Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Like a Horse and Carriage’

The reason it took so long was we kept looking for something we couldn’t find.  –  Joe DiSalvo

Election Day (#45) trump-the-circus-peanut

It was interesting, but not at all surprising, to look back at my comments after the last presidential election and discover that the issues literally haven’t changed at all.  Once again the world was subjected to Americans vomiting poison all over each other for over a year while flushing some two billion dollars down a colossal toilet of hate in a mad contest to convince the undecided that an unbalanced TV clown who has bankrupted more businesses than I’ve owned would be a better Chief Sociopath than a power-mad harpy who never met a non-Anglophone brown person she didn’t want to bomb, and vice versa.  We endured months of propaganda claiming that a word-salad-spewing orang-utan the color of a circus peanut candy could somehow manage the largest corporate complex on Earth even though he couldn’t successfully manage any of his own companies; that a robotic war criminal with the fashion sense of Kim Jong-un and the charisma of your average DMV functionary was somehow less evil than her public behavior would indicate because she has a vagina; and that people so disgusted with these two utterly repellent specimens of homo sapiens that they threw their support behind either a stoner hick with a loose-cannon running mate or a crackpot prohibitionist so deranged even she doesn’t actually know what she believes, somehow owed the Two-Winged Fascist Party their votes lest the madman beat the megalomaniac or vice versa.

Well, we all know how that turned out; Trump won the popularity contest in spite of his own best efforts to sabotage his campaign, which means we may soon be forced to endure the spectacle of a sitting US president defending himself against a slew of lawsuits and even criminal charges.  His cabinet suggestions are a veritable rogues’ gallery of tyrants and malefactors, including the psychopathic Joe Arpaio, who was finally ousted from his position as dictator of Maricopa County, Arizona under the shadow of pending federal criminal charges.

There was some good news, though; California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis, while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved cannabis for medical use and Montana reversed an attempt by prohibitionist politicians to castrate access to medical cannabis in their state.  Prohibitionists convinced the bootlicking yahoos of Arizona to vote down recreational use, but a fat lot of good it’ll do them with weed being legal now in both California and Colorado.  Given that even the Texas legislature is considering legalization, it seems likely that the federal government will soon give up its evil and hopeless efforts to eradicate usage of the drug by destroying hundreds of thousands of lives.  In fact, it would be a smart move for Trump, one of the most hated men ever to win the Presidency, to reschedule marijuana and thereby basically end the most costly and devastating campaign of the War on Drugs, thus winning brownie points (sorry, y’all) with a large fraction of the people who hate him most while doing absolutely no damage to his reputation with his fanatical followers.

Also, Michael Weinstein’s bizarre one-man crusade to drive the porn industry out of California by allowing any individual to sue the makers of porn movies that don’t include visible condoms (thereby financially destroying the industry) has finally failed at last; while we probably haven’t seen the last of the fanatically-evil Weinstein, it appears that the voters of California aren’t going to give him the power he wants.  And perhaps the defeat of a mindlessly-restrictive prohibitionist law aimed at destroying one segment of the sex industry is a harbinger of flagging support for prohibition of other forms of sex work, just as expanding access to cannabis is a harbinger of failing support for prohibition in general no matter who is in the White House (especially given that despite Trump’s many horrible characteristics, this is the first time we’ve had a former sex worker as First Lady).

Like a Horse and Carriage

Taiwan appears set to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage…Taiwanese lawmakers are currently working on three bills in support of marriage equality, one of which is already listed for review and could be passed within months.  Same-sex marriage also has the prominent support of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female head of state.  About 80 percent of Taiwanese between ages 20 and 29 support same-sex marriage…That’s seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s ready acceptance of multi-party democracy and other inclusive attitudes, as well as the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people largely follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

A possible move toward decriminalization in India:

A Supreme Court panel formed to look into the status of sex workers…has recommended that sex work be given legal recognition…Recommendations include that state authorities should issue ration cards to sex workers, that sex workers should be given voter identification cards, and that the children of sex workers should be given admission in government schools…The panel has also recommended that [programs for transition out of sex work] be made a right for those who seek it…The panel has also called for recommendations to amend the existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act…[including] changing the definition of brothel…not penalising those living on the earnings of a sex worker…deletion of the section on soliciting…and the doing away of the section on the removal of a prostitute from any place…among others…

Morality Lessons

We’re lucky to have such outstanding moral exemplars to “protect” and “lead” us:

The FBI reportedly ran 23 child pornography websites to try to ensnare users, according to an affidavit from the agency acquired by the…ACLU…It was previously reported that the FBI had seized and maintained the child pornography website Playpen to install malware on its users’ computers…[so as to] gain users’ identities and apprehend them.  But the…FBI had not revealed that it also operated the 23 other child porn websites until the new affidavit…the…websites…were hosted at a government facility…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-eutt-sharp

