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Posts Tagged ‘Legitimate Outrage’

The first seats at the table ought to be reserved for those from the sex work community– and everyone else should listen.  –  Benjamin L. Corey

Droit du Seigneur Milton Anthony

Not quite a rapist cop, but bad enough:

An Oklahoma sheriff requested a sexual relationship with one of his female employees in exchange for hiring her husband…Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony at his office [on June 1st]…The female employee’s husband was hired shortly after the sexual contact started, and sexual contact between the sheriff and the employee continued for several months…When the woman tried to end the contact, Anthony allegedly insinuated he would alter her work hours and even fire her and her husband if she did not continue with their agreement.  The woman began saving the sheriff’s texts and recorded a conversation between her and the sheriff in April…

One Born Every Minute

I strongly suspect that these rapists are the same ones discussed in the original of this title:

…a Jane Doe plaintiff sued Internet Brands, parent company of popular networking site Model Mayhem, alleging that the site’s operators had violated California state law by failing to notify Model Mayhem users of the very real risk that they could be targeted by…a pair of…sex offenders that the plaintiff claims Internet Brands had known about for years before they — under the pretense of being a “talent scout” — lured her to Florida, where she was allegedly drugged and raped in Feb. 2011…the pair had been at this scheme for around five years, using Model Mayhem as a hunting ground for victims; not only sexually violating…[them] but then allegedly distributing video of the acts…the plaintiff points to a 2010 lawsuit filed by Internet Brands against the original owners for allegedly failing to disclose the potential for civil suits arising from the activities of these particular rapists…“Posting or emailing such a warning could be deemed an act of publishing information, but [the Communications Decency Act] bars only liability that treats a website as a publisher or speaker of content provided by somebody else,” reads the ruling.  “A post or email warning that Internet Brands generated would involve only content that Internet Brands itself produced”…This ruling…determines that the lawsuit against the company can move forward…

Universal Criminality

That whole “freedom of speech” thing was nice while it lasted:

Lancaster [Pennsylvania] police arrested 13 people after a recent crackdown on prostitution…12 men solicited an undercover Lancaster police officer posing as a prostitute during the sting…Charde Clawges…was charged with obstructing administration of the law because she approached the undercover officer and began yelling that she knew the woman was a police officer.  Police said Clawges and the undercover officer had prior contact…

Worse Than I Thought

“Sex trafficking” laws keep getting broader and scarier:

…advocates against…sex trafficking of minors, are celebrating the passage of [a draconian new Connecticut law]…Public Act No. 16-71 will require [hotels] to keep records of their guests’ receipts and transactions for a minimum of six months after the guest has vacated.  [Indoctrination] programs will be recommended for staff at hotels and motels to learn to identify the signs of human trafficking and report the suspected crimes…The [law] now [requires] a mandatory $2,000 fine for convicted buyers of sex and an automatic $2,000 fine for those who [hire] a sex worker in a motor vehicle…accused buyers…cannot…claim…that they did not know the age of the sex worker to avoid harsher penalties that come with trafficking minors…

Legitimate Outrage

Being an ignoramus is no impediment to a career in politics:

Another Republican lawmaker suggested women and girls are unlikely to become pregnant from rape or incest.  Idaho State Rep. Pete Nielson…expressed his doubts that post-rape pregnancies were medically possible…“It is a logical conclusion that any woman who got pregnant after such a despicable and gruesome act must have, in fact, enjoyed it even on a small scale, which eventually led to the obvious consequences…the brain and our emotions affect our bodies.  So, when a woman gets raped, if she experiences that as a trauma, she doesn’t get pregnant.  And you can say what you want, but when she does get pregnant after such a crime, that undoubtedly means that she liked it at some point, regardless of how strange or unbelievable that sounds.  Medicine and biology don’t lie.  They just don’t.”

Grow the Hell Up! (#139)

The bullshit is so deep in this, you’ll need waders to get through it:

…Up until her 18th birthday, that would have made Lexi a sex slave and the hotel sting her emancipation.  A social worker would have been summoned and the man who booked the room arrested for human trafficking.  But Lexi’s 20 now—too old to rescue unless she asks.  Instead, she’s cited for prostitution…Women and children involved in prostitution are now seen as victims instead of criminals…A vice squad goes after prostitutes.  A human trafficking unit looks for slaves and their captors…San Jose specifically has received annual grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to pay for police overtime pay, cameras, binoculars, night vision monoculars, cellphones and phone number-reset software, body wire and other equipment for undercover ops…When a sting nets an adult instead of a minor, he adds, sometimes they just let them go…Still…commercial sex breaks laws police have sworn to uphold, so they can’t let them walk every time…

Traffic Circle (#429)

Theologian Benjamin Corey is quickly distinguishing himself as one of Christianity’s most outspoken sex worker allies:

…the stories of those in the sex work community are individual, varied, nuanced and complex, and do not line up with some prefabricated narrative where one size fits all…far too many in the anti-trafficking movement are not in dialogue with the sex work community…I hear voices expressing feelings of being silenced, discounted, stigmatized, ignored, and even parented by strangers who think they know what’s best for them– without even knowing them or their individual stories…What is happening today in the anti-trafficking/anti-sex industry movement would be offensive in any other context.  It’s a form of moral colonialism:  “Oh, hey– I’m here, I have moral objections to how you’re living, and I know exactly how your life needs to change without even listening to your story.”  The only reason why it’s tolerated in this context is because of the stigmatization associated with the sex industry– one that is often perpetuated by the very people who claim they want to help…

Dr. Corey’s work also appeared in this blog earlier this year when he debunked the “gypsy whores” myth.

