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Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

[Politicians] who insisted they were [censoring escort ads] to save women’s lives…have only served to put more women in potentially mortal danger.  –  Mike Masnick

Bad Girls 

This wasn’t a very wise thing to do, but cops being humiliated is always funny:

To the rest of the world, Ali Sheppard is a [pig], but to prostitute Taquanna Lawton, he was just “a trick”…Lawton…was arraigned for stealing the cop’s Jeep and gun when he ran off to an ATM so he could pay for her services…[she said] she and Sheppard may have done business before…Lawton is charged with grand larceny…Her attorney Paul Giovanniello said Lawton has mental health and substance abuse issues and the full story of what happened between her and Sheppard has not been told…Sheppard has been suspended without pay for 30 days and is facing disciplinary charges

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

…Lia Holmgren…[is an] intimacy coach [who]…thinks a little power play can benefit a relationship.  “Once you open your mind to [BDSM], you will open your mind to other things in the relationship”…In her Chelsea office, she charges clients up to $500 for 90-minute intimacy counseling sessions.  There, she helps couples open the lines of communication about having submissive or dominant roles in the bedroom…to improve their sex lives and bring them closer…Before she started counseling couples two years ago…[she] was a professional dominatrix…Her résumé also includes stripping and organizing sex parties, as well as…vanilla…work in real estate…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Several high school girls…claimed a male student sexually assaulted them because they “just don’t like him”…neither [the school nor the state] punished the young women at all.  Now the boy’s parents, Michael J. and Alicia Flood, are suing the parents of the five girls and the Seneca Valley School District in Pennsylvania over their son’s treatment…One of the girls decided…in October 2017 “she would do anything to get [the boy] expelled” so she accused him of sexually assaulting her at the pool [where he worked as a lifeguard the previous summer].  A friend of [hers] who worked at the pool, Megan Villegas, claimed she was present during the assault…the boy was charged with indecent assault and…agreed to a consent decree that allowed him to avoid admitting guilt and required him to stay out of trouble for six months while on probation…in March 2018, a friend of the first accuser, identified only as C.S., claimed the boy entered her house without her permission and sexually assaulted her.  Two more friends, identified as E.S. and H.R., backed up her claim.  In April, the accused student was charged with another indecent assault, criminal trespass, and simple assault.  He was expelled and arrested and identified as a threat to his community. He spent nine days in a juvenile detention center and then placed on house arrest…In May, three of the girls admitted they lied, but it took until August 30 for Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger to dismiss the second accusation, and until September 10 to close the charges related to the first accusation…

The Widening Gyre (#663)

The deeply-racist “Nigerian sex slaves” wanking fantasy has crossed the Alps:

Hundreds of Nigerian women have been trafficked into Paris as sex workers, lured by the promise of a new life only to find themselves in a cycle of abuse and exploitation…The women are physically branded with scars that identify them back in Nigeria as cursed women…there’[s] been a nearly 600-percent increase in potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Europe through Italy since 2014 and 80% of them were Nigerian…police [fantasize] that most of the women who work at the Bois de Vincennes are slaves…[prohibitionists claim] the women who walk these streets are [magically] getting younger and that their apparent freedom is a [magical] illusion…[because] they have [magically] lost their identity…

Given all the childish claims of magic (zombie “sex slaves” who grow ever-younger while cloaked with spells of illusion), this one could’ve just as well been filed under “Mumbo Jumbo“.  These fantasies appear to have been invented to shore up a campaign to deport as many Nigerians as possible using claims of a “prostitution ring”, “money laundering” and the “Nigerian mafia”.

Stalkers in Blue

Interesting buried detail: she’s a cop herself.  Birds of a feather

A former Woodland [police]woman who accused [another cop] of abusing his police power to stalk, threaten and improperly investigate her has settled her lawsuit against him for $275,000…Jody Wattier…lost custody of her children, aged 9 and 10, and had to rebuild her life because officer Brad Gillaspie orchestrated a campaign of intimidation and slander against her while she was divorcing her husband, who was Gillaspie’s friend…Woodland…[Washington]’s insurer will pay the settlement…An investigation…recommended charges of malicious mischief and telephone harassment against Wattier, but the city prosecutor declined to file them…Wattier, who has remarried and lives in Tacoma while working in the state Attorney General’s office, was a [cop] herself in North Plains, Oregon.  She said she resigned from the department in June 2015 after talking to her chief about how the investigations into her had complicated her job…the Woodland police department knew Gillaspie was a problem…[he had] a history of inappropriate…behavior…such as…taking a juvenile female’s phone into his office and viewing her private, sexually explicit photographs.  Afterwards, [other cops] began locking up cell phones so Gillaspie couldn’t access them…

Checklist (#852) 

