Ethical Philosophy In Practice Thinking Clearly in a World of Nonsense

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1 Ethical Philosophy In Practice Thinking Clearly in a World of Nonsense Topic for December 6, 2015 SEX SCANDAL Rocks Portland Elite Rotten Vice Clique, Rotten Vice Clique, like Sodom & Gomorrah, covered up by City Council, Police Department,, newspapers, church leaders YMCA exposed in massive police raid, prominent families involved, Crowds of degenerates corrupting boys throughout the city, hundreds arrested, 50 charged, two prominent family members killed 1 commits suicide In times likes our own, by people like ourselves. Summary A century ago, Oregonians had their own version of Fox News, the Tea (shut down the government) Party, Evangelical Christian reformers, Gay Agenda demagogues, etc. Finally in 1912, it came to a political boil. The only thing wrong with the headline none of it was true. 1

2 Politics As Usual Oregon (outside of Portland) was solidly conservative, religious reform minded 1 and worried about sex. To them, vice meant Portland. More specifically, the sins of prostitution and gambling in the teaming cesspool of Portland s Waterfront areas. In modern Tea Party style, evangelical governor Oswald West swore to veto all bills sponsored by anyone opposing his anti-vice agenda. He vetoed 62 bills in the 1911 legislative term alone. Very much a mommasboy, he believed that men were the common enemy of women. Portanders however, were more progressive 2 and not so keen on getting into other people s business. Reform didn t get much traction as every effort by self-appointed Vice Committees met with embarrassment. One organized a raid on a hotel and had it owners arrested; only to discover that they had the wrong hotel. When the anti-vice Committee of 100 Taxpayers was examined, it was found that half of them owned vice establishments themselves. The reform movement just couldn t get off the ground in Portland. The Demographics of Portland in Portland had a population of 210,000, up from 46,000 in The majority 3 were single working men living along the waterfront, Old Town, Chinatown, the Pearl District, Goose Hollow, etc. Of the 547 buildings in the area actually investigated, 431 were involved in illegal activities serving this population. It is not surprising that prostitution and gambling were considered vice by the good people of the city. (30) Prominent businessmen owned many of buildings used as brothels, saloons, gambling parlors, Turkish baths and opium dens. Such vice was profitable not only for their owners but also the City government. Every month the City budget took in $ 7,000 from fines charged law breakers. As a matter of course, the City police took bribes to look the other way. On the whole, no one was much 1 Such folks were then members of the Democratic Party lead by Woodrow Wilson. They supported states rights, a small federal government and free enterprise. They opposed women s suffrage, civil rights, birth control and sex in general. 2 These folks were then members of the Republican Party lead by Theodore Roosevelt. 3 1 female for every 1.33 males) 2

3 interested about in stopping the prostitution and gambling. The White House Road Shootings - On March 12, 1912, five young men from good families hopped into a car for a tour around the city s favorite GAY cruising area, Lake Oswego. On the way back they crossed paths with a local miscreant named Jack Roberts (29) standing in the middle of the road. He had a gunny sack tied around his legs and was holding shotgun. As they drove past he announced this is a hold up game, no joke. Having been ignored, Roberts turned and fired buckshot three 4 times at the rear of the auto, killing two and wounding two. Because they were from well-to-do families and members of the Multnomah Athletic Club (one was a famous Oregon State football star, one was engaged to be married to the daughter of State Senator and another was a medical student) the matter got public attention. At Jack Roberts 5 trial, the nature of the Lake Oswego s trip was revealed to the shocked public. Needless to say, the meaning of the word vice was expanded in the minds of the frustrated anti-vice crusaders. The Pressure Builds with Mayor Rushlight Portland Allen Rushlight was a Republican (progressive) who didn t worry much about vice. However, under pressure as mayor, he ordered the police department to be more aggressive. It began breaking into buildings with axes but without search warrants (it came to be called Rushlighting). After arresting 89 Chinamen for gambling, Municipal Court Judge George Tazel released them because raiding businesses without search warrants seemed to him a tad unconstitutional. The evangelical reformers were livid. Because of that, Judge Tazwell suffered one of the most spectacular falls from public grace to ever hit any public official. (15) He lost his judgeship in the next election when George Davis pledged to enforce 4 It strikes this reporter as odd. Even a double barreled shotgun has to be reloaded for three shots. Buckshot at a fleeing auto? 5 (where he was found guilty and ultimately hanged) 3