All-Purpose Excuse

When men get caught in some kind of sexual misbehavior, the usual excuse is “sex addiction”.  I really hope “sex trafficking” doesn’t start providing an equivalent excuse for women:

The 15-year-old girl had only been a student at South Fort Myers High School…for two weeks when she went looking for her new crush in the boys’ bathroom.  She’d spent the prior two years in and out of treatment facilities…learning to cope with the horrors of the sex slave industry into which she had been trafficked at age 13.  So when…her crush…asked her for sex…[she] agreed.  But…someone started filming, and over the next hour as many as 25 male students were shown on school surveillance footage passing through the bathroom…Multiple boys had sex with the girl…Sixteen students were disciplined…Though the sex was described as consensual…the girl was not legally old enough to give consent.  And because of her troubled background, the teen’s mother and advocates have said this behavior, called promiscuous by many outraged community members, is actually quite common among sex-trafficking survivors…

Vendetta (#588) 13 billboard

It isn’t just morally-warped billionaires’ money going to vomit anti-whore propaganda all over the landscape, but yours as well:

Not content to spread false sex-work statistics in the media and legislature, Indiana activists and officials have now put up billboard advertisements to promote their anti-fact, anti-prostitution message.  One billboard—emblazoned at the top with “‘She looked 18.’  She’s not”—claims that 13-years-old is “the average age kids are first used in the sex trade.”  Any way you slice it, that’s simply not true: whether we are talking about the average age of entry into prostitution in general or the average age of minors engaging in prostitution, there’s no good evidence to back this assertion and a whole lot to suggest that it’s wrong. Even Polaris Project, arguably the most influential anti-trafficking organization in the United States, says that “this stat is not actually supported by any data“…The misleading ads are made all the more egregious because they’re paid for with taxpayer money.  The billboards were a project of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force, a group that lists itself on Facebook as a “nonprofit” but is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and headed up by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  In addition to billboards, the group’s “Not Buying It” campaign also features ads on city buses and elsewhere…

Book Reviews (#630)

Another good interview with Chester Brown about his new book:

…Brown was last in the public eye in 2011 with Paying for It…a book that generated extreme reactions with its frank and dispassionate treatment of a [controversial] subject…and its advocacy for the rights of sex workers.  “I hadn’t been intending to do any kind of followup (to Paying For It)…I thought I would do a very different book”…Mary Wept Over The Feet of Jesus…is, as planned, a very different book.  Yet it’s a followup too, or at the very least a complementary companion piece.  Going back two thousand years and more in search of the roots of what Brown calls our culture’s “whore phobia,” the new book reinterprets a range of parables and stories from the Old and New Testaments, emerging with a thesis…that “Jesus was arguing that prostitution is a good thing, something that benefits society”…What specifically spurred Brown into writing Mary Wept was an interpretation he read of the enigmatic Parable of the Talents, in which seemingly the least responsible of three slaves entrusted with a master’s fortune – he literally spends his whole stake on prostitutes – gets rewarded…

To Molest and Rape

It’s rare to see a new outlet actually use the word “rape” in reference to a rapist cop:  “An Owenton [Kentucky cop] was arrested [on June 2nd] and charged with first-degree rape…Rufus Shearer…is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center…

Turning Point

Kari Lerum, a UW professor I’ve worked with as an activist, discusses the wrongheadedness of opposition to decriminalization:

…with Amnesty International’s recent unflinching policy recommendation to decriminalize all adult consensual sex work…it is becoming increasingly difficult for naysayers to ignore the well-documented ways that sex workers are harmed by criminalization.  Amnesty’s position is based on many years of empirical research by leading health and human rights researchers, as well as calls by sex workers and advocates…for some individuals, no amount of evidence or logic will change their opinion that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  For them, decriminalizing any form of sex work – including adult consensual encounters – would send the unacceptable message that sex work is a legitimate form of income generation…I ask students to honestly reflect on how their life experiences might shape the way they approach the issue of exchanging sexual services for pay.  At the end of the course I ask students to revisit their feelings.  I have found that when given the opportunity to make space for their feelings and to evaluate the best empirical evidence…most students conclude that adult consensual sex work should be decriminalized…even if they still personally do not “believe” in it…I wish that I could also give this assignment to all policymakers and anti-sex trade activists…

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Abolitionism does not solve the problem of violence which…stems from the criminalization of sex workers and migrants, and the lack of rights that goes with it.  –  Sonja Dolinsek

Couples

Eve Ray on clients:

…clients of sex workers are regarded in many quarters as the scum of the earth…[so] it is hardly surprising that clients are so reluctant to speak out.  Yet talk to sex workers and they will tell you that their clients come in all shapes and sizes…not all clients are men…for my birthday we decided to…book…a girl from a local escort agency for some three in a bed fun…So I am a sex worker’s client…The girls we saw were bright and attractive and fully aware of what they were doing…Two Women and a Man by Giorgione (1510)We paid them well and they provided us with what we wanted.  It was…a business transaction of benefit to both parties. No coercion, no exploitation, no rape…

Whores and Wives

An Australian woman left her husband upon discovering his affair with a hooker, so she of course blamed our profession and published a stereotype-laden defamation of it.  Here’s an eloquent rebuttal:

…In…Sad Reality Behind Pretty Woman Tale, Louise O’Neale…claims…sex workers are home wreckers, men’s “chattels”, that we’re… “commodified”, “dehumanised”…packages to be bought and sold…She also argues we are sexual deviants…who require professional help.  I think O’Neale has watched too many Hollywood movies…feminists have spent decades…telling [us] how we should feel about our work, or [telling] others on our behalf how we feel about our work…They claim to be experts; they’ve got it dead wrong…

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Prosecutors must have dropped the claim that the girl was “mentally deficient”:

[Edward Bagley] was sentenced to 20 years…for holding a young woman captive as a sex slave for six years…he…also agreed to pay about $123,000 toward future counseling and medical care…Bradley Cook…received a 20-year sentence and…$123,000 in restitution…[for] sex trafficking…[and Dennis] Henry…was sentenced to 10 years, $123,000 in restitution and lifetime supervision…Marilyn Bagley…is to receive probation and [Michael] Stokes and [James] Noel five years each…

Sweden’s Ultra-progressive Views on Women

A pub in…Sweden has been cleared of discrimination charges after bouncers denied entry to several women of Asian appearance in what owners claimed was an attempt to cut down on prostitution…the court ruled…[the] owners had a “legitimate reason”…

An Educated Idiot

SWOP-NYC and SWANK…have significant questions about the “research” carried out by Sudhir Venkatesh…[and reported] in January 2011…in Wired Magazine…he made many outlandish, salacious, and false claims about…sex workers in NYC…he said he had “followed” 270 sex worker subjects…but none of our membership had ever been contacted by him nor knew of anyone who had been…Claims…regarding the dates, locations and numbers of people…were wildly inconsistent.  His conclusions…were easily shown by other researchers and commentators to be incorrect.  Other conclusions such as the fiction that “there’s usually a 25% surcharge” to have sex without a condom not only bore no relationship to reality but also endangered sex workers…We were so concerned by what we uncovered that in October 2011 we wrote a letter to the Columbia IRB

Make Up Your Damned Mind!

