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Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

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.

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Raped female dogs were not oppressed because rape was normative at dog parks.  –  Helen Wilson

It’s a shame that many adults didn’t pay enough attention to Sesame Street, else they’d have learned stuff like, “don’t mouth off on subjects about which you have insufficient information”.  The links above the video were provided by Jesse WalkerCathy ReisenwitzScott Greenfield (x2), Desiree AllianceAmy Alkon, and  Tim Cushing, in that order.

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The fact that [a politician] doesn’t believe that there’s such a thing as a voluntary sex worker means she doesn’t live in reality.
–  Genevieve Jones-Wright

Politicians like to represent themselves as “leaders”, but in reality they’re usually followers.  Any politician who wants to win support must, by necessity, espouse beliefs popular enough with the electorate to actually get elected; he must therefore follow ideas that have already gained support rather than proposing new ones.  In other words, though politicians like to imagine themselves as rainmakers, they are really barometers.  That’s one of the reasons the very few US politicians to come out in favor of sex worker rights over the past few decades have either failed to win office or else were forced to abandon their principles for the sake of political expediency.  So it’s both exciting and telling to see so many politicians now supporting decriminalization or at least opposing increased criminalization; when Amnesty International came out in favor of decrim I declared that we had passed the watershed moment in the war for our rights, and obviously a number of politicians must agree with me because they’ve realized that, while sex worker rights may still not be a popular position, it’s at least a safe one for a reform-minded candidate to adopt.

One of the few exceptions to my initial statement is Elizabeth Edwards of New Hampshire; only a few months after Amnesty announced its policy, and before any other politician had even commented on it, she introduced a bill to decriminalize prostitution in New Hampshire.  And while the Good Old Boys network has choked the bill so far, Edwards has vociferously defended sex worker rights on Twitter and even attended a Whores’ Day rally last Saturday.  If there were more politicians like her and David Grosso of Washington DC, I might not be so cynical about the profession.  But even though the others who have popped up in the past few months may not have been as bold, the fact that there are so many of them is heartening.  Genevieve Jones-Wright failed to unseat the machine-backed Summer Stephan as District Attorney for San Diego, but the fact that she dared to run specifically against Stephan’s vile prohibitionism speaks volumes.  Perhaps Daron Morris (like Jones-Wright a public defender) may have better luck defeating Seattle’s disgusting prosecutor Dan Satterburg:

Morris criticized Satterberg for accepting $140,000 worth of grant money from Demand Abolition, an anti-prostitution organization that advocates for more prosecutions of men who purchase sex.  As former  Stranger staff writer Sydney Brownstone reported in March, Satterberg’s office wrote in its grant application that it would seek to increase arrest of sex buyers by 50 percent…Morris…believes Demand Abolition’s approach ignores the input of sex workers.  “Saying to a woman, ‘I’m deciding that you can never be free. I’m deciding that you can never be un-coerced in sex work,’ that’s just not the right approach,” he said…

Suraj Patel, running in New York for the US Congress, has strong words about FOSTA:

Earlier this year, Congress passed a deeply irresponsible and dangerous bill known as SESTA/FOSTA, which…has rolled back internet freedoms and inflicted deep damage on already-marginalized communities, putting lives at risk while setting the fight against trafficking back decades.  Sloppy legislating is nothing new from lawmakers who don’t listen to the communities that their policies impact, but SESTA/FOSTA is an especially terrible law that has been sharply condemned by anti-trafficking organizations, civil rights groups, and even the federal anti-trafficking prosecutors who would have to enforce it…SESTA/FOSTA has actually put sex workers in danger; some are already reporting that pimps are capitalizing on their new vulnerability  now that websites like Backpage have shuttered…This bill is only the continuation of our country’s policies profiting off the mass incarceration of already vulnerable people…

And in Washington, DC, David Grosso has forced other politicians to actually talk about decrim:

…In October 2017, David Grosso, an at-large D.C. council member,  drafted a decriminalization measure …[which] would make the District of Columbia the first municipality in the United States to decriminalize  prostitution…discussion surrounding Grosso’s legislation has grown.  Recently, candidates responded to a questionnaire from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA)…which included a question about the measure.  D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser…seeking re-election, refused to provide a definitive answer about her position…Bowser’s Democratic-primary opponents—James Butler and Earnest Johnson—were split…Butler opposes the legislation, while Johnson supports it…Martin Moulton, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for…mayor…not only supports decriminalization efforts but believes in expunging the records of non-violent sex workers and customers…Ed Lazare…a candidate for D.C. Council Chair, also responded in support of Grosso’s legislation…several other candidates, including…council member Anita Bonds…support…Grosso’s decriminalization effort…

Obviously, these are just a very few reasonable voices in a vast mob of witch-hunters, but the fact that there are any at all – and that the mainstream media is not mocking or ignoring them – marks a vast change from the political landscape of only three years ago.  We still have a very long and tough road ahead, but at least now it’s tending generally downhill.

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I’m glad that Sessions is attorney general.  –  Chuck Grassley

As those of you who remember my very old story “Greek God” may have guessed, I dearly loved The Muppet Show and bought the three seasons of it that were released before Disney decided to do what it did to several other series, namely not release the last two seasons.  This video, from the unreleased fifth season, features a very young Debbie Harry, whom I had a huge crush on at the time this first aired.  The links above it were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingElizabeth N. BrownAdjective GirlDavid Ley, and Jesse Walker, in that order.

