The Death Penalty For Porn Producers:The Final Frontier For Radfems??

OK….I know that it’s been a while, so I have some catching up to do…..I’ll just do as Blackamazon does so well and kinda wing it in a “whatever breezes through my mind at the moment” way.

I’ve been wanting to post on this story, because there are so many angles, both on the political and sexual fronts, that can be raised here.

Iran Approves Death Penalty for Pornogaphers
By: David Sullivan
*
TEHRAN –
Iran’s parliament has approved a bill that would sentence persons convicted of producing pornography to death.Lawmakers voted 148-5 with four abstentions that “producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corruptors of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corruptors of the world.”

The “main elements in…production”*referenced in the bill include producers, directors, cameramen and actors. According to CNN, the term “corruptors of the world”*is derived from the Quran and carries a death penalty under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

Distributors and adult website operators could also face imprisonment and death. The bill encompasses all forms of sexually explicit media, including videos, DVDs and CDs. Pornographic books and magazines are already banned in Iran.

In order to become law, the bill must now be approved by Iran’s Guardian Council.

The bill follows in the wake of a scandal involving a pornographic video of Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi that began circulating on the country’s black market last year. While Ebrahami has denied that she is the woman depicted in the video, she faces “fines, whip lashing or worse” for violating Iran’s morality laws. Ebrahimi’s male partner in the sex tape fled to Armenia but was later brought back to Iran, where he currently remains in jail.

The Associated Press notes that “porn material is easily accessible through foreign satellite television channels in Iran. Bootleg video tapes and CDs are also available on the black market on many street corners.”

[H/t to Ernest Greene at Nina Hartley’s forum for posting that excerpt.]

This pisses me off for several reasons, and not just the obvious ones.

First off…there is the citing of the Quran’s statement of “corruptors of the world” in supporting the death penalty, which would apply not only to producers, but also distributors, website operators, and even the  actual performers. I mean, it’s known knowledge that Islamic societies are far more conservative and restictive when it comes to sexuality….but to go as far as to seek the freakin’ DEATH PENALTY for acts of private consensual sex??? I would think that that would run the risk of playing into the very scapegoat of “Islamofascism” that those who seek to topple that government would use to justify their actions.

And what would that say for those on the opposite side of the political equation: those on the political Left who have basically laid themselves down in defense of the ruling Iranian government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against those who favor toppling his rule?? I especially point to some American leftist women like Yoshie Furuhashi, who has been the most consistent defender of Ahmadinejad as an anti-interventionist and a revolutionary populist…..on occasion conviently glossing over the more reactionary social policies and gross anti-feminism that underlies his fundamentalism. She may be an extreme example of the boosting of fundamentalist Islam as populism and a acceptable alternative to “liberal interventionism”, but she is hardly alone.

Now, I happen to be a staunch anti-interventionist, and I will no more support invading Iran merely because the ruling government happens to be run by a bunch of misogynist thugs using religion to support their power trips, than I would have supported invading Iraq merely because Saddam was a butcher with a secret porn fetish. But….it does bother me more than a bit that so many Leftists are so willing to sacrifice even their own principles to defend “the enemies of our enemies”.

This isn’t to say that the fawning of “Cruise Missile Leftists” who exploit such issues as this to push for mass invasions are any better or worthy of my support, either; it’s just that perhaps we might be willing to acknowledge that merely opposing something without understanding clearly who we are standing with and standing for does make for some dangerous alliances that could easily wreck even the most careful  organized progressive movement.

The other angle in this that gets to me is something pointed out by Ernest Greene in his post at Nina’s forum; it is a standard theme of his regarding the unholy alliance between fundamentalists and radicalfeminists on the subjects of porn and sexuality:

Now while I’m sure they’d deny it loudly, anti-porn feminists undoubtedly take some glee in the notion of pornographers being executed. Anyone who has spent much time at The Den of the Biting Beaver or read Andrea Dworkin’s “novel” Mercy, which extolls the virtues of murdering male derelicts as a form of protest against the patriarchy has some idea of the depth of homicidal loathing these fanatics feel toward pornographers.However, in their delight at the prospect of smut-peddler’s heads being lopped off, they might have overlooked a significant detail from the story above, which is that the first target of the Iranian death-for-porn law just happens to be a woman.

