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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

I don’t trust the value system of somebody else…because my life isn’t their life.  –  Nadia Yasmeen

One Size Fits All

Finally, a US court finds something it isn’t willing to call “trafficking”:

…[Milwaukee] prosecutors charged [Kevin] Long…with child trafficking because he admitted that he paid a 16-year-old Milwaukee boy to lick or kiss his feet, and offered to pay that boy’s 17-year-old friend to do the same.  That boy said he wasn’t interested…[so] Long apologized…took the 17-year-old to the mall and bought him shoes…In his home, police found materials referencing foot fetish websites and a journal of Long’s prior encounters…Long’s attorney, Ray Dall’Osto…[argued] there was no [vanilla] sexual touching, no exposure or even discussion of genitals…Dall’Osto mounted a full-on constitutional attack on the child trafficking law, calling it vague and overbroad…Long wound up pleading guilty to reduced charges…pandering and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, all misdemeanors…Judge Jeffrey Wagner…stayed Long’s registration as a sex offender until after [a forthcoming] review…

It Looks Good On Paper

If you’re inclined to view this as a positive development, read more carefully; it’s justified by, and would reinforce, the dogma that sex workers are pathetic victims who need to be treated as wards of the state.  It’s also another weapon prosecutors can use to coerce sex workers into “cooperating” with police to betray their clients and other sex workers, and note the “escort registration” provision:

It’s illegal to publish official post-arrest photographs of people accused of prostitution, under an Alabama law that went into effect Aug. 1…press advocates say it’s probably unconstitutional…[sponsor] Jack Williams…has been pushing for years for changes to the state’s prostitution laws, arguing that prostitutes themselves are in most cases victims of human trafficking…Williams’ bill, the Alabama Human Trafficking Safe Harbor Act, allows people arrested for prostitution to be held for 72 hours, with a hearing to assess their financial situation, mental health and other issues within 48 hours — with an eye toward [forcing] the alleged prostitute…through a…diversion program…The law also requires “escort services of companionship” to register with the Alabama secretary of state’s office…[which threatened] to report [unregistered escorts to the pigs]…

Where Are the Protests? 

Only “A few critics call it a form of human trafficking.”  Because there’s no sex and the traffickers are government actors and clergymen:

Percida Ramos was losing her son to heroin…[A lying pig told her about] Kensington, where ministers run resort-like, anti-addiction estates where the…demons are chased from young people’s brains as they ride horses, swim in blue pools, and play day and night on basketball courts…Her son would even have a job within five months, she was promised…All Ramos…had to do was get [her son] to Philadelphia and wire $150 to an address on North Front Street…What [Kelvin Aldarondo] found was far different from what he and his mother were promised…a grim, three-story building under the El with around 20 other men sleeping on bunk beds in four bedrooms and sharing three bathrooms…Since the late 1990s, pastors, police, and mayors in Puerto Rico have been sending hundreds of heroin addicts, many of them HIV-positive, to Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and other cities.  The officials work with mainland ministers, some of whom travel from Philadelphia to the island to recruit addicts, offering drug treatment based on abstinence and prayer.  [The practice is known as Air Bridge]…and…[it] has increased the numbers of homeless and HIV-positive people in the city, torn apart families, and confounded advocates…

A Whore in Church 

Tits & Sass presents a nice look at the religious beliefs of sex workers:

Many people think of whores as being as far from God as possible.  We are seen as “fallen women,” people whose moral deficiency has put them at odds with God.  When God, morality, and religion are discussed in tandem with sex work, these conversations often promote religious dogma which serves to justify the marginalization of sex workers. Sex workers are rarely heard from on their own relationships with religion or spirituality, even though we have roots in religious and spiritual life as far back as Biblical times…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

SWOP’s annual fundraiser is going on right now!  Many of you have asked me how you can support sex worker rights; well, this is an excellent way, and your donations are tax-deductible!  So please don’t hesitate; donate today!swop-fundraiser

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Brave hero cops save The Children!TM from the menace of desperately-needy people, both in Ohio: “…Crystal D. Hotlosz…told [a lying pig] she would provide a sex act for $60 and nachos…She was arrested, and charged for solicitation and criminal tools…” and in Florida: “Eight homeless prostitutes, one homeless 68-year-old pimp and a hooker with an address were among those arrested in the most recent prostitution sting…[a lying pig] hunting for streetwalkers asked some of the women if they were cops and even encouraged one of the suspects to grab his genitals…”  Judging by her language, sleazebag “reporter” Lyda Longa thinks she’s clever; I wonder how she’d feel if a pig came to her place of work and tricked her into doing something so he could arrest her?  N.B: in Ohio, “criminal tools” means condoms and/or a cell phone.

