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Posts Tagged ‘cops’

The…binary foundation of 1s and 0s is deeply problematic: 1 is inherently phallic and thus misogynistic…we have 0s and Os as our fundamental binary logic gates.  They symbolise/-ize the varying, natural, and beautiful differences of the female vaginal opening.  –  Arielle Schlesinger

OK, you can laugh: I stupidly forgot my laptop at home.  As a result, I’m finishing this up on Angela Keaton’s teeny-tiny little notebook at a house party in New Orleans.  Nobody can fault my dedication!  Everything down to the first video is from Jesse Walker, the second video is from Jack Shafer and the links between the videos are from Jason Kuznicki (“awkward” and “property”), Scott Greenfield  (“police state”), Dave Barry (“headline”), Mike Siegel (“runner-up” and “hysteria”),  Popehat (“firearms”), and Franklin Harris (“neglect”).

From the Archives

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Given that large numbers of prostitutes operate independently without panderers, it would be difficult to characterize prostitution as inherently rooted in subjugation.  –  Gail Heriot

Think of the Children! Jaqueline Laurent-Auger

The half-life of sex radiation must be over 40 years:

…[73-year-old] Jaqueline Laurent-Auger was a teacher at the Montreal private school, Le Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf…but…the school [fired] her [because]…as a young actress…in France, she starred in a handful of erotic films…[including] Le Journal intime d’une nymphomane (1973) and Dany la ravageuse (1972).  In a statement, school officials maintain that “We’re not talking about paintings or sculptures of naked bodies produced with artistry and aesthetics in mind.  There are erotic scenes destined for an adult audience…”

Dirty Whores

The headline makes the contagion sound voluntary and evokes the “dirty whore” myth:  “…a [Liberian] sex worker…suffering from Ebola…passed the deadly disease to [Floson Louise]…who unknowingly spread it to seven other soldiers…the army barracks are being decongested to ease the spread of the disease…

Rooted in Racism

I’m really pleased to see black intellectuals writing about this:

…the movement against “modern-day slavery” deploys non-racial language to…[solidify] the existing racial regime…and…is inordinately preoccupied with women’s sexual victimization…the focus on white women…working in commercial sex recalls the…late nineteenth and early twentieth century…[panic over] the “white slave trade”…the moral authority that anti-slavery mobilizes today partly stems from the memory of black liberation that it implicitly draws upon—all the while explicitly distancing itself from black historical struggle…

Surplus Women

[Darren Vann of Gary, Indiana]…may be a serial killer who has killed…as far back as 20 years ago…Vann…was arrested…[for the murder of] Afrika Hardy…[after she] did not return from [an]  appointment [with Vann, a friend]…went to track her down and found her dead from strangulation.  Once in custody Vann…admitted…Hardy’s murder and led police to the bodies of six other women, all in abandoned houses…[officials were] unable to say whether the other victims were sex workers…

Not an Addiction (TW3 #6)

Since when do “scientists” treat patients?

Scientists have treated…the first patient with internet addiction disorder brought on by overuse of Google Glass.  The man had been using the technology for around 18 hours a day – removing it only to sleep and wash – and complained of feeling irritable and argumentative without [it]…he had also begun experiencing his dreams as if viewed through [its] small grey window.  The existence of internet addiction disorder…is hotly debated among psychiatrists.  It was not included as a clinical diagnosis in the 2013 update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

It is not “hotly debated”; OCD is not “addiction”, no matter how much money-hungry scammers want to rebrand it as such.

Above the Law 

A Birmingham [Alabama] police officer arrested earlier this month on child sex abuse charges is now charged with rape of an adult woman.  Joshua Herbinger…was not in any kind of…relationship with the [victim]…In the earlier case…Herbinger was charged with four counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old…

Shift in the Wind

One of the members of the US government Commission on Civil Rights openly criticized “sex trafficking” hysteria in a dissent with the Commission’s predetermined rubber-stamp “findings”, and may have cited yours truly in it:

…terms like “sex trafficking”…obscure more than they enlighten, because there is little agreement on what they mean…claims that the Super Bowl is a magnet for sex traffickers appear to be more myth than fact…In the late 19thcentury, Great Britain was also swept by a wave of hysteria over “white slavery“.  In time, the panic spread to the United States…the Heriot dissent decries the tendency to view the complexities of so-called “international labor trafficking” as something inherently sinister…There is plenty of opportunity for fraudulent or coercive behavior in these transactions.  But there is also opportunity for gain by the most vulnerable of the world’s people, trapped in poverty…

