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A.V. Flox
Velocitus delectibus.
Velocitus delectibus.


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Ted Cruz was caught tonight favoriting a porn tweet. Here's what you need to know to keep your next dinner party from descending into total doom and gloom:

Once upon a time, when he was but solicitor general of Texas, Cruz helped author a 76-page legal brief defending the state’s ban on sex toys. Among other things, the brief argued: "there is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one's genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship."

Though the rule was struck down, in 2014 Mother Jones got hold of the 2007 brief and ran it. Soon after, Cruz's former college roommate went on the record, tweeting that his lived experience strongly contradicted Cruz's stated position on getting off. And today, we received further evidence of Cruz's personal preferences when it was discovered that the senator had favorited a clip from a cuckquean title from the hardcore porn producer Reality Kings.

Yes, you're allowed a brief moment of mean-spirited amusement. You can even yuck his yum -- that's how utterly out of fucks I am.

Read about Cruz's brief here:

Check out the tweet he favorited here:

Screenshot via
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Excerpt: Something odd happens when you google ‘man comforting a woman.’ Many of the top hits are about women comforting men. (Try it.) The ‘suggested search’ terms too: ‘how to comfort a guy, how to comfort a man when he’s stressed, how to comfort a guy when he’s upset.’ Apparently lots and lots of people on planet Earth are googling how to comfort men… and fewer are googling how to comfort women. Strange, isn’t it, since this culture views women as ‘the emotional ones’ and men as the strong ones. Perhaps something is a bit backwards here.

In Ursula K. Leguin’s book "Gifts," an entire culture lives by the rule of what they call ‘gifts’ – powers to do harm – possessed by certain of its members. Some families possess gifts of Unmaking, where they can turn a farmer’s field into a blackened waste or a puppy into a sack of dissolved flesh. Some possess the ability to create a wasting illness, or blindness, or the gift of calling animals to the hunt.

By the book’s end, the child at its centre has struggled, against all signs in his culture, to realize something profound and fundamental: The gift they call Unmaking is actually a gift of Making, turned backwards upon itself and rendered unthinkingly into a weapon. The gift of calling animals is turned into a way to hunt them, when it is meant to let humans understand animals and live in balance with them. The wasting disease is the backwards use of a gift of healing illness and old age. He finally asks his sister and closest confidant: what if we are using our gifts backwards? To harm instead of to help? What if they were meant to be used the other way around?

Nothing in the boy’s culture would tell him this is so. His entire society has been built around fear of these gifts used as weapons. Yet he has seen his father use the gift of Unmaking ‘in reverse’ to gently undo a knot or mend a creaking gate. His best friend’s gift of calling animals also gives her an aversion to hunting them, an aversion she must overrule in herself to meet her culture’s expectations. These images knock on the door of his mind until he makes sense of them; he has to struggle to see the truth without a single signpost or mentor to help him find this knowledge. Nothing in his world reflects this reality back to him, and yet it is real. He at first can hardly believe it or understand it.

Violence is nurturance turned backwards.

Compassion for self and compassion for others grow together and are connected; what this means for rape culture is that men finding and recuperating the lost parts of themselves will heal everyone. A lot of men grow up learning not to love their true selves, learning that their own healthy attachment needs (emotional safety, nurturance, connection, love, trust) are weak and wrong – that anyone’s attachment, or emotional safety, needs are weak and wrong.

To completely transform this culture of misogyny, then, men must do more than ‘not assault.’ We must call on masculinity to become whole and nurturing of self and others, to recognize that attachment needs are healthy and normal and not ‘female,’ and thus to expect of men to heal themselves and others the same way we expect women to ‘be nurturers.’ It is time men recognize and nurture their own healing gifts.
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How dangerous women of medieval Florence became more independent than the “good” women of the city could be.

Excerpt: Medieval thinkers tended to follow St Augustine who described prostitution as a necessary evil, a sin which prevented the greater sin of the corruption of “good” women by men’s insatiable sexual appetites. A follower of St Thomas Aquinas likened prostitution to a palace sewer — necessary to remove the filth from society, but deeply unpleasant and offensive nonetheless. By the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, European cities had mostly stopped trying to expel prostitutes and accepted the inevitability of their presence.

