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Posts Tagged ‘Washington (state)’

Diary #575

Last weekend a record-breaking heat wave hit the Pacific Northwest; on Sunday the 27th temperatures topped 43o C at Sunset, and as if that wasn’t bad enough the power suddenly went out at about 1 PM and wasn’t restored until 8:30.  Since the gas company still hasn’t bothered to show up to connect our new propane tank, our fancy new standby generator was completely useless, and about 4:15 our old one (which was never really big enough for the job) overheated and caught fire.  At this point I would usually have had a complete meltdown and called the gas company screaming, but since it was a Sunday that option was closed.  I therefore summoned my reserves of calm and thought about what needed to be done to keep Grace from getting overheated; I decided we’d drive to town (where the power wasn’t out) and eat in an air-conditioned restaurant, then take our time getting back in hopes of minimizing our exposure to the heat.  That all went fine, and the very next day I changed gas companies; our new tank should be installed in the next few weeks, with any luck before the next power outage.  And this past weekend was so chilly I could barely believe it’s July.

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Diary #565

I had only a few days back at Sunset before heading back out again, but at least it was only an overnight to the east side of the Olympic peninsula, namely the convention of the Libertarian Party of Washington over in Port Orchard.  I was on a panel on sex work decriminalization early Sunday afternoon and it’s only a two-hour drive, so I could’ve just gotten up early Sunday and driven over.  But since I didn’t really know where I was going and wanted time to schmooze (such interactions are useful in building coalitions and making contacts), they covered a hotel room for me Saturday night and I drove over after dinner.  I was glad I did, not only because Sunday morning was less hectic, but also because it gave me a chance to talk to some other awesome sex worker activists.  The audience was really receptive to what we had to say, which is especially important now that things are finally starting to move (albeit with glacial slowness), because we’ll need all the allies we can get.  Alas, I never sleep well when I know I have to get up, so I got home pretty exhausted Sunday night and then wrote this; if it’s a bit short and blah, at least I have a good excuse.

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Diary #564

The more complicated a plan, the more there is to go wrong with it.  So I was very relieved when I touched down in Seattle on Sunday afternoon without any major hitches.  Oh, there were a few minor ones of course, mostly invoving the drive down, but nothing infuriating or catastrophic.  Of course, I was pretty exhausted by the time I arrived; the van was unfamiliar and not nearly as maneuverable as I prefer in a vehicle, and every time I drive into the Bay Area I forget how large it is and continually need to re-adjust my time estimates.  But I arrived only half an hour over my ETA, and Matt now has his stuff, and I had a lovely visit with my gentleman on Saturday, and my flight back on Sunday was both short and uneventful. I’ll be returning to Sunset tomorrow, then this coming Sunday I’ll be speaking at the convention of the Libertarian Party of King County, which is starting to put more energy into promoting decriminalization.  I’m glad that’s only a short drive away; I hope to have at least a little recovery time before taking another flight.

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You’re doing this to yourself.  –  “officer” Scott LaPierre, to his victim

Here’s another unusual cover of my favorite Beatles song, because I felt like it.  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Lucy Steigerwald, Tim Cushing, Ally Fogg, Rick Horowitz, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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I’ll fucking kill you.  –  unnamed loose-cannon cop

Reason often produces amusing videos, but few are as funny as this one which demonstrates that libertarians, unlike most political groupings these days, have not entirely lost the ability to laugh at themelves.  The links above it were provided by Cop Crisis, President Dawg, Franklin Harris, Furrygirl, and Cop Crisis again (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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The Swedish model…is driven by Puritanical fantasy rather than reality.  –  Molly Simmons

To Molest and Rape

Cops lie so frequently, they can’t tell which lies are believable:

A [cop] charged with [nothing more serious than] misconduct for [rap]ing a…[drunk] woman [is trying to blame]…her…Lee Cocking…picked [up] the woman…on Christmas Eve, 2017…and…had [sex with her even though she was far too drunk to consent]…he…[claimed] the woman climbed on top of him…[and] he was left feeling violated…

Safe Position (#966)

A group of over 250 social scientists, including Ron Weitzer and Barb Brents, have sent an open letter to the new president and vice-president, calling for them to walk their talk and actually support “science-driven policy” with regard to sex work.  This will, of course, have no more effect than the similar letter sent by Ann Jordan and a dozen other researchers to the Obama Administration in 2011; Biden was one of the chief architects of mass incarceration, and the Swedish-model-supporting Harris’ long history of awfulness has been well-documented in this blog.  However, it’s another pebble in the growing pile which has made supporting sex worker rights a safe position for politicians, and that is a fine and welcome development.

