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In Sweden…the fact that [sex workers] are more vulnerable is considered a success.  –  Luca Stevenson

R.I.P. Charles GatewoodCharles Gatewood

Famed photographer, videographer and cultural anthropologist Charles Gatewood passed away peacefully [on April 28th]…at San Francisco General Hospital.  The prolific 73-year-old was known as the “anthropologist of the forbidden” for his exploration of subcultures like BDSM, body modification, fringe fetishes and more.  Gatewood photographed numerous celebrities…and…worked on assignment for [major] publications…Among his more erotic works, Gatewood produced Tales of Submission and his photos were also frequently exhibited…A memorial service is currently being scheduled to be held at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco…

Rough Trade 

Oscar Luis Urbina was…charged with rape as King County prosecutors contend he brutally raped [a sex worker] at his home.  Investigators took a DNA sample from Urbina as part of that investigation.  Now, prosecutors contend that DNA test solved another violent sexual assault that saw a 25-year-old woman bitten, beaten and raped…on April 13, 2014…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A New Jersey man was convicted…of impersonating a [pig] and raping two prostitutes on the Las Vegas Strip…Mark Picozzi…somehow sneaked into a room not registered in his name on the 32nd floor of The Cosmopolitan and called the Las Vegas Dream Girls escort agency…After the woman arrived, Picozzi…told her he was with the police…and…raped…[her]…as she left the hotel…she was arrested [by an actual pig on bullshit charges]…and [since] she had [nothing to lose she reported the rape]…another woman…contacted police after seeing news coverage of the allegation against Picozzi…[and] told police Picozzi arranged a date with her on Jan. 18, 2014…then claimed he was a police officer before [orally raping] her…and [stealing] $2,000 from her safe…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I really love it when they feed on each other:

…[Los Angeles school cop] Mauricio Edgardo Estrada..surrendered to federal authorities following his indictment…by a…grand jury…[on] charges…[of] attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The case against Estrada is the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force…[Estrada replied to a fake] Craigslist advertisement…and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with a [cop pretending to be]…a 15-year-old girl…

Surplus Women 

Call me cynical, but I wonder what these prosecutors and cops would’ve said about Ashley Masi if she had been arrested instead of murdered:

Daniel Tejeda might have thought Ashley Masi didn’t matter, but to the 30-plus family, friends, prosecutors and Providence police on hand…to see him be found guilty of strangling her to death, she sure did…Tejeda…[murdered] Masi, an escort and mother of three…by pulling a zip-tie so tightly around her neck that its diameter shrunk by more than three inches…prosecutor…Daniel Carr Guglielmo…called Tejeda “the face of danger to prostitutes. “A prostitute dies … Who cares?…Maybe that’s what the defendant thought.  Who cares?”…

The Course of a Disease

A basic primer on the fight for sex worker rights, focusing on France and Belgium:

…on 6 April, the French National Assembly, not without difficulty, adopted the Scandinavian model of [criminalization]…Whilst many [prohibitionists]…rejoiced…the move…represents a real threat for sex workers.  As denounced by the French sex workers’ union, the STRASS, in a declaration co-signed by around a hundred associations, including Médecins du Monde and the French human rights league, LDH, these workers risk finding themselves being driven underground and into danger…In Sweden and Norway, where this model has been in place for several years, the results are not as encouraging as the governments would have us believe…

Above the Law  

If only there were a short, specific word for the cumbersome phrase “coerced into having sex”:

A lawsuit by 10 women says they were coerced into having sex while they were inmates at a jail in southwestern Michigan…the federal lawsuit…names Berrien County and four current or former sheriff’s deputies who worked at the jail…two of the deputies resigned and one was fired after an investigation started in September into misconduct by jail employees while they were off-duty.  The fourth deputy named in the lawsuit remains employed by the department…

Let’s see; it should be more specific than the umbrella phrase “sex crimes”:

…Santa Clara police Sgt. Thomas Leipelt…was sentenced to 45 days in jail and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted of exposing himself in front of his girlfriend’s co-worker…San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy Galen Underwood was [convicted of]…molesting a female relative…for 6 years, starting when she was 11.  Underwood…was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison plus 38 years…

Oh, I know just the word!

[Memphis cop] Michael Smith…has been arrested and indicted for raping a…woman…on April 16…at a parking garage.  The victim was leaving the Purple Haze night club…and…part of the [rape]…was caught on security camera footage…

Gee, I wonder why the mainstream media won’t use it when the criminals are cops?