The late medieval period proved to be something of a turning point in the Italian states’ approaches to prostitution and none more so than Florence. Pope Francis’s medieval predecessor, Pius II (1458-1464), joked that Florence was less a city of merchants (mercatrice) and more a city of prostitutes (meretrice). This small group of women (probably no more than 150 of them in a city of 45,000) circumvented the rules established to keep women in their place. They lived beyond the control of fathers, husbands, or brothers.

There were precious few opportunities for ‘good’ women to exercise any independence. The law treated them as children: they were prevented from managing their own financial affairs, taking legal action against anyone, and were only reluctantly accepted as witnesses in court. The law required that a male relative acted on a woman’s behalf if she needed to undertake any legal transactions. In theory, a married woman’s dowry remained her property, but in practice her husband controlled it. Indeed, were she widowed, her father or brothers expected it to be returned, either for their own use or to marry her off again to the family’s advantage. Restricting women’s legal rights to representation allowed the city to control their behaviour and limit their freedom. Good women were rarely seen — they did not walk about the streets or hang out of windows as portrayed on TV shows such as The Borgias and The Medici. Women who behaved in this way marked themselves out as wanton and dishonourable: dangerous.
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A new brothel has opened in Barcelona that offers men and couples the chance to fulfil all their fantasies – as long as their fantasies involve hyper-realistic silicone dolls.
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Which means that everyone is orgasming a lot right now.
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Excerpt: Clinics across Africa that provide women’s health and HIV services are bracing for a massive loss in funding due to Trump’s reinstatement of a version of the Mexico City policy, or global gag rule. The policy prevents organizations abroad funded by the United States from even mentioning abortion in the context of family planning — a rule with implications that reach far beyond abortion services. The policy is sure to impact the availability of family planning options in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities

The Mexico City policy has been in effect under every Republican administration since President Ronald Reagan announced it in 1984. And it has been revoked by every Democratic administration.

Research suggests that the policy has had a counterintuitive impact in the past. In countries that relied heavily on funding from the United States for reproductive health services, abortion rates rose when the Reagan-era policy was in place. Researchers cite a possible reason: The aid spigot dries up for the organizations that provide contraceptive services to prevent unwanted pregnancies, making abortions necessary.
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Excerpt: President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world.

Commutation is a form of clemency that reduces the punishment for a crime. Unlike a pardon, which forgives a crime, commutation reduces a sentence, and in some cases, the associated fines.

Manning, who is transgender, is currently incarcerated at a men’s military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years. Her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction. She will be released on May 17 of this year instead of 2045.

Five days before Obama commuted Manning’s sentence, the WikiLeaks Twitter account posted that the group’s editor-in-chief Julian Assange would agree to be extradited to the U.S. if Manning was given clemency.

“If Obama grants Manning clemency Assange will agree to US extradition despite clear unconstitutionality of DoJ case,” WikiLeaks tweeted on Thursday.

Assange has been in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, and if extradited to the U.S., would likely be prosecuted for his involvement in the publication of leaked documents. But then, his buddy will be in office, so unless the president-eject forgets he exists (possible) or decides to flip on this due to political expediency (also possible), Assange is unlikely to be in prison long.

Assange also faces allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.
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Four days ago, the Women's March platform took the web by storm for being one of the most progressive and intersectional we've ever seen ( Unfortunately, they seem to be backtracking. Or are they? In the past 12 hours, their position language has been modified repeatedly, without any acknowledgment of the changes.

At the time, the document discussed labor rights, saying: "We believe that all workers – including domestic and farm workers -- must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labor protections, and we stand in solidarity with sex workers’ rights movements."

These are the changes that +Kitty Stryker​ has identified:

"We believe that all workers -- including domestic and farm workers -- must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all. Undocumented and migrant workers must be included in our labor protections, and

- "we stand in solidarity with those exploited for sex and labor."

- "we stand in solidarity with sex workers' rights movements."

- "we stand in solidarity with the sex workers' rights movement. We recognize that exploitation for sex and labor in all forms is a violation of human rights."

This momentary inclusion of sex work abolitionist language is troubling. Sex work abolitionism denies the relationship between economic necessity and sex work, preferring to see those who participate as victims of pimps and traffickers than to recognize the way that economic need factors into choosing sex work. Though often described as victims, sex workers are problematic to abolitionists, since "rescuing" them often does nothing to prevent their return to sex work. And so abolitionism is in fact not abolitionist at all, as those who see sex work as a social blight end up seeing prison as the only way to "liberate" sex workers. Let the Orwellian force of that hit you again: Raids are rescue. Prison is liberation.

