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Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  –  Mao Zedong

I’ve written on many occasions about how government is at best a necessary evil, and how modern governments of large countries are so powerful that they couldn’t help harming people by the millions even if they wanted to, which they don’t.  The reason they don’t is quite simple, yet somehow most people are either unable or unwilling to see it:  the only actual power government has is to inflict violence.  Government is a non-producer; like any parasite it is wholly dependent on its host for sustenance.  And so the only way it can accomplish anything is to force others to do it by the threat of violence.  Every government operative is paid with money extracted from individuals or corporations, and the reason those individuals pay up is that government threatens to inflict violence on their persons (and/or extract the money by direct robbery) if they don’t.  An ever-increasing army of thugs and petty functionaries provides the muscle, and these operatives are paid with stolen money; like any criminals, their demands for loot inevitably increase over time, and because the government was foolish and/or uncaring enough to allow these thugs to form public sector unions (ie, unconstitutional organs of government not answerable to the subject population even by the charade of elections), they are able to demand more money, more power and more numbers with every passing year.  Naturally the government gives in, because without these thug armies it would have no power to force everyone else to obey its whims; besides, the government doesn’t pay them with its own money anyhow, and it can always demand more with its ever-growing power.  This is what anarchists call “the gun in the room”:  every single law derives its power from the open or indirect threat of violence, the spoken or unspoken “do what we say, or else“.  And while the American faction which claims the label “left” likes to pretend it’s more gentle and concerned for individual rights than the soi-disant “right”, the truth is that, as I wrote in “Against Conscience“:

A few years ago, Americans who like to imagine themselves as “the political left” eschewed the traditional label “liberal” in favor of the older term “progressive”; this is especially interesting since the progressive philosophy (which holds that the world should be ruled by experts who are “scientifically” trained to know what’s “best for society” and therefore have the right to impose their will on everyone else “for our own good”) is if anything the exact opposite of classical liberalism (which holds that each person has the right to self-ownership and self-determination).  In other words, the shift in nomenclature revealed the truth previous leaders tried to hide under the “liberal” label:  the only…difference between the American political parties lies in the fact that soi-disant “conservatives” think the all-powerful ruling elite should be made up of the wealthy and religious authorities, while soi-disant “progressives” think it should be made up of those “educated” for the task in state-controlled systems.  In practice, however, there is no difference at all.  Both flavors of fascism favor infinite expansion of government power with the ultimate goal of total establishment control of all wealth and every individual; both dole out bread and circuses so as to call attention away from what they’re actually doing…

Even so, I’m continually amazed at the obtuseness of white “leftists” who acknowledge that the police state disproportionately harms the poor & minorities, yet support ever more things being criminalized.  Somehow these people imagine that their censorship, gun control, bans on substances (e.g., tobacco & sugar) and behaviors they dislike (e.g., sex work and “revenge porn”), and other laws won’t also be enforced more against black folks, despite the blatantly obvious fact that such laws always are.

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I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence.
–  Jude Faccidomo

It Looks Good On Paper

Remember that I’ve been a harsh critic of these do-nothing law for 7 years:

Under Ohio’s safe harbour legislation – and similar laws across all states…[women can] request that criminal charges…accrued while [coerced into prostitution be]…expunged from the public record.  Yet [prohibitionists] across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation…means that many other victims will now struggle to get their expungement cases into a courtroom…the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision [even though they still support]…deny[ing]…the…legal rights [of sex workers who aren’t poster children for prohibition]…

Far be it from me to say anything good about the orange-utang, but these laws actually help nobody but “perfect victims”; defunding them will change essentially nothing.

With Friends Like These…

If you can’t write a pro-decrim article without saying that you wish whores didn’t exist, don’t write one at all:

…there’s not much that’s more misogynistic than blaming women because they fulfill the needs of men.  It’s all very well to insist that women make this choice because of patriarchy and false consciousness, as some feminists do, and are called “whorephobic” for their pains.  But…feminist theory doesn’t pay the bills.  I’m not pretending that there would be prostitution in my ideal world.  There wouldn’t.  I like neither the idea nor the reality of prostitution.  But I also know that the world isn’t, and can’t be, arranged around what I like…I know as well, or think I know, that “free choice” is merely a concept and that human beings have no more free choice than foxes or dolphins or butterflies.  We have loaded choices, all of them dictated by our upbringing, our finances, our cultural landscape and our genes, in that order…

In my ideal world, hypocritical apologists for feminism like Deborah Orr wouldn’t exist; I like neither the idea nor the reality of them.  But I’m an adult who understands that the concept of an “ideal world” is childish nonsense, and that one whose “ideal world” doesn’t include free choice is a pompous asshat.