Cops “fight” violence against sex workers by subjecting them to violence:

A [California] task force…arrested or cited 23 people…on charges of prostitution or soliciting a prostitute…police mounted the three-day sting operation [after]…investigation into the rape and robbery of two prostitutes…led police to…the realization that victims rarely report the crimes for fear of being prosecuted…[Sgt. Kurt] Hixenbaugh said he decided to organize the recent crackdown to suppress the illicit market…“If we can make business bad, then we can put a dent in the activity,” he explained…

Hixenbaugh’s moral retardation is exceeded only by his ignorance of economics.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Weird science, truth vs. fact and all that kind of stuff:

Head Games

Slixa has published a number of excellent articles lately, but last week its management let a real clunker through:  a manipulative hobbyist giving advice on how to haggle.  After an outcry the editors removed the article, apologized and printed this rebuttal from Tizzy Wall:

…Tommy…advocated using review writing and being an active member of the hobbyist community as a bargaining chip to see if prices are negotiable…[but his] tips are less effective (and ethical) than he would like to believe…There is an implicit threat that comes with, “I am a loud, influential voice in a community that can affect your livelihood”…it seems as though he gets a thrill out of violating boundaries and feeling as though he has somehow tricked a provider for his benefit…The underlying message…is that providers aren’t worth what they charge…

Against Their Will (August Updates)

People attempting to leave a country without government permission are now classed as “victims”:

Philippine authorities have intercepted 10…human trafficking victims…who were bound for Russia to illegally work there…The Philippines has been trying to impress the United States with its anti-human trafficking drive in order for Washington to lift the Tier 2 ranking it gave…in its 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report…officer-in-charge Siegfred Mison said the incident should again serve as a warning to…workers against attempting to leave without the required overseas employment permits…

One Born Every Minute

A man…claimed he could use his penis to rid a woman of ghosts that had taken up residence in her vagina…Huang Jianjun was arrested…after he [charged] A Xin [$3000 for removing]…evil spirits…[via] sexual intercourse…Jianjun insists that he never had sex with…Xin and that he can’t get an erection due to diabetes…Meanwhile… “Godman” Asaram Bapu, 73, revered by millions across India for his sermons on “enlightenment”, has been charged with raping a 16-year-old schoolgirl…he…claimed he is physically incapable of rape but…medical tests show him to be in good shape…

Tyranny By Consensus (October Updates)

Here’s a concise explanation from Nina Hartley about why condoms in porn are an incredibly bad idea:

…It takes about two hours to shoot a good hardcore scene. Condoms were never intended for that kind of industrial use…[they] roll down, come off, dry out, split and otherwise fail on sets about 30% of the time…and…no matter how lubricated and how designed, [they] create more internal friction on a woman’s intimate anatomy than human skin, with which it’s evolved to tolerate contact.  All-condom players…tend to turn up at clinics with raw internal tissues and multiple surface infections.  This we call “condom rash” and it’s more than an annoyance…if your insides are compromised by friction burns and low-grade bugs…you’re that much more vulnerable to whatever might be turned loose should a condom fail…

Presents, Presents, Presents!Minneapolis Madams

Ed says hiI’ve received three gifts in the past two weeks: Chester Brown sent me his book Ed the Happy Clown, Korhomme sent The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work and Aspasia sent Minneapolis Madams.  Thank you all so much!

Profit from Panic

Rescue industry schemes aren’t usually this blatant:

If you are interested in creating positive brand awareness…advertising at the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference is the ideal platform…We have various opportunities which will leave a strong impression of your brand in people’s minds and make your company stand out as a leader in supporting organizations…to prevent…child trafficking…Our…sponsorship packages…include a number of marketing opportunities…to…showcase your social responsibility…and…align yourself with the Global Online Counter Child Trafficking Conference brand…

Bullies With Badges

“Human trafficking” is rapidly becoming a catchall excuse for tyranny, like drugs and “terrorism”:

…the Environmental Protection Agency…[conducted] an armed raid of gold mines near Chicken, Alaska…while investigating a supposed violation of…the Clean Water Act…The EPA said…it…sent in armed men because it had been given information by…State Troopers regarding “rampant drug and human trafficking…in the area.”  That explanation was debunked by a spokeswoman for the state troopers, who said they did not advise the EPA to raid the mine and that there was no evidence of drug and human trafficking…

Broken Record

The same lies, repeated over and over and over

MSPs fear that next year’s Commonwealth Games could lead to an influx of victims of human trafficking to Scotland…Myria Vassiliadou…has urged the Scottish Government to make people who procure sex and consumer goods from victims its top anti-trafficking priority.  Studies have shown that authorities must be vigilant to human trafficking during large sporting events…

Studies have, of course, repeatedly shown exactly the opposite.

Worse Than I Thought

The cancer reaches Michigan:

…Glenn Anderson…has introduced five bills…to more heavily punish…human trafficking…“The Polaris Project…was extremely helpful in shaping this legislation” [he said]…Anderson’s bills…Allow for assets…to be forfeited and dispersed to…law enforcement…criminalize the failure to report knowledge of…trafficking…[and] add convicted…traffickers to the Sex Offenders Registry…Overland Park Arboretum statue

See No Evil (TW3 #37)

A fresh effort is underway to bring criminal charges over a bare-breasted statue…The American Family Association…plans…petitions to empanel a grand jury to again investigate whether the sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum violates state obscenity laws …Phillip Cosby…last year petitioned a grand jury…but failed to secure an indictment…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

a federal judge ruled…that…strippers…deserve…at least the minimum wage…The ruling came in a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of current and former dancers at…Rick’s…[in Manhattan]…the…chain…argued that its dancers [are] independent contractors, more akin to stand-up comedians than fry cooks.  But [the] judge…said the list of rules Rick’s laid down could be described as “micromanagement”…

Hollow Claims

The German Prostitution Model: Reducing Violence Against Sex Workers” is a fairly self-explanatory title, but this short, yet thorough essay also sharply criticizes the Swedish model and those (like the European Women’s Lobby) who labor under the idiotic delusion that there could ever be a world “free from prostitution”, and are willing to subject real women to police violence in pursuit of that mad fantasy.

Due Consideration (TW3 #137)

Australia, are you really sure you want to go down the “tyrannical laws named for dead children” path?

