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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

 

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Regular readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth, I ask those who aren’t sex workers to stand up for us.  If you’re one of them, you already know the sorts of things I’m going to say; if you aren’t, you can simply go back and read the essay for the August 2021 occurence, which contained quotes and links for every occurence of this particular day and date combination.  And if you value all the work I’ve done fighting for sex workers over the past 14 years, a concrete sign of that (via continuing subscription or one-time donation) would not only be deeply appreciated, but also provide vital resources for the continuance of that work.

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People often use the titular expression as a generic expression of gratitude, but when I use it I mean it literally.  And by “you” I mean my loyal subscribers and readers who, even if they don’t actually subscribe, have always been generous when I ask for help with a specific expense, such as travel for speaking or a budgetary shortfall like the one I faced in the autumn.  Every month I see notice of incoming subscriptions from my stalwarts, some of whom have supported me in this way for the better part of a decade.  And when I ask for help with a specific goal, it rarely takes more than a few weeks to hit it.  I don’t know if that’s normal for blogs, but I do know that without that unflagging support this one would’ve folded years ago.  It’s not the hosting expenses; those are relatively small and I have no problem justifying them to myself.  No, it’s the sheer amount of work involved.  When I first started writing The Honest Courtesan, 40 was still visible in the rear-view mirror and I had years of pent-up anger and creative passion with which to drive my effort; now 60 is perceptible on the horizon and, as is the way of the world, my internal fires no longer  blaze as brightly as they once did.  If I thought nobody was reading this and few cared about my work, I would’ve closed up shop long ago.  But if there’s one thing being a whore has taught me, it’s that people value the things they pay for.  Whenever I receive a subscription notice or a contribution to one of my fundraisers, it sends me a message loudly and clearly: this reader cares about you and thinks what you’re doing is important.  And when I’m tired or feeling down, such gifts and their implied message give me a lift and keep me going.  There’s something beautiful, magical and a bit awe-inspiring about this kind of generosity; as I pointed out a couple of months ago, I haven’t paywalled this blog and I’m not going to even threaten to paywall it, because it doesn’t feel ethically right to me.  And yet, y’all give me what I need to be able to treat this as a part-time job without any kind of direct exchange or PBS-station-style-bribery on my part.  I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much that means to me; I’m not often at a loss for words, but my powers fail me when I sit down to try to express my gratitude.  In fact, I sometimes worry that y’all may feel I’m ungrateful or take all this for granted, and I cast about for some more concrete way to express it…only to realize that nothing I could come up with would express it any better than demonstrating my commitment to our implied pact by making sure that there’s a new post every day, and by reminding y’all that I’m only an email away if you need more direct (and, needless to say, discreet) advice or professional expertise.  But now my words are failing again; I feel the ones I’ve written here are woefully inadequate to express my feelings.  And yet, they’re the only ones I have, so I can only hope that y’all can sense the depth of emotion behind these all-too-limited sentences.

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Most people are far too frightened of reality to admit that their government wantonly enacts laws and procedures whose specific and intentional purpose is to destroy the lives of anyone it has designated an “enemy of the state”.

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If you’ve been putting off donating to my toy drive this year, this is your wake-up call!  TODAY is the last day for donations; the collection center only accepts them through the 17th (one week before Christmas Eve), and I need at least a few days to buy them and get them to Olympia before then (especially because it’s been unusually snowy already this month).  Please help me to make this a merry Christmas for children who might otherwise have nothing; every $100 buys five to ten toys (like most things, they’re far more expensive than they used to be), so a successful drive brings joy to dozens of children.  But I can’t do it alone; please help top off my toy-buying account for this final shopping trip this season!

