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Posts Tagged ‘Prohibition (alcohol)’

No genetic information can be safe.  –  Erin Murphy

The Public Eye (#660) 

Charlotte Rose shares her own troubles to teach about discrimination vs sex workers:

Charlotte Rose…has previously been evicted because of her line of work, and has since fibbed about it when searching for a property.  The sex worker also revealed she often invites friends over to work, despite it being against the law for two sex workers to work in the same property.  “I know its breaking the law but it’s the only way I can be safe…All I’m asking for is sex workers like myself and others to be not judged for our choice of work – is that too much to ask to feel safe in a home?”…

A Moral Cancer (#790)

Prohibitionism is a kind of mental illness:

According to The Grocer, most British shoppers still describe themselves as meat eaters, with only 2 per cent identifying as vegan.  But almost 20 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds [pretend] they don’t eat meat…Between 1993 and 2017, the percentage of adults smoking fell from 27 per cent to 17 per cent.  Smoking and eating meat are fast becoming the social ills of the 21st century and it looks like alcohol consumption might be joining them…

Yes, this person actually believes that her little puritan bubble is representative of society as a whole, and that normal people think eating meat is a “social ill” as widely persecuted as smoking is.

Disaster (#883)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

…the Logan Circle neighborhood in D.C. has been a [stroll] for years, but now [busybodies call it a] problem [and say it’s] endemic.  Residents [admit] they have coexisted with the sex workers since the 50’s, but [now claim] the situation has deteriorated so much that many [pretend to] fear going to work in the morning or taking their kids to school [because they may be exposed to]…sex [rays.  Astonishingly, WJLA reporters actually]…asked two sex worker advocates [instead of going to the pigs as usual] why there seems to be an uptick in prostitutes on the streets…Tamika Spellman and Emmelia Talarico [explained that] when the federal government shutdown sites like Craigslist Personals and Backpage.com, [many marginalized sex workers] had no choice but go back to the streets…Spellman [also explained that the clients around Logan Circle]…”pay better.  It’s a lot less violence on this end compared to the other sex worker strips”…[reporters then asked] D.C. Police [for their opinion of these obvious and well-proven facts, and spokespig Stuart Emerman responded with a masturbatory fantasy about “pimps” with magic ninja powers and inert, vegetable-like sex workers]…say[ing]…“they will disappear, and a new girl will be brought in”…

Micromanagement (#927)

Go on, give the ultimate identification tool to a component of a fascist police state.  What could possibly go wrong?

For…years, [pigs have been salivating for the ability to root through Americans’]…genetic information…[but] a Florida [pig recently bragged]…at a [swine] convention that he had obtained a warrant to [viol]ate [a geneology company called] GEDmatch and search its full database of nearly one million users [against their explicitly-expressed wishes and that of the company].  Legal experts said that this appeared to be the first time a judge had approved such a warrant, and that the development could [destroy]…genetic privacy…Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University [said]…“The company made a decision to keep law enforcement out, and that’s been overridden by a court.  It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe.”  DNA policy experts said the development was likely to encourage other agencies to request similar search warrants from 23andMe, which has 10 million users, and Ancestry.com, which has 15 million…the Florida judge’s [betrayal of civil rights] will affect not only the users of these sites but huge swaths of the population, including those who have never taken a DNA test…because this [filthy rooting] makes it possible to identify a DNA profile even through distant family relationships…Most users of genealogy services have uploaded their genetic information…[foolishly] not anticipating that the [pigs would be able to root through it]…

A Broker in Pillage (#937)

Nobody will be safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

An 83-year-old retired engineer in Michigan underpaid his property taxes by $8.41.  [Using that as an excuse], Oakland County seized his property, auctioned it off to settle the debt, and pocketed nearly $24,500 in excess revenue from the sale.  Under Michigan law, it was all legal.  And hardly uncommon.  Uri Rafaeli, who lost his property and all the equity associated with it, is just one of [more than 100,000] people to be victimized by Michigan…[since the seizure law was enacted] in 1999…the practice is unconstitutional, inequitable, and unreasonably harsh.  [Activists] call it “home equity theft”…[and] are now asking the state Supreme Court to restrict the practice…the Pacific Legal Foundation…[is] representing Rafaeli and other homeowners in a class-action lawsuit…

Business As Usual (#956)

What kind of sick mind thinks the way to “build trust” with women is to hunt, rape and cage them?

