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Posts Tagged ‘lawheads’

Faith prefers the absurd to the plausible.  –  Mason Cooley

Walt Disney & Disneyland sketchesI will never understand the compelling human desire to believe in fantasy.  As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time is well aware, I love fantasy and science fiction; my favorite books, stories, movies, TV shows and other entertainments fall into those genres or closely-related ones, and most of my own writing is firmly ensconced in the realm of the fantastic.  But that’s entertainment, not life; as those who know me in person can tell you, I’m deeply pragmatic and firmly grounded in reality.  The idea of expending more than a token portion of resources on fancies is completely incomprehensible to me; I have never understood the appeal of window shopping, and I have often been heard to snort derisively at asinine platitudes about “following your dreams”.  Yes, some people are wealthy enough to build themselves amusement parks, and others fortunate enough to be able to pursue something more or less resembling their ideal lives.  But for most people, efforts to ignore reality are doomed to failure.

Fantasies which only involve things (such as building one’s “dream house” or writing a bestseller) may be unattainable, but when they are they’re still generally harmless to others.  Unfortunately, many individual blueprints for Utopia demand that other individuals conform to the dreamer’s moronic fantasies about “proper” human behavior, and while those are always doomed to disappointment, they have considerable potential to wreck the lives of others.  If the person suffering such a delusion has money, political power or social influence he can wreak havoc on anyone who gets in the way of his impossible program of social engineering, and even those who don’t have access to such resources are dangerous when they share the mad fantasies of those who do.

One such fantasy, popular for roughly the last century and a half, is the idea that prostitution can (and should) be “abolished”; people who adhere to this particular pipe dream always pretend to some sort of moral high ground, generally involving a deity or deities and/or some apotheosized principle of “equality” or “purity” or “intimacy” or other Utopian vacuity.  What their actual motives might be they usually won’t say, though it’s easy enough to guess.  Sometimes, as in the case of the “sex robot” nonsense I’ve mocked so often, the desire is rooted in the rather sad desire of socially-awkward men to be free of what they see as the “burden” of having to give money (or anything else) to women in order to get sex:

If internet porn leaves you cold, and you can’t manage the hassle of finding a real, live, woman to have sex with, a Japanese company has an attractive offer for you…Tenga has introduced a virtual reality bodysuit that simulates sexual intercourse, and takes partners out of the equation…The Illusion VR bodysuit comes equipped with a Tenga masturbation device that stimulates the penis, and with grope-able fake breasts.  The suit sends “impulses all over the wearer’s body to make it feel like another human being is touching them”…The device was created for use with Illusion’s Oculus game “Sexy Beach,” which lets players customize female avatars and have sex with them in virtual reality, while being stimulated to orgasm in actual reality.  The suit costs $400 and is already sold out…the technology might also be used “for intimate cyber meet-ups with those you may or may not know personally,” and even threaten the livelihoods of sex workers down the line…

Yeah, no.  Just in case the video isn’t enough to convince you, please let me assure you that until virtual reality reaches the Star Trek holodeck level, only men who are basically satisfied with a blow-up doll are going to find this toy a replacement for real live whores, despite the fact that the device’s price tag would buy only a single hour with me.

Whether you sympathize with, feel sorry for, or giggle at such goofy schemes to eliminate harlots, I think we can all agree that they’re harmless.  Even if you think fixating on such a device is “unhealthy” (an analysis with which I would disagree, but that’s a discussion for another day), surely you must admit that it’s only unhealthy to the user and nobody else.  Unfortunately, there are many other people whose fantasy of a whore-free world is not satisfied by merely removing themselves from the equation; these sociopaths will not be satisfied until the last whore is dead of starvation or confined in a sweatshop, and the last man who might even think about purchasing her services is locked in a cage.  Obviously, this warped idea is even less moored to reality than that of “virtual sex”, because instead of trying to satisfy men’s needs with robots, its proponents want to terrorize people into celibacy:

