Saskatoon’s proposed bylaw would [also] require [strippers] to be licensed…

But wait, it gets even stupider:

…Saskatchewan…does NOT allow nudity in a business that serves alcohol…[and] this is NOT changing…[the government’s own website states] “full frontal nudity will continue to be prohibited”…[only] wet t-shirt contests and striptease without nudity will be allowed…[but] the public AND the media…are reacting as though the opposite is the case…

Coming Out

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #26)

Another way the Swedish model harms sex workers:

A plan to protect Oslo prostitutes…has been dropped after [officials] ruled it would violate people’s privacy…Bjørg Norli, director of Prosentret, said…”The problem is that buying sex in Norway is illegal.  We would have been keeping a register of criminals, which the police would have been able to demand access to”…

Whatever They Need To Say

It isn’t only in Bangladesh that whores are evicted so fascists can profit:

…Sex workers from three flats in Soho were evicted…after police issued enforcement notices on landlords warning they could be prosecuted if they were found to be allowing “immoral activities”…On [October 9th] sex workers and activists…gathered outside the offices of Soho Estates, one of the main property owners in the area, and called for them to “stand up” to police.  “Soho has always been one of the safest places in the country for women to work”…said Niki Adams from the English Collective of Prostitutes…Members of the local Soho Society said the character of Soho was under threat from developers…Blue is the Warmest Colour

The Notorious Badge (TW3 #32)

I’ve got news for you, Léa

When it awarded the Palme d’Or to Blue Is the Warmest Colour, the Cannes Film Festival jury took the unusual step of sharing the prize between its director Abdellatif Kechiche, and its two principal actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos…but…the actresses were apparently unhappy with the director’s methods…Seydoux [said] “We had fake pussies on…I don’t make love on screen…it was kind of humiliating sometimes, I was feeling like a prostitute”…

Due Consideration

Alicia Beltran found herself handcuffed, shackled…and detained in an inpatient drug treatment facility for being honest about a medical history that included past dependency on prescription painkillers. The State of Wisconsin provided an attorney for her fetus, but not for her.  Without evidence of harm to either herself or the fetus, Alicia was made a ward of the state, all her rights and liberties suspended – including her right to have an abortion if that had been what she wanted…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #311)

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law…Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli…responded…[by] alleging that ‘nearly 90 sexual predators’ could be dropped from a registry of sex offenders…”  Too bad it isn’t more.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat (TW3 #312)

Jean-Baptiste de LamarckJean-Baptiste Lamarck was an 18th-century biologist who believed that characteristics acquired within an individual creature’s lifetime could be passed to its descendants; this was among the first steps toward evolutionary theory, but was disproved about a century ago.  However, certain political cults (such as Soviet communism) still clung to it long afterward as a pseudoscientific means of supporting their beliefs, and apparently Swedish state neofeminism is among them:

Around the world, women are on average shorter than men.  Purely biological evidence suggests that it should be the opposite…if women generally were larger risks associated with childbirth would…decrease…New theories suggest that the imbalance of power and discrimination underlie the size differences…we unconsciously give boys more food than girls, making the size difference between the sexes…persist over generations…

If this were true, the size difference would have vanished by the late 20th century in Western countries, where food has not generally been scarce in generations.  But it must please neofeminists tremendously to believe that if not for “Patriarchy”, women would be bigger and stronger than men.

The End of the Beginning

As…governments have imposed…restrictions on where sex offenders can live or even set foot, members of this highly stigmatized group…have formed associations…to [argue]…that indiscriminate laws…are unconstitutional and ineffective…“I find it very offensive that…sex offenders are trying to defeat the measures we have put in place to protect children,” said Nina Salarno Ashford …with Crime Victims United.  “They created their own issues…somebody was assaulted, in many cases a child”…[prosecutor] Susan Kang Schroeder…[said] “The pro-sex-offender lobby likes to bandy about percentages, as if even 1 percent is acceptable”…

The dysphemisms and lies should seem familiar.  Crime Victims United are vengeful badge-lickers who support mass incarceration and the abrogation of rights of the accused; the pretense that public urination, prostitution and sex while teenage are forms of “assault” is typical for them, as is pretending most “victims” are children.  And branding those fighting for human rights “The pro-sex offender lobby” is right out of the prohibitionist playbook.

Above the Law (TW3 #325)

new studies confirm previous findings that most of those who commit sexual abuse in detention are corrections staff, not inmates.  That is true in all types of detention facilities, but especially in juvenile facilities…[where] victims of sexual misconduct by staff members were more likely to report eleven or more instances of abuse than a single, isolated occurrence…

Ad Absurdum

Kaitlyn Hunt…entered no contest pleas to…misdemeanor battery and felony interference with child custody…[she will] remain in jail until December 20, followed by three years of felony supervision…she will not be branded a convicted felon or registered sex offender and can ask for her case to be sealed or expunged…

Matthew Lyons
Be Careful Who You Rape

And if she really had been a hooker, that would have made it OK?