…”Zoe’s law”…which could classify a foetus as a person in New South Wales…would allow grievous bodily harm charges to be brought against those who hurt a foetus of more than 20 weeks’ gestation…Melanie Fernandez…of the Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia (WELA)…said…”This…kind of precedent has been used as a…starting point to roll back abortion right in other places, such as states in America”…Portway's cage

Tales from the Dark Side

[When] prosecution for thoughtcrime has become a grim reality, it might be wise to restrict…discussions [of cannibalism fantasies] to fully-anonymized online accounts...”  And, I might add, to avoid actually obtaining the equipment one would need:

Geoffrey Portway’s attorney says the man’s “fantasy world” posed no actual threat of harm to a child.  But the…[Massachusetts] man pleaded guilty…to child pornography charges along with solicitation to commit a crime of violence…and the locked, soundproof basement with a metal cage…bondage equipment and a child-sized coffin serve as evidence…Two other men — one a puppeteer at a Florida church — have also been convicted as a result of the online chat sessions…[about] plans to rape, kill and eat children…

Legitimate Outrage (TW3 #329)

Scott Long on the way politicians like David Vitter and Eliot Spitzer suffer far less than the whores whose names get dragged through the mud along with theirs:

…Spitzer…[made] life miserable for both sex workers and clients.  As…Attorney General, he let…Equality Now goad him into a years-long campaign of harassment against a travel company that marketed sex tours…as Governor, he signed an…“anti-trafficking” law…that massively increased penalties for [buyers]…while maintaining penalties for sex workers…But what folks hate Spitzer for is having bought sex, not the repressive policies he promoted.  Paying women is offensive; persecuting them, fine.  Called out for “immorality”…he actually had the nerve to cite his crackdown on consensual activities in his own defense…In 2008, a jury convicted…Deborah Jeane Palfrey not of prostitution, but of money laundering…and “racketeering”…Palfrey killed herself before sentencing…And [her client David] Vitter stays in the Senate…

Whatever They Need To Say (TW3 #337)

…in connection with the attack on Madaripur brothel on August 28…Borun Begum, a sex worker…filed a case…against 35 identified and 1965 unidentified people…[including] general secretary Milon Bhuyan…women affairs officer Mahmuda Akter and Islahe Qawmi Parishad leader Raju Hujur…She…sought compensation for…valuables worth [$385,000] and…properties worth [$64,000]…Parimal Sarkar…filed a case…against 37 identified and 300 unidentified people…seeking compensation of [$77,000]…for [vandalism of] 30 houses…

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They want to save us, but they punish us until we are willing to be saved.  –  Pye  Jakobsson

The First Time

Because obviously, a random amateur will give him a better experience than a skilled professional.

Looking to send her nerdy son off to Harvard in style, this helicopter parent to end all helicopter parents has taken to Craigslist’s “casual encounters” section to seek a young woman who can help claim the “socially awkward” boy’s virginity, and turn him into a “cool college kid.”  The plan is simple: You, a 19 to 20-something seductress, pick up a pair of complimentary tickets to “some great concert,” where your target, a handsome 18-year-old varsity cross country team member with “almost zero body fat” will be waiting unsuspectingly…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemicthink different

A lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc. that blames the company for the dissolution of his marriage  and the collapse of his mental health…because Apple devices do not have a filter that keeps them from playing pornography.  The devices purportedly failed to protect Sevier from his porn addiction, so the attorney is suing the company in an effort to have all of its devices equipped with a filter that blocks sexually-themed content…

An Example to the West (TW3 #20)

Anu Mokal wasn’t breaking the law when she was out walking…when a police officer viciously attacked her…beating her severely…SANGRAM and…Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP)…demanded that Maharashtra politicians investigate the beating and institute…a grievance commission to address abuses of sex workers’ human rights…the attack echoed a deeper culture of oppression that sex workers face around the world at all levels of society…funded in large part by the foreign aid that pours into the Global South from Washington’s coffers…the Supreme Court recently dealt a potentially lethal blow to the so-called “anti-prostitution loyalty oath”…[for] U.S.-based groups…[but it] still looms large over the Global South…SANGRAM…has proudly defied PEPFAR…but…faces a political climate suffused with the pernicious pressures of America’s “soft power.”  When aid comes with political strings attached, poor governments are pressured to mirror Washington’s culture wars…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #40)

Sex workers have been fighting to enjoy their right to dignity.  For this to happen, they say, prostitution has to be decriminalised…Ntokozo Yingwana, of the Sex Workers Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…[argues] that it is not sex-work but the stigma and discrimination that sex workers have to endure that strips them of their dignity…Marlise Richter, a public health researcher with the International Centre for Reproductive Health, said:  “[The] evidence shows that the decriminalisation of sex work would serve public health and individual sex worker health best.  Criminalisation of any aspect of sex work, including [the Swedish model]…means that the sex industry is driven underground and sex workers and their clients away from health, social and legal services”…The World Health Organisations (WHO) recommends that all states decriminalise sex work.  It then becomes easier to take action to protect sex workers from HIV and sexually transmitted diseases…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #50)

Once again:  the existence of a movie featuring “lurid tall tales” about sex work  does no more to prove them than the existence of The Wizard of Oz proves the existence of flying monkeys and talking scarecrows:

…Alexander Perlman…logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to make [Lot Lizard, his new documentary about truck stop prostitution]…braving roach motels, crack highs, and homicidal pimps…None of the women…profiled had pimps…and…one of the concerns [Perlman] had…[was] that selecting them downplays the prevalence of pimps and trafficking in the industry.  There’s an amazing organization called Truckers Against Trafficking that addresses the issue…

Justine Reilly
In other words, they couldn’t find any “trafficking” but it must exist because an NGO says so.

Puppet Show

This Swedish model advert from Justine Reilly and her fellow shill Rachel Moran is not unusual except for its naked admission that prohibitionists want sex workers hounded into desperation:  “Justine said…that without clients, women…would be thrown out on the streets where they could get support…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)

A plan by the Social Affairs Ministry to close down 50 red-light districts across Indonesia has caused nervousness among inhabitants of…Sunan Kuning…one of the ministry’s five main targets in a crackdown on prostitution…Ari Istiyadi, field coordinator of NGO Griya Asa PKBI Semarang… expressed his fear that the closure of the prostitution center would create new problems in the social and health fields…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

A teenage girl from Georgia disappeared Monday after arranging a meeting with a boy she met on Instagram…Beverly Knepper, 14…had an argument with her parents about seeing a 14-year-old boy named Jahlil…”  Predictably, this not-vanishingly-unusual teen behavior triggered a huge panic which was starting to involve “sex trafficking” rhetoric when she was located soon afterward.