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Every year on this day, the traditional beginning of the Yuletide season in the US, I remind my readers that the real spirit of the season involves giving to others rather than literally fighting to get more for yourself.  Children and whores are St. Nick’s two favorite groups of people; you can help the latter by donating to a sex worker charity such as SWOP Behind Bars, or you can help both by booking a session with a sex worker you know has kids.  If you don’t know any, you can help by participating in my annual toy drive!  From now until Monday, December 12th, I’m collecting donations with which to buy toys, which I then donate to Toys for Tots.  In the past I tied session-time to the donations, but since I’m semi-retired that’s not really a workable deal any more; besides, my readers have always been so generous I’ve only had a few collect on the bargain!  If you’re in the Seattle area, we may be able to meet in person; otherwise you can send it via PayPal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net.  Since I’m also working on my own blog’s funding right now (see that thermometer in the right-hand margin?), make sure you put “Toys for Tots” in the memo so I’ll know where you intend the donation to go.  And if you can afford only one, please make it to the toy drive!

As you can see from the pictures, my readers have always risen to the occasion to help provide some simple joy to needy children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas morning.  If you’re not hurting economically yourself, please consider donating (either to my drive or to one near you); rising inflation is taking a bite out of many people’s income, so there will be less money for toys this year.  And while we adults can understand that, it can be heartbreaking for very young children to think Santa Claus has forgotten them or bypassed them because they were naughty.  Please help if you can!

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You can’t win an unwinnable war.  –  José Irizarry

R.I.P. Carol Leigh

Carol Leigh, one of the leading figures of the US sex worker movement (she was the person who actually coined the term “sex work”) has died at 71 after a 7-year battle with uterine cancer.  Carol became involved in activism just a year after she became a sex worker in 1977, and was involved in nearly every aspect  of the movement throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and Oughts; even later she was always happy to give advice and guidance to younger activists like me.  She was so well-known that even the mainstream media (including the AP, the NewYork Times and the San Francisco Chronicle) published obituaries, but the title links to one by a sex-work-friendly reporter (albeit in a publication which can’t seem to make up its mind); I’ll also be linking memorial essays from those who knew her as they appear.

Perquisites

Are statists really so delusional they can’t grasp that this is inevitable when men are given this kind of power and privilege?

José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history…[for] conspiring with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive sportscars, Tiffany jewels and [women] around the world.  But…Irizarry says he won’t go down for this alone, accusing some long-trusted DEA colleagues of joining him in skimming millions of dollars from drug money laundering stings to fund a decade’s worth of luxury overseas travel, fine dining, top seats at sporting events and frat house-style debauchery…federal agents, prosecutors, informants and in some cases cartel smugglers themselves were all in on the three-continent joyride known as “Team America” that chose cities for money laundering pick-ups mostly for party purposes or to coincide with Real Madrid soccer or Rafael Nadal tennis matches.  That included stops along the way in VIP rooms of Caribbean strip joints, Amsterdam’s red-light district and aboard a Colombian yacht that launched with plenty of booze and more than a dozen prostitutes…All this revelry was rooted, Irizarry said, in a…reali[stic assessment] among DEA agents…that there’s nothing they can do to make a dent in the drug war anyway…“We know we’re not making a difference…The drug war is…a very fun game that we were playing”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1104)

Useful idiots destroying any possibility that the facial recognition djinni can ever be rebottled:

…public anxiety about crime seems to be peaking. Determined to [capitalize on hysteria in order to win]…votes), major cities including San Francisco, Chicago, and New Orleans are turning to…surveillance as a [pretend] solution.  This marks a big shift, especially for a city like San Francisco, which in 2019 became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by…police.  Boston, Portland, Oakland, and Jackson, Mississippi, have since followed…But…the [public is fickle and fearful]…“We went from a long-term view to an extremely short-term view,” explained Tracy Rosenberg…[of] Oakland Privacy…“[concerns about] the end of public anonymity…ha[ve] largely been replaced by a narrative that [says]…the short-term implications on your life right now are more important than any sort of future surveillance state”…San Francisco’s…passed a policy that will allow [cops]…to [root through]…footage of private security cameras [without a warrant]…Cities…expanding the use of surveillance technology…risk entrenching a permanent surveillance infrastructure that may be difficult to dismantle down the road.  “The history of surveillance suggests that it’s not easy to put the genie back in the bottle,” argues Rosenberg.  One of the most high-profile examples of this dynamic comes out of New Orleans, where [politicians] are poised to expand police surveillance less than two years after passing a sweeping facial recognition ban