See No Evil (#136) 

Seven years in a cage for drawing a fictional character:

Christopher John Czarnik…is serving time on a 2014 plea for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children.  He was then charged again with child porn in prison….[after] guards found a drawing of a young girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male…Czarnik then showed [screws] more pictures and writings of this own creation.  That was deemed possession and creation of child porn…Czarnik entered a guilty plea with the condition that the legal issue be allowed to be litigated over…”cartoon characters.”  That plea limited the added sentence to seven years…

A Broker in Pillage (#406)

It’s not often a judge rules against cops in favor of a sex worker:

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that [cops] illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns…the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates…Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May.  [Cops pretended to] smell…marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops [claimed] to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse…[cops bragged as though] it [were] a major bust…[but] prosecutors dropped the charges…when body-cam footage showed police didn’t have permission to search the couple’s trunk.  The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the su[ppos]ed codeine…Batista had explained…why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway…[pretend]ing it was dope money…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of “authorities”:

Yan Liu, originally from China and now a resident of New York City, was charged [in Maine] with engaging in prostitution.  No other people were charged in connection with her arrest, including a man and a woman [imagined] by the motel employee as coercing Liu back into the room, or a client [of hers]…Liu, who does not speak English and communicated with police and court officials through an interpreter, posted a $1,000 cash bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge…but she has been unwilling to [tell] her court-appointed attorney, Merritt Heminway [what he wants to hear]…She did, however, tell him she arrived in the United States last September and has applied for asylum…After a June 27 hearing…Liu and the state filed an agreement that if she remains out of trouble for one year, her case will automatically be dismissed.  She was not required to enter a guilty plea…Destie Hohman Sprague…of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, [complained that pigs and politicians did not overrule Liu’s agency]…to protect Lui’s safety…But Liu’s defense attorney criticized the district attorney’s office for prosecuting the case at all, contending Liu is a victim of sex trafficking…He speculated the rational [sic] for applying charges was to convince her to identify leaders of a [fantasized] trafficking ring…[the DA bloviated that] prosecuting such cases is sometimes the only mechanism the court system has of [maintaining surveillance] on people who[se agency it wishes to deny]…The [pompous ignoramus who acts as] prosecutor said nearly all women involved in prostitution have been trafficked at some point in their lives…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, cannabusiness:

Every municipality in San Diego County that limits or bans the sale of marijuana has cited public safety as the justification…[then-police chief] Shelley Zimmerman’s testi[lied] in September 2017…[that] 272 police radio calls for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings, just to name a few,” at medical marijuana dispensaries over a two-and-a-half-year period [constituted] evidence of the kind of activity such facilities invite on a neighborhood…Zimmerman’s [lies] appeared in a memo written by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy to the City Council, which decided — against the recommendations of a subcommittee — not to allow retail shops.  Her remarks were also cited by anti-pot activists in Imperial Beach who helped slow down  marijuana regulations there…Diane Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant, analyzed the records, which were made available on the city’s website in March.  She concluded that the Police Department’s presentation was “sloppy, unprofessional and based on ideology”…The address listed on more than a quarter of those reports were to neighboring business, not a marijuana facility.  Several of the city’s legal dispensaries existed then — as they still do — within shopping malls or office complexes…

To Molest and Rape (#756) 

Rapist cop escapes consequences for his actions by croaking:

Troy Allen Large…died earlier this year…Large, a…sex-crimes investigator, is accused of using his “position of power to [rape]…female victims of violent crime” and then…coercing them into participating in video-recorded, nude catfights…police officials were aware of the accusations…and [did nothing]…

Saving Them From Themselves (#764)

Adult woman magically turns into “child” via the power of a magical camera:

A Cleveland man who testified in defense of his roommate in a child pornography case admitted on the stand to taking sexually explicit pictures of a…girlfriend…Edward Marrero, 27, said…he took the photos in April 2011…[when] she was 17 years old and he was 20…The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18…He is now charged with producing child pornography.  If convicted, he faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison…

“Child” pornography.  Of a consenting woman it was legal for him to fuck, who is now 24 years old.  But it’s to “protect the children”!!!!