I Saw My Brain

…Polk County, Florida [is] unique in the nation for its unadulterated hostility to legal pornography and the people who make it…[its main city is] Lakeland…[whose] police department…is at the center of a sex scandal…[involving] a…crime analyst, Sue Eberle, who was apparently having sex with nearly a dozen of her co-workers…Coercing people into having sex is something sex traffickers do, but in Lakeland it was apparently the pastime for the police…the person asked by legislators to help get Lakeland PD “on track” is none other than…Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #315)Mark Lancaster

…a…computer consultant was jailed for 16 months in connection with a “pitiless deception” in which he sought to con hard up students into having sex with him in return for falsely offering to pay their university fees.  Mark Lancaster…was exposed following an undercover investigation by The Independent into the website and fictitious business Sponsorascholar.co.uk.  The pornography-addicted father-of-two admitted a charge of voyeurism and another of trafficking…

Bottleneck (TW3 #317)

It’s difficult to judge the legitimacy of these claims when none of the alleged victims were interviewed:

Three people who allegedly sourced more than 100 sex workers for Melbourne brothels would be likely to continue operating their lucrative syndicate…a magistrate…said [so]  Mae Ja Kim, Moon Ja Kim and Huan Wen Ye were denied bail…Investigations are continuing into possible human trafficking and sex slavery…workers were allegedly transported to Australia, given accommodation, and driven between there and the brothels by about 10 “overseers”…The worker was paid $75 for each appointment, with the syndicate paid at least 50 per cent of the rest…

Legitimate Outrage (TW3 #328)

Spitzer’s return to politics has accomplished at least one good:  it has emboldened journalists to speak out against criminalization.  Here’s Michael Smerconish of MSNBC:

…we should have an adult conversation about the laws [Spitzer] violated…it’s time to bring the world’s oldest profession aboveboard in communities willing to allow it…let government share in the revenue, but otherwise stay out of the private affairs of consenting adults.  Beyond the role of the taxman, prostitution doesn’t warrant the involvement of federal authorities…[to catch him] “they used 5,000 wiretaps.  They intercepted 6,000 e-mails.  Every hour spent on going after prostitution is an hour that could have been spent on going after…people who victimize”…another argument in support of legalizing…[is that] some among us are never going to find companionship for a variety of reasons…it can’t be healthy for some people to feel the amassed pressure of [sexual] images, and have their personal expectations go unfulfilled…

Keli Goff of the Washington Post called on Tracy Quan for assistance:

…Disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner and disgraced former governor Eliot Spitzer have come back…would the same kind of comeback be possible for the women on the other side of their scandals…could a former prostitute ever run for office and have a real shot, the way that Spitzer, former patron of prostitutes, now does?…Kristin Davis is also running for comptroller…she previously ran…the escort service that Spitzer once used…[but] her bids for office…are seen as little more than publicity stunts…Linda Fondren  was a candidate for mayor in Vicksburg, Miss., when it was revealed that she worked as a prostitute decades ago…she broke no laws…was a nationally recognized leader in the field of public health…[and is] intelligent, articulate, telegenic and able to inspire people…[but] lost the primary…Tracy Quan…said…that even for legal sex work, such as exotic dancing, there is a double standard when it comes to stigmatization…a woman who works her way through law school as a stripper would have a tough time being elected to the…Senate but a man who visited strip clubs while in law school would not find that to be an obstacle to the White House…feminists share as much of the blame for this double standard as misogynists…[because they] are dismissive and suspicious of other women who have used their bodies and their beauty to succeed in a professional capacity…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Dora OezerCaty Simon of Tits and Sass  interviewed Pye Jakobsson of Rose Alliance  about Jasmine’s death and the horrible Swedish model which created the climate that enabled it.  Nor was she the only sex worker whose recent stigma-provoked murder has angered sex workers around the world:  “A 24-year-old trans woman was stabbed to death in her own home in Turkey…[on] 9 July…Dora Oezer…was found dead by her housemate…sex work is not illegal in Turkey but [because] they are not allowed to work in regulated brothels, trans woman are often left in vulnerable and dangerous positions…”  Activists used social media to coordinate “Justice for Jasmine and Dora” protests in many cities yesterday, such as this one in London.

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Be the sort of victim people want, swallow the crap about not really choosing sex work, tell a few stories about bad clients and pray with the fervor of a convert at the altar of end demand and all the support you want is there, on their terms.  –  Jemima

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

Petite JasmineA Swedish sex worker rights activist was stabbed to death by her ex-husband on Thursday.  Swedish “feminists” pretend to care so very much for sex workers that they’re willing to destroy our lives to “save” us from imaginary “degradation”; selling sex is not illegal, but if a sex worker dares to speak openly about her choice she will be punished in many ways other than imprisonment, such as by expulsion, eviction, police harassment and more:

Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker.  The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine.  They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romantisizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm.  He threatened and stalked her on numerous occasions, she was never offered any protection…

Activist Jemima pointed out that “Jasmine could have been listened too, could have had custody of her kids, could have been flying off to international conferences and doing TV shows, instead of being prepared for burial, all she had to do was lie…be good little puppets who trot out the party line like defendants at a Stalin era Russian show trial and then the doors of rape crisis centers, domestic refuges and conferences open wide to you…

Third Party

Another refutation of the myth that the presence of a camera magically protects sex workers from arrest:  “Phoenix police arrested seven people at…a self-serve porn studio allegedly used to front a prostitution business…William James Hartwell…and six women were arrested during a raid on the studio…[after] a six-month investigation…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

This was a real banner week for Swedish “feminists”; besides enabling the murder of a sex worker, we also got this:

A professor in law at Stockholm University has called for legislation prohibiting parents from drinking alcohol in the company of their children.  “It is a parent’s responsibility to be sober when they are with their children,” said Professor Madeleine Leijonhufvud…She compared the offence to minor assault which…carries a penalty of up to six months imprisonment.  While the proposal is aimed at “everyday drunkenness” it in effect suggests that parents would not be able to share a glass of wine at dinner.  “If you have a sick child and need to drive them to hospital then you can’t drink wine”…

Perhaps Sweden should just confiscate all children at birth and raise them in crèches?  But then, of course, people would stop having them.  And the feminists want even criticism of their tyrannical insanity to be criminal: “the Nordic Council of Ministers…[suggested]…the government…take action against…‘anti-feminist attitudes’…expressed in public…Heavy Hand of Justice by Kevin Moore

Saving Them From Themselves

A 15-year-old Florida girl was arrested…for shooting and possessing a photo of another teen girl engaged in oral sex with a teen boy…She was charged with a felony child porn count.  “The two girls were friends, and one of them was dating the guy,” Detective William Lindsey [said]…”Possession of child pornography is [a crime] no matter what age they are… If she had taken a picture of herself in sexual conduct, she could be charged with child pornography”…

Wholesale Hypocrisy (TW3 #25)