France is to make it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved new legislation…following more than two years of rows and opposition by senators…There would be a €1,500 (£1,200) fine for a first offence, rising to €3,750 for a second, which would also be put on the person’s criminal record.  The offender would be forced to attend [brainwashing sessions]…the final vote was delayed after several hearings owing to sharp divisions between the lower parliamentary chamber and the senate…Socialist MP Maud Olivier…said the aim was to “reduce [prostitution]…and to change mentalities”…

If you don’t find the find the concept of a law designed to “change mentalities” (via forced propaganda sessions packed with lies) about a basic human activity to be utterly horrifying, you’ve probably been watching or reading about too many fictional dystopias.  Unless humans eventually abandon physical bodies altogether, there will never be a world in which people don’t trade what they have for what they want, and that means there will always be people willing to pay for the fulfillment of their sexual fantasies.  But if I do cling to one unrealistic dream, it’s that the human race eventually arrives at a point where nobody has the power to use violence to force their own evil sex fantasies on everyone else.

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Please don’t shoot me.  –  Daniel Shaver, last words

Unfortunately, there are no episodes of the funny, charming (but short-lived) Steven Banks Show on YouTube, nor is it available on DVD.  But the pilot, “Home Entertainment Center”, is available, and here it is.  ‘Nuff said.  The links above it are from Jesse WalkerEmma EvansSkyeMike SiegelJason KuznickiTim CushingLaura LeeNun YaNattie RomanSWOP Behind Bars, Nun Ya again and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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Raymond Surratt will die in prison because of a sentence that the government and the district court agree is undeserved and unjust.  –  Judge Roger Gregory

Every so often I see a “how-to” video that reminds me of my old friend Walter, who was a walking encyclopedia of these kinds of things; if anyone could be trusted to do something like start a fire with a lemon, it was Walter.  Alas, I haven’t seen him in years, so this video had to be provided by Radley Balko (who also gave us “banality”, “reason” and “burn”).  The other links above the video are from Tim Cushing (“consent”, “2001” and “drugs”), Popehat (“nope”), Thaddeus Russell  (“crossing”), and Dave Krueger (“laws”).

From the Archives

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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Vice cops are…clowns…[whose] idea of entertainment is depriving people of their liberty and livelihoods…then inviting people…to watch the show.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

They’re literally just making this garbage up now:

Janice Figueroa and Nathaniel Lee Thompson are now facing human trafficking and prostitution charges…[for bringing] this 17 year old girl across state lines…”one of the traffickers is a 19 year old girl…she didn’t just one day wake up and decide she wanted to start selling another woman,” [vomited] Melissa Yao…[prohibitionist in a group called] The Samaritan Women…”We’re the fourth destination country in the world.  Meaning we’re the fourth most popular place for people to travel to to participate in sexual exploitation…there is study after study that has shown there is a direct correlation between pornography and sexual exploitation because you start to view another human being as a commodity instead of an actual person…There is an expectation within your first week of working at a strip club that you will participate in some type of prostitution.  Otherwise you cannot work there,” Yao said…

Above the Law  

Because every woman “consensually” gives head to whatever random cop stops her on the highway:

A [Georgia] Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after a Valentine’s Day incident during a traffic stop…[he] pulled over a woman for a speeding violation…[then] again about 4-5 miles down the road.  The deputy turned off his camera and [orally raped the woman]…The woman reported the incident was not consensual.  The deputy says it was consensual…

It can take literally years for these “investigations” to lead to charges:rapist cop Marty Rainey

A rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy was a predator with a badge, sexually abusing four women and luring an underage girl into prostitution…Marty Rainey…resigned under fire from the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 after a mental health counselor claimed Rainey and a buddy had engaged in some suspect sexual relations with one of the counselor’s clients.  He was finally charged in January 2015…after other women came forward with horror stories of coercion, abuse and rape…a woman…described a long-running nightmare in a civil lawsuit filed last year…[she said] Rainey got her phone number and address in 2012 when she contacted the sheriff’s office…Rainey called the woman 87 times and sent her 1,288 text messages, many of which were sexually explicit…he threatened to arrest her husband on bogus charges if she didn’t sleep with him.  Rainey, wearing his deputy uniform, eventually picked her up and took her to a motel, where…he drugged her, laid his pistol on a nightstand with the barrel facing her and…[raped] her…

