Turkey and Greece hit by strong earthquake – ‘It was TERRIFYING’

The earthquake registered 5.1 magnitude, with shaking felt in Western Turkey and parts of Greece. Istanbul, located hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre, was also rattled this evening. One witness said on Twitter: “It was felt in Kusadasi, it was really terrifying. Hope the last one is not the quake before the big shock.”

Another said: “It lasted for 30 seconds and was very fierce.”

A third said: “Everything in my home rattled.”

One resident of Karacabey, some 150 miles from the epicentre, said he did not experience strong shaking but did feel like he was “sitting on a boat in a wave”.

Turkey earthquake: Turkey has been hit by a 5.6 magnitude earthquake (Image: USGS)
No reports of injuries or damage have been reported.

The earthquake was intially registered by EMSC-CSEM as 5.6 magnitude before being downgraded to 5.1.

The US Geological Society said some buildings in the area are protected against earthquakes.

They said: “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction.

“The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and dressed stone/block masonry construction.”

While no injuries have been confirmed, USGS’s automated analysis indicates few if any damage or injuries will be recorded.

Their analysis of the earthquake said there was a 65 percent chance no-one has been killed and a 100 percent chance the cost of damage will be between 0 and 1 million US dollars – the lowest rating.


Concerned with Closer Turkish-Russian Ties, Trump Blocks F-35 Sale

For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Amos 5:12

U.S. President Donald Trump signed appropriations legislation late last week that blocks the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

The transfer of these fighter planes to Ankara will not proceed until the U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Secretary of Defense provide an update to Congress related to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Russia.

The Pentagon, reporting to Congress in late November, noted that Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 missile systems from Moscow could enable Turkey’s potential ejection from the F-35 program, in addition to purchasing other weapons such as Lockheed’s F-16 fighter, UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook helicopter.

We will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries,” said U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in a warning to Ankara. “We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the East.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed on Monday the purchase and said that there would be no undoing of the decision.

“Having the S-400 from Russia is an outcome of this pursuit,” Erdoğan declared to supporters Monday. “Now [Washington], you tell us to give up purchasing the S-400 [but] … don’t provide us joint production and financial support.”

Aykan Erdemir, former Turkish parliament member and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that the Trump administration’s attempts persuade Turkey away from the Russians have largely failed.

“Washington’s attempt to use positive incentives to encourage Ankara to choose Patriot air defense system over the Russian S-400 system has failed to deliver results,” he said.

“The language in the spending bill signed by Trump will likely trigger U.S. sanctions against Turkey and block the transfer of F-35s, as Washington’s policy moves from positive incentives to negative incentives,” he continued.

“At this point, Erdoğan seems to be strongly committed to his deepening partnership with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and is unlikely to be swayed by Washington’s positive or negative incentives,” added Erdemir. “Erdoğan has been pivoting Turkey away from the transatlantic alliance and its values, putting U.S.-Turkish relations on a crash course, and 2019 might therefore mark the lowest point in bilateral relations.”

Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, said: “I don’t think this is anything new coming from the administration or Congress. The plan was always to have Turkey cancel the S-400 missile purchase from Russia.”

“Obviously, Erdoğan is looking for further gains despite his harsh stance. But ultimately, Turkey knows they will not receive the F-35 fighter jets if they go through with the Russian purchase,” he continued. “It’s also important to note that this is not just America’s position but other NATO allies as well, Turkey is [endangering] the security bloc.”

Last August, Trump signed the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which included barring Turkey from acquiring the F-35 from the U.S.

Here’s a List of Hoax ‘Hate Crimes’ in the Trump Era

Liberal actor Jussie Smollett is accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself, which Smollett blamed on supporters of President Donald Trump.

Smollett’s alleged fake “hate crime” appears to be the latest instance of liberals manufacturing hate crimes for attention in the Trump era.

