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Posts Tagged ‘social purity’

Here I stand, I can do no other.  –  Rikki de la Vega

A Broker in Pillage

Unlike other government departments, the IRS doesn’t even bother to accuse people of actual crimes before robbing them blind:

…Institute for Justice client Lyndon McLellan saw the…IRS…reach…into his bank account [to steal] his life savings without warning or cause in 2014.  McLellan [owned] a small convenience store…in Fairmont, North Carolina…he…worked long hours and rarely took vacations…Yet federal agents accused him of violating so-called structuring laws because his business frequently made bank deposits in amounts under $10,000…the[y stole] more than $107,000…”It took me 13 years to save that much money,” he says.  “And it took fewer than 13 seconds for the government to take it away”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

The Manitoba government is tabling a bill…[which] would require hotels and people operating on online accommodation platforms, such as Airbnb, to keep a record of guests’ information, including their names and addresses…and…to hand over that information to police…on…demand…without a warrant…[politician Rochelle Squires tried to justify this incredible violation of civil rights by vomiting out the words] “human trafficking”…and “children”…

Feminists and Other Puritans

It’s nice to see someone whose name isn’t Maggie McNeill writing about this:

…the worst form of prudery and repression is that which comes from those who also claim to be feminists…Women’s rights activists have been divided about sex from the beginning.  In the nineteenth century, the “free love” movement, which promoted birth control and sought to replace traditional male-dominated marriage with consensual unions of equal partners, butted heads with the “social purity” movement obsessed with controlling men’s lust as a way of eradicating such “evils” of prostitution and venereal disease…Those leaning towards the equality pole welcomed and worked with men who agreed with their goals, like Frederick Douglass and John Stuart Mill.  Those on the protectionist side, however, viewed men with skepticism, and demanded that they prove their worth by swearing to be chaste and “chivalrous” towards women…Not far off from contemporary pledges to not use porn or “end demand for sex trafficking”!  If the women who worked for social purity back then sounded like religious zealots, it’s because they were…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Politicians are increasingly convinced that they’re allowed to redefine legal concepts as they wish:

A strange new bill introduced by Oklahoma [politician] Rob Standridge would make it illegal to knowingly give “obscene material” to a “vulnerable person,” explicitly including unhoused people…SB 1522 [also includes] an unconstitutional redefinition of…“obscene material” as “any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse”…Such supposedly obscene materials would include “book, magazine, newspaper, pamphlet, poster, print, picture, figure, image, description, motion picture film, record, recording tape, CD-ROM disk, magnetic disk memory [sic], magnetic tape memory, videotape, computer software, video game,” and other unspecified media to be determined by the authorities.  Despite his seeming concern for the moral hygiene of the unhoused, Standridge recently opposed a new homeless shelter, making statements conflating Oklahoma’s unhoused population with “sex offenders” and calling them “a public safety risk”…

Stalkers in Blue (#987)

Another cop demonstrates what he is:

A Bay Area [cop] has been charged with masturbating in front of a family that called police during a fraught domestic violence call…Matthew Dominguez…“milled around the home…keep[ing] the daughter in view of his Body Worn Camera”…Dominguez [later]…unzipped his pants and began rubbing his crotch…[in full view of the mother and] daughter…Dominguez [kept] follow[ing the daughter]…around…The mother and daughter then went to find…the father…who…[also] “saw…Dominguez…with his erect penis in his left hand”…

Blunt Instrument (#1012)

This would be a much better article if it didn’t pretend that prohibitionism is a solely a phenomenon of the “right wing”:

For the past year, low-income Asian women in Newmarket [Ontario] have been engaged in a fierce battle with [politicians]…working to close down their massage businesses by claiming that the workers are both disreputable criminals and sex trafficking victims…in January…the town council imposed a set of regulations requiring massage businesses to get a new type of licence…[under] threat…[of] fines of $4,000 to $5,000 per day…the town…[is] using a fake anti-trafficking campaign…with zealous support from [the usual suspects]…thanks to centuries of racism and employment segregation in North America, body rubs are associated with crime, sex work, and people of colour…Newmarket town council declared their intention to create new rules that would drive out the businesses that they defined as “appeal[ing] to sexual appetites,” and the “brothels” that town councillors claimed were “hosts for human trafficking.”  Their…plan was to get rid of suspected sex work by tightening the rules so that only businesses whose workers have formal educational certifications from Canada could get the newly [inven]ted Personal Wellness Establishment Licence…[such] certifications can take years…and tuition can cost thousands of dollars…

Repeatedly claiming that prohibition in Canada is “right wing” when Trudeau and his party eagerly promote it is tantamount to pissing on the readers’ legs and telling them it’s raining.

