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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

When I was an undergrad, I came up with a model for how cultures develop over time.  It was divided into four stages:

Barbarism:  All substance, little form.  Barbaric cultures have youth, vigor, drive and often a lot of good ideas; they just haven’t learned to apply them to best effect yet.  Barbaric cultures often borrow or steal ideas from older cultures, as the young Romans borrowed Greek mythology and the young US borrowed from England and Rome.

Civilization:  Form and substance in balance.  Civilized cultures are mature, but still strong, and have developed institutions, systems and mores that reflect their values and ideas.  History often speaks of this period as the “Golden Age” of a culture, the period of its greatest accomplishments.

Decadence:  All form, waning substance.  Decadent cultures have outlived their youth and vigor, and are obsessed with their own past greatness.  They look down on other cultures and are often xenophobic, focusing on elaborate rituals and worship-words which no longer have any meaning.

Decay:  Corrupt form, no substance.  Decaying cultures are those which have completely lost their way; they mistake their institutions and procedures for the ideals they were created to further, which a decaying culture no longer remembers.  These cultures may collapse or be conquered, but sometimes go on decaying for many centuries before that happens.

At the time, I wasn’t sure if the US was at the very end of the second stage or somewhere in the third.  I hadn’t even thought about that for many years, until recent events made it very clear to me that it’s the latter.  Remember when I criticized the way US media were more concerned with the fact that Trump had said the word “pussy” than that he was admitting to sexual assault?

…someone at CNN actually seems to believe, and undoubtedly many people agree, that the most salient point of the controversy was Trump’s language, that he had uttered taboo words which would presumably ritually pollute the dainty hearing of anyone viewing the video.  The fact that he used these common words about women is presented as though that somehow makes it worse than if he had used similar words in talking about men, children, mixed groups of people or Shetland ponies; the assumption seems to be that women are delicate china dolls who are magically harmed when men emit certain sounds from their vocal apparatus, even if the woman in question did not even hear them.  If he had joked about violating the physical boundaries of women without using those words, perhaps saying “I attempted to get her in bed” and “grab their crotches” instead, would that have made it all better in the minds of this unknown CNN editor and others like her?  Because that’s certainly the implication…

Now this week, we’re faced with a one-two punch from the New York Times which leaves little doubt that we live in a culture obsessed with forms and uninterested in substance.  First, the Times lavishly praised and obsequiously fawned on the sister of a murderous dictator, a monstrously evil woman with an important role in her brother’s totalitarian regime, a person who has herself ordered and directed literal mass enslavement and actual “human trafficking”…because she gave a dirty look to a US politician Times editors don’t like.  So now we know the secret, ladies.  Do honest work making people feel good? The Times will say you’re a “victim” and a “slave”.  Literally enslave and “traffic” people?  The Times will admire you and call you a “diplomat”.  And how would the Times (not to mention actual human rights organization “officials”) react to another murderous dictator ordering that women be sexually maimed?  Why, by complaining that he didn’t give those orders in nicer language, naturally:

President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine strongman who has earned a reputation for dirty tactics and language, was criticized…for having boasted that he had ordered soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the genitals…the president said in a speech…“We will not kill you. We will just shoot you in the vagina”…the criticism of his choice of words has been fierce.  It “is just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory and demeaning statements he has made about women,” said Carlos H. Conde, the Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch…This is not the first time Mr. Duterte had been criticized for crude remarks about women…
Presumably, if Duterte had ordered rebels be maimed in a genteel way, and he gave some Republican a dirty look while doing so, the Times and all its allied talking heads (not to mention the legions of marching morons who take their cues from such pompous ninnies) would be perfectly OK with that.  A society more concerned with words and pictures, which talks about “porn as a health crisis” while its cops are actually shooting people down in the street and torturing them to death in cages, and worries more about politicians’ language and manners than the fact that they are murdering their own people by the thousands, is long overdue for collapse.