The Daily Caller News Foundation compiled below some of the most outrageous fake hate crimes since Trump was elected, in rough chronological order:

Anti-Muslim Hate Crime in Michigan Turns Out to be a Hoax (Nov. 2016)
A Muslim woman at the University of Michigan received national attention from national outlets like The Washington Post in November 2016 after she claimed a drunk 20-something man threatened to light her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. The university condemned the “hateful attack,” which turned out to be a hoax.

Bisexual Student Fakes Trump-Inspired Hate Crime (Nov. 2016)
Taylor Volk, an openly bisexual senior at North Park University claimed to be the target of hateful notes and emails following Trump’s election in November 2016. Volk told NBC News that “I just want them to stop.” But the “them” referenced by Volk turned out to be herself, as the whole thing was fabricated.

Gas Station Racism Goes Viral — Then Police Debunk It (Nov. 2016)
Philadelphia woman Ashley Boyer claimed in November 2016 that she was harassed at a gas station by white, Trump-supporting males, one of whom pulled a weapon on her. Boyer claimed that the men “proceeded to talk about the election and how they’re glad they won’t have to deal with n*****s much longer.” Boyer deleted her post after it went viral and claimed the men had been caught and were facing criminal charges. Local police debunked her account.

White Men Rob Muslim Woman of Her Hijab and Wallet — Except It Never Happened (Nov. 2016)
An 18-year-old Muslim woman in Louisiana claimed in November 2016 that two white men, one of whom was wearing a Trump hat, attacked and robbed her, taking her wallet and hijab while yelling racial slurs. She later admitted to the Lafayette Police Department that she made the whole thing up.

Church Organist Vandalizes Own Church (Nov. 2016)
A church organist was arrested in May 2017 after he was found responsible for spray-painting a swastika, an anti-gay slur and the words “Heil Trump” on his own church in November 2016. When the story first broke, media outlets tied the hoax to Trump’s election. “The offensive graffiti at St. David’s is among numerous incidents that have occurred in the wake of Trump’s Election Day win,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

‘Drunk White Men’ Attack Muslim Woman in Story That Also Never Happened (Dec. 2016)
Another 18-year-old Muslim woman, this time in New York, was the subject of breathless headlines in December 2016 after she claimed to have been attacked by a group of Donald Trump supporters on a New York subway while onlookers did nothing. The woman, Yasmin Seweid, would go on to confess that she made the whole thing up.

White Guy Sets His Own Car on Fire, Paints Racial Slur on His Own Garage (Dec. 2016)
Denton, Texas, resident David Williams set his own car on fire and painted “n***** lovers” on his home’s garage, in an apparent attempt to stage a hate crime. Local police investigated the arson as a hate crime. Williams and his wife, Jenny, collected more than $5,000 from Good Samaritans via a GoFundMe page before the hoax was exposed.

Prankster Tricks Liberal Journalist into Spreading Anti-Trump Hoax (Dec. 2016)
As tales of Trump-inspired “hate crimes” were spread far and wide by liberal journalists after Trump’s election, one online prankster decided to test just how easy it was to fool journalists. The prankster sent Mic.com writer Sarah Harvard a fictitious story in which a Native American claimed to have been harassed by an alleged Trump supporter who thought she was Mexican. Despite no evidence backing up the claim, Harvard spread the fake story, emails the prankster shared with The Daily Caller showed.

Student Writes Anti-Muslim Graffiti on His Own Door (Feb. 2017)
A Muslim student at Beloit College wrote anti-Muslim graffiti on his own dorm room door. The student was reportedly motivated by a desire to seek attention after a Jewish student was targeted with an anti-Semitic note.

Israeli Man Behind Anti-Semitic Bomb Threats in the U.S. (April 2017)
Media outlets didn’t wait to find out who was behind a string of bomb threats targeting synagogues and Jewish schools before linking the threats to Trump. A U.S.-Israeli man was charged in April 2017 and indicted in February 2018 for the threats. A former reporter for The Intercept was also charged in March 2017 with making several copycat threats.