Checklist (#796)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

Last year, 276 [phone calls were made from Georgia by hysterics]…to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Georgia law requires airports, train stations and emergency rooms to post [magic anti-pimp signs] in public restrooms…[spokespig Brian] Johnston [oinked that] Savannah’s highways and interstates…mak[e[ it easier to move people quickly to another city or another state…St. Joseph’s/Candler [hospital forces]…staff to [attend indoctrination sessions on]…the [mythical] signs…[social worker and fabulist Jessy] McMullan said she already knows it works from a friend who works as an ER nurse in Atlanta and had similar training.  “Within two weeks of the training, she identified two child victims that came through the emergency room…They were reunited with their families.  It gives you chills”…

Urban legends are always said to have happened to a “friend of a friend” (FoF); in this case it’s the supposed patient of an unnamed friend.  So where are the links to the news stories where the pigs grunt about these “child sex trafficking victims” they “rescued”?  Because you know that if this had actually happened it would’ve been big news.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean…is helping the Libyan coastguard return migrants to rape, slavery, torture and murder in local camps…Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), citing accounts from its staff in Libya, says…when migrants could not pay for their release having been captured by the authorities, some had their genitals cut off…Others said there had been routine rapes at camps to detain migrants.  MSF says that it sends 50 body bags a week to one camp…“Under the pretence of saving lives and disrupting the business model of smugglers and traffickers, the Libyan coastguard are supported and empowered by EU states to intercept people at sea and send them back to the very conditions they were trying to escape”…

Backwards into the Future (#827) 

Another victory for feminism against jobs for women:

The Dutch brewer Heineken is suspending the use of ‘beer girls’ in Mozambique due to allegations of sexual harassment from customers …NRC Handelsblad…published…research by Partner Africa showing that…there were “revealing short skirts” in…Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda.  It has introduced a new code of practice for its third party partners, who employ the women to sell the beer to bars and restaurants in Africa, including safe working practices and “decent uniforms”…NRC [also] claimed…some prostitutes combined beer promotion with their Heineken work, to get more clients for both.  No evidence of links with prostitution was [provided]…But the Amsterdam-based brand was under pressure from other businesses, including the Global Fund international health organisation, which had suspended its partnership with Heineken and urged it to protect women beer promoters from [gainful employment]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

Where “cutting-edge” is used to mean “hopelessly inaccurate”:

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police force has defended the organization’s ongoing trials of automated facial recognition systems, despite legal challenges and criticisms that the technology is “almost entirely inaccurate”…Police commissioner Cressida Dick said…the public “expect[s]” law enforcement to test such cutting-edge systems…The London force is one of several in the UK…deploy[ing the surveillance system] at public events like concerts, festivals, and soccer matches.  Mobile CCTV cameras are used to scan crowds, and tries to match images of faces to mugshots of wanted individuals…According to data released under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws, 98 percent of the “matches” made by the Metropolitan’s AFR system are mistakes…The Met [claims]…that no individuals have [yet] been arrested because of a false match…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Evil douchebags trying to criminalize Nevada brothels fall on their faces:

Opponents of legalized prostitution in Nye County had been trying to put the issue to voters in a referendum in November. But county officials said Monday the effort had failed to turn in the required 1,963 signatures. The deadline was [June 29th].  The only recourse for proponents of the brothel elimination measure is to get county commissioners to agree to put it on the ballot…Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said the board’s chairman had already indicated he would not bring the item forward…That leaves [prohibitionists] needing at least two other commissioners to call a special meeting…The group had also targeted Lyon County…But the county’s Board of Commissioners decided in June to take a different approach to the issue by placing an advisory question on the ballot in November…ask[ing] voters whether the board should end legalized prostitution in Lyon County…

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Diary #419

Any week in which I see four of my favorite clients is a good one.  It was also lovely to take Jae out to Sunset for a couple of nights, and to spend the time mostly relaxing, eating, drinking, watching superhero movies, getting high and planning the next few construction projects (not in that order).  The place is starting to shape up; everything is still in considerable disarray and the list of necessary repairs and renovations is long, plus the dry season that close to the rain forest is very short.  But as long as I have enthusiastic and competent helpers and the money keeps coming in, we should eventually get around to doing everything I want done out there (which is more than I could have ever said for poor, lamented Avalon).  Now, last week wasn’t perfect; I didn’t get any work done on the new book, nor did I make much progress toward getting my overdue taxes paid; my summer anxiety is making it very hard to sleep properly or go for very long without drugs, and trying to get established with a new online pharmacy after my old one shut down has been an immense pain.  But I’ll take “didn’t get everything I wanted done” over “disaster accompanied by deep depression” any day, especially when all the nice things were so very nice.  And here’s to at least a few more months of that.