Bottleneck

Why 90% of whores prefer to work illegally than submit to licensing:

…Dancers and managers at a Washington state strip club are…suing to stop their county from releasing their names, photos, and other identifying information to a man who has filed a public records request…because strippers in most areas of Washington must obtain an “entertainer’s license”, their identities are a matter of public record…it’s entirely likely [David A. Van Vleet]…is a crazy stalker or an anti-sex nutjob.  Maybe both…it’s hard to imagine many non-nefarious reasons for requesting personal information on a wide swath of individuals in a sensitive job…

Capricious Lusts (TW3 #37)

M.C. Nanaiah , chairman of the [Indian] expert committee to suggest measures for safety of women and children has favoured a wider discussion on legalisation of prostitution…to prevent rapes…

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie:

Juju “magic” may seem strange, mythical and other-worldly but it is a problem that is all too real when it comes to the sex trafficking of women from Nigeria…Trafficking expert Siddharth Kara from Harvard University said:  “[Juju] exerts a kind of control that’s so much more potent than chains or locking someone up.  It’s control of the spirit which is far more powerful and insidious”…

Westerners have our own Juju faith in self-declared “experts” like Kara, a charlatan whose degree of ignorance is astonishing even in a field dominated by charlatans.Barry Freundel

Buried Truth 

One of the nation’s most respected rabbis…[is] accused of placing a camera in the women’s…area of a sacred bath…Barry Freundel is a…leader in the Modern Orthodox movement…with controversial opinions on everything from abortion to homosexuality.  He…was known to take a strict position on morality, [saying]…just weeks ago:  “The lack of sexual morality…pervades this society…Pornography and its accessibility is wrecking marriages”…

Scapegoats (TW3 #49)

Daily Beast writer (no giggling, now) says Denmark doesn’t have enough reasons to lock people up yet:

…A new law on the table in Denmark proposes to make sex with animals…illegal.  The Danish law currently states that humans can have sex with animals as long as the animal doesn’t suffer…[but] how would one know if an animal enjoyed human sex?…If the law passes…only Finland, Hungary and Sweden will remain lawless…[the bill's sponsor] is…concerned that…Denmark…could become the [Mecca] of animal sex tourism…

I’m not sure what’s sillier, the writer’s conflation of “doesn’t suffer” with “enjoy” or her idea that “human sex” is fundamentally different from other mammals’ copulation.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

Tony-award winning playwright…Sarah Jones…has been publicly “workshopping” her newest one woman show, entitled Sell/Buy/Date…The play is really one insult after another…Everybody was a “prostituted woman” except for a Russian male pimp who self-described as a sex worker.  And the sex worker rights activists are caricatured as dimwitted and undereducated supporters of Sarah Palin…Jones seems to be under the impression that the sex worker movement is funded by big corporate interests…Jones’ monologues [are set in an imaginary future dystopia] where…prostitution could not possibly exist…emergency medical treatment will be necessary to cure male porn addicts…However, magically, there will be a “re-sensititization” of men by forcing them to watch Thelma and Louise

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #330)

a 30-year-old female sex worker [has been sent] to prison for at least nine years under Germany’s “preventive detention” law, because she has shown a pattern of not disclosing to clients that she was living with HIV before they chose to have condomless sex with her…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #337)

Sex workers in Northern Ireland are overwhelmingly opposed to…a law that could criminalise those who pay for prostitutes…only 2%…are in favour of the so-called “Swedish model”…61%…thought [the]…law…would make them less safe.  And…only 16% of…clients…said such a law would make them stop seeking to pay for sex…

Unfortunately, facts don’t concern politicians.

Damned If You Don’t (TW3 #343)

Charles CouchA man arrested in a police operation to harass and jail gay men was not only abused and threatened:  cops also stole his property, trashed his reputation and seriously jeopardized his career.  “Charles S. Couch…is suing the city [of Manhattan Beach, California]…Chief Eve Irvine and five police detectives, seeking $5 million in damages for mental distress, aggravation and loss of work.  He is being represented by civil and gay rights attorney Bruce W. Nickerson, who specializes in litigation surrounding police sting operations…

Rhinoceros (TW3 #403)

It turns out COAST is even sleazier than I thought:

…The majority of the board members of COAST’s backing group, the Association of Club Entrepreneurs (ACE), have been sued by their own employees for violations of labor law including wage theft, intimidation, charging debt-inducing illegal fees, and even sexual harassment…one of COAST’s co-founders, Michael Ocello, got involved in anti-trafficking efforts after the Illinois club he owned was raided by federal agents…

The Missing Word

The ridiculous claim that 42% of all UK sex workers are male derives from a bad study which makes two false assumptions: that each sex worker takes out one and only one ad at a time, and that all sex workers use all advertising platforms equally.  But that’s not the interesting thing about this article; it’s the fact that when men are the subject, agency is not denied and the word “trafficking” is nowhere to be found.