Hoax at St. Olaf (May 2017)
Students at St. Olaf College in Minnesota staged protests and boycotted classes in May 2017 after racist notes targeting black students were found around campus, earning coverage in national media outlets like The Washington Post. It later came out that a black student was responsible for the racist notes. The student carried out the hoax in order to “draw attention to concerns about the campus climate,” the university announced.

Fake Hate at Air Force Academy Goes Viral (Sept. 2017)
The Air Force Academy was thrown into turmoil in September 2017 when horrific racist notes were found at the academy’s preparatory school. “Go home n***er,” read one of the notes. The superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, went viral with an impassioned speech addressing the racist notes.

Two months later, authorities determined that one of the students targeted by the notes was also the person responsible for writing them.

K-State Fake Hate Crime (Nov. 2017)
A student at Kansas State University filed a police report in November 2017 over racist graffiti left on his car. “Go Home N***** Boy” and “Whites Only,” read the racist graffiti, which the the student later admitted to writing himself.

Racist Graffiti Carried Out by Non-White Student (Nov. 2017)
Another instance of racist graffiti that same month also turned out to be a hoax. A Missouri high school investigated after racial slurs were left on a bathroom mirror in November 2017, only to find that the student responsible was “non-white.”

Waiter Fakes Note Calling Himself a Terrorist (July 2018)
Texas waiter Khalil Cavil went viral after posting a Facebook picture of a racist note that he claimed a customer had left on the receipt, in lieu of a tip. The note described Cavil as a “terrorist.” Saltgrass Steak House, where Cavil worked, initially banned the customers for life, before their investigation revealed that the waiter had faked the racist note. “I did write it,” Cavil later admitted. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

Waitress Fakes Racist Note, Blames Law Enforcement (July 2018)
A Texas waitress apologized in July 2018 after blaming local law enforcement for an offensive note targeting Mexicans. She later admitted to writing the note herself.

New York Woman’s Hate Crime That Wasn’t (Sept. 2018)
A New York woman was charged in September 2018 after police determined she fabricated a story about white teens yelling racial slurs at her and leaving a racist note on her car.

Student Faked Racist Notes (Dec. 2018)
Several racist notes at Drake University were actually the work of one of the students who had been targeted by them. “The fact that the actions of the student who has admitted guilt were propelled by motives other than hate does not minimize the worry and emotional harm they caused, but should temper fears,” university president Marty Martin said afterwards.

The Covington Catastrophe (Jan. 2019)
National media outlets pounced on a selectively edited video from the March for Life that showed Native American activist Nathan Phillips beating a drum in front of a boisterous group of boys from Covington Catholic High School.

Phillips originally told The Washington Post the students swarmed him while he was preparing to leave the Indigenous People’s March scheduled for the same day. Phillips originally said one student, who later identified himself as high school junior Nick Sandmann, blocked his path from leaving as he tried to do so. The extended video shows that wasn’t the case: Phillips approached the high school boys during their cheers, not the other way around. Some of the people with Phillips were directing racially charged language at the students, not the other way around.

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Phillips told a second variation of his story to the Detroit Free Press. Phillips claimed he was playing the role of peacemaker by getting between the students and four “old black individuals,” whom he claimed the students were attacking. “They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillip told the Michigan paper. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”

“These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that,” he added. Extended video shows that account also isn’t accurate. The four individuals Phillips referenced were members of the Black Hebrew Israelites and they launched racist and anti-gay slurs at the high school students, not the other way around.

Bonus: Anti-Semitic Vandal Exposed as Democratic Activist (Nov. 2018)
Anti-Semitic vandalism turns out to be the work of a Democratic activist. It wasn’t a hoax — the anti-Semitic vandalism was real — but the perpetrator wasn’t the right-winger some had assumed him to be.