It looks like that mind-bogglingly absurd claim that 4% of the world’s population per decade magically vanish without anyone noticing wasn’t just a typo or a one-time idiocy.  Liz Brown snapped this pic of an ad from “Airline Ambassadors” in an inflight magazine, and there it is again:  68,000 per day, which comes to the “almost 500,000 per week” claimed in Forbes back in June.  Even for “sex trafficking” profiteers, this claim goes beyond the ridiculous to the completely unhinged; are these people really unable to multiply at a 9-year-old’s level, or do they simply know that the average American is too stupid to perform the calculation and/or too intellectually lazy to bother?  After all, this is the same organization which begs for funds using that dopey “air hostesses vs. pimps” story which the press repeated endlessly without bothering to check the news archives (which show no “sex trafficker” apprehended at SFO in 2011).  Note also that whoever darkened the hand with Photoshop to achieve a subtly racist effect left the thumb white.

Legislators Gone Wild (#868) 

Still believe that Nevada politicians are pro-sex work?

In an article published…[by] Reuters…Lyons County Sheriff Al McNeil charged that Dennis Hof…was implicated in “immigration violations” regarding some of the prostitutes working at Hof’s brothels, and even claimed that an investigation conducted by his office in concert with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found “indications of possible human trafficking” among the sex workers…There’s just one problem: It’s McNeil and his office whose job it is to vet all of the women wishing to work in brothels, to make sure that they are citizens or lawful permanent residents with green cards, and after doing their due diligence in vetting the women, to issue licenses to them to work in the brothels…

Naturally, the lying douchebags at Morality in Media used this as an excuse to attack decriminalization, moronically claiming that Hof is a proponent of it despite the obvious fact that he absolutely is not, and in fact vomits out “sex trafficking” propaganda at every opportunity so as to argue against decriminalization on the grounds that whores are too stupid and incompetent to be allowed to work outside of brothels.

Disaster (#869)

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

Before FOSTA became law, plenty of experts in the space tried to warn everyone that a bill that was frequently promoted as being necessary to help “save the lives” of vulnerable women…would actually put more lives at risk.  And we’ve already had…evidence to support that this prediction was entirely accurate.  Various law enforcement officials have been complaining that it’s now more difficult to catch sex traffickers.  And, now the Associated Press has a big article looking at the impact of FOSTA and it’s not pretty.  The closing down of various online forums for sex workers has driven more sex workers into the street, where their lives are at significantly higher risk…

Disaster (#876)

Good news about the FOSTA challenge:

…attorneys for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and other Plaintiffs appealed the ruling…dismissing the FOSTA case for lack of standing. Joining in the appeal are The Internet Archive, Human Rights Watch, Jesse Maley, and Eric Koszyk.  The case will now be considered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal…Ricci Levy, President…of…Woodhull [said]…“This law is a clear First Amendment violation…We’re in this for the long haul and you can count on us to continue to fight illogical and unconstitutional laws, like FOSTA, which hamper our mission and restrict free expression.”  The District Court never reached the constitutional issues, instead deciding that the Plaintiffs were not sufficiently impacted by the law in order to justify a legal challenge.  However, each Plaintiff demonstrated how its activities were affected once the law went into effect…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#876) 

Despite the hilarity of the hysteria, at least politicians correctly classified the dolls as “arcade games”:

The Houston City Council voted to change city rules [to] effectively ban the use of sex [dolls] in shops…The owner of Kinky Dolls sex robot shop in Toronto announced weeks ago that he would open a second shop in Houston…[In response, politicians] hastily changed [a] city ordinance [to prohibit] customers…touch[ing] a [doll] inside a store…[the] ordinance deal[s] with “arcade” games, which in this case, the [dolls were] classified as.  The ordinance does not stop the sale of the [dolls], it just stops the use of them for [masturbation] in [retail stores.  Council member Greg Travis lied that]…”We’re not legislating morality”…

The Widening Gyre (#878)

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

[Hysteria over] women’s encounters with [people they fantasize are involved in] sex trafficking and kidnapping [has] surged on social media and have left some students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln feeling unsafe…John Backer said the University Police has received multiple calls from people concerned about the [fantasy].  “Sex traffickers gain the trust of their victims, it usually doesn’t happen spontaneously”…Polaris, a [prohibitionist group] that strives to [profit from the moral panic over] human trafficking, [fantasizes] that traffickers often target women by promising a high-paying job, a loving relationship or new and exciting opportunities…

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Think about it like a horror movie…when [the villain] stops and he turns and makes eye contact with the victim, then that’s when the music starts playing.  –  Daniel Herbert

Though this video (via David Ley) is a parody, it’s not that much more ridiculous than actual government anti-sex propaganda.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“Frisby” and “happens”), Franklin Harris (“unexpected”), Amy Alkon (“clients”), Popehat (“guessed”), and Scott Greenfield (“video”).

From the Archives

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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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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.

From the Archives

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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.

From the Archives

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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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