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Bathhouse 44

Grace has finished fabricating the three beams which will form the framework of the western section of the bathhouse roof, but a combination of rainy weather, other necessary work, and lack of manpower (Chekhov was unavailable most of this week) kept us from getting them in place; it’s times like this I wish I had Wonder Woman’s strength and could simply lift them into place by myself.  But once these are up and welded, the cee purlins are next and then the roof panels, so one section of the roof at least will be done by the time the real rainy season starts in October.  And since we finally got the hot tub panel wired up this week, it won’t be that much longer before we can finally use the damned thing after preparing for it since May of last year!

Under the Table

Oh look, picket-fence queers from groups like GLAAD are beginning to notice that deliberately ignoring sex workers after they reached the Big Table (and in some cases, actually joining the crusade against us) wasn’t such a good idea.  And I must add again: stop your fucking partisan bullshit.  This wasn’t “Trump’s crusade” or “the GOP’s crusade”; Democrats were equal drivers at every step of the process under the usual banners (“The Children!!!” and “exploitation of women“), so you don’t get to smugly point your fingers at other people and pretend you had nothing to do with it.  This was done by people you elected, in fascist collaboration with companies you support (and who pay for your multi-million dollar “Pride” parades). You stood by while other sexual minorities were persecuted, and you were fine with it because it wasn’t you.  Well, now those pigeons are coming home to roost, just as sex workers told you they would.  Just as you should’ve known they would, but were too wrapped up in partisan bullshit to notice.  “Operation Choke Point“, the government’s program telling big businesses that it was not only OK but encouraged to discriminate against sexual minorities, was an Obama program, not a Trump one.  And don’t try whitewashing your direct involvement in the anti-whore crusades, ’cause Maggie has the receipts. (See all those embedded links?  There are plenty more like them.)  So sit the fuck down unless you’re going to own it and help fix the mess you helped make.

In the News (#1171)

Prosecutors are not allowed to just randomly tie defendants to heinous crimes they’re not on trial for…and yet here we are.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

To Molest and Rape (#941)

Rapist cop is still a rapist cop:

A Border Patrol [cop named Steven Holmes] who was released from jail after being charged in multiple [violent rapes]…two years ago is…now being held without bond​ in [Tucson]…He is being [protected] from other inmates due to his [being a cop]…Holmes was p[reviously…released [on bond]…with a GPS tracking device…[but a woman he has been fucking] for the past 3 months…[reported that] on Aug. 26, they were having sex [when]…”something changed” and…Holmes…[suddenly started strangling her until she] los[t]…consciousness…Holmes [then] continued [raping]…her after she had asked him to stop…She managed to leave and…called the [local] police…the[y now admit the]re may be more potential victims out there…

Panopticon (#986)

Cops will continue to do this until there are criminal penalties for it:

…the Oakland Privacy Advisory Commission has [sued]…the Oakland Police Department…[for] violat[ing] the city’s surveillance technology vetting ordinance, the city charter and multiple state laws…[by] retaining data for two years [when they’re allowed only 6 months, and by]…giving the FBI “unfettered access” to the license plate data…the police department [has] fail[ed] to audit the use of its surveillance technology…and [refused to] provid[e] information…requested under the state’s public records act…the police department has [also] used surveillance technology such as drones without a search warrant or prior approval…

I Spy (#1098)

Encryption won’t protect you if providers are willing to hand metadata to the cops:

ProtonMail is a well-known and well-regarded mail service…[which] was recently forced to cooperate with Swiss authorities in providing user data (date of account creation), which was subsequently handed over to American security authorities…That ProtonMail made its home in Switzerland has previously been a point of praise for the mail service.  However…the country is by no means a bastion of digital privacy…due in no small part to new laws passed in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris…

Dangerous Speech (#1159)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

[In] the federal trial of Backpage.com’s founders and former executives…prosecutor Reggie Jones misrepresented Backpage ads and the law, while harping on specific crimes of which the defendants aren’t even accused.  Defense lawyers are already calling for a mistrial…the…motion [states]…”The opening…consisted of inflammatory, unproven, and unprovable assertions that fail in any event to address what the government must prove to convict any defendant”…