[A cop rape gang with the Orwellian name] Police and Community Together team, which was formed in the wake of the disbanding of Columbus police’s vice [gang], is [aggressively hunting, raping and caging women] to rebuild the trust broken by [the egregious] actions of…the [previous rape gang]…The new [gang] has been averaging nearly two arrests a day…and…full-scale [pogroms] two days a month.  The result was 110 [peaceful consenting adult lives ruined so far.  The new rape gang gives cops from every part of the city the opportunity to join in the violence, and]…began operating…more than a year after most of the normal [pogroms were] suspended following the [wanton murder]…of Donna Dalton Castleberry by [typical and representative] vice [pig] Andrew Mitchell a[fter she resisted his attempt to rape her]…“We’ve got some catching up to do,” [rape-enabling sow Jennifer] Knight [oinked]…

Top Cop (#962)

The question isn’t “What went wrong?”, it’s “What went right?”:

Kamala Harris…is [losing] her bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination…her plunge in the polls has metastasized into a flatline in the low single digits.  She’s tumbled into a virtual fifth-place tie with Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang…[all] of her dilemmas are self-created.  Harris undermined her national introduction [by being an unapologetic police-state cheerleader who persecutes the poor and disadvantaged]…and plays to [fans of prohibition and censorship]…She was vague or noncommittal on question after question from voters at campaign stops.  [But rather than recognize that she is]…the “donkey in the room”…she [instead blames racism and sexism, qualities she herself possesses in abundance]…

No, Copmala, it has nothing to do with your skin color or your having a vagina. It’s that you’re a psychopathic cop who thinks the solution to every problem is more state violence and more people crammed into cages to be used as literal slave labor.

I Spy (#979)

Zuckerberg’s money is better used fighting the police state than enabling it:

WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging phone app owned by Facebook, is suing Israeli tech companies for selling information on hidden vulnerabilities that allowed malicious actors to infiltrate and access private communications…NSO Group and Q Cyber Technologies, are both private companies…but [their]…clients include government agencies in places like Mexico, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.  According to the suit, the hacking mechanisms sold by NSO and Q Cyber allowed for the targeting of “attorneys, journalists, human rights activists, [and] political dissidents”…[when] Facebook…tracked down the…vulnerability…an NSO employee actually complained to WhatsApp about the fact that they stopped the exploit…the NSO surveillance tool named “Pegasus”…had previously been used to secretly snoop on Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was murdered by…Saudi Arabia’s government…

If It Were Legal (#981)

While stigma and criminalization exist, this will keep happening:

A number of popular…camgirl…sites have exposed millions of sex workers and users after the company running the sites left the back-end database unprotected…Barcelona-based VTS Media…left [the database] without a password for weeks.  Those logs included detailed records of when users logged in — including usernames and…IP addresses…private chat messages…data…reveal[ing] which videos users were watching and renting, exposing kinks and private sexual preferences…and often their email addresses or other identifiable information…camgirls…also had some of their account information exposed…

Safe Position (#983)

Everyone unsurprised by this, please roll your eyes:

Following a tense, marathon D.C. Council committee hearing last month…a bill that would fully decriminalize sex work in the District will not come before a vote anytime soon…Charles Allen, who chairs the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety…doesn’t believe [enough politicians believe in human rights for] the bill…to make it through committee…[bill sponsor] David Grosso [who is not running for re-election]…worked with the Sex Worker Advocates Coalition on the bill…[but] religious [fanatics and prohibitionists] opposed [it, so obviously civil rights need to take a back seat to their sadfeelz]…

Torture Chamber (#987)

Cops show you what they are all the time.  Why don’t you believe them?