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Mike Siegel is a professional astronomer who has been one of my online friends for about six years now; he has helped me analyze bad studies and calculate statistics, given me advice on scientific points in some of my stories, and even been featured here as a fiction writer himself.  I’ve also linked to some of his articles, and right now he has an excellent demolition of FOSTA and the evil mindset which spawned it on the group blog Ordinary Times.  He was kind enough to allow me to publish this excerpt, but you really ought to read the whole thing.

…We are in the midst of War on Sex Work that is largely becoming a replacement for the War on Drugs…A war on sex work would be difficult given that about half of Americans think prostitution should be legal.  And so this war has built on a tissue of falsehoods to claim that it is actually a war on “sex trafficking”.  We are constantly being told — by politicians, by the media and by the entertainment industry — that there is a national crisis of sex trafficking and specifically a crisis of child sex trafficking.  But the evidence to support this claim, when you dig into it even a little bit, turns out to be a ziggurat of garbled statistics, junk social science and outright lies.  My friend Maggie McNeill has devoted an entire page to debunking claims that are so common and oft-repeated, they are taken as gospel: that the average age at which a woman enters sex work is 13 (it’s mid-20’s); that there are 300,000 child sex slaves in the US (there are at most a few hundred), that sex trafficking and consensual sex work are inextricably linked (they aren’t); that the Super Bowl or other big events are magnets for sex traffickers (not at all).  It goes without saying that forced sexual servitude is an abomination…but if that’s what you’re concerned about, it seems like a good first step would be to decriminalize sex work for adults, as organizations like Amnesty International have advocated.  Doing so would free up law enforcement resources to work the real problem rather than being devoted entirely to routine prostitution busts.

Let’s illustrate that with one example: about every year, the federal government runs a program called Operation Cross Country — a vast multi-agency operation to crack down on “sex trafficking”, at the end of which they will claim to have rescued something on the order a hundred underage sex slaves (which alone should tell us that we do not have anywhere close to 300,000 of them).  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has done amazing work sifting through the propaganda and found that these operations typically arrest over a thousand consenting adults.  Mixed in with those adults are usually a few dozen to a hundred underage sex workers, but most of these are doing it not because of enslavement but because they have run away or been thrown out of their homes).  The operations also arrest a couple of hundred “pimps” but these are often people whose pimping consists of driving their girlfriend to an incall or processing credit card payments…

…I have seen how the case for prohibition is supported by lies…[which is] what has drawn me into this debate so keenly.  It offends me as a scientist…FOSTA was ostensibly proposed to allow the federal government to crack down on online sex trafficking.  This promise was predicated, like most of the War on Sex Work, on dubious stats.  Sex workers vehemently opposed it but their voices were drowned out by supporters misrepresenting the law and celebrities making bizarre claims like ordering a sex slave was as easy as ordering a pizza…Sex Worker rights advocates, digital freedom advocates and libertarians made dire predictions about what was going to happen…So what has happened over the last three months?  Exactly what was feared…and as the weeks have rolled on, it has become painfully and immediately obvious that FOSTA has made things far far worse for sex workers…what FOSTA has done…[is] just as bad as the sex worker advocates warned us it would be…

…wars on sin have often engaged in what I call “harm enhancement” (as opposed to “harm reduction”).  During the War on Drugs, we banned the sale of certain chemicals to Colombia that were used to facilitate drug manufacturing; the result was drugs that had carcinogens in them, which politicians hoped would persuade people to stop using them.  A similar controversy erupted over paraquat pot, herbicides sprayed on marijuana that found that their way into people’s lungs.  During prohibition, industrial alcohols were deliberately poisoned in an effort to stop people from drinking them.  And there is little doubt that the War on Sex Work has frequently seen increased danger as a deterrent.  In many states, a woman simply having condoms on her is considered evidence of prostitution.  Sex workers have reported being pulled over by cops and watching them poke holes in condoms.  The closure of MyRedBook and Rentboy and Backpage did little to stop sex work but plenty to prevent sex workers from screening out dangerous clients.  When a movement engages in policy after policy designed to increase the danger, I think it it reasonable to assume that it is deliberate…this even goes beyond sex work, however.  Our political class has long had a hatred for Section 230 of the CDA, which they see as protecting speech they don’t like.  The last year has been filled with attacks on Facebook and other social media for allowing “fake news” to percolate (the effect of which is very unclear).  The effects of this bill go even beyond the impact on sex workers, bad as that has been.  It is the camel’s nose in the tent of undermining Section 230 and turning the internet into a “safe”, controlled, gated, milquetoast community.  And what better way to get the camel’s nose in the tent than through “solving” a vastly exaggerated crisis?…

