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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 21,940

Journal Archives

Let's be civilized.

The "scare garbage" about providing a profit motive to third-party exploiters, defining new classes of criminal, increasing police power, filling prisons and pushing activity into "the dark" (where it is more dangerous and criminals can exploit it better) is not bunk. It is what happened already long ago with criminalization. So I suppose there's no need to fear things that at this point can't be happening in the future, since they're already so well established. Criminalization as it has been practiced has not addressed, but has mainly added to, the problems inherent in prostitution.

Even if I thought the solution you propose was reasonable, how is the solution tenable? I can offer sex for money, but I'm not responsible legally if someone takes me up on it, only my buyer is criminal? After they pay me, can I turn them in myself and testify at their trials? You say "solicitation" would be illegal (i.e., asking for it) but in common usage the word refers not just to asking for but also to offering something, with good reason. The existence of the offer is one of the essential conditions for creating the market.

Perhaps your proposal outlaws advertising, or obvious streetwalking, but there are always forms of marketing. So please clarify: Are you saying a prostitute can legally set up somewhere, making an offer and trying to persuade people to accept it (again, the common definition of "solicitation"), but anyone who then takes the offer is breaking the law? Can someone do this as a legal business? (For the sake of argument let's define this as a worker-owned cooperative with only equal worker-owners among the personnel.) They can run their own legal brothel and invite clients in, but then the clients are lawbreakers? Sounds like you could set up a brothel at the front door, leading to a police precinct at the back, and build a prison next door.

So please clarify how this proposal is supposed to work in practice.

We the people are suckers, yes.

Our power elite is not, at least in the terms of the game they play. If they cared about their own descendants 100 years from now... but they don't. They're more concerned with immediate enrichment, monumentalizing their own egos as great men, and living up to the appearance of their own bullshit about humanity.

Which is to say, it's the Saudis aren't suckering the operative policymakers on the U.S. end. Both sides in this alliance know what they are doing, and they think "the price is worth it."

As to the pinkwashing...

No one's asking anyone to move to an anti-gay country, or not to fight for the rights of gay people everywhere.

The question here is whether we should support an occupying force bombing and economically strangling all of the people in any country, whether that country is anti-gay or not. I'm sure people here would not like to see sections of Uganda indiscriminately leveled (as has happened with neighborhoods in Gaza). And statistically speaking, 5 to 10 percent of the IDF's victims are gay Palestinians.

It's great that Tel Aviv can have a vibrant Pride parade, what does that have to do with bombing Gaza? Israel is not bombing Gaza in order to impose gay rights on the Palestinians there. It's not bombing Gaza because Hamas is anti-gay. It's claiming self-defense, disingenuously. So this argument is a red herring.

The question for Americans, always, should be a simple one: Do we as taxpayers continue funding military and other support for the Israeli state? Before that, most other questions are, practically speaking, distractions.

I'm the guy on the bike and the train.

Loving it a life long, except for all the dangerous internal combustion fetish-objects driven by people with a permanent rage and firm belief in their own infallibility. (Please don't tell me your stories of Montana or wherever. I don't want to take away Montanans' useful autos. I speak of New York and Europe.)

Thanks for this article on the effects of legalizing prostitution.

I do not support prostitution as an industry or ever associate it with "utopia. I do however ask (as with drugs) what the right policy is for dealing with it.

Your link is not a study on legalizing prostitution per se. It is a study of the effects of legalization on human trafficking, and finds that such trafficking appears to increase