The rather dull-witted and credulous Bonnie Erbe seems to genuinely believe in mathematically and sociologically impossible nonsense, but more shocking is her support for censorship despite her pretense of being a journalist:

…The Internet…provides an almost unfettered platform for…pimps to find, track and enslave girls and women in sex trafficking…local and federal authorities seem powerless to ban the sale of commercial sex online.  Nor do they seem able to keep up with and control the horrendous amount of trafficking the Internet generates…experts point mainly to laws that predate the Internet and define places where criminal commercial sex acts take places as “houses of prostitution” or “brothels.”  Today, no such places exist.  Pimps — mainly men — find customers online and direct them to meet prostitutes, who work out of different motels or apartments or sometimes even their own homes…[in] a New Mexico case…two men…were [cleared of] running “an extensive multistate, online prostitution ring”…after a judge ruled that…their website did not constitute a house of prostitution, though it was used to recruit prostitutes and promote prostitution…It would seem easy to amend anti-prostitution laws to include a ban on websites for procuring commercial sex…

Because when governments ban things, they magically vanish!

Shift in the Wind

Those who were surprised at seeing an anti-criminalization article in The National Review must not remember that A) many “conservatives” at least claim to be for smaller government, and B) the magazine’s founder, William F. Buckley, was a vocal opponent of drug criminalization.

…the proscription of prostitution…continues to be a mystery to me.  Sex remains one of the few things that a free person may give away gratis but which he is forbidden from selling.  It is perfectly legal to sleep around in the United States — subsidized and panegyrized, even — and, as the growing parade of octogenarian billionaires’ wives demonstrates, it is both permissible and socially acceptable to sleep with someone in pursuit of regular material comfort…While the laws surrounding the issue remain such a dizzy and irrational mess, drawing a clear moral line through the morass remains nigh on impossible…To broach this topic in polite company is to invite someone…to parrot the banal old line that “nobody grows up wanting to be a prostitute.”  At best, this is a red herring.  Certainly, few people grow up wishing to be prostitutes.  But there are an awful lot of careers that escape the dreams of children…It is no accident that prostitution, which was almost uniformly legal in the United States from the period of colonization up until the start of the 20th century, was banned in almost every state within the same five-year period during which the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union managed to convince the nation that alcohol should be constitutionally outlawed…

Of course the comments are full of Puritans and trafficking fetishists, but there are a surprising number of truth-tellers there as well.Eliot Spitzer

Legitimate Outrage

Eliot Spitzer said he hopes he has changed since he was caught in a prostitution scandal that led to his resignation, as he attempts to revive his political career with a run for New York City comptroller.  “I think the public will have to ask itself the question, ‘can we forgive him?’  I’ve asked for the forgiveness, I hope the public says ‘yes,’ based upon the record I have, based upon qualities I can bring to the office,” Spitzer told reporters…

Politicians are usually forgiven; those whose lives they destroy, not so much.

The Naked Anthropologist

Though New Scientist published only a very small part of what Dr. Laura Agustín says was a much, much longer interview, it’s still good to see mainstream magazines presenting her views and debunking the “sex trafficking” hysteria and anti-whore tyranny.

Unclean Situation

You know how the Magdalene Laundry orders (through their modern front, Ruhama) like to pretend that sex work is “human trafficking”

Despite being funded by the HSE annually, including over €126,000 last year, St Patrick’s Guild informed the Adoption Authority last week that it no longer has the resources to staff the organisation.  The agency, run by the Religious Sisters of Charity, had been accredited by the Adoption Authority to assist adopted people and natural parents through tracing, counselling and mediating…Between 1947 and 1967, St Patrick’s Guild…arranged for the export of 572 “illegitimate” children from Ireland to the US for adoption…Despite the agency’s admitted involvement in facilitating illegal adoptions, the Adoption Authority again reiterated its stance that it will not inspect the files to ascertain the extent of the agency’s involvement in such activity…

In other words, the nuns abducted children from their Irish mothers and sold them to Americans; if that’s not “human trafficking”, I don’t know what is.Laetitia Rebord

Skin To Skin (TW3 #313)

The New York Times seems unable to write about sex work without dysphemisms like “so-called”:

…in France…disabled people struggle to have a sex life.  But their desires are often disregarded, and while prostitution is legal here, soliciting potential clients and serving as an intermediary between prostitutes and clients are not.  The issue of sexual surrogates came up in March, after the National Ethics Committee…issued a report criticizing the practice as the “unethical use of the human body for commercial purposes”…but…some legislators and associations of disabled people are demanding the legalization of sexual surrogates.  “Prostitution is a fake debate; the goals are different,” said Pascale Ribes…[of] the Disabilities and Sexualities Group, an association defending sexual surrogates in France.  “Sexual assistance is about allowing a disabled person who can’t access sexuality in a satisfying way to reconnect with the body”…

Advice to disabilities advocates: foolish reinforcement of whorearchy is not the way to go about winning your right to employ sex workers.

Flush Criminalization

More sophomoric “humor” from New York “authorities” working assiduously to destroy as many people’s lives as possible:

Police shut down…12 massage parlors…for alleged prostitution…arresting owners, managers and workers.  The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office is investigating whether workers were “victims of human trafficking, being manipulated or held against their will”…and whether a central organization was controlling…the operations.  According to DA Charles Hynes, all of the women…gave very similar stories about having children in Asia they needed to support.  NYPD Commissioner was typically…tone-deaf in his assessment of the case.  “We know people in Bay Ridge have back pain…but we don’t think that’s enough to sustain 19 massage parlors”…

That the DA seems to perceive the fantasy of a huge “sex trafficking” conspiracy as more credible than the simple fact that most sex workers have children to support, speaks volumes about his warped view of humanity.

Still a Child

This is no more ridiculous than defining a minimum age above that of majority for any other legal activity, such as drinking or sex work:  “Somalia…has set the minimum age at 40 for anyone intending to practice as a journalist in the country…

True Colors (TW3 #327)

Authorities in southern China have left…Ye Haiyan…homeless…Guangdong security agents abandoned her on the side of the road with her boyfriend…and 14-year-old daughter…”Zhongshan does not welcome you; Guangzhou does not welcome you either. I will break your legs if I ever see you again in Zhongshan,” one of the security agents said…

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In reality, sex work isn’t stigmatised because it is dangerous. Sex work is dangerous because it is stigmatized.  –  Laurie Penny

Storyville

This is a pretty good introduction to Storyville, though it has a few errors and two really odd misinterpretations:  she refers to “not on the first floor of any building” as a “district”, and she only counts business owners (rather than individual whores) when discussing income.  Worth watching for the pictures.