Banishment

Because laws are more important than people:

In Florida, a wheelchair-bound man with end-stage Alzheimer’s must move out of the hospice where he’s dying, because he is a registered sex offender and the hospice is too close to a preschool…Jack Ehrhart…was convicted of a sex offense about 30 years ago, when he was a doctor.  Several patients accused him of touching them sexually during their gynecological exams—with a nurse present.  He now faces arrest unless he gets…out of the Heartland Hospice…Ehrhart’s wife is arguing that the residency restrictions apply only to people who have deliberately chosen to live where they live…her husband’s condition means he not only had no say in where he’s living, he has no idea where he is now.  Still, Heartland is trying to ship him out, but having a hard time, because it can’t find other hospices that will take him.  Meanwhile, Ehrhart’s attorney is trying to get him off the sex offender registry, arguing that Florida allows some former offenders to be removed from the list after being on it 25 years…

What kind of warped mind thinks this is OK?

My Body, My Choice (#319)

A rare decision in favor of self-ownership:

The 69-pound woman has battled anorexia for the majority of her life…after spending nearly two years in a New Jersey psychiatric hospital, the 29-year-old woman with a bone density of a 92-year-old told a court that she refused to eat any food, and wished to enter palliative care instead…A Superior Court judge ruled…that she cannot be fed against her will…and…has the mental capacity to choose not to accept nutrition.  The state…argued the woman is mentally ill due to depression, and that by approving the withdrawal of force-feeding the court would essentially be allowing her passive suicide…Palliative care would simply provide drugs to numb her pain and ease her…death…Her treating psychiatrist, Joshua Braun, said force feeding A.G. would be “cruel and torturous at this point,” because restraining her could cause her delicate bones to break…

Backwards Into the Future (#323)

Note that this kind of abuse is also typical in the US:

Namibian authorities stand accused of failing to meet multiple obligations under the Convention Against Torture…in relation to addressing severe abuse suffered by Namibian sex workers at the hands of authorities and the community…a group of local and international NGOs working with sex workers detailed an extensive list of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of sex workers in Namibia…One of the recommendations contained in the report is to decriminalise sex work in Namibia in order to effectively deal with the abuse and to establish legal procedures to investigate allegations of torture and provide victims with redress…criminalisation…has given free rein to police officers, health workers and clients and the community at large to abuse sex workers in a multitude of ways, without fear of consequences…

Gingerbread House (#542)

It’s satisfying when the mask of concern for “trafficking victims” slips:

Straight Street Revolution Ministries…plan to build housing for women who are fleeing sex trafficking on 50 acres of land…in southeast Hall County [Georgia]…But opponents have made it clear they don’t want it in their rural community…residents [pretend]…crime and safety concerns, fearing the place could draw a bad element…

Yes folks, sex rays are also magnetic and can draw “bad elements”.

Fallen Idol (#612)

It’s been nearly a year since James Deen…was first accused of assault.  In the days after the first allegation…porn studios began to cut ties with Deen…But, a year later, it’s clear that while Deen’s career might have taken a slight hit, it isn’t going anywhere.  “Very little has changed in James’ life over the last year,” said Howard Bragman, Deen’s spokesperson.  “He is not subject to any cases either criminal or civil and he is continuing the same work he did before”…analysis of adult film releases, as well as industry interviews, show this isn’t just the boasting of a publicist trying to make his client look good…

Virtual Unreality vr-headset

Unless the VR unit deposits $400 into my bank account before the show starts, I’m not remotely interested:

…the firm WankzVR premiered FemalePOV, its new virtual reality porn series filmed from a woman’s viewpoint — meaning, headset wearers occupy the perspective of a female porn performer or, in gamer speak, avatar…WankzVR…found was that women…who either used their product or frequented Reddit VR threads…did not want to see the gentle, less explicit content that they are so often said to desire.  These ladies wanted something in-between the hardcore gonzo cliché of porn for men and the gauzy soft-focus cliché of porn for women…in VR porn for men, male performers are often instructed to keep their hands out of the frame and let their female co-stars do all the work…because male viewers typically report that seeing their avatar’s hands interacting in the scene takes them out of the illusion of being in the film…however, WankzVR found that female viewers expressed that they were disturbed to see their avatar just lying there, relatively motionless…it…looks a bit too much like sexual assault…