I’m pleased to see the actual word “rape” being used for rapist cops more often these days:

An Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy was arrested for first-degree rape…Eutt Sharp was arrested on [October 29th] after a woman reported she was raped by an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy…

Of course, this probably has a little bit to do with damage control after Daniel Holtzclaw.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#669) 

The defense of choice for sex offenders, plus ADHD:

During a trip to a tanning salon, a Saskatoon woman spotted something in the mirror while applying lotion — something she soon realized was a cellphone…a…police investigation…revealed videos taken of 18 other women, without their consent, while undressing in tanning salons around Saskatoon…Harley Zane Irwin…received a 12-month conditional sentence…after pleading guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism…Dr. Derek Doan, Irwin’s family doctor and psychotherapist, assessed Irwin as having Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  A second doctor diagnosed him as having a sex addiction that resulted from childhood trauma.  Dr. Fred Reekie, a psychologist deemed an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of sex addiction, said Irwin is making strides in his treatment and has shown tremendous growth…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Because “I was wrong” isn’t in the cop vocabulary:

James Reed, the Illinois sheriff whose Halloween alert confused Crunch Choco Bars with THC…treats, now admits the error, reporting that…”was positive for containing cannabis.” In a press release issued last week, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office says “the suspicious candy bars…were found to be imported from Japan, and the design on the wrapper is actually a Japanese Maple Leaf, which [does not in any way] closely resemble…a cannabis leaf”…Instead of apologizing for unnecessarily scaring parents and lending credibilty to the mythical menace of marijuana-infused Halloween candy, Reed offers lame excuses…claim[ing]…”attempts to locate [the candy] on the internet were unsuccessful.”  It is hard to imagine what those attempts entailed, since a Google image search for “Crunch Choco Bars” immediately revealed Reed’s confusion…this incident was a completely bogus scare, a fictional example of a nonexistent phenomenon.  Had Reed’s warning proved accurate, it would have been the first-ever documented case of cannabis candy distributed to trick-or-treaters in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use…

Read Full Post »

The public never wants to hear that their fear-based and/or moral-routed legislation isn’t solving a problem.  –  Gracie Passette

All Shapes and Sizes

The world’s first successful penis transplant has been reported by a surgical team in South Africa.  The 21-year-old recipient…lost his penis in a botched circumcision…the operation was a success and the patient was happy and healthy…Full sensation has not returned [but]…the man is able to pass urine, have an erection, orgasm and ejaculate…

Politicizing the Personal

I’m always pleased when someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill attacks the concept of “empowerment”:

I was disappointed when…Woman’s Hour decided to debate the question “can porn empower women?”  This question not only relies on misguided assumptions that limit the framing of the debate, it also misses the point…it doesn’t matter whether porn performers are empowered or not by their work – they still have agency, and they still have rights.  Porn is one of the least marginalised jobs within the sex industry, but it still suffers from the same fallacy as every other discussion about sex work – the idea that it is only a legitimate choice if it is “empowering”.  We don’t hold other industries to this standard…Why do we only expect “empowerment” of sex work, and not of other jobs?…We don’t demand that waitresses feel “empowered” in their jobs for us to recognise their agency in choosing the work, and we don’t tell other workers who serve male customers that they can’t be feminist.  The empowerment fallacy is only applied to the sex industry – and it’s deeply insidious…

The Last Shall Be First

Another potty-obsessed politician wants to enforce his hangups with violence:

A Texas lawmaker has filed a bill that would prohibit schools from allowing transgender students to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity…Gilbert Pena [wants]…districts…held liable for $2,000 in exemplary damages — plus actual damages, court costs and attorneys fees — if employees knowingly allow transgender students to use [the proper] restrooms…In other words, the bill would place a bounty on the heads of transgender students, offering rewards to peers who report them for going to the bathroom…

Traffic Jam Minnesota Connection

The more one looks, the more continuity one sees between the Satanic Panic & “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…1978’s The Minnesota Connection [was] written by “preacher-cop” Al Palmquist…[and] billed as…the true account of Palmquist’s battle with sex trafficking victims, but it contains so many factual flaws that you must use air quotes while saying the words “true story”…[for several years before the book Palmquist gave lectures on] how Satanists use subconscious, subliminal, “mystical calls” in advertising and rock music to attract folks to the occult and its leaders who ply them with drugs so they can get them to worship Satan…[when] this Satanism stuff [didn’t gain] any traction…Palmquist [turned]…to fight the human demons in this word:  Pimps…he…[became] fixated on the notion of a “Minnesota Pipeline” that [delivered] women to pimps in New York…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Prostitutes in Spain are to be entitled to labour rights and would be able to claim unemployment benefits when not in work, a court has ruled.  Judge Juan Augustín Maragall ruled…that prostitutes should be given contracts by brothel owners, who would pay social security contributions on their behalf.  The civil court decision was made after a massage parlour…was raided by labour inspectors…The owner argued that the workers were autonomous and not officially employed, however authorities stated that as there was a employer and employee working relationship, it constitutes a form of contract so social security payments should be made…