Societies that suppress pornography most brutally are the very societies that suppress the rights of women most brutally as well. This is a lesson that any American feminist traveling in the Third World is all too likely to learn first hand. But then, since most of them prefer the comforts of Wheelock College, with its $36K per year tuition and, its tenured professorships for porn-bashing paranoids and its cozy conferences dedicated to denouncing the evils of sexual liberalism at which no opposing voices are allowed a hearing, they needn’t have their sleep troubled by such contradictions.

That last sentence is directed towards Dr. Gail Dines, one of the main antipornradicalfeminist activist voices.

Again, I recognize that not even all APRF’s will go as far as to support something as extreme as the death penalty for (male) porn producers or consumers; but it does seem for some of the more strident activists (*cough* SamHeart(less)GayleStormCloudBitingBeaverWitchyWoo*cough*) that if they are serious enough about their advocacy that porn consumption amounts to nothing less than the total abuse of women and the gateway to rape and rapicity, then why wouldn’t they carry their arguments to the logical conclusion?? Of course, they would have to sustain some deniability to seperate themselves from the Religious Right…but I wouldn’t think that that wouldn’t stop them from at least looking the other way at such a solution.

All this is a segue into the rumble currently going on at Feministe, where Roy originally posted how news of the Iranian proposed death penalty law (and an associated post by Trinity at The Strangest Alchemy) gave him a totally new perspective on things:

 I sat there at my desk, talking about sex workers and sex work and porn like they were abstractions… but they’re not, and mythago rightly called me on my shit. It took me a while to realize that, but it was a totally fair criticism. My sitting there saying that stats show this and stats show that and look how many sex workers were this or that… none of that helps them now, and talk like that does make me more likely to find myself allied with religious conservatives who have a “moral interest” in condemning sex work… and sex workers. And that’s the thing that mythago knew when posting that “Mackinnon and Dworkin made the silly assumption that their anti-feminist allies on the right would see their point of view, and apply protectionist ideas in a way that would help women instead of as a way to control women” and that trinityva was getting at when posting “often even “enlightened” people here who object to porn for the “right” reasons are willing to form alliances with those who oppose it for reasons of “religious morality”.”And when I allow myself to ally with questionable or even flat-out bad groups, I have to accept that the damage they do in the name of our cause is damage that I’m contributing to. I can’t wash my hands of the harm that my allies do if they’re doing the damage in the name of our mutual cause. If I’m rallying behind the cry of “PORN HARMS ALL WOMEN!” and I allow myself to get backing from a group that’s adding “BECAUSE DIRTY SLUTS ABUSE SEX!” then aren’t I at least somewhat culpable? Because, ultimately, don’t my actions help further that cause, as well? And doesn’t that mean that the damage they’re doing is to some extent, on my hands?

Because those people have made it absolutely clear that they don’t care about the women involved. They’re not working to help end the abuse of sex workers. They’re not condemning poor working conditions. They’re not working to help sex worker’s rights. They’re not even remotely interested in making sure that their voices get heard. They’re interested in keeping the whores out of their neighborhoods.

For the record, here’s what Trin posted:

Now this is Iran and not here. But I do want to post it, as I do think that it’s important to remember that in many parts of the world, including here, a lot of the objection to pornography IS a deep-seated fear of corruption or contamination. And a goodly bit of the opposition is religious. As a few kerfuffles I’ve posted about here have cast into relief, often even “enlightened” people here who object to porn for the “right” reasons are willing to form alliances with those who oppose it for reasons of “religious morality”.While this does have limited relevance to the US or even the UK, I think it helps to notice the strain of thinking that does look at porn this way. (It’s also worrisome to write this off, IMO, because we run the risk of doing that typical White US-ian “oh, we’re so much more EVOLVED than THOSE (brown) people!”)