…21-year-old Matthew E. Lyons approached [a] woman…[bird-watching] in a [Florida] gazebo…Lyons repeatedly complimented the woman…[when she said] she was not interested…in…sex…Lyons…threw [her] to the floor…and pulled off her shorts and underwear…[but fled after he] was unable to pull on a condom…Lyons admitted meeting with the woman but said he thought she was a prostitute…

Policing for Profit

Several communities in [Wisconsin want]…to increase the fines for…prostitution…Police are backing an ordinance that would make the fines more than $2600…Police are hopeful increasing the fine by more than 1300% will serve as a deterrent…”  Obviously, they hope nothing of the kind; it would cut into their profits.  Meanwhile, in Florida:

Police in [Sunrise]…have hit upon a surefire way to make millions.  They sell cocaine.  [Cops] and their army of informants lure big-money drug buyers…from [all over the Western Hemisphere]…then bust the buyers and seize their cash and cars…the…money…fuels huge overtime payments for the undercover officers…and cash rewards for the confidential informants…one femme fatale informant  [made] more than $800,000 over the past five years…Last year, the city raked in $2 million…the year before…twice that…

Cuckoo Advertising (Extra Edition)

Credulous reporters keep giving away ad space:

…“The World’s Largest Sugar Daddy Dating Website” says it has recorded a 50 percent jump in average daily sign-ups since the start of the government shutdown…“We usually have a lull in September and October,” Seeking Arrangement’s public relations manager Jennifer Gwynn told NPR…“Half of the new members are single moms, so we’re thinking that it’s tied directly to the government shutdown, since programs like WIC…have been stalled”…

Just Call Me Nobody

Lest you forget:  “pimp” is copese for husband, driver, landlord, roommate, service owner, bodyguard, phone operator, parent…

…Lindsey Roberson, a [North Carolina] assistant district attorney, said…if [whores] complete certain mandated steps, the charges will be dropped…they [must] accept responsibility, go through trauma counseling, a vocational assessment, and – if needed – substance abuse treatment…Thom Goolsby…said [his] new law makes North Carolina the “toughest state in the union on pimps and johns”…

So women are infantilized and brainwashed and men are “hammered”.Cathy Reisenwitz

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

Cathy Reisenwitz on New York’s “trafficking” court:

…the policy…is a paternalistic perception that strips women of agency in an attempt to protect them from their own choices. “Saving” sex workers, after arresting and arraigning them, will not accomplish the court’s goals…special courts fail to recognize the people who are not hurting themselves or anyone else, but are criminals only by law…sex workers are potentially human trafficking’s most effective foes, as they are ideally situated to identify sex slavery and alert the authorities. Or they would be if they did not risk arrest and prosecution for doing so…

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #339)

Another good article about Equality Now from Melissa Gira Grant:

It’s not something you expect to hear from a women’s rights group:  our prostitutes are better than yours.  But that’s the tone struck by Equality Now in their new campaign against United Nations recommendations that sex work be decriminalized. Claiming that the UN “ignores survivors of prostitution,” Equality Now and their allied anti-prostitution organizations have offered their own experts who have worked in the sex trade – who all also happen to agree with them that prostitution must remain illegal…despite evidence that illegality is dangerous, and despite even sex workers’ own demands.  This is why you will find a former prosecutor…now leading this ostensibly human rights campaign…

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Abolitionism does not solve the problem of violence which…stems from the criminalization of sex workers and migrants, and the lack of rights that goes with it.  –  Sonja Dolinsek

Couples

Eve Ray on clients:

…clients of sex workers are regarded in many quarters as the scum of the earth…[so] it is hardly surprising that clients are so reluctant to speak out.  Yet talk to sex workers and they will tell you that their clients come in all shapes and sizes…not all clients are men…for my birthday we decided to…book…a girl from a local escort agency for some three in a bed fun…So I am a sex worker’s client…The girls we saw were bright and attractive and fully aware of what they were doing…Two Women and a Man by Giorgione (1510)We paid them well and they provided us with what we wanted.  It was…a business transaction of benefit to both parties. No coercion, no exploitation, no rape…

Whores and Wives

An Australian woman left her husband upon discovering his affair with a hooker, so she of course blamed our profession and published a stereotype-laden defamation of it.  Here’s an eloquent rebuttal:

…In…Sad Reality Behind Pretty Woman Tale, Louise O’Neale…claims…sex workers are home wreckers, men’s “chattels”, that we’re… “commodified”, “dehumanised”…packages to be bought and sold…She also argues we are sexual deviants…who require professional help.  I think O’Neale has watched too many Hollywood movies…feminists have spent decades…telling [us] how we should feel about our work, or [telling] others on our behalf how we feel about our work…They claim to be experts; they’ve got it dead wrong…

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Prosecutors must have dropped the claim that the girl was “mentally deficient”:

[Edward Bagley] was sentenced to 20 years…for holding a young woman captive as a sex slave for six years…he…also agreed to pay about $123,000 toward future counseling and medical care…Bradley Cook…received a 20-year sentence and…$123,000 in restitution…[for] sex trafficking…[and Dennis] Henry…was sentenced to 10 years, $123,000 in restitution and lifetime supervision…Marilyn Bagley…is to receive probation and [Michael] Stokes and [James] Noel five years each…

Sweden’s Ultra-progressive Views on Women

A pub in…Sweden has been cleared of discrimination charges after bouncers denied entry to several women of Asian appearance in what owners claimed was an attempt to cut down on prostitution…the court ruled…[the] owners had a “legitimate reason”…

An Educated Idiot

SWOP-NYC and SWANK…have significant questions about the “research” carried out by Sudhir Venkatesh…[and reported] in January 2011…in Wired Magazine…he made many outlandish, salacious, and false claims about…sex workers in NYC…he said he had “followed” 270 sex worker subjects…but none of our membership had ever been contacted by him nor knew of anyone who had been…Claims…regarding the dates, locations and numbers of people…were wildly inconsistent.  His conclusions…were easily shown by other researchers and commentators to be incorrect.  Other conclusions such as the fiction that “there’s usually a 25% surcharge” to have sex without a condom not only bore no relationship to reality but also endangered sex workers…We were so concerned by what we uncovered that in October 2011 we wrote a letter to the Columbia IRB

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

Cops “fight” violence against sex workers by subjecting them to violence:

A [California] task force…arrested or cited 23 people…on charges of prostitution or soliciting a prostitute…police mounted the three-day sting operation [after]…investigation into the rape and robbery of two prostitutes…led police to…the realization that victims rarely report the crimes for fear of being prosecuted…[Sgt. Kurt] Hixenbaugh said he decided to organize the recent crackdown to suppress the illicit market…“If we can make business bad, then we can put a dent in the activity,” he explained…

Hixenbaugh’s moral retardation is exceeded only by his ignorance of economics.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Weird science, truth vs. fact and all that kind of stuff:

Head Games

Slixa has published a number of excellent articles lately, but last week its management let a real clunker through:  a manipulative hobbyist giving advice on how to haggle.  After an outcry the editors removed the article, apologized and printed this rebuttal from Tizzy Wall:

…Tommy…advocated using review writing and being an active member of the hobbyist community as a bargaining chip to see if prices are negotiable…[but his] tips are less effective (and ethical) than he would like to believe…There is an implicit threat that comes with, “I am a loud, influential voice in a community that can affect your livelihood”…it seems as though he gets a thrill out of violating boundaries and feeling as though he has somehow tricked a provider for his benefit…The underlying message…is that providers aren’t worth what they charge…

Against Their Will (August Updates)

People attempting to leave a country without government permission are now classed as “victims”:

Philippine authorities have intercepted 10…human trafficking victims…who were bound for Russia to illegally work there…The Philippines has been trying to impress the United States with its anti-human trafficking drive in order for Washington to lift the Tier 2 ranking it gave…in its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report…officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison said the incident should again serve as a warning to…workers against attempting to leave without the required overseas employment permits…

One Born Every Minute

A man…claimed he could use his penis to rid a woman of ghosts that had taken up residence in her vagina…Huang Jianjun was arrested…after he [charged] A Xin [$3000 for removing]…evil spirits…[via] sexual intercourse…Jianjun insists that he never had sex with…Xin and that he can’t get an erection due to diabetes…Meanwhile… “Godman” Asaram Bapu, 73, revered by millions across India for his sermons on “enlightenment”, has been charged with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl…he…claimed he is physically incapable of rape but…medical tests show him to be in good shape…

Tyranny By Consensus (October Updates)

Here’s a concise explanation from Nina Hartley about why condoms in porn are an incredibly bad idea:

…It takes about two hours to shoot a good hardcore scene. Condoms were never intended for that kind of industrial use…[they] roll down, come off, dry out, split and otherwise fail on sets about 30% of the time…and…no matter how lubricated and how designed, [they] create more internal friction on a woman’s intimate anatomy than human skin, with which it’s evolved to tolerate contact.  All-condom players…tend to turn up at clinics with raw internal tissues and multiple surface infections.  This we call “condom rash” and it’s more than an annoyance…if your insides are compromised by friction burns and low-grade bugs…you’re that much more vulnerable to whatever might be turned loose should a condom fail…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Minneapolis Madams

Ed says hiI’ve received three gifts in the past two weeks: Chester Brown sent me his book Ed the Happy Clown, Korhomme sent The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work and Aspasia sent Minneapolis Madams.  Thank you all so much!