I Spy (#1167)

“Delayed” isn’t good enough:

Apple has delayed plans to roll out its [new surveillance]…technology …citing [criticism] from customers and policy groups…The Electronic Frontier Foundation…amassed more than 25,000 signatures…[and] close to 100 policy and rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, also called on Apple to abandon plans to roll out the technology.  In…[reply], Apple [bloviated about how allowing governments to spy on everyone is]…”critically important”…Apple’s so-called NeuralHash technology…could [easily] be abused by…governments…to implicate innocent victims or [enforce criminalization of thought]…researchers…were [even] able to…trick…the system into thinking two entirely different images were the same…

A Broker in Pillage (#1170)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Ameal Woods was driving near Houston in May 2019 when he was pulled over by a Harris County [cop using the common pretext that he was suppos]edly…driving too close to a semi-truck.  The [cop used this an excuse to rob]…Woods’ and his wife’s life savings…$43,200 in cash…that Woods and Davis say they planned on using to…purchase a tractor-trailer for Woods’ trucking business…Now Woods and his wife, Jordan Davis, are the lead plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit…against Harris County…by the Institute for Justice…Harris County prosecutors have a pattern of seeking civil forfeitures based on boilerplate [fantasies] written by [cops] who were not…the[re]…at least 113 forfeiture petitions since 2016…used stock language and identical phrases…[which] led to errors…such as contradictory dates and incorrectly stating what property was s[tolen by the cops]…Harris County’s forfeiture practices fail to provide owners with prompt hearings to challenge property seizures, require owners to prove their own innocence, and create perverse profit incentives for law enforcement, all of which violates the Texas constitution…

To Molest and Rape (#1170)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A Mohave County (Arizona) [cop] is facing a felony charge of s[tatutory rape]…after he was arrested on…Aug[ust 31]…when Kingman police…[discovered] Andrew Jacob Sundberg…[had intentionally gotten] a 15-year-old girl [drunk so as to seduce her]…

Diary #585

It’s harvest time again, and that means processing fruit!  The heat wave stunted our blackberries and plums, so I only got enough of the former for a few bowls of berries with cream, and enough of the latter to make a plum cobbler and two jars of jam.  But the fruit we did get of both was wonderfully juicy and sweet.  The apples, on the other hand, appear to have done quite well; last week Chekhov gathered a whole cart full of them, and after I culled out the bad ones I still had enough that, after coring, filled the three big bowls you see here plus one of my extra-large stock pots.  After pulping it all fit into the three bowls, and I was able to press about 6 liters of juice from all that.  So I’ve got a carboy fermenting into cider in the dark, cool, under-stair cupboard, and two mason jars of fresh juice in the fridge (well, one now, because the fresh stuff is so much better than store-bought apple juice it’s almost like a different thing).  There are still plenty of apples on the trees, so I plan to keep gathering and pressing until there aren’t, and I hope to get at least two more carboys of cider plus enough to make four to six jars of apple butter; I hadn’t made it before last year, and it came out so well I kicked myself for only doing two jars.  After pressing, we mix the resulting pomace into the feed for Shiloh and Jonathan, but as you can see, Cicero prefers his fresh (and seems quite happy with cores).

Always Alternatives

Even though OnlyFans reversed its recent decision to banish sex workers, any company who turns on us so quickly can be counted on to do so again at the slightest provocation.  I’ve never gone the porn route myself, so I know very little about the ecosystem; however, I recently saw a Twitter account called “Dream Girls Fan Club” post this on Twitter.  I asked what name the creators would like me to credit and received no answer, but I’m not going to fail to share it because it seems to me they did a very thorough job, and if there’s anything here that can help sex workers to find a more stable work environment, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pass it on.

Links #584

You’re killing me.  –  Kyle Maurice Vinson

A few weeks ago Twitter reader Slow Barney called my attention to this video from a British impressionist who prank-called Tom Baker and got back as good as he gave!  The links above it were provided by Dan Savage, Cop Crisis, Eric Sprankle, Radley Balko, Rick Horowitz, and Cop Crisis again, in that order.