A Florida [screw who intentionally broke] a [helpless woman]’s neck in a vicious [and premeditated] attack, and who has a long history of [brutality, torture and rape]…was [finally] arrested…on charges of molesting two minors…[after one of his victims wrote a] letter to a family member saying Turner began [molesting] her on a nightly basis when she was 6, and that the abuse continued until she was 16.  During the investigation, detectives interviewed another [underage girl who had been] sexually abused by Turner…[despite a long history of sex crimes] Florida…[rewarded] Turner [by giving him total control over caged women]…for nearly a decade…

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I’ve been seeing a number of articles lately like this one; the tl;dr version is that only a smallish fraction (around 15%) of people the US locks up in its filthy cage stacks are there for drug crimes.  In this particular example, the author even implies that the number is deceptively high because of plea bargains and such, thus implying that ending prohibition is not really the most important part of ending the abomination of mass incarceration.  And while I cannot fault the facts as stated, in actuality these people are using true statistics as a clever sidestep to admitting that prohibition, especially the wars on drugs and sex, accounts for most of the bloated US prison population.  In other words, they’re using highly-spun data to lie about the centrality of prohibition to the US incarceration machine.  First and foremost, prohibition of anything creates a huge black market in that thing (drugs, sex, guns, etc), and black markets beget crime.  It’s all well & fine to say “most prisoners are there for violent crimes”, but many of those violent crimes were spawned directly or indirectly by prohibition.  Also: the feds & many states magically turn non-violent “offenses” into “violent crimes” with the wave of a legislative wand, such as by classifying uncoerced underage sex work as violent “trafficking”; or criminalizing the mere possession of a firearm by someone also in possession of plant leaves, then defining all “gun crimes” as violent.  And then there’s the fact that obscene amounts of money have been given to police departments so they can hire more thugs, buy more war equipment and pay for more overtime patrolling largely poor and minority neighborhoods in the name of “fighting” drugs, sex work, “terrorism”, weapons, avoidance of confiscatory taxes (“smuggling” in Bureaucratese), etc; this is important because the greater the number of excuses cops can use to harass, detain, search and otherwise force interaction with peaceful citizens going about their business, the larger the number of those citizens will end up beaten, charged with violent crimes like “assault on a police officer” for defending themselves, or just plain framed by racist cops.  And the asset forfeiture that actually inspires a lot of bogus criminal charges?  Justified by the drug war.  Again and again it comes back to that.  So please, wonks and pundits and would-be social engineers, stop claiming that only people directly killed by bullets on the battlefield count as victims of war; a far larger number die of bombs, disease, starvation, accidents, post-injury trauma or infection, or any of a number of other reasons which are the unavoidable results of the glorious adventure you’re trying to cover up for.

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Last week, I mentioned that I had done a lecture at the University of Michigan via video link.  Unfortunately, our connection was poor, so I had to keep restating points that were lost when the signal dropped; this ate up the time we had for questions, so I asked the teacher to collect student questions and I would answer them via email.  Most of the questions were ones I’ve answered in other places, and though that’s also mostly true of this one, I don’t recall ever directly answering it in one go:  How does violence against women change with different regulatory regimes?

When the demand for anything is inflexible, as in the case of sex and drugs, prohibition does nothing to curtail that demand; what happens instead is a black market develops to supply the commodity.  And because black markets are illegal, there is no way for those involved in them to call upon courts, lawyers, etc to settle trade disputes.  That means violence, and such markets also tend to draw people who aren’t afraid of breaking the law (which of course includes career criminals).  Alcohol prohibition is a fine example: in the 1920s, if one wanted some booze one had to deal directly or indirectly with bootleggers or smugglers, and turf wars became very bloody indeed.  But after Prohibition ended in December 1933, that all ended practically overnight; when was the last time you heard of a turf war between bars or liquor stores?  Similarly, sex workers who are raped, robbed, or otherwise harmed by violent men cannot go to the police at all under criminalization because they will be arrested for prostitution.  Under most forms of legalization they usually don’t dare, because even though selling sex isn’t illegal the cops may spy on them afterward to catch them in some prohibited behavior such as working together for safety or having dependents.  That’s also true under the Swedish model, and in addition the cops use sex workers as non-consenting bait to catch clients; that in itself increases violence against street workers in particular because the clients are afraid of busy, well-lit areas so they need to move to darker, quieter ones.  All these factors also draw rapists, robbers and serial killers, because they know it’s less likely they will be caught if they prey upon women the law defines as “criminals”.  Only under decriminalization, in which sex work is treated as work, are sex workers free to take whatever precautions they feel necessary without violating some law, and can call on the police if they wish (though I personally advise against that course of action).

