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You often say “Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever”, but what’s the alternative when I’ve been burgled, robbed, or assaulted?  Vigilantism?  I’m sincerely asking.

The cops do not exist to “help” you.  That is not their purpose, and the great majority of crimes are never “solved”; most of the time the cops don’t even investigate them.  On top of that, there are thousands and thousands of cases of cops showing up and either inflicting violence on the caller or their family, or accusing THEM of a crime, or both.  We hear a lot about how rape cases often result in the victim being treated like a criminal, but in reality that’s true for all crimes.  If a cop takes a dislike to a complainant, he may decide that it would be both easier and better for him to accuse the complainant of a “crime” (usually a criminalized consensual act) instead.  In the US, most prostitution charges result not from “stings”, but from cops charging victims of some crime (rape, robbery, assault, etc) with “prostitution”; in this recent example, cops ignored a violent serial killer to try to charge his intended victim.  Examples of cops hurling drug or DV charges at crime victims abound.  You honestly think it’s worth it to risk all that so you can have the faint hope that the state will inflict vicarious revenge on the one who harmed you?  “Closure” is bullshit; people who expect to gain it by seeing the one who harmed them imprisoned often fall into depression when they realize it does nothing of the kind.  Nor is it a valid argument to claim that in seeking vicarious vengeance through state-sponsored violence, you are helping other potential victims; cops generally charge whoever is handy and pressure the victim to agree with their choice instead of actually seeking the true malefactor.  More simply put, when cops act to “solve” a crime at all, they generally do so by picking someone to frame for it and torturing the “evidence” to support their choice; your misfortune may be used to feed an innocent person into the carceral machine.  In short, there are very few good possible outcomes to calling the cops, and lots of extremely bad, even life-destroying, ones; before dialing “9-1-1” or its equivalent, you might at least consider asking yourself whether you’re feeling lucky that day.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

In the News (#994)

Evidence…shows that [end]…demand [laws]…are [only] effective…[in putting] sex workers…at greater risk.  –  Alex Andrews

Torture Chamber 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

Five [screws] at [a Tennessee state hellhole]…entered the [cage holding] a man on suicide watch and took turns repeatedly punching him “like a pinata” without cause…and…cover[ed] the cell’s surveillance camera…[Typical and representative screws]…Jonathan York…Tommy Morris…Cadie McAlister…Carl Spurlin…Tanner Penwell…and Nathaniel Griffin…[have all either] pleaded guilty [or at least been charged]…After the [monsters]…left the man [beaten and bleeding]…they…all…agreed to say that the[ir victim had beaten himself up]…

To Molest and Rape

Just another typical and representative cop predating on vulnerable women:

[West Virginia cop] Newton Higginbotham [stalked] a woman…[and raped her] on a back road…[Higginbotham knew] the woman was on probation on charges tied to drug use and didn’t want to risk going back to jail…another woman [submitted to rape because]…Higginbotham…[made it a condition for] obtaining a domestic violence petition against her husband…the State Police…believed the women…[but allowed] Higginbotham [to] resign…he was never charged.  The FBI [believed Higginbotham’s lie that the]…sex…was consensual [because bitches, amirite?]…Both women filed lawsuits against Higginbotham…[the first] one…settled the case for $150,000…

The Punitive Mindset (#880) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

Inmates at several West Virginia prisons are getting free electronic tablets to read books, send emails, and communicate with their families—but…the tablets charge readers…3 cents a minute to read books, even though the books all come from Project Gutenberg…the Appalachian Prison Book Project, a nonprofit that offers free books and education to inmates, says the fee structure is exploitative…wages in West Virginia prisons range between $0.04 and $0.58 an hour…

King of the Hill (#881)

It’s not often we see debunking in stories about the “sex trafficking hub” pissing contest:

Anna Rodriguez…of the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking…said hotline calls are not an accurate measure of trafficking activity….[most] calls are not from trafficking victims but from [prohibitionists] seeking information or brochures or a referral for a trainer or speaker.  Rodriguez said…rescue organizations exaggerate the prevalence of sex trafficking…in pitches for financial support.  She said that practice has hurt the credibility of the movement, especially after news organizations have debunked exaggerated claims…“There are more cases of labor trafficking…But…labor trafficking does not sell media.  People are not interested in labor trafficking.”  Mandy Riedel…of the Tampa Bay Human Trafficking Task Force [vomited out a lot of the usual “King of the Hill” nonsense]…Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd s[trutted and crowed about how big his dick is]…Christa Hicks…of One More Child Anti-Trafficking…[admitted] reliable numbers don’t…exist but [it’s better for her bottom line to pretend] that sex trafficking is widespread in Florida…

Good News, Bad News (#926)

Australia’s Northern Territory becomes the world’s third jurisdiction to achieve decriminalization:

The Sex Industry Bill 2019 fully decriminalises sex work, aligning sex work to existing laws and regulations as well as enabling access to industrial rights, protections and responsibilities.  The process of the Bill from development to its passing has been a demonstration of best practice collaboration and consultation…CEO of Scarlet Alliance, Jules Kim says, “This is a momentous day for all sex workers and sets a positive example that sex workers are valued members of the community, deserving of rights and protections…Sex work is work and it is fantastic that it is finally being recognised as such”…

Worse Than I Thought (#936)

Florida prohibitionists are now quadrupling down on their awful anti-whore laws:

Florida [politicians] have passed a raft of [bad] laws intended to [harass consenting adult sexuality]…includ[ing putting sex workers on the “sex offender”] registry…The law [was pushed by authoritarian sociopath] Lauren Book, [who wants to violate sex workers by forcing them and their clients and associates to participate in her needy psychodrama without their consent]…Anna Eskamani…cast the only vote against the measure [because she admitted]…sex workers [w]ould [be condemned to] the registry [while the other politicians pretended otherwise. Other prohibitionists bloviated that]…indicators [of “sex trafficking” include atheism, homeschooling, emotional trauma]…confus[ion, accident-proneness, and being American]…Claire VanSusteren, a spokeswoman for Book, [lied that “pimps” are totally and completely different from sex workers and always wear hats that say “PIMP” on them in sequins; she then vomited out a lot of end]…demand [propaganda]…

Disaster (#941)

Remember how swimwear & lingerie companies were whining about Instagram censorship?

…the internal ad policies pertaining to underwear and swimwear for Instagram and Facebook…were created in alignment with a Victoria’s Secret’s advertising campaign.  [A] policy document…in use [as] of July 2019…outlines…in twenty-two bullet points the way models can sit, dress, arch their backs, pose, interact with props, how see-through their underwear can be, how the images can be cropped and where their ads can link to…It seems evident that the purpose of these…policies is to stop women from making money from sex on Instagram…[while] ensur[ing that] Victoria’s Secret [can] make money…on the same platform…sex can be sold for the benefit of major corporations…but NOT for the benefit of sex workers…

Watershed (#972)

Women’s fashion & beauty magazines are recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

Sex workers…are as diverse a group as the general population, and their individual self-care needs can vary just as much.  That said, when I asked members of the sex work community about their personal self-care routines, a few themes popped up, from dealing with the stigma against sex work to taking care of their bodies…here are some tips sex workers and experts in the space recommend others in the industry tuck into their self-care toolboxes…

Quiet Genocide

I’ve edited this to replace the word The Graun went to great length to avoid:

[Leaked] documents [have] confirm[ed the] largest mass incarceration of an ethnic-religious minority since [the] second world war…a cache of classified [Chinese] government papers…obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists…provide…confirmation from within China’s bureaucracy that the [concentration] camps were envisaged from the start as brainwashing detention centres, to be constructed on a massive scale, with inmates confined by multiple layers of security…The document states…[Concentration] camps must adhere to a strict system of total physical and mental control, with multiple layers of locks on dormitories, corridors, floors and buildings…Inmates [can] be held indefinitely – but must serve at least a year…before they can even be considered for “completion”, or release…[Prisoners] earn credits for “ideological transformation”, “compliance with discipline” and “study and training”…Even after completing their “education transformation” [prisoners] are not allowed to go free.  They move into another tier of camps, where they face a further three- to six-months’ internment for “labour skills training”…“Preventing escape” is a top priority…Control of every aspect of [prisoners’] lives is so comprehensive that they have to be assigned a specific place…in the lunchtime queue…There have been multiple accounts…of torturerape and abuse