Buried Truth 

In 2003, Dennis Hastert urged Congress to “Put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives”:

Former House speaker Dennis Hastert…was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison…for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago.  Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert, 74, a “serial child molester” and…also fined Hastert $250,000 and sentenced him to two years of supervised release after leaving prison.  Hastert must register as a sex offender…Hastert…admitted for the first time [molesting] some athletes when he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois before he began a political career that saw him become the top Republican in Congress…Zachary Fardon, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, said…Hastert would have faced more serious charges for sex abuse had the statutes of limitation for the criminal sexual misconduct not expired years ago…

Hastert is best known for the so-called “Hastert Rule”, but I’d like to remind you of the McNeill Rule:  “Any man who crusades against any sex act is almost certainly a practitioner.”

Where are the Victims? (#325)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Blackburn [Lancashire] Police…said despite the best efforts of officers, both victims found at the property refused to provide statements to confirm they had been trafficked…Det Sgt Tony Atkins…said…“This intervention resulted in the safeguarding of the two females, who, although not making complaints as victims, clearly were, but could not see it”…

I hope Atkins fails to see one of the 4000 holes in his vicinity, and falls into it.

Whimsical Notions

Retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, a former commandant of the U.S. Marines and president of Birmingham-Southern College, is calling on the next president of the United States to ramp up spending on fighting human trafficking…Krulak complains in a CNN op-ed that “each year the federal government dedicates less than $150 million to combating human trafficking—compared to $30.5 billion for the War on Drugs.”  Considering that the War on Drugs is now roundly viewed as one of biggest boondoggles in U.S. history—a fiscal and humanitarian disaster of such scope that even conservative Republicans and many former Drug Warriors can’t deny that it’s not working—I’m not sure why that’s supposed to serve as an endorsement.  But consider this one more clue that America’s war on human trafficking—which in practice is seldom more than a war on adults consenting to commercial sex—is indeed the next target of all that displaced Drug War effort…Citing the same bad statistics that have routinely been debunked by myriad sources, Krulak announces the launch of Generation Freedom.  This coalition of more than 70 organizations has come together to [lobby] for greater “financial investment [in the rescue industry] by the U.S. government”…

Cops and Robbers

Another sleazebag takes it upon himself to persecute strangers for consensual sex:

Amit Prakash…had no idea what [he and his brother] were getting themselves into.  The prostitution.  The johns.  The pimps…For decades, human trafficking has existed in a shadowy world.  That has started to change, though, as authorities at all levels of government have taken up the issue, shining a light on it, even as solutions to stop people from being bought and sold and forced into work as prostitutes have remained largely elusive…As criminal enterprises go, it’s growing faster than the drug trade…women start in the sex trade as teenagers, forced into prostitution by their fathers, brothers or uncles.  Others are coerced by their boyfriends…Prakash says he is determined to find a way stop prostitution – not just at a single hotel, but at hotels and motels throughout the Sacramento region…“The goal isn’t to go after the girls,” he said. “The goal is to go after the guys. The johns. We want to let them know we’re watching you”…Security guards are a must.  So are cameras, preferably ones that cover every inch of a property, so workers can see if unregistered guests enter rooms…Prakash also is a big advocate of…a universal Do Not Rent list…

Guinea Pigs 

Even when the perpetrators are loser guys rather than cops and other government actors, new surveillance weapons are usually used against sex workers first:

The developers behind “FindFace”, which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends [by stalking them]…On April 9…users of the Russian imageboard “Dvach” (2chan) launched a campaign to [out]…actresses who appear in pornography.  After identifying these women with FindFace, Dvach users shared archived copies of their Vkontakte pages, and spammed the women’s families and friends with messages informing them about the discovery.  The effort also targeted women registered on the [escort] website “Intimcity”…The [losers] behind the doxing campaign say their motivation is moral outrage, claiming that women in the sex industry are “corrupt and deceptive.”  (Tellingly, Dvach users also complained that such women typically ignore the kind of men who make up Dvach’s audience)…

Vendetta (#607)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that enslaves nearly 21 million people around the world.  Reliable data remains a major challenge at the heart of anti-human trafficking efforts…Our inaugural ATHackathon will create innovative tools to track & analyze data related to trafficking…