Stand-Up Guys 

This is a very uneven article marred by false equivalencies, but its central point is true:

Jeremy Corbyn is about to find out what happens when you take a stance on sex work…The response of those who believe in banning prostitution is ferocious and highly personal.  He will be told he has betrayed women, that he supports pimps, that he doesn’t care about trafficking and human slavery.  Labour’s parliamentary meeting tonight is expected to see Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint, Jess Phillips and others attack Corbyn for [saying]…he wants to decriminalise the sex industry…Corbyn…used to support the Nordic model…His shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is a long-time supporter of sex worker rights, and will be urging him to stand firm…The attack started the moment his words were reported…

Broken Record

This is impossible to parody, because the reality is so ludicrous:

As the City of Austin prepares for the thousands of people expected in town for the South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Festivals, police are preparing for a spike in crimes.  “You see a lot of these female escorts doing this not of their own volition.  They’re underaged minors, they’ve been put into a position where they have no choice. These guys will take them and literally go from city to city, post ads in the classified, have a hotel room,” [fantasized]…Steve Deaton, head of the Organized Crime Division…

Monkey Business

Occasionally, chimps throw rocks in displays of strength to establish their position in a community.  But what we discovered…was a repeated activity with no clear link to gaining food or status…We…found many more sites where trees had similar markings and in many places piles of rocks had accumulated inside hollow tree trunks…We found the same mysterious behaviour in small pockets of Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire but nothing east of this…The behaviour could be part of a male display…If some trees produce an impressive bang, this could accompany or replace feet drumming in a display…On the other hand, it could be more symbolic than that – and more reminiscent of our own past.  Marking pathways and territories with signposts such as piles of rocks is an important step in human history…maybe we found the first evidence of chimpanzees creating a kind of shrine that could indicate sacred trees…

Watershed

More and more women who identify as feminists now support sex workers:

As the signatories of this manifesto, we – women’s rights, feminist, and sex workers’ rights organisations and collectives – express our support for sex workers’ self-determination and the recognition of sex work as work…we ask all feminists to concentrate their resources on including and amplifying sex workers’ voices in the movement and to stop promoting legal frameworks that have been shown to be detrimental to sex workers’ rights.  We call for a feminist movement that…is inclusive of trans people and sex workers.  Our criminal justice systems are oppressive, and therefore we do not see increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the only solution to violence against women…

Under Every Bed

Most of this is just the typical small-city cop “sex trafficking” puffery and “gang” propaganda, but this bit was pretty jaw-dropping: “…the Spokane Police Department created a unit dedicated to fighting human trafficking…and have decided to pull a detective from the Major Crimes Unit to work specifically on these cases…” Because obviously, investigating murder, rape and armed robbery isn’t as fun or profitable as ruining people’s lives for seeking consensual sex.blue hair

Paint By Numbers

Tired of hard stuff like standing, getting dressed & making paper airplanes?  Just sit still instead!

…human trafficking…is getting some support in southern Wisconsin…woman [sic]…are now trying a new do’, blue [hair] extensions, the color for human trafficking awareness…college roommates Camille Guenther and Rachel Eckmann created Beautiful Blue 2016 and have joined forces with Cuttin’ Up salon for the cause…they say spreading the message, right now, is more important than donations…

Innocence Never Had

Laws are more important than people:

In Bloomington, Indiana, a 14-year-old girl was arrested…on prostitution charges after texting older men and offering sex for a fee…Bloomington detectives began looking into the case after a woman reported seeing texts from the girl, who had claimed to be 17, on her husband’s phone…Under federal and some state laws, teens selling sexual services are defined as “sex trafficking victims” whether they’re working for/with anybody or not…law-enforcement agents are more than willing to refer to 17-year-old as “child victims” and charge anyone in their vicinity with human trafficking.  But while it’s refreshing (if surprising) to see police…acknowledge that teen girls do have agency and avoid the typical sex-trafficking scaremongering…Couldn’t cops have simply talked to the girl’s guardians?  How will she possibly be helped by having a criminal record…

Bread and Circuses

The unsinkable Liz Brown does it again:

A Houston-area prostitution sting with the inexplicable name “Operation Traveling Circus” led to more than 400 arrests in the first two months of 2016…Like most vice stings disguised as victim-centered investigations, this “traveling circus” featured the identification of no actual sex-trafficking victims and zero arrests of human traffickers.  But the January 4 through Feburary 26 operation did yield hundreds of men who sought to pay what they thought was a willing, adult sex worker for company.  To spin this as somehow related to sex trafficking, officials trotted out the much-debunked idea that sporting events are catnip to human-traffickers…Making men afraid to pay for prostitution now is simply an effort to deprive these mythical future sex traffickers of their client base, officials explained…Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman [lied that pigs]…had to arrest [sex workers]…so those selling sex on their own could be prosecuted, while victims would have the charges dropped and gain access to some sort of nebulous social services…more than 200 of the 400 people arrested were “johns” who tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer…It’s unclear if the rest of the arrests were of sex workers or not.  These sorts of stings frequently lead to arrests for things like outstanding warrants, drug possession, or unauthorized gun possession, as well…

Above the Law (#591)

A British social justice campaigner has flown from London to Australia to confront a former police spy who deceived her into having a two-year relationship and is now involved in directing police training courses in Australia.  Helen Steel…tracked down John Dines after spending years piecing together clues to uncover his real identity.  It was the first time Steel had contacted the former undercover officer after he disappeared from her life more than two decades ago claiming to be having a mental breakdown…he was resettled in Australia by British police who feared Steel was on the verge of finding him…

Still a Child (#604) 

Giving fanatics what they want only encourages them to want more:

New Orleans…City Council…could move to set a cap on the number of strip clubs allowed to operate in the city.  In the meantime, the Planning Commission is considering the imposition of a soft moratorium on new…clubs on Bourbon Street, the only zoning district where strip clubs…didn’t need special permission from the City Council in order to open…Robert Watters, owner of Rick’s Cabaret…said that, although he’s always nervous about government attempts to legislate morality, he thinks there are enough clubs in the area already…Jim Kelly…of…Covenant House…[fantasizes that] strip clubs…can act as recruiting grounds for pimps…Kelly successfully lobbied the City Council in January to raise the minimum age for dancers to 21…

It’s disgusting how often sex business owners like Watters and Dennis Hof side with prohibitionists in order to more effectively line their own pockets.

Under Review

The British press, partying like it’s 1999 and nobody’s heard of escort reviews yet:

Call girls and rentboys openly offer themselves for sex online, while customers leave seedy reviews of the services on offer. ..Seedy websites list the services available from vice girls and even give their hourly rate.  The Paisley Daily Express has seen X-rated pages that are filled with pictures of scantily-clad sex workers, with details of how to arrange a meeting.  Local punters even use the Trip Advisor-style portals on the sites…to give star-rated reviews of the men and women they bed…perverts even discuss the parking amenities…

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An offence malum prohibitum…is not naturally an evil, but becomes so in consequence of its being forbidden; as playing at games, which being innocent before, have become unlawful in consequence of being forbidden.  –  Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (1856)

moldy cheeseThere’s a kind of contagious evil which has spread among Wisconsin politicians for the past few years; it’s a variety of the violent lie that a woman who has sex for the “wrong” reasons is a “criminal”, coupled with the rather pathetic fantasy that political mumbo-jumbo has the power to “do something” to stop a practice that existed for eons before the first politician tried to “regulate” that dangerous new thing called “fire”.  This cheesy extortion scheme takes the form of a pretense that consensual sex can be “fought” by requiring escorts to buy licenses; what it actually does is allow sleazy Wisconsin cops to just arrest whatever women they want to target and charge them with not having licenses instead of actually having to, you know, prove they did anything wrong.  As is typical in the modern police state, the mere accusation is enough because, as one particularly porcine individual expressed it, “they know deep down what they’re doing is wrong“.  Well, that proves it, then!