The Monsters Are Due (#993) 

One can hardly blame the hoi-polloi for “sex trafficking” hysteria when soi-disant “experts” are vomiting up this kind of idiocy:

Social media has been flooded with posts of claims of white vans being connected with human trafficking…a psychologist [explained that this is hysteria but reporters then felt compelled to parrot idiocy from]…Virginia Josey, a [panicmonger who claims]…White vans…[aren’t] the only indicators…”It could be that someone is speaking to children”…red flags of someone who’s being trafficked…includ[e] that they…are…depressed…tense…or have poor hygiene…

“White vans aren’t the only indicators” is the semantic equivalent of “white vans are indicators”.  As for the rest, I daresay you can see that without my help.

The Cop Myth (#993)

Of course they hired him; he’ll fit right in with his co-workers:

Prichard, Alabama…[cop] Markell Carter was first arrested and charged with domestic violence against his wife…on August 15…[after] he punched her in the face, bashed her head into their headboard and threw a mirror at her…she filed and was granted a protection order…[after reporting] that Carter smashed her belongings with a hammer, stole her car, and  “viciously beat” her.  Despite these damning accusations, which were sustained with enough evidence to make an arrest, Carter was hired by the Prichard police department…Weeks later on October 20…[he grabbed] his estranged wife by the hair, pushing her to the ground and hitting her in the head.  Again, he was arrested…[then retaliated by having her] arrested after accusing her of breaking his front door…

Diary #492

Last Tuesday night I went with Lorelei to see a new musical of Mrs. Doubtfire; I’ve never seen the original Robin Williams vehicle but I was familiar with the premise, so I was quite pleased when the musical was very funny, with a top-notch cast.  That was just the start of my week; on Wednesday evening I waited until about 8 pm (after the traffic died down) to leave for Sunset and had a lovely drive.  We had a fairly big Thankgiving this year; beside the usual guests we invited several younger escorts who don’t have local family, and did it pot-luck style.  Since I was only in charge of preparing the turkey & stuffing, I kept finding myself feeling as though there was something I should be doing because I usually have to do everything.  But once I got used to it, the decreased pressure was rather nice!  The day was so relaxing, in fact, that discoving there was a water leak under the house couldn’t ruin my mood.  As it turned out, the leak was from one of the old pipes which we recently replaced; we discovered a while back that the additions made to the house in the early ’50s were strictly Amateur Hour, and one example of just how amateur is that the pipe which originally fed water to the toilet was taken directly off of the house main at the back instead of coming off of the main after the shutoff valve.  As a result, there was no way to shut it off without shutting off water at the storage tank, which means that even though the pipe was cut off and capped it still had water in it…which apparently froze Wednesday night.  But we got it all fixed by Friday afternoon in time to cut and decorate a tree, and since I’ve owned rural property for 17 years it wasn’t even all that stressful to me.  And it felt good to come back to Seattle on Saturday knowing that I’ll be back at Sunset in just a few weeks.

Allena Gabosch’s new book, Sex Positive Now, is out, and I have an essay in it; so do lots of others whose names you may know, including Veronica Monet, Gloria Brame, Susie Bright, Annie Sprinkle, and many others.  So as is my habit, I’ll just give you a little taste of my contribution; if you want more you’ll just have to buy the book!  And if you do you’ll not only be supporting the work of a lot of sex positive thinkers and writers, but also helping Allena herself, who is battling cancer (please also consider donating to fund her treatment).