Torture Chamber (#1186)

It’d be great if US cities could flush their toxic waste before somebody dies:

…Forks, Washington, will pay $1 million to settle a lawsuit…filed by the family of a young…woman who committed suicide in jail after being harassed by a guard with a long history of misconduct…John Gray…would later be convicted of sexually assaulting four other [helpless caged] women.  But when Kimberly Bender—a 23-year-old Quileute tribal member struggling with drug addiction and depression—tried to report Gray’s misconduct, the Forks jail [blew her off while Gray]…sexually torment[ed] her…[until] she…hanged herself in her cell…

Torture Chamber (#1189)

I’m sure they helpfully yelled “Stop faking!” at him as he died:

…Thousands die while locked [in cages by the State] each year…a third of [them]…are younger than 55, many suffering from untreated or poorly treated illnesses, with the prison healthcare system frequently deciding that treatments for common and debilitating ailments are not “medically necessary”…“If it’s not life-threatening in that moment…they put it off and tell you to…take ibuprofen,” said Tonya Wilson…an advocate with Freedom Project…[Clifford] Farrar, [a type I diabetic] who required four insulin shots a day, was initially given access to needles, test strips and a glucometer…But…prison…[bureaucrats in Washington state soon started refusing to pay] for…insulin supplies…and…on 27 December [of last year], Farrar…was found lying on the ground…with blood coming from his mouth…he…was declared dead 20 minutes later…the prison had repeatedly neglected his health, including by denying him supplies that could have prevented his seizures, failing to check on him when he did not arrive to get his insulin shot, and responding too slowly to his final emergency…

Creepy Coppers

Just another typical and representative cop:

A Chesapeake [Virginia cop named]…Timothy M. Newton…was charged with more than 20 felony child pornography offenses [after an unknown party snitched on him]…

To Molest and Rape (#1275)

This just keeps getting worse:

[Typical and representative] Kansas City [cop]…Roger Golubski…[faces charges of conspiring with] Cecil Brooks, LeMark Roberson and Richard Robinson…[to run a violent pimping scheme] from 1996 to 1998…Brooks, Roberson and Robinson all…used physical beatings, sexual assault and threats to compel the young women to provide sexual services to men…Golubski…accepted [bribes] from Brooks, provided protection from law enforcement, and forcibly raped a[t least one] young woman…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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The scale of this is beyond what anyone imagines.  –  Anna Arons

Without Let or Hindrance

Some people still believe these sociopaths are motivated by a desire to “protect children”:

Across the nation, child protective services agencies [violate] the home lives of roughly 3.5 million children [and teenagers] every year…only about 5% of them are ultimately [declared] to have been physically or sexually abused.  With rare exceptions, all of these investigations include at least one [raid], and often multiple…Yet in a ProPublica and NBC News survey that drew detailed responses from 40 state child welfare agencies, all said they would only obtain a warrant or court order to search a home — or call the police for [backup] — in rare cases when they are denied entry…It’s a staggering reality — likely millions of warrantless searches a year — and one that has not been reported [adequately] before…

To Molest and Rape

Typical and representative, by their own admission:

Kansas’ 2021 Officer of the Year has been indicted on charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery…Guillermo Gutierrez…[committed the crime] on May 19, 2022, in Dodge City…

Comfort Zone (#873)

The UK finally admits the “human trafficking” narrative is about migration control:

The Home Office has taken the modern slavery brief away from the minister responsible for safeguarding and classed it as an “illegal immigration and asylum” issue…The move is seen as a clear sign that the department is doubling down on Suella Braverman’s suggestion that people are “gaming” the modern slavery system and…“derailing the UK’s policy on illegal migration”…

The Last Shall Be First (#1265) 

Moral imbeciles are almost completely out of control:

A bill introduced in the Michigan Legislature…could mean life in prison for any parent or doctor who “consents to, obtains, or assists with a gender transition procedure for a child”…[where “child” is used to mean “legal minor”]…Gender transition procedures are defined to include not just surgical interventions but also the prescription of puberty blockers and hormones…under the proposed change, prescribing puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to a teenager would be equivalent to severely beating a child.  And it would be defined as a more severe form of abuse than starving or abandoning a kid…

Unsafe for Human Consumption (#1279)

The stupider the belief, the harder it is to debunk:

Florida’s [Propagandist] General continues to…[drum up hysteria about migration, claim]ing that its effects are spilling over into all aspects of life…Ashley Moody [went on] Fox & Friends [to spread tall tales] about how transnational drug gangs are bringing in lethal narcotic cocktails, [imagin]ing that some of these concoctions may take the form of popular candies.  “We’re seeing them put it in candy packaging, like Nerds packaging. And Halloween’s coming up and those of us with young children have to…start learning about the fentanyl crisis and warning our children”…Host Ainsley Earhardt [confused] the topic…[by say]ing…“so many people are sending their children off to college right now. It’s fall…and we worry that they’re going to take one little pill just because it looks like candy”…

Yes, these people are actually conflating young men and women of university age with children so young they’ll put anything that looks like candy in their mouths.  I couldn’t have invented anything so imbecilic, infantilizing, and disconnected from reality even if I had money riding on it.

Choke Point (#1280)

PayPal is becoming a major threat to civil liberties:

PayPay HK has halted services for the League of Social Democrats (LSD) – one of the remaining active pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong – due to unspecified “excessive risks”…[without] explain[ing] what the “excessive risks” are…Chow Ka-fat…of the LSD [sai]d…the group had not been able to accept any new donations via its PayPal account since the day it received the email, but they can still withdraw money from it…

Stalkers in Blue (#1281)

No, this is a different Louisville cop stealing women’s nude pictures:

A [typical and representative] Louisville [cop]…used [cop surveillance] technology as part of a scheme that involved hacking the Snapchat accounts of young women and using sexually explicit photos and videos they had taken to extort them…Bryan Wilson used his…access to Accurint, a powerful data-combing software used by police departments to [snoop in people’s private business without a warrant]…to obtain information about potential victims.  He would then share that information with a hacker, who would hack into private Snapchat accounts to obtain sexually explicit photos and videos….Wilson would then contact the women, threatening to post the photos and videos online and share them with their friends, family, employer and co-workers unless more sexually explicit material was provided to him…Wilson…[has already] pleaded guilty to a cyberstalking charge as well as to a charge related to…[a scheme] in which Wilson and other [pigs] assaulted pedestrians by throwing beverages out of unmarked p[igmobile]s, sometimes filming their exploits…

 

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so very much!

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I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks very much!

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Sex workers are collateral damage in th[e “progressive”] quest to build the perfect internet.  –  Evan Greer

The Missing Word (#570)

Notice what nobody calls this?

For almost seven years, two Pennsylvania judges sent hundreds of [teens and] children—some of them as young as 8 years old—to privately run juvenile detention centers in exchange for financial kickbacks…[now] former Judges Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan [have been ordered] to pay over $200 million in compensatory and punitive damages to their victims.  Starting in 2000, the pair sent children into juvenile detention for offenses as innocuous as jaywalking, petty theft, or truancy.  In what became known as the “kids for cash” scandal, the [victims] were sent to two privately run detention centers whose builder and co-owner paid the men $2.8 million…over the course of the scheme…following the plot’s discovery, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court…thr[ew] out 4,000 juvenile convictions…[but] many of the plaintiffs still suffer from mental health problems.  Several…died by suicide or drug overdose in the years after their detention…Unfortunately, it is unlikely that any of the plaintiffs will [actually] receive [any] financial compensation…[because] Ciavarella and Conahan are now serving lengthy prison sentences.  Ciavarella was sentenced to 28 years…and Conahan…17…though he was released to home confinement in 2020…[due to] COVID-19…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#1009)