We often like very much to hide behind veneers of theory. And to many of us: why shouldn’t we? We live in a wealthy country. Many of us are white, middle class, highly educated, comfortable. It’s very easy for us to think that we can dismantle an industry through “radical” means, at which point anyone formerly “enslaved by” it has a better life, presto change-o.

Too often our “radical” dreams can’t be achieved without nasty alliances. And too often we think of our “radical”ness and our “revolutionariness” and ignore what we deem collateral damage.

It didn’t work in the Iraq War. Why should it work in the Vice War either?

The subsequent thread went haywire when the usual suspects (read, Sam and gayle) decided to intervene with a defense of the “Swedish model” of controlling prostitiution, among other distractions…but that is a different story for another time.

But, it does go to show that in our efforts to dive in head first into any given controversy, we sometimes forget to understand exactly who we are diving with. The enemy of your enemy today could well turn out to become your enemy tomorrow…which is why it’s best to stick to principles as much as humanly possible.

As for me, I see no conflicts whatsoever between not supporting the ruling government of Iraq and simultaneously opposing a military invasion of that country by others.  In the end, the same rule of self-determination that defends individual sexual autonomy (whether it be for LGBT’s, feminists, or porn) applies just as much for whole countries resisting war and imperialism.  Ultimately, Iranians must decide what government they want, not the US….and certainly not by bombing them into submission. If you are that opposed to their sexual fascism as I am, then the better solution is to offer those women and men facing such repression a place of sanctuary until the laws are changed to reflect some decency and common sense.

As the old saying goes: An eye for an eye ultimately ends up blinding everyone.

Forget Al Gore….Cynthia McKinney Goes Online

Everybody in the liberal blogosphere seems to think that Al Gore will be the savior of the Dimocrats, which is why they are all pimping for him to run for President, I guess.

Me…I prefer someone a bit more progressive.

Probably that’s why I’ve been fantasizing about former Georgia Congresswoman/progressive headbussa Cynthia McKinney running in the ’08 campaign as an Independent (possibly on a Green Party slate).

But, since she got Shanghied out of her congressional seat, we haven’t really heard of her whereabouts. 

That is…until now.  Seems like CMcK’s gotten the online blog bug, and has opened up her own blog, which she is using to both vent her spleen at all the current events, raise money to retire her campaign debt, and hopefully plan her third comeback.

I would appreciate it a great deal if you would check her out…and for an appetizer, go over to CounterPunch and browse through her latest essay, too.

As a bonus, go ahead and check out this site in tribute to CMcK that debunks everything about her alleged anti-Semitism and her supposed bad hair, to the pushing incident that helped cost her her seat. It’ll open your eyes quite a bit.

Dimocrat Cave-In Smothers Cindy Sheehan

Well, well, well…guess who became the  first announced public victim of the Great Dimocratic Iraqi Cave-In???  None other than the patron saint of war mom protesters herself, Cindy Sheehan.

From her blog entry at AfterDowningStreet.org:

I have endured a lot of smear and hatred since Casey was killed and especially since I became the so-called “Face” of the American anti-war movement. Especially since I renounced any tie I have remaining with the Democratic Party, I have been further trashed on such “liberal blogs” as the Democratic Underground. Being called an “attention whore” and being told “good riddance” are some of the more milder rebukes.

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

The first conclusion is that I was the darling of the so-called left as long as I limited my protests to George Bush and the Republican Party. Of course, I was slandered and libeled by the right as a “tool” of the Democratic Party. This label was to marginalize me and my message. How could a woman have an original thought, or be working outside of our “two-party” system?

However, when I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the “left” started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of “right or left”, but “right and wrong.”

I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike. It amazes me that people who are sharp on the issues and can zero in like a laser beam on lies, misrepresentations, and political expediency when it comes to one party refuse to recognize it in their own party. Blind party loyalty is dangerous whatever side it occurs on. People of the world look on us Americans as jokes because we allow our political leaders so much murderous latitude and if we don’t find alternatives to this corrupt “two” party system our Representative Republic will die and be replaced with what we are rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland. I am demonized because I don’t see party affiliation or nationality when I look at a person, I see that person’s heart. If someone looks, dresses, acts, talks and votes like a Republican, then why do they deserve support just because he/she calls him/herself a Democrat?