Property of the State

Women’s advocacy and drug-policy reform organizations are calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “publicly renounce” enhanced criminal penalties for pregnant women.  It’s an issue that’s been gaining more attention since the July…conviction of Lacey Weld…[who] was pregnant at the time she made (and used) meth…[and] received an extra six years of prison time…Many object to charging a pregnant meth user with “child endangerment” on the grounds that an embryo or fetus is not yet a “child”.  But we also…[know] that heavy drinking and poor nutrition are much more dangerous to developing fetuses than exposure to meth…

The Roof Caves In

The Somaly Mam Foundation…shuttered its entire operation…and urged its followers to support other anti-trafficking groups…The SMF website on Saturday appeared to be stripped of all its content except for the announcement on its homepage…

Of course, the same bunch have already started a new “rescue” scam.

If Men Were Angels

A man who claims he can “cure” gay people…raped a teenage boy and threatened to kill him with his “warlock powers” if he told.  Kentucky police have arrested…youth pastor Rex Allen Murphy…the 16-year-old [victim said Murphy]…told him…that by brushing his skin or shaking his hand…he could tell his sins…Murphy reportedly asserted he thought he would be able to help the victim with his “battle with homosexuality because he, too, had experimented with homosexuality”…

Schadenfreude (TW3 #434) 

Five Women in Whitechapel (TW3 #437) 

It was supposed to have been the definitive piece of scientific evidence that finally exposed the true identify of Jack the Ripper…However, the scientist who carried out the DNA analysis has apparently made a fundamental error that fatally undermines his case…it would mean his calculations were wrong and that virtually anyone could have left the DNA that he insisted came from the Ripper’s victim…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #440)

following the mass eviction of over 1,449 prostitutes from…Dolly…it would appear that Papua has become a destination of choice among a small portion of the evictees…Papua is by far the richest province in Indonesia in terms of natural resources, boasting some of the largest gold, silver, copper and timber reserves on earth…nouveau riche mining capital has ensured that sex workers in Papua are among the highest paid in Indonesia…

The Face of Trafficking

I’m going to use this subtitle for stories refuting the myth of the evil client:

A woman who was lured to Dubai by promises of a job [in a beauty salon] but was then forced into prostitution was rescued by her first customer when she burst into tears and told him her story…the victim [said]…“He…booked me a ticket back to Morocco and even drove me to the airport”…she was not allowed to leave the country because…her employment contract had not been cancelled, so she headed to airport police and told them the whole story…

There was an earlier example here.

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From what you’ve told me you don’t need an ambulance…You could try a warm bath but if you collapse, become unconscious [or] unresponsive…it’s 999.  –  Heidi Nicholls

I’m very disappointed at the tardiness of Halloween spirit the last few years; there’s only one more Links column before the big day, yet I’ve seen virtually no seasonal links and only one seasonal video (the first one below, contributed by Aspasia).  I had to go looking for the second one myself, though I’m quite pleased with it.  Everything above the first video is from Rick Horowitz, and the links between the videos from Brooke Magnanti (“colon”), ManCrack (“Dick”),  Clarissa (“hammer”), Jesse Walker (“clowns”), Molli Desi (“medicine”), Saladin Ahmed (“authoritarian”), Radley Balko (“prohibition” & “bicycle”), and Mistress Matisse (“plug”).

From the Archives

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[To a prohibitionist California judge] “help”…means keeping a pregnant teen locked up in juvenile jail because she accepted payment for sex, but still talking to her in really nice tones.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Think of the Children! Moongoyle

I’m sure this sleazebag reporter is proud of himself:

…Slicing Beauty is a fairly typical…slasher flick, featuring gratuitous nudity…[which] was produced and directed, under an alias, by the principal of [a Connecticut] Middle School.  And the film’s script…was written, also under an alias, by a guidance counselor at [another] Middle School…Mark D. Foley…[and] Aaron Vnuk…have been making movies together since at least 2008…the pair formed a company that became Moongoyle Entertainment…in movie credits, they use the names Mark Daniel and Aaron Thomas Howell…[but busybody Matthew Kauffman] determined their identities by comparing information in state corporation records…to state educator records…