Since young colonies rarely have anything to recommend them to women, they often have a pronounced gender imbalance; King Louis XV solved the problem in New Orleans by sending a boatload of whores, and George III did the same thing 68 years later for Australia.  The ship was named the Lady Juliana, and this recent article draws on a recently-unearthed jail log to tell a little about the ship and its passengers.

License To Rape

…a former Eatontown [New Jersey] detective accepted a plea agreement…[for raping] an informant.  His victim…explained to the court…how [Philip] Emanuele used the threat of prison for a theft charge…to coerce her into performing oral sex…When she refused, he raped her…Emanuele acknowledged what he had done in open court, and was sentenced to 5 years of probation for criminal coercion, and 3 years of probation for tampering with evidence…

Lack of Evidence

A New York district attorney has dropped a prostitution charge against former reality TV star Alicia Guastaferro…after further investigation revealed it was unmerited…The D.A. still plans to pursue [other] charges…Guastaferro…[and] attorney James D. Doyle [were found unconscious in Doyle’s car after]…a…motorist…[reported] a car being driven erratically…Guastaferro …told police Doyle pays her $500 to $700 to perform sexual acts and spend the night with him…

Yes, the cops actually filed a prostitution charge on the word of a semi-conscious drunk.

The Red Umbrella

This San Francisco Weekly op-ed by Chris Hall is the best December 17th article by a non-sex worker I have ever seen.  It deserves to be read in its entirety, but its tone is illustrated by the statement “…there really is no conversation about sex work…only a monologue by media and politicians with the workers themselves meant to stay silent.  December 17 events represent a concerted effort to break that silence.”

The New Victorianism

Another Christmas present to sex workers from a journalist who isn’t one of us, but gets it; this one was published in The New Statesman by repentant neofeminist Laurie Penny:

…Laws regulating sex work are written…by people who have never done sex work and who have no sustained contact with those who do.  The most well-meaning legislation…often backfires, pushing the sex trade further underground and giving the police licence to punish and victimise women…feminist author Ellen Willis termed this handkerchief-clutching zeal to “save” prostitutes, porn actresses and other “fallen” women “neo-Victorianism”…It’s a school of so-called women’s liberation that [believes]…work can’t possibly be the problem, so…If sex workers are victimised by the police and…face higher levels of violence and assault at work, then it can only be because of their dirty moral choice to have sex for money…This isn’t about evidence…It’s about morality, just as it was…when…women organised charity centres to ‘save’ street prostitutes from sin by finding them alternative employment as charwomen, in workhouses or scrubbing the streets…any kind of work, however exploitative and badly paid, must be better than sex work because it doesn’t involve sex, wicked sex, sinful sex…

Remy CoutureSee No Evil

The equation of images and reality claims another victim:

…Rémy Couture [is a]…Canadian special-effects artist charged  with “corrupting morals” by illegally combining sex and gore…[in] two short films depicting the crimes of a necrophiliac serial killer and various photographs of simulated torture and dismemberment that were posted on Couture’s now-defunct website…The prosecution argues that Couture’s work is obscene under Canadian law because “a dominant characteristic” of it is “the undue exploitation of sex” combined with “crime, horror, cruelty and violence.”  He faces up to two years in prison for this prohibited mixture

Where Are the Protests?

The word “trafficking” is not to be found in this article, nor are calls for paving to be abolished:

…William Connors…his wife Mary…[and] their sons…were all convicted of conspiracy to require a person to perform forced…labour…the Connors would pick up…homeless drifters or addicts…[who then] lived in squalid caravans…as they moved around the country working on the Connors’ paving and patio businesses…and…were controlled by discipline and violence…[they] were beaten, hit with broom handles, belts, a rake and shovel, and punched and kicked…[they] were often made to strip for a “hosing down session” with freezing water…[and] were paid as little as £5 for a day’s hard labour on jobs that would earn the family several thousand pounds.  They were given so little food they resorted to scavenging from dustbins…

And as Furry Girl points out, nobody seems to care if children are forced to act in movies for their parents’ profit, either:  “Imagine if anti-sex worker activists treated all forms of entertainment the same way they treat [sex work]…Where are the Nick Kristof-led raids of acting classes for children, the protests against movie studios that utilize under-18 performers, and the arrests of live studio audiences at the taping of TV family sitcoms?

The More the Better

Furry Girl writes about the way people’s acceptance of unfamiliar things like marijuana use, homosexuality and sex work tends to grow as they get to know real people who are involved with those things, and she proposes an experiment for those shy about coming out:

Go to a bar in the next city over, or a music festival out of town, or just tell the person sitting next to you on the bus or subway.  Try openness on for just a day, or even 15 minutes.  You will get some bad reactions, but I think it will surprise you how many people won’t be an asshole to you.  Be prepared for questions, which you can choose to answer or not.

Traffic Jam

Susana Trimarco and claimsAmazingly, all 13 victims of an Argentinean “sex trafficking” witch hunt were acquitted of all charges last week:  “…the judges said there was no way to prove that Marita, a 23-year-old mother and wife who vanished on…April 3, 2002, was kidnapped and forced into a prostitution ring…For the last decade Marita’s mother, Susana Trimarco, has waged an uphill battle [against]…the people she believed were responsible for her daughter’s disappearance into the netherworld of human trafficking…”  Trimarco has insisted from the beginning that her daughter was abducted by “sex traffickers”, despite a total lack of evidence for such an outlandish interpretation of the meager facts.  The article points out that Trimarco “almost single-handedly changed the way that human trafficking is viewed…across much of Latin America,” and this is true:  with the help of cops and prohibitionists she has succeeded in introducing American-style “sex trafficking” mythology to a culture which has a much healthier view of sex work than that of the US.

Legitimate Outrage

Being an ignoramus is no impediment to a career in law:

The California Commission on Judicial Performance…[admonished] Judge Derek Johnson…[for] comments [made] in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his former girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats…Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said…”I’m not a gynecologist but I can tell you something:  if someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse the body shuts down…[and] will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case”…since 1980, California law has not required rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting.