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You’re going to jail. Have a seat in my car. We’ll make shit up as we go.  –  John Kovach Jr.

Sometimes YouTube does an OK job of “suggesting” things that are actually interesting.  Sometimes.  The links above the video were contributed by Mike SiegelFranklin HarrisTim CushingTracy Clark-FloryJesse WalkerDave Krueger, and Angela Keaton, in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s time to set aside childish things, and start dealing with one another like grownups.  –  “Childish Things

A friend of my family’s once said, “Maggie was born adult.”  Just about everyone who knew me (with the exception of my mother) felt that way to one degree or another, and I can remember being frustrated with what I perceived as childishness in the greater world from a very young age.  For example, I can remember being extremely annoyed with commercials during kid-TV programming (such as Saturday morning cartoons) claiming that some mundane task like tooth-brushing needed to be “fun”.  Even at that tender age, I understood that it wasn’t necessary for every single thing in the world to be “fun”; some things just need to be done whether they’re “fun” or not.  I had a similar reaction to the “condoms are sexy” campaign of the ’80s:  No, condoms are not sexy; in fact, they’re really kind of nasty.  But until something better comes along, they are necessary whether they’re “sexy” or “fun” or not, and anyone who would eschew a reliable protection against contagious disease because it isn’t “sexy” is a childish imbecile and a danger to himself and others (see also “consent is sexy“).

There are a number of similarly-idiotic words used to influence the intellectually immature, and I despise all of them.  The odious word “deserve” is used to sell luxuries and deny basic human rights; “privilege” is used to subtly excuse and shift the blame for tyranny; “fairness” is used as an excuse for entitlement; “love” is reduced to the temporary neurochemical derangement we wrongly call “romantic love”, and represented as the only valid reason for sex or marriage (when actually it’s just about the worst reason for engaging in either); and prohibitionists use moronic phrases like “selling their bodies“, “the commodification of sex is sad“, and “no little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute” as excuses for inflicting violence on adults for engaging in consensual sex.  “Dreams”.  Seriously.  And yet these people, who actually believe the fantasies of undeveloped minds should be given the same weight as actual facts in adult discussions, are not only treated as grown adults, but actually deferred to as though this pablum constituted valid logical argument.  See also “follow your dreams”, possibly the most inane, naive, and – dare I say it? – privileged bit of non-advice ever to adorn a bumper sticker, right alongside such wisdom of the ages as “Baby on Board” and “Virginia is for lovers”.  But it doesn’t stop there, oh no; as I wrote in “Childish Things“,

Worse and more foolish still is the belief that a nonhuman thing, either material or immaterial, can be “bad”…too many [people]…imagine that plant matter or technological devices can be intrinsically evil; that certain words or images can be literally harmful…that the mere action of taking a photograph of a naked person…is intrinsically inimical; that certain forms of human interaction can mystically harm the participants even if they freely choose to engage in the activity and suffer no physical damage; that magical vestments or talismans can grant power over other people or absolve the wearer of moral culpability for his actions; that official pronouncements from anointed leaders can make things vanish; and even that being given a spell-scroll of one variety can make a “dangerous” action into a beneficial one, while being given a different kind of rune-inscribed parchment can make an innocuous action evil…

All this arrant, primitive stupidity make me want to vomit.  Human beings have the right to control our own bodies & lives regardless of motive, whether anybody “loves” or “dreams” or “deserves” whatever, or whether or not our actions are “fun” for us or anyone else.

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It was very heavy handed — and it was meant to send a message.  –  Michael Eymer

I like unusual song covers, but this video is just plain weird.  The links above it were provided by Clarissa, Amy AlkonJesse WalkerMike ChaseCharles HillFranklin Harris, and Mistress Matisse, in that order.

From the Archives

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