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Anything with “sex” in the vicinity will gather news crews like pyros to a dumpster fire.  –  Tim Cushing

Puritan shamingIt’s probably almost impossible for anyone under the age of 30 or so to conceive of how different the United States I grew up in was from the US of today.  That’s true in many ways and on many levels, but for right now I just want to look at one of them: the way Americans have lost so many of the gains made in the so-called Sexual Revolution, and returned to a Puritanism more vicious and repressive than we’ve experienced in centuries.  Because while it’s absolutely true that sexual variation is recognized and tolerated to a much greater degree than it has been for most of this country’s history, it is equally true that the moralists and censors now have far more terrifying tools of surveillance and a greater capacity to inflict violence than those possessed by any of their spiritual ancestors since the Dawn of Man.  And while people who were shamed or persecuted for their sexual behavior in the past might be able to pull up stakes and start a new life somewhere else where nobody knew them, in the Information Age every transgression is eternal and indelible;  furthermore, self-appointed guardians of the public morals are always looking for new ways to ensure that absolutely no one can escape their snooping or whatever scarlet letters they’ve been branded with.

Fortunately, a growing number of journalists have begun to awaken to the presence of the black pall that has descended over what was once described as “The Land of the Free”, and while it’s much too late for those who have already joined the obscenely-long roll call of victims of the Anti-Sex police state, recognition of a problem is the first step toward solving it.  The pendulum must eventually swing the other way, and perhaps articles like this one from The Week are among the first signs that we’re reaching the top of the arc:

…It is…remarkable how deranged so many of us seem to become as soon as sex is invoked in a public dispute…moralistic grandstanding drives public argument and policymaking when it comes to sex.  The porn panic...is a prominent example.  But it’s hardly the only one…

We’ll come back to that article presently, but let’s look for a minute at what The Atlantic had to say about the most egregious example of that porn panic, Utah’s recent embrace of Gail Dines’ crypto-moralistic scheme to disguise a Puritanical censorship regime in “public health” rhetoric:

…Gail Dines…wrote a column that spread widely: “Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public-Health Crisis”.  The divisive proclamation was occasioned by a bill passed last month in Utah…[which itself solipsistically] traces back to Dines…In 2013, Dines traveled to Reykjavik, where she met with Iceland’s Ministers of health and welfare amid [the] country’s campaign to ban pornography.  The move would have put the liberal state…in the company of Saudi Arabia and the countries where gender disparities are greatest.  But it made sense to many as a matter of public health…

Regular readers will recognize this sentence as the product of a mind befuddled by the “left-right” fallacy; a totalitarian state is a totalitarian state, and Iceland’s carceral “feminism” is as much a religion as Saudi Arabia’s Islam.  But I digress:

…In 2015, [Dines] returned her focus to the U.S., relaunching an advocacy group based in Boston with the new mission to “eradicate porn’s harms because porn has quickly escalated into an overlooked public health crisis”…at an anti-pornography summit…she reached an unlikely confederate, a Republican state senator from Utah named Todd Weiler…[who’s in league with] a Utah-based group called Fight the New Drug…The group denies a formal affiliation with the Mormon church, though…its founders are all Mormon, and its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul…

Again, there’s absolutely nothing “unlikely” about an alliance between two anti-sex, pro-censorship ideologues who prefer to hide their moralism under bogus studies and cargo-cult “science”; it would be exceedingly unlikely for these two not to team up.  But for some reason many people are wedded to the ahistorical notion that evangelical feminists and evangelical Christians are “opposed” to one another, and they keep professing shock when the world fails to conform to their fantasies.  Anyhow, let’s return to that article from The Week:

…sexual assaults are being handled on college campuses…by  establishing offices to oversee the creation and enforcement of regulations…covering every imaginable form of sexual or quasi-sexual conduct, ensuring that in all cases such conduct conforms to legalistic norms of consent…The result is a supremely creepy combination of liberalism, Puritanism, and the infrastructure of a police state.  In addition to stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus, such regulations go well beyond punishing bad behavior to require a transformation in the way people relate to one another at an individual level.  Ruling common forms of flirtation and seduction out of bounds, they aim to remake romantic and sexual interactions on the model of contractual negotiations among business partners…

If you think he’s exaggerating there, take a look at this article from Reason:

Colorado State University-Pueblo [expelled] a male athlete…after he was [declared] responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer…[who] never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual.  She even stated, unambiguously, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped”…The athlete’s lawsuit against CSUP…argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman…The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant.  OCR’s Title IX guidance…”encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations”…Neal’s expulsion…stemmed from his…relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe…Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon…Neal [gave]…Doe a hickey…[which] was…noticed by another trainer, described as the “Complainant” in the lawsuit.  When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex.  According to the lawsuit, the Complainant “presumed” this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program…Doe told another administrator, “Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy.  He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!”…[but] the predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict…

As I and other sex worker activists have repeatedly pointed out, a society which does not respect a woman’s “yes” cannot be trusted to respect her no either; the latter is demonstrated about twice a week in this blog, and the former is at the heart of the War on Whores:flush the johns

The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence.  An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury.  Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.  Cops know this best.  A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict.  So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.  In a long, detailed and disturbing piece for the New Republic, Suzy Khimm examines law enforcement’s infatuation with harnessing the internet to prey upon the public’s continual presumption of guilt…Prostitution stings are a favorite.  You can easily tell it’s a victimless crime because none of the parties involved receive any privacy protections from law enforcement.  Being swept up in one of these stings means seeing your name and face splashed across a variety of news outlets while the fine print (“all arrestees are innocent until proven guilty”) is relegated to the end of the coverage, if it’s mentioned at all…This country’s Puritanical approach to sex has long been the focus of law enforcement shaming efforts.  It’s not enough to simply arrest and charge customers and sex workers. An effort must be made to uphold the stigma…

In the US, government at all levels has always been at war with human nature, including sex.  But as I said at the beginning, “authorities” now wield weapons beyond the wildest wanking fantasies of their Puritan forebears.  And if they aren’t stopped, those weapons will not be restricted to use against male sexuality of which “feminists” disapprove, nor even to just women who cater to or enjoy that sexuality; they will be turned to use against everyone, and by the time useful idiots like Gail Dines realize that means her as well, it will be much too late.

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The unhealthy alliance of medicine and government…blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty.  –  Thomas Szasz

bootlickerEven though I live in the same world as the bootlickers, they are somehow unable to see what’s going on all around them, or else they see it but can’t correlate it.  To them, this news story (for example) appears as something other than an abomination:

…once every three weeks, [Marziya] won’t be working the streets of Qurgon-Teppa as a prostitute…Those days are reserved for the morality classes she was recently enrolled in by local police…to turn…sex workers away from their profession.  The main goal…is to “help these women to get themselves on the right path”…The speakers…lecture…their audience on moral values…

Yes, this is Tajikistan rather than the US, but the US-based website for which the story was written is clearly blind to the mind-boggling hypocrisy of  women being forcibly subjected to “morality lessons” from the police.  You know, the same people who do this kind of thing, also in the name of “morality”:

…Kimberlee Carbone was pulled over by [Pennsylvania] police in November 2013, ostensibly because “she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection.”  She was then subjected to a degrading five-hour ordeal that included a bogus DUI arrest, a search of her person and her car, a strip search at the county jail, and multiple probings of her anus and vagina at a hospital…Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough”…two [jailers], April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, [pretended] they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item.  Then they…[took her] to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities”…the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who [played along]…Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.”  He did not find anything…she was [then] subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…[District Attorney Joshua] Lamancusa…told her the ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity.”  He also asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.”  The lawsuit says Lamanusca and…cops [David Maiella & Chief Robert Salem] added insult to assault by making “derogatory remarks about her compromised position”…

Naturally, Carbone is suing, and naturally, a judge has already dismissed the majority of her claims.  I hope this other woman fares better, though I sincerely doubt she will because “sex trafficking”:

A Minnesota woman who spent four years in jail after she was accused of participating in a sex trafficking ring has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and a key police investigator…Hamdi Ali Osman [reports that]…Heather Weyker framed [her] as the “madam” in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees…in 2010.  Last month, a federal judge reversed convictions for several people…after concluding that Weyker was repeatedly caught lying, and that the sex trafficking claims by…the alleged victims…were fictitious…Osman…and other inmates spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells…for four years and on home arrest for two years…She’s also suing three unnamed supervisors who…allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts…

I’ll be very surprised if Weyker and the other monsters involved in this suffer any consequences at all; the function of modern judges is to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the arbitrary brutality of “authorities”, while shielding them from the consequences of their behavior:

A Cook County judge…cleared a…[cop] of the sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead of misdemeanor battery…[and ordering him] to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling…Judge Charles Burns [pretended] prosecutors had failed…to prove…that Dennis Barnes fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal…The girl was 9 at the time of the…assault in [which]…he…reached into her shorts and attempted to sexually assault her…When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.  “(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica told the judge. “And…she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble”…

I suspect the prosecutors in that case weren’t trying any harder than they absolutely had to in order to maintain the illusion that they weren’t all on the same side; take this other prosecutor, for example:

Stuart Dunnings III…remains a crafty lawyer already planning for what will likely be a plea bargain on multiple prostitution and pandering charges.  For those with resources…the “seeking treatment” tactic is widely practiced as a way to lessen fines or jail time…For Dunnings, establishing an “I’m in treatment defense” is no less calculating than his very public get-tough on prostitution proclamations…One of the oddities in this case…is the ease with which Dunnings has managed to delay court proceedings so that he can seek out treatment.  Prosecutors usually aren’t so willing to let [defendants] enroll in programs to buttress their defense…The very notion of sex-addiction treatment has a hollow ring.  Unlike drug, alcohol and even gambling, sex addiction seems more a punch line than a serious condition…

Though that reporter does seem to get that “sex addiction” is bogus, he spouts the usual anti-whore nonsense and seems remarkably naive about the way “authorities” all scratch each others’ backs while slamming everyone else as hard as they can.  He also misses the bigger picture, the way in which the medical and psychiatric bureaucracies have become part of the machinery of oppression, in what dissident psychiatrist Thomas Szasz referred to as the “therapeutic state”.  Doctors and hospitals assist pervert cops in sexually violating people on the grounds that they might be using substances the State has decided are not permitted.  Sex crimes are redefined as psychopathologies, allowing the well-connected to substitute “treatment” for prison while simultaneously providing an excuse for indefinite detention of the marginalized; meanwhile ordinary, non-problematic sexual behaviors are defined as both crimes and pathologies, thereby allowing the state to choose between various control strategies as it pleases.  One of the most terrifying ways in which this is being done is by redefining behaviors once considered “vices”, “crimes” or “moral turpitude” into “public health issues”, allowing religious fanatics to don the white coats of doctors and disguise their Puritanism as something akin to epidemiology.  So while just about everyone recognizes this as absolute barking madness:

A Christian author is warning women that “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”  Mack Major of Eden Decoded wrote on Facebook that “too many Christian women are losing their salvation because they masturbate…Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals…those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life”…Another post…warned…“The danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon…And once that demon attaches, it…will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief”…

…most don’t recognize this lunacy from Gail Dines as the exact same “sin, degradation and possession” rhetoric dressed up in modern psychobabble:

…As the evidence piles up, a coalition of academics, health professionals, educators, feminist activists and caregivers has decided that they can no longer allow the porn industry to hijack the physical and emotional well-being of our culture…Culture Reframed, an organization I founded and currently chair, is pioneering a strategy to address porn as the public health crisis of the digital age…if porn is not discussed in a research-based, age-appropriate sexual health curriculum, its effects will surely show up as sexual harassment, dating violence and inadvertent “child pornography” on students’ phones.  Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.  As the research shows, porn is not merely a moral nuisance and subject for culture-war debates.  It’s a threat to our public health.

Note that Dines doesn’t disavow the idea of porn as sinful (“a moral nuisance”); in fact, it’s central to her narrative.  Dines, like other authoritarians, wants human sexuality to be defined as both a moral and a psychiatric/medical problem, so the police state can feel thoroughly justified in violently subjecting individuals to whatever “therapy” or “morality lessons” it wishes in order to “correct” them.

