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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

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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I finally figured out why I haven’t started a Substack or otherwise paywalled my writing: it’s a conflict between my whore ethics and my librarian ethics, and the librarian ethics are winning.  It’s no secret that I find paywalls distateful; their existence is one of the reasons most of the links on my blog are now archived versions of the originals (because archive sites circumvent about 95% of paywalls).  I’m not saying I don’t think people should be paid for their writing; not only is that completely untrue, I’d be a hypocrite for claiming it because I do charge for my writing, in book form.  Maybe it’s just that I’m old-fashioned; a book feels like a thing to me, whereas my thoughts seem like…something else?  Look, I didn’t promise you this would make sense; I’m just telling you how I feel, and I only recently figured it out myself.  But at the same time, I obviously need to pull in more money from my writing, since my semi-retirement income has been eaten into by inflation (and other factors I’ve discussed before).  So other than getting a wealthy patron to underwrite me (and if you have a large amount of money you feel like bestowing upon me in order to enable me to keep doing what I’m doing, please let me know), I think the best bet is to start taking advertising.  Here again, there’s a conflict; due to my principles I find the idea of letting just anybody advertise on my blog without my approval (am I misunderstanding how “ad delivery” services work?) utterly revolting, and though my principles won’t pay the bills I refuse to be a hypocrite and allow my readers to be attacked by the same blinking, flashing, jumping, drifting, popping ads which I find necessary to eliminate via an adblocker lest they assault my vertigo and aggravate my anxiety.  So if you know about an ad service which displays static ads that don’t intentionally harass and irritate the viewer, and further can help me get connected with them, please email and let me know.  Please don’t contact me to say, “Oh, you just Google it” or “go to Cash4u.com and sign up” or anything like that, because if I were capable of doing it myself I’d have done it over a year ago.  I know it’s hard for some (many? most?) of y’all to grasp that there are some things I’m really just not good at, but it happens to be the truth; if I’m going to do this I’m going to need my hand held through the whole process.  So if you think you have the knowledge and inclination to help me through this; and you’re willing to take the time and spend the effort to walk me through it step by tiny step (despite the fact that the difficulty of the task will likely fall somewhere between “teaching a cat to swim” and “teaching a gibbon to drive”); and you really respect my work and want me to continue being able to do it, please let me know ASAP.  Or alternately, if you want to play Medici to my Leonardo, that would work too.

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Later this evening I’ll be home from my two-week trip to Freedom Fest via Eugene, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.  Though I don’t really mind long drives, it was nice that most of the legs averaged only 5 hours each:  5 hours from Sunset to Eugene, 6 from Eugene to just north of Sacramento, 5 from Sacramento to Los Angeles, 4 from LA to Las Vegas, and 5 from Baker City, Oregon to Seattle.  The only long day was Sunday, 10 hours from Vegas to Baker City; this evening after dinner I’ll head home, but that’s only 2 hours.  I managed to combine a number of stops into this one journey:  Eugene was to attend the last day of Nicole Gililland’s case (at her request); Sacramento was for an overnight with one of my generous gentlemen; Los Angeles was for a lovely four-night visit with my friend Angela, during which I did my best to be sober for as few hours as I could manage; and Las Vegas was for Freedom Fest as mentioned before.  It felt a little strange not to have any speaking engagements at a conference, but I did a lot of one-on-one education and some strategizing, and it’s always good to see the friends I typically get to see only at conferences and other activist events.  And those of y’all who donated to help me out will be glad to know that even with sky-high California gas prices and sky-high Las Vegas food prices, I managed to do the whole thing well within my budget!

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Since I was one of the loudmouthed harlots who helped create the social climate which made all this possible, I think I’ve earned at least a little rest.  –  “Eleventh Anniversary

I think I can safely say without fear of contradiction that this is the largest single-creator blog on the internet; it now consists of 4384 daily posts, 106 static pages, and far too many words to count, published over a period long enough for a typical sex worker to have been reading it since she was a schoolgirl.  Indeed, I’ve been told many times that my blog helped a lot of girls get their bearings when they were contemplating a sex work career, or helped them solve problems when they were still green.  A lot of today’s activists were inspired by my work, and quite a few journalists, academics, thoughtful people in general, and even politicians credit me with opening their eyes to the truth about sex work and the lies spewed by authoritarians about it.  When I started this blog, the “sex trafficking” hysteria had not yet reached its peak; now (as I predicted over ten years ago) it’s imploding in real time, and many of those who were only too happy to profit from the moral panic are now being forced to distance themselves from it.  This does not, unfortunately, mean that things are becoming better for sex workers; as I also wrote way back when,

…the “trafficking” myth [is] “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates“, and…[in] this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt…

