April 30, 2007

The Wrong Apology

It's things like this that perpetuate gender apartheid:

An accused Washington madam apologized Monday to a former top state department official who abruptly resigned after being outed as one of her clients.

But Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who faces charges of running a high-class call girl ring in the Washington, D.C., area from her California home, said it validates her decision to turn over to ABC News phone records that could unveil thousands of clients.

... Palfrey said she gave her phone records to ABC News so the network could identify clients who could then testify that the escorts performed legal services. Prosecutors, however, have accused Palfrey of seeking to intimidate witnesses by outing them publicly. ...

If no one did anything illegal, anyway, then the people issuing the apologies should be the investigating prosecutors. If prostitution was involved, then by gum, every last one of the clients should receive the same level of scrutiny and prosecution as the alleged madam and the women in her employ.

It's infuriating that consensual sex can be criminalized, anyway. I'd bet just about anything that it makes it harder to track down and identify non-consensual sex-trafficking and child prostitution. Doubly infuriating that the person generating the demand for this consensual behavior isn't considered, as a matter of practice, as criminally liable.

Further, it's the perverse mirror of our society's patterns of drug use prosecution. In drug courts, the people most likely to be prosecuted are the users, then the lowest level dealers. The people at the top of the operation, the equivalent of a pimp or madam in the prostitution world, are the least likely to be prosecuted because they have the most information to trade and the most names to turn in to boost the prosecutors' conviction records.

But I'm seeing a common denominator: In both cases, prosecution tilts heavily towards the second caste citizens most likely to be involved, women and more commonly, minorities. If you're a minority female, well, you better live like a saint or it's curtains for you. It's the hookers and the madams (when was the last time you heard of a high-profile pimp being the center of a media circus), it's the users (especially of drugs more commonly used by minorities) and the street-dealers' girlfriends.

Do you get that the discriminatory prosecution of women for sex crimes is all part of the eternal skepticism towards rape charges and the pornification of half the human race?

... Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again: If women were not systemically oppressed, pornography could not exist. In a post-patriarchal society, free of the degrading paradigm of dominance and submission, pictures of people fucking would have all the prurient allure of a podiatrist appointment. It is the rape-based degradation to which consumers of pornography respond, dum-dum!

But I digress.

The remaining part of my theory is that the populus is so desperately invested in patriarchy that they are unwilling, even in the interest of justice, to part with one of its primary cornerstones: the slut class. Patriarchy depends on the slut class to serve as the receptacle for its pornsick incontinence. A slut class naturally implies a good-girl class, from whose virginal ranks the privileged male selects his unpaid housekeeper/fetus incubator/childcare worker. It naturally follows that if you go around convicting rapists, you diminish the she-was-asking-for-it slut class, which in turn, as distinctions between the two become more and more nebulous, diminishes the good-girl class. See, convicting rapists has the undesirable side effect of making women a bit more human. ...

Do you really get that our so-called justice system was corrupted by bigotry and misogyny long before GWB got his hands on it?

... Sometimes police arrest blacks for offenses that would be handled informally if the same offenses were committed by whites. For example, police often harrass black streetwalkers but allow white prostitutes to conduct their criminal activities virtually ignored.

... The study concluded that blacks are arrested for drug crimes way out of proportion to black drug use. Blacks accounted for about 13% of drug users, yet they also accounted for 35% of all arrests for drug possession, 55% of all convictions on those charges, and 74% of all drug possessors sentenced to prison. From 1986 to 1991, the number of black drug offenders in prison jumped nearly twice as fast as rates for any other group, with the number of black men imprisoned for drug offenses increasing 429%.

Since 1979, our nation's "War on Drugs" has devastated black America like no other social policy, with incarceration rates for working class black drug offenders increasing six-fold. Drug enforcement most heavily effects black communities since that is where police often concentrate their efforts. Blacks and Hispanics are charged with and receive sentences at or above the mandatory minimum more often that whites arrested on the same charges. There is also unwarranted uniformity in sentencing, resulting in low level participants in drug trade receiving more jail time than "drug kingpins." Only 13% of the U.S. population is black, yet more than 90% of all defendants prosecuted in federal court are black. Blacks and Hispanics combined now represent nearly 90% of all offenders sentenced to state prison for drug offenses. A 1992 study of federal court cases found that, where a mandatory minimum could apply, black offenders were 21% more likely and Hispanic offnders 28% more likely than whites to receive at least the mandatory minimum prison sentence. Has the "war on drugs" driven our nation back to the days of Dred Scott ("separate but equal")?

The impact of severe mandatory minimum sentences for first time non-violent drug offenders and the contrast between crack and powder cocaine sentencing has aggravated the racial imbalance in drug enforcement even further. For example, federal sentencing guidelines impose a five year minimum sentence if one is convicted of selling five grams of crack, yet the sale of an equal amount of powder cocaine yields only a one year sentence. Crack defendants tend to be black, while powder cocaine defendants tend to be white. Simple possession of more than five grams of crack is a felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years for a first offender, while possession of the same amount of powder cocaine is a misdemeanor requiring no jail time. ...

Got it. Crime and misbehavior are the province of men, particularly white men. If they get accused of it, well, we're all sure that it wasn't too serious and probably just a temporary lapse. We apologize for their inconvenience and will welcome them back into society with open arms right after they get finished with their wrist-slap. If we don't just let them off entirely. But the bitches and the [insert racial slur here]s got to pay, because they just don't know what's good for them.

Update: Couldn't pass up splicing in that good commentary by Twisty.