To Molest and Rape (#687) 

For every assault a rapist cop is caught in, you can be sure there are others yet undetected:

…[Rapist cop Marcellus White] was rebooked…Nov. 21…on 16 new counts…five new rape charges as well as two counts of sexual battery, two counts of oral sexual battery, two counts of molestation of a juvenile, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count each of simple kidnapping, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number…

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  –  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Toys for Tots 2003Long-time readers know that I am a firm believer in the Ecclesiastean principle, that there is a proper season for everything and that everything should be in its season.  And because of this, I get very vocal (let’s be honest: bitchy) when I see freaking stores putting out Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving; this year my patience was sorely tested by stores actually putting out Christmas shit BEFORE FUCKING HALLOWEEN.  But because I’ve gone over this so many times before, I’m going to give y’all a break from my anti-gun-jumper, anti-“Black Friday” shrieking; those of you who haven’t read one of my day-after-Thanksgiving rants before (or those who have, but are feeling a tad masochistic today) can click on the links I’ve helpfully provided there for the last four such polemics.  Instead, I’m going to give you three wonderful ways you can help St. Nick’s favorite people, whores and children, this holiday season.

1) SWOP Behind Bars has a new program that will help you bring some cheer to incarcerated sex workers.  Seasonal depression affects many people, but for people locked up in prisons it must be almost unimaginably difficult to bear.  Getting mail is one of the few bright spots in their days, and even if you don’t have the time or dedication for a full-time pen pal, SWOP is making it easy for you to send greeting cards to them:

You provide greeting cards and stamps…
We provide names and mailing addresses of incarcerated sex workers…
…Your guests can send holiday greetings and messages of cheer and goodwill without taking on a full time pen pal!

Just click on this link and write a short email saying how many guests you expect at your party; SWOP “will send you the names of 3 incarcerated sex workers per guest to send a card to!”  Such an easy, inexpensive way to show support, and if you want to do more you can send them books from their wishlists!

2) Every year at this time, I run a “Toys for Tots” special: from today until Friday, December 16th, anyone who books with me for at least an hour at my normal rate and brings new, unwrapped toys will receive an extra 10 minutes per toy (maximum 60 extra minutes for 6 toys).  For just one short trip to a toy store or big-box store and a modest expenditure, you can double your time with me and bring joy to a needy child who might otherwise be cheated of a holiday gift.  If you don’t want a date but would like to meet me, for $100 and three toys I will have an hour-long coffee meeting with you anywhere in the Seattle area.  And if you don’t live near me, please consider donating a toy or money anyway!

3) The Salvation Army is a horrible, anti-sex organization which uses a large fraction of its income to fund anti-whore and anti-GLBT campaigns; though its bell-ringers are ubiquitous at this time of year, please DO NOT give them any money!  Contribute to either of the worthy causes above, or if you prefer charities which help the homeless there are many more deserving than the Sallies, such as this one headed by my friend, Allena Gabosch.  And if you want to be like a politician and “send a message”, you can print out the protest slip below and shove it into a kettle in lieu of real money.

Do any one, or all three!  Because they’re all a lot more positive and life-affirming than trampling children to get 20% off a new blu-ray player or something.Salvation Army donation

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Can a client be an ally?  A sex worker recently told me, “An ally who is not a client is a time-waster.  Self-interest is irrelevant.  The more people on our side, the better.”  But I worry that the people I’m supporting will like me less if they believe I support their struggle out of self-interest.  If you knew two male allies who were equally good at being allies, all things being equal, toward whom would you feel more warmly?  The ally who is or has been a client, or the one who never has been?  Or is the question truly irrelevant?

skin-in-the-gameAs a pragmatist, I don’t give a flying fuck why anyone supports decriminalization, just as long as he or she does.  If a billionaire software developer is an ally because he has some software he hopes to sell to decriminalized sex workers, or a politician backs decrim because it will save huge amounts of money wasted on law enforcement, or a celebrity backs it because she thinks it will attract sex workers to buy her albums or see her movies, what difference does that make to me?  Activists who demand ideological purity tests aren’t really interested in winning the War on Whores; they want a secret handshake club.