Those of y’all who have been paying attention probably already recognize that we’re in that last and most dangerous phase.  Decades of allowing puritans, crypto-moralists, copsuckers, badge-lickers, petty tyrants, deranged busybodies, violent sociopaths, and other opportunistic, power-hungry trash to undermine civil liberties in the name of “safety” has created the dystopia into which the United States is collapsing, pulling much of the Western world with it, and a lot of the rest of the developed world is competing to be even more awful.  Free thought and free expression are in greater danger than they have been at any time since the Enlightenment, and the Marching Morons who make up three-quarters of the human race are divided into two main camps: those who eagerly embrace 21st-century technotyranny, and those whose chief criticism is that their preferred “leaders” are not the ones operating the machinery of oppression.  And all of it – every last bit – is the result of moral defectives happily supporting any and every form of repression against those they see as different from them.  The State tested its weaponry on “criminals”, drug users, sex workers, and members of various minority groups (racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, etc); it has increasingly criminalized both consensual behaviors and those which, while offensive to others, aren’t treated as actual crimes in healthy societies; and it has increasingly inserted itself into the lives of individuals to an extent and depth that would have been inconceivable to people of the 19th century or earlier.

So where is this all going? Honestly, I don’t know. But I’m planning to keep sounding the alarm and commenting upon news ites on topics pertaining to self ownership that come across my path, whether for good or ill, until either death or the Establishment stops me.

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The Long Road

I was originally planning to leave tomorrow for my road trip, but a few weeks ago Nicole Gililland asked me to be with her when the verdict of her lawsuit against the nursing school that kicked her out for having done porn in the past.  Since I was going through Oregon anyhow, I simply had to leave three days early (and it was kinda nice to have the long first leg broken up).  Today I’m on my way down to the Bay Area to see one of my gentlemen tomorrow evening, then on Saturday I’m heading down to Los Angeles to visit a friend I haven’t seen in three years.  On Tuesday I’ll head up to Las Vegas for Freedom Fest, after which I’ll leave for Seattle on Sunday the 17th; I have some appointments in Seattle on the 19th, then after the traffic dies down I’ll head for home (because by that point I’ll have been gone for two weeks and will be ready to see Grace, sleep in my own bed, and return to my normal routine).  Compared to my massive 2014 book tour, about 2500 miles and 14 days is no big deal; however, I’m almost a decade older now (time sure does fly!) and I haven’t done a road trip nearly this long since the beginning of 2017.  Well, at least I don’t foresee any snow on this trip!

If you’re wondering about the picture: I decided to bring tea along on this trip, because hotels never have anything good in the room. But I forgot to bring a mug, so I went to Wal-mart to get one and when I saw this one I couldn’t resist.

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As I wrote last year on this day, the time has come for me to stop writing new essays for this and the other days on which I have in the past published polemics, because “The wheel turns inexorably, and all there is to say about it has already been said countless times; there is, I think, little point in saying it again“…  Last year, I observed each of those occasions with links to all the previous examples, so that the interested reader can more easily explore them.  Though some may contain details to events which are no longer current, I think you’ll still find most of them worth your while if you’ve never read them, or even if you have.

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Not much scares me outright, but anxiety is a different matter; I’ve suffered from it since childhood, and though it never completely goes away, I’ve mostly learned to manage it pretty well except for circumstances I’ve mentioned before:  air travel, long summer days, dealing with bureaucracy, etc.  But there’s one cause I haven’t had to worry about since my early teens and had hoped I would never have to worry about again: inflation.  I’ve always thought that was a serious misnomer, because the problem isn’t really that prices are going up; it’s that the value of the currency is going down.  I’ve never been any good at saving, so at least I don’t need to worry about cash reserves shrinking in value.  But now that I’m semi-retired, my budget is much tighter than it used to be, and I don’t have a lot of wriggle room; also, I’m not yet finished my construction project, and the price of everything I need for it has increased dramatically.  And next month, my normal summer and travel anxieties will be compounded:  I’m going to a conference in Las Vegas, but summer standby flying is even more nerve-wracking than ordinary standby flying; not only are there more people traveling, more of them are airline employees (often with kids), therefore far fewer available seats.  And even when my outbound flights are OK, the return flights into Seattle are usually a negative-number-of-seats-available nightmare (I’m told it’s due to the fact that many cruises depart from Seattle).  So I’m planning to drive to the conference instead of flying; I want to make two other stops on the way there, so the flights would just be a logistical mess anyway even if I wanted to try it.  However, the skyrocketing cost of gasoline is causing me considerable anxiety about that strategy; I estimate it might cost me as much as $1000 (still cheaper than if I had to buy multiple airline tickets, but stressful nonetheless).  So if you aren’t hurting and appreciate my work, would you consider a gift of fuel funds so I can get to Vegas to A) meet with a couple of folks about possible consulting gigs that might stabilize my financial situation for the next few years; and B) rattle some cages about supporting sex worker rights?  If it helps, remember that I actually kinda like road trips, and one of the stops is to visit a friend I haven’t seen in almost three years, so you’d also be subsidizing a little vacation for me.