The Cop Myth (#994)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

On February 25, Boyce Ballinger was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to felony “strangulation” and misdemeanor “domestic battery”.  The court even promised to allow him to expunge his criminal record if he complies with probation.  On October 17 of last year, Ballinger and his wife went to a neighbor’s party…When they came home, his wife asked him about his alcohol consumption.  He responded by attacking her [in a drunken rage]…chok[ing] her…and [slamming] her into a wall.  She ran to a bedroom.  Ballinger followed and banged violently on the door…[after] arrest…[he was] immediately released…without bail…and…ordered not to contact his wife, who filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  He violated this order in December by stalking…her…he was [then] sent to jail to await trial…[at which he was] offered…a plea bargain…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

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

On March 4, 2015, police in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, stole Malinda Harris’ 2011 Infiniti G37 because [they decided to accuse] her son, Trevice…of selling drugs…the cops never alleged that he used [the car] for drug dealing or that she knew about her son’s illegal activity.  Harris heard nothing more about her purloined property until October 2020…when she was [finally] served with a civil forfeiture complaint that had been prepared the previous January…the unconscionable delay in giving her a chance to recover her car was a due process violation that by itself justifies its immediate return.  Massachusetts invites such abuse…because its civil forfeiture law “does not provide any deadline [by] which the Commonwealth is required to initiate forfeiture proceedings.”  The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, which represents Harris, cites several other constitutionally questionable aspects of the state’s law, which…is…”the worst…in the country”…In this case, the government[‘s]…evidence [consists entirely of] the title to the Infiniti…”occupancy papers,” two parking tickets, and a “Jiffy Lube receipt”…

Winding Down

Will Washington politicians accept progress, or demonstrate their hypocrisy?

The Washington Supreme Court effectively decriminalized simple drug possession in that state…by overturning a law that made possession a felony without any evidence of intent or knowledge…Washington was the only state that criminalized innocent, unknowing possession of illegal drugs.  The Washington Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute…[is] a strict liability crime…[which] the court ha[s at long last recognized]…violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions…The state legislature can—and probably will—recriminalize simple possession by amending the statute to include a mens rea element.  A bill [already] introduced…would [do that, but a competing]…bill…would eliminate criminal penalties for possessing “personal use amounts” of drugs…

Social Distancing (#1094)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

Baltimore strip venue The Penthouse Club announced…that it has reached a settlement with the city which would allow it to reopen, only days after the club sued…over COVID regulations that…discriminated against adult entertainment…other indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys and skating rinks were able to reopen…except…strip clubs…

The Course of a Disease (#1109)

One can never have too many anti-Swedish criminalization articles:

…carceral feminists operate under the misguided ideas that all sex work is inherently exploitative; that any sex in exchange for money or goods is rape; and that sex workers are safer in prison than on the streets.  The…legislation…backed by [New York politician] Liz Krueger …is a US adaptation of…Swedish…criminalization…Decades of research have shown that, by targeting and driving underground…participants in the industry, such models increase stigma…discrimination…violence and coercion…They lead to harsher working conditions, higher rates of financial instability and less agency and freedom in our daily lives.  When such a model was enacted in Northern Ireland, 56 percent of sex workers said their work had become more dangerous…[this form of]…criminalization…fails in the same way abstinence-only sex education fails: It centers ​“morality” over material needs…sex worker[s are]…not interested in debate about whether or not the sex industry is a ​“good” thing or whether it ​“should” exist or not…and…the moralizing in [such] legislation…infantilizes sex workers in a deeply patriarchal way…

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Brisbane [cop was found guilty]…of sending “sexual and suggestive” messages to a teenage girl he met…[via his] work…in the Inala Child Protection and Investigation Unit…[Matthew Paul Hockley] interviewed the 15-year-old girl in 2019 in relation to a…[sexting] incident…the[n badgered her for weeks with]…a series of [Snapchat] messages that escalated from inoffensive to sexual and inappropriate, which made the girl “increasingly uncomfortable”…[because] the application…automatically delete[s] conversations…the teenager [had to record some of the harassment] with another device…to…show…the court…[Hockley’s] defence lawyer argued h[e] had no sexual interest in the girl, but was in[stead trying to get in] her mother[‘s pants, presumably via a reverse Lolita scheme]…

Child protection unit“.