4 all the laws. Such is the fate of all who defend the Bill of Rights from the raging mob. The mob denounces and threatens (or worse) as it shreds the Constitution, the very document it claims to revere. America s First PoliceWOMAN Was in Portland Under a statute authorizing the governor to appoint an investigator to address crimes local authorities ignore, Governor West appointed reform minded Lola Baldwin. She was so eager to protect Portland women from vice, she banned them from all public entertainment. During her 14 year time in office, the only dance legal in Portland was the waltz. Her efforts met with little progress however, whenever she closed a vice business, it reopened in another location. Newspapers Stoke The Flames There were at least four newspapers active at that time, the Oregonian, the Oregon Journal, the Portland Evening Telegram and the Portland News. Just as today, they competed for readership by printing titillating stories; such as hints of odd goings on at the YMCA. When wealthy property owner Theodore Kraus went missing, a reporter asked his third (and soon-to-be exwife) if he was having an affair. She laughingly responded that it was unlikely. She couldn t get him away from his young male friends long enough to come home 6. He ran a popular restaurant called the Louvre which and had a separate Gents Only Dining Room with mirrored walls to facilitate cruising. Down in Grant s Pass, four young men calling themselves the Dirty Four, took a group photo, made it into post cards and mailed them to friends in Portland. That got the rumor mill going. One of them had moved to Portland by 1912, but was not implicated in the Vice Clique Scandal. 6 He was in Seattle hiring new singers for his popular gay bar the Lauvre Restaurant. 4

5 The YMCA Defends It s Good Name By 1912, the local Y had 5,000 members and was the largest in the world. (60) It must have rented rooms to hundreds of men under 35; and a couple over that age. It was the target of the reformers because it did risqué things like advocate sex education and even once invited Emma Goldman (the anarchist) to speak. (However fearing for its rep, it disinvited Emma.) The Vice Clique Scandal Breaks The smallest paper, the Portland News, created the scandal with wild headlines on a Friday, in November, It screamed that a police raid on the YMCA had resulted in the arrest of 50 prominent citizens. What s more, there was an organized community of boy molesting perverts called the Vice Clique, long known about but concealed by the city government, police force and other newspapers. It reported that the police were now receiving confessions of boys almost hourly. The only thing was none of it was true. There had never been a raid on the YMCA. Only four of the arrestees had anything to do with the YMCA 7. There were only 13 in custody and only one of them (attorney and political leader Edward McAllister) was a prominent citizen. But the police had, under political pressure, been interrogating various suspects for crimes against nature. They apparently threatening each with prosecution but offering him immunity if he would name names and testify against them. As a result, the list of known suspects expanded dramatically, and quickly. The Other Newspapers Attack the News - The other papers criticized the News for its irresponsible sewer journalism motivated by a desire for circulation. The News fired back that the other papers had covered up the story 8. It charged that bribes were being offered to the prosecutors and newspapers. It called for suspects to be sweated with night stikes. In the final analysis, 12 men were tried and 77 were investigated but not prosecuted. 7 Four of the arrestee lived in the Y, four out of hundreds. 8 There is no evidence that they ever covered-up the scandal. They only restrained themselves to the truth, more or less. 5

6 Doctor and Lawyer Tried for Crimes Against Nature Dr. Harry Start was the first to go on trial. He was charged with stealing the property of an elevator operator in his office building (which still stands at Alder and Broadway.) (For the nature of that property, see below.) Women were allowed in the courtroom for the first time and the gallery was packed. The interrogation of first boy (21 year old Fred Rodby) was clear, graphic and loud so everyone could hear. Everyone, many people were shocked that such a thing went on. In the trial it was implied that Dr. Start had a lavender marriage, just for appearances. He was allegedly married to a lesbian who was also trying to keep her private life a secret. About The Laws and Assumptions of the Time Definition of the Crime - The crime was the theft of semen from the person losing it. He was grossly injured by the loss when it was stolen from him by the predator. IF convicted, the mandatory minimum sentence was one year in prison. Definition of a Boy under Oregon Law Under the legal assumptions of their day, any crime against naturel had to have some human be the victim and another human be a perpetrator. Apparently nature could not give testimony in the court. The victim was always referred to as the boy. By definition, the victim was the younger of the two persons. For example, if two men (ages 30 and 45) had an encounter, the 30 year old was the boy. As a boy, his name and age were not published in the newspapers. (63) This gave the clear impression that grown men were assaulting minors. In this way, consensual acts by adults were never admitted, so was simply UNimaginable. Paradoxically, an individual might be the boy victim in one case and in the very next case he was the predator, but no one challenged how that was possible. In the Vice Clique scandal, 20 year old Kenneth Hollister was a boy victim in numerous cases, suggesting that he was very unlucky indeed, or simply an actively gay man testifying against people he knew. He was not prosecuted so it is assumed that he received immunity from the D.A. 6