And this, kiddies, is why Maggie McNeill, LLC is registered in Delaware.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

A…Dallas…vice detective accused of giving a prostitute protection in exchange for sexual favors coached the woman to say she was his confidential informant if questioned about the relationship…Jose Luis Bedoy…was…charged with…obstruction of…justice…Bedoy met the woman…in early 2009 during a raid…[he] alerted her to police investigations and sought sex in return…

Sales Pitch

At least a few Swedish politicians seem to get it:

Sweden’s new coalition government is trying to make it an offence for Swedes to use prostitutes when they are…in other countries…But their plans look set to be blocked by the centre-right parties that made up the former governing Alliance…Some argue that making it illegal for Swedes to pay for sex in places where prostitution is…legal, could lead to other countries starting to punish their citizens for activities that are allowed in Sweden…”It would be terrible if people got punished because they had a homosexual relationship…or…an abortion in Sweden,” [said] Moderate party Justice spokesperson Beatrice Ask…

Schadenfreude 

Yet another rescue industry fraud:

…Frits Rouvoet regularly walks in Amsterdam’s Red Light District…most prostitutes see [him] as “this idiot that always brings flowers”, and often try to get rid of him by pretending to be on the phone…[he] regularly claims to have “saved” a woman…and has been doing so for years, while I still see the same girls at work every day…how come nobody has noticed the women that have gone missing, because he has “saved” them?…It also makes one wonder [why]…these “oh so violent pimps”…let Frits…take away “their girls” without a fight…Does Frits Rouvoet possess some kind of supernatural…powers, that [protect] him…?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

Somaly Mam and Uncle Sam will not be happy:

New [Cambodian] government regulations for the entertainment industry…aim to offer sex workers…increased protection under the Labor Law…Chan Dyna…of the National Entertainment Workers’ Network, said…“The government has finally recognized that entertainment workers are actually workers, like all others”…

Above the Law 

Rapist cops come in two main types, the sleazy:  “Florida sheriff’s deputy [Ted Arboleda] was arrested…after he was accused of allowing a woman to avoid arrest in exchange for oral sex…”…and the openly brutal:

Authorities have arrested a…[Colorado] sheriff’s deputy…The woman told investigators she was driving [Timothy Joseph] Hay home after drinking at a bar…when Hay asked her to pull over at a warehouse…[he then slammed] the woman’s head to the ground and [raped] her…

Finding What Isn’t There

This story makes much more sense when one realizes that the word “evidence” was substituted for the proper term, “propaganda”.  Here, I’ll demonstrate:

New figures…which…show a continuing decline here are “very alarming”…said the Immigrant Council of Ireland.  The figures are contrary to European [propaganda]…There was…just one reported case of a trafficked child, compared to 16 last year…[Denise] Charlton said…“It is worrying that the figures have come down…There is so much [propaganda] that those who enter the sex trade do so as teenagers.  Why are we not finding these children?”…

Damned If You Don’t

New York…Port Authority police…have arrested more than 60 [men] this year in the bus terminal on public lewdness charges…Most…were accused of masturbating in the second-floor bathroom…by plainclothes officers…[spying on] them at an adjacent urinal…the Port Authority’s interpretation of the law [seems] to criminalize the use of public urinals…

Enough is Enough

Monkey Business

They certainly deserve it more than zygotes:

…a New York court will decide whether or not Tommy the Chimpanzee qualifies as a legal person…late last year…lawyer Steven Wise discovered him being held in a small, unclean cage and receiving inadequate care…if Tommy is declared a legal person, it does not mean he is human…it would just afford him protection beyond existing animal cruelty laws.  Personhood would give him rights pertaining to his self interest that would hold up in a court of law, similar to a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a child or disabled adult…The Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP)…acts on behalf of nonhuman animals who are intelligent, self-aware and autonomous, including great apes, elephants, and dolphins…

That Old Black Magic

Scotland Yard has received 27 allegations of ritual child abuse linked to witchcraft in the past year, with police believing many more remain “hidden” by families…one child was swung round before being smacked over the head in order to “drive out the devil”.  The Telegraph reported instances of children having chili rubbed into their eyes…[or] dunked in baths and forced to drink noxious liquids in exorcism ceremonies…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (TW3 #316)

Watching pornography could soon be banned in Telangana…as a means to reduce crimes against [women]…state police said they have been asked to…use technology similar to the one used by the Chinese government to block content on search engines…banning pornography may not have any effect in ensuring security of women as several studies have shown that such content does not instigate…rape…

In fact, studies show it has exactly the opposite effect, but prohibitionists never care about little things like facts.

