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The…state may not obstruct those who wish to participate in lawful transactions nor…those who wish to help them.  –  Justice Hayden

Droit du Seigneur

If a non-cop did this, do you think the court would simply ask his employers to demote him?

A New Jersey police chief…[who] offer[ed a cop] a promotion in exchange for sex with his wife and [underage] daughter, should [merely] be demoted, a…judge [declared]…Rudy Beu…was [found] guilty of…[a few status] charges…Beu…has been [on paid vacation]…since Feb. 26, 2020…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops often target sex workers for exactly this reason:

…on May 24, 2020…[sex worker and activist Jay St. James] was stalked and raped by Christopher Drumm, a [typical and representative Eugene, Oregon cop]…after the attack, she and her family were harassed by other [cop gang] members…No charges have been brought against Drumm—but St. James is now facing charges of her own after protesting her assault…three days before the a[ggravat]ed rape…Drumm responded to a domestic violence call at St. James’s house…St. James requested a mental health professional, but [of course they sent the pigs]…instead…the [cops refused] to make a report…about the abuse…[but instead reported her to] Child Protective Services…because [she had not magically teleported] her children [away the instant the] …domestic violence [started]…Drumm and his colleagues [also] sexually harassed her…For the next three days…Drumm continued to show up at her house unannounced…[then] on May 24…[he] returned…and raped her twice…

The Proper Study (#897)

Another study proves what sex workers have been saying all along:

Our research provides new causal evidence on the impact that criminalizing sex work in a lower‐​income country has on the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by exploiting a natural experiment in which commercial sex work was unexpectedly criminalized in one district in East Java, Indonesia, while it remained noncriminalized in neighboring districts…criminalizing sex work increases STI rates among sex workers…by 27.3 percentage points, or 58 percent, from baseline…the main mechanisms driving the increase…are a decrease in access to condoms, an increase in condom prices, and an increase in sex without condoms…women who…leave sex work because of criminalization have lower earnings than those who leave by choice…children of [these] women…are more likely to work to supplement household income…criminalization [also] results in substantial increases in the probability of STI transmission to the general population…Understanding the impacts of criminalization…in lower‐​income countries is arguably even more important than in higher‐​income countries…

Skin To Skin (#980)

Wise judge refuses to allow prudish paternalism to trump human needs:

A senior judge has ruled it is lawful for carers [of people with mental disabilities] to help clients find and pay for sex…[but entitled busybodies plan] to appeal the judgment because of its implications for policies on [sending violent thugs to attack people for desiring consensual adult sex]…The young man…known only as C, is fit and healthy but…needs daily help with many parts of his life. He has autism and a genetic disorder – but [the judge]…found that he was happy and well-supported…C knew he would probably never find a girlfriend but he nevertheless wanted to experience sex – and so he had asked his carers if they could find him a sex worker…[but] C’s carers w[orried] they would [be]…legally [classified as “pimps”] if they agreed to help…Justice Hayden ruled that…If the law banned the carers from helping C, that would be discrimination because anyone else without his condition could lawfully pay for sex…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1052)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives are a feature, not a bug:

In February 2019, Nijeer Parks walked into the Woodbridge…New Jersey…[cop shop after] receiv[ing] a frantic phone call from his grandmother telling him that p[igs]…had come [root]ing for him…Parks had trouble with the law…on drug-related charges, [but]…was now working a steady job as a carpenter…Parks [unwisely walked into the cop shop without a lawyer in an attempt] to clear his name…[but was instead arrested on bogus charges of] aggravated assault, unlawful possession of weapons, using a fake ID, possession of marijuana, shoplifting, leaving the scene of a crime, [and] resisting arrest…he spent 11 days in jail…[before] learn[ing t]hat the evidence against him was…a facial recognition scan of…[the] fake ID…What followed was a year-long legal nightmare for Parks, who faced years in prison and the potential of additional time due to his prior convictions…

Disaster (#1115)

Canada is following Australia and the US in trying to destroy the internet:

Canadian Senate Bill S-203…is another woefully misguided proposal aimed at regulating sexual content online.  To say the least, this bill fails to understand how the internet functions and would be seriously damaging to online expression and privacy…S-203 would make any person or company criminally liable for any time an underage user engages with sexual content through its service…unless the person or company “implemented a prescribed age-verification method”…[it] would criminalize the acts of independent performers, artists, blogs, social media, message boards, email providers, and any other intermediary or service…that is in some way “for commercial purposes”…The only meaningful defense…would be to verify the legal adult age of every user and then store that data…The sheer amount of technical infrastructure…would be costly and overwhelmingly complicated….[and] introduce many security concerns that weren’t previously there…the financial burden would only advantage the largest players online…the bill would likely force many companies to simply eliminate sexual content instead of carrying the huge risk that an underage user will access it…

