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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

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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“To Protect and Serve” has got to be one of the most effective propaganda campaigns of all time.  The police as an institution are not, and never have been, intended to “protect” the citizenry, and they certainly don’t “serve” it; the only things they “protect” are the status quo and entrenched interests, and the only people they “serve” besides themselves are politicians.  Note that the generalized term for police isn’t “citizen defense”, “crime prevention” or anything like that; it’s “law enforcement”.  The purpose of the police is to “enforce” laws, no matter how evil, unjust and destructive those laws might be; to “enforce” a law is to coerce people into obeying it via the threat of violence, and to make an example of some citizens by inflicting violence on them before they’ve been proven guilty of anything.  Expressed another way, the police are terrorists; their job is to inspire terror of violating the whims of politicians by inflicting violence on people who are legally innocent of any wrongdoing.  This is clear not only from their demonstrable behavior (including the fact that they are rarely held accountable to the laws themselves), but also (in the United States) from multiple court rulings that the police have no duty to protect citizens.  I’ve argued this many times, so I’m not going to repeat myself; instead, I’m going to quote this essay by Alex Vitale I read yesterday:

…TV shows exaggerate the amount of serious crime and the nature of what most police officers actually do all day.  Crime control is a small part of policing, and it always has been.  Arrests for serious crimes are a rarity for uniformed officers, with most making no more than one a year.  When a patrol officer actually apprehends a violent criminal in the act, it is a major moment in their career.  The bulk of police…take reports, engage in random patrol, address parking and driving violations and noise complaints, issue tickets, and make arrests for drinking in public, possession of small amounts of drugs, or the vague “disorderly conduct”…Even detectives (who make up only about 15 percent of police forces) spend most of their time taking reports of crimes that they will never solve—and in many cases will never even investigate…It is largely a liberal fantasy that the police exist to protect us from the bad guys.  As the veteran police scholar David Bayley argues:  “The police do not prevent crime…Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it.  Yet the police pretend that they are society’s best defence against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime.  This is a myth“…Bayley goes on to point out that there is no correlation between the number of police and crime rates…The reality is that the police exist primarily as a system for managing and even producing inequality by suppressing social movements and tightly managing the behaviors of poor and non-white people: those on the losing end of economic and political arrangements…This can be seen in the earliest origins of policing, which were tied to three basic social arrangements of inequality in the eighteenth century: slavery, colonialism, and the control of a new industrial working class.  This created what Allan Silver calls a “policed society”, in which state power was significantly expanded in the face of social upheavals and demands for justice.  As Kristian Williams points out, “The police represent the point of contact between the coercive apparatus of the state and the lives of its citizens”…

As Vitale points out, none of this is obscure or even controversial among historians, criminologists and other scholars; the only reason it seems so is that the Great Unwashed, indoctrinated to obedience in state-run schools, lack both the desire to question authority in the first place and the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze the issue even if they did.  Authoritarian societies rely on the great majority being controlled by fear, pandered to by lies and kept docile with bread and circuses, while the egos of the brighter and better-educated minority are stroked by telling them they’re part of an elite who must have power over the masses for their own good.  

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The work you do does not give you dignity; the dignity comes from you.  –  Elena Reynaga

Counterfeit Comfort

The Notorious Badge

An unusual portrayal of sex work in cinema:

…the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket…follows Lea, a young Jewish woman who lives in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Hoping to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg, Lea is forced to register as a sex worker, receiving a “yellow ticket” as proof of her status as a prostitute, or else she will go to prison for being Jewish.  Posing as the deceased Christian sister of her former tutor, Lea reluctantly lives these dual lives until a classmate discovers her at the brothel and she tries to commit suicide…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Fargo [North Dakota] police arrested two men as part of a two-day sting…[during] the annual Big Iron Farm Show…[spokesow Junell] Krabbenhoft [oinked that]…“Any major event, anything that’s going to draw people to the area,” could attract potential buyers…

An Example to the West (#316) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

…sex workers [are] campaign[ing] for an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution establishing the right to self-employed sex work, with a view to it being included in the individual legislations of Latin American countries, given that, although sex work is not explicitly penalised in many countries of the region, it is criminalised in many ways…they managed, after five years of failed attempts, to secure a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The demands presented included the recognition of sex work, that the relevant authorities in each state intervene to end the impunity surrounding crimes against sex workers, and measures to tackle the institutional violence they suffer…The IACHR…“urged member states to design public policies and regulations that protect the human rights of sex workers…and…put an end to the stigmatisation and discrimination to which they are subjected”…

Traffic Circle (#431)

It’s so nice to see an article in which migrant African sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than passive, childlike “victims”:

Bar girls and sex workers have a visible presence in Pattaya [Thailand].  Women and girls from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have made up a large slice of the sex worker demographic for as long as people can recall…Among the most recent round of newcomers are some women from Africa…Last week Pattaya City police arrested 12 women from Uganda…A Cambodian sex worker…[said] she came to the city to earn a living five years ago.  Pattaya improved her life, she says, and she wants to remain there for as long as possible…”Back at home, I can’t even earn 10% of what I am earning here.  I notice a lot more black girls these days but none of us get intimidated by this.  After all, we also came here to find an opportunity to make a better living”…

SWOP Behind Bars

A good article with a horrible headline: sex work is work, not an “offense”:

SWOP Behind Bars…provides a community and concrete aid [to incarcerated sex workers] when they’re released, from clothing and shoes to stamped envelopes, notebooks and hygiene products.  In a new program, the women also get cellphones…Connecting women to resources quickly after leaving prison is crucial.  “When you’re in prison and you get out and you don’t have any money, you’re almost forced back into sex work.  Which may not be where these women want to be, because it does put them at risk for rearrest,” [SBB founder Alex] Andrews said.  She calls this “state-sponsored trafficking”.  Women are cut off from their families and released without resources for finding jobs, getting an education or pursuing a GED.  Sex work is effectively the only way many of them have to make money…Finding cheap, reliable phone service nationwide has been tricky, Andrews says.  Many services aren’t set up to allow people to purchase phones for others, and she’d like to buy 90 days of service at a time, rather than the usual 30-day package.  Most women coming out of prison aren’t in a position to start paying for their own phone after only a month on the outside.  For the moment, Andrews has settled on Straight Talk, a program that’s offered through Wal-Mart and gets good service even in rural areas.  SWOP can send out refurbished iPhone 5S with 30 days of service for around $100 each.  The organization is accepting donations of used smart phones to help expand the program and lower costs…

To Molest and Rape 

“Former prison transport officer” = “pig who was actively employed when he raped women at gunpoint”:

A federal grand jury…returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley…for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault…Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody…These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017…Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants…In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley [raped] her…Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that…no one will believe her…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s “creepy clown” panic is off to a good start:

An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger’s apartment…Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment…the frightened child ran to a female stranger’s car nearby, jumped inside and said she was being chased by a clown…That woman later told police that the man wearing the clown mask pulled the child out of her car.  Unsure of what was happening, the woman called 911…the child [then] ran into the adjacent apartment of…Dion Santiago…[who] grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window…

The Mote and the Beam (#748)

Liz Brown exposes more horrific laws that destroy civil rights under the pretext of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…two significant expansions of federal power…passed the Senate unanimously…Under these new measures, the FBI and immigration agents as well as state and local police can secretly wiretap suspected sex workers, or those who associate with them.  The wiretapping authority…includ[es] consenting adults on any side of a commercial sexual exchange.  The bills call for a new national strategy to reduce “demand” for prostitution, order all U.S. attorneys offices be trained on treating the sex trade as “a form of gender-based violence”…[ban] federal funds [from] any nonprofit that helps people who profit off sex and…broaden…the term “criminal street gang” [to] capture any five or more sex workers traveling together…[the bills provide] a pretext for ICE and Homeland Security Investigations to join in small-town prostitution stings and massage-parlor raids across America…[another] bill (S.1312) gives the attorney general power to file a civil suit against anyone suspected of…planning to commit “any action that constitutes or will constitute” a violation of various federal statutes…This…could allow the feds to preemptively shut down websites, search engines, social apps, browsers, encryption services, or brick-and-mortar businesses because criminals (broadly defined) might communicate there…The new TVPA will also make fighting…”sextortion”…an invitation for the federal government to get involved in teen sexting cases…

The Widening Gyre (#763) 

I am so enjoying watching “authorities” forced to deny the “sex trafficking” propaganda they helped spread:

Looks like the Roseville, California, police department got a little fed up with social media posts going on about local “sex trafficking kidnappers” and “suspicious people.”  And so it came out with this amazing document on its Facebook page…”kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States.  Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news…children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children…The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade…We…found no evidence that human traffickers were [at shopping malls] recruiting strangers“…

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Goats are escape artists.  –  Matt Minnick

The first music videos (short films intended to market a song) were probably Warner Brothers’ “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, but the form as we would recognize it today probably began with The Beatles cartoon series (1965) and grew by way of The Monkees (1966) and Yellow Submarine (1968).  So it’s probably not surprising that many of the first stand-alone videos were short animated films; the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour showed these as a regular feature, and I fondly remember quite a few of them.  This was one of my favorites: the music is a Sonny & Cher cover of the anti-racist folk-rock song “Black and White“.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“course”), Conner Habib (“wouldn’t”),  Tushy Galore (“happens”),  Mistress Matisse (“woo” and “together”), and Tejas (“safe”).

From the Archives

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