Posted by natasha at April 30, 2007 10:05 AM | Women | Technorati links |

ccokzblog: Reactions on Sarkozy

Posted by: ccoaler at April 30, 2007 10:21 AM

The emergence of porn by lesbians for lesbians muddies the argument that pornography belongs to the patriarchy. There's something radical in the idea that a woman can choose to 1)enjoy sexual activity with 2)a person who shares interest in doing so 3)at an agreed-upon time and 4)without the objective of becoming pregnant. She should expect nothing less than to have that choice! If that woman produces media of her experience and presents it for the pleasure of others, is she just being a tool of the patriarchy, or is she acting on her own will and volition? I'm certainly not claiming that all porn is consensual, but the porn=rape-and-degredation argument slides too easily into sex-negativity that I think is fundamentally anti-woman.

Posted by: tjewell at April 30, 2007 03:32 PM

What does it mean to represent the American people? What do the American people expect from their representatives? How well do you feel your Representatives in Congress are doing the job of representing you, your children, your future? How much longer are we as a people going to allow the two party system of Democrats and Republicans to prevent any real changes in the fabric of our society? When each party pulls its Freshmen Representatives and Legislators into private sessions and tells them they are going to vote the party line or be opposed in the next elections by the party itself, what real change can be expected from them? Such a state of affairs creates an atmosphere in which each party must steadfastly and consistently denounce the other partiesí ideas as a matter of course, regardless of the merits to be found in the oppositions ideas.

What does the future hold for an America trapped in a 100+ year war on drugs and facing the reality that we have never even been close to winning? How many futures have been lost or compromised by the tendency of the judiciary to throw the harshest sentences at non-violent crimes and a penal system that plays favorites with murderers, rapists and pedophiles? I believe that there are very simple things that can be done that would provide incredible results in a timescale of weeks and months rather than years and decades!!!

Imagine if you will a national drug policy that would immediately take billions of dollars out of the hands of Hostile Governments, Terrorists, Organized Crime Cartels, Gangs, and corrupt Politicians, Peace Officers, Judges and Lawyers and put that money into practical use by the people and for the people! Imagine a policy that would allow for an evolution in the tax code making it possible to eradicate the property tax on U.S. citizens and for the first time in the history of our country provide Americans the opportunity to truly own the property they have paid for. Imagine a public policy that would provide for the downtrodden, the weak, the elderly and the mentally disabled and addicted, without demanding that more capable and or responsible Americanís be held back by being made to pay for those that canít or wonít pay for themselves.. Imagine a national drug policy that made sense and created results that could be immediately seen and felt throughout the country and the classes!!!

All of these things are completely possible, but not until we shed some very old and destructive ideas. The first and most damaging belief that neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be willing to let go, is the idea that you can control an addictive commodity by criminalizing it. For over 100 years we as a nation have continued to believe that by making the most addictive commodities illegal to possess or distribute that we can eradicate the desire for the commodity itself. When that has failed to work we have continued the lunacy by increasing the fines and penalties for dealing in addictive commodities. However, all that these laws have done is increase the demand and the supply by making addictive commodities so lucrative that even people not considering such wares from a point of desperation have been hard pressed to stay away from them. Furthermore the policy trend has brought about an open fear and deep-seated contempt for police officers and law enforcement agencies that have had to become paramilitary organizations to keep up with the gangs and cartels that these policies have created!!!

Imagine what the reality of decriminalization for addictive commodities would be. I am referring to ALL ADDICTIVE COMMODITIES. If marijuana, heroin, cocaine and other such addictive commodities were decriminalized, HEAVILY taxed and the proceeds for those commodities were used to eradicate the property tax, several things could be reasonably expected to immediately follow. First and foremost, terrorists, organized crime cartels and gangs would lose control of the most lucrative commodities the world has ever known and the best market for such commodities in the world. Property values in the United Sates would soar, and agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency that cost American taxpayers billions of dollars annually without providing comparable results could be closed down. Last year the D.E.A.ís budget was two and one half Billion dollars. How many busses, computers, textbooks, and other educational expenses could that single budget pay for? How many addicts could be brought back to a more productive and healthy lifestyle with an annual budget of 2.5 billion dollars?

How many Americans are arrested and given criminal records each and every day as a result of our current policies? Between January 12, 2005 and September 30, 2005, there were 4,396 Federal offenders sentenced for marijuana-related charges in U.S. Courts. Think about that for a moment, almost 4,400 people incarcerated just on federal charges and only related to marijuana, in only 9 months! California alone averages 400,000 drug related arrests every year. What would the national impact of immediately ceasing such arrests be? It is time to use public policies at state and federal levels to moderate the use of the most damaging and destructive substances while using the proceeds to help those who want to quit get all the help and care they require to get clean and stay clean.

History has given us all the lessons we should require on this subject. The criminalization of alcohol created the highest crime and murder rates known to this country until the cartels and gangs made addictive commodities their stock in trade. Now with our National Security threatened by the liquidity of such commodities and the attraction of terrorists to such revenue streams, the war on drugs must be ended to prevent inadvertently aiding the terrorist war against western civilization. It is time to control the commodities and the proceeds in the only manner possible. By legalizing the sale and distribution of these commodities through state controlled and federally monitored retailers and taxing these commodities 300% or more.

The United States of America could see crime rates drop as much as 50%, possibly more within one year, and I would also expect the same rate of decrease in the national murder rate within a mere matter of months. The men and woman who represent us and our individual states owe it to each constituent to have an honest debate about this issue and to shed the ignorance and fear that has cost so many Americans their lives and the freedom of so many citizens for over 100 years and counting.

Posted by: Martin Sims at April 30, 2007 05:45 PM