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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

[Censorship] filter deactivation…would be a frightening form of thought-based surveillance.  –  Camille Fischer

Worse Than I Thought

It’s nice to have the Mouse on the side of right for a change:

Florida lawmakers made headlines last month with a proposal to let people sexually exploited in hotel rooms sue the hotel where the abuse took place.  The bill would have imposed $50,000 to $100,000 in fines on defendants who lose, in addition to any money awarded to the victim…But…the bill’s sponsor yanked the legislation from current consideration…Disney and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association were reportedly lobbying against the bill behind the scenes…the outcome here is undoubtedly a good one.  Allowing the victims of sex trafficking to sue hotels…does nothing to prevent exploitation…or to punish those responsible for it.  It creates enormous incentives for fraud…It creates a new imperative for hotel staff to harass innocent customers and invade their privacy.  It ensures that sex workers will face more arrests…we don’t allow the families of people murdered in hotels to file such suits…And it paves the way for more third parties to be held legally liable for the actions of criminals…

Japanese Prostitution (#601) 

The Japanese government still denies it did this:

Documents and video footage have been found showing massacres of Korean comfort women by the Japanese military shortly before the end of World War II…the city of Seoul and the Seoul National University (SNU) Human Rights Center made public for the first time footage of the aftermath of a massacre of Korean comfort women…This footage flatly contradicts the Japanese government’s denial of the forced mobilization and massacre of the comfort women.  The footage shows a Chinese soldier, apparently on a burial detail, looking at naked corpses and then removing the socks off one of them.  Smoke is rising from one corner of the frame…“It’s blurred out in the version for public release, but the original footage shows corpses missing heads and other body parts, allowing us to infer the cruelty of the events in question,” the research team said…

Bottleneck (#638)

Welcome to our world, ridesharing companies:

This local CBS report from the Windy City asks the worrying question of whether or not traffic congestion is getting worse in their city and if ride-hailing services might be to blame…If a new cab company opened up, purchased a thousand new cars, painted them up and put them on the road, you’d have a thousand new cars hanging around downtown, clustering near common pick-up areas and just cruising.  That would increase traffic.  But Uber drivers use their own vehicles which were already on the road before they started driving for the company.  And they don’t wait around by hotels or train stations.  They pick a central location and park, waiting for the app to offer them a rider…cruising around would waste gas and cut into their bottom line… We rarely heard any of these “traffic congestion” complaints before except for some occasional griping, but look what other items popped up, all in the space of a couple of weeks…if someone wanted to do some digging I’d wager the National Taxi Worker Alliance and state level lobbyist groups like the Virginia Taxicab Association would be good places to start…

Finding What Isn’t There (#778)

The actual number of people arrested (not tried or convicted) for “human trafficking” in Louisiana during this period: 16.

New numbers recently released by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services showed an overall 50 percent increase in human trafficking in the state from 2016 to 2017.  For victims under 18, there was a 77 percent reported jump.  According to the report, there were 681 human trafficking victims in the state in 2017.  Of those victims, over half (356) were under 18.  DCFS…gets the numbers from agencies across the state and more agencies are now reporting, so it is worth noting that’s a possible cause for the increase…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#795) 

Are there still people who believe the French are sexually liberal?

A group of French lawmakers wants a fine of at least 90 euros ($110) for people caught making sexist catcalls as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares a sweeping new law targeting sexual [behavior]…proposals…included a fine for “comments, behavior or pressure of a sexist or sexual character” that [cops decide to label] degrading, humiliating, intimidating, hostile or offensive.  Details of how it would be enforced are unclear…

Stalkers in Blue 

I have no doubt that had her kids been absent, this would’ve turned into a rape:

…Patricia Wilson…says [a Tennessee state] trooper, Isaiah Lloyd, pulled her over for not wearing a seat belt in August last year, according to a lawsuit…Lloyd asked her to get out of her car and lift up her camisole and shirt, then felt around her waistline…put his hands in her underwear and touched her buttock and pubic area.  Lloyd ticketed Wilson for not wearing a seat belt — a…violation the DA’s office later dismissed — and she continued on to work…Three hours later, Lloyd pulled her over again, as Wilson’s children — 3 and 8 years old — were in the vehicle.  “We have to stop meeting like this,” Lloyd allegedly said.  He also said he would not give her a ticket for having tinted windows and asked her where she was going…

Not So Easy

New Orleans club owners cover their arses by throwing dancers under the bus:

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control has released details of the consent orders reached with nine French Quarter strip clubs after January raids…mandatory [indoctrination] will include twice-yearly sessions…[of sex] trafficking [propaganda even though]…ATC officials have acknowledged there were no human trafficking-related arrests in their raids…The clubs must also begin using “mystery shoppers” to check in on the businesses once a month…to see if any illegal activity is taking place…[surveillance] cameras must also be installed in all public areas, VIP rooms, private rooms and stages.  Recordings from these cameras must be kept for 30 days and “made available to ATC immediately upon request”…the business[es are required] to fire employees or independent contractors [cops decide to accuse of] prostitution or drug sales…Hustler Barely Legal Club and Hunk Oasis, both owned by the same ownership group…are [also] required to [search] the bags of employees, dancers and entertainers at the start of their shift.  They are also required to hire additional [thugs] to “regularly patrol the floor and VIP areas”…

Morality Lessons (#811) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA)…a…[censorship] bill…[which] would…threaten your free speech and privacy in [an]…attempt to block and tax online pornography.  EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them.  Now HTPA is back…Device manufacturers would be forced to install “obscenity filters” on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices.  [The censorship software] could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee…allow[ing] the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices…HTPA…has been introduced in…Hawaii…Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey…New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee…Virginia, West Virginia…and Wyoming…the bill has died in committees in Mississippi and Virginia…[and] senators in New Mexico…pulled back the bill days after EFF raised the alarm…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Monkey see, monkey do:

The [UK] National Crime Agency (NCA) claims Google and Facebook are “making profits” from sex trafficking…Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when human traffickers use their sites to “pimp” their victims to potential clients…New US laws are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites.  It will make firms liable if they “knowingly assist, support or facilitate” content that leads to trafficking…

Maybe someone should tell the UK media that these laws aren’t even passed, much less “set” to do anything.

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I’m really, really sick of deeply-stupid internet commenters using the word “libertarian” to mean “Republican”, “Nazi”, “plutocrat”, “Monsanto” or other bogeyman.  Now, I obviously have no problem with anyone using rhetoric to attack one’s opponents, and the “your life belongs to almighty ‘Society’ and ‘rightful authorities’ have the right to use violence to compel your obedience” crowd are obviously going to be opposed to any philosophy which embraces self-ownership and rejects collectivized violence.  Furthermore, libertarians only have themselves to blame for this; after all, the entire movement is based in the recognition that nobody can be trusted with power, and yet libertarians allowed racists, dissident Republicans and other malign filth to apply the term to themselves after Obama’s election ten years ago, when they should’ve shut that shit down immediately to avoid guilt by association from collectivist nitwits.  Moreover, as I wrote in “To the Ground” over three years ago,

…I only call myself a libertarian because it’s the only popular term which has some general resemblance to the way I see the world.  Technically, what I am is a minarchist, someone who is to an anarchist what an agnostic is to an atheist; I’m also more or less an agorist.  But use either of those terms to most people, even to many libertarians, and you’ll be greeted with blank stares…For most uses, “libertarian” is good enough, though it means that I have to endure opprobrium from semi-literates who…seem to believe that “libertarian” means “caricature of a fundie plutocrat” or even “whatever I don’t like”…

Well, I’m exercising a woman’s prerogative and changing my mind.  Though I’m still friendly with many people who use the term “libertarian”, the same holds true for the term “feminist”…and for me, both terms are polluted beyond reclamation by the behavior of bad actors and the one-dimensional thinking of authoritarians.  While I’m still going to describe myself as a minarchist or anarchist, when I want a more general term I’m going back to the traditional one for the philosophy opposed to authoritarianism: “liberal”.  At least until the American Civil War, the term “liberal” meant more or less what is now properly meant by “libertarian”:  the belief that each individual owns himself and no other, that fundamental liberties are inalienable, that differences between individuals should be tolerated and even embraced, and that large collectives (especially governments) are to be distrusted and controlled.  It’s the sense in which George Washington was using the word when he wrote, “As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government.”  At some point in the late 19th century, people largely abandoned those old liberal ideals, and though there were people calling themselves liberals for most of the 20th century, they were actually progressives still clinging to a few liberal points (but willing to compromise on even those in order to establish their social engineering schemes and/or “beat” their so-called “conservative” opponents).  Then, less than a generation ago, the term “liberal” was unceremoniously dumped as the progressives finally embraced being just a different flavor of authoritarian, one committed to licking the boots of “experts” while their opponents preferred to lick those of preachers (and both loudly proclaim their love for cops and caging people by the millions).  Well, if they’re not going to use a proud old term (whose memory they insulted by misusing it for a century anyway), I’m going to.  And if people are confused by that, good; maybe they’ll ask what I mean instead of ignorantly imposing their weird wanking fantasies onto me like the “sex trafficking” fetishists do.