7 Definition of fellatio under Oregon Law In England and the U.S. it was not a crime. Under the various state laws, fellatio was not mentioned. However in the first case (against Dr. Start), the judge (Calvin Gantebein) decided that it had been omitted from the Oregon statutes because the entire legislature suffered from sexual abnormality. Therefore, fellatio WAS covered under the Oregon laws. It was a crime against nature. Then he said in open court, that all normal minded men agreed, which threatened the jury with personal embarrassment. Assumptions by the Law The published legal guides of the day held that such crimes were committed by irreligious working men using violence or threats of violence against youth. (63) Historically, cross dressers were changed with vagrancy. The Trials Dr. Harry Start (who looked a lot like Woodrow Wilson) was convicted and lost his Oregon medical license. (This in spite of the fact that he had many character witnesses, including many other physicians.) The Supreme Court overturned his conviction on a technicality; the judge had allowed extraneous testimony. His wife, distraught and with no income, killed herself with a morphine overdose in Start was ordered to leave the state by the Supreme Court. He practiced medicine in China and on passenger ships. He returned years later to petition the state for a reinstatement of his license. It was denied. Edward Stonewall Jackson McAllister was a very prominent Democratic politician. He was the big fish but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Ccourt. He retired and bought a farm in Southern Oregon. Edward Wedemeyer, the head bookkeeper for Frank Doernbecher, was convicted. Dornbecher 10 thought highly of him and paid for his defense lawyer. His conviction was also overturned. 9 The Oregon legislature was quick to amend the statute to broaden the crimes against nature definitions. 10 Doernbecher s heirs created the Doernbecher s Childrens Hospital. 7

8 The other defendants were tried and convicted or left town or escaped from custody after being sentenced. Sid Ghirardelli, a son of the San Francisco Ghirardelli chocolate business founder, committed suicide. He had been sent to Portland by his family because of his sexual orientation. In the midst of the hysteria; police arresting and interrogating men, he spend all his money at his favorite Turkish bathhouse and then drank poison. Upon news of that, his mother took her daughters on a European tour. Legislative response for Wikipedia The Oregon state legislature responded to the scandal by amending the state's sodomy law via House Bill 145 (1913). The law was clarified and broadened to include "any act or practice of sexual perversity," including fellatio.[6] At the time, courts had previously ruled that sodomy laws similar to Oregon's did not cover oral sex, and it was believed that convictions based on oral rather than anal sex acts might be reversed. Also under H.B. 145, the maximum sentence for sodomy in the state penitentiary was tripled, from five years to fifteen.[14] As urged by Governor Oswald West, the legislature also passed H.B. 69 (1913), a law to authorize sterilization of "sexual perverts" and "moral degenerates,"[15] which were defined as "those addicted to the practice of sodomy or the crime against nature, or to other gross, bestial and perverted sexual habits and practices prohibited by statute."[16] People opposed to sterilization, including Catholic clergymen and reformers such as William Simon U'Ren, formed the Anti-Sterilization League and successfully forced a referendum on this legislation. Oregon voters repealed it by a vote of 56 percent to 44 in November However, the legislature passed a similar law in Action by the Oregon Supreme Court Three men who were sentenced to the state penitentiary appealed their convictions physician Harry Start, clerk and bookkeeper Edward Wedemeyer, and attorney Edward McAllister.[17] The Oregon Supreme Court reversed Start's conviction in State v. Start, 65 Or 178, 132 P 512 (1913), finding that the trial judge had allowed extraneous testimony that possibly prejudiced the jury. Wedemeyer's and McAllister's convictions were reversed on the same grounds. Notably, these convictions were not reversed on the basis that oral sex was not covered under Oregon's sodomy law, as the legislature feared the court might rule. In fact, despite legislation previous to Startensuring that fellatio counted as a "crime against nature," the court ruled that this was necessarily true because, among other reasons, the mouth and anus are both openings of the alimentary canal and therefore equally unsuited to sexual intercourse.[18] Justice Charles McNary, a future U.S. Senator, was a new court justice by the time McAllister's appeal was heard. McNary wrote the dissent for McAllister's case, which was emotionally charged and "revealed a deeply seated personal discomfort with same-sex eroticism."[1] 8

9 I givethe Vice Clique Scandal a C, just more human nature. And of course, it looks very familiar. What do you think? We want to hear your opinion. Sebastian Zebadiah Twit, November 29, 2015 Later Reflections This topic came up when I found this <<< recently published book in the Belmont Library. I had heard several times of the scandal but got the impression that it an apocalyptic unveiling of a massive gay cabal. But no, it was apparently the result of religious reformers and irresponsible journalism. The case got a lot of publicity all over the country and is considered significant because of what it led to. It promoted eugenics, sterilization, expanded sodomy laws and spread homophobia. Go Oregon! The Portland News - The editor of the News (Dana Sleeth) was an odd duck. He was the only child of two evangelical Christian ministers. Could it be that he was suffering from the J. Edgar Hoover syndrome, demonizing others for what he denied was in himself? 9

10 Bungling reformers sound familiar. In our own recent takeover of the Parkrose School District by evangelical Christians, one board member stalked and pepper sprayed a black high school girl. Waiting for the school bus, the board member thought she was a hooker soliciting Johns. The board member was arrested but the charges were dropped without any explanation. Gotta Get Married - A progressive tax on bachelors (not married men, widowers or unmarried women) was proposed. The assumption was that men were the cause of vice and they should all be forced to marry. Most women liked the idea but many man loudly did not. As Much Justice As You Can Afford Only three defendants appealed to the Supreme Court. All their convictions were reversed for the same reason. Reform Group had cool names. My favorite was the The Social Hygiene Society. 10

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