Bonus II: Trump-Inspired Racist Blaze at Black Church Was Carried Out by Black Church-goer (Nov. 2016)
This hoax occurred one week before Trump was elected, but TheDCNF is including it as a bonus because it was so egregious. Leftist media outlets ran headlines like “A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump” after a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was set on fire and spray painted with the words “Vote Trump.” The Washington Post’s original coverage of the incident read in part, “Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire a ‘hateful and cowardly act,’ sparked by the incendiary rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.” But the church was set on fire by one of the church’s own congregants, who is black.

‘This Is America, 2019’

The newscasters were glum and their tone was dark. “This is America, 2019.” An America where a gay black man could be beaten and almost lynched by Trump-loving, white-supremacist, homophobic thugs. What has become of our country?

Well, their words were quite on point. This is America in 2019.

Except it was the opposite of what they meant.

There was no “modern-day lynching.”

There was no crazed, MAGA attack.

The Vice President was not somehow complicit (as per Ellen Page).

This did not reveal the violent state of our nation.

Instead, the response to the alleged attack on Jussie Smollett revealed another dark side of America.

A dark side just as ugly and potentially even more dangerous.

This is America, 2019.

It is an America in which we rush to judgment before having the facts at hand. And it is an America in which we also function as judge and jury, taking the law into our own hands.

It is an America in which soundbites educate and in which edited video clips inform.

It is an America which could easily lead to a volatile mobocracy.

Do you think I’m exaggerating?

Do you think there would not be a violent attack on the home of an alleged racist homophobe, simply based on an allegation? Do you think there would not be a physical assault on the person himself? Do you think that if Jussie Smollett had identified an alleged attacker by name that his life would not be endangered?

“There he is! Get him!”

And get him they would – without facts, without verification, without justification.

It’s bad enough that menacing protesters showed up at the home of Tucker Carlson.

It’s bad enough that a disruptive little gang could drive Senator Ted Cruz and his family from a restaurant.

It’s bad enough that the Covington Catholic School had to shut down temporarily because of threats. (And may I point out that all these acts of mobocracy have come from the left?)

But it’s even worse when the media are complicit in fanning the flames.

It’s even worse when reporters report irresponsibly, just because the story fits their narrative. (In Joy Behar’s candid admission, it’s “because we’re desperate to get rid Trump out.”) Have they forgotten the word “alleged”? (In this context, a New York Times op-ed by Noah Rothman is relevant, addressing, “An object lesson in what happens when people in positions of political and cultural authority indulge their biases by suspending disbelief.”)

And what happens when political leaders join in the frenzy, also suspending critical judgment because the report so perfectly supports their biases? What happens when they’re joined by outspoken celebrities?

To say this would result in a highly-toxic, genuinely dangerous situation would be an understatement.

As to the larger societal sickness that this latest episode has revealed, Andy Ngo had this to say over at the National Review: “Jussie Smollett’s hoax is symptomatic of America’s illness. Because of the mainstreaming of academia’s victimhood culture, we are now in a place where we place more value on being a victim than on being heroic, charitable, or even kind. Victims or victim groups high on intersectionality points are supposed to be coveted, treated with child gloves, and believed unreservedly. Their ‘lived experience’ gives them infinite wisdom. Those who urge caution are treated as bigots.”

The reality is that we did almost have a modern-day lynching.

A lynching of all those who would dare wear a MAGA hat. A lynching of Trump supporters in general. A lynching of those who happen to be white or who do not celebrate homosexuality.

All of them (of us?) were now complicit in the alleged attack on a gay black man.

This is America, 2019 – and we’re only in February.

May I suggest that all of us slow down and take a deep breath? That we make a personal determination to investigate and confirm before drawing a conclusion? (Ironically, Sen. Kamala Harris, one of the first political leaders to rush to judgment and refer to a “modern-day lynching” now wants to wait for a full investigation of the alleged attack before commenting on its apparent mendacity. So, she was quick to believe its truthfulness but cautious to believe its falsehood.)

Can we make this unfortunate situation into a teachable moment for all of us, regardless of our political persuasions?

There are enough real issues of racism or hatred to focus on and address. We can agree on their wrongness and work together for a better country.