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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This tweet from a government agency is not only blatantly false, it’s not even good propaganda.  Fentanyl is not only “safe for human consumption”, it’s a powerful pain reliever used in hospitals all over the world.  The only reason simpletons (such as those who work for NIDA) believe it’s “bad” or “unsafe” is because due to the war on drugs, it has become harder to get prescription opiates; heroin and other opiates are therefore cut with fillers to extend them and their potency is kicked back up by adding fentanyl, which is easier to smuggle because it’s so concentrated.  Of course, because it is so concentrated, even a small error in dosage can be catastrophic.  This is not only 100% predictable, it’s so inevitable a consequence it is called the Iron Law of Prohibition.

“Molly” is slang for MDMA, a drug that is not only non-addictive but far safer than alcohol; indeed it is one of the safest drugs known.  Its healing properties are obvious to anyone who has ever used it (including yours truly) and to the many researchers who have studied it as a therapy for PTSD; indeed, even the notoriously tight-arsed US FDA has approved more clinical trials and could approve it for general use in about two more years.  So why the bad reputation among the ignorant?  See the previous paragraph.  Most of what is sold as “ecstasy” contains very little MDMA, mostly consisting of methamphetamine and the usual filler garbage.  It has such a bad reputation, in fact, that a new term arose to identify comparatively-pure preparations of the drug.  And what’s NIDA’s excuse for claiming otherwise?  The FDA hasn’t finished casting the magic Spell of Approval yet, which will no doubt make it as safe as legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco (as long as one has the magic Scroll of Prescription on hand, of course).

K2, “spice” and similar drugs are synthetic cannabinoids sold as “legal highs” in places where cannabis, the safest recreational drug known to mankind, is banned.  Naturally these drugs are more dangerous than the real thing, because every drug is; however, they’re also far more dangerous than other banned recreational drugs such as MDMA and LSD.  So why does anyone use them?  Because they can’t get cannabis, of course.  Simply put, most drugs aren’t “unsafe for human consumption” when properly-prepared doses are used responsibly; prohibition, however, has been repeatedly proven to be unsafe to humans in any form.

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I thought, how nice for him…to take care of my little girl.  –  Nancy Wells

Bad Girls 

Really, guys, just hire actual pros; it’s much cheaper in the long run:

An FBI counterterrorism supervisor had his gun and pricey watch stolen by an “exotic dancer” after a boozy night at a North Carolina hotel…Robert Manson…awoke the next day to find she’d swiped his Glock .40-caliber handgun, Rolex and about $60 in cash…Last month, a woman stole a $37,000 watch from a man she’d just met at a swanky eatery.  Over the summer, two women stole $80,000 worth of timepieces from several saps who invited them back to their luxury hotel rooms…two women [stole] an elderly…man[‘s]…watch and $3,000 in cash after meeting him at a cigar bar…in August, a Saudi diplomat was robbed of a $30,000 Gerald Genta-designed watch, a $12,000 Rolex and $2,500 in cash after hooking up with a woman he met at celebrity hot spot 1Oak…

The Punitive Mindset 

One would think defense attorneys of all people would have more sense than to imagine the purpose of cops is to “protect” anybody:

A half-dozen employees of the Cook County Public Defender’s office have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, claiming county officials have done nothing to protect them from inmates who masturbate in front of them during visits to the jail and courtroom holding cells…Public Defender Amy Campanelli’s deputy, Lester Finkle, said in a statement that the office had been working with…sheriff [Tom Dart] and judges to come up with a solution for two years…Campanelli has said she wants extra [cops] on hand in courtroom lockups, a solution Dart has said costs him $40,000 per week in overtime.  Dart, also named in the lawsuit, [wants to lock the prisoners up for even longer instead]…

Arch-sleazebag Tom Dart, whom you may remember as Swanee Hunt’s crony, is intentionally perpetuating a situation which will make it harder to people in his filthy cages to get legal representation, while simultaneously calling for worsening the conditions that are causing the problem.  Anybody else smell a rat?