Torture Chamber (#1182)

The government needs to be buried in lawsuits before this will stop:

[Young men] at a South Carolina…[prison are locked in cages] with feces on the floor, mold on the walls, and cockroaches in their food, according to a new lawsuit…the kids — who range in age from 13 to 19 – are [also] subjected to routine violence by [screws and] other [prisoners]…[screws also] use solitary confinement — in cells with no natural light — as a way to “protect” them from violence…some[times for]…months [at a stretch], and there [are] no meaningful educational or mental health services for the[m]…the…[prisoners] are disproportionately Black and from families that live below the federal poverty line…

Once again: it does not help young victims of governmental brutality to infantilize them as “children”.

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One of the titles by which the 20th Century will no doubt be known to future historians is “the Prohibition Era”.  The concept of Prohibition first started to take root in the diseased brains of control freaks in the late 19th century; it was an outgrowth of the broader “Progressive” philosophy which held that ordinary people cannot be trusted with our own lives, and must therefore be ruled by “experts” who decide for everyone how the human race should be “improved”, and enforce their diktats with violent thug armies whose actions cannot easily be reconciled with the concept of civil rights.  The first prohibitionist laws date to the late 19th century, but it was in the 20th that the concept not only reached full flower, but also successfully penetrated the minds of the general public so thoroughly that most took it for granted that for governments to tell people what they could consume, what they could own, and even what thoughts they could have while agreeing to consensual sex, was not only normal, but desirableFull alcohol prohibition lasted barely over a decade, but it left in its wake a patchwork of local prohibitions which have only very gradually eroded (and in some ways worsened again toward the end of the century).  And the failure of this one form of prohibition to thrive probably has a great deal to do with the fact that virtually no other country was willing to follow the American example; in most other cases, prohibitions which started in the US (such as drugs and prostitution) spread like a plague over the rest of the world.

But as the 20th century recedes into the past and the number of adults who can’t even remember it grows with every passing year, what Josephine Butler called “the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force” has gradually become less popular.  The once-global “War on Drugs” is beginning to wind down, and the full or partial criminalization of sex work is increasingly recognized as an abomination by those with healthy minds and respect for human rights.  New South Wales decriminalized “prostitution” in 1995, followed by New Zealand in 2003; many other countries at least loosened their laws on the subject around that same time.  Unfortunately, the prohibitionists recognized the trend before it could snowball, and began a propaganda campaign to convince the world that adult women are universally too weak-minded and spineless to be allowed to run our own sexual affairs, and that phenomena which had previously always been recognized as the pragmatic sexual decisions of individual women were in reality the result of the machinations of a vast cabal of “sex traffickers” abducting hundreds of thousands of “children” into literal slavery.  But moral panics have a very limited lifespan, and this one is already long past its heyday of the early ’10s.  It is now in the process of imploding in a rather spectacular fashion, and opposition to the continued criminalization of sex work has become a safe position even for US politicians.  The temporarily-delayed process of decriminalization got rolling again over the past few years; Australia’s Northern Territory decriminalized near the end of 2019, and Victoria state followed suit just a few weeks ago.  And now the first country outside of Oceania is set to join them:

The official green light has been given to Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne’s proposal to reform Belgium’s sexual criminal law…[by] remov[ing] sex work from the penal code…The Federal Parliament still has to approve the proposal but that is not expected to be more than a formality.  “This is a crucial leap forward. We are finally giving sex workers what they are entitled to: recognition and protection. Something they have been asking for decades,” Van Quickenborne said…Under current regulation, sex work is allowed, but third parties involved with sex workers are committing a crime.  The law [cl]aims to target pimps but in practice impacts other people…from book-keepers and web designers to drivers, landlords and even banks…

The importance of this move is difficult to overstate; the “sex trafficking” myth has provided a convenient cloak for Europen racism, and European chauvinism made decriminalization easy to ignore as long as it was strictly a “Down Under” practice (the same chauvinism has given the toxic “Swedish model” undeserved credibility).  But if Belgium follows through, Europe can no longer dismiss recognition of the sexual rights of adult women as a provincial abberation, and it’s entirely possible others may follow its example.