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If I send away all the loose females, there will be no women left here at all.  –  Antoine Laumet de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, first governor of Louisiana

New Orleans is one of the older European cities in North America; in fact, this is its tricentennial year.  As I wrote in “Storyville” nearly eight years ago, the city…

…was founded on May 7, 1718…Besides being terribly primitive like all new colonies, New Orleans was hot, mosquito-infested and disease-ridden and therefore had nothing to recommend it to women, so [its founder] petitioned King Louis XV for help in 1721.  The monarch responded by releasing all the prostitutes in La Salpêtrière prison and deporting them to New Orleans, where they of course resumed their trade…In 1728, the Ursuline nuns started to import convent-raised middle-class French girls as wives for the middle and upper-class male colonists and continued to do so until 1751; these were called “casket girls” (filles à la cassette) because the French government issued them small chests of clothing.  Most of the female population were still either whores or former whores, but this concerned few people other than the priests; prostitution in New Orleans was neither regulated nor suppressed at any time during the 18th century…[once the] colony was…sold it to the United States in…1803…the puritanical Americans could not allow things to stand as they were, so though prostitution was still legal a series of regulations were imposed to allow the police to arrest streetwalkers for “vagrancy” or harass madams for “brothel keeping”…New Orleans’ first actual anti-prostitution law was the 1857 Lorette ordinance which prohibited prostitution on the first floor of buildings; it was soon declared unconstitutional…

By the end of the 19th century New Orleans had decided a policy of containment was better than one of harassment, and the result – a large and thriving entertainment district popularly known as “Storyville” and remembered today as the birthplace of jazz – brought so much money into the city that its government fought tooth and nail against Woodrow Wilson’s closing it down by executive order in 1917.  But a city whose native population is mostly descended from whores, and whose fortunes were powerfully augmented by whores, can never shake off that legacy no matter how hard it tries.  Although politicians prefer to pretend otherwise, they’ve existed in an uneasy truce with sex workers for a century now; despite what politicians might want, people come to the Crescent City for vice, and that is an economic fact of life.  For all of my life and probably longer, indoor sex work has been basically tolerated except for the occasional “sting” designed to provide the pigs with entertainment.  Prior to the ’80s, strip clubs were occasionally subjected to publicity-stunt raids, but could mostly avoid trouble by putting up with cops walking in like lords and helping themselves to free booze and money from the till; after the ’80s they were treated as the lucrative tax-paying businesses they are.  And the occasional attempts to “Disneyfy” the city (and there were many) always failed and were quietly shelved later by saner heads, or else just became part of the fabric of the way things were without actually accomplishing the sanitization politicians hoped for.  The last attempt, after Hurricane Katrina, resulted in the de facto exile of many thousands of poor black people and the invasion of the French Quarter, previously packed with locally-owned businesses, by national chains just like those in every other city.  But apparently they’re trying again, aiming to turn the infamous Bourbon Street into the “family friendly”, heavily-surveilled, police-state tourist trap it can never be:

New Orleans officials…are considering a [scheme] that would create one of the most extensive video-monitoring systems for any midsize American city…[it] would require every business with an alcohol license to install street-facing security cameras, and connect them to a real-time [surveillance] center overseen by [cops]…along with typically vexing civil liberties issues, the proposal has sparked concerns that surveillance will…suck the soul out of the place….[pigs claim] live streams and recorded footage from the cameras would be used primarily to solve violent crimes. But…[visitors] count on New Orleans following the Las Vegas rule — that what happens there will stay there…“We have a very vibrant public life, where people feel free to express themselves in public — and I’m not just talking about beads and lifting your top on Mardi Gras,” said Bruce Hamilton, a staff attorney with the [ACLU]…Louisiana branch.  “Everyone acts different when they know the government is watching”…The broad public safety plan announced last year, which included an early version of the camera plan, discussed taking steps to “reduce the culture of permissiveness” in New Orleans.  One of its ideas, to force bars to…close their doors at 3 a.m…has already been shelved after a flurry of criticism…

Another form of violent Puritanism, building for the past couple of years, was more fully implemented in the past couple of weeks, using the excuse of “sex trafficking”:

…The raids appear in tandem with the City Council and City Planning Commission’s (CPC) recent production and upcoming review of an “Adult Live Performance Venues Study,” (ALPV) which recommends…that clubs be closed, due to their [mythical] “secondary negative effects”, though it presents no hard data in support of this claim.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office placed attorney Scott Bergthold on a $15,000 retainer to advise on the ALPV Study.  His firm, adultbusinesslaw.com, litigates against adult businesses on behalf of cities and counties…[the recent] raids, as with the October 2015 raids called “Operation Trick or Treat,” uncovered not one instance of human trafficking or the presence of underage workers…[strippers] who resisted were handcuffed and many described being ridiculed, degraded, and molested by cops.  In response to stripper’s protests of the conduct of all-male officers during the raids, they laughed and replied “You lost your right to decency when you became a stripper”…

But if “authorities” thought sex workers would meekly submit as we so often did in the pre-social media days, they got a rude awakening:

A Jan. 31 press conference about the Bourbon Street infrastructure redevelopment turned cacophonous when a group of gentlemen’s club workers and their allies staged a demonstration, drowning out city and tourism officials.  Holding signs that said “Why the celebration?? Strippers are out of work,” “We are workers, not political pawns” and simply “Can you not?”, a group of at least 70 workers gathered behind officials on the 300 block of Bourbon Street, blocked by a few scattered New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) officers.  As the conference began (and cameras rolled), workers began to chant, rendering officials’ statements almost inaudible…

And while the staid Times-Picayune newspaper and Church-and-crony owned local TV stations obediently parroted prohibitionist myths about magical pimps and passive “sex slaves” somehow mysteriously hidden in busy clubs, their competition such as the Gambit (above) and the Advocate were unafraid to side with sex workers:

Four of the eight French Quarter strip clubs targeted in raids over the past two weeks will be able to start serving alcohol again soon after reaching settlements with state officials…Two other clubs have permanently shut down.  The settlements were announced hours after city and tourism officials were interrupted as they tried to hold a news conference to announce that Bourbon Street was “open for business”…The raids…were touted as an effort to curb human trafficking, but they have not yielded any arrests for that crime, and officials have not provided any public evidence of that activity…protesters said the focus on the clubs was absurd, given the extent of drug use, prostitution and “flashing” that they said typically get a blind eye on Bourbon Street itself.  Chanting “save our jobs” and holding signs with slogans like “Bourbon Street is not Sesame Street” and “Entertainers’ rights are human rights,” the protesters argued the shutdown had done little but hurt their ability to make a living…

And stalwart supporter of sex worker rights Truthout (not to be confused with the prohibitionist Truthdig) took aim at the real reason for the raids:

…The strip club crackdown appears to be part of what locals call the “Disneyfication” of New Orleans.  Wealthy investors and developers took increasing interest in the city as it recovered from Hurricane Katrina, driving up property values and attracting rich transplants to the historic homes in and around the French Quarter.  This has led to calls to “clean up” the streets, which have long been home to artists, travelers, street musicians and sex workers…

For too long, sex workers have been thought of as safe targets of tyranny by cops and politicians who feel secure in the conviction that nobody outside the demimonde will side with us.  But that has changed since I was a Bourbon Street stripper myself; now we’re organizing and fighting back, supported by the millions of supporters we’ve won on social media.  No longer are we afraid to speak up, silenced by the threat of outing; no longer are sex workers entirely isolated and unsure of who our friends are.  And in the very near future, “authorities” all over the US will learn what those in New Orleans are learning right now:  we are a vital part of every human society, and in the long run we will win against the State’s crusade to enslave some of us and wipe the rest of us out.

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The truth is that prostitution is more influential than you might think.  –  Candida Moss

Whore Madonnas 

Another woman’s child abducted by the state because of her work:

A [Swedish] woman…has had her child [abducted by the state] since it was discovered that she was [a sex worker.  Cops based their case on absolutely nothing other than her]…advertisements online…[police pretend] there is a risk that the health and development of the child will be harmed because the mother has taken unknown sex buyers to the home…

So if “strange men in the home” is the problem, is Sweden also going to start abducting the children of single mothers who date?

Full of Themselves 

When the word “illicit” is used to describe sex, you can safely assume you’re reading prohibitionist propaganda:

The customers themselves led [pigs] to…Hadley Massage Therapy…[by writing reviews on] Rubmaps.com…“These are reviews on victims of human trafficking,’’ [panted] Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey [over the hum of her vibrator]…“It’s terrible their depiction of women…It’s just truly appalling.”  The now-closed Hadley Massage Therapy is one of hundreds of erotic massage centers described on Rubmaps…in Massachusetts alone — and there are some 7,000 nationwide.  But, even though law enforcement officials can easily find [massage parlors]…listings on these sites seldom lead to prosecution…

Looks like Rubmaps may become the new prohibitionist target after Backpage; that’s a relief for escorts but very bad for the mostly-Asian women who work at massage parlors, because it’s so easy for “authorities” to use them in violent racist wanking fantasies and their immigrant status makes it very easy for “authorities” to just deport them without the expense and trouble of a trial, all while depicting their victimization by the state as a “rescue”.