From the Archives

In the News (#1170)

This is an inherently abusive power that [cops] should not have.  –  Wesley Hottot

If Men Were Angels

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

A woman is suing the Grace Baptist Church in Lansingburgh, [New York, because] its leadership ignored her daily sexual abuse as a [teen from 15-17] at the hands of a youth pastor – then claimed that she had “led him on”…Larry Hallock…sexually abused the victim “on a daily basis” between 2000 and 2002 in the church…Hallock’s wife sent the [victim] several letters acknowledging…the abuse…

No Moss

This time Rolling Stone wasn’t alone in gulping down a load of codswallop:

KFOR, an Oklahoma news channel, reported last week that rural hospitals throughout the state were in danger of becoming overwhelmed by…overdoses of ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug promoted by [anti-]vaccine [cranks] as a possible treatment for COVID-19.  The story went viral…under the headline: “Patients overdosing on ivermectin backing up rural Oklahoma hospitals”…[and] was quickly picked up by…Rolling Stone, Newsweekand the New York Daily Newsin fact, [there’s] little reason to believe a purported strain on Oklahoma hospitals is caused by ivermectin overdoses; one hospital served by the doctor quoted in the KFOR article released a statement saying it has not treated any ivermectin overdoses, nor has it been forced to turn away patients…but…at no point did [the interviewed doctor, Jason] McElyea actually come out and say that ivermectin overdoses were straining hospitals…It was the journalist, Katelyn Ogle, who added that framing…This means, of course, that if the national media outlets had called the doctor or the hospitals, they would have easily uncovered the error.  Instead, they [careless]ly spread it…

Stalkers in Blue

Another cop demonstrating what he is:

A [typical and representative] Arkansas [cop] will spend ten years in prison for stalking a…woman for more than three years…In 2016, Skylar Galloway was working at a family-owned gas station…The owner’s brother was [typical and representative cop] Mark Holland…Galloway eventually moved and switched jobs.  A month later, anonymous emails came [demanding] nude photos…[along with threats] like “If I have to come over there, I’ll take my own pics. I’m going to get what I want.”  Another read, “You are going to scream and moan, but you probably won’t really like it.”  She started filing police reports…but was turned away [because birds of a feather]…So she decided to…start…investigating…[and] after three years of digging. she realized it was Holland in December 2019.  Within five days, he was arrested by his own department and charged with 20 felonies…

Social Distancing (#1046)

Once a government takes more power, it never really relinquishes it again:

[Using the excuse of] coronavirus…Australia’s federal and state governments imposed draconian restrictions on its citizens [that even the] Prime Minister…[admits are far] too heavy…Before 2020, the idea of Australia all but forbidding its citizens from leaving the country, a restriction associated with Communist regimes, was unthinkable.  Today, it is…policy…Intrastate travel within Australia is also severely restricted…The state of Victoria announced a curfew and suspended its Parliament for key parts of the pandemic…In New South Wales…the…military [was deployed] to enforce lockdowns…anti-lockdown protests were banned, and when dissenters gathered anyway, hundreds were arrested and fined…Enduring rules of th[is] sort would certainly render a country a police state…with COVID-19 now thought to be endemic, rather than a temporary emergency the nation could avoid, how much time must pass before we must regard Australia as illiberal and unfree?…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

Stephen Lara [was pulled over in Nevada by a cop using the common pretext]…that he’d been…following a…truck too closely…the [pigs rooted through]…his…vehicle, [steal]ing nearly $87,000 in a zip-top bag from Lara’s trunk and [pretend]ing a drug-sniffing dog had detected something on the cash…Lara…was charged with no crime.  But [cops]…call[ed] a [DEA spook] to [engineer] an “adoption,” [a scam] which allows [local cops to circumvent state laws curtailing such robbery by enlisting] federal authorities to [pretend that they were the ones who] seize[d] cash or property the[n give most of it back to the local pigs]…It was only after Lara got a lawyer, sued and talked with The Washington Post about his ordeal that the government said it would return his money [due to the bad publicity]…Justice Department [mouthpiece] Joshua Stueve [oinked that] the government “is reviewing existing policy on adoptive forfeitures”…