Monsters

This has been a month of horrible violence against transwomen, from Australia:

…Marcus Volke worked around the world as a male prostitute before moving to Brisbane just weeks before he murdered his wife and cooked her on their…apartment’s stovetop.  Volke, who was found with Mayang Prasetyo’s dismembered body…the couple had both worked in a Melbourne brothel and Volke had also made a living from sex work in Copenhagen.  After moving to Brisbane he was working under the name of Heath XL while his wife was [working] as a “top high class Asian shemale”…Volke took his own life while fleeing police…

To the Philippines:  “A US Marine has been detained over the murder of a transgender woman…26-year-old Jennifer Laude Sueselbeck was found dead by strangulation…with her head in the toilet…”  To New York:  “A 28-year-old trans woman was beaten by four men on a Bushwick street…with a 2 X 4…She is…in stable condition…but [may]…have permanent brain damage…

Traffic Jam (TW3 #318)

Another stupid “sex trafficking” play:

It’s Not Fair is a collection of tales taken from all over the world…from the cocoa farms of the Ivory Coast to the dingy bars of the back streets of Thailand, behind the respectable facade of a London home and into the offices of an anti-trafficking organisation…Using a unique blend of theatre, storytelling and music, the performance brings these stories to life in an entertaining, powerful and moving way…that raises awareness of the problem…

Hussies

The horror of good customer service:

…Anna Burgese…says she was attacked early last year in the lobby of a South Beach W Hotel by drunken hookers who mistakenly believed she was competition…As a result…[she] hired undercover agents to visit W Hotels all over the country…[and] claims that they found…prostitution runs rampant in the hotels…The filing also alleges that The W…provides guests with free condoms and that its website advertises sex toys.  “These agents engaged…employees who openly, and without hesitation, procured the services of prostitutes for the agents…”

In other words, these supposed agents “found” that a W concierge does exactly what the concierge in any expensive hotel will do.

Broken Record (TW3 #333)

The lies in this article are outrageous even by “sex trafficking” standards.  First, cops’ arrest of 25 underage sex workers and 45 other people (labelled “pimps”) magically transmogrified into “[NGO members] successfully rescued 66 children, and made more than 120 arrests.”  But the second claim was even more egregious:  “a group of experts went to Sturgis, SD during the large motor cycle rally and were successful in rescuing more than a dozen young girls.”  In fact, no sex workers were arrested (“rescued”) at all; photos of adult women were supposedly “age-regressed” and the results were used to entrap seven men.fat prat

Innocence Never Had

Because people don’t like the idea of teens engaging in sex work…they want the government to do something about it, and the way to get people under state jurisdiction is to define them as either criminals or helpless victims.  So if teen sex workers aren’t criminals, they must be children whom the state has an obligation to protect coercively…”to prevent them from returning to their pimps”…Teenagers may not have the full capacity to consent…but they’re not mentally incapacitated.  The government shouldn’t be able to lock up a 15-year-old girl ’til her 18th birthday to stop her from having sex in a way of which it disapproves…

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

The idea that women might have minds and agency is unacceptable to Canadian Cops:

…Called Operation Northern Spotlight, the officers in each city used ads on the Web to book “dates” with escorts over two nights last week — then met to [harass and intimidate them]…“Almost all the girls we meet, they say they’re independent,” said Sgt. Rob Huber…Despite denials…Huber suspects most are turned out by someone who reaps the bulk of the lucrative profits.  “But until that girl basically tells us, we don’t have a victim”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #416) 

Most of this article is the usual ludicrous nonsense from one of the usual suspects (in this case, Washington DC “rescue” opportunists FAIR Girls), but it does have one notable line:  “…the average victim is sold three to five times per night…”  Not 50 or 100?  Very interesting.

Business As UsualThissera's victim

a video showing a policeman beating a young woman…in…Sri Lanka…has generated heated discussion in the media…the police…first…[pretended that] the video [was] unreliable…[then admitted] that the particular policeman…has been identified…but that [the sex worker he beat] appeared to be in hiding…[meanwhile] the woman…began to reveal her ordeal in public…The [attacker's] name has now been revealed as P.P. Thissera…he…has not been arrested or charged with a criminal offence…

Bad Girls (TW3 #438)

Remember the sex worker who killed the cop, and I said there was more to it? 