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Puritans realized long ago that nobody is buying their “sex is evil” bill of goods any longer, so they’ve broken it up into bite-sized chunks to more easily cram it down the gullets of the Great Unwashed.  These bites include “porn is evil”, “pragmatic sex is evil”, “sex between people more than a few years apart is evil”, “sex a woman later regrets is retroactively evil”, “kink is evil”, “any sex trans people desire is evil”, “any sexual thoughts occurring even one minute before the thinker turns 18 are both evil and unnatural”, “wanting more or different sex than a monogamous partner is evil”, and many others.  And as each of these was accepted into the popular consciousness, the puritans worked to expand it like driving a wedge into a log, until laws and policies nobody would’ve agreed to if presented up front are suddenly a fact, and the conversation is being dominated by people who actually think Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated qualify as “porn” and rather bland sex education materials qualify as “obscene”.  Paradoxically, the anti-sex mob are those most obsessed by sex; they see it even where normal people do not.  Moreover, they reveal their specific fantasies & kinks the second they open their mouths, because as those of us who have studied the psychology of human sexuality understand, taboos, either societal or personal, are the biggest turn-ons.  So when Joe Arpaio goes on and on about bestiality with dogs, and Gail Dines goes on about triple penetration, and when other “feminists” go on and on about semen despite the existence of condoms, what they’re actually doing is revealing the specific nature of the fantasies which simultaneously obsess and bedevil them.

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We have a culture where men are more embarrassed about paying for sex than having sex with women who are too drunk to consent.
–  Cathy Reisenwitz

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Funny how many cops who are willing to pay prefer underage girls:

Larry Allen Clay…and Kristen Naylor-Legg…were both charged with sex trafficking of a minor [because]…on two separate occasions in June 2020, Clay…the Chief of Police for..Gauley Bridge [West Virginia]…paid $50 to Naylor-Legg to have sex with a 17-year-old girl [who is apparently a migrant because]…ICE [is involved]…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralists love their rats & their subtle dysphemisms:

…researchers…gave adolescent rats free access to a sugar-sweetened beverage [much more concentrated than] those that humans drink and then tested their memories using two methods when the rats became adults…the rats that had consumed [pathologically-]high levels [of] sugary drinks had more difficulty with memory that uses a region of the brain called the hippocampus compared with rats that only drank water…the [excessive]…sugar consumption seems to…[have] change[d]…the gut microbiome…[which in turn seems to] alter the function of a particular region of the brain [in rats]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#851)

“Foreign visitors do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

[UK charity] Oxfam is facing new allegations of…bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following [white saviors’ freakout] th[at some Oxfam employees purchased services from entrepreneurs in] Haiti…The charity has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that allege intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism…[which arose] after…[prohibitionists were disappointed] that…the[re was insufficient hysteria about mundane transactions which brought much-needed]…money…in[to]…Haiti…[politicians bloviated] that the latest allegations strengthened the case for [denying poor countries]…water and sanitation projects [if]…an[yone among]…the emergency [workers has sexual desires]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#991)

It looks as though Boudin is indeed following through with the policies he campaigned on:

Panelists at “Sex Work Decrim 101: Evidence-based approaches to policy”…call[ed] for the complete removal of sex work from the state’s criminal law codes.  One fan of that idea is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin…”I’m a big believer in the decriminalization of sex work, which I think will help us become safer in concrete ways”…Boudin said…”It’s not something I would ever prosecute, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, if it is consensual between adults”…Panelist Maggie McNeill…wanted to impress upon the attendees the importance of the district attorney’s stance…she [also]…explained the distinction [of decriminalization versus legalization] through an analogy to the restaurant business…

Tony Montoya, a gay man who is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, did not respond to a request for comment [on a law forbidding a common pretext for harassing sex workers].