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A federal lawsuit accusing Twitter of sex trafficking can move forward, says District Judge Joseph C. Spero, in a decision that could portend a dangerous expansion of how courts define “sex trafficking”…[under] FOSTA…The case…was brought by…Morality in Media, [the Kennedy-era pro-censorship group] that also opposes NetflixAmazon, and Cosmopolitan magazine [and now wants to be called “The National Center on Sexual Exploitation”.  MiM wants the court to rule]…that soliciting a sex video from someone under age 18 amounts to sex trafficking…[and that] unwittingly providing a platform for a third party to post or link to that video makes one part of a sex trafficking enterprise…the teens—who were 13 or 14 years old at the time—recorded themselves engaging in sexual activity and used Snapchat to share these videos with a third party [the]y believed to be a peer.  The recipient turned out to be an adult, who allegedly blackmailed one of the teens…into providing additional sexual content…The perpetrator could have been held individually responsible, since blackmail and soliciting obscenity from minors are both crimes.  Instead, [MiM] is going after a bigger, richer, and much more high-profile target…

To Molest and Rape (#1168)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A Los Angeles Co[p]…has been arrested for…molesting a 16-year-old girl in Rancho Cucamonga.  Antonio Heriberto Galindo…coached girls’ softball teams…[as a means of finding and grooming] victims…

Bathhouse 43

It’s difficult to show you a picture of what we’ve been doing on the roof structure, but I think this might work.  The reinforcement you can see here is a kind of cap made from steel plates, crowning the wooden post which used to support the old awning that came with the house.  Three of the four posts were still sound, and the fourth was only rotten at the top, so we cut that one off below deck-level to serve as a support.  You can see how the one that formerly supported the northeast corner of the awning in last week’s picture; this is the top of the one that formerly supported the northwest corner, and the one at the southwest corner is crowned by the same kind of fixture.  The idea is to help support the header beam along the roof, just as the smaller bracket at right (and seven others like it) do, so as not to put all the strain on the roof of this section (which dates to about 1950).  Next week I should have some more high steel to show you, but if not the electrician is connecting up the hot tub so there’s that.

Is it Legal?

Is it legal in New York City to meet a professional at a short-stay motel for the purposes of a BDSM session? The only sexual activity contemplated would be masturbation by me while naked.

There’s little point in concerning yourself with whether a consensual sex act is “legal” or not, because cops can and will arrest anyone they think they can get away with arresting, whether the supposed act they’re arresting someone for is legal, illegal, or nothing more than a product of their own sick imaginations.  The only relatively certain way to avoid arrest any time you step out of your front door is to avoid cops; when sex is involved, that means contracting with an established professional.  If you see someone with a long and proven professional history, you’re as safe as you are doing just about anything else involving sex (and much safer than doing the same thing with an amateur) regardless of the diktats of power-hungry busybodies; if you try to see someone without a reputation, there’s no way to guarantee it isn’t a cop and you won’t end up in the paper under a headline that screams “SEX TRAFFICKING!” regardless of whether you did anything any sane person would consider wrong or criminal.

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

In the News (#1169)

Financial Times omits any mention of the nature of [the] groups…[who] inten[d] to “eradicate” an entire legal industry.  –  Gustavo Turner

Follow Your Bliss

Understand that people like this are the norm in policing sexual offenses, and always will be:

An FBI agent who investigated sex crimes against children has been arrested and charged with multiple sex crimes against children across several states…David Harris [got himself] tasked with investigating crimes against children, including child pornography…[so it’s no surprise that] in February…he…expos[ed] himself to a 14-year-old girl…while on vacation in [Florida]…but…the…investigation…led to other [sex] crimes committed by Harris [against both] minors and adults in…Louisiana and Texas…[snooping in Harris’ phone revealed] conversation[s in which he admitted]…his sexual preference [for] underage [girls] and [bragging about] his exploits…Harris was arrested earlier this summer in Ascension Parish [Louisiana] and…has outstanding arrests warrants…from East Baton Rouge and Orleans Parish[es and] Tyler, Texas…