That having been said, an ally who has no “skin in the game” might be useful for a time, but what happens if his circumstances change?  If he’s not invested in the outcome, it’s just a hobby to him.  If anything, I think that allies who act out of enlightened self-interest are probably more trustworthy, because humans are humans and we all act out of self-interest at least to some degree.  People who pretend otherwise aren’t “pure”; they’re just hiding their real motives, and that makes me wonder what those real motives might be.  So while I welcome all allies, temporary or long-term, all things being equal I would prefer one who’s got as much to lose as I do if the prohibitionists aren’t stopped.

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

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Armistice Day

We are the Dead.  Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.  –  John McCrae

One of the more peculiar eccentricities of my cognition is the way it tends toward the use of archaic terms and formats.  For some reason I’ve never quite been able to determine, I generally prefer older versions of things to newer ones; I love the romance of airships and trains over the sterile efficiency of airplanes, my favorite car (alas, currently parked at my ranch) is a replica of a 1929 Mercedes coupe, and whenever possible I cook from scratch.  My dress style tends toward the retro, my desk is a roll-top and my reticence to get new cell phones is legendary.  It’s rare that I read a book written after I was born or watch a television show recorded after I graduated from high school, and the astute reader has probably noticed that my writing style more closely resembles that of the 19th century than that of my native 20th.  So it’s probably not surprising that I’ve been heard to refer to Istanbul as “Constantinople” without a trace of ironic intent, and I always refer to today’s observance by its original name, “Armistice Day”, rather than the more new-fangled “Veterans Day”.

But while I will acknowledge most of these as examples of my charming eccentricity and can even laugh at myself about them, I will seriously defend my preferred nomenclature for this day.  It’s not only the fact that “Armistice Day” recognizes the actual reason for the memorial, the effective date of the armistice which ended the First World War 98 years ago today; nor it it the fact that some countries (such as France and Belgium) still refer to it by that name; nor the fact that the American use of the day to honor veterans both living and dead, whether they participated in a war or not, actually subverts the original intent of a day to honor those whose lives were senselessly lost in the greatest sustained campaign of carnage the world had to that point ever seen.  No, it’s that for me 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.  As I’ve said many times before, the best way I can think of to honor veterans is to stop making so goddamned many of them.

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.in-flanders-fields-by-timmy-mallett-2012

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It’s largely assumed that human trafficking is both widespread and underreported…these assumptions are unsubstantiated by research.  –  Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Check Your Premises

Very often, “child sex trafficking” is copese for “a young sex worker gave her slightly-younger friend a ride”:

A 22-year-old former [Wisconsin]…woman previously accused of child sex-trafficking has been convicted on a lesser charge.  Jalessa K. Hill…was sentenced…to 30 days in jail with work release and three years probation for soliciting prostitutes.  A charge of marijuana possession was dismissed…Judge Karen Seifert also ordered Hill to not have or use alcohol, drugs or paraphernalia, to pay $518 and to [endure] any [brainwashing] deemed necessary…Hill and Lana L. Morgan, who was 17 at the time, went…to meet with a [lying pig pretending to be a client]…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical plain-old-non-cannabis-candy

Neither intelligence nor logic nor the ability to do basic research are prerequisites for either public office or local news media:

On [Halloween] the Bureau County, Illinois, sheriff’s office issued a press release describing “an incident following Trick or Treat” in which “parents came forward with suspicious looking candy marked as Crunch Choco Bar,” the wrapper of which “has small pictures of cannabis leaves on it.”  According to Bureau County Sheriff James Reed, “the substance was field tested and was positive for containing cannabis”…the picture accompanying Reed’s press release shows Japanese candy bars sold under the brand name Iroha Kaede, which is a kind of maple tree…Those…are actually small pictures of maple leaves.  If the candy bar really did come up “positive for containing cannabis” in a field test, that just shows how unreliable such tests are

Besides the fact, obvious to anyone who’s ever seen a maple tree (or the Canadian flag), that those designs are indeed maple leaves and not cannabis leaves (which don’t look much like maple leaves except to the extremely stupid or the nearly-blind), I can assure you as a regular consumer of cannabis candy that absolutely nobody who isn’t absolutely howling mad would give it to kids; that shit is incredibly expensive, like $3.50 to $5 apiece for candies of the size these would appear to be.  Another tip for those who’ve never had the legal stuff in their hands: the dosage of THC is helpfully marked right there on the package, with no “field test” necessary.