Worse Than I Thought

I guess they don’t have anything better to do in Idaho than use elaborate wanking fantasies to justify destroying people’s lives:

In an effort to [harm sex workers, Idaho politician]…Brent Crane…said…he’ll introduce legislation making a first-time offense of soliciting prostitution a felony.  Currently, that’s a misdemeanor…Crane [fantasized that sex workers are “victims” and] said…“Most of these are vulnerable children and women”…

Watershed

Slowly but surely, we’re seeing less anti-whore propaganda and more of this:

The truth is that prostitution is more influential than you might think: not only have ladies of the night inspired poets and artists, they have brought down governments, helped win wars, and shaped our aesthetics…

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Utah-based bedding accessories maker Malouf is bringing together the biggest and best names in the bedding industry to fight human trafficking.  From 5 to 7 p.m. on January 28, the company will host its first Forging Freedom event in the Malouf showroom…more than 2 million children in the world [are] living as sex slaves…Timothy Ballard, founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, one of the Malouf Foundation’s key partners, will be the featured speaker at the event…

Storyville (#697)

It’s good to see credit being given to sex workers for all we’ve done for America:

Sex workers helped build America.  These women came to the Wild West…and…became business oligarchs, they built entire communities and forged their own independence…as new sources for coal and metal mining were discovered, towns sprung up overnight to house the influx of workers that appeared in the Southwest to mine it.  Suddenly, you had entire towns with thousands of men and maybe a dozen or so women…business-minded women started arriving in these towns and setting up shop as sex workers.  Soon, these women were earning, in one job, what they might otherwise earn in a week as a factory worker or clerk…

Challenge (#785)

This decision is cased on a blatant lie; the gay couple in Lawrence were not in a committed relationship:

A federal appeals court has sided against the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) in a case challenging the constitutionality of California’s law criminalizing prostitution.  During oral arguments last October, judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit seemed somewhat sympathetic to ESPLERP’s position, which relied on similar arguments to those used in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that destroyed the country’s laws against gay sex.  But…a three-judge panel wound up affirming the district court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.  The panel…concludes that sex workers’ rights to earn a living is not violated by the criminalization of prostitution because prostitution is illegal and “there is no constitutional rights to engage in illegal employment”…

Yes, the court actually ruled that a challenge to a law was wrong because that law exists.  Using that “logic”, no challenge to any law could ever succeed.

One Born Every Minute (#794) 

Scumbag rapist gets far less than he deserves, but he might not have been punished at all if not for the work of Sydney Brownstone:

Matt Hickey, the Seattle freelance journalist who ran a porn scam for more than a decade and was accused of rape by seven women, has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison.  Four women were able to file formal charges against Hickey, and he eventually    took a plea deal for a felony sex offense and three counts of assault…Judge Mary Roberts…gave Hickey the maximum 34-month sentence in a state prison facility, a place on the sex offender registry, and three years of community custody after he’s released.  Judge Roberts said she wished she could have sentenced Hickey longer, consecutively for all his crimes, but was limited by the law.  She also prohibited Hickey from using the internet to solicit contact with women during his probation…

The Widening Gyre (#801) 

This latest example of an “authority” trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic is utterly bizarre:

A state district judge in [Texas] said God told him to intervene in jury deliberations to sway jurors to return a not guilty verdict in the trial of a…woman accused of trafficking a teen girl for sex.  Judge Jack Robison…defended his actions by telling [jurors] “when God tells me I gotta do something, I gotta do it”…The jury went against the judge’s wishes, finding Gloria Romero-Perez guilty of continuous trafficking of a person and later sentenced her to 25 years in prison…The defendant’s attorney asked for a mistrial, but was denied.  Robison’s actions could trigger an investigation from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, which has disciplined [him] in the past…

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Sexual assault by [cops]…is…the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.  –  Andrea Ritchie

The Course of a Disease

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Prostitution would [not] be decriminalized in Massachusetts under a bill that Rep. Kay Khan hopes will [choke off sex workers’ income by criminalizing]…people who buy sex and those who [assist] sex workers…it would not legalize the illicit sex trade.  [Sex workers with incalls, or who have any contact with other sex workers] and [clients who provide their income] would remain criminals under the legislation…Khan [fantasizes that consensual]…sex…fosters some unspeakable crimes…

The Notorious Badge 

Hollywood recognizes that prior to the First World War, sex workers were businesswomen who did the work because it was lucrative and flexible:

In Netflix’s Godless…Callie Dunn (Tess Frazer) is one of maybe 50 women who live in La Belle, a town almost entirely populated by women…the men of the town died in a mining accident, leaving the wives to operate the town all on their own.  Callie is the resident school teacher, and a nascent love interest for Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever).  She’s also the richest woman in town because she used to be a sex worker…After the accident…her place of work closed.  Lack of men will do that to brothel…In the lawless west (the show takes place in Colorado and New Mexico), there’s not much a woman could do to earn her own money.  Even Mary Agnes, the widow of the town’s late mayor, is at a loss for funds.  But Callie is sitting pretty on almost $20,000 (almost half a million in today’s dollars)…”Let me take care of you,” Callie begs Mary Agnes in the third episode.  She reveals her impressive savings and offers to run away with Mary Agnes.  When Mary Agnes looks surprised, Callie responds, “Don’t you know?  Whores are always the richest people in town”…

Unfortunately, it also believes we all magically turned into pathetic victims about 100 years ago.