Quiet Genocide (#1111)

Disgusting men never get tired of blaming women for their own rapes:

China, under growing global pressure over its [atrocities against]…Uighurs in…Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign [of propaganda], including explicit attacks on women who [reported being raped by guards and Communist Party officials]…a growing number of Western [politicians are finally admitting that]…China [is conducting a] genocide…[so] Beijing is focusing on…accus[ing] some of [its female victims of] having affairs and…sexually transmitted disease…as evidence of bad character…the…meticulous and wide-reaching campaign…hints at China’s fears that it is losing control of the Xinjiang narrative…in…[which it refers to mass surveillance, torture, rape, and brainwashing as] “liv[ing] and work[ing] in peace and contentment”…

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Diary #555

I’m glad I was out at Sunset for this snowstorm (the deepest Seattle has seen since 1969, though not as severe out here on the coast), because as I’ve observed before, “when [Seattle gets snow] everything basically stops and absurdist-theater levels of hysteria ensue, complete with ridiculous terms like ‘Snowmageddon’ for a few inches of accumulation“.  By the time I drove back into town yesterday, the snow was all melted and with it all the extra-stupid driving (leaving only the ordinarily-stupid driving), but I can only imagine what it was like on Saturday, given that this is what it looked like out back at Sunset that morning (as you can see, the animals were active out there before I dragged myself outside).  The extra accumulation we had that night resulted in the shitty awning over the hot tub sagging badly, but as we’re planning to tear it down as soon as that part of the roof is in place, I hardly think it matters.  Since I have a proper rural pantry rather than something designed by authoritarian sociopaths, there was no need to go any farther than the barn and henhouse to take care of the animals.  And when one doesn’t have to go out in it, a moderate snowfall is actually kinda pretty. 

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Margo might be the single most important sexual liberationist and feminist revolutionary who ever slapped society upside its head.
–  Susie Bright

R.I.P. Margo St. James

The founder of the US sex worker rights movement, Margo St.James, died Tuesday at the age of 83; she had been in an assisted living facility in Bellingham, WA (her home town) for several years now due to dementia, but from the ’70s to the ’90s she was involved to one degree or another in practically every major national and international push for sex worker rights.  It’s impossible to overstate her importance to sex workers all over the world; you may get some idea of why by reading this essay I published on her almost eight years ago, and more in the linked obituary from the San Francisco Chronicle.  But so many 20th-century activists knew and loved her, there will no doubt be many articles and memories; I’m going to link every single one that comes to my attention over the next several weeks.  Farewell, Margo; not a one of us could have done it without your amazing example.

Dysphemisms Galore 

“The pimps who sell sex” may be one of the most clueless headlines ever:

Two…Southend [politicians bloviated about]…street prostitution…[with a plethora of ridiculous terms and phrases] in[cluding]…notorious hotspot…emotional effects of prostitution…“sexual harm”…urgent action to finally get street prostitution under control…“The psychological impacts of [consensual adult] sex are immense”…[they also bloviated about “the dangerous cycle of prostitution”]…high levels of anti-social behaviour…pimping…drug-dealing, hazardous litter and noise nuisance….end the harms caused by…sex…sexual exploitation and a form of violence against women and girls…trauma-informed support…and holding organisations [who actually assist sex workers] to account

I can’t help imagining these politicians wanking furiously while vomiting out these sexual fantasies.

Traffic Jam (#443)

This isn’t a “documentary”; the only thing it “documents” is Jones’ creepy fantasies about other women’s lives:

Sarah Jones is about to [present her ugly fantasies about] the sex industry…[in what she claims is a] documentary [even though it’s merely an expanded adaptation of her one-prohibitionist propaganda vehicle] Sell/Buy/Date…[s]he [dazzled a Deadline reporter with meaningless wokespeak about “]how the sex industry sits at the intersection of race, feminism, power and economics in our current cultural climate[” and dropped three big Hollywood names as executive producers:] Rashida Jones, Meryl Streep and Laverne Cox…[other idiotic belching included] “Is sex work exploitative or empowering?” [and “]The sex industry is hiding everywhere in plain sight during the pandemic[“]…

To her credit, Cox listened to sex workers’ complaints about this revolting propaganda (click on the subtitle link for a description) and has already withdrawn her support. The same cannot be said for the clueless Streep, and Rashida Jones is prohibitionist trash with a long history of endangering marginalized women with her videotaped hatespew.