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Faith prefers the absurd to the plausible.  –  Mason Cooley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Punishing women who voluntarily sell sex for a living is human rights violation threatening their survival and another violence by the state.  –  Judge Cho Yong-ho

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Another fact-free anti-porn polemic, quoting a bogus “study” created by prohibitionists:

Watching natural-looking people engaging in sex that is consensual, pleasurable and realistic may not be harmful…but that is generally not what the $97 billion global porn industry is shilling.  Its producers have one goal: to get men off hard and fast for profit.  That means eroticizing the degradation of women.  In a study of behaviors in popular porn, nearly 90% of 304 random scenes contained physical aggression toward women, who nearly always responded neutrally or with pleasure.  More insidiously, women would sometimes beg their partners to stop, then acquiesce and begin to enjoy the activity, regardless of how painful or debasing…

Harm Reduction (May Updates)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

…Hawaii…lawmakers…are proposing to commission a study looking at the merits of decriminalizing all drugs…The study would look to Portugal…[which] decriminalized all drugs in 2001…[leading] to a drastic reduction in drug use, overdoses and crime…The U.S. Surgeon General…announced in January, “It’s time for us to have a conversation in this country that’s based on facts; A conversation that’s based on medicine and science”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Cops continue their quest to destroy people’s lives for the “crime” of being human:

Redding, Connecticut, cops arrested a 14-year-old boy and charged him with possession of child pornography, harassment, and obscenity…This news story makes it impossible to determine the exact nature of his crime, but…I would say that he likely shared an illicit photo of a similarly-aged female—perhaps his girlfriend—with some of his friends…This is simply not a matter for the police…It’s not wrong for 14-year-olds to express sexual interest in each other…the cops investigated this teen for three months….How many police resources were tied up…figuring out why two teens were sexting each other?…

Above the Law  

“Rape”, reporters.  The word you’re looking for is “rape”:

A Wichita [Kansas] woman says a…[cop raped] her multiple times over a two year period…Richard Bachman…used his power as a cop to [rape her from 2010 to 2012]…This is the second suit against the [rapist] cop…[who]  threatened to plant drugs on the woman, and…handcuffed her while [raping] her.  “I don’t want him to ever be in a position where he has the authority over anyone again,” she said…Bachman’s attorney [vomited out the legalese equivalent of, “She asked for it”]…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The only people who “endangered children” here are the brutal thugs who invaded the child’s house, abducted her mother and have probably destroyed the mother’s ability to provide for her in the future:

A…[deceitful pig] contacted Alysia Mericle…[pretending to be an honest client, then called more thugs] to arrest her…Mericle locked the door with the [lying pig] still inside…[so his pig friends] used a battering ram [to destroy her] front door…[they then searched]…her place [without a proper warrant] and…found Focalin and Vyvanse, which are used to treated ADHD.  [Rooting pigs] also discovered [her business] ledger…Mericle was charged with promoting prostitution, possession of controlled substances, endangering children, drug paraphernalia and soliciting prostitution. She was [caged]…and a judge set her bond at $75,000.  The child was placed in the custody of her grandmother.

Mentoring

Anybody want to try these out and see how well they compare to the tried-and-true makeup sponge method?

…The Flex Company wants to replace outdated pads and tampons with a sleek, disc-shaped blood blocker.  Flex can be worn during sex to prevent making a mess.  The Flex discs are disposable, can be worn for up to 12 hours and even come in a stylish little packet.  They’re doctor-approved to be hypoallergenic, BPA-free and they won’t cause toxic shock syndrome…Flex will have to compete with SoftCups, a well-distributed brand with a similar product, though one that doesn’t focus on portability or sex…

One lady on Twitter reported her partner could feel it, which would obviously not be good.

An Example To the West (#133)

Human rights suffer a predictable, but crushing defeat in South Korea:

The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of the country’s antiprostitution law Thursday, dismissing “voluntary sex trade” unconstitutional.  In a 6-to-3 ruling, the court confirmed the legality of the antisex trade act punishing both those who voluntarily sell and buy sex, citing the need to repress demand for prostitution.  The verdict came three years after the top court began to review the act to rule whether it violates voluntary sex workers’ freedom to choose their job and what to do with their own bodies…Kang Hyun-joon, head of sex workers’ rights group Hanteo National Union, called the decision “unacceptable”…He also vowed to submit a petition to the United Nations‘ Human Rights Council…[which has] suggested [decriminalizing] prostitution as a way to create safer conditions for sex workers and to combat human trafficking as well as sex-related diseases like HIV…

Only one of the dissenting judges understands the moral issues here; the other two argued for the hypocritical and misogynistic Swedish model.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#318)

It’s so good to see more widespread recognition of this:

…social scientist Dr Kamala Kempadoo…argued that legitimizing the world’s oldest profession would reduce human trafficking and bring security and respectability to women in the profession…She called on [Caribbean] governments to…recognize that prostitution ought not automatically be construed as violence to women…she…was dismissive of the United States State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) reports, contending that they were politically motivated and did not recognize Caribbean practices or cultural norms…in responding to the pressure exerted on regional countries that receive bad marks in the TIP reports, Caribbean governments [have] created a regime to counter what [the US represents] as human trafficking.  However, she said that regime had itself become an industry…

Frequently Told Lies

Here’s a nice little collection of debunking resources (including some of mine) from Sex, Lies & Duct Tape.  Many things to bookmark here!