The Lion and the Ox

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

Investigations into the many alleged sexual assaults by Harvey Weinstein are now underway all over the world, with the NYPD, the LAPD, the Beverly Hills Police, and UK law enforcement all looking into possible acts of rape, harassment, and other forms of misconduct.  Now…the former producer and his namesake company are facing claims of sex trafficking…actress Kadian Noble is alleging that “Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity…because of his promise of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf” — despite having no intention of following through on those promises…“Harvey Weinstein…offer[ed] her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force, or coerce her into a sexual encounter”…

Scapegoats (#49)

If he’d done this two years ago he’d have been safer than if he’d had consensual sex with a human:

An elderly man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a horse in a stable north of Stockholm.  The owner raised the alarm after discovering someone had entered the stable during the night.  Police found the man hiding under refuse bags…a security camera in the stable caught evidence which led to the conviction.  He was sentenced to fines for trespassing and for breaching Sweden’s Animal Protection Act. Few have been convicted of breaching the act since it was brought in last year…

Policing for Profit

Does any sane person still believe cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit?

…the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office [claims] Phil Parhamovich was moved during a traffic stop last March to donate $91,800, his life savings, to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to help it wage the war on drugs.  Parhamovich’s version is rather more plausible:  He says state police took his money after pressuring him to sign a “waiver” that circumvented even the limited protections offered by Wyoming’s civil asset forfeiture law…Parhamovich is in state court, trying to get his money back with help from the Institute for Justice, which argues that Wyoming’s roadside waivers are a thin disguise for highway robbery.  Parhamovich, a Wisconsin musician, was on his way to a gig in Salt Lake City on March 13 when a state trooper, Jeramy Pittsley, pulled him over on Interstate 80 in Laramie County [using the pretext that he had] fail[ed] to buckle his seat belt.  The stop turned into an interrogation…and [search in which] they found $91,800 inside a speaker cabinet.  The cops were so excited by their discovery that they high-fived each other.  The windfall also apparently made them forget that there was no trace of the drugs that Pittsley’s dog supposedly had detected…

Apparently the judge is sane, because he ordered the state to return the entire sum to Parhamovich.

Out of Control (#410) 

Doctors aren’t the only medical professionals who throw their careers away for this stupid shit:

Former [Pennsylvania] nurse James Close will spend up to four years in prison and 20 years on probation for secretly filming female patients, including one underage girl…Judge Wallace H. Bateman also ordered him to…sexual offender and sex addiction treatment…

Above the Law (#418) 

Just a reminder that this behavior is intrinsic to policing, not an isolated incident limited to the US:

A Canadian tourist who was…rape[d] by French police…has spoken out for the first time about the night she was attacked…Emily Sponton has decided to waive her anonymity to give her account of the night of April 22nd 2014 when, after meeting three French police at the Galway Irish pub she was…gang rape[d by them] at the nearby Paris police HQ…Sponton said she had been drinking with the three [pigs] who had been regaling her with stories of their work…[they] offered to give her a tour of the building but once there Sponton says they tried to force her to drink large amount of whisky…”when I refused to do what they wanted…they smashed my face against the desk”…She…was raped several times…[and] later found lying on the street outside the police HQ…On [medical] examination she was found to have bruises and lesions in the genital area.  She immediately filed a complaint for rape before heading home to Canada…two [were] finally set to face trial on charges of gang rape…after Sponton had won her appeal to see the case brought back to court after judges initially threw it out last year…One of the [pigs claimed the rape was]…”consensual” [as rapist pigs nearly always do]…

Paint By Numbers (#593) 

Given the lack of imagination displayed by “sex trafficking” fetishists, I reckon it’s predictable that they keep recycling their stupid stunts:

…Started in 2013, the Dressember foundation is a [profiteering] organization…dedicated to [profiting from]…human trafficking [hysteria]….Those willing to take the more popular approach will opt in by wearing a dress every day of December.  Others, who may not have many dresses to wear or who may be a bit more warm-blooded, can still help out by donating to the cause.  All of the money donated goes toward [persecuting sex workers]…

The Rape Question (#602) 