Profit from Panic

Rescue industry schemes aren’t usually this blatant:

If you are interested in creating positive brand awareness…advertising at the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference is the ideal platform…We have various opportunities which will leave a strong impression of your brand in people’s minds and make your company stand out as a leader in supporting organizations…to prevent…child trafficking…Our…sponsorship packages…include a number of marketing opportunities…to…showcase your social responsibility…and…align yourself with the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference brand…

Bullies With Badges

“Human trafficking” is rapidly becoming a catchall excuse for tyranny, like drugs and “terrorism”:

…the Environmental Protection Agency…[conducted] an armed raid of gold mines near Chicken, Alaska…while investigating a supposed violation of…the Clean Water Act…The EPA said…it…sent in armed men because it had been given information by…State Troopers regarding “rampant drug and human trafficking…in the area.”  That explanation was debunked by a spokeswoman for the state troopers, who said they did not advise the EPA to raid the mine and that there was no evidence of drug and human trafficking…

Broken Record

The same lies, repeated over and over and over

MSPs fear that next year’s Commonwealth Games could lead to an influx of victims of human trafficking to Scotland…Myria Vassiliadou…has urged the Scottish Government to make people who procure sex and consumer goods from victims its top anti-trafficking priority.  Studies have shown that authorities must be vigilant to human trafficking during large sporting events…

Studies have, of course, repeatedly shown exactly the opposite.

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer reaches Michigan:

…Glenn Anderson…has introduced five bills…to more heavily punish…human trafficking…“The Polaris Project…was extremely helpful in shaping this legislation” [he said]…Anderson’s bills…Allow for assets…to be forfeited and dispersed to…law enforcement…criminalize the failure to report knowledge of…trafficking…[and] add convicted…traffickers to the Sex Offenders Registry…Overland Park Arboretum statue

See No Evil (TW3 #37)

A fresh effort is underway to bring criminal charges over a bare-breasted statue…The American Family Association…plans…petitions to empanel a grand jury to again investigate whether the sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum violates state obscenity laws …Phillip Cosby…last year petitioned a grand jury…but failed to secure an indictment…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

a federal judge ruled…that…strippers…deserve…at least the minimum wage…The ruling came in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of current and former dancers at…Rick’s…[in Manhattan]…the…chain…argued that its dancers [are] independent contractors, more akin to stand-up comedians than fry cooks.  But [the] judge…said the list of rules Rick’s laid down could be described as “micromanagement”…

Hollow Claims

The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers” is a fairly self-explanatory title, but this short, yet thorough essay also sharply criticizes the Swedish model and those (like the European Women’s Lobby) who labor under the idiotic delusion that there could ever be a world “free from prostitution”, and are willing to subject real women to police violence in pursuit of that mad fantasy.

Due Consideration (TW3 #137)

Australia, are you really sure you want to go down the “tyrannical laws named for dead children” path?

…”Zoe’s law”…which could classify a foetus as a person in New South Wales…would allow grievous bodily harm charges to be brought against those who hurt a foetus of more than 20 weeks’ gestation…Melanie Fernandez…of the Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia (WELA)…said…”This…kind of precedent has been used as a…starting point to roll back abortion right in other places, such as states in America”…Portway's cage

Tales from the Dark Side

[When] prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict…discussions [of cannibalism fantasies] to fully-anonymized online accounts...”  And, I might add, to avoid actually obtaining the equipment one would need:

Geoffrey Portway’s attorney says the man’s “fantasy world” posed no actual threat of harm to a child.  But the…[Massachusetts] man pleaded guilty…to child pornography charges along with solicitation to commit a crime of violence…and the locked, soundproof basement with a metal cage…bondage equipment and a child-sized coffin serve as evidence…Two other men — one a puppeteer at a Florida church — have also been convicted as a result of the online chat sessions…[about] plans to rape, kill and eat children…

Legitimate Outrage (TW3 #329)

Scott Long on the way politicians like David Vitter and Eliot Spitzer suffer far less than the whores whose names get dragged through the mud along with theirs:

…Spitzer…[made] life miserable for both sex workers and clients.  As…Attorney General, he let…Equality Now goad him into a years-long campaign of harassment against a travel company that marketed sex tours…as Governor, he signed an…“anti-trafficking” law…that massively increased penalties for [buyers]…while maintaining penalties for sex workers…But what folks hate Spitzer for is having bought sex, not the repressive policies he promoted.  Paying women is offensive; persecuting them, fine.  Called out for “immorality”…he actually had the nerve to cite his crackdown on consensual activities in his own defense…In 2008, a jury convicted…Deborah Jeane Palfrey not of prostitution, but of money laundering…and “racketeering”…Palfrey killed herself before sentencing…And [her client David] Vitter stays in the Senate…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #337)

…in connection with the attack on Madaripur brothel on August 28…Borun Begum, a sex worker…filed a case…against 35 identified and 1965 unidentified people…[including] general secretary Milon Bhuyan…women affairs officer Mahmuda Akter and Islahe Qawmi Parishad leader Raju Hujur…She…sought compensation for…valuables worth [$385,000] and…properties worth [$64,000]…Parimal Sarkar…filed a case…against 37 identified and 300 unidentified people…seeking compensation of [$77,000]…for [vandalism of] 30 houses…

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Humanity has a bad track record of selectively appealing to authority to justify our biases.  –  Andrea Castillo

R.I.P. Harry Reems

Harry ReemsHarry Reems, the first male porn star, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday (March 19th) at the age of 65.  For his role in Deep Throat, Reems was convicted in 1976 of “conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines”, and though that sentence was overturned a year later the stress of the trial drove him to start drinking; he spent the late ‘80s as a homeless alcoholic before sobering up in 1989, then getting married and going into real estate a year later.  Unlike his co-star Linda Lovelace, however, he never regretted his choices or blamed porn for his troubles, and went by his stage name (his birth name was Herbert Streicher) until the end.

Bad Girls

I left out the very rarest, but worst type:  “[Houma, Louisiana] police arrested 15 men…alleging they solicited a prostitute through [Backpage]…one of [two] prostitutes…[was] issued a summons…[but] the other…was not arrested [because she] agreed to be a part of the sting…”  There is absolutely no lower life-form in the whoring ecosystem than a person who collaborates with cops to ensnare others in order to save his or her own worthless hide.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Andrea Castillo’s “When Science Looks Like Religion” explores the territory discussed in Monday’s comment thread:  When people blindly accept scientific findings which reinforce their irrational beliefs while rejecting equally-valid results which contradict those beliefs, the result is not science but religion.  The last part is doubly germane:  it describes Norwegian social scientists’ knee-jerk denial of all data which contradicts their cultic social constructionism.

micro-drug-dogSecret Squirrel

A new low in intra-family spying:

…Suspicious moms and dads are hiring trained drug detection dogs to sniff out their kids’ drug stash…the RK Agency…[charges] $350…[to] “discreetly perform a thorough inspection of your entire property”…Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist …[told] the Today Show… “I don’t know if you can [have a relationship with your kids] if you’re bringing in drug-sniffing dogs”…

Size Matters

According to this post from Dr. Annie Sprinkle, Tracy Elise of Phoenix Goddess Temple has been “deemed…’incompetent’ to go to trial…she will be sent to psych ward and forced to take psychiatric drugs for about 15 months until she’s ‘competent’…I feel that if…sex workers…criticise Tracy Elise…we are in a way colluding with the [police]…and…contributing to the problem, which is exactly what the ‘sex negative society’…wants us to do…”  I totally agree.

The Last Shall Be First

[Arizona] legislators…are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms…associated with the gender…on their birth certificate…in response to a [Phoenix] …bill…which prohibits gender identity discrimination in public accommodations…

Lupercalia

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the lessons we can learn from Pompeii:

…women in Ancient Rome [married] sometimes as young as 14…[but] were permitted to own land and houses and have jobs.  Women of the upper classes were educated to a high standard…It’s well known that Pompeii…boasted a large sex industry…and…open attitudes about sexuality and prostitution didn’t hold back other women from achieving

And if you just can’t get enough of Brooke, here’s a short but wide-ranging interview with her in The Age.Rong Chen

A Broker in Pillage

Once again, the British government displays its dedication to literally robbing sex workers of their life savings:

A Chinese brothel madam and her husband have been ordered to pay back £125,000 within six months or she will face another jail sentence and he will join her…Rong Chen…and her husband Jason Hinton…only [have] £125,000 of realisable assets…[namely] their marital home in…Worcestershire, which…will have to be sold or remortgaged…