Lipstick on a Pig

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

Two [typical and representative] Texas [cop]s have been indicted fo[r murdering]…a Black man [by] repeatedly…taser[ing him during a pretext]…stop [being] filmed for a [cop glorification] TV show.  Javier Ambler…[was murdered on] March 28, 2019…[during] a…traffic stop…[using the pretext that he] fail[ed] to dim headlights for oncoming traffic…the A&E network show Live PD…was canceled weeks after the killing of George Floyd amid widespread protests over police brutality and racism…Ambler was tasered four times, according to body cam footage of the [murder], despite telling the [pigs] that he suffered from…congestive heart failure…Ambler…can be heard [repeatedly] saying…”I can’t breathe”

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

{sings} One of these things is not like the others

A [New Jersey cop named]…Richard F. Haffner…sexually assault[ed] a girl who worked for him at his…restaurant on numerous occasions starting when she was 15 years old, and then tr[ied] to get her to lie to investigators…Prosecutor[s seem to think it’s important that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…Haffner [w]as…suspended without pay…[because prosecutors also] charged him with…offering an acquaintance money for sex…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against OnlyFans is heating up:

Paul Gosar [a politician from Arizona] sent a[n open] letter…to the Department of Justice demanding that OnlyFans be…prosecuted for “promoting prostitution” under a…Segregation-era law called the “White Slave Traffic Act”…also known as the Mann Act…[apparently because Gosar believes that viewing a picture of a woman taken in a different state is the equivalent of] transport[ing] women across state lines…

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In the wake of the Atlanta sex worker murders, I’m again seeing partisans pretending that the War on Whores is only supported by one of their imaginary “wings”.  DO NOT BELIEVE THIS.  Authoritarians who label themselves “left” are 100% as invested in the oppression of sex workers as those who label themselves “right”.  It is impossible to overstate how wrongheaded is the notion that the drive for censorship and increased state violence vs sex workers (and everyone associated with us) is only a “conservative” or “right-wing” campaign.  “Social purity” campaigns have been a wholly bipartisan crusade since their invention in the late 19th century.  Just because soi-disant “conservatives” pretend their justification is “God” and soi-disant “progressives” pretend their justification is “gender equality” doesn’t mean their behavior is any differentEvery single law designed to “regulate”, “monitor”, “protect”, or otherwise interfere in the lives of sex workers is a wholly-bipartisan affair.  Ignore the partisans trying to pretend otherwise in order to divert your attention from half of schemes to inflict violence; no matter what their excuses, if they support state control over people’s personal lives, they are dangerous busybodies regardless what color hat they wear.

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I thought y’all might enjoy this Twitter conversation I recently had, primarily with Matisse and Carol Leigh; it touches on a number of themes that recur frequently in my work.  Twitter conversations tend to branch, but I think I’ve managed to gather the main elements I want to share.

 

 

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Kristof…has never found a victim of a sexual crime that he cannot “humanize” by going through their ordeal in exploitative detail.  –  Gustavo Turner

Policing for Profit (#816)

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

…under…a s[cheme politicians] and top cops have touted in recent years [as a way] to combat [imaginary “]human trafficking[“, gangs]…of NYPD [vice pigs] have descended on minority neighborhoods, leaning into car windows and knocking on apartment doors, trying to get men and women to…agree…to exchange sex for money.  These arrests are based…entirely on the word of cops, who…are incentivized to round up as many “bodies” as they can.  Some of their targets were selling sex to survive; others were minding their own business.  Almost everyone arrested for these crimes in the last four years is nonwhite…89% of the 1,800 charged with prostitution; 93% of the 3,000 accused of trying to buy sex…People living paycheck to paycheck lost their jobs over [imaginary] crimes…[because] facing multiple court hearings and the threat of jail time, they took quick deals to move on with their lives.  [One] former [vice sow admitted to]…ProPublica she participated in false arrests…Eighteen current and former [vice pigs admitted that]…overtime has motivated them for years.  The hours add up over the drive to the precinct, the questioning, the paperwork…

Choke Point (#847)

Since “Choke Point” was never banned or declared unconstitutional, there’s currently nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back:

…the…Office of the Comptroller of the Currency…led the charge with Operation Chokepoint.  [But] under the leadership of acting director…Brian Brooks, the OCC has proposed a rule change that would make government-supported financial suppression much harder legally….[by] mak[ing] use of an Obama-era law to stave off future Obama-style injustices.  The Dodd-Frank Act…authorized the OCC to ensure that nationally chartered banks provide “fair access to financial services, and fair treatment of customers.”  The intention was that minority customers be evaluated for creditworthiness on [their] own individual merits rather than the attributes of their broader group.  In other words, a creditworthy individual shouldn’t be punished because they belong to some group that is considered “high risk” in the aggregate.  The OCC would like to apply this thinking to industries through the proposed “Fair Access to Financial Services” rule.  The largest banks in the country..would be prohibited from red-lining politically disfavored industries just as they are prohibited from red-lining politically oppressed populations.  Rather, a gun manufacturer or pornography company or payday lender must be evaluated on the terms of their individual creditworthiness…Large banks will not be allowed to cut off financial access for disfavored industries just because the government or some other powerful group leans on them to do so…

Watershed (#941)

This article doesn’t contain anything that sex worker activists haven’t said, and journalist allies haven’t reported, a thousand times before.  What makes it notable is that it appeared (albeit as an op-ed) on the website of CNN, the TV news-entertainment-product purveyor which has done more than any other to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria since the days when Craigslist was supposedly run by Satan’s personal pimp.  Biden & Harris are both arch-prohibitionists with zero interest in making things better for sex workers, and the end of “sex trafficking” hysteria won’t do anything to remove all the oppressive, racist, misogynistic, anti-sex laws which were enacted under its aegis.  But it will mean we don’t have to listen to quite so many cops, politicians, religious fanatics, profiteers, and other (barely) human garbage vomiting out their wanking fantasies of enslaved pubescent girls being raped a physically-impossible number of times per day any more.  And it will also make it possible for more activists and allies to speak out about decriminalization without being drowned out by a flood of lurid tragedy porn, and for politicians in search of an angle to file bills to mitigate some of the damage.  And that is at least a good start.

Panopticon (#1030)

The article omits to say that these spy devices were designed and built in China:

…the Chula Vista [California] police…can dispatch a flying drone with the press of button…to…[spy] on…[people] and…[catch] everything [they do] on camera…Each day, the Chula Vista police respond to as many as 15 [informant] calls with a drone, launching more than 4,100 flights since the program began two years ago…Over the last several months, three other cities — two in California and one in Georgia — have followed suit…the latest drone technology…has the power to transform everyday polic[e surveillance]…even small [cop shops] could operate tiny autonomous drones for a relative pittance.  That newfound automation, however, raises civil liberties concerns, especially as drones gain the power to track vehicles and people automatically.  As the police use more drones, they could collect and store more video of life in the city, which could remove any expectation of privacy once you leave the home…Jay Stanley…[of] the American Civil Liberties Union..[said] “Drones…are…sensors that can generate offenses”…

Just wait until they start combining this with “deepfake” technology to manufacture any kind of “evidence” they like.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1085)

Dangerous puritan Nick Kristof and his enablers, the staunchly prohibitionist New York Times, have launched yet another pro-censorship crusade:

Nicholas Kristof [has] published a sensationalistic call for state censorship and financial strangulation of Pornhub…Kristof actually had the reporting to write a nuanced piece about the substantial problems with content moderation that plague all platforms that depend on third-party content, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, [etc]…but that’s not what Kristof and the editors of the New York Times chose to do, instead turning the piece into a manipulative attempt to insert themselves in the complex debates around Section 230…free speech online and sexual expression among consenting adults…Everything about “The Children of Pornhub” is exploitative, from the testimonials, to the absolutely misguided photo essay taking advantage of a homeless teen…As of this writing, Kristof continues to tweet the victim’s photo at public officials in the U.S. and Canada to manipulate them into “doing something about” Pornhub…