I’m honestly amazed the dumb “rape is asexual” dogma is still popular:

There are reasons why nobody would tell a child “look only to the left when crossing the street because people are nice and swerve out the way for you” or “don’t wear your seatbelt because nothing will happen to you.”  The unfortunate reality is that simply changing our ideas about the world doesn’t actually change the world…in the case of sexual assault, coercion, and rape, omitting crucial pieces of the puzzle (like biological constraints) in understanding these heinous acts could prove to be detrimental…this blank slate version of human nature is riddled with holes…what we’ve seen is a tacit acceptance of the crime when it is committed by “one of our own” and harsh condemnation when it is someone from “the other side” doing it…social role theorists want us to believe that there is a utopian world just beyond our grasp that somehow males and capitalism prevent us from achieving…understanding biology is important in helping us deter sexual violence and why ignoring it could prove to be dangerous…

Pyrrhic Victory (#609)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

“Oklahoma has finalized a deal with a Massachusetts company to use license-plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers, and the firm expects to issue 20,000 citations a month starting as early as next year.  The program…involves setting up automated high-speed cameras on highways around the state to detect uninsured vehicles and mailing their owners a citation with a fine of $184“…[besides] the mass collection of plate/location data…Gatso USA will receive more than 40% of the revenue…The company hopes to make more than $1.6 million a month…”It will be overseen by the District Attorneys Council rather than law enforcement, and the state’s 27 district attorneys’ offices are expected to receive millions of dollars in citation revenue a year”...

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see this problem getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…as we furiously unpack the prevalence of sexual assault across many industries, the reality of police sexual misconduct has not found its way into these discussions.  That’s a tragedy, because it happens so frequently…One study found that a [cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days — and those are just the ones who are caught…national research…show[s] that almost a quarter or more of cases of police sexual assault involve minors…

Fever Dream (#742)

Reporters & prohibitionists are apparently too stupid to understand that when you misrepresent a consensual-crime misdemeanor a person didn’t even actually commit as a serious, violent felony, it’s going to be hard to get a conviction:

Over the past year [TBI has] conducted about a dozen undercover stings and charged more than 200 men…[in one] sting conducted in Nashville in 2016…TBI charged 34 men…27 of them had their cases dismissed and [expunged after paying for the “john school” the prohibitionists wanted, yet they’re not happy that an unproven misdemeanor charge isn’t enough to destroy the lives of the accused]…”Having all these charges expunged sends a very, very clear message that we’re not serious,” [prohibitionist & profiteer Cathy] Gurly said…Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade…[pointed out] that…these cases are difficult to prosecute because the victims aren’t real, they’re actually undercover agents…

Checklist (#783)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Advanced Periodontics & Implantology…[of] Michigan, organized a seminar for dentists and hygienists on the topic “Human Trafficking”…Michigan Public Health Code and Administrative rules require all dentists to complete training in identification of human trafficking victims…

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With the state charging me, they’ve created an advocate.  –  Amber Batts

Mata Hari

The 100th anniversary of Mata Hari’s execution has just passed, and the secret files have been unsealed at last:

Mata Hari…was sacrificed – some say – because the French needed to find a spy to explain their succession of reverses in the war…she was the perfect scapegoat because “loose” morals made it easier to tar her as an enemy of France.  Until now the full details of her interrogation by prosecutor Pierre Bouchardon…has been off-limits to historians…Arnold von Kalle, the German military attaché….[sent a] telegram…to his masters in Berlin [containing] the details of a certain Agent H21.  It gave addresses, bank details, and even the name of Mata Hari’s faithful maid.  There could be no question to anyone reading it that Mata Hari was agent H21.  The telegram, intercepted by French intelligence, is now available for scrutiny…Or rather, the official translation of the telegram is available.  Because…the whole telegram episode is fishy.  The French…had long since cracked the code in which the telegram was written.  The Germans knew the French had cracked it.  And yet still von Kalle sent the message.  In other words, he wanted the French to read it…Why is there only a translation in the archives?  Where is the original telegram?  Could it be that the French themselves invented the document in order to pin the blame on Mata Hari?…the transcripts also show…that in June 1917, during her umpteenth interrogation, Margarethe Zelle…confessed…Caught outside France at the start of the war, she was desperate to get back to Paris.  Karl Kroemer, German consul in Amsterdam, offered her the means…Mata Hari insisted to her interrogators that she just meant to take the money and run.  She said her loyalty was to the Allies, as she had shown when she subsequently promised to help French intelligence…