You Were Warned (#1131)

Puritans never quite admit they want to destroy the internet, but this comes close:

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty…has unveiled a [scheme] to repeal Section 230…and replace it with something he calls “Section 232.”  His [Orwellian-named] “21st Century FREE Speech Act“…would change the nature of online communication as we know it…the…bill…attempts to establish as U.S. federal policy the act of “facilitat[ing] the…blocking…[of] objectionable or inappropriate online material”…[and to] redefine “the major internet communications platforms” as “common carriers”…In quite explicit terms, Hagerty’s bill establishes a protection from censorship of “religious and political speech” while at the same time encouraging the censorship of “objectionable and inappropriate online material”…the…bill…would essentially enshrine a peculiarly vague notion of sexual content (i.e. “signifies the form of immorality which has relation to sexual impurity”)…an[d] active[ly] call for state and corporate censorship…

As I pointed out yesterday, there are now a lot more sex workers writing articles debunking prohibitionist propaganda, sharing the truths of our lives with those outside the demimonde, and making powerful arguments in favor of decriminalization.  Eleven years ago, that wasn’t the case; while I certainly wasn’t the only one writing, there were few enough of us that I felt very driven, knowing that my words were helping a lot of people understand that which our enemies don’t want them to understand: that sex workers are as diverse as any other social group and have real lives rather than being the cartoon victims or villain of prohibitionists’ sick sexual fantasies.  Since Day One of this blog my primary intended audience has always been the general public; I’ve always been more interested in humanizing and destigmatizing sex workers in the minds of that public instead of preaching to the choir, which is why I’ve never felt any compulsion to restrict my topics to those of interest to activists.  And now that the heavy lifting is spread out among a far larger number of far younger shoulders than mine, I think it’s time to broaden my focus even more.  Some of you may have noticed it already: I’m ignoring news stories that feel too repetitive, and there are now too many good sex worker articles for me to call attention to them all.  And I’m using the time and energy I save to write about stuff that’s interesting to me, like philosophy, construction projects at Sunset, and science fiction shows.  But that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning my mission; I’m just going about it a different way.  Instead of merely telling outsiders that sex workers are regular folks, I’m showing them instead.  And I don’t plan to stop doing that anytime soon.

At one time, there weren’t a lot of sex workers writing solid, substantive analyses of prohibition; that is no longer true.  Every year I see greater numbers of sex workers writing strong, convincing articles on why the War on Whores is horrible for everybody, and not just in blogs or “zines” or other small-audience venues, oh no; just last week saw two powerful, in-depth articles on how prohibitionism is nothing but camouflage for the reality that the sexual abuse of children is nearly always perpetrated by people the victim knows, often inside the nuclear family worshipped as a cultic totem by those who publicly fantasize the most vociferously about imaginary pimps with magical ninja powers pulling screaming children through the internet and confining them in dog crates to be raped by 100 men a day in truck stops.  Both are well worth reading in their entirety, but here’s a sample to get you started.  The first one is from Reese Piper:

One study…found that 82% of abuse was organized by a direct family member…despite all the warnings about strange men lurking in vans, only 4% of the abuse occurred by strangers when the child was being victimized by one person; 2% when the child was abused by multiple people.  The rest were biological fathers, stepfathers, acquaintances of the family, mothers, stepmothers, brothers, sisters, grandmas, aunts, uncles, and trusted members of the community such as clergy, police officers, teachers, counselors, and babysitters…Projecting [sexual abuse] outside the home relieves the pressure of the cognitive dissonance, allowing people to accept the darker shades of our world without disrupting their understanding of normal.  To protect the pillars that surround the Family, we need a scapegoat.  Women who work outside the home have always been considered a threat.  Just as daycare workers encountered vitriol and baseless allegations of harm against children in the ’80s and ‘90s, sex workers are now the vessels society empties its anguish and anger into…Often when…bills like SISEA are introduced they seem altruistic.  An average person not schooled in sex work politics won’t understand how much harm censorship can cause in a profession that survives on visibility.  But other times politicians are blatant about their plans to push “fallen women” back into the shadows where they can remain the other…

The other is from my friend Cathy Reisenwitz:

…Though evangelicals tend to oppose any sexual norm they believe might threaten the stability and fecundity of the Christian nuclear family—including premarital sex, interracial dating, gay marriage, trans rights, immigration, and abortion—the purity culture [politician Matt] Gaetz and other evangelicals promote may actually exacerbate sexual abuse.  A recent report from the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence found that certain norms embedded in religious teachings, in particular, are associated with high levels of sexual abuse; these include gender essentialism, limited autonomy for women, limited gender egalitarianism, a view of masculinity as dominant and aggressive, and male sexual entitlement.  So while it might seem counterintuitive that sexual abuse allegations proliferate in a movement that emphasizes sexual restraint and propriety, evangelical purity culture shares troubling overlaps with other cultures in which sexual abuse is common…There’s no epidemic of sex trafficking that requires the federal government to censor online pornography or arrest, deport, or incarcerate Americans for buying or selling sex.  Nevertheless, evangelicals have forged a vast network of organizations meant to “raise awareness” and lobby the U.S. government to use state violence to enforce sexual purity standards…Perhaps these organizations rely on anecdotes and flawed data year after year because it has always been vanishingly rare for a stranger to successfully kidnap someone in the United States and force them into sex slavery.  The most cursory analysis reveals that nearly every case of “sex trafficking” turns out to be one of two things: It’s either actually adult, consensual sex work or it’s an instance of intimate-partner violence… The real sexual abuse epidemic isn’t men in vans holding women at gunpoint. It’s…men like Gaetz, and the ideologies of abuse that they promote.

Eradicating harm—[as now] redefined—may only amount to performance art, in which the semblance of action is all that is needed.  –  Eric Smith

Crying Wolf

This tendency has only worsened over the past decade:

The standard definition of harm has undergone concept creep…Where once the potential for harm existed in contact sports, accidents, physical altercations, traumas and so on, one might now find it while reading a question on an examlistening to a recorded debate in a classroom or encountering an opinion on social media…the broadening meaning of harm…can cause activists to spend so much time on relatively innocuous actions that they have none left for the arduous task of dealing with real societal harms like housing and food insecurity, failed educational institutions, violence in inner cities and disproportionate mortality rates…Defining harm as shallowly as many modern activists do leads them to mistake symbolic gestures for concrete strategies for change…the redefinition of harm [also] infantilizes people of color…I don’t think a world in which people of color give their power away so easily is one any self-respecting person of color would want to see…

Checklist (#986)

Your periodic reminder that Uber encourages its drivers to spy on riders and rat sex workers out to the pigs:

Uber…hire[s former pigs and spooks]…to help police catch suspected [sex worker]s…[by turning over their] uploaded information…[and] account identifiers…to…the…[pigs, referring to sex work as] human trafficking [equal to] carjackings…Uber works with the [rescue industry giant] “Polaris”…[to indoctrinate] Uber drivers [with absurd and overbroad “signs of] human trafficking[“]…

A Moral Cancer (#991)

It’s unusual for prohibitionists to admit they’re openly targeting black people:

[Prohibitionist] groups are applying…pressure on the Biden administration to institute a nationwide ban…o[n] menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products…precisely because of [their] popularity with African Americans…[even if] the law [is only] enforced against sellers…entrepreneurs would still have ready access to both cigarettes and menthol flavoring…[and] combin[ing] the two…[is a fairly simple] process…Unless the federal government attempts to turn menthol itself into a controlled substance, there will surely be many small-time sellers of menthol cigarettes meeting the demand of the millions of Americans who smoke them, including at least 77 percent of black smokers, but possibly as high as 88 percent (and around a quarter of white smokers)…Recall that Eric Garner’s [murderer used]…the petty crime of selling loose cigarettes a[s an excuse, and]…Garner’s mother, Gwendolyn Carr, became a vocal opponent of a proposal to ban menthol cigarettes in New York City [as a result]…in Massachusetts, which banned menthol cigarettes in 2020, at least one [black market]  seller is facing prosecution…the brunt of enforcement [will certainly] be borne by [black] people…

This is, unfortunately, par for the course; “progressive” campaigns to “improve” people against their will always ignore the fact that their moralistic crusades always disproportionately harm minorities, especially black people.