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Everyone has to have a first time.  –  Michael Diebold

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s so nice to watch them feeding on their own:

Yet another [pig] has been  caught up in a child-sex sting conducted by his colleagues…Michael Diebold—chief of police for the small Western Pennsylvania town of Leechburg—was arrested after arranging a sexual tryst with [a cop] he [should have known] was [not] a 14-year-old girl…Diebold was not initially seeking an underage companion; his ad [on Kik] sought an adult female for a consensual dom/sub relationship.  But the chief was apparently undeterred when the “woman” who responded said she was actually just 14 years old and in the eight grade. “Everyone has to have a first time,” Diebold allegedly responded…

N.B.: Western Pennsylvania cops rape sex workers before arresting them even more frequently than is typical in the U.S.

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

Ireland has witnessed a surge in sexually transmitted diseases with the peak transmission period of the Christmas and New Year party season still to report…rates of all major STIs have dramatically increased from 2012-2016…there has been an increase in detection of HIV (+51%), Syphilis (+11%), Gonorrhea (+53%), Chlamydia (+10%) and Herpes (+21%)…

Scapegoats 

I don’t think ‘ve ever seen the word “molest” used in this context before:

…an [Alabama] man is…accused with [sic] molesting a horse…18-year-old Daniel Bennett was caught in the horse’s stable…The…owner of the…horse, a 20-year-old mare named Polly, told investigators she suspected the horse’s stall had been tampered with several times throughout December…

Unlike a certain fellow Alabamian, I guess Daniel likes older ladies.

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of sex workers:

December saw another raid on a sex workers’ workplace in Tel Aviv, with 11 people arrested on charges of running a “prostitution ring”…The majority of those arrested are [charged with] money laundering and evading millions of shekels in taxes.  Hebrew media reports have been sensationalist…Over the last year, the district surrounding the central bus station has been targeted for increased raids, and many argue this is related directly to gentrification of the area.  There is an increased police presence, and landlords have taken to increasing rents at rapid speeds and evicting people they suspect to be sex workers…many of whom have been based in the area for decades…

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized how common this sort of thing is:

Eager to please the young leader of a promising potential ally in the Middle East, the CIA enlisted the help of billionaire Howard Hughes’s longtime fixer to find women for Jordan’s King Hussein…during his spring 1959 trip to the United States…[the arrangement] likely turned into a relationship between Hussein and B-movie actress Susan Cabot that may have produced the son who eventually beat Cabot to death in 1986…the agency used private investigator Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent, to find “female companionship” for the 23-year-old King during his trip to Los Angeles…The document refers only to a “foreign head of state” but the timeline included in the memo corresponds to the times Hussein was in the United States…

Dysphemisms Galore 

One day, “People who need money do lucrative work to get it!” will be recognized as the non-story it is:

As homelessness mounts…a growing number of young men are selling sex online.  [Manchester’s] male sex workers often use websites like Craigslist to advertise to clients…And…”survival sex” is becoming increasingly common amongst the hundreds of young men selling their bodies…Many…have recently been released from prison…Charity workers say they can look unremarkable, making it difficult to identify [them for targeted “rescue” persecution]…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

Hours after…ACLU…accused it of censorship, New Jersey prison officials rolled back a ban on Michelle Alexander’s influential critique of mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow…State prison systems ban thousands upon thousands of books…Texas, one of the most censorious prison systems in the nation, bans roughly 10,000 publications, including  The Color PurpleWhere’s Waldo?, and John Pfaff’s Locked In, another book on mass incarceration.  It does, however, allow Mein Kampf.  Just last week, new rules went into effect at three New York prisons banning care packages that aren’t purchased through one of five approved vendors…NYC Books Through Bars, a volunteer group that sends free books to inmates across the country…wrote in a letter last week to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that…”The approved vendors’ catalogs are currently limited to the following books: five romance novels, fourteen bibles and other religious texts, twenty-­four drawing or coloring books, twenty-­one puzzle books, eleven guitar, chess, and how-­to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus.  No books that help people learn to overcome addictions…no…literature…No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release“…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#604) 

Nope.  The primary customers for male sex robots, like the primary customers for male sex workers, will also be male:

…Matt McMullen, CEO of Realbotix…[said] he is aiming to release a male [sexbot]…which he is yet to name…Dr Cathy O’Neil [fantasizes]…that sex robots could rending men obsolete…Dr David Levy [fantasized] male [robots]…could be more popular than sex toys such as vibrators and dildos.  He [moronically stated] “I’m sure women will find robots equally appealing as men”…

O, Canada! (#785)

After you read this prohibitionist propaganda, follow the title link back for the truth about the recently-renamed “Operation Northern Spotlight”:

…They’re called vice probes, or door knocks.  London [Ontario]’s human trafficking unit was formed in early 2016, and uses [deceiving sex workers] as a way to [force contact with] women they [claim] might need help…[cops] pore over advertisements posted on popular websites advertising sex work, looking for [fantasized] signs of trafficking — women who move around frequently, look very young, are branded in some way, such as a tattoo, or who have few restrictions about the sex work they offer…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

I’m afraid this might be too little, too late:

Craigslist has hired its first federal lobbyists…from the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, including former Rep. Rick Boucher…The hires…were prompted by a pair of sex trafficking bills that has galvanized opposition from web companies [because]…they threaten the legal framework underlying the [internet]…the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act…would make it easier for prosecutors and [profiteers]…to go after…Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that gives broad legal protections for web platforms from content posted by their users…The legislation also appeared to prompt the popular forum site Reddit to hire its first federal lobbyists

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Your language is disgusting.  –  unnamed racist woman

One of my favorite musicians has just released a new Christmas album, and here’s her performance of one of my favorite Christmas carols!  The links above the video were provided by Radley BalkoAmy AlkonMike SiegelAlejandroTim CushingAdjective Girl and Radley again, in that order.

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

Naturally, because it’s politicians’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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