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[Laura Lee] put herself on the line in a way few have the guts to do.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Storyville 

An interesting look at brothel archaeology in Australia:

Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century.  Especially unmarried women with babies.  But we don’t hear people say “my great-great-grandmother was a sex worker”…Social stigma belies the importance of prostitution in providing an independent living, and even property ownership, for numerous women in this period…the Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner…has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory…

Whore Madonnas 

While mainstream media mindlessly parrots “sex trafficking” propaganda, the alternative press is listening to sex workers:

…Liz Afton works as a counselor at the Sex Workers Project…which provides legal and social services to people involved in sex work…“Mothers…who are involved in sex work often have it used against them to separate them from their child,” Afton says.  Atossa Movahedi, director of legal services and development at the UJC’s domestic violence project, says…“More often than not…the opposing party had knowledge of, or even was involved directly, in the client’s participation in the sex work, and is now using it as a tool to exploit them in the court system.”  When dealing with custody disputes, courts [supposedly] first look at a parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home.  Financial status, mental health, drug use and domestic violence all fall under consideration.  Though many mothers involved in sex work pass inspection in these areas, they’re left with the fact that the job is usually illegal—and in the eyes of some on the bench, immoral…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown is becoming our most powerful voice against sex hysteria:

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition…history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.  And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.  For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography…there’s no evidence that internet porn has been destroying millennials — some of whom now have two decades of…data to offer…all the available evidence shows…teens today are starting sex later, and more likely than previous generations to use condoms when they do.  Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest levels in decades…In addition, there’s now a huge body of research showing that…it’s “time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior”…sexually well-adjusted adults “reported more experience with pornography as teenagers” than their maladjusted counterparts…

Finding What Isn’t There

Too bad all prohibitionism isn’t focused on harassing women who don’t exist:

Lake of the Woods boasts 15,000 islands and more than 100,000 kilometres of shoreline — more coast than Lake Superior…the [area]…near the Manitoba border sees its population double in the summer months.  When [masturbatory fantasies] of women and girls being forced into the sex trade on Lake of the Woods arose at a 2013 human trafficking conference in Kenora, even local social service workers were shocked…“Dock girls,” as they came to be known…are [fantasized] to be overwhelmingly Indigenous [minors who]…are [fantasized] to be transported…from…northwestern Ontario and Manitoba as part of a human trafficking circuit…only…one social service worker [in the area claims]…they’ve come face-to-face with a “dock girl”…[yet]…Kenora will receive $504,000 over three years to [indoctrinate] frontline hospitality workers…[in the usual anti-whore propaganda]…there is so little hard evidence for the “dock girl” phenomenon that it raises questions about whether the problem exists at all.  And if it doesn’t, critics say, wouldn’t the government’s funding…be better spent elsewhere?…

Policing for Profit

Cops are starting to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

In Alabama…two [politicians] introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff.  It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime…It would move the proceeds of forfeiture to the state’s general fund to eliminate the profit incentive for police and prosecutors to try to seize whatever they could get their hands on.  And it would close a loophole that would forbid local law enforcement agencies from bypassing restrictions by participating in the federal “equitable sharing” Department of Justice forfeiture program…the head of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association teamed up with an op-ed that urges against reforms to asset forfeiture…Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton warn that requiring successful prosecutions will lead to them filing more charges against people…When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to…think about what you’re doing…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

Women imprisoned at California’s Santa Rita Jail say they’re being [caged] in filthy conditions, denied basic hygiene products, pressured to have abortions, subjected to incessant strip searches, and forced to endure many other manners of cruel and inhumane treatment from guards and staff…In a new federal lawsuit, they’re asking a federal judge to intervene on behalf of them and future female prisoners, particularly those who are pregnant…The jailhouse horror stories…provide an invaluable glimpse at the…systemic degradation…such institutions foster…female inmates face the standard abuses inflicted on male prisoners as well as those unique to their sex, from being forced to “free bleed” during their periods if they can’t afford to buy tampons to facing higher levels of sexual assault and coercion from guards and staff…pregnant prisoners [are] denied proper nutrition and prenatal care and, in some places, forced to give birth in shackles.  At Santa Rita…one inmate was…left alone in solitary confinement to give birth…”She was banging on her metal door…[the screws] closed the slider-window…so she could not see out, and no one could see in…Only after we could hear the crying of the baby did the deputies finally go over and open her door”…