[…]

The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think. I have tried every since he died to make his sacrifice meaningful. Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives. It is so painful to me to know that I bought into this system for so many years and Casey paid the price for that allegiance. I failed my boy and that hurts the most.

I have also tried to work within a peace movement that often puts personal egos above peace and human life. This group won’t work with that group; he won’t attend an event if she is going to be there; and why does Cindy Sheehan get all the attention anyway? It is hard to work for peace when the very movement that is named after it has so many divisions.

[…]

This is my resignation letter as the “face” of the American anti-war movement. This is not my “Checkers” moment, because I will never give up trying to help people in the world who are harmed by the empire of the good old US of A, but I am finished working in, or outside of this system. This system forcefully resists being helped and eats up the people who try to help it. I am getting out before it totally consumes me or anymore people that I love and the rest of my resources.

Good-bye, America…you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can’t make you be that country unless you want it.

It’s up to you now.

And Mrs. Sheehan didn’t stop there, either….in a special open letter resignation to the Dimocrat leadership, posted in CounterPunch today, she tore new ones into them:

[….]

Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George’s authority to wage his war of terror while asking him "for what noble cause" did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into "Mr. 28%"

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Ms. Pelosi, Speaker of the House, said after George signed the new weak as a newborn baby funding authorization bill: "Now, I think the president’s policy will begin to unravel." Begin to unravel? How many more of our children will have to be killed and how much more of Iraq will have to be demolished before you all think enough unraveling has occurred? How many more crimes will BushCo be allowed to commit while their poll numbers are crumbling before you all gain the political "courage" to hold them accountable. If Iraq hasn’t unraveled in Ms. Pelosi’s mind, what will it take? With almost 700,000 Iraqis dead and four million refugees (which the US refuses to admit) how could it get worse? Well, it is getting worse and it can get much worse thanks to your complicity.

[….]

So, Democratic Congress, with the current daily death toll of 3.72 troops per day, you have condemned 473 more to these early graves. 473 more lives wasted for your political greed: Thousands of broken hearts because of your cowardice and avarice. How can you even go to sleep at night or look at yourselves in a mirror? How do you put behind you the screaming mothers on both sides of the conflict? How does the agony you have created escape you? It will never escape me…I can’t run far enough or hide well enough to get away from it.

By the end of September, we will be about 80 troops short of another bloody milestone: 4000, and MoveOn.org will hold nationwide candlelight vigils and you all will be busy passing legislation that will snuff the lights out of thousands more human beings.

Congratulations Congress, you have bought yourself a few more months of an illegal and immoral bloodbath. And you know you mean to continue it indefinitely so "other presidents" can solve the horrid problem BushCo forced our world into.

It used to be George Bush’s war. You could have ended it honorably. Now it is yours and you all will descend into calumnious history with BushCo.

Pretty sad to see, I’d say, and quite painful to watch…..but more than necessary to break through the psychological chains and see the truth.

I’m sure that we will be seeing the "attention whore traitor" smack from the "lesser evil" Dimocrat loyalists any time now….as if Cindy Sheehan would be held personally responsible for allowing Dubya to get his blank check.

Only message that I’d send to Mrs. Sheehan would be this: Welcome to the club….and there is an alternative.

 

Welcome to the Fighting 101st, Earthside…

In the midst of my anger over the Dimocrats craveness, I may have discovered a new soldier for the Fighting 101st Progressive Headbussa Brigade(TM).

Say hello to the blog Earthside, who has been excellent in revealing the truth about the Dimocrats and their latest spinelessness, and the real agenda behind the Bush "surges". To with, this nugget:

Okay … this isn’t hard to figure out.

The propaganda ‘leak’ is that the Iranians and al Qaida and the Sunnis and the Shias and CHAOS and Smersh and all the forces of the Illuminati are going to join together to force the U.S. military out of Iraq this summer.