This denial of the economic needs of people in the sex industry results disproportionally in women (especially women of color) and LGBTQ folks (who lack employment protections) being jailed and slapped with criminal records. Many receive felonies on their second offense in some jurisdictions. Many others, as a result of anti-trafficking hysteria, receive felonies right away -- for self-trafficking. You read that right. You can now traffic yourself.

If you are a feminist and you are not enraged at the idea of a woman being sent to prison for felony trafficking for trying to keep a roof over her head and food on her table by placing an ad on Backpage for herself, you're not a goddamn feminist.

Worse, these criminal records prevent sex workers' integration into the job market. You cannot even get a job in the gig economy with a prostitution conviction. And, by the way, even those whose charges are dismissed will still have arrest records preventing their employment. You have to pay up to have those expunged. Do you start to see how this traps people?

In addition to creating a hopeless cycle of recidivism, abolitionists vastly expand the types of interactions that vulnerable populations have with the state -- such as through coercive intervention courts and completely unregulated, often abusive diversion programs -- multiplying the likelihood of systemic violence they are likely to experience.

And I've lost count of how many stories I shared last year of law enforcement officers coercing sexual favors from sex workers with threats of arrest. I've even shared stories of sex workers who were minors at the time that they were coerced by officers, and whom officers knew at the time to be minors.

If you are a feminist and you don't support sex workers' rights, you're not a goddamn feminist. Supporting sex workers does not mean supporting trafficking. It doesn't mean you have to like that some people see sex as the most viable option for making a living. You can be angry as hell about the fact that people have no better options, even. This is fine.

But don't participate in this gaslighting. Capitalism is what's inherently coercive. Capitalism is the pimp and trafficker. The state is a source of violence and injustice. Raids are not rescue. Prison isn't liberation.

Fight for women. Fight for LGBTQ. Sex workers rights are human rights, are civil rights, are labor rights, are LGBTQ rights, are women's rights.

I look forward to seeing more transparency from Women's March organizers about this.

Edit: I've received more information about this. Journalist Melissa Gira Grant, Brooke Magnanti (author of Diary of a Call Girl), and others reached out to Janet Mock, who is listed as one of the organizers and pointed out the back-pedaling. Mock jumped in and fought to get the line she originally drafted (about standing in solidarity with sex workers) back into the document.

"It's staying," Mock said. "Sex work is work. We must be free to make choices about our bodies, our lives. We must respect one another's agency. Period."

See the thread:
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End of an era.

Excerpt: Ten years after purchasing the historic Armory for $14.5 million, the BDSM film production company is ending shoots at the site, and its in-house directors are scattering to Nevada, Southern California and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Filming officially ends in February, although will continue to have administrative offices in the building at Mission and 14th streets.

The move is being driven by the weakening economics of the porn business as well as ambitions that founder and CEO Peter Acworth has for the Armory, a 200,000-square-foot, Moorish Revival castle in San Francisco.

Over the last three years, as porn has migrated to free sites, membership-supported digital outlets like have struggled to make up revenue.’s membership has dropped from 50,000 to 30,000, and its revenues have dropped by 50 percent. The company laid off half its workforce a year ago and is now mostly focused on providing an Internet platform for BDSM entertainment, rather than creating content.

“Porn is not nearly as profitable as it was,” Acworth said. “We have had to change our business model.”

At the same time, owning the Armory, which had been vacant for 30 years prior to’s acquisition, increasingly poses both opportunities and challenges. As the business has eroded, Acworth has been refocusing on transforming the building into a mixed-use complex with space for offices, entertainment, artists and PDR, which stands for production, distribution, and repair.

To that end, Acworth last year won approvals to convert the building’s 40,000-square-foot drill court into a venue for concerts, parties and other entertainment, with a capacity of 4,000 people. Those approvals allowed Acworth to get a $4-million bank loan that is being spent on a sound system and soundproofing, lighting, rigging and pressing needs such as fixing the leaky roof and repairing crumbling turrets.
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A Connecticut politician was arrested on Wednesday after pinching a woman in the pussy. His attorney did not deny this occurred. Instead, he said: "[Christopher] Von Keyserling playfully gave a lady who he knew for 30 years a pinch is what the accusation is," Russell says. "And somehow, everybody’s wringing their hands and carrying on that this is a crime, and it just isn’t."

He insists the incident was a “misunderstanding,” as they do. That it was "a joke," as they do.

And we just elected a president who's done far worse.
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