…the 29-year-old woman told the police that she killed the constable as an act of revenge as it was he who had pushed her into prostitution and ruined her life…although she could have easily escaped after the murder, she chose to…set the body on fire [as]…a warning to corrupt cops…the deceased constable…sold her to a brothel [in 2002, then] three years ago, the woman again met…him…and [he] would often visit her…When she refused to give in to his demands, the constable would…threaten to arrest her…

Wise Investment (TW3 #440)

I’ve heard this woman is actually kind of a nasty character, but it’s still good news if her lawyer can get a raid thrown out:  “The defense attorney for a Salem, N.H., woman accused of running a…brothel wants a police search of his client’s home and vehicle tossed out as evidence in the criminal sex-trafficking and prostitution case.  Lori Barron…is accused of hiring young women [to work in an ordinary massage parlor]…

The Roof Caves In (TW3 #440)

Somaly…Mam’s ex-husband Pierre Legros [said]…”Simon Marks…did his job as a journalist and verified the facts.  I have not met Abigail Pesta who wrote the Marie-Claire story and I…doubtful…[of] her version…Somaly has at least two different versions of her biography …you know fabricated stories are used by everyone to get funding.  But I received death threats from Somaly and her entourage, telling me not to speak”…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on September 28th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Tyrannical laws, especially those against consensual behaviors, are supported by many people suffering from the delusion that these laws (or other, subsequent laws based on the precedent of the laws they supported) will never, ever be used against them or anyone they care about.  Of course, this is nothing but a naïve fantasy; the fact of the matter is that, as I have written many times before, a weapon once forged can be used by anyone who cares to pick it up; furthermore, once its pattern has been invented there is nothing to stop other tyrants from forging similar weapons to use against those they wish to oppress…which might very well include those who supported the first law.  Over and over again we see examples of prostitution laws being used to arrest women who have never been paid for sex in their lives; because a whore looks exactly like any other woman, and her “criminality” derives entirely from taboo motives for an activity which is completely legal otherwise, cops routinely arrest  “women who carry condoms, answer personal ads, wear sexy lingerie, go without lingerie, fail forced ‘virginity tests’ask a cop if he’s a cop, ‘act sexy’, go out after dark without a male chaperone, or even just ‘look like a prostitute’.”  In some parts of the US, some of these acts are themselves criminalized, leading to a bizarre and evil regime in which a woman can be arrested and convicted for “acting like a hooker” even if everyone agrees that no “act of prostitution” took place.

I’m sure most of you heard about this incident last month:

[Hollywood actress] Daniele Watts…has claimed she was “handcuffed and detained” by Los Angeles police officers because of her race.  Two police officers approached Watts and her white boyfriend Brian James Lucas when they were seen showing affection in public, the actress said…she refused to produce her photo ID…and was then handcuffed and held in a police car as the officers tried to figure out who she was…

Daniele Watts arrestNaturally, the police chief insisted that the cops acted properly (as police chiefs always do, even when an unarmed person is shot in the back or an autistic teenager is tased to death):  “Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is defending the actions of officers who briefly detained and questioned an actress…following reports that she was ‘involved in a lewd act’ in a parked car…”  Setting aside for a moment that the initial reports said she was suspected of prostitution, not “indecent exposure”, it seems disingenuous to claim that their being an interracial couple had nothing to do with the harassment.  Here’s an account from a woman who, though she was eventually arrested for having the same name as someone for whom there was a warrant, was initially stopped merely for being a black woman in a vehicle with a white man, despite the lack of “indecency”:

…I rode shotgun in a pickup truck with…my friend, Nathan…On the way to the restaurant we drove too far and had to turn into the entrance of a very wealthy, very white neighborhood to get back on track.  Suddenly we heard a police siren coming from an unmarked SUV, signaling for us to pull over.  Before the arresting officer made it to Nathan’s car, two more unmarked SUVs and a police car joined them…Their first question was addressed to Nathan: “How do you know this woman?”…

In other words, prostitution laws provided a useful pretext for a stop.  Certainly, there are many such pretexts, including the hundreds of inane traffic regulations that actually exist and the dozens of others cops just invent on the spot.  But it’s telling how often prostitution laws are used as that pretext when it’s black women the “authorities” want to harass:

…Kantaki…Washington, Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas say a member of the [Standard] hotel’s security team accused them of being hookers.  The women had just come down from…[the] bar…and settled in the lobby when several men approached them and offered to buy them drinks…a security guard from the hotel whispered something in the man’s ear and ushered him away.  “After…he comes over to me and my friends and says, ‘Come on, ladies.  You can buy a drink but you can’t be soliciting,’…We were like, soliciting?  He said, ‘Don’t act stupid with me, ladies.  You know what you’re doing’…Dude, I’m a lawyer and these women are educators…Why the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?”  Outraged, Washington demanded that the guard give her his name and the name of his manager…When she and her friends approached the manager…they were met with indifference…Several weeks later, Washington received an email from…the hotel inviting her and “three guests back to The Standard for a bottle of champagne…followed by dinner…”  None of the emails…addressed the prostitution accusation…

Of course, they’re lucky he was only a rent-a-cop; otherwise it might’ve gone more like this:

A Galveston couple is suing three police officers who they say arrested and beat their 12-year-old daughter after mistaking her for a prostitute…Named as defendants are…Gilbert Gomez…David Roark and Sean Stewart…Dymond Larae Milburn went outside her home…to flip a circuit breaker about 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2006.  Responding to a call that three white prostitutes were soliciting in the neighborhood, the plainsclothes officers jumped out of an unmarked van…and one of them grabbed the girl, who is black…the officers did not identify themselves as police and…the officer who grabbed her, later identified as Roark, told her, “You’re a prostitute.  You’re coming with me.”  Her parents, Wilfred and Emily Milburn, heard her cries for help and came outside to see the hysterical girl hanging on to a tree and screaming “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” while two officers hit her in the head, face and throat…Two hours later…emergency room…doctors found she had a sprained wrist, two black eyes, a bloody nose and blood in an ear…Weeks later, the girl was arrested during classes at…school, where she was an honors student…She was tried a year later on a charge of resisting arrest, but the judge declared a mistrial on the first day…Wilfred Milburn was arrested the…day [after the initial incident] for interfering with police and assaulting an officer…

super cop mind probing machineThe systemic racism of the American “justice” system is hardly a secret, and only a fool would pretend that the removal of any one law would do much to stop police abuse of black people; they would simply use another of the many laws available to them under universal criminality.  But just as legislative precedent can be used to build new laws, so can judicial precedent be used to overturn old ones.  The vast majority of the laws used to harass all people, but especially minorities, are those against consensual activities because they allow cops to stop, annoy, question, beat, chain and cage peaceful people who have done nothing to anyone else, based purely on cops’ whims and feelings.  To accuse someone of prostitution, a cop need not even produce drugs to plant upon his victim; all he needs is a prejudice or a wanking fantasy.  And the eradication of any such vile law is a step toward eradicating all of them.

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Dave Krueger used to run an excellent blog named Sex Hysteria! in which he chronicled the many instances of human stupidity about the subject.  “Sex trafficking” was only one of the many topics he covered, and I first heard about the “gypsy whores” myth from him.  Alas, real life eventually put so many demands on his time he could not continue the blog, and he doesn’t write as often as he used to, however, he recently reappeared on Twitter and I hope this isn’t the only guest spot he does for me.

One doesn’t have to be an avid follower of the news to notice that American law enforcement is becoming ever more tightly integrated into the day-to-day affairs of ordinary citizens; you no longer have to be suspected of a crime (in the traditional sense of the term) to warrant the interest of any of a multitude of police agencies with overlapping jurisdictions at federal, state, and local levels.  Almost every government agency that generates regulations has an enforcement branch armed with guns making sure you aren’t braiding hair or arranging flowers without a license, dealing non-approved milk, buying too much cold medicine, or allowing your kid to sell lemonade, etc.  Government insists on using its police powers to dictate even the tiniest details of human commerce; in today’s America, if you breathe, you are probably a law breaker.

But even aside from the regulatory environment, fabricated crime has replaced traditional crime as the central focus of the justice system.  In a traditional crime, some act injures a non-consenting person in some way; in a consensual “crime”, all parties engaged in the activity consent to it.  Consensual crimes may still result in injury, but no force was used to compel anyone into being a party to them.  Consensual crimes include almost all prohibitions on drugs, sex work, gambling, and usury; laws specifically targeting minorities (race, gender, and sexual orientation) belong to the same class.  Without compulsion and victimization, it is rare for anyone to report such “crimes”; that is the crux of what differentiates traditional from consensual crime from a law enforcement perspective.  Equally important is that many more people engage in outlawed consensual behavior, and usually do so more often than they would commit traditional crimes.   In other words, consensual crime creates an endless supply of easy targets for law enforcement.