To Molest and Rape (#1088)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…Portsmouth, Virginia [cop] Cleshaun Cox…abduct[ed and raped a 17-year-old girl] on May 27, 2019…she was hanging out with friends in the parking lot of…[an] apartment…[complex] when [the rapist and a crony showed up, claiming they’d]…responded to a noise complaint…Cox…told…he[r]…that she was out past curfew…and told her and [her] passenger…that they needed to drive home immediately…Cox followed her…[stalking] her [as she got] gas, then…[after she dropped] her friend [off at] home…he [began threatening her, then]…tried to persuade…[h]er to have sex with him [via a combination of promises and threats.  Eventually] he drove her to another location…[and] raped her…

Winding Down

It’s unlikely this will pass the Senate, but it’s a big sign of change nonetheless:

…the [US] House of Representatives voted to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, which was originally imposed 83 years ago in the guise of a revenue measure. The vote was 228 to 164, with five Republicans …joining 222 Democrats and [Libertarian] Justin Amash…in supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and eliminate federal criminal penalties for cultivation, distribution, and possession…In addition…the MORE Act would require automatic expungement of federal marijuana convictions…prohibit the denial of federal public benefits because of convictions involving cannabis consumption and eliminate immigration disabilities based on marijuana-related conduct…

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Smart people…[a]re better than dumber people at coming up with reasons to justify their false beliefs.  –  Cathy Reisenwitz

See No Evil (#424)

Censors have learned to use “progressive” rhetoric to cloak prudery:

A 26-foot-tall sculpture of Marilyn Monroe playfully patting down her upblown skirt is the source of a [moronic] debate in Palm Springs, California.  The town’s city council has approved the…recreation of the act[ress]’s iconic scene atop a blustery subway grate from…The Seven Year Itch—to be installed near the Palm Springs Art Museum for a three-year period.  But…[prudes, busybodies and censors are dis]pleased with the decision…the museum’s executive director…Louis Grachos [made furtive movements in his pants while bloviating weird fantasies about underwear]…“school-age children”…and [how the]…statue [magically] objectifies women…[thereby] “hurt[ing] our whole community”…Steven H. Maloney, chair of the museum’s board of trustees, [opined that women are so stupid that a painted hunk of metal constitutes]…“an unhealthy encouragement of risqué behavior of women”…

I have a hard time imagining what a lower opinion of women than that displayed by these pompous weeds would look like.

Policing Womanhood

Cathy Reisenwitz has further thoughts on the origin of whore-hatred in women:

As my friend and fellow sex worker Maggie McNeill points out, public polling suggests men are more likely to support sex work decrim than women…Maggie thinks that the main reason women oppose sex work decrim is that women tend to think of women’s individual behavior as reflecting on women as a whole and think sex work is a bad look…I think there’s truth to that, but it lacks an important class angle…middle-class white women began campaigning for laws against prostitution and defining any type of promiscuity as prostitution in the Progressive Era at the turn of the 20th century…Middle-class white women feared female economic independence threatened dominant middle-class values.  By making prostitution dangerous and illegal, middle-class white women sought to force working-class women, women of color, and immigrant women into marriage, chastity, monogamy, hard work, and propriety lest they live independently of men and destroy the social order…

To Molest and Rape (#825)

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A man who [was raped by] a [typical and representative] South Carolina [cop]…is suing the city of Travelers Rest…The [cop], Shawn Jenkins, was fired from the [cop shop] last year after…[the] Sheriff’s Office…[only] charged [him] with second-degree sexual misconduct…The plaintiff, who filed the suit anonymously, told investigators Jenkins pointed a department-issued stun gun at him while he was visiting Jenkins’ residence on Aug. 5, 2019, and told him to “strip or be tased”…The [then-underage victm] tried to run away, but [Jenkins] locked [him] inside a room [and raped him]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

In Maine, voters in the state’s largest city recently enacted one of the toughest facial recognition bans in the country in the Nov. 3 elections, outlawing both use of the technology by local police and the city government…the measure codifies – [but adds only weak] enforcement teeth – to a ban…passed in August by the Portland City Council…The new law allows citizens to sue the city for illegal facial recognition surveillance by the city police or government.  Citizens could get [a mere] $1,000 per violation plus legal fees, if they prevail in court.  Municipal employees [but not cops] can be fired [but not criminally prosecuted] for violating the [law]…

Welcome to the Future (#1073)

Pasco County, Florida’s “predictive policing” scheme doesn’t spare minors:

The Pasco Sheriff’s Office keeps a secret list of kids it [pretend]s could “fall into a life of crime” based on factors like whether they’ve been abused or gotten a D or an F in school…the list [is created] by combining the rosters for most middle and high schools in the county with records so sensitive, they’re protected by state and federal law…Four hundred and twenty kids are [currently] on the list…[cops do]n’t tell the kids or their parents about the designation…an[d]…school…[administrators claim to have been] unaware…of [it as well]…The Department of Children and Families [refused to] answer…the Sheriff’s Office…use[s the list] to [target]…middle and high school…[students for surveillance and harassment euphemized as] “mentorship” and “resources”…Ten experts in law enforcement and student privacy…called the program…a clear misuse of children’s confidential information that stretched the limits of the law…

Legislators Gone Wild (#1086)

Why are Nevada brothel whores unable to open their mouths without vomiting out toxic whorearchy?

…[brothel whores unemployed] because of COVID-19…say they are being forced to make money in what they call dangerous, scary and illegal ways…the long shutdown is depleting their savings and they’re going broke waiting to work again.  That is forcing some of them to turn to things they didn’t want to to make money, like illegal prostitution.  One…says…”it’s so degrading and so scary”…Another…admits to illegally meeting with a Mustang Ranch regular…she trusted him but…he beat and choked her…two [say they] decided to turn a trick in Arizona…but…the…man…ended up holding them hostage in the bathroom at gun point…The madams also say they’re seeing some of their workers walking the streets now with…pimps…”If you walk into a casino, the floor is filled with illegal prostitutes and pimps”…

Apparently these whores are both incompetent and cursed, so that in a few months they’ve experienced more violence than every escort I know put together has experienced in years.

Dangerous Speech (#1087)

It’s symptomatic of the government’s deep moral rot that she wasn’t automatically disqualified:

On Nov. 18, veteran newspapermen Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin took the extraordinary step of filing a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking it to intervene in their ongoing criminal case and order Judge Susan Brnovich to recuse herself from all future proceedings…her husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark…Brnovich, others on his behalf and organizations with which he is associated…have vilified Backpage, assumed its complicity in sex trafficking, and drawn conclusions about facts that will be at issue in the trial of Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants…[although] the AG’s inaccurate assumptions about Backpage go to the heart of the case and raise the specter of potential bias on behalf of the judge[, she has stubbornly refused to recuse herself]…

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This isn’t just a few rogue agents or “bad apples”.  –  Daniel Martinez

Girls, Girls, Girls!

Only bootlickers think the “cashless society” is a good thing:

…for the business of stripping, the end of cash is causing a crisis.  A club makes the majority of its profits in credit card charges at the door, the bar, and the private rooms; the cash that flies around has always belonged to the strippers…without cash…club[s are]…free to exploit.  Cash handed directly to a dancer gets pocketed, but credit card charges are skimmed—and because workers are more or less off the books, we have no recourse to contest absurdly high fees.  When a customer pays several hundred dollars to spend time in a dark room alone with a dancer, the club takes a 70 percent cut…When the customer runs out of cash bills and doesn’t want to pay the exorbitant fee at the club’s ATM (which is often, conveniently, broken) the club will take roughly 30 percent out of every dance dollar—plastic bills representing the cost of a lap dance.  That’s on top of a roughly $100 nightly fee that dancers pay in order to work…cash allows sex workers access to reliable and untraceable income, it makes it possible to avoid the discrimination inherent in the banking system, it allows us to hide our work from outside scrutiny…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of sex workers:

…members from South India AIDS Action Programme (SIAAP) [spoke]…at a discussion on “Sex work is work: Rethinking labour, consent and agency”.  The stigma around sex workers further marginalises them, said Shyamala Nataraj…“State governments often claim to rescue sex workers from red light zones.  If you follow the issue carefully, you’ll observe that the rescue will shortly be followed by a real estate venture in the area”…

With Friends Like These…

What kind of warped mind quotes prohibitionist myths while contradicting the wishes of the sex workers it claims to want to “help”?