Another baby step toward recognizing sex work as work:

…a group of former Star Garden [exotic] dancers…filed a petition for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, through the established actors union Actors’ Equity Assn…If the[y]…succeed, it would be the first time the century-old union that represents actors and stage managers on Broadway and venues such as the Hollywood Pantages Theatre would include strippers in its ranks.  Star Garden would become the first unionized strip club in the U.S. since…the Lusty Lady…closed in 2013…But…most of the strippers seeking representation said they have not worked at Star Garden since mid-March, when they raised safety concerns and were subsequently [fired]…Union lawyers will need to convince the National Labor Relations Board the strippers are Star Garden employees who were unduly terminated in order to be eligible to participate in a union vote and secure a shot at winning…

The Widening Gyre (#1116)

The latest iteration of “sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!” has it all: the roses from the item linked in the subtitle, themselves only one example of the “valuable bait” trope, are loaded with the magic instant-overdose fentanyl of cop fantasies instead of the unidentified magic contact poison of earlier iterations of this myth.  Given that cops have recently started claiming that the magic fentanyl is being intentionally sprinkled onto $1 bills, the convergence is pretty clear; presumably the fentanyl-using “traffickers”, no doubt driving around in white vans, are also dropping the bait bills where cops can find them so as to stop their heroic anti-trafficking pogroms, or something.

A Broker in Pillage (#1147)

Absolutely nothing is “safe” if government actors know where it is:

The FBI [lied] to…a federal magistrate judge…[claiming] that it intended to open hundreds of safe deposit boxes s[tolen] during a March 2021 raid in order to inventory the items inside—but new evidence shows that federal agents were plotting all along to use the operation as an opportunity to [steal] cash and other valuables…the FBI also seems to have ignored limitations imposed by the warrant, including an explicit prohibition against using the…boxes as the basis for further criminal investigations…agents…were instructed to be on the lookout for cash…and to note…anything which [might give the government a pretext to steal it]…Agents [even] arranged to have drug-sniffing dogs present…which doesn’t do anything to help inventory items, of course, but makes more sense if the actual goal is to initiate forfeiture proceedings…

You Were Warned (#1218)

Looks like Reddit is covering its butt as a hedge against more FOSTA-enabled predatory lawsuits:

…adult content creator[s have]…recently found themselves abruptly removed or had their Reddit account limited without warning.  Sex workers have long been subject to deplatforming on most social media platforms…yet even though Reddit has a reputation for being relatively sex-positive compared to other Big Tech sites, sex workers are increasingly finding themselves restricted or even outright permanently banned on the platform, often without notice or…explanation…“The fact that sex workers are reporting an uptick on Reddit is particularly concerning because it has been one of the last places where this type of content is allowed,” says Evan Greer, director of the digital rights organization Fight for the Future, citing Twitter as the only other example of a platform that still continues to allow NSFW content…

The Vultures Descend

You can always count on my native state to out-Herod Herod:

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry…successfully urged the Louisiana Bond Commission…to delay a $39 million future line of credit for the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board–which the city needs for [a dedicated power station for] its flood response–until city officials agree to enforce the state’s abortion ban.  The move comes right at the start of hurricane season, on the same day New Orleans…issued a flood advisory…Even Republican state senator Bret Allain warned that because the sewerage and water board is a state-created agency, he finds it “problematic” to target New Orleans over their abortion stance…

The Last Shall Be First (#1244)

If you didn’t see this coming, you haven’t been paying attention:

After one competitor “outclassed” the rest of the field in a girls’ state-level competition last year, the parents of the competitors who placed second and third lodged a complaint with the Utah High School Activities Association calling into question the winner’s gender.  David Spatafore, the UHSAA’s legislative representative…said the association…asked the student’s school to…examine…the students’ enrollment records [going]…“back to kindergarten and she’d always been a female”…Spatafore said the association has received other complaints, some that said “that female athlete doesn’t look feminine enough”…

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