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As I wrote almost two years ago,

The ACLU of old is, alas, no more.  Gone is the organization so passionately devoted to civil liberties that it paid for a team of Jewish lawyers to defend literal Nazis’ right to free speech; in its place is an organ of the Democratic party whose main concern is keeping its cash flow as high as possible by parroting its primary donors’ beliefs (often in childish tweets repeating some a priori statement in all caps, over and over, without a word of justification), and never ever ever challenging those beliefs, no matter how anti-civil-rights and factually wrong they may be

Unsurprisingly, free speech is the area in which ACLU’s position has degenerated most shamefully, because it’s no longer popular with their “progressive” authoritarian base.  But fortunately, there’s a younger civil rights organization which is now expanding its remit to take up the ball ACLU has not merely dropped, but actively cast aside…and it’s doing so to the plaudits of former ACLU heavweights:

…The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is renaming itself the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and keeping the “FIRE” acronym as it launches a drive to promote greater acceptance of a diversity of views in the workplace, pop culture and elsewhere…the group’s president, Greg Lukianoff, said…FIRE has raised $28.5 million for a planned three-year, $75 million litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values…FIRE’s new expansion is…a challenge of sorts to the ACLU, which has faced criticism in recent years for drifting from its unapologetically pro-free-speech roots and taking a more direct…partisan [role]…Many of FIRE’s founders and backers are former leaders of the ACLU who have grown disillusioned with the group under its current executive director, Anthony Romero, who left the Ford Foundation to take over the storied civil liberties organization in 2001.  In 2020, FIRE released Mighty Ira, a laudatory documentary film about Romero’s predecessor, Ira Glasser, focusing on the ACLU’s work from the 1970s through the 1990s.  Glasser, who serves on a FIRE advisory board, said in an interview that he “strongly encouraged” FIRE to broaden its free-speech work in part because the ACLU seems to be abdicating that role…
I’ve long admired FIRE’s steadfast viewpoint-neutral defense of free speech on campuses, and I suspect they’ll be just as dynamite in their new, larger mission.  Let’s hope their new drive brings in enough new money and talent to mount a successful war against the censor-morons dedicated to lobotomizing our society.

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Today is a day to shamelessly celebrate our shameless history, not a day to cater to the precious fee-fees of amateurs by neutering our terminology so as not to offend their delicate sensibilities.  –  “Unsanitized

Last year, I observed every one of the days I usually observe with polemics by instead providing quotes from and links to all the previous essays for that day.  I did this “lest I grow irrelevant due to repetition.  Besides, I’ve already written plenty“…but I did make one exception: this one, International Whores’ Day, because for the past few years I’ve noticed some sex worker organizations and social media accounts trying to sanitize our struggle by eliminating the “nasty” word “whore” rather than celebrating our long history as sexual outlaws.  I already explained last year why this is misguided and counterproductive; this year I’m going to bring this observance into line with the others by quoting previous years’ essays.

Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.  –  “Eternal as the Sea

Politicians who up until recently coudn’t even be bothered to accept that sex workers have basic civil rights are now actively calling for decriminalization.  –  “Galvanized

It is the intrinsic nature of government to continue growing ever more tyrannous until a revolution becomes inevitable.  –  “Cornered Animals

Every day, sex workers of all backgrounds, all around the world, work to debunk prohibitionist lies and expose the ugly truth about government persecution of individuals for the “crime” of consensual sex.  –  “Whores’ Day 2017

We are winning at last.  And there’s not a damn thing the prohibitionists can do about it.  –  “Whores’ Day 2016

Most feminists of 1975 still actually supported women’s choices.  –  “The Revolt of the Prostitutes

Prohibitionists…have…in[vaded] the public’s imagination with…lurid masturbatory fantasies of gypsy whores, weeping teenage “sex slaves” and leering “pimps” with magical powers.  –  “A Day for Whores

Though the crusade was rooted in American Protestant notions of “pure and pious womanhood”…it is the poorer countries of the developing world which have borne the brunt.  –  “International Whores’ Day

The tide of history is toward greater individual and sexual rights, and those who would restrict others’ sexuality, no matter what propaganda they employ, will eventually be swept away.  –  “The Birth of a Movement

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