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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Links - 19th March 2015

Strauss-Kahn fends off pimping accusations in French court - "Strauss-Kahn steadfastly denies knowing that the women with whom he engaged in "free and friendly" libertinism were prostitutes, saying paying for sex would be too great a risk for a man at the head of the International Monetary Fund, which was busy "saving the world from an unprecedented" financial crisis. He also said that as an unabashed libertine, the fun for him lay in the "playful party atmosphere" and the presence of prostitutes would render his soirees seedy. "I am horrified at the practice of using prostitutes," he said. Strauss-Kahn also objected to the impression given by the prosecution of a "frenetic" programme of sex parties, saying he only took part in such "recreational outlets" four times a year between 2008 and 2011... "Everyone has the right to a private life," said Strauss-Kahn, the most high-profile of the accused who include a colourful cast of characters in interlocking vice cases, including police, a prostitute, lawyer and notorious brothel owner known as "Dodo the Pimp." His section of the trial has focused on one of the sex parties, held at a chic Parisian hotel. The court has tried to understand if what went on was akin to so-called classic libertinism, which would point to whether Strauss-Kahn could have known the women at the parties were prostitutes. "It has happened 10 times that a woman offers herself to me. It is nothing unusual to me," Strauss-Kahn said. Asked to define a libertine party, Strauss-Kahn said it was when men and women "came together for the pleasure of sex." However one former prostitute, Jade - who attended several parties with DSK - described scenes of "carnage" at such a party at a chic Parisian hotel. "There was (DSK) surrounded by women" on a bed. "That isn't libertinism, there were no other men. No one asked my name, there was just a hand on my head to perform fellatio," she said. However Strauss-Kahn's female lawyer Frederique Baulieu read evidence from a girlfriend who accompanied him to the party and described it as "free and friendly" - prompting court judge Bernard Lemaire to say "this shows people have different views of libertinism". Baulieu also carefully picked apart Jade's assertion that Strauss-Kahn was covered in up to eight women, forcing the former prostitute to concede on second count there could only have been three at most with him."

Dominique Strauss-Kahn prostitute travelled with him to IMF HQ in Washington - "She did not take part in the sex party, which she described as 'a massacre' with a 'mishmash' of writhing bodies... Giving evidence, Strauss-Kahn denied claims that his 'brutal' treatment of prostitutes proves he knew they were being paid, saying: 'I have a rougher sexuality than the average man.' Then, losing his temper, he said: 'I've started to have enough. I have not been charged over my sexual behaviour. 'No one is obliged to appreciate it, but what interest is there in the court constantly going back to my sexuality?'... Witnesses at the orgies have described 'carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor' with Strauss-Kahn enjoying 'pure sexual consummation'...
'It was a slaughterhouse. They were lying on the mattress in all directions. It was a rather degrading scene.
'I didn't know whether these people had showered. I didn't want any part of it.'
Ex-prostitute known as 'Jade' testifying about a 2009 orgy with Strauss-Kahn at a Belgian sex club...
'We met 12 times in four years. It wasn't the frenetic, unbridled activity that the investigating magistrates' report makes out.
'At the time, I mention without pretension, I had other things to do.'
Strauss-Kahn in response to questioning over the frequency of his orgies during the period in which he is accused of organizing a prostitution ring...
'I had a very hectic life, with just a few outlets for recreation, and these sessions were part of that.'
Strauss-Kahn explaining how the function of IMF chief limited his occasions for sex parties.
'People say that at these soirees, the girls were gifts, but in fact at these parties the gift was Dominique Strauss-Kahn.'
Co-defendant Fabrice Paszkowski testifying about the organisation of Strauss-Kahn's orgies...
'I dare you to distinguish between a prostitute and a naked socialite.'
Strauss-Kahn lawyer Henri Leclerc, explaining the difficulty Strauss-Kahn had in identifying his sex partners as prostitutes."