Of course, this “confession” is meaningless; any psychologist will tell you that any “confession” extracted by prolonged interrogation is nothing but the result of the mind doing anything it has to do to escape the torture.  The victim will, if hounded long enough, “confess” to anything.  And so a century later, we still know no more than we did before.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

…Nicole Emma…and three other women — Kyli Rodriguez-Cayro, Bella Arsenic, and Heidi Robinson — led lively discussion aimed at breaking down stereotypes about their industry, which includes a broad range of legal services, from phone sex and stripping to pornography.  The conversation was equally broad, touching on the relationship between feminism and sex work, on the opportunity for human connection the industry gives to disabled and transgender people, and on the effects of Mormon culture on the demand for sex services…The women are lobbying state lawmakers in hope of shaping future policies that impact the industry…the group drafted a letter and a petition asking to sit down with [Utah] Sen. Todd Weiler…a known [panderer to sexual hysteria]…

Buried Truth 

The McNeill Rule, like its namesake, is a bitch:

An Ohio Republican legislator who campaigned on “family values” and fought against LGBTQ rights has resigned after…an “observer” encountered [him]…in his…office…having consensual sex with a man…The person told the Ohio House chief of staff, who told the Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger.  Rosenberger met with Goodman, who is married, and Goodman resigned for “inappropriate conduct” immediately after the meeting…

Skin To Skin

Still a Child 

How high does one’s ivory tower have to be to imagine that negating the agency of people old enough to vote, marry & join the military (to “protect” them, naturally) is actually a step forward?

…Consent laws, I argue, should allow people within a certain age range (say, 16 to 21) to offer “assent” to sex with a significantly older person — but permit them to revoke that assent at any time.  “Assent” is a weaker form of agreement, legally speaking, than “consent”.  Such a system would put an extra onus on adults to make sure that they are not taking advantage of a younger person…We now know that the teenage brain does not finish maturing until sometime in the mid-20s.  Neuroscience and psychosocial evidence confirms that teens can make cognitively rational choices in “cool” situations — that is, when they have access to information, face little pressure, and possibly have adult guidance.  Teens make decisions differently in “hot” situations that involve peer pressure, new experiences, and no time for reflection…age-of-consent laws that draw a bright line of sexual maturity at 18 or younger fail to consider the scientific data…

This lunatic is actually proposing that a university coed who fucks a grad student should be able to declare that consensual sex a rape three or more years later, dragging the boyfriend through a court proceeding in the process.  Because “Science!”

Dysphemisms Galore (#581)

Amber Batts was convicted of “sex trafficking” for running an ordinary escort service like I did, the same as many hundreds of such services in the US:

Amber Batts…is now released on parole for sex trafficking…Batts has been serving her sentence on electronic monitoring since March — after spending time incarcerated and in a halfway house…She says she likely wouldn’t have become an advocate for sex workers, had she not been caught…[now] she plans to push for a change in Alaska State Law to redefine “sex trafficking” to match the Federal definition, as well as advocate for the decriminalization of sex work…While Batts doesn’t plan to return, she hopes to see a social shift that would make the work safer for others…

Counterfeit Comfort (#604)

That’ll teach them dirty “sex offenders”!

Florida…has changed the look of its state-issued licenses and ID cards…to…”identify sexual predators and offenders with a distinguishing blue mark on the bottom right front.  Sexual predators will have ‘Sexual Predator’ spelled out, while sexual offenders will have ‘943.0435 F.S.’ on their cards“…It’s not bad enough that sex offender registries exist, so we know who to hate and shun…And now…their passports will be marked, so when they check in to the George V in Paris, the bellhop can be on guard.  But their driver’s license?  So every time they’re asked for identification for some innocuous reason, there will be no doubt that the random person knows they are a sexual threat and should treat them accordingly?…Does failure to use a turn signal somehow involve the mutual sending of naked selfies as a teen?  Or is it just in case the cop needs to know who he can dump on if the day hasn’t gone particularly well?…Driver’s licenses are a ubiquitous form of identification, and they’re meant to be.  Turning them into a weapon to make the lives of people already suffering societal hatred is unjustifiable.  Short of the actual tattoo on the forehead, what more can we do to create a caste of untouchables in America?…

Virtual Unreality (#690) 

Any article calling for more laws policing sexuality can safely be dismissed as authoritarian propaganda:

Author Jordan Belamire provoked public debate on the nature of virtual sexual assault last year when she wrote about an unwelcome experience in virtual reality…the sexual harassment common in the real world also extends into online gaming…Legal philosopher John Danaher of the University of Galway, Ireland, takes on these on questions in his paper The Law and Ethics of Virtual Sexual Assault.  In Danaher’s opinion, unwanted sexual acts in the virtual realm can indeed be viewed as assault and we may need new laws to cover them…