Like a Horse and Carriage

Of course, some gay activists are against this because it denies them special privileges, and the Democrats are angry it was proposed by a Republican:

Something remarkably libertarian has just happened in Oklahoma.  The state’s House of Representatives voted…to end government licensing of marriages…citizens…will instead file “certificates of marriage” or file affidavits of common law marriage with the clerks after it’s all done with…these certificates will stand as proof of marriage for Oklahoma law…So this isn’t some phony “separate but equal” plan to protect marriage from “the gays.”  Any Oklahoma statute that operates off of marital status or provides benefits or privileges based on marital status will accept either of these non-license certificates…they will get all the same rights and privileges under Oklahoma law…Charlotte Rose

Skin To Skin

We’ve seen several stories about Charlotte Rose, but this one concentrates on her work with the disabled; longtime readers know how important I consider that specialization.  The article also touches on “sexological bodywork”, the latest attempt by some whores to draw a line between themselves and others which casts them as “good” and “important” and the others as “bad” and “criminal”.

Guest Columnist:  Kelly Michaels

Things had been going a lot better for my friend Kelly Michaels; her abusive ex-husband had decided he wasn’t actually interested in having custody of their children, making her battle to keep them moot.  But recently, the problems started again and rapidly escalated:

…It came to my attention that my ex-husband and daughter were concealing the fact that Jillian was engaging in extreme self mutilation, yet he failed to get her help…Jillian…[notified] me [via text message] that she is running away…I had the person that we share a home with pick her up [instead]…[and] took Jillian to Melbourne, believing that I was acting under Fl statute 787.03 Paragraph C…the abuse registry…[opened] an investigation…[but when I brought] my daughter to a hospital…[the cops] held me, and told me that I may be arrested for Kidnapping, along with anyone else that spoke to the child after leaving her fathers home…

She is trying to raise money for her defense and that of the friends who helped her to take her daughter out of danger; to contribute go to the link above, and if you can help connect Kelly with an experienced criminal defense and/or child custody attorney please contact me via via email as soon as possible.

Schadenfreude (#404)

Remember the Dallas outfit cashing in on “sex trafficking” tours?  Here’s a description of what one is like:

…I went on something called a human-trafficking bus tour and have been struggling since to make sense of what happened…Never leaving the safety of the bus, we learned from our tour leader that some of the massage parlors have been busted for selling sex. (!)  The strip clubs…we saw, the tour-leaders explained, shared some common traits with other strip clubs, and those other strip clubs were busted for various types of illegal activity…Children At Risk…is…led by Dr. Bob Sanborn [and]…describes human trafficking as a major problem in Texas, though…their research…appears to be overblown…What we [actually learned] from the tour…is that there are definitely places in Dallas where sex-related things have occurred…

All-Purpose Excuse

This article on the rapid and entirely unchecked metastasis of the Department of Homeland Security mentions, among many other things, its role in promoting “sex trafficking” hysteria.  It’s a great example of how governmental powers claimed to fight one supposed enemy are invariably expanded to everyone else.

Read Full Post »

I was…struck by how the…treatment for these women mostly consisted of convincing them that they were victims.  –  Jessica Gutiérrez

Bad Girls 

I suspect missing information:

…sex worker…Aarti Yadav…was arrested…[for] the murder of a constable, Dilip Borole…”Yadav owed him money and Borole had been insisting that she [repay him]…Yadav offered him a drink laced with a sedative.  After he passed out, she strangled him…[then]  wrapped the body in a mattress, before setting it on fire…”

Maggie in the Media IMDb logo

Jayant Bhandari, who attended my presentation in Philadelphia, interviewed me for his podcast by phone last week after I returned home.  And a few weeks ago, I got my own IMDb page because of my appearance on The Independents.

Perquisites

Tip for reporters who don’t want to look like prohibitionist ignoramuses:  when reporting on sex work in East Asia, don’t simply say “prostitution is illegal”, but rather point out it was traditionally legal and only criminalized in the past few years due to American pressure:

…just as [US] companies…pick up the tab for employees’ lunch meetings, in Korea they subsidize…hard core boozing and…the…sex trade (never mind that prostitution is illegal)…To Koreans, the business districts of American cities appear staid, orderly and a bit dull…[Koreans say] North America is a “boring heaven” while their country is an “exciting hell.”  No salesman…gets far here unless he can sing mean, inebriated karaoke and then slug through negotiations the next morning with a thumping headache…

Against Their Will

Nobody in the Indian media seems to think it’s strange that “rescued” women want so badly to escape their “rescuers”:  “The Pune rural police have launched a search…[for] three women who escaped from a government hostel…A few months back, [they] were rescued from a brothel in Aurangabad…”  See also the next item.