Note the weird euphemism “pay back”, implying that the money is refunded to customers; in reality it is split between the police, court and Inland Revenue.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

If politicians’ minds weren’t befuddled by prohibitionist idiocy, they wouldn’t be so confused by wholly predictable outcomes like this:

…Jakarta…has tried…to offer sex workers ways to escape the sex industry…[for] example…sex workers…[given] a dressmaking course…did not return to their villages…but rather…to their old lives in Jakarta…the income from sewing was just too far below sex work…A high ranking health official…[said] it would be better to legalize prostitution; closing Kramat Tunggak would result in the dispersion of prostitution sites to several unidentified locations — making health checkups impossible…Surabaya…is still trying to phase out Dolly, East Java’s famed prostitution site…

But as this second article from the same newspaper explains, closing Dolly would be an economic disaster:

…Dolly…consists of at least 300 brothels…employing thousands of prostitutes…[plus] numerous supporting businesses — clinics, mini markets, sexual enhancement medicine vendors, parking lots, banks, rented houses, Internet cafes, small restaurants…University of Indonesia economist Lana Soelistianingsih said that…economic transactions triggered by prostitution [alone] could contribute around Rp 1.5 trillion to Surabaya’s gross domestic product…

Oscillation

Family Research Council…fellow Pat Fagan…claims that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 case that overturned a Massachusetts law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, may rank “as the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court”…because it effectively meant that “single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse…Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever”…

Fokkens twinsReal People (TW3 #21)

…Amsterdam’s oldest prostitutes have retired after more than 50 years each in the business.  Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, have decided they are too old…Louise…says arthritis now makes some sexual positions “too painful”…and Martine…admits she finds it hard to attract punters – though one elderly man still has his weekly sadomasochism session…The pair were the subject last year of a documentary Meet The Fokkens and they have written a book called The Ladies Of Amsterdam

First They Came for the Hookers…

As I pointed out recently, Nevada isn’t remotely pro-whore:  “Two [Nevada] state Senators introduced bills…[to] regulate strip clubs…Mark Manendo…wants to charge …a $10 per customer fee…[to fund] programs related to domestic violence…Barbara Cegavske…would ban anyone less than 21-years-old from performing…

The Public Eye

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviews well-known activist Audacia Ray on the Red Umbrella Project, speaking to the media, condom criminalization, the Long Island Killer and why sex workers need to ally with harm reduction and anti-drug war activists.

Monkey Business

Baboons have been observed keeping dogs as pets:

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #39)

French sex workers continue to push back against increased criminalization:

10 years ago, the Internal Security Act (LSI) penalized public solicitation, including so-called “passive solicitation”…[this] has reinforced the isolation of sex workers, relegating them to more remote places where they are…more prone to violence…since the introduction of the LSI, “the conduct of the police deteriorated sharply.  Their attitude is less respectful and humiliation increased…their protective function…has virtually disappeared and [they are]…most often perceived as strictly punitive”…Médecins du Monde demand the immediate repeal of the offense of soliciting…[and] rejects any proposal to penalize customers…

Women’s Rights Minister Najat Belkacem responded in a typically clueless manner; though she promised repeal of the law, she also made the absurd claim that “90% of [sex workers] are victims of human trafficking” and refused to back down on her scheme to impose the Swedish model.

King of the Hill

Portland, Oregon’s bid for the “largest trafficking hub” title isn’t a new one, but now they’re claiming that this is “proven” not only by highways, but by rivers:

…Portland [has]…one of the largest sex industries of any U.S. city…human trafficking…is a growing problem in Oregon due in part to the traffic permitted by Interstates 5 and I-84 [and] the Willamette and Columbia rivers…the problem [is] one that’s inextricably linked to gangs…“When people think of prostitution, their first instinct is a girl walking on the street,” [police spokesman Pete] Simpson says.  “They’re not thinking about the fact that she’s being traded as a commodity, sold as a product”…The change [in strategy] humanizes the victims…

Simpson robs women of agency, then claims he’s “humanizing” whores who were already human before he turned them into things to be acted upon.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.An Intimate Life

Accredited Whores

Charlotte Shane’s review of An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey As A Surrogate Partner, the memoirs of sex surrogate Cheryl Greene (of The Sessions fame), covers much the same ground as my column, and that’s a good thing; the more of us there are speaking out against these artificial lines drawn between types of sex work, the more people will finally get it.