Under Duress

Even on the rare occasion when cops want to tell the truth, their superiors may force them to lie:

Massachusetts State Trooper Ryan Sceviour is suing his superiors…[after] they ordered him to alter a police report involving the daughter of a judge in a DUI and drug incident.  The state police are…arguing the order to change the report was appropriate.  Sceviour arrived at the scene of a crash Oct. 16…Behind the wheel he…found Alli Bibaud, daughter of [drug court judge] Timothy Bibaud…reeking of alcohol with a “heroin kit” in the car…Bibaud told him she had traded sex for drugs and…offered to have sex with Sceviour for more lenient treatment…two days later [Sceviour]…was ordered to alter his police report….[and] reprimanded for including Bibaud’s statements in his report…It’s not hard to imagine how neglecting to report an offer of sex for leniency could backfire [on a cop].  More importantly, the lack of any effort to ensure that “sensationalistic and inflammatory” statements by other suspects don’t appear in police reports suggests the state police was more interested in protecting Bibaud’s father than the privacy of all people arrested by state police…

Buried Truth 

Man who pontificates about “Christian morality” and thinks homosexuality should be a crime has a thing for underage girls.  Gee, what a surprise:

Leigh Corfman…was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala…It was early 1979 and [Roy] Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney.  He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing…Alone with Corfman, Moore chatted with her and asked for her phone number…days later…he picked her up around the corner from her house in Gadsden, drove her about 30 minutes to his home in the woods, told her how pretty she was and kissed her.  On a second visit, she says, he took off her shirt and pants and removed his clothes.  He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear…Corfman says she asked Moore to take her home, and he did.  Two of Corfman’s childhood friends say she told them at the time that she was seeing an older man, and one says Corfman identified the man as Moore…three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s…None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of…sexual contact…

Drawing Lines 

Nope, this isn’t sex work, no sirree:

You want your lonely child to, say, have a “father”.  Or maybe you just want to go out on some dates with someone nice, someone safe…you want someone to care, or at least act like they do.  You think it would be easier — cleaner — to pay someone than to…find someone [to perform that emotional labor for free]…So, you go online and hire someone like Ishii Yuichi, owner of Family Romance in Japan, to play that role…The Atlantic interviewed Yuichi who shares what it’s like to be that for-hire “loved one”…

A Moral Cancer (#566)

The crypto-moralists have been relatively quiet for a while:

…the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)…estimat[es] “3.5 percent of all cancer deaths are attributable to drinking alcohol” in the United States…In comparison, smoking tobacco is estimated to cause 32 percent of all cancer deaths…The group treats consuming alcohol as a pure public health problem to which the only solutions are various forms of prohibition.  They recommend regulating alcohol outlet density; increasing alcohol taxes and prices; maintaining limits on days and hours of sale…and resisting further privatization of retail alcohol sales in communities with current government control…

The Public Morals

Though I’m always happy to see cops imprisoned, it’s disturbing that this guy faces a longer sentence for texting than others face for rape, mayhem and murder:

Basil O’Kimosh, a [Menominee Tribal] cop in Green Bay, Wisconsin, faces federal charges for exchanging sexually explicit Snapchat messages with a teenage girl he met on Facebook.  If convicted…he…faces 25 years to life in prison…While it’s refreshing to see a cop get held accountable for a change, calling O’Kimosh a threat to community safety seems a bit melodramatic.  No adult…should be sexting with a teenager…but considering the kinds of things that cops in this country frequently get away with—murder, sexual assault, physical abuse, actual sex with minors—the severe concern in this case rings…a bit hollow.  The feds didn’t step in, for instance, when dozens of cops were under investigation for sexting and having sex with an underage girl in Oakland, California.  Or when a Chicago cop was arrested for trafficking a 14-year-old.  Or in the recent case of a Bronx officer arrested for paying to make sex tapes with a minor…but U.S. prosecutors have been big lately on exercising jurisdiction over both social media and sexting, and…this helps suggest the decision to make this a federal matter is based more on opportunism and political agendas than the severity of O’Kimosh’s crime or his threat to the public…

The Eye of the Beholder (#672)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind destroying two lives, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A[n Oklahoma] woman who married her biological mother last year received a 10-year deferred sentence [plus two years of probation] after pleading guilty…to committing incest…Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 26, was set for a bench trial…but instead pleaded guilty to illegally marrying 44-year-old Patricia Ann Spann, who is identified as Patricia Ann Clayton on their marriage license application…Patricia Span also was once married to her biological son…[she] is also charged with incest [and] is to appear in court in January…

The Sky is Falling! (#779) 

Young women using their natural gifts to graduate without debt is “disgusting”; giving free sex to boorish, penniless young men is “feminism”:

A shameless dating site is encouraging young female students to date older rich “sugar daddies” so they can pay off their student loan…s and earn them some extra pocket money and life experience…A total of five [miniature mobile] billboards are doing a tour of universities in an aim to get 100,000 British students to sign up by the end of the year…A…student, who asked not be named, said: “It’s disgusting. It should be illegal for these perverts to pray [sic] on youngsters like this [because we’re the emotional equivalent of toddlers and have no agency]…me and my friends would never turn to prostitution…it’s exploitative and wrong”…

Soap Opera (#788) 

Reading cops’ masturbatory fantasies of omnipresent “pimps” with magic powers is by turns hilarious and disgusting:

…[Wanking pig Curt Chastain fantasized] “I’ve had (sex trafficking) victims from every high school in Fresno County – and most junior high schools”…Arresting [consenting adults]…is…part of [the fantasy Chastain uses when doing what he calls]…choking…the…snake…“I’d bet every 16-year-old girl in Fresno has received a message that they didn’t know was from a recruiter…They’re recruited while sitting next to their parents in the living room”…As he drives from place to place during the undercover operation, the detective shares his [masturbatory fantasies about] the modern sex trade…

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There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man’s reason has never learned to separate them.  –  John Desmond Bernal

Some astute readers have pointed out that it sometimes seems as though I’m contradicting myself when talking about the future.  On the one hand, I am optimistic that sex work will eventually be decriminalized, that prohibition as a concept will be tossed onto the ash-heap of history, and that future historians will look back at our ugly, warped, fear-haunted culture with wonder and pity.  On the other hand, I say that the United States is a decaying fascist empire which has already passed the point at which future historians will declare it a different entity than the American republic which came before, just as they consider the Byzantine Empire a separate entity from the Roman even though the Byzantine rulers themselves made no such distinction.  But these two points aren’t contradictory at all; I think the confusion derives from a kind of chauvinism which can’t conceive of a future in which the US either does not exist or doesn’t play a major role.  But that’s not realistic, and I certainly don’t imagine the world that way; quite the opposite, in fact.  I not only recognize that the US, like every single country which has preceded it since the invention of the nation-state and every single one which will follow it until that concept is itself tossed onto the aforementioned historical ash-heap, is mortal and will one day die; my optimistic predictions are predicated upon it.

I am an American, and I love the ideas that the American government was founded upon:  minimal government, individual liberty and justice for all.  But those ideas were neither understood nor believed nor practiced by the vast majority of Americans even at the time when the Constitution was drawn up; even the Founders themselves, the men who codified those concepts and built institutions upon them, made plenty of exceptions, compromises and caveats to their high-sounding principles (chief among which was tolerance of the odious notion that one human being could own another).  And as time marched on and successive generations inherited the machinery of government, the safeguards installed by the Founders were undermined, abrogated, annulled, ignored and repealed to make way for laws and practices based upon the real beliefs of the majority of Americans: fear, hate, superstition, intolerance, greed, violence, control-freakishness, lust for power and, above all, prudishness.  The intersection of all of these vile principles is the crowning achievement of the warped American mind:  Prohibition, the deranged belief that some ruling elite has the right and duty to decide what’s best for everyone else, to ban everything that the elite decides is “bad”, and to dispatch an army of violent thugs to enforce those prohibitions by any means necessary, including (but not limited to) mass surveillance, witch hunts, perjury, robbery, rape, mayhem, murder and mass enslavement.  The last, at least, was predictable; if even the men who so fervently believed in liberty for all that they founded a country on it were unable to let go of slavery, how could their barbaric inheritors be expected to?