Over the course of the 20th century, the US justice system experimented with and expanded its focus on consensual crime; in recent years, federal grant programs and asset forfeiture laws have actually incentivized police departments to divert resources away from traditional violent crime fighting.  Because people who engage in consensual crime rarely complain, law enforcement must resort to “stings” and confidential informants (CIs) to produce evidence of law breaking; a sting consists of tricking someone into committing the outlawed act, and a CI is anyone willing to testify, in exchange for cash or favors, that someone else committed a crime.

The most prolific campaign against consensual crime started in the 1970s with Nixon’s “War on Drugs”, which triggered a perpetual erosion of the civil liberties which were once considered a defining characteristic of American freedom.  Key among these lost freedoms are protections against self-incrimination, unreasonable searches, and privacy in general.  The U.S. now has the distinction of having more criminals behind bars than any other country on the planet, and virtually all convictions now come from plea agreements induced by prosecutors who overcharge a defendant and then offer to reduce the charges in exchange for a guilty plea.  The path from freedom to prison has become a high-volume assembly line consisting largely of clerical steps in a Kafkaesque system that holds all the cards.

Mixed with the bad news that all Americans are subject to harassment and arrest is the sobering fact that police are not subject to the same laws as the rest of us; there are no consequences when they don’t respect our rights.  In the absence of public outrage and irrefutable proof of misconduct, the entire justice system stands ready to shield cops from accountability.  Nothing has exposed this culture of corruption like the widespread use of video-capable cell phones to expose cops blatantly and routinely lying about the facts of an arrest, but even when caught red-handed it’s rare for a cop to even be fired, much less charged under criminal law.  Cops are also shielded from damages stemming from civil suits; successful suits are paid by taxpayers.  On top of that, police are taking on a more militaristic character; SWAT teams that were once intended for dangerous situations like hostage standoffs are now used to serve routine search and arrest warrants.  This militaristic, us-against-them, mindset instills an attitude that the public is the enemy; escalation of violence is becoming a reflex law enforcement reaction rather than a tactic of last resort.

Is there any way to reverse this trend?  Even as traditional crime rates plunge, the fear-mongering “tough on crime” rhetoric that permeates election campaigning remains very effective with voters.  And though millions of Americans are adversely affected by the government crusade against consensual crime, they remain largely disorganized and ignored by the establishment media.  The drug war throws thousands out of work, making many unemployable, eroding the tax base and exacerbating poverty, while the voting block that benefits from this taxpayer-financed crusade (cops, prosecutors, judges, the prison system, treatment specialists, attorneys and the illegal drug industry itself) thrives.  So although there has been some limited success with rolling back some state marijuana laws, there is not going to be any noticeable diminishment of the powerful industry that benefits from consensual crime laws without massive public pushback; this, however, is highly unlikely because  activists who fight consensual crime laws are divided by category.  The crusader against the drug war doesn’t see gamblers or sex workers as natural allies, etc.

The only viable prospect for reversing this trend is for everyone with a dog in the fight to recognize they are all fighting the same foe; rather than remaining in isolated pockets of resistance, they need to join together as one movement with one voice.  It’s time to make the case that consensual crime laws and the American police state are everyone’s problem.  This is not a left vs right issue; the current state of affairs has been an enthusiastic hand-holding joint venture between both Republicans and Democrats, but history shows that parties can change when pushed by a large enough interest group.  If you’re a sex worker, gambler, or drug war opponent, you are part of that interest group.  If you are the spouse or parent of someone whose life has been ruined because of some low-level consensual crime arrest, you are part of that interest group.  Even if you’re just a taxpayer who doesn’t want your taxes used for persecution, you’re part of that interest group.  There is power in numbers; we need to stop sending thousands of people to prison every year for no other reason than we don’t like what they do behind closed doors.

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And they’re like, “Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?”
“The King of Sweden.”
“Why did he give this to you?”
“Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.”
 –  Brian Schmidt

Lots of links this week but only one Halloween item so far; I’m hoping to see more this week.  The first video is a German Volkswagen commercial from  Grace (who also provided “home while black”); the second is from Dave Barry (I especially love the way Apostle Emeka is unable to prevent eye-rolling).  Everything above the first video is from Radley Balko, and the links between the videos from Clarissa (“your way”), Angela Keaton (“consequences”), Nick Tolman (“tombstone”), Lenore Skenazy (“precaution”),  Rick Horowitz (“another day” & “seat belt”), Mistress Matisse (“peasants”),  Michael Whiteacre  (“bureaucrats”), Jesse Walker (“distrust” & “combination”),  Jason Kuznicki  (“smartphone”), Cop Block (“vegetable”), and Paul Murray (“hysterically”).

From the Archives

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