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

A woman has sued Reddit [because] ex-boyfriend…repeatedly post[ed nude] images of her as a 16-year-old.  The lawsuit applies controversial measures instituted in 2018 under FOSTA-SESTA…The resulting case will test the limits of platforms’ legal shields amid ongoing efforts to [destroy] the law behind them.  The woman…[claims] that “Reddit knowingly benefits from lax enforcement of its content polices, including for child pornography”…She’s accusing Reddit of distributing child pornography, failing to report child sexual abuse material, and violating the Trafficking Victims Protection Act…

The Widening Gyre (#1128)

It’s ironic that the newest target of “sex trafficking” scarelore is Target:

A…Reddit…user…who writes under the username Peeky-Lou…[and is so obsessed with] human trafficking…[fantasies that] she…[carries “]several legal self-defense items[” to go shopping at Target predictably imagined that]…three men…[in the store were] follow[ing her]…“It felt as if I was being surrounded like a wild animal —hunted, even,” she wrote…The…[nitwit spent] an hour…wandering around the store, [scaring herself silly with melodramatic fantasies of]…“darkness in his eyes…an eerie smirk [and]…sinister gaze”…[when] a male employee…walk[ed] her to her car…[she] saw [something that]…”solidif[ied] all of my suspicions…A white windowless van was parked in the lot“…

To Molest and Rape (#1129)

Rapist cops are sometimes treated like other rapists if their victims are prepubescent:

A [typical and representative] Louisiana [cop] has been sentenced to life in prison for raping and sexually assaulting three girls, all less than 11 years old…David Monceaux [was sentenced] to…two life terms and a 50-year sentence consecutively…without probation, parole, or suspension of sentence…his youngest victim was 4 years old…

Predictable Consequences (#1130)

Prohibitionism is an inherently violent belief system:

A mansion owned by Feras Antoon, a Pornhub executive, was torched in an apparent arson last [week].  Police…were initially called to [the Montreal] property…at 11:30 P.M when two people were spotted trespassing…when [they] arrived…shortly thereafter they found…a…fire…so massive that more than 80 firefighters were called in and the neighbours were forced to evacuate…

Diary #566

Though autumn is my favorite season, spring is my second-favorite, and for some of the same reasons: it’s (mostly) neither too hot nor too cold, neither too rainy nor too dry (although the latter doesn’t really apply here in the vicinity of the rain forest), and best of all it’s colorful.  I like seeing everything turn green again after the winter brown, and flowers burst forth from both trees and lawn.  Hummingbirds and honeybees are everywhere, and while there are also a lot of flies that’s also true of summer (which lacks spring’s other beauties).  It does mean the days are getting longer, which increases my free-floating anxiety; however, part of that is the fault of the daylight mismanagement regime rather than the fault of spring itself, so I try not to judge her too harshly for it.  And besides, once it starts getting to be a problem I can simply start my cannabis a bit earlier in the evening so as to give it more time to soothe my central nervous system before bedtime.

Links #565

Drop the bike or you’re gonna get arrested.  –  unnamed cop

You may have noticed that I am rather fond of novelty songs; here’s one from my childhood that the writer/singer insists is not meant to be suggestive.  The links above it were provided by Glenn Kessler, Billy Binion, Mike Siegel, The Onion, Radley Balko, Cop Crisis, and Phoenix Calida, in that order.

From the Archives

The legislation…grossly limits…sex workers from taking steps to protect their health and safety.  –  Justice Phillip Sutherland

Imaginary Evils (#929)

Is there anything the government won’t label “sex trafficking”?

In 2004 [Nicole] Daedone founded a group called OneTaste, disseminating…the practice of what she called orgasmic meditation, or OM.  At its peak, OneTaste was reported to be making $12 million a year; it had centres in nine cities, including New York, San Francisco and London, and was endorsed by no less a personage than…Gwyneth [“jade vagina egg”] Paltrow.  But the organisation has now shut down following accusations by former members of the group, with the FBI reportedly investigating allegations of sex-trafficking, prostitution and violation of labour laws…

Property of the State (#989) 

Pregnant women are uniquely vulnerable to state coercion:

…each new wave of illegal drug panic and crackdowns…has spurred new excuses for monitoring pregnant women, overriding their consent, and applying strict laws against them.  In Alabama, hundreds of pregnant women have been prosecuted for positive drug tests…”A woman can be charged with chemical endangerment from the earliest weeks of pregnancy“…and…face up to 10 years of prison time [if her baby is born perfectly healthy]…and up to 20 years if the child shows signs of exposure.  High courts in…Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina…have affirmed that it’s OK to use general child abuse statutes in the criminal prosecution of pregnant women who test positive for any illegal drug…in…South Carolina…[hospital] staff called the cops on a woman whose child tested positive for [metabolites of THC]…In Louisiana…a woman was charged with child desertion and second-degree cruelty, punishable by up to 40 years imprisonment, for smoking pot while breastfeeding.  In…Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin…drug use during pregnancy can lead to involuntary civil commitment.  At least 23 states [pretend] any drug use during pregnancy is…child abuse…Even in states without this explicit policy, a single positive test can trigger…investigation by child protective services

Sex Rays (#1059)