But our intellectually lazy and morally irresponsible rushes to judgment, coupled with the very real threat of mob violence, have moved us on to very dangerous ground.

Time to slow down and take stock. Or else.


For the first time later this week, a privately developed moon lander will launch aboard a privately built rocket, organized by a private launch coordinator. It’s an historic moment in space and the Israeli mission stands to make history again if it touches down on the Moon’s surface as planned on April 11.

The Beresheet (“Genesis”) program was originally conceived as an entry into the ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful Google Lunar Xprize in 2010, which challenged people to accomplish a lunar landing, with $30 million in prizes as the incentive. The prize closed last year with no winner, but as these Xprize competitions aim to do, it had already spurred great interest and investment in a private moon mission.

SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries worked together on the mission, which will bring cameras, a magnetometer and a capsule filled with items from the country to, hopefully, a safe rest on the lunar surface.

The Beresheet lander ahead of packaging for launch

The launch plan as of now (these things do change with weather, technical delays and so on) is for takeoff at 5:45 Pacific time on Thursday — 8:45 PM in Cape Canaveral — aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. A live stream should be available shortly before, which I’ll add here later or in a new post.

Thirty minutes after takeoff the payload will detach and make contact with mission control, then begin the process of closing the distance to the Moon, during which time it will circle the Earth six times.

Russia, China and of course the U.S. are the only ones ever to successfully land on the Moon; China’s Chang’e 4 lander was the first to soft-land (as opposed to impact) the “dark” (though really only far — it’s often light) side and is currently functional.

But although there has been one successful private lunar flyby mission (the Manfred Memorial probe) no one but a major country has ever touched down. If Beresheet is a success it would be both the first Israeli moon mission and the first private mission to do so. It would also be the first lunar landing to be accomplished with a privately built rocket, and the lightest spacecraft on the Moon and, at around $100 million in costs, the cheapest as well.

Landing on the Moon is, of course, terribly difficult. Just as geosynchronous orbit is far more difficult than low Earth orbit, a lunar insertion orbit is even harder, a stable such orbit even harder and accomplishing a controlled landing on target even harder than that. The only thing more difficult would be to take off again and return to Earth, as Apollo 11 did in 1969 and other missions several times after. Kind of amazing when you think about it.

Seattle’s Spaceflight coordinated the launch, and technically Beresheet is the secondary payload; the primary is the Air Force Research Labs’ S5 experimental satellite, which the launch vehicle will take to geosynchronous orbit after the lunar module detaches.

Although Beresheet may very well be the first, it will likely be the first of many: other contenders in the Lunar Xprize, as well as companies funded or partnering with NASA and other space agencies, will soon be making their own attempts at making tracks in the regolith.http://Watch "Israel prepares to launch spacecraft to the Moon – TV7 Israel News 08.02.19" on YouTube

Jordan gives Palestinians larger role in running Temple Mount

Amman expands Muslim Waqf council from 11 members to 18, adding Palestinian political and religious figures to body that administers the Jerusalem site

Jordan has moved to give Palestinians in Jerusalem a greater role in administering the Muslim institutions on the Temple Mount, expanding the Waqf religious trust council and appointing to its ranks East Jerusalem political and religious leaders.

According to a report Monday in the Haaretz daily, the Jordanian government, which controls the Waqf, enlarged its council from 11 to 18 members last week. For the first time, Palestinian Authority officials and religious leaders were installed in the body, which has historically been made up of individuals close to the Jordanian monarchy.

The change is a bid by Amman to begin to share responsibility for the holy site, the location of the biblical Jewish temples, and now of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine, which in recent years has become an epicenter of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as between competing regional alliances.

The move has also triggered a new round of violence and tension at the holy site. On Thursday, the expanded Waqf council met for the first time on the Temple Mount, near the Gate of Mercy, or Golden Gate, an area sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 because the group managing the area had ties to Hamas, and kept closed to stop illegal construction work there by the Waqf that Israeli officials believe has led to the destruction of antiquities from periods of Jewish presence in the area.