Opting Out (#401)

This is no surprise to those of us who have actually studied the effects and history of censorship:

Sky UK has been called out for blocking a…website that its algorithms deem as “pornographic”…as part of the Digital Economy Act 2010…Sky UK have blocked gay-teen advice website gayteenresources.org…an important resource for teenagers exploring their sexuality and for those that may be struggling…blocked.org.uk, which lists sites that cannot be accessed, reveals that O2, EE and Three have also automatically filtered the site from their mobile networks…

“Filtered” is a euphemism for “censored”, and this will continue until the media acknowledge that.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

At least universities in Washington state aren’t generally used to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda, unlike those in Arizona and Texas:

The “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit is designed to [facilitate masturbation] to [the fantasy of] human trafficking in Texas…there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state…From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King…illustrat[ing] themes of isolation, captivity and desperation…Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a “seclusion room.”  Attendees are invited to enter the small space and [masturbate in private while fantasizing about pubescent girls in]…a life of captivity…

The Public Eye (#797)

Though Rolling Stone is far too timid to write honestly about escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in it at all:

At…the 35th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards…plenty of big names were in attendance – stars who had led more traditional adult-film careers – but they were outnumbered by scores of up-and-coming models who primarily built their own businesses using cam shows, original clip stores and monetized social-media platforms.  The mass availability of easily pirated streaming video may have decimated the porn economy, but it seems that women are the ones adapting, finding fresh ways to connect directly with consumers.  As these models gain more economic influence, they are also raising the bar for consent conversations throughout the industry…

Tit For Tat

One day, our culture will grow up enough that this won’t be noteworthy:

Eva Sless…is a sex columnist, a sex educator and a sex worker  who…[is] married.  Sless’ husband, Justin…is completely supportive of her work, though they’re both aware it’s an unconventional life.  “I know we are a rare couple.  Our life and marriage is built on a foundation of strong friendship, trust, love, and respect…I don’t know if the life we live is for everyone, but it works for us. I love our world.”  Below, they tell us more about Sless’ work, how it affects their marriage and what Justin thinks of his wife’s clients…

Elephant in the Parlor (#806)  

This ought to be interesting:

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Donald Trump’s attorney acknowledges paying $130,000 just before Election Day, believes she is now free to discuss a…sexual encounter with the man who is now president…At the same time, developments…are fueling questions about whether such a payment could violate federal campaign finance laws.  Daniels…believes that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, invalidated a non-disclosure agreement after two news stories were published [early last week]…one in which Cohen told The New York Times he made the six-figure payment with his personal funds, and another in the Daily Beast, which reported that Cohen was shopping a book proposal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said the manager, Gina Rodriguez.  “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez said…

Watershed (#809)

When stuffy Time publishes an article who only major nod to prohibitionism is to quote dried-up dinosaur Gloria Steinem vomiting up her “body invasion” nonsense, you know things are changing:

Like millions of others, Melony Hill took to social media last fall to say “me too”…But rather than receiving an outpouring of support, Hill said she’s gotten messages saying that she deserved to be sexually assaulted — because she has worked in the sex industry for 20 years…“They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times”…Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it…Some…sex…[workers] told Time that they have posted their #MeToo stories anonymously to avoid potential legal repercussions.  Others said that they don’t want to speak out publicly because they anticipate they’ll be shamed, or not believed because they aren’t “perfect victims”…there’s also the damaging notion that sex workers can’t be sexually assaulted…“Not all women are being supported in the #MeToo movement,” said Cris Sardina…of…Desiree Alliance…“It’s what type of woman”…

R.I.P. Laura Lee

A very nice tribute from The Herald:

She was, in the words of Scots author Kirstin Innes, “a powerhouse, a formidable, vital, hilarious and angry star”…Others described her as a “fierce warrior” for women.  She appeared regularly in the pages of this newspaper fighting the corner of the most marginalised women in society – sex workers.  She was Laura Lee – a brilliantly clever Irish woman who found an adoptive home in Scotland and made the choice to work in the sex industry.  Last week, she died aged just 39…

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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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