Profound Ignorance

Several people called to my attention a recent paper claiming that legalizing prostitution increased human trafficking; I pointed out to them that without good data and clear definitions, a prohibitionist can “prove” whatever he likes.  But Dr. Laura Agustín said it much better than I did:

I’ve been asked several times to comment on a recently published article, Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?…This study belongs to a trend to use econometric concepts and techniques in a (vain) attempt to prove this or that about prostitution…fancy modelling and sophisticated analysis cannot help when the data being analysed is next to useless…Any critique of this work has to begin by asking how the authors define human trafficking, inflows, legalised prostitution, the prostitution market, trafficked women and legal prostitutes.  None of these terms is self-explaining.  After more than 15 years, we do not even have agreement about what the fundamental terms mean, so anyone writing in the field has to tell us which definitions they are using and they have to make sure they compare and contrast categories using the same definitions…The best way to understand this work is Garbage in, garbage out…

Metaupdates

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #35)

Wally Oppal says the scores of women missing and presumed murdered by Robert Pickton and others in the Vancouver area were doubly forsaken – by society and by police.  In fact, they were triply forsaken…The law itself forsook many of them, by criminalizing them for selling sex and driving them to the extreme margins…“I cannot ignore the reality that this legal regime played an important role in shaping the relationship between the police and women…potentially affecting…investigations…” Mr. Oppal writes…The report is a death knell for prostitution laws in their current form.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #43)

More and more UN officials are coming out in favor of decriminalization:

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – yes, that’s his full title…has…come down firmly on the side of decriminalising the sex industry.  In fact, a 2010 report of his is one of the strongest statements I’ve ever seen in this regard by a UN official…

Tyranny By Consensus (TW3 #47)danger wear goggles sign

A group of adult industry leaders announced…their intent to file a lawsuit soon against Los Angeles County over Measure B…an ill-conceived law that makes it mandatory for adult actors to wear lab coats, goggles and gloves as well as condoms while shooting adult films in the County.  The law was funded solely by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)…The attorneys plan to challenge the law on the [grounds that]…health and safety…issues…fall under…State regulation…[they also] plan to challenge…on constitutional grounds…

One Born Every Minute (TW3 #48)

Detectives investigating a website offering to pay the tuition fees of female students in return for sex have arrested [Mark Lancaster] on suspicion of inciting prostitution…”  WTF?  “Inciting prostitution”?  How about fraud and sexual assault?

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #49)

It’s astonishing that these people just can’t understand and accept that nothing has to “be done”, and that student sex workers will get along without their “help” just as they always have:  “…ex-brothel madam [Becky Adams] has been enlisted to help…Swansea University…research…what motivates [students] to [do] sex work…”  I’ll save them the trouble:  the answer is “good money and flexible hours”.  Now, where’s my £500,000?

This Week in 2010 and 2011

Beside my two previous columns for December 17th, my two previous columns  for Yule, my two previous yuletide fictional interludes and a history of Hanukkah, this week also featured a look at what passes for “evidence of prostitution”, a look at the truth of Swedish “feminism”, a statement of some of my principles, a thought experiment about coercion vs. free choice and a biography of Edith Piaf.  Finally, there were also short items on Craigslist, the UK attempt to block all internet porn, PC celebrities, “john schools”, Bronte sister action figures, nanny-state dating advice, Julian Assange, hate crime, an awkward call, men’s magazines, a fatal BDSM accident, Barbie hate, a begging ban, another hooker-hiring politician and religious persecution.

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Science is properly more scrupulous than dogma. Dogma gives a charter to mistake, but the very breath of science is a contest with mistake, and must keep the conscience alive.  –  George Eliot

As so often happens in American politics, a politician has said something incredibly stupid, and many people have reacted with either real, exaggerated or faux outrage.  It’s inevitable that politicians will say stupid, ignorant, bigoted, offensive things because only a brutal savage wants control over other people; therefore only brutal savages seek power and we are governed by the most foolish, greedy, irresponsible, power-mad and least evolved among us.  So it’s a bit tiring to see people behaving as though such statements are somehow surprising or shocking, and abhorrent that they ignore equally-outrageous statements from other power-mad throwbacks when it suits their political agenda to do so.

I’m speaking, of course, of the recent comments by a Missouri politician that victims of “legitimate rape” are somehow immune to impregnation:

Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri…justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.  “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday.  “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”  Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim.  “Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said.  “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child”…

This reaction to this moronic statement was as predictable as sunrise:  the media had a ball with it, Akin’s opponent and others claimed to be “shocked”, Republicans distanced themselves from him, Democrats touted the statement as a purely Republican form of buffoonery, Akin claimed to have “misspoken”  and feminists entirely missed the point and began an endless and dreary denunciation of the term “legitimate rape” based on the nonsensical but politically-advantageous concept that everything legally classified as “rape”, from teen sex to alcohol-fueled misunderstandings to aggravated rape by a stranger at gunpoint, is morally indistinguishable and equally traumatic.  But the most revolting reaction of all was the one from partisans, academics, journalists, politicians and other pseudo-intellectuals who jumped on Akin for being scientifically illiterate, despite the obvious fact that they are every bit as willing to ignore science as he is when it suits them to do so:

For a party intent on closing a gender gap that could spell electoral disaster, the Republican Party sure keeps saying the most remarkable things.  Put aside for the moment the persistent efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the many personhood and mandatory invasive ultrasound bills, and even Mitt Romney’s selection of the vehemently anti-choice Paul Ryan as his running mate.  Now we have this from Rep. Todd Akin…[who] informs us—based on fake science that he and others on the far right endorse—that the body can shut down a pregnancy in cases of “legitimate” rape, therefore abortion should not be legal in any case.  For the record, about 32,000 pregnancies every year result from rape…

Now, I’m not surprised to see such blatant hypocrisy spewing forth from the likes of Eliot Spitzer, one of the filthiest and most disgusting hypocrites currently besmirching the Earth with his loathsome presence.  Nor am I at all shocked to see he and others who can’t do simple math pointing fingers at others for being ignorant of biology.  After all, they are politicians, the moral equivalent of the sorts of things one finds upon turning over a rock.  But what does royally piss me off and fill me with righteous indignation are the number of partisan sheep currently polluting the blogosphere and the Twitterverse with their bleating about how ignoring facts, reason and science in favor of a faith-based dogma is only bad and wrong when it supports the ugly, hateful, repressive agenda favored by another “tribe”, but right and good when it supports their own equally ugly, equally hateful and equally repressive schema.  Either one accepts the scientific method, or one does not; either one recognizes that the universe is innately knowable via the tools of research, data collection and rigorous testing, or rejects that view in favor of the doctrine that truth is revealed via the sacred pronouncements of authority figures.  Anyone who has ever rejected cold, hard facts because they are inconvenient to his or her world view, or presumes the right to speak for others whose experience he or she does not share, or who proclaims that public policy should be based upon the way he or she would like the world to be rather than the way it is, has absolutely no damned business criticizing others for their equally false, pseudoscientific and faith-based beliefs.

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