After the Thursday meeting, the council members entered the restricted building to pray there.

Israeli police responded by summoning the head of the Waqf, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib al-Tamimi, for questioning, but the summons were later canceled, apparently following pressure from Jordan, according to Haaretz.

Four days later, on Monday, the Waqf, possibly in response to the earlier summons, mobilized worshipers to the building next to the Gate of Mercy and initiated protest prayers in front of the locked gates to the site. Several Palestinian men then kicked the gates down and went in.

Police officers rushed the structure, sparking clashes and arresting five Palestinian activists.

During the clashes, police sealed off the entire Temple Mount compound for roughly three hours on Monday afternoon.

The closure drew an angry rebuke from Amman, with a letter from the Jordanian foreign ministry to its Israeli counterpart calling the closure a violation of the status quo and demanding the reopening of the gates and the removal of all Israeli security forces.

In an English-language statement on Tuesday, the office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of attempting to impose a “division” of the mosque compound.

The PA presidency, the statement said, “strongly condemned the Israeli closure of the Golden Gate (Bab al-Rahmeh) with locks and chains, warning against Israeli plans aimed at imposing the temporal and spatial division of the mosque.”

It held “the Israeli occupation authorities fully responsible for the complete deterioration and tension, warning it against its continued repressive and arbitrary policies which will only lead to repercussions and fuel the feelings of the Palestinian people.”

The ongoing tensions at the site are part of the reason for the expansion of the Waqf council by Jordan, according to Haaretz. Amman first considered the move in the wake of violent protests that followed a terror attack in which Palestinian gunmen killed Israeli police officers guarding the Temple Mount in mid-2017.

Israel installed metal detectors at the compound’s entrances following that attack, triggering weeks of protests by Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally ordered the detectors removed after regional allies warned that the fight over the holy site was strengthening the hands of Islamist factions throughout the region.

Jordan believes its influence at the Temple Mount was eroded by those events, while Palestinian leaders who led the protests saw their influence grow.

The Waqf council’s new membership reflects that shift. The new members include PA officials Hatem Abdel Kader and the PA’s governor in Jerusalem, Adnan al-Husayn; religious leaders Akrama Sabri, considered close to Turkey’s ruling AKP party, and the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein; and the president of Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, Imad Abu Kishk.

Palestinian fears about purported Israeli plans to change the 52-year arrangement on the Temple Mount — where the Waqf maintains administrative control and the Israel Police security control — have become a daily staple in Palestinian political rhetoric and media reports in recent years. Multiple car-rammings, stabbings and shootings have been attributed by Palestinian attackers to the alleged efforts by Israel to alter the status quo at the site, according to which Jews may visit but not pray there.

Right-wing Israeli activists in recent years have challenged the prayer prohibition, but the Israeli government has firmly and repeatedly said it intends to uphold the old arrangement.


Sperm were the hot trend at London Fashion Week

The biggest takeaway from London Fashion Week? Designers across the pond are all horned up.

Take Ashley Williams, who showed in London the day after Valentine’s. She’s known for her campy bejeweled hair clips that spell out sayings like “Anxiety” or “Devil” — but things got even more risque this season.

How risqué you ask? We’re talking a collection full of squiggly, cartoon-like, sperm-printed pieces.

From a fuzzy fleece to a silky skirt to strapless tea-length cocktail dress, there were plenty of stylish swimmers on these designs. Even more explicit was Williams’ penis-covered sweatband — for when you want to let everyone know you have sex on the brain.

A few days later, Christopher Kane — another cheeky Brit who loves to play with XXX material — was inspired by bodily fluids and fetishes.

Kane built up to a climax with subtle details like leather, lace and colorful IV bag handbags — but by the 11th look it was plainly spelled out for us. He created mini dresses and tees emblazoned with the terms “Rubberist” and “Looner,” for anyone who wants to bring their underground kink to the foreground.