Broken Record 

Sparsely-populated states come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

One of South Dakota’s largest economic drivers also serves as one of the most vulnerable seasons for victims of sex trafficking.  Hunting season…is one of two major tourist attractions in South Dakota, the other being the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, said Leasa MacFarling, a volunteer with the South Dakota West River Human Trafficking Task Force.  These events also serve as attractions for traffickers…MacFarling has been traveling around Pierre distributing fliers and lip balms with the warning signs of a traffic victim and the number to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…

As idiotic as this is, it’s not a new fantasy; I first reported it from Minnesota three years ago tomorrow in “Traffic Circle“.

The End of the Beginning (#325)

Yes, these people are actually arguing for indefinite imprisonment without trial or sentence:

Growing numbers of sex offenders are still being confined in Minnesota’s controversial treatment program even after courts approved their release…Across the state, anxious communities are rushing to pass extraordinary rules aimed at banning sex offenders from moving in, with far-reaching ordinances that would effectively bar them from any residential neighborhood.  More than 40 localities have adopted such bans…the city of Dayton…passed one of the most restrictive measures yet, barring offenders from living near churches, pumpkin patches and apple orchards…The backlash is confounding state officials, who are running out of places to house sex offenders even as they face mounting court pressure to release more of them…Some measures are so sweeping that the towns have become effectively off-limits to offenders…The rush to craft such ordinances intensified late last year, after U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank issued a ruling, now under appeal, that the state can no longer confine offenders indefinitely without a clear path toward release…

Policing for Profit 

San Diego has become one of the most corrupt pocket police states in the US:

James Slatic, a California medical marijuana business owner, found out…one day in January…the San Diego police had frozen all of their bank accounts: $55,258 from Slatic’s personal checking and savings account; $34,175 from his wife Annette’s account; and a combined $11,260 from the savings accounts of their two teenage daughters, Penny and Lily…the San Diego District Attorney’s Office hasn’t charged them with any [crimes]…the Institute for Justice…filed a motion in California district court seeking the [money’s] return…five days before his family’s accounts were frozen…around 30 San Diego [cops] and DEA agents raided Slatic’s medical marijuana business, Med-West Distribution, and seized nearly $325,000 in cash from a safe…his 35 employees…lost their jobs and benefits without notice…there was no probable cause to raid Med-West…[but] San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and the city have been particularly aggressive in policing medical marijuana businesses…

Traffic Circle

When a program on staunchly-prohibitionist NPR, in Georgia of all places, begins to question the “sex trafficking” narrative, it’s clear that its days are numbered:

…Georgia voters are facing a question about how to address what some believe is a serious and growing problem in the state and beyond: child sex trafficking.  If approved, Georgia will establish a permanent fund…based on research and statistics…distorted by extreme emotions this issue raises for many people…An early step in the plan was to…levy a $5000 or greater…fee…on strip clubs, based on a disputed link between adult entertainment venues and trafficking crimes…The Safe Harbor Amendment, on the ballot now, will create a permanent fund from this fee…state Sen. Renee Unterman…[pretends that] the number of child exploitation investigations opened by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation last year [is]…4,000…However, the GBI [said]…those…cases aren’t all proven instances of trafficking…it found evidence of human trafficking was primarily anecdotal…Lawyers for Atlanta’s strip clubs argue they don’t contribute to the trafficking of children and shouldn’t have to pay for it…they’re waiting to see if the amendment passes before making a decision on not to sue…social scientists also argue that the real origins of this problem are social factors like poverty, difficult home lives and a lack of safe housing…the narrow focus on fighting child sex trafficking [pulls] resources from a social safety net that might otherwise protect children and families…

Rescued To Death

The extent to which every “authority” in this story repeatedly denies the agency and competence of adult women is quite extraordinary; it’s like reading something from the 17th century:

Gardai [fantasize] four young…Romanian women who were arrested in Galway over the weekend, were trafficked into Ireland by a criminal gang…The four…women, aged 21, 22, 23 and 30…[explained that] they were acting alone to raise money for their impoverished families in Romania…they accepted full responsibility for operating a brothel…Det. [Willie] Byrne…[refused to believe that women are intellectually capable of setting up an escort business themselves.  He called his victims, from whom he and the other pigs stole €5,000] “little girls” and…[told the court about his masturbatory fantasy that] “they are under the control of Dublin or Belfast-based pimps…They wouldn’t have the ‘wherewithal’ to organise that themselves”…[the judge accepted this fantasy and pretended] the girls were being used by others not before the court…[yet still] convicted and fined each of them €200 [in addition to the money already stolen by the pigs, yet still pretended he wanted to]…help them…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A Minnesota pastor admitted to taking…photos of children that he then turned into sexually explicit images…William Helker…served as a youth pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church…took photos of children at his church and then edited them in Photoshop, including placing their heads into adult pornography, to create hundreds of new images…