Law of the Instrument

A social worker explains why she rejected the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A few years ago I worked as a psychotherapist in a governmental institution in Mexico…we [were forced] to participate in…raids…to “rescue” victims of human trafficking…I saw how the rights of the women found in the hotel were trampled on.  I witnessed [their] physical maltreatment…This single experience made me resign my job…psychologists and social workers…were…sent in to win the confidence of the women and then use this information in an unethical way…the…[“victims”] were unwilling or even angry at the idea of receiving therapy.  Some escaped from the refuges where they were housed “for their protection”.  They didn’t seem to see it as rescue…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical Slender Man

ABC News [wrote]:  “A 14-year-old girl was arrested after allegedly setting her family’s house on fire in what authorities suspect is the latest case of Slender Man-inspired violence“…This past spring, two girls stabbed a classmate as part of a bizarre plan to prove the fictional creature was real…many reporters seemed to think it was not a weird one-off but a harbinger of a new trend, and a short burst of Slender Man media hysteria followed…the supposed Slender Man connection in the new story?  “…The teen…admitted to using the websites  Creepypasta.com and SoulEater.com, which are associated with The Slender Man“…She…”admitted” to “using” (which I assume means “reading”) Creepypasta.com, a vast depository of online horror stories that is “associated with The [sic] Slender Man” in the sense that he is one of the many characters one might encounter there…

So What Else Is New?

a…recent report…published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology  by Emmanuele Jannini…found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra…a…2012…study by…Dr. Amichai Kilchevsky…found…that…what [women are] likely experiencing is a continuation of the clitoris…

Scapegoats (TW3 #10)

Given that politicians who obsess about certain kinks are nearly always practitioners of those same kinks, what are we to make of Joe Arpaio’s crusade against zoophilia?

…Arpaio says sexual deviants continue to flock to Craigslist…to locate like-minded deviants to engage in sex acts with animals.  Several suspectshave been arrested by Sheriff’s deputies, and many were later convicted and jailed…Terry Wayne Haupt…went to meet up with the Sheriff’s Office undercover black lab for the purposes of engaging in various sex acts…Arpaio says he has written to Craigslist…on three separate occasions asking the company to consider forbidding this type of solicitation…Craigslist…has never responded…

Yes, Arpaio is now doing bestiality stings.  Meanwhile, nearby in Albuquerque…

Broken Record

How low can they go?

Prostitution is common during the [New Mexico State] fair, and Albuquerque police are running…[stings in which] female officers dress up as prostitutes and [trick]…men [into talking to them]…“The officers have to be very careful about how they approach…to avoid entrapment,” [pig mouthpiece Tanner] Tixier [lied]…police are seizing the vehicles of men who are arrested…

As regular readers know, they aren’t “careful” in the least; they simply invent accusations against anyone they choose to target.  And what, pray tell, constitutes “dressing up as a prostitute”?  High-heeled boots or skinny jeans, perhaps?

The Widening Gyre

Lock up your daughters!  Sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!

A new study…reveals…victims of sex trafficking are recruited in places we like to think are safe havens…girls as young as 12 and 13 are first approached…at schools, malls and even parties…The study looked at five years of cases in Minneapolis…Some 40 percent…come from families [with whom] child protection had contact…a potential [excuse] for intervention…police say major events like this summer’s All-Star Game can change the dynamics of what has become a big time business…

FYI:  looking at a bunch of police reports doesn’t qualify as a “study” of anything except cops’ and prosecutors’ masturbatory fantasies about underage girls. Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick

Like a Horse and Carriage

Gay marriage supporters claim that for two men who love each other to marry “makes a mockery of marriage”:

Two men got married in New Zealand…and people aren’t happy about it.  Heterosexuals Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick tied the knot…as part of a radio competition to win tickets to the Rugby World Cup.  The “best mates” got hitched…with tens of thousands listening live.  But…gay rights groups and social conservatives…have both condemned the sham marriage…

Picket-fence gays:  if the state is going to involve itself in people’s interpersonal contracts, I support your right to make such contracts as you see fit.  But your busybody concern for whether two people who make such a contract are habitually shoving their body parts into each other’s orifices is deeply disgusting, and you need to STFU.

Under Every Bed 

I had an ad in the Baton Rouge phone book for years, and it only barely justified its cost:

…Emily Morrow-Chenevert…said the Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 corridor makes Baton Rouge a hub for sex trafficking.  New Orleans is among the top 20 cities…and Houston and Memphis are other big destinations.  Baton Rouge…serves as a convenient stop between those places…there’s an estimated 27 million victims of sex trafficking worldwide…

It’s a “convenient stop” an hour away from New Orleans and on no credible route between it and Memphis.  Note also that the 27 million claim has shifted from all “human trafficking” victims to specifically “sex trafficking” victims.