If You Want Something Done Right…

In which Brooke Magnanti considers the implications of Mistress Matisse’s piece from yesterday:

…When does reporting become rubbernecking?  When does wanting to help someone become wanting to control them?  These are topics that need exploring, both in public and in our own hearts and minds. Especially for people who, like me and…Melissa Gira Grant, are former sex workers who are now full-time writers…Some former sex workers elect to not discuss their personal experiences, and I respect that…But if you don’t write about yourself who do you write about?…What do we really take away from the piece apart from the feeling that everyone who got involved in Heather’s cause had bad intentions apart from (miraculously) Gira Grant herself?  With the subject of the story not supportive of its publication, and considering the fact that it gives a significant national platform to people who may have abused Heather — is this where the ally ends, and the hard-headed journo chasing after a byline begins?…As Gira Grant spent the days after the Buzzfeed piece appeared refusing to answer requests to clarify what happened, it did unfortunately start to seem like she could ignore criticism precisely because those making the criticism were sex workers…

Above the Law (#595)

Whoopsie!  Now where did we put that serial rapist?  He was here a few months ago…

Oklahoma prison authorities are working with attorneys for a [mass serial rapist]…to serve a civil rights lawsuit filed by some of his victims…prison officials revealed…that Daniel Holtzclaw…had been moved from a state prison but would not disclose where he was being housed…Holtzclaw was sentenced to 263 years in prison…and…seven women involved in the criminal case filed a federal lawsuit against Holtzclaw and city officials [because] the city and its police force [gave him free reign to rape at will]…efforts to serve Holtzclaw with the lawsuit have been unsuccessful because he can’t be located within the state prison system…

License to Rape (#601)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…According to a federal lawsuit filed by attorney Robert Phillipswhite police officers in Aiken, S.C…[pulled over] Lakeya Hicks and Elijah Pontoon…in Hicks’s car…[using the illegal pretext that] it still had [current] temporary tags…[cop Chris] Medlin [ordered] Pontoon out of the vehicle and [handcuffed] him…Medlin then [told] Pontoon, “Because of your history, I’ve got a dog coming in here.  Gonna walk a dog around the car.”  About 30 seconds later, he [added], “You gonna pay for this one, boy”…four [cops spent]…15 minutes conducting a thorough search of the car…After the search of the car [came] up empty, Medlin [told] the female officer to “search her real good,” referring to Hicks…this was all done in direct view of the three male officers.  That search, too, produced no contraband.  The officers then [anally probed] Pontoon…[repeatedly] grabbing his hemorrhoids…for another three minutes…[finding] no contraband…Medlin [then told] Pontoon…that [this was due to his supposedly recognizing] him from when he worked narcotics…

Bad Girls (#625) 

about 20 sex workers and…allies took to Daley Plaza [in Chicago] to show solidarity with Alisha Walker, a 23-year-old woman sentenced to 15 years in prison after fatally stabbing a client…”We could all be Alisha,” [said] Cathryn Berarovich…”Because our work is criminalized, there is no recourse for when bad things happen to us.  We’re standing up for someone who did what she had to do to survive, then was punished for surviving”…[they also called] out the Sun-Times report on Walker’s sentencing…for its…language…the paper described Walker with terms like “the prostitute” and “hooker”…[but] to Filan…as a “wonderful father”…in spite of the fact that…Filan was the aggressor in their confrontation, threatening her with a kitchen knife because she and the other woman declined to have unprotected sex with him.  Filan had also…been drinking…

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Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

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

Lying Down With Dogs

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

Check Your Premises 

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

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

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

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

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

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

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

Above the Law  

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

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

Prudish Pedants

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

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

Gingerbread House

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

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

So Close and Yet So Far

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

Hard Numbers (#340)

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

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

He Said, She Said (#448)

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

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

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

False Witness

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

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

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

Moving Pictures 

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

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

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

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