Another Fine Mess

Self-important English “authorities” prefer to believe that a drop in the number of streetwalkers is due to their magical “diversion” program, instead of recognizing that the women are simply working from online ads:

Police are using powers of discretion in Bristol to introduce a partial decriminalisation of prostitution and kerb crawling…Street sex workers and kerb crawlers are being handed conditional discharges which encourage them to go on a course or seek help rather than face immediate arrest.  The “tiered system” has seen arrests for kerb crawling drop from 322 in 2011 to 10 in 2015, and has helped reduce the number of street sex workers to 150 – the lowest since 1995…

Meanwhile, in the real world, “john schools” have never been shown to have any effect at all, and “exit programs” are generally nothing but lists of phone numbers for social programs.

Welcome To Our World (#512)

Sweden is so liberal, so pro-social, so just and kind!

Fifty-five percent of Stockholmers want to ban begging…It is a marked change since last year’s Stockholm survey…when 32 percent said they supported a begging ban…more and more calls for a ban are heard at a top-tier political level, despite the ruling Social Democrat-Green government…ruling out a general national ban…Another poll carried out nationally…in May indicated that 50 percent of [all] Swedes believe begging should be outlawed…

Not Good Enough (#565) 

I’m glad to see this dangerous placebo is flopping on the market:

…the US Food and Drug Administration finally issued new guidance for companies that want to develop drugs to bolster female libidos.  But the details suggest the agency has belatedly learned some hard-fought lessons following complaints that the controversial Addyi pill did not warrant approval last year.  The…draft guidance…points to certain steps that Sprout Pharmaceuticals did not follow as part of its…marketing application to the FDA.  The drug…was approved despite debate over its safety and effectiveness…Sprout won approval for Addyi, which has been a poor seller, after an unusual campaign that accused the FDA of bias

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-marcellus-white

Rapist cops don’t only attack women:

A…New Orleans [cop] was arrested…[on] Sept. 23…[after] he raped a teenage male relative…earlier this year…Marcellus White…[lured] the boy into his bedroom, [pushed] him onto a bed and [performed] oral sex…against the boy’s wishes…the 15-year-old boy and his mother have moved to Mississippi, unable to bear living in New Orleans in the wake of the sexual assault…in March or early April of this year when the boy was 14…police investigators obtained from the boy’s mother a June 20 email exchange with White, in which the [rapist cop] pleads for forgiveness while also asking that the mother drop her demand that White “step down from all positions” that give him access to minor children…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#647) 

Moralistic control freaks clutch their pearls about something that doesn’t exist and never actually will as they envision it, because it was on a crappy sci-fi TV show:

…Westworld’s human guests aren’t obligated to uphold any sense of morality.  The upsell for the park involves reversion to primal urges.  In Crichton’s pessimistic view, the breakdown of normal society leads immediately to sex and violence…robots…[can be] raped…because consent, as a concept, doesn’t apply…But…research suggests that the real victims of Westworld’s barbaric sexual culture would be human…Kate Darling, Ph.D…at MIT Media Lab…says…either sex robots would continue to serve as a healthy outlet for our unhealthy urges or they would whet peoples’ appetites for unsavory sexual fare.  Both options have their own troubling implications, but the latter is more immediately problematic.  Patrick Lin, Ph.D…at California Polytechnic University, fears that sexbots might make us less human…A Westworld-like scenario presents a slippery slope similar to the one posed by or violent films or video games, perhaps even more troubling because sex robots are so “visceral” and “immersive” that they blur the line between virtual and physical reality…Sex robots — at least the sophisticated, highly anthropomorphic kind — haven’t been around long enough for us to tell if they’ll affect our sexual interactions with each other…

They “haven’t been around long enough”? WTF?  They don’t even exist!  Methinks writer Yasmin Tayag has been watching too much television if she thinks otherwise.  And both of these “scientists” are nothing but puritans in disguise if they believe that sex drives are “created” by machines.  This is the kind of crypto-moralism used to justify censorship and criminalize consensual behaviors of all kinds.