Lower Education 

Ohio State essentially defines all unscripted human contact as rape:

At Ohio State University, to avoid being guilty of “sexual assault”…you and your partner now apparently have to agree…“regarding the who, what, where, when, why, and how this sexual activity will take place”…[this] impractical “agreement” requirement…[also applies] to…“touching”…[and] Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center seeks to radically narrow the concept of consent further (and ban “kissing” without verbal consent as “sexual assault”).  It says consent must be “verbal,” “enthusiastic,” and must be “asked for every step of the way”…Consent also must also be a litany of other things, such as “sober,” “informed,” “honest,” “wanted,” and “creative”…

Sold Out drag queen Facebook protest

Would Facebook dare to target picket-fence gay folk this way?

In a frankly creepy overreach of authority, Facebook is going after…drag queens, requiring that they use their “real names”…In some cases they’ve requested users send in a copy of their drivers license to prove a name is legit…Facebook just rolled out gender-neutral family options, so clearly they’re trying to appear sensitive to nonconforming identities.  So what’s with the name police?

Facebook temporarily backed down after protests, but hasn’t changed its policy.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, Zurich’s was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Vienna is considering installing…”drive-in brothels”…to improve working conditions for street prostitutes…The facilities were first installed in Zürich a year ago…Street prostitution in Vienna is generally legal, but…more and more restrictions [have been] enacted in recent years…

The rest of the article is actually a very good discussion of the bottleneck effect.

Paint By Numbers

Yet another cut-and-paste “sex trafficking” story:

Florida…ranks among the top five states for human trafficking…local authorities formed a team to recover victims and…increase public awareness…”it’s hidden…everywhere”…Polaris Project…Traffickers…use drugs to keep their victims…Florida…has enacted stricter laws…such as requiring strip clubs to…keep [workers’ personal] information on file…Parents should monitor…their children…on social media…because…traffickers…Salvation Army…conference…how to get men to stop purchasing sex, along with a prayer walk outside of massage parlors and strip clubs…

The only novel element is the assertion that “Traffickers often change locations…using standard transportation that wouldn’t raise eyebrows…”  As opposed to what, howdahs?  Pogo sticks?  Dirigibles?  Amphibious landing craft?

Dirty Laundry (TW3 #405)

a public inquiry into historical child abuse…has heard…of the abuse…at the Sacré Coeur orphanage…[in] Jersey, [where nuns] beat children with spoons and forced them to work in a knitwear factory…in one nightmarish instance, nuns confined a child no older than six to a room where a dead nun had been laid in a coffin…Other punishments included the children having sheets pulled up tightly over their heads so they couldn’t move and having to eat meals in a toilet…

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) David Ley

Dr. David Ley shares the story of a young man with OCD who made the mistake of telling a “Mental Health Crisis Team” (which includes a cop) about his persistent rape fantasies, resulting in his suspension from university and dozens of strangers prying into his private thoughts.  Ley writes,

…This young man is terrified that his thoughts…of rape make him dangerous to others.  Unfortunately, that’s the message that he is getting, everywhere he turns.  I’m truly sad that this young man…is now learning that asking for help can result in punishment…he…is…surrounded by a system…driven by panic and fear…[which] is making problems worse, not better…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The German Association of Female Lawyers (DJB)…rejects the prohibition of prostitution and criminalization of clients…A ban would mean a return to the times of social stigma and lack of rights for women, yet would not change the fact that prostitution takes place…[if clients alone are criminalized] an important group of witnesses in criminal proceedings would be lost…the DJB rejects the introduction of [licensing] for sex workers…the risk of stigmatization is…high and the benefits of such a scheme questionable…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435)

Ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when  hookers use them:

The company that operates Ireland’s biggest sex-worker website has moved its headquarters to Spain and is expanding its business across Europe…Escorts Ireland…[was] previously…based in London  to avoid [Irish anti-advertising laws]…chief executive Audrey Campbell…confirmed the company has moved to Spain because of its “more accepting” attitude…[and favorable] tax [framework]…Campbell set up the company with…Peter McCormick…who has a conviction for brothel-keeping in…the 1990s…McCormick’s son Mark was imprisoned for 16 months for brothel-keeping in 2010…

Translation:  “Internet-based company expands its operations and moves its domicile to a country with more advantageous laws and regulations.  Both owners are experienced in their field.

Whither Canada? (TW3 #437)

Terri-Jean Bedford…[has a list of] names of politicians who hire sex workers…compiled from sex workers across Canada, and…is carefully considering which…to release…after [C-36]…receives royal assent.  This would shame the hypocrites who secretly go to prostitutes while publicly moralizing against sex work or [voting] for laws that endanger sex workers…C-36 will either be undone by the next government or struck down by judges…[it] is a doomed rearguard action — aimed at winning donations and votes — and the Conservatives know it.  What they don’t know:  whose names are on Bedford’s list.