…For most of recorded human history, the manifold laws regulating sex work were not intended to preclude pragmatic motivations for sexual behavior, but rather to keep up appearances, guard the purity of bloodlines, and maintain public order.  But as industrialization rapidly changed the face of Europe and the young United States, a new idea began to take hold of people’s minds:  if science could improve Man’s tools and techniques, why couldn’t the same process be applied to Mankind itself?  The immediate result of turning (pseudo-)scientific inquiry upon sex was that taking money for it was no longer considered merely something that “low” or “sinful” women did for a living or extra income; instead, the “prostitute” was defined into existence as a specific type of woman, separate and distinct from other women.  And once the idea of “prostitution” as some uniquely disgraceful activity was invented, and the “prostitute” was defined as the lowest of the low, it was inevitable that women who would previously have been considered more or less the same as whores would attempt to draw lines between themselves and the new pariah class.  Furthermore, once these new ideas inspired Western governments to criminalize prostitution and/or its attendant activities, distinguishing oneself from a “common prostitute” became a matter not only of dignity, but of legal necessity.

The first group to successfully shed the whore stigma was actresses, who had since classical times been considered interchangeable with harlots; dancers whose style could be credibly represented as asexual or highbrow (preferably both) followed them, then masseuses and finally, “emancipated” women who had extramarital sex for non-financial reasons.  In the past several decades, these groups have multiplied to include burlesque and competition pole dancers, glamour and lingerie models, professional “cuddlers”, nude maids, waitresses catering to sexual fantasies and even sugar babies; all of these absolutely insist that they are different from strippers, hookers and fetish workers in some real (and legally defensible) way.  Even people who are directly paid for a hands-on sexual service claim that being “certified” or “spiritual” or whatever makes them distinctly different from other sex workers, and I’ve actually heard women willing to top strangers at kink parties claim that their lack of a pecuniary motivation makes them not only distinct from, but morally or even psychologically superior to, professional dominatrices…

Links #491

I will raise my voice whenever the fuck I want!  –  Arizona cop

I laughed so hard at this video Brooke Magnanti shared with me that I just had to pass it along.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“Gifaanisqatsi”); Radley Balko (“headline” and “wedding”); ACLU (“teen”); Cop Crisis (“infant” and “invasion”); and Popehat (“Village”).

From the Archives

In the News (#993)

The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.  –  Scott Warren

The Monsters Are Due 

At peak hysteria, all it takes is this:

A [contractor] who has been harassed because of the van he drives wants people to know he is not involved with human trafficking.  Marcel Jackson said the harassment started after a video of a woman claiming she saw a young girl being forced into the back of a van at a Detroit gas station went viral on Facebook.  “A lot of people have been following me, trying to pull me over, trying to look inside the van and stuff,” Jackson said….[one] woman followed him for miles…[then claimed] she was an undercover cop…and asked, “Are there any children in your van?”…Other white van owners have experienced similar harassment over the vehicles they drive.

“Are there any children in your van?”.  What is this, a game of Go Fish?.

Sex Rays (#694)

Our descendants will be confused about why we thought this sort of thing was noteworthy:

Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs once again…g[a]ve away 3,000 turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving.  The annual giveaway of frozen birds [was] held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in club parking lots…in Hallandale Beach…and…West Palm Beach…

Saving Them From Themselves (#846)

Another bad law giving prosecutors more ways to charge teen sexters rather than simply leaving them alone:

An Ohio [politician] has proposed banning sexting for those 18 and under…Nathan Manning…said his proposed law is meant to prevent minors from [expressing their sexuality without prosecutors] facing [public criticism for completely destroying the lives of young people doing ordinary, mundane things]…Qualifying first time-offenders could be [sentenced] to…[re-]education…in lieu of [prison]…The new bill is similar to…one that [failed to] clear…the Ohio…Senate…before the legislative session expired…That version of the bill faced formal opposition from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s [sic] Association, which argued that [they should be able to destroy anyone’s life at will]…and from the ACLU of Ohio, which [recognizes that] there already are too many criminal laws on the books…