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All things must end…life depends upon the deaths of other organisms, and…old, decaying things must be cleared away – sometimes forcibly – in order to make way for new, younger and often better things.  Old people must pass on to make room for new children; dilapidated buildings must be demolished to pave the way for new construction.  And old, moribund governments which serve only the entrenched and wealthy must be removed if we are to build new ones which better serve all of the people and protect minorities from oppression by both majorities and other, more privileged minorities.  –  “Cleansing Fire

Every year on November 1st I remind my readers that death is not only not an evil to be feared, but a good to be celebrated; all things are mortal, and old things must die to make room for and feed the new.  And four days later, again every year, I remind my readers that this is no less true for nation-states than it is for living organisms.  Countries and empires, like organic beings, are born from other cultures; they grow, mature, age, fall into decay and eventually die, and their remains nourish the next generation of nations.  But those new nations aren’t necessarily foreign, so to speak; sometimes dead things are dragged off and devoured by creatures from elsewhere, but very often they rot where they fall and give rise to new life right there in the same soil.

fall-of-romeIf you don’t quite get where I’m going with this, remember that the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia weren’t usually succeeded by invaders from elsewhere, but by their own former subjects; the Assyrians were once subjects of the Babylonians, and the Chaldeans and Persians subjects of the Assyrians.  And when the Roman Empire collapsed, individual countries arose from what had once been Roman provinces, and Spain, Portugal, France, England and Germany each became world players with empires of their own.  The British Empire in turn spawned a number of powerful nations as it fell apart, and now the American Empire is decaying and will collapse within the lifetime of some of you who are reading this.  I myself will probably not live to see it, but it’s a virtual certainty that those of you now under 30 will.  The United States, however, is no more a monolith than the Roman and British Empires were; it contains within it 50 independent states and a number of territories, not to mention its many satellites around the world.  As the central government loses control and implodes, the governments of the various states will need to take up the functions Washington is no longer willing or able to provide (I consider the slow procession of states abandoning the cannabis campaign of the drug war to be an early harbinger of this).  Several states already have populations and economies that would put them among the largest countries in the world if they were independent, and even the poorest and least-populous states fall within the spectrum of sovereign nations.  Once the central government is gone or slowly descends into a mere symbol like the Papacy or the title of Holy Roman Emperor, the states will begin to function as independent nations; they will form alliances, trade with one another, and war amongst one another; strong states may conquer neighboring weak ones, and groups of small states may combine into new nations or even claim to be the legitimate successors of the American tradition, just as Constantinople and the aforementioned Holy Roman Empire both claimed to be the legitimate successors of Rome.  And just as nobody in Odoacer’s time could’ve predicted that the rather small and isolated province of Britannia would one day rule an empire far larger than that of any Caesar, so it’s impossible for any of us to predict which American states might one day come to rule many or all of the others.  And when that day comes, I hope its rulers remember the fates of the great empires that came before it, and perhaps learn from their mistakes so as to slow that New Empire’s descent into tyranny and collective hubris.

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Say to her, “My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here.”
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Prayer to Persephone”

Every year it’s the same; by the time August rolls around Mother has become so overbearing I can barely stand her, so it’s a good thing that’s the start of her busy season.  By the beginning of October she always turns morose, knowing as she does that I’ll be leaving soon, and on the night before I depart she lets loose with such a lugubrious display that a stranger might be forgiven for thinking that my annual return home was something new rather than a ritual we’ve enacted countless times since my youth.  The part I hate most is the tearful goodbye when the carriage arrives; that’s so awful I once tried to sneak out before dawn so as to avoid it, but Mother carried on so unbearably about it for the next several months that Father asked me to promise never to do it again.

asphodelAt least it’s mercifully short; for all her drama she knows better than to break our pact by excessive delay, and before long we’re past the lake and through the tunnel, and I can really relax for the first time in months.  I nearly always sleep through most of the journey; the pomegranate wine my thoughtful husband always sends along acts as a balm to my frayed nerves, and the gentle rocking of the carriage on the dark, cool, quiet road lulls me into the blessed rest I get so little of in my Mother’s bright, noisy house (where it’s impossible to sleep past dawn).  But after we come down onto the plains the road becomes rougher and the number of stops more frequent, and I remain wakeful the rest of the way home.  The sight of endless fields of asphodel brings peace to my soul, and when at last we reach the river I get out and sit beneath the willows to wait for the ferry.

Sometimes the wait is short, and sometimes long; even my driver, who has made the journey more than anyone else, is unable to predict so as to plan his trip accordingly.  Depending on my mood I’ll read or play solitaire, and if time permits I’ll have the driver go among those on the riverbank who lack the proper fare, and distribute it to them from my own purse.  Sometimes I even speak to the others waiting at the landing, especially if there is some notable thinker or entertainer among their number; on occasion I’ve even invited an especially-interesting person to ride the rest of the way with me, but the offer is rarely accepted.  It seems very few wish to arrive at my house any more quickly than absolutely necessary, and though I certainly understand that it still makes me sad.

Fear of the unknown is, alas, a fact of the human condition, and unlike me most only make this trip once.  Rather, they only recall making the trip once, but that’s a distinction without a difference.  So while I’m always happy and relieved to come home, the vast majority are reluctant or even terrified, and know nothing of my hospitality.  That is not how I would have it; were it up to me, I would periodically invite every poet and philosopher on Earth for a great feast at my mother’s house while I’m there for the summer, and tell them all of the beauty and rest which await them in my husband’s domain.  But the first time I mentioned that idea Mother wailed and tore at her hair, declaring that my beloved had warped my mind and begging Father to have the marriage annulled.  And once again, Father took me aside and asked me never to broach the subject again.

That’s the way it always is when I bring up my real feelings about virtually anything, except when they happen to agree with hers.  Though I’m older now than she was when she bore me, Mother has never actually accepted me as an adult, and I doubt she ever will.  She simply wouldn’t admit that I was not very much like her, and refused to believe that I found every nice boy she tried to fix me up with dreadfully boring.  But when I finally expressed an interest in a tall, dark, handsome, commanding and unbelievably wealthy older man, she suddenly decided that I was too young to be married and totally ignored anything I, my suitor or even Father had to say on the subject.  Eventually, I was so annoyed at being treated like a child that I eloped with Father’s blessing; I guess none of us recognized the depth of Mother’s possessiveness, nor the degree to which she was determined to relive her life through me (correcting every mistake in the process, naturally).  She told everyone who would listen that my husband had “groomed” me, that he had taken advantage of my low self-esteem, that he had plied me with expensive gifts and sweet words, and that he did not “really” love me (as if love were something whose purity could be determined with a touchstone) but only wished to “exploit” me.  When I explained to relatives and other concerned parties that this was not the case, and that I was an adult who could make her own choices, Mother declared that my husband had damaged my mind with hypnotic powers, and that I couldn’t be trusted to know what was best for me.  And when those who knew me found that theory rather dubious, Mother adopted a scorched-earth policy and filed rape charges against my husband, swearing that he had abducted me before the eyes of my horrified playmates.  Yes, she actually used the word “playmates”, as though I were still in the nursery.

Obviously, something had to be done; given Mother’s high position and the damage her extended tantrum was inflicting on everyone, there was no way it could be allowed to continue.  She wouldn’t listen to anything my husband had to say, and Father was stuck in the middle; it was therefore up to me, and despite Mother’s low opinion of my maturity I understood that someone had to be an adult here.  After consulting with my husband we decided that I would offer her a deal:  I would live with her for half the year and my husband for the other half.  Of course, that wasn’t good enough for her, and she demanded and threatened and carried on until we had to call in my great aunt to mediate.  We finally agreed to my living with her from March to Octoberpomegranate and my husband from November to February, and that he would be allowed to visit me periodically while I was at her house.  Of course, she did her best to be inhospitable while he was there, so eventually we decided on the occasional secret tryst at some other locale while she was otherwise occupied.  And in the interest of serenity we didn’t try to counter the silly tale she spread about how I had been “tricked” into staying with my husband even a third of the year; his fearsome reputation would’ve made countering her claims a difficult proposition at best.

So that’s my story; quite different from the version you heard, isn’t it?  I reckon it doesn’t matter; people believe what they want to believe, and some of them even seem wedded to the delusion that they can indefinitely avoid this riverbank, though none ever has since the dawn of the world.  I don’t need to convince them of their folly; like it or not, they’ll know soon enough.  And then they’ll cross on this ferry as we are about to, and come at last to the lovely lands beyond, which they have been taught all their lives to fear.  As for me, I’ll soon alight from this carriage into the waiting arms of my husband, and tonight we will dine together in celebration of my long-anticipated homecoming.

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