Like a Horse and Carriage

I’m glad to see that others are recognizing that “marriage equality” applies just as well to polygamy as it does to same-sex marriage, and are making good arguments for it:

I’m in favor of leaving marriage to the religious institutions, and registering households in whatever configuration people want to live.  If a same-gender couple, or a heterosexual couple, or an elderly couple who can’t have children, or any couple want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If three people want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If a gay man and his female best friend want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  Let’s stop worrying about who is screwing who, and just make it easier for people to be responsible in their relationships.

Still More Mentoring

SWOP-NOLA posted these “Client Screening Tips and Helpful Links from a New Orleans Provider”; I already mentioned a few of these, but she provides many more I didn’t know about.

The Joy of Juxtaposition

One would never know that these claims have been repeatedly debunked:

The Georgia attorney general and other law enforcement officials kicked off a public awareness campaign…[which] bears the slogan “Georgia’s not buying it” and includes a [commercial] featuring professional athletes…”We’ll continue to go after the pimps and rescue the victims, but we know that the only way to truly eradicate this evil is by ending the demand,” Attorney General Sam Olens said…It is a problem throughout Georgia, in both urban areas and in small towns and rural areas…

Georgia is indeed “buying it”, wholesale.  I’m sure millions in federal grants and an excuse to further erode civil rights have nothing to do with all this.

Skin To Skin

An Australian sex therapist argues that disability insurance should cover the hiring of sex workers:

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human…Decades of research have uncovered the many benefits of sex, which include physical health, quality of life, psychological well-being and sexual self-esteem.  Unfortunately, because of social taboos and hypocrisy…barriers are created to stop people from fully realising these benefits…Some people with disabilities have limited opportunities for sexual relationships because they lack privacy and are dependent on others…Maggie in Albany

Comfort Zone

The video of the Albany Law School symposium is now available!  If you don’t have the time or inclination to watch the whole thing (4 hours), my part runs from minute 170 to 185.

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #310)

Earlier this month, doctors announced that a baby had been cured of…HIV…Now…it appears that 14 adults have…been successfully treated…70 people…[received] combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)…much sooner than…normal…[because] all [were] diagnosed…early…they…stuck to the [regimen] for an average of three years…[but then] stopped…for various reasons…Normally, HIV will return when patients stop taking their ARVs.  But this time…14…patients…were functionally cured…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Apparently, the proposed legislative reform in South Australia isn’t quite decriminalization (though it’s a lot closer to it than anything we’ll see in the US anytime soon):  “…it makes special provisions for sex work such as special licensing, laws about safe sex and possibly restrictions on location…once a ‘reform’ law has been passed the chances of getting better legislation in the near future drop to zero.  So many people feel it’s better to stay with a bad situation and hope to get good reform rather than settle for an unsatisfactory ‘improvement’…

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Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault [at all].  –  John 18:38

In the extensive commentary following my column of April 18th there was a discussion of the relativity of truth.  For those who may have missed it, one poster argued that truth is relative and therefore it is impossible to be certain about anything.  He was sharply taken to task on that position by a number of other posters, and though I disagree with him I understand what he was trying to say, and made a reply to that effect.  Since this issue has arisen on my blog before and undoubtedly will again, I think it would be a good idea for me to repeat my post here in somewhat expanded form.

In traditional philosophy the distinction is made between a factual judgment and a value judgment; the former is a judgment about the nature of objective reality, e.g. “I think this scaffold is strong enough to support my weight,” while the latter is a judgment about a subjective matter,  e.g. “I think the way they treated him was wrong.”  I tend to use the word truth in a philosophical sense, which can be relative; in the thread I stated that reincarnation is “true” for me, that is I have faith in it and live assuming it’s true. But for an atheist, snuffed out like a candle at death is “true” in that same sense and to a Christian, heaven and hell are “true”.  Morality, eschatology and the like cannot be determined by scientific tests, and since they strike at the heart of what it means to be human they must be answered individually and are therefore relative.  Facts, on the other hand, cannot be relative; they exist independent of the observer and can be reproduced by other experimenters who are unaware of the original experimenter’s results.  The speed of light can be measured, is the same everywhere and is not subject to interpretation; it is a fact.  And while Platonists may argue that nothing is objective and ultimate reality is unknowable, even the most dedicated philosopher expects ordinary objects to behave as they have always behaved and recognizes that for all ordinary intents and purposes physical reality is knowable; he expects that his clothes will not spontaneously combust, his bread will not poison him and the distance from his bedroom to his study will remain relatively constant unless some physical agency intervenes to alter one of those factors.  And up until the end of the 19th century, nobody but philosophers or priests ever argued any differently; for most people the mundane was knowable and the spiritual could only be grasped through faith.