…decriminalization like what [every single sex worker activist, every academic who has actually studied the issue and every human rights group want] is the worst option. More permissive sex work laws are associated with more sex works of all kinds…attract[ing] more traffickers [from prohibitionist sex fantasies]…Decriminalizing also does not protect willing, adult sex workers…because [surveillance, outing, and rape & persecution by cops constitute “protection”]…The better alternative is legalization…[including] a thorough background check and [compulsory, ongoing invasion of sex workers’ privacy by bureaucrats and rapist cops]…

Monsters 

“Written assurance” is like a “restraining order”:

A man in Pakistan has been arrested [for the murder of] his transgender daughter…19-year-old [Maya]…had left home and was living with friends in the city of Peshawar.  Her family attempted to [lure] her [back to their] home on [June 29th].  Maya’s friends, concerned for her safety, contacted the police….[who] allowed family members to take Maya [back] to the city of Nowshera…Aurangzeb Akbar, the teenager’s father, provided the police with a written assurance that he would not harm his child.  Maya’s bullet-ridden body was discovered just hours later…beside a river bank…Police…are…reportedly searching for Maya’s uncle and brothers…

To Molest and Rape

Just protecting and serving:

A cop in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been charged with rape after…he repeatedly [raped] a 16-year-old homeless girl in her tent [after threatening her with nonexistent arrest warrants]…Kevin Garneau…is facing up to 40 years in prison…[after a] grand jury indicted him…Garneau’s police department didn’t learn about [his raping homeless girls]…until January — nearly three years after the [rapes]…and [rewarded him with a paid vacation]…up until the indictment…

Believe Them

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time“:

Members of a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents joked about the deaths of migrants, discussed throwing burritos at Latino members of Congress visiting a detention facility in Texas…and posted…vulgar illustration[s]…group members responded with indifference and wisecracks to…a news story about a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died [in a cage] in May…the…group…boasts roughly 9,500 [typical and representative] members from across the country…The patrol…[has] approximately 20,000 [pigs in all, so the group represents half of them]…Perhaps the most [typical and coppish] posts target Ocasio-Cortez.  One includes a photo [manipulation]…of a smiling President Donald Trump forcing Ocasio-Cortez’s head toward his crotch…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Please, rescue industry, keep attacking the institution that most promotes your narrative:

…The credibility of the TIP Report must first and foremost be grounded in the integrity of the government issuing the report…U.S. policies are deliberately eroding protections for the most vulnerable among us.  Not only is this approach ineffectual to reduce human trafficking, this puts the United States’ standing as a leader on human rights in question…the United States is increasingly denying human trafficking survivors’ access to T Visas, which were explicitly created to [bribe people to sing as directed by prosecutors]…the administration’s zero tolerance and the “Remain in Mexico” border policies…empower…traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#931)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

Over the past two years, an estimated 1 million Muslim Uighurs have been rounded up and [imprisoned] in…”re-education camps.”  It’s extremely difficult to report from the Uighur homeland of China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. Journalists are followed wherever they go and prevented from visiting certain places or speaking with locals.  So we posed as tourists and snuck in wearing hidden cameras.  Twice.  What we witnessed was an Orwellian state unlike any place on earth.  We got a chilling, up-close look at how the Chinese government is using the world’s most advanced surveillance technology to spy on every aspect of Uighur life, and how Uighur men are taken away by the police in the middle of the night.  Most disturbingly of all, we learned how many Uighur children are being separated from their families and brought up by the state — as if they are orphans.  They’re prevented from speaking in their native tongue and indoctrinated with Party propaganda.  The goal of all this is clear: the total erasure of an entire religion, culture and ethnicity…

Safe Position (#947)

The concept of “human rights” becomes incomprehensible to Americans in proximity to the word “sex”:

..pervert-friendly…Tiffany Cabán…pimps and johns…gigantic brothel…sex tourism…[quote from CATW]…sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and depression…denizens of cathouses…epicenter of sex work in New York City…disgrace…normalizing hooking…troubled people…unhealthy…Teen Vogue…is urging youngsters…as young as 13…to dump their professional goals…shame…protect[s]…kids from being used…violence is caused by…pimps and buyers of human flesh…dangerous and soul-crushing pastime…

Since this “article” is basically just one big ball of stupid, I simply extracted all the especially-pompous puritanism so you could get a whiff without having to dive into this burning dumpster.

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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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