I’m sure some of you will object that legal prohibitions have existed since the beginning of civilization, and you’d be right; however, isolated bans on this or that are no more equivalent to capital-P Prohibition as it exists in the United States, than isolated murders are equivalent to War.  The idea that vast social resources should be devoted to warring upon the country’s own citizenry in order to stop them from consensual activities that the rulers disapprove of is a distinctly American form of collective madness, and the powerful influence American culture has exerted on the world for the past century (since the advent of mass media & American domination of same) is the only reason it has become at all prevalent in the rest of the world.  After the United States dies, the evil of prohibition will (albeit gradually) follow it into Hell.  The United States is but the latest in a long succession of great Western empires, each descending from the one before; it was originally a colony of Great Britain, which was in earlier times a province of the Roman Empire, which borrowed much of its culture from Greece, which previously conquered Persia, which rose to prominence after destroying Assyria, which had generations before conquered Babylonia, which had ruled over the cities that once made up Sumer.ruins of Washington  The next inheritor of this legacy probably already exists in one form or another; it will be up to that people to take the next step in the evolution of human civilization.  And when they do, they will admire America for the ways in which she was great, and criticize her for the ways in which she was awful, just as Americans do the civilizations which came before her.  And tourists from that future nation will one day visit the ruins of the great American cities, fascinated by the quaint customs of the locals, and enjoying the immense buying power their healthy currency has in the economically-devastated remnant of what was once the greatest power on Earth.

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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  –  Mahatma Gandhi

NY Times magazine cover 5-8-16One of the points I cover in every basic presentation I give on sex worker rights is that criminalization is a very recent idea.  Invariably, most of the audience is surprised; having been reared in a culture soaked in anti-whore propaganda, they take it for granted that “naturally” we’ve always been persecuted, because victimization and “pimps” and disease and THE CHILDREN!  But of course, this is nonsense; though many cultures have come up with laws intended to restrict or “regulate” whoring, the idea that it was an evil which needed to be eradicated by state violence is a 19th-century one, rooted in racism and “progressive” Victorian thought about “correcting” the human race by using law to enforce a Puritanical agenda.  Prohibition of sex work sprang from the same filthy, poisonous soil as did eugenics, anti-masturbation torture devices and the prohibition of alcohol and drugs.  But while the former two ideas are widely recognized as dangerous nonsense and the latter is slowly dying, the use of armed thugs to commit pogroms against peaceful adults because authoritarians don’t like their reasons for having sex is still going strong.  That, however, cannot endure indefinitely; the internet has made it impossible to silence the voices of sex workers any longer, and study after study has concluded that we are correct when we say that criminalization is an evil which harms not only whores and our clients, but our families, friends and associates.

Furthermore, as we should have learned from the obscenity of alcohol Prohibition, the only way to stop adults from engaging in consensual behavior is to empower the cops to spy on people, violate their civil rights and destroy their lives.  Not that this actually stops the prohibited behaviors, mind you; no campaign of prohibition in history has ever worked.  But prohibitionist laws allow the state to terrorize the population and “send a message” that free thought is forbidden, and that the almighty State is the arbiter of right and wrong.  As should be obvious from the glacially-slow process of stopping the Drug War that every decent person in the world recognizes as an abject failure, modern fascist states like the US are heavily invested in the violent enforcement of arbitrary bans on peaceful, consensual behaviors.  Cronies have become fabulously wealthy via deals with prohibitionist governments, the machinery of the police state needs bodies to be fed into it, and those whose power derives from mindless obedience to nonsensical rules are not about to let go of such power without a fight.

But if history teaches us anything, it’s that respect for individual human rights is increasing; the majority of people no longer feel morally comfortable with the subjugation of minorities and the violent suppression of private behavior.  That’s why over a decade ago prohibitionists changed over to the “sex trafficking” paradigm, and why their rhetoric largely consists of the repetition of tragedy porn and the assertion of the ridiculous idea that every sex worker who speaks in public is lying, and that there is some invisible multitude of “victims” out there who will be magically helped by taking away their income and subjugating them to the control of gangs of violent rapists.  The problem with this sort of strategy is that it can’t be sustained forever; moral panics die, and the scales fall from people’s eyes, and both individuals and institutions wake up to the truth.  A few years ago the wind started to shift in favor of sex workers’ rights again; many more individuals began to question criminalization, and then last year we passed the watershed moment when Amnesty International officially espoused decriminalization as a policy, and the federal government’s ill-considered raid on Rentboy brought Gay, Inc grudgingly over to our side.  Make no mistake, the prohibitionists are terrified; they feel their grip on the narrative slipping, and they know they will lose it just as they lost other fights against the principles of self-ownership and sexual self-determination.  If you read some of the prohibitionist reaction to last week’s New York Times Magazine piece, you can practically smell that fear.  They’re losing, and they know it.  They’re going to double down on their efforts, and the number of pogroms will increase in order to “teach us our place”.  And that just means we need to hold the course all the more.

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