Choke Point (#850) 

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there:

A new gun control bill calls for banks and credit card companies to [snoop] and [snitch] to the feds on…firearm purchases as a way of tracking people…[using the excuse of] prevent[ing] mass shootings…the…bill [pretends] it’s possible to tell who is a threat based on tracking credit card activity….[but] government’s past attempts to identify “red flags” by [by spying on financial] transaction[s]…has resulted in, as…Elizabeth Nolan Brown puts it, banks “cast[ing] as wide a net as possible”…[to avoid] the consequences of being accused of not doing enough to comply with [fascism]…banks’ attempts to [spy on] customers…to identify human traffickers for the government have resulted in the creation of an extremely broad definition of what constitutes suspicious activity, including things like running up large grocery bills…

Held Together With Lies (#916)

This fantasy number now exceeds 1.3% of the entire population of the world:

Never in human history have [fetishists imagined] so many slaves…there could be more than a hundred million adults and children enslaved across the world today.  It is a vast, [disgusting], perpetually evolving [sexual fantasy], and it is a [profitable] issue [about] which to [spread bogus] data.  In 2017, statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation put the number of slaves at 40.3 million…This figure…is [already based in nothing other than fantasy], but most [fetishists are unsatisfied with that absurdity and so claim] that the number is actually far higher…[many fantasists pretend] that 30 per cent of slaves are trafficked for sex and 70 per cent are in forced labour, although of course the ratio varies from [propaganda source to propaganda source]…

In case you find math hard, they’re claiming that 0.44% of all living humans are held as “sex slaves”; in reality, only about 0.33% of women are full-service sex workers of any kind.  In other words, their fantasy of “slaves” is about three times the number of actual whores, or one “sex slave” for every 85 adult men on the planet (remember that trafficking fan “estimates” of clients per day range from 15 to 100).  So this idiotic propaganda is now in line with Kristof’s claims about US men:  for these fantasies to resemble reality, every single adult man in every single country in the entire world would need to be raping a “trafficked sex slave” at least once or twice a week.

A Broker in Pillage (#935)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Critics of civil forfeiture, the system of legalized theft that allows law enforcement agencies to seize people’s property by [pretending] it is connected to criminal activity, often focus on the burden of proof the government faces when owners try to recover their assets….[but] nearly nine out of 10 federal forfeiture cases never make it to court, largely because mounting a challenge often costs more than the property is worth.  And while the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) allows owners who win in court to recover “reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs,” prosecutors can defeat that safeguard by dragging out cases and then dropping them before a judge decides whether forfeiture is legally justified.  In the meantime, desperate owners may decide to let the government keep some of their property, even when they are completely innocent.  From the government’s perspective, there is no downside…Institute for Justice…is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that takes aim at such sneaky tactics…”The threat of paying attorneys’ fees is a critical check on government abuse…Otherwise, there is no disincentive to stop prosecutors from filing frivolous civil forfeitures”…

Profound Ignorance (#939) 

For those who still think the decriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island was “accidental”:

COYOTE sued the state of Rhode Island in 1976 alleging that their anti-prostitution laws were far too broad…the case was…dismissed as moot…[after] the Rhode Island General Assembly changed the prostitution laws in an attempt to make them more specific…the…legislative loophole…lasted almost 30 years…[it] outlawed street prostitution but…the penalty…was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.  In 1998, the Rhode Island State Supreme Court ruled in State v DeMagistris that the law criminalizing prostitution was “primarily to bar prostitutes from hawking their wares in public,” and that someone who engages in sex work privately could not be prosecuted under this law.  In 2003 a court case was dropped after the judge realized…[this] and soon began the re-criminalization campaign in the state.  After many unsuccessful attempts…beginning in 2005…[sex work] was [re-criminalized] in 2009…

Unchristian Nation (#945)

A jury slaps down your government’s crusade against Christian charity:

Jurors found humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren not guilty…of intentionally harboring and concealing two undocumented migrants from the Border Patrol in the remote Arizona desert…Warren, a longtime volunteer with the aid group No More Deaths, faced up to 20 years in prison.  It was his second trial this year stemming from his January 2018 arrest…The 12-person jury in Tucson took just more than two hours to reach a not guilty verdict, striking a blow to prosecutors…who [illegally subjected Warren to double jeopardy using the excuse of] a hung jury in [their first crucifiction attempt]…

Panopticon (#970)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it gets:

[Cops] who download videos captured by…Ring doorbell cameras can keep them forever and share them with whomever they’d like without providing evidence of a crime…More than 600 [cop shops]…have [already taken advantage of the surveillance network]…allowing them to quickly…download video recorded by Ring’s motion-detecting, Internet-connected cameras inside and around Americans’ homes [without the permission of the owner.  Amazon claims]…that homeowners are free to decline the requests…but [if a customer turns down a police demand, Amazon instructs the cops to make an “official request” to the company and then they grant warrantless access to the footage]…

The Cop Myth (#990)

Tell me again how the US isn’t a police state:

Imperial County [screw] Richard Edward Sotelo [attacked and attempted to rape] his [estranged] wife…[in] November 2012…and [she only escaped because one]…of their three children [walked in on them]…Sotelo was charged…with misdemeanor domestic battery [rather than assault and attempted rape, and] was allowed to keep his job…[until] he…groped the [penis] of a[nother pig]…multiple times at work.  It was only after…he…[was] charge[d for that]…in December 2013 that he [was forced to resign]…Sotelo pleaded no contest…was given probation…[and] the charges [were] taken off his record…the co[p] Sotelo groped filed his own legal claim against the county…[which] has [hidden the details of]…the claim and any subsequent settlement…after DUI…domestic violence [i]s the most common charge filed against [cops]…

Attempting to rape a mere peasant wasn’t a big deal; he didn’t get in trouble until he dared touch a fellow member of the ruling caste.

A Moral Cancer (#991)

Your “leaders” don’t like it when they’re caught with their hands in your till:

The Massachusetts Senate…stripped from a bill banning flavored tobacco and taxing e-cigarettes a provision that would have allowed the police to [steal] the car of anyone [they claimed they caught] driving with untaxed vaping products in the car.  Massachusetts law already lets [cops steal] the vehicle of anyone [they decide to accuse of having]…untaxed…tobacco products…the bill would have extended that to…vaping…[but politicians] worried that [it might affect them or their relatives]…

Yuletide 2019

Every year on this day, the traditional beginning of the Yuletide season in the US, I remind my readers that the real spirit of the season involves giving to others rather than literally fighting to get more for yourself.  Children and whores are St. Nick’s two favorite groups of people; you can help the latter by donating to a sex worker charity such as SWOP Behind Bars, or you can help BOTH by booking a session with a sex worker you know has kids. If you don’t know any, you can help by participating in my annual Toys for Tots special, which for a small expenditure will allow you extra time with me while bringing a little bit of joy to needy children.  From now until Thurday, December 12th, book a session with me and bring up to six new, unwrapped toys with you, and I’ll add ten minutes per toy to your time!  If you prefer, bring an extra $100 and I’ll extend your time by half an hour (then use the hundred to buy toys). Please let me know when booking you want to take advantage of the special, so I can allow for the time in my schedule.  If you don’t want a full date but would like to meet me, for $100 and three toys (or $150 cash) I will have an hour-long coffee meeting with you anywhere in the Seattle area.  If you don’t live near me, please consider simply donating to my toy drive via PayPal (to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net) or Cash app (to $MaggieMcNeill) anyway; make sure you note what part of your donation is for toys and what part for me (it’s perfectly OK to tell me to spend it all on toys; I don’t mind).  And if you want to take advantage of the special but don’t have time to actually see me by the 12th, that’s OK too; you can prepay and schedule the appointment for later.  I want to make this as easy as possible for you, so together we can bring joy to needy children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas morning.