The Prudish Giant (#897) 

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

When [Facebook-owned] Instagram introduced [censorship] guidelines aimed at stopping “sexual solicitation” in December, sex workers were the first to raise the alarm…But [of course they] aren’t the only ones with cause for anxiety.  A whole swathe of sex-related accounts, including those of certified sex educators and sexual wellness brands, are now being [censored]…sex educators [who couldn’t be bothered to stand with sex worksers now realize] censorship on Instagram has gone too far, with some calling it an all-out ban on sex

Pyrrhic Victory (#1030)

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

After the Capitol riot, Clearview AI…has seen a spike in use…The F.B.I. has posted the faces of dozens of [rioters] and has requested assistance identifying them…Clearview, which is used by over 2,400 [cop shops to violate citizens’ privacy]…relies…on a database of more than 3 billion photos [stolen] from social media networks and other public websites…

Social Distancing (#1080)

I’m sure you feel safer now:

…a…woman [was brutalized and abducted] by four [costumed thugs for] sitting on a bench.  [Video shows] the woman…protesting…”I was sitting on a bench” as she is surrounded by [pigs]…in Bournemouth, Dorset…A furious woman filming the…disgrace…shout[ed] at [pigs]: “What side are you on?”…

Between the Ears (#1081)

“Smart” devices are not, part umpteen:

A hacker took control of people’s internet-connected chastity cages and demanded a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin to unlock it…a security researcher [who] goes by the name Smelly…obtained screenshots of conversations between the hacker and several victims…he…demand[ed] a payment of 0.02 Bitcoin (around $750 today) to unlock the device…These hacks show once again that just because you can connect something to the internet, it doesn’t mean you have to…It’s incidents like these that make some people think the Internet of Things is just a marketing term for the Internet of Hackable Things, as we call it, or even the Internet of Shit, as others call it.  Qiui, the Chin[ese] manufacturer of the device…did not respond to a request for comment…

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Diary #550

A few weeks ago, we were still seeing a few sunny days, as in this picture from mid-December.  But around the solstice the monsoons arrive, and we generally get very few breaks from the rain until late winter.  The animals spend most of their time in the barn, and we even feed them there because it’s too marshy to do anything else.  Last year, it was this heavy seasonal rain which made me realize the guest cottages should be part of the house complex, so nobody would have to go out in it unless absolutely necessary.  Well, this year I was glad for that decision, because it was especially heavy, and the main drainage ditch through the paddock looked like a small creek.  But at the end of last week we got a three-day break, conveniently falling just when I had to drive to Seattle to spend some time with Dr. Quest.  I’m not afraid of driving in the rain; after all, I grew up in south Louisiana.  But I don’t like driving in it; there are far too many bad drivers who are afraid, and behave foolishly as a result.  No, I prefer looking at my rain from a stationary vantage point inside of solid walls and a roof, preferably with a mug of tea in my hand.  And once we get the roof of the bathhouse complex in place, we won’t even need to get wet to go to the cottages or the shop.  Because if it’s too wet for pigs, ponies and llamas to be outside, it’s certainly too wet for me.

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This is a question about what level of censorship power we want to give to payment processors.  –  Danny O’Brien & Rainey Reitman

Down Under (#410)

This is what prohibitionists call the “failure” of decriminalization:

New Zealand sex worker has won a six-figure payout as part of a settlement after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a b[rothel] owner…The settlement was an important reminder that all workers, regardless of the type of work they did, have the right to freedom from sexual harassment in the workplace, said Michael Timmins, director of the office of human rights proceedings…the woman[‘s]…identity, and all other details in the case, remain…confidential…

The Gun in the Room

All laws, even “progressive” ones, are more heavily enforced vs minorities:

…of the [tickets Seattle] police have i[nflicted using the bike helmet law] since 2017, at least 43% were given to people struggling with homelessness…Since 2019, that number was 60%.  The total is almost certainly an undercount…In total, Seattle police have issued only 117 helmet citations since 2017, at least 50 of which were given to [homeless] people…Last summer’s protests served to amplify a growing [but long-overdue] skepticism of the criminal justice system’s reach, particularly when it comes to nonviolent [behavior arbitrarily defined by the state as] crime.  The wide-scale rejection of the so-called war on drugs typifies the shift most dramatically, but…all…citations — for drug use, traffic stops or bike laws — tend to reveal most clearly the disparities of the criminal justice system…In Seattle, for example, one in four jaywalking tickets issued between 2010 and 2016 went to a Black pedestrian