Read Full Post »

Humanity has a bad track record of selectively appealing to authority to justify our biases.  –  Andrea Castillo

R.I.P. Harry Reems

Harry ReemsHarry Reems, the first male porn star, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday (March 19th) at the age of 65.  For his role in Deep Throat, Reems was convicted in 1976 of “conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines”, and though that sentence was overturned a year later the stress of the trial drove him to start drinking; he spent the late ‘80s as a homeless alcoholic before sobering up in 1989, then getting married and going into real estate a year later.  Unlike his co-star Linda Lovelace, however, he never regretted his choices or blamed porn for his troubles, and went by his stage name (his birth name was Herbert Streicher) until the end.

Bad Girls

I left out the very rarest, but worst type:  “[Houma, Louisiana] police arrested 15 men…alleging they solicited a prostitute through [Backpage]…one of [two] prostitutes…[was] issued a summons…[but] the other…was not arrested [because she] agreed to be a part of the sting…”  There is absolutely no lower life-form in the whoring ecosystem than a person who collaborates with cops to ensnare others in order to save his or her own worthless hide.

Dr. Schrödinger and His Amazing Pussycat

Andrea Castillo’s “When Science Looks Like Religion” explores the territory discussed in Monday’s comment thread:  When people blindly accept scientific findings which reinforce their irrational beliefs while rejecting equally-valid results which contradict those beliefs, the result is not science but religion.  The last part is doubly germane:  it describes Norwegian social scientists’ knee-jerk denial of all data which contradicts their cultic social constructionism.

micro-drug-dogSecret Squirrel

A new low in intra-family spying:

…Suspicious moms and dads are hiring trained drug detection dogs to sniff out their kids’ drug stash…the RK Agency…[charges] $350…[to] “discreetly perform a thorough inspection of your entire property”…Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist …[told] the Today Show… “I don’t know if you can [have a relationship with your kids] if you’re bringing in drug-sniffing dogs”…

Size Matters

According to this post from Dr. Annie Sprinkle, Tracy Elise of Phoenix Goddess Temple has been “deemed…’incompetent’ to go to trial…she will be sent to psych ward and forced to take psychiatric drugs for about 15 months until she’s ‘competent’…I feel that if…sex workers…criticise Tracy Elise…we are in a way colluding with the [police]…and…contributing to the problem, which is exactly what the ‘sex negative society’…wants us to do…”  I totally agree.

The Last Shall Be First

[Arizona] legislators…are attempting to pass legislation that forces transgender people to only use public restrooms…associated with the gender…on their birth certificate…in response to a [Phoenix] …bill…which prohibits gender identity discrimination in public accommodations…

Lupercalia

Dr. Brooke Magnanti on the lessons we can learn from Pompeii:

…women in Ancient Rome [married] sometimes as young as 14…[but] were permitted to own land and houses and have jobs.  Women of the upper classes were educated to a high standard…It’s well known that Pompeii…boasted a large sex industry…and…open attitudes about sexuality and prostitution didn’t hold back other women from achieving

And if you just can’t get enough of Brooke, here’s a short but wide-ranging interview with her in The Age.Rong Chen

A Broker in Pillage

Once again, the British government displays its dedication to literally robbing sex workers of their life savings:

A Chinese brothel madam and her husband have been ordered to pay back £125,000 within six months or she will face another jail sentence and he will join her…Rong Chen…and her husband Jason Hinton…only [have] £125,000 of realisable assets…[namely] their marital home in…Worcestershire, which…will have to be sold or remortgaged…

Note the weird euphemism “pay back”, implying that the money is refunded to customers; in reality it is split between the police, court and Inland Revenue.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

If politicians’ minds weren’t befuddled by prohibitionist idiocy, they wouldn’t be so confused by wholly predictable outcomes like this:

…Jakarta…has tried…to offer sex workers ways to escape the sex industry…[for] example…sex workers…[given] a dressmaking course…did not return to their villages…but rather…to their old lives in Jakarta…the income from sewing was just too far below sex work…A high ranking health official…[said] it would be better to legalize prostitution; closing Kramat Tunggak would result in the dispersion of prostitution sites to several unidentified locations — making health checkups impossible…Surabaya…is still trying to phase out Dolly, East Java’s famed prostitution site…

But as this second article from the same newspaper explains, closing Dolly would be an economic disaster:

…Dolly…consists of at least 300 brothels…employing thousands of prostitutes…[plus] numerous supporting businesses — clinics, mini markets, sexual enhancement medicine vendors, parking lots, banks, rented houses, Internet cafes, small restaurants…University of Indonesia economist Lana Soelistianingsih said that…economic transactions triggered by prostitution [alone] could contribute around Rp 1.5 trillion to Surabaya’s gross domestic product…

Oscillation

Family Research Council…fellow Pat Fagan…claims that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the 1972 case that overturned a Massachusetts law banning the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, may rank “as the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court”…because it effectively meant that “single people have the right to engage in sexual intercourse…Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever”…