Naturally, the cities which pass these odious ordinances don’t actually want or expect anyone to buy them, and they make sure nobody will by requiring background checks, fingerprinting and other cop-worship that no sane whore would ever submit to.  And the reason they don’t want anyone to buy the licenses is that the fines for not having them are typically in the thousands of dollars.  Here’s a recent story about the latest city to subscribe to this loathsome fad; it is, I’m afraid, a typical representation of the laws, the buffoonish rhetoric used to sell them to the public, and the stenographic journalism with which they’re typically reported:

The Eau Claire city council will take up a proposed ordinance…regarding the licensing of escort services…its real goal is to crack down on illegal prostitution…”I think that we know…that a lot of individuals who advertise as escorts are actually using the escort as a cover to engage in prostitution,” [pompous idiot Douglas] Hoffer said…escorts would be required to be licensed and follow within strict guidelines – differentiating their actions from illegal prostitution…

No, you moron; it’s not that “a lot of” escorts use the job as a “cover”; an escort IS a prostitute.  Always has been, always will be.  Get that through your fat head.  There’s no “differentiating” because there’s no difference.

Combating prostitution has become trickier in recent years, in part to advances in social media. “Most prostitutes advertise online, using online platforms…In order to further investigate the conduct, police have to do more intensive investigations, more explicit acts, more explicit language.”

In other words, more explicit rape.

Hoffer says many communities have similar ordinances on the books…But…The Eau Claire version of the ordinance would punish the unlicensed escort, as well as the customers who purchase their services.  “It isn’t just focused on supply, but also demand”…Hoffer said…

In other words, they hit upon the doubly-evil stratagem of extorting ransom from TWO victims instead of one, using another popular morally-bankrupt scheme, “end demand”.  Predictably, a prohibitionist arsehole is then quoted complaining that only the buyer should be targeted, because certainly that’s the precedent for other license violations.  You know, like all the times we hear about the patients being arrested when someone is found practicing medicine without a license.  Applying the slightest bit of logic in comparing these “escort license” laws to other licensing laws reveals that they’re nothing more than cynical attempts to cash in on an activity Wisconsin politicians haven’t got the balls to decriminalize and simply tax, but want to profit from nonetheless.  But while most yokels no doubt listen to these pronouncements with their flytraps agape, it’s good to see that some journalists (in this case, the redoubtable Elizabeth Nolan Brown) aren’t fooled for a second:

…the Eau Claire City Council is considering an ordinance that would require anyone advertising as an escort to get an occupational license from the government…police can’t just go around arresting anyone who advertises as an escort.  Not yet, anyway.  Ostensibly, cops must still interact with the individual and get them to agree to some sort of sexual activity for a fee…Now city officials want to change that.  Under their proposed legislation, escorts and escort businesses would have to be licensed by the city and subject to extensive regulations.  Any escort operating without a license would be subject to a fine of up to $5,000…Anyone attempting to hire an unlicensed escort could also be charged up to $5,000, as well…the city expects to receive “little to no applications” for such licenses.  In other Wisconsin cities with similar schemes—including Milwaukee, Gree Bay, and La Crosse—no licenses have ever been granted…Now law enforcement could simply punish anyone who advertises escort services online but is not registered with the city…Eau Claire City Attorney Stephen Nick…bragged…that it would allow the city to bring in more money in fines while using fewer police resources…

cheese pigIn other words, it’s simply another way to accomplish the primary purpose of 21st-century policing, namely looting the citizenry, while simultaneously accomplishing the primary purpose of 20th-century policing, namely terrorizing the populace by brutalizing despised minorities.  It’s a win-win for Wisconsin “authorities”, and a straight loss for anyone who believes in silly old-fashioned concepts like “justice”, “evidence”, and “presumption of innocence”.

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One of the biggest challenges facing the anti-trafficking movement today is a near-constant acceptance of baseless, inaccurate, and even grossly exaggerated information.  –  Benjamin Corey

Celebrities Denver Broncos logo

Man is shamed and disgraced for seeking consensual sex:

The Denver Broncos are sending practice squad safety Ryan Murphy home…after he was questioned in a prostitution sting…and released…his brother and a suspected prostitute received citations…“We decided it was best if we continued our preparation for Super Bowl 50 without him,” head coach Gary Kubiak said…Murphy’s status as a practice squad player had not changed, only his participation in Super Bowl week…

Naturally, this humiliation was not enough for “sex trafficking” fetishists:

…The National Center on Sexual Exploitation specifically notes the Murphy situation in…[propaganda] declaring that “the normalized culture of commercial sex is a leading contributor to the spike in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl and other large sporting events…Just days before the Super Bowl, we see a prominent sports figure contributing to the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking,” [whore-hater] Dawn Hawkins [vomited out]…“Prostitution is an inherently exploitive and damaging institution, and is intrinsically linked to sex trafficking”…

Droit du Seigneur 

Notice: not “sex trafficking”.  Cops nearly always get the least-possible charges:

Eduardo Cornejo had been a…[New York cop]…for more than a decade…But investigators…had been tracking his movements for months after an anonymous tipster said Mr. Cornejo was a pimp…[who] had employed at least 10 prostitutes…Cornejo…was charged…with transporting women in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, a federal offense…

Try not to choke when the FBI stooge says “Police officers, like all public servants, are held to a higher standard.”

Law of the Instrument

Baboons define consensual sex as “trafficking”, then scratch their arses in wonderment when they find an unending stream of “traffickers”:

A monthlong [prostitution] sting ended with the arrest of 46 people…in McLennan County [Texas]…This was the fourth sting in the past year…“It shocked me…” [Chief Ape Parnell] McNamara said. “To think, every sting gets a little bit bigger . . . and it doesn’t seem to stop.”  In the past year, 139 people have been arrested in McLennan County undercover stings….including members of an alleged human trafficking ring…[paid perverts] said they logged hundreds of man- hours in the past month visiting online ads…

Gorged With Meaning

Hey Australia, can the US import some of your journalists?

…some have dubbed [sugar dating]…prostitution.  So?  The only surprise about the news hundreds of…young women are signing up to be spoiled on their own terms by older men is that it’s raising eyebrows at all.  If no one in the arrangement is being exploited or coerced, just where does the problem lie?  These are mature adults; any judgment of their choices says more about the person doing the judging.  This is not sex slavery or sex trafficking, it’s not even a case of desperate girls doing something they feel is degrading just to stay alive.  More than a third of the women who responded to the Seeking Arrangement website survey were of middle or upper middle class (comfortable) status…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

I’ll just leave this right here:

The former lawyer of Deborah Jeane Palfrey…has filed a motion to allow the release of her escort services’ records, saying they “may contain information relevant to the upcoming presidential election.”  Palfrey [supposedly] committed suicide in 2008 following a racketeering conviction.  Montgomery Blair Sibley, whose legal strategies and motions often included antagonizing opposing counsel and judge…remains under several 2007 restraining orders, which prohibited him from releasing Palfrey’s records.  Sibley won’t say how the records could affect the election…

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact: man talks to young women in public, in broad daylight.  Conclusion:  SEX TRAFFICKING!!!

A case of stranger danger at Catalina High School has administrators taking action.  Two girls said they were approached by the same man near campus a few weeks ago, so a meeting to talk about safety…There have been no new incidents…But with no suspects and no arrests, the school doesn’t want to wait for a third…According to the girls, the man told them he was from Pima Community College and wanted to interview them…Council member Steve Kozachik is worried the man may have been up to something much more sinister.  “It might be…some guy putting the young girls in jeopardy as to being trafficked”…

The Free Speech Mafia Marc Randazza

Marc Randazza, the noted First Amendment lawyer, has written a paper which, I think, would be of interest to many of my readers, especially (but not limited to) those who are yourselves lawyers.  Skeptical?  Here’s the abstract in its entirety:

In the case of intellectual property rights (IPRs), some nations erect barriers to the protection of IPRs on the basis of “morality”.  This paper will examine the implications of morality-based impediments to the enforcement of IPRs and their supportability under international agreements.  There are significant freedom of expression issues to consider when we think about “morality” getting in the way of intellectual property rights.  If that description doesn’t make you run to download it, it manages to include an academic discussion of “Cumfiesta”, “Screw You”, “Nut Sack Ale”, and Japanese porn being stolen in Taiwan.  Beat that.