Unfortunately, the turn of the 20th century set events in motion which changed that; the first of these was the rise of what I call “secular religions”, of which the first was Marxism.  Though these religions concern themselves with physical reality and avoid talk of the soul, the Divine or other such esoteric concepts, they are yet religions because they insist on rigid adherence to a morality and interpretation of reality (i.e. an approved set of both “truth” and facts) derived entirely from knowledge revealed in sacred scriptures by the founders of the religion.  The dogma of Marxism and the various “-isms” derived from it (such as neofeminism, Afrocentrism, etc) must be accepted unquestioningly by adherents; dissidence is suppressed and any scientifically-sound facts which contradict the teachings are denied.  But because these “-isms” do not at first seem like religions to the unwary, they gained a foothold in academic departments and have infiltrated many governments; the Scandinavian countries infected with institutionalized neofeminism are every bit as irrational and ideologically-driven as the staunchest theocracy.

Still, the secular religions alone cannot be blamed entirely for the confusion of factual judgments with value judgments among the modern intelligentsia; Marxism and its spawn might have remained the province of extremists and tyrants had not the very foundations of reality itself been shaken by the work of three of Marx’s countrymen named Planck, Einstein and Schrödinger.  19th-century scientists were so certain of reality that the physicist Philipp von Jolly advised Max Planck (1858-1947) against going into physics with the statement, “in this field, almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes.”  His brilliant student ignored the advice, went into physics anyway and turned the field entirely upside-down by developing the quantum theory, which demonstrated that subatomic particles tend to behave in ways absolutely at odds with Victorian notions of decorum, vacillating wildly back and forth between different states depending upon the means used by human observers to examine them.  Albert Einstein (1879-1955) built upon Planck’s theory and went on to propound his own, special relativity, which demonstrated that size, mass and even the flow of time itself are dependent upon the speed at which an object moves.  And Einstein’s friend Erwin Schrödinger (1887-1961) expanded quantum mechanics still further and recognized that it appeared to be the act of observation itself which caused particles to “collapse” into one state or another, and that prior to observation such particles existed in not one state or another but both states simultaneously!  He proposed a now-famous thought experiment in which a cat is placed in a sealed box with a radioactive substance and a device which will release poison gas upon detecting a particle of radioactive decay.  Until the box is opened there is no way to know whether any of the particles from the radioactive material has yet struck the detector and killed the cat; if the hapless feline were the same as a subatomic particle, it could be considered to be not merely dead or alive, but simultaneously dead and alive!

Educated non-scientists encountering Dr. Einstein’s adjustable mass and time or Dr. Schrödinger’s undead kitty can perhaps be forgiven for throwing up their hands in despair and deciding that all facts are relative; if even hard-headed scientists say that the truth varies with the observer, the claims of the “-isms” that doctrine supersedes science seem to make perfect sense.  But that’s because they don’t read deeply enough to understand that not only do these theories apply to very special cases (the incredibly small for quantum mechanics and the incredibly fast for special relativity), but also that the probabilities involved cancel each other out under normal conditions.  Though we often hear it said that “Einstein’s theory of gravity superseded Newton’s”, in fact Newton’s is still 100% accurate for all normal applications.  And though Planck’s subatomic zoo is capable of all sorts of bizarre, counterintuitive and even absurd transformations, translations and transfers, I can depend on the fact that never in my lifetime, or indeed within the lifetime of the entire universe, will my Mercedes suddenly transmogrify into a large blob of cottage cheese.  Though I know my desk is actually nothing more than an electronic fog composed mostly of empty space, it will function as though solid under all normal circumstances and its properties can be determined independently by any number of observers one cares to name with exactly the same results.  Were that not true science would be difficult, technology would be impossible and organic life itself – which is, after all, based on the dependability of chemical processes – would never have arisen.

A little learning, as the saying goes, is a dangerous thing; many reasonably-educated people know just enough about the weirdness of modern physics to cause them to come to totally erroneous conclusions about the nature of objective reality.  This uncertainty, coupled with a widespread distrust of science engendered by the man-made problems of the modern world (such as pollution and the specter of nuclear war), has rendered many otherwise-intelligent people in academia susceptible to the asinine notion that “facts are relative”.  Since that myth is extremely useful to those who wish to promote agendas whose tenets fly in the face of objective reality, such individuals have worked tirelessly to insinuate it into nearly every institution of higher learning in the United States and many in other Western countries…which is of course why we now get most of our scientists from Asia, where people still understand that philosophy is not science and objective facts absolutely can be counted on in the mundane world inhabited by homo sapiens.  Unfortunately, the misguided doctrine of “relativity of facts” has been taught in American schools for two generations now, and it would take quite a while to excise the cancer even if we were assiduously working at it…which we aren’t.

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