Fokkens twinsReal People (TW3 #21)

…Amsterdam’s oldest prostitutes have retired after more than 50 years each in the business.  Louise and Martine Fokkens, 70, have decided they are too old…Louise…says arthritis now makes some sexual positions “too painful”…and Martine…admits she finds it hard to attract punters – though one elderly man still has his weekly sadomasochism session…The pair were the subject last year of a documentary Meet The Fokkens and they have written a book called The Ladies Of Amsterdam

First They Came for the Hookers…

As I pointed out recently, Nevada isn’t remotely pro-whore:  “Two [Nevada] state Senators introduced bills…[to] regulate strip clubs…Mark Manendo…wants to charge …a $10 per customer fee…[to fund] programs related to domestic violence…Barbara Cegavske…would ban anyone less than 21-years-old from performing…

The Public Eye

Caty Simon of Tits and Sass interviews well-known activist Audacia Ray on the Red Umbrella Project, speaking to the media, condom criminalization, the Long Island Killer and why sex workers need to ally with harm reduction and anti-drug war activists.

Monkey Business

Baboons have been observed keeping dogs as pets:

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #39)

French sex workers continue to push back against increased criminalization:

10 years ago, the Internal Security Act (LSI) penalized public solicitation, including so-called “passive solicitation”…[this] has reinforced the isolation of sex workers, relegating them to more remote places where they are…more prone to violence…since the introduction of the LSI, “the conduct of the police deteriorated sharply.  Their attitude is less respectful and humiliation increased…their protective function…has virtually disappeared and [they are]…most often perceived as strictly punitive”…Médecins du Monde demand the immediate repeal of the offense of soliciting…[and] rejects any proposal to penalize customers…

Women’s Rights Minister Najat Belkacem responded in a typically clueless manner; though she promised repeal of the law, she also made the absurd claim that “90% of [sex workers] are victims of human trafficking” and refused to back down on her scheme to impose the Swedish model.

King of the Hill

Portland, Oregon’s bid for the “largest trafficking hub” title isn’t a new one, but now they’re claiming that this is “proven” not only by highways, but by rivers:

…Portland [has]…one of the largest sex industries of any U.S. city…human trafficking…is a growing problem in Oregon due in part to the traffic permitted by Interstates 5 and I-84 [and] the Willamette and Columbia rivers…the problem [is] one that’s inextricably linked to gangs…“When people think of prostitution, their first instinct is a girl walking on the street,” [police spokesman Pete] Simpson says.  “They’re not thinking about the fact that she’s being traded as a commodity, sold as a product”…The change [in strategy] humanizes the victims…

Simpson robs women of agency, then claims he’s “humanizing” whores who were already human before he turned them into things to be acted upon.  It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.An Intimate Life

Accredited Whores

Charlotte Shane’s review of An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey As A Surrogate Partner, the memoirs of sex surrogate Cheryl Greene (of The Sessions fame), covers much the same ground as my column, and that’s a good thing; the more of us there are speaking out against these artificial lines drawn between types of sex work, the more people will finally get it.

Like a Horse and Carriage

I’m glad to see that others are recognizing that “marriage equality” applies just as well to polygamy as it does to same-sex marriage, and are making good arguments for it:

I’m in favor of leaving marriage to the religious institutions, and registering households in whatever configuration people want to live.  If a same-gender couple, or a heterosexual couple, or an elderly couple who can’t have children, or any couple want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If three people want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  If a gay man and his female best friend want to be responsible to and for each other, let them.  Let’s stop worrying about who is screwing who, and just make it easier for people to be responsible in their relationships.

Still More Mentoring

SWOP-NOLA posted these “Client Screening Tips and Helpful Links from a New Orleans Provider”; I already mentioned a few of these, but she provides many more I didn’t know about.

The Joy of Juxtaposition

One would never know that these claims have been repeatedly debunked:

The Georgia attorney general and other law enforcement officials kicked off a public awareness campaign…[which] bears the slogan “Georgia’s not buying it” and includes a [commercial] featuring professional athletes…”We’ll continue to go after the pimps and rescue the victims, but we know that the only way to truly eradicate this evil is by ending the demand,” Attorney General Sam Olens said…It is a problem throughout Georgia, in both urban areas and in small towns and rural areas…

Georgia is indeed “buying it”, wholesale.  I’m sure millions in federal grants and an excuse to further erode civil rights have nothing to do with all this.

Skin To Skin

An Australian sex therapist argues that disability insurance should cover the hiring of sex workers:

Sexual expression is a fundamental part of being human…Decades of research have uncovered the many benefits of sex, which include physical health, quality of life, psychological well-being and sexual self-esteem.  Unfortunately, because of social taboos and hypocrisy…barriers are created to stop people from fully realising these benefits…Some people with disabilities have limited opportunities for sexual relationships because they lack privacy and are dependent on others…Maggie in Albany

Comfort Zone

The video of the Albany Law School symposium is now available!  If you don’t have the time or inclination to watch the whole thing (4 hours), my part runs from minute 170 to 185.