A Procrustean Bed (#965)

Authoritarians pretend this is more humane than prison:

Passages [is] one of eight privately-owned pre-release facilities in Montana…To [be sent to] Passages means to submit a 24-hour schedule for each day, subject to approval, accounting for every single minute, around the clock.  There’s little privacy; the women sleep four to a small hotel-sized bedroom…Their possessions are rigorously inventoried…inmates…of[ten]…wind up back in prison…because…of…infractions [that] are not crimes on the outside…The…program effectively requires women to be inmates and low-wage workers at the same time.  Either role is difficult, but trying to do both at once is mentally and physically crushing…“Honestly, most people would rather just stay in prison because once you’re done with prison then you’re done,” said…former [inmate Tara Norman…Room and board is $15 a day, so if you start your stay with 90 days of drug treatment, you could be starting your pre-release over $1,200 in debt.  You can’t complete the program until your drug treatment fees are paid off…There are endless fees for room and board, counseling, instructional materials, laundry, and other necessities.  Months can pass where the inmate is working but has no money left from her check because it’s all going to pay for fees and expenses…

Permanent Record (#1036)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A medic was outed by the New York Post…for posting…pictures on OnlyFans for extra income…The article…attempted to make something scandalous out of the fact that the 23-year-old had posted nude photos to the popular subscription site.  It…quoted an anonymous FDNY paramedic turned morality cop who snarked that other first responders “make more money by pulling extra shifts, instead of pulling off their clothes”…The [hit post] was quickly decried by critics on Twitter, including [politician] Alexandria Ocasio Cortez…who tweeted at the publication, “Leave her alone. The actual scandalous headline here is ‘Medics in the United States need two jobs to survive.’” The tweet received over 300,000 more likes than the Post’s tweet of its story….one of Kwei’s friends started a GoFundMe page in her name, writing that [Lauren] Kwei had turned to sex work in order to support herself and her family and was now at risk of losing her job…A representative for SeniorCare EMS [said]…Kwei is still employed and it does not intend to let her go over this issue…[but] the GoFundMe…attracted more than 1,500 donors and raised $33,000—far above the stated goal of $5,000…

As I wrote last week, “many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see“.

The Course of a Disease (#1088) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

Parliament has passed a controversial bill proposing the UK adopts the “Nordic model”…[which] is opposed by sex workers and [human rights] groups including Amnesty International…who [explain] that the legal model it proposes is driven by ideology, not evidence and puts workers’ lives at risk…In [prohibitionist propaganda], the Nordic model criminalises clients and third parties in the sex trade, leaving workers unharmed, whilst supporting them to leave the industry.  However, evidence from countries where it is [impos]ed shows that it has created more dangerous working conditions, whilst still criminalising workers and not supporting exit for those who want to leave the industry…

You Were Warned (#1095)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

[Politician] Lindsey Graham…[has] introduced legislation that would…implement a sunset for Section 230, the 1996 law that grants legal protects to tech platforms for third party content posted on their sites.  The law has come under fire from [pro-censorship politicians including]…President Trump[, who] has said he will veto the National Defense Authorization Act…the annual defense policy bill, because it does not include a Section 230 repeal…[politicians] have long [made absurd claims]…against [the law that]…they have failed to back…up with evidence.  [Politicians pretend]…repealing the law could serve as a check on increasingly powerful companies such as Facebook…

The Next Target (#1097)

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

…the campaign against Pornhub appears to be more about moral grandstanding and leveraging generalized shame around pornography than addressing the real problem of child abuse and exploitation…Morality in Media…and Exodus Cry have been teaming up to portray Pornhub as a uniquely prolific and unrepentant purveyor of smut featuring minors and abuse.  But [because facts]…do not support this contention…crusaders…resort to using statistics in weaselly ways…for instance…Shared Hope International peppers its calls to shut down Pornhub with general stats about child sex abuse material…they [all] suggest that the only feasible solution is to take drastic aim at porn or digital privacy more broadly—sometimes both…Conflating role-playing with actual abuse is also a common feature of anti-Pornhub advocacy …In the past few days, Pornhub announced new policies surrounding content and removed all videos from non-verified accounts…these changes have long been on the list of porn performer and producer demands…[but] little coverage has acknowledged this…nor the broader labor and intellectual property issues behind it…

The EFF and Vice also published strong criticisms of this latest front in the War on Whores.

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