Stupor Bowl

Given that “sex trafficking” myth is largely derived from evangelical Christian dogma, you’d think they’d listen when a theologian tells them it’s bunk:

…Regardless of who published it, the article is likely to have a shocking headline similar to: “Super Bowl is Largest Human Trafficking Event”, or something to that effect.  However, that claim is completely untrue…Whereas other social movements are often born out of a desire to correct stereotypes and misinformation…the modern anti-trafficking movement…perpetuates misinformation…the annual claim that the Super Bowl will be a major human trafficking event…is simply untrue…this results in increased attention from law enforcement (which is often misdirected and harmful)…most arrests are local sex workers, and…cases of human trafficking can often be counted on one hand…anti-trafficking organizations…[perpetuate] bad data, unproven claims, and harmful stereotypes about trafficking and sex workers…I can’t count the times I’ve heard:  “My city is in the top 5 biggest human trafficking destinations!”, “Did you know the average trafficking victim is 14 years old?”, “90% of sex workers are forced into it!”, or, “Pornography is what’s fueling human trafficking!”…As my therapist often tells me: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

The Mote and the Beam (#422)

Buried in this huge mound of bullshit is its astonishingly stupid and imperialistic premise: the author believes the US government can and should criminalize sex work in other countries:

…the State Department…sidesteps the most critical aspect of determining whether nations are truly “making serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex,” as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act mandates.  Punishing those who seek to purchase commercial sex is the one proven indicator of whether a country is making efforts to reduce demand…Enough is enough.  Any national government having the authority to criminalize the purchase of commercial sex should do so.  It’s time for Congress to pass pending legislation sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren…that would…require future TIP reports to assess sex-purchase laws when determining whether nations are making serious efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex…

Rhinoceros (#509)

COAST is still pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

Dwayne Angebrandt…of Homeland Security…put together a public presentation on how to spot the signs of [“sex trafficking”]…a group of strip-club operators.  For years, law enforcement had [pretended] such a group would likely be made up of some of the very people who are quietly selling women into prostitution…But…many of the club operators and their dancers he met were surprisingly clueless [about government propaganda declaring them “pimps” and “victims”]…an unlikely alliance has formed between his agency and a group called Club Organizers Against Sex Trafficking…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

I predict this will be lousy with cops within a few months:

New Yorkers sick of the uncertainties of the urban dating scene can now turn to a new app designed to reduce the complexities of dating to dollars and cents.  Ohlala, a controversial on-demand escort dating  app popular in Germany, is launching its services today in its first American market…Pia Poppenreiter…[describes] her app as one that “connects people to go on instant, paid dates…But what happens on the date is actually a private matter”…The app, which launched in Germany this past August, has already facilitated over 25,000 paid connections…[and] is also adding three new cities (Stuttgart, Cologne and Dusseldorf) to its German market, which already includes Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg…

Ashley Madison (#567) 

If this is real, it’s hilariously pathetic:

Isn’t it creepy when your husband/boyfriend leaves the room for a second, and then a stranger with a mask over his eyes enters it right after, and you’re like, “Whoa! Who are you and what have you done with my husband/boyfriend?!” Because everyone knows that disguises that only cover half your face can fool loved ones into thinking you’re a total stranger, Ashley Madison is offering…the option of a brown or black mask that can be slapped on a profile photo; four levels of photo blurring (for those who can’t use Photoshop themselves); and a black bar that can be placed over a user’s eyes in a photo…It’s unclear whether this is intended to be an actual extra layer of security or someone has been watching too many romantic comedies involving masquerade balls and mixed up identities.

Choke Point (#603) 

Much more of this, please:

If you or your company had an active PayPal account frozen or terminated between April 19, 2006, and Nov. 5, 2015, you may eligible for a settlement payment of up to $440 per account.  In the five-year-old class action case of Zepeda v. PayPal, both parties have agreed to a settlement with regards to…improper account holds PayPal placed on some of its customers.  PayPal recently released a notice of settlement, directing users to AccountHoldSettlement.com to file a claim and learn more about the case itself.  A May 10 deadline has been set…PayPal and its partner at the time, eBay…placed inappropriate holds or reserves on sellers’ funds…PayPal has denied all allegations but has agreed to the terms of the settlement to “avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial.”

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