An Ounce of Prevention (TW3 #310)

Earlier this month, doctors announced that a baby had been cured of…HIV…Now…it appears that 14 adults have…been successfully treated…70 people…[received] combination antiretroviral therapy (cART)…much sooner than…normal…[because] all [were] diagnosed…early…they…stuck to the [regimen] for an average of three years…[but then] stopped…for various reasons…Normally, HIV will return when patients stop taking their ARVs.  But this time…14…patients…were functionally cured…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #311)

Apparently, the proposed legislative reform in South Australia isn’t quite decriminalization (though it’s a lot closer to it than anything we’ll see in the US anytime soon):  “…it makes special provisions for sex work such as special licensing, laws about safe sex and possibly restrictions on location…once a ‘reform’ law has been passed the chances of getting better legislation in the near future drop to zero.  So many people feel it’s better to stay with a bad situation and hope to get good reform rather than settle for an unsatisfactory ‘improvement’…

Read Full Post »

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
  –  Sammy Cahn

I finally figured out what it is about gay marriage rhetoric that irritates me.  Now, I have absolutely nothing against the concept, except insofar as I think the government should get out of the marriage business entirely and that all “marriages” should be contracts between two or more consenting adults of any combination of sexes, with the terms, privileges, responsibilities, duration, etc spelled out in writing, and disputes arbitrated under standard contract law.  Yet every time I read the arguments of same-sex marriage advocates, especially in the last couple of years, I’ve found myself getting annoyed for no reason I could adequately pin down.  But one cold morning the week after the elections I was walking to my barn to let the animals out and it suddenly came to me (and you’d be amazed just how many things come to me during such walks):  the culprit is “love” rhetoric, as in calling same-sex marriage “freedom to love” or Google’s calling its campaign for the issue “Legalize Love”.

Regular readers probably already see where I’m going with this.  For quite some time now the Western world has sunk more and more deeply into the delusion that marriage is “about” love, that love can keep a marriage together by itself, and so on.  As I wrote in “Housewife Harlotry”,

…love is the icing, not the cake…Marriage is first and foremost a socioeconomic relationship, and the modern insistence that love is the be-all and end-all of marriage is one of the primary reasons for the skyrocketing divorce rate, because couples who share no bond other than the biochemical one we call “romantic love” have no reason to stay together when time and adversity weakens or destroys it.  True love is a much more complex emotional bond, but it takes time to develop and rarely does so between people who are not already bound together by other, more mundane bonds such as blood or mutual dependence.

This adolescent refrain of “love love love” (like a scratched Beatles record) whenever the subject of marriage (same-sex or otherwise) comes up gets on my nerves, because for those laboring under that misapprehension all same-sex marriage will do is to slightly increase the divorce rate.

But there’s another, more important concern, which is:  why is the reason two people choose to live together, sign a contract together or have sex with each other any business of the government’s?  I find the notion that a contract of mutual economic interdependence can only be drawn up between two people who boink each another to be just as inane, irrational and offensive as same-sex marriage proponents consider the notion that those two parties must be of opposite sexes.  For example, why can’t two heterosexuals of the same sex make a contract to pool their resources, share insurance, secure inheritance, etc, without having to pretend they sleep together?  Traditionally, marriages were given special rights to protect minor children, not to confer a special state sanction on people sticking their body parts into one another’s orifices; since many couples (hetero- or homosexual) nowadays choose to remain childless, why does it matter whether they have sex?  And please, don’t yammer about “love”; not only is it totally legal to marry for money or other practical concerns, I also think it’s a bit hypocritical for a government which spends billions trying to keep some people from getting high to subsidize others making life-altering decisions while under the influence of mind-altering chemicals, merely because those chemicals happen to originate inside their own bodies.  Furthermore, it’s highly discriminatory to subsidize only sexual love, but not fraternal love.

Governments have no right to set any limits on relations between consenting adults.  They should not be able to bar people from having sex, nor to require that parties to certain contracts must have sex.  They do not have the right to control the gender, number, acts, frequency, duration, terms, reasons, compensation, or any other factors between adults who do choose to have sex, nor to harass them for their choices.  And they certainly don’t have the right to declare that sexual relationships are only for people who are “in love”, or to give special preferences to those who are.  Though Western tradition of the last couple of centuries increasingly frowns upon marriages contracted for reasons other than romantic love, it is not the state’s place to enact such mores into law any more than it would have been its place a century ago to legally require all wheeled vehicles to be drawn by horses.  Sammy Cahn was right; love and marriage do go together exactly like a horse and carriage:  traditionally associated, but not the only conceivable arrangement, and perhaps not even the best one.

Read Full Post »