So, Bush is planning to send even more troops into Iraq, to double-up on the ‘surge’. Naturally, this means that any kind of judgement about the effectiveness of the ‘surge’ in September is going to be way too premature. Maybe by December, okay?

With no timetables in the Iraq funding legislation that the Democrats are reportedly working on, well, Bush will have achieved a political triumph, he will crow that his plan has been ‘approved’ for all intents and purposes — and U.S. troops will be in Iraq indefinitely.

In other words, the ‘surge’ plan of January this year was a lie … and the Democrats are preparing to cave-in because Bush and Cheney and Rush Limbaugh will call them nasty names and they don’t want that!

What a country, eh?

Other than forgetting Unka Karl Rove, and the mendacity of "liberals" like MoveOn and Kos, I’d say that he’s exactly on target.

Duly racked, and I will place in the Blogroll when I get back from work.

…And While Dimocrats Retreat; Dubya Surges…Again

And. right on the cue, this is how Dubya rewards the Dimocrats for giving him basically all he wants: by grabbing more and more.

Say hello to the "second surge" plan…thanks to the San Francisco Chronicle:

 

Bush could double force by Christmas

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

(05-22) 04:00 PDT Washington — The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

The little-noticed second surge, designed to reinforce U.S. troops in Iraq, is being executed by sending more combat brigades and extending tours of duty for troops already there.

The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.

Separately, when additional support troops are included in this second troop increase, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — a record-high number — by the end of the year.

The numbers were arrived at by an analysis of deployment orders by Hearst Newspapers.

"It doesn’t surprise me that they’re not talking about it," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William Nash, a former U.S. commander of NATO troops in Bosnia, referring to the Bush administration. "I think they would be very happy not to have any more attention paid to this."

The first surge was prominently announced by President Bush in a nationally televised address on Jan. 10, when he ordered five more combat brigades to join 15 brigades already in Iraq.

The buildup was designed to give commanders the 20 combat brigades Pentagon planners said were needed to provide security in Baghdad and western Anbar province.

Since then, the Pentagon has extended combat tours for units in Iraq from 12 months to 15 months and announced the deployment of additional brigades.

Taken together, the steps could put elements of as many as 28 combat brigades in Iraq by Christmas, according the deployment orders examined by Hearst Newspapers.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Carl S. Ey said there was no effort by the Army to carry out "a secret surge" beyond the 20 combat brigades ordered by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

"There isn’t a second surge going on; we’ve got what we’ve got," Ey said. "The idea that there are ever going to be more combat brigades in theater in the future than the secretary of defense has authorized is pure speculation."

Ey attributed the increase in troops to "temporary increases that typically occur during the crossover period" as arriving combat brigades move into position to replace departing combat brigades.

He said that only elements of the eight additional combat brigades beyond the 20 already authorized would actually be in Iraq in December.

The U.S. Joint Forces Command, based in Norfolk, Va., that tracks combat forces heading to and returning from Iraq, declined to discuss unit-by-unit deployments.

"Due to operational security, we cannot confirm or discuss military unit movements or schedules," Navy Lt. Jereal Dorsey said in an e-mail.

The Pentagon has repeatedly extended unit tours in Iraq during the past four years to achieve temporary increases in combat power. For example, three combat brigades were extended up to three months in November 2004 to boost the number of U.S. troops from 138,000 to 150,000 before, during and after the Jan. 30, 2005, Iraqi national elections.

Lawrence Korb, an assistant defense secretary for manpower during the Reagan administration, said the Pentagon deployment schedule enables the Bush administration to achieve quick increases in combat forces in the future by delaying units’ scheduled departures from Iraq and overlapping them with arriving replacement forces.

"The administration is giving itself the capability to increase the number of troops in Iraq," Korb said. "It remains to be seen whether they actually choose to do that."

Nash said the capability could reflect an effort by the Bush administration to "get the number of troops into Iraq that we’ve needed there all along."

I’m sure if this strategy works as well as the first "surge" did (like, not at all), then the next step will be formal reinstatement of the military draft.  I wonder how many Dimocrats will cave in on that??

Two-party system, my ass. Maybe time for an alternative.