Traffic Jam (#403)

By this standard of “evidence”, Johnny Cash is lucky he was never accused of murder:

A jury found Defendant, Jaimian Sims, guilty of sex trafficking a minor and…the…court imposed a life sentence.  Sims appeals…arguing [among other things] … that certain rap videos were improperly admitted into evidence and shown to the jury…He contends that the lyrics…were fictional and did not depict his real life…Although these videos speak only generally to the pimping lifestyle and are cumulative of testimony in that respect, the violence and weapons depicted in the videos are relevant to the force charge—that Sims sex trafficked by force, fraud, or coercion…[the judges declared they we]re satisfied that the videos were not harmful to the defense…

License to Rape (#652)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

State officials say a new grant will be used to provide training for Georgia law enforcement officers to draw blood from drivers [without their consent so as to]…prosecut[e them for] DUI…

If you’re not horrified by the prospect of psychopathic thugs running around with permission to jam needles into people’s bodies without their consent on the side of the road, you must be new to this blog.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#799)

Expect the equation of human sexuality with pollution to become more common:

The editorial board of the Financial Times — arguably the world’s most influential news source for the banking, investment and overall finance industries — published an editorial…[which] compares sex work and adult content to…environmental pollutants, and parrots sensationalist pieces by The New York Times and the BBC alleging a non-existent “proliferation” of illegal content on adult sites…The subhead…soberly warns its readers…that working with the porn industry “can pose legal as well as reputational risks”…It’s the old circular argument favored by censors, prudes and well-paid religious anti-porn activists: reputable banks should not do business with sex workers or porn because they have been known to look for alternative forms of financing — which sex workers and porn are forced to resort to because reputable banks won’t do business with them…“The argument for banks to stay away from porn is, if anything, stronger than staying away from coal,” is the Financial Times’ take on that dubious comparison…

Scapegoats (#930)

It’s fascinating how the State has changed the excuse for these laws from “morality” to “animal abuse”:

[Typical and representative cop] Terry Yetman…was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of animals…including filming sex with his own police K9.  This decorated cop was also charged with 31 counts of child pornography several months later.  Now, nearly 3 years after his initial arrest…Yetman — despite facing over 70 charges — pleaded guilty to just one count of possession of child pornography and five counts of sexual abuse of an animal…He faces a total of 45 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender…

Rough Trade (#1043) 

Gee, I wonder why this happens so often in Ireland?

A Dublin man [who] attack[ed] and violently h[eld] three women in his home against their will during separate incidents has been denied bail.  Aaron Barwell…[attacked] three [different]…escorts…on 29 January, 13 August and [27 August].  He is also accused of making threats to kill or cause serious harm to two of the women…[Barwell apparently believed that claiming] the third incident was prompted by a theft of cocaine, and the others arose after [he refused to] pay…[the escorts would somehow get the judge to grant him bail]…

A Moral Cancer (#1157)

Though the claim that certain foods can take “time off one’s life” is not new, I’ve never one this absurdly specific:

…[Nutritionists] at the University of Michigan…created a Health Nutritional Index which [claims to quantify] the nutritional impact…of almost 6,000 foods and calculated the health burden of each one.  Their findings [predictably singled out popular, pleasant foods, claiming] that every hot dog a person eats takes…36 minutes off their healthy life expectancy.  Soft drinks…shortened life by 12 minutes, bacon by six minutes…each double cheeseburger…nine minutes….[and] each portion of cheese…a minute off [the un]healthy [end of] life…the index also [claims] that it’s equally possible to [magically]  add minutes…each banana was [claimed] to add 13 and a half minutes…as was a portion of baked salmon…a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…[supposedly] adds a whopping 33 minutes to life…

The puritanical notion that lifelong deprivation of pleasure in the vague hope of adding a few extra minutes of senility and decreptitude to the far end of one’s old age – a time one has only a 50% chance of reaching in the first place, statistically – is so alien to my way of thinking, I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it, even as a concept for consideration.