New Study Claims People Who've Had More Sexual Partners Report Unhappier Marriages - "The study comes to us from The National Marriage Project, based off research from two University of Denver professors, Galena K. Rhoades and Scott M. Stanley, who looked at relationship data collected from 2007 to 2008 of 1,000 unmarried Americans ages 18 to 34. During the following five years, 418 of the participants got married... They claim this finding is especially true for women, writing in the report, "We further found that the more sexual partners a woman had had before marriage, the less happy she reported her marriage to be"... "There are a wide variety of reasons that may lead people to have multiple partners before marriage and, independent of how many partners they have, also be less satisfied in marriage," Dr. Jim McNulty, a social psychology professor from Florida State University who has published a plethora of research on the topic, wrote in an email. "For example, people who tend to avoid commitment in general may have more sexual partners and be less happy when they settle down. It’s not the fact that they have more sexual partners that leads them to be less happy, it’s the fact that they don’t really like commitment. I would be very surprised if having multiple sexual partners before marriage, independent of any other factor, has a direct causal influence." In other words, correlation should never be confused with causation. "We cannot make any conclusions about cause-and-effect," says Justin Lehmiller, PhD, sex educator and researcher at Purdue University, adding, "Could it be that multiple premarital partners impacts marital happiness? Maybe. But it could also be that people who have more partners have different personalities or different attitudes toward marriage or relationships." Beyond that, Lehmiller says there may be flaws in the way data was analyzed -- the way in which good marriages were separated from bad marriages was "rather odd" he says. "Even the authors admit that they were 'arbitrary' in their report. They defined 'higher quality marriages' as those in which individuals scored in the top 40 percent ... Why the top 40 percent?" McNulty also points out that though the authors are respected researchers, the study was not reported by an academic journal nor was it peer-reviewed."

Otelli Edwards | Everything Also Complain - "He (Ananda Pereira) saw news anchor Otelli Edwards wearing a ‘shiny black dress’ (On Deepavali night)…asking ” Who was she mourning for on Deepavali night, the day of the festival of lights which brings sacred, spiritual joy to Hindus”"

How and Why the Chinese Still Use Crossbows - "In China, we’ve seen troops using crossbows in photos at least since 2008, and they figured prominently in the reaction to the 2009 riots in Xinjiang. Many suspected that the choice was cultural, reflecting the Chinese origins of the mechanized, bolt-throwing device back in 400 B.C. But this assumption, that the Chinese would use an outdated weapon for cultural reasons alone, was inherently flawed. In fact,many other modern militaries have utilized crossbows in tactical and combat situations that have no clear historical or cultural ties to the crossbow, including Brazil, Greece India, Peru, Serbia, the Soviet Union, Turkey, and the United States. In every case, it’s not the culture or image of crossbows that gets them on a soldier’s back, it’s their unique tactical capabilities. Modern crossbows with optical and thermal sightings can still pierce armor—or even a car—with metal bolts or bullets. Yet unlike a longer-ranged rifle, the light, foldable crossbow is a stealth weapon, offering no recoil, muzzle flash, or noise. As such many troops prefer them for close-range and quiet missions, and especially for disarming those who may be carrying explosives, as a crossbow bolt is fairly disabling, but entirely unlikely to trigger an accidental detonation upon impact. If greater firepower is needed, though, it’s easy to attach an explosive to the head of the bolt and fire away."

Up Your Online Dating Game with Evidence-Based Strategies - "The review is in the journal Evidence-Based Medicine. [Khalid S. Khan and Sameer Chaudhry: An evidence-based approach to an ancient pursuit: systematic review on converting online contact into a first date]... pick a user name that starts with letters in the first half of the alphabet—A through M seem to up the odds. And when filling in your profile, keep in mind the golden 70/30 ratio: 70 percent stuff about you, 30 percent what you're looking for. A profile all about you might come across as self-absorbed. As for photos, previous studies suggest a genuine smile and a slight head tilt will boost your appeal. And group photos that showcase the fact that other people have fun around you are a good thing—especially if you're in the center of the shot. The researchers also write that women find men more attractive when they see other women smiling at him"

