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March 30, 2017

Sexual Fucked-Upedness At The Highest Levels Of Government

TRUMPINGTON, D.C.*—It was hidden about halfway down Ashley Parker's puff piece in the Washington Post about Vice President Mike Pence's wife Karen. After talking about how the Pences do cross-country biking together, have twin treadmills in their mansion and how he had an antique red telephone she gave him installed in his House office when he was a congressman, there's this: "In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either." After reading that, the only logical question to ask is, "What is wrong with that man?" Not that Pence's buds were asking it. In fact, nutbar conservative blogger Matt Walsh, who's regularly published on Glenn Beck's The Blaze website, tweeted in response to the uproar that revelation caused, "Seriously what's the appropriate reason for a married person to go out for a meal alone with a member of the other sex (outside of family)?" Oh, we dunno. Maybe they had an important business deal to discuss? Maybe someone was sponsoring an important piece of legislation that dealt with women's issues and Pence (or anyone) wanted to get a trusted woman's viewpoint on it? Maybe she was just a nice person and you both were hungry? Of course, fellow nutbar conservative blogger/"journalist" Erick Erickson agreed with Walsh, tweeting as his response to Walsh's question, "planning your spouse's surprise party or funeral and that is it." What is wrong with those men? And what is wrong with the thousands (hopefully not millions) of other men who agree with them? Now, admittedly, men and women in the adult entertainment business, even married ones, probably spend at least as much time alone with a member of the opposite sex as most members of society, but even in the adult biz, nothing untoward usually happens during those one-on-ones—so what exactly is it that Pence, Walsh, Erickson and their comrades-in-sexism are afraid of? Jezebel.com's Joanna Rothkopf had some ideas: "Pence, Walsh, and Erickson’s code suggest their women dinner partners are both so sexually irresistible (maybe instead of eyes, they have boobs, or washed their vaginas with holy water and sent the men videos of it) that the men will be weakened in the face of sin, or that the men are so sexually irresistible (maybe Pence’s religious undergarments are made all of lace) that the women will have no choice but to perform a hand job at the dinner table and the men, not wanting to be rude, will have to accept it." "Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta had similar ideas on the subject: "You would think a man with some self-control could eat food with another woman (or be in the presence of alcohol) without believing it’s a violation of a sacred bond or a lead-in to that ...," he wrote. "There are plenty of similar stories in evangelical circles of Christian men not getting into cars with women by themselves out of fear of … who the hell knows what. Maybe they could stop treating women as sexual objects. Maybe they could stop assuming every woman they meet wants to sleep with them." But Mehta went a bit further, noting that the attitude injures women in general. "If Pence won’t meet with other women alone, that’s all the more incentive not to appoint women to positions where he might have to have private conversations with them. As writer Jill Filipovic said so well, 'Powerful men who will meet one on one with men but not women hurt women's careers. That is not moral or normal.'" But even if Pence has cast himself as the White House's Official Eunuch, there are plenty of other legislators who have no trouble meeting women other than their wives along, having a drink with them, going back to their rooms with them ... and watching them unclothed and having sex on the internet. One of the more public recent examples was that of Republican House hopeful Mike Webb of Virginia, who posted an image of his district's map—and inadvertently included the tabs of the porn he was looking at in the background. The press had a field day with that! But sadly, most pols aren't quite as careless about their porn web browsing as Webb, though they certainly don't give a fuck about your internet privacy. In fact, huge data collectors like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have been champing at the bit for years to get access to their users' web browsing histories, which they then analyze, package and sell to advertisers to make it easier for the companies to target their products to specific individuals—and now they can! "Broadband providers won't have to get your permission before sharing your web browsing history and other personal data with marketers thanks to a vote Tuesday on Capitol Hill," wrote C-Net's Marguerite Reardon. "Republicans in the US House of Representatives approved a resolution that prevents privacy rules passed by the FCC last year from taking effect... The Senate voted on Thursday to adopt the resolution to nullify the rules. All that's left now is for President Donald Trump to sign the order. Earlier Tuesday, the White House said he plans to sign it ... These rules would have required broadband companies to get their customers' permission before they sell 'sensitive' information about their web browsing activity, app usage or whereabouts to marketers." So congrats, all of you poor people who get most or all of your sexual thrills from online content: Now your ISP can find out everything it wants to know about your browsing—and more! Even the stuff you keep hidden from your boss and/or family members—it's all for sale now! But since the politicians are being so generous about sharing your data, shouldn't they be equally generous with their own? Well, interestingly, there's nothing in the new bill that exempts politicians from having their own browsing histories being put on the auction block, and there's at least one GoFundMe campaign that's looking to raise enough money to buy that data, and at press time, the campaign had raised nearly $175,000 in the four days it's been active. "I plan on purchasing the Internet histories of all legislators, congressmen, executives, and their families and make them easily searchable at searchinternethistory.com," wrote campaign creator Adam McElhaney, a self-described privacy activist and net neutrality advocate. "Everything from their medical, pornographic, to their financial and infidelity. Anything they have looked at, searched for, or visited on the Internet will now be available for everyone to comb through." Now, there's a question of how successful McElhaney's campaign will be, since the Telecommunications Act of 2005 prohibits an ISP from "us[ing], disclos[ing], or permit[ting] access to individually identifiable customer proprietary network information in its provision of (A) the telecommunications service from which such information is derived, or (B) services necessary to, or used in, the provision of such telecommunications service, including the publishing of directories," and getting individual politicians' browsing histories would seem to violate that. But that same law allows those same ISPs to "use, disclose, or permit access to aggregate customer information other than for the purposes described in paragraph (1)," so there'd be nothing stopping McElhaney from collecting the pols' browsing histories and providing, say, a chart detailing how many politicians visited porn sites, or even which sites they visited, how many times the sites were visited, how much time they spent on the sites, etc. And as McElhaney notes in an update to his campaign, "Even in aggregate form, many data scientist[s] with the skill set necessary to shift through the data have offered their services." And finally, web-browsing porn fans can feel a bit safer knowing that, now, Mindgeek tube site PornHub has switched its URL to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) format, and the company's other main tube site, YouPorn, will be doing it by April 4. "HTTPS is a more secure version of the HTTP protocol used on the internet to connect users to websites," explained VentureBeat.com's Emil Protalinski. "Secure connections are widely considered a necessary measure to decrease the risk of users being vulnerable to content injection (which can result in eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other data modification). Data is kept secure from third parties, and users can be more confident they are communicating with the correct website." "Here at Pornhub, with more than 70 million daily visitors, we wanted to continue our concerted effort to maximize the privacy of our users, ensuring that what they do on our platform remains strictly confidential," Pornhub VP Corey Price said in a statement. "With the switch to HTTPS we are able to protect their identity as well as safeguard them against exposure to malware by third parties." How that new concern for user privacy will stand up to the new internet privacy rules remains to be seen, but it is nice to know that a company which got its start as a pirate site now values its customers' confidentiality. * Because he puts his name on everything!

 
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