Another sleaze turns old news into an ad for his business catering to superstitious snobs with more money than cognitive development:

Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion is being demolished in the hopes of [ritually] cleansing the area of [evil spirits].  The waterfront property was purchased…for…$US18 million [by real estate]…developer Todd Michael Glaser…the gated estate is modest for the area, which is largely made up of extravagant holiday homes…occupied only during the summer months, leaving the area eerily quiet during the off-season…

I Spy (#1067)

At least a few politicians’ moral compasses aren’t entirely defective:

A bipartisan group of [politicians] has introduced a bill to stop federal law enforcement from sidestepping citizens’ privacy rights by secretly purchasing our personal data from third-party brokers.  In 2018 the Supreme Court ruled in Carpenter v. United States that the FBI violated a suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights by tracking his cellphone without getting a warrant first…[so] federal agencies began…just buy[ing] the information from brokers…And so a group…including Sens. Rand Paul…Ron Wyden…Patrick Leahy…and Mike Lee…has introduced…a…bill [which would]…require fed[s]…to…get a court order [to buy the data] just as they have to do now if they want to force a phone service provider to cough up your information.  It prohibits the use of this data as evidence [unless the spooks simply lie and pretend they obtained the data using a legal method, in a dodge called “parallel construction”]…

Morality Lessons (#1112) 

This unconstitutional bill failed in over a dozen states before passing in Utah:

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee held a hearing…on a “copycat bill” of the legislation…passed in Utah [which] aim[s] to force phone and computer manufacturers to install default “porn filters” on devices sold in Alabama.  The bill…[i]s part of a current effort…by [pro-censorship group]…Morality in Media…and other religiously motivated…organizations — to pass state-by-state laws making this requirement…

Winding Down (#1118)

Washington state politicians demonstrate their hypocrisy:

…in February the Washington State Supreme Court…struck down the state’s felony drug possession law…decriminaliz[ing] drugs statewide and suddenly render[ing] tens of thousands of prisoners eligible for reduced sentences.  The Legislature could have seen this ruling…as an opportunity [to end the drug war in]…Washington…But…the provincial, fearful mommies and daddies who run Olympia have made…plans to restart the war on mostly Black drug users.  The only question is how much destruction they want to cause, and for how long…

Whither Canada? (#1126)

Slowly chipping away at a terrible law:

An Ontario Superior Court judge has declared unconstitutional legal provisions that ban sex workers from being able to work safely, including by being able to advertise…hire security, work together and communicate with clients…Justice Phillip Sutherland ruled…that the law breaches the right of sex workers to life, liberty and security of the person…Jenn Clamen, national co-ordinator for the [Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform]…stressed [that] the ruling is just a partial victory [as] it does not address…provisions…banning the purchase of sex and communication for th[at] purpose…this is the second time in Ontario that a judge has partially struck down the [prohibitionist law which imposed] the Nordic model [on Canada.  Crown attorneys whined]…that [it]…would be more difficult [to destroy people’s lives for consensual adult sex]…

May Day 2021

May Eve 2021

Head Canon

Every fictional universe has some set of stories and story-elements which are considered canonical while others are not.  Generally, most of the stories produced or authorized by the copyright holders are considered canon, while fan stories are not; however, in some circumstances some stories and plot development which were once “official” are later quietly disregarded (usually because they cause too many continuity problems, like the ridiculous “Warp 5 speed limit” introduced in a latter-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and promptly ignored by every other writer).  But it’s not at all unusual for fans of a sci-fi or fantasy series to also have a “head canon”, a set of stories and elements that they consider “official” in their own internal picture of that universe, which is separate from whatever the corporate owners might declare.  Such mental structures allow the fan to include or exclude elements which might affect his willing suspension of disbelief or otherwise alter his appreciation of the imaginary world.  For me, one of those elements is chronology; for example, I have absolutely no tolerance for the loosey-goosey sliding past of comic books, in which superheroes always stay the same age for decades and their origins keep changing to suit a contemporary framework.  So whenever I read or watch a series, it’s important for me to keep a timeline (on a notepad or computer file if it’s too complex to organize in my head) so that I can keep track of the order in which things happen, how long it was from x event to y, and so on.  That’s why I especially appreciate shows like Babylon 5 and novels like The Lord of the Rings, in which the creator maintains a close watch on dates and sequences of events, and characters age and change as they do in the real world; when the person or persons in charge don’t pay attention or even blatantly disregard such recordkeeping, this is what my head does.  So I think we can all agree that it would just be better if everyone plotted their stories with a calendar handy, so as to save Maggie’s brain all that extra work.