Canada's 'anti-prostitution law' raises fears for sex workers' safety - "not a single voice talked about quitting the game. “It was like, ‘give yourself a day to be sad, then get up tomorrow and go work’”... The battle over prostitution has divided the nation. Before the ink was even dry on the statute, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne declared that she had asked the province’s attorney general to investigate the constitutional validity of the new law because of “grave concern” that the legislation would not protect sex workers... “We had so much hope,” said Delight, who asked not to be named because she fears she could now face prosecution. “Now we’re shattered and less safe. Women will die because of this new law”... Another unintended consequence of the measure could see prostitutes pushed towards criminality. The government says it will target the johns who pay for sex, not those who sell it, but there is nothing in the law that specifically protects prostitutes against criminal charges, said Daniel Brown, a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto. “We have party liability in Canada, which (means) anyone that aids or encourages a person to commit an offence is guilty of that same offence,” said Brown... critics are already proposing to defy the law, part of which makes it illegal for third parties to publish sex adverts. Magazines or websites that do so could face charges, but Alice Klein, co-founder and editor of independent Toronto magazine NOW, has already said she won’t comply. Writing in the magazine, which dedicates more than 10% of its pages to sex ads, she said: “We are mindful of the fact that advertising benefits independent sex workers in particular, as it offers a much safer and more secure way to connect and do business with clients”... sex workers’ rights groups argue that the Nordic model has been a failed experiment and has increased the stigma against them. Critics point to a UN HIV Law Commission report [PDF] which states that “since its enactment in 1999, the law has not improved – indeed, it has worsened – the lives of sex workers”. The report says that while street work has halved, the sex trade remains at pre-law levels... Sex worker groups, both in the country and beyond, will continue to push for the new law to be struck down in the supreme court - this time definitively... Critics may have to wait for a charge to be made so the law can be challenged on a constitutional basis – a process which could take years. Delight believes the law has already had a violent impact. She speaks of a friend and fellow escort who was set to meet a man at a hotel near Toronto Pearson International Airport early on Tuesday morning. Three men barged into her room, where two of them sexually assaulted her before beating her and stealing her money and clothes. “It’s a terrible time to be an escort in Canada,” Delight said. “A terrible time.”"

New prostitution laws unlikely to be challenged soon, legal experts say - "If the Ontario review finds that the new laws may diminish the safety of sex workers and have little impact on community safety — two issues that the Supreme Court cited in coming to its conclusions — Kempa says the province may decide to direct policing resources elsewhere, since it wouldn't see the law as assisting justice and safety... Police have some discretion as to which laws they choose to enforce, and Kempa says that, because of the huge number of laws that exist, police are, by necessity, selective about which ones they give priority. "That is based less on the content of the law and much more on their perception of what's best for community safety," he says. So Kempa feels it could be anywhere from six months to three or four years before police practices regarding the new prostitution laws change. Kempa's research indicates that police forces in North America and Western Europe tend not to see prostitution laws as important for community safety. That shows in the prostitution-related crime stats, which have been very steady for 50 years, despite many changes in the laws. He says police forces don't aggressively enforce those laws, but use them as a law of convenience, to move along troublesome people, for example. And since charging johns, now law-breakers by definition, would clog up an already over-strained court system, Kempa, who is seeking a federal Liberal nomination in Scarborough, Ont., suggests that "prosecutors and the police will probably choose not to act on most of those new laws. They don't have the capacity"... Although he says "this law may just self-implode on its own," Young says it would be sounder if provinces declare they aren't enforcing the law because, in their view, it violates certain constitutional rights. That would still leave the law on the books. To get it to another Supreme Court challenge would take five to six years even if a charge were laid right away, Young estimates. Without charges, there aren't many opportunities to challenge a law in court... he fears that it could be enforced "at the discretion or whim of the police," something that can change at any time."

The prostitution bill is a bizarre work of moral panic - "[It] is drawn from the lore of radical feminism, which identifies heterosexual relations with patriarchal domination. The bill is an unfortunate departure from the British legal tradition. Neither the sale nor the purchase of sex has been illegal in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Rather, parliaments in the British tradition have legislated to contain the evils associated with prostitution... Harm reduction is not naive libertarianism. Realistic containment and reduction of harm is a genuinely conservative approach, based on a sober assessment of human weakness. Eradication is for moralistic crusaders and millenarian transformers of the human condition. Campaigns for the complete eradication of alcohol, gambling, prostitution, and drugs have marked the history of the United States, whose Puritan founding has given its political culture a millenarian flavour. Canada has not been immune to such moralistic temptations; but our British legal heritage, reinforced by the Catholic permissiveness of Quebec, has generally prevented us from going as far as American crusaders. Perhaps the most alarming thing about Bill C-36 is its potential to reunite the coalition of radical feminists, social conservatives, and law-enforcement authorities that gave us the triple moral panic of the 1980s over imaginary sexual abuse of children: satanic abuse in child-care centres, repressed-memory syndrome, and pedophile rings. Families were shattered and people were sent to jail, mainly in the U.S. but also in Canada, for having committed implausible or even impossible sexual offences. Radical feminists wanted to strike at male domination of women and children, social conservatives were worried about sexual permissiveness, and law-enforcement authorities were pioneering new methods of investigation and interrogation. It was a potent combination... The Minister of Justice has started to create a new class of folk devils by calling the customers of prostitutes “perverts.” Think about that. For decades medical and social researchers have tried to expunge unscientific words such as “deviant” and “pervert” from scientific and popular discourse, seemingly with success. Now the highest law officer of the Crown casually labels a large number of people as “perverts” because they have paid for sex."
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