Elephant in the Parlor (#724) 

This guy is a disgusting hypocrite, but this isn’t “child sex trafficking” by any stretch of the imagination:

A[n]…Oklahoma state senator has pleaded guilty to a child sex trafficking charge…Ralph Shortey…had been accused of offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sexual “stuff” earlier this year.  Federal prosecutors will drop three additional child pornography charges against him in exchange for his guilty plea…Child sex trafficking carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison…

The Course of a Disease (#729)

Naturally, the bootlicking media doesn’t report the cost to sex workers:

Paris region authorities say 1,142 clients of prostitutes have been fined in the French capital since a law that bans buying sex entered into effect in April 2016…Paris region authorities said in a written statement seven prostitutes have entered a process to get out of the prostitution business…

Seven.  Meanwhile, “the incomes of [many] prostitutes fell sharply, as they had to significantly lower their prices in an attempt to attract more customers…In some extreme cases, girls committed suicide; some were infected with AIDS because for the sake of earning they were forced to agree to any demands made by men.  Also, there have been cases of women being beaten by aggressive and drunken customers…”  But the Swedish model helps women and fights exploitation!

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The best way I can think of to honor veterans is to stop making so goddamned many of them.  –  Maggie McNeill

99 years ago today, the armistice which ended the First World War – optimistically referred to by many at the time as “The War to End All Wars” – went into effect, and the occasion was thereafter celebrated as Armistice Day.  But because the idea of commemorating the end of a war doesn’t sit well with warmongering politicians in the world’s only remaining empire, it was eventually changed to “Veterans Day”.  However, as I wrote last year,

…designating the day as “Veterans Day” is, frankly, somewhat jingoistic and uncomfortably fascist.  As longtime readers know, I have nothing against military men; if anything, I have kind of a thing for them.  But respecting individuals isn’t at all the same as participating in the creepy mandatory obeisance we’ve seen growing over the past few decades, and dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war…Every year on this day, I’ve paid homage to the ancient and powerful relationship between warriors and whores, and I invite you to click on that link; the essay you’ll find contains more links to the earlier columns.  But given that after the end of the Cold War, the US government decided to instead devote itself to endless and mindless warfare against both its own people and those of foreign lands, I decided this year to make note of another bond between whores and military men:  our own government’s mad and evil campaign to destroy as many of our lives as possible for no reason whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/police-industrial complex and the self-aggrandizement of the evil sociopaths who declare themselves our rulers and believe they have the right to dispose of us as they will.

Though hipster progressives now like to refer to themselves as “The Resistance”, the truth is that they’re only upset because the orange-utang beat the animatronic harpy in the high-school popularity contest; they were perfectly content when “their” guy Obama was empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with.  And they’d have been ecstatic had Clinton been able to continue that, even had she done exactly what Trump is now doing (though in the “right” political way) because obviously murdered kids are happier when taking the last ferry ride if they were shipped down to the Styx by order of a woman; this is what extremely stupid people call “feminism”.  But in reality, it’s whores who are the real feminists and the real Resistance.  All authoritarians hate us, and all who hate us are authoritarians no matter what they want you to believe; there is no other valid term for someone who actually believes that government has both the power and the right to control women’s bodies, right down to criminalizing motives for sex that the Establishment disapproves of.  Well, I do not consent, and neither do other sex workers; we dare to continue to work and make our living in the face of disapproval from both religions and pearl-clutching housewives, and we defy the State which sends thugs to literally rape us in order to “teach us our place”.  Authoritarian regimes have always hated whores, and the US is no exception.  Hitler sent us to concentration camps; Mussolini confined us in psychiatric hospitals; Mao tried to brainwash us out of our harlotry; “Swedish model” regimes define women as moral imbeciles literally unable to resist the sight of money; and US politicians justify sending thug cops to “rescue” us (by raping, arresting and caging us) by public recitation of wild, disgusting wanking fantasies in which we’re all “children” or near-vegetables chained to beds by “pimps” with actual magic powers for repeated rape by every single adult male in the US every week.

And yet we resist, and carry on, and live and love and prosper.  And we and our trade will still be here long after both prohibitionism and authoritarianism exist only in history books, alongside wars fought for the aggrandizement and profit of “leaders” slavishly worshiped by people more concerned about their tribal affiliations than about the health, happiness and liberty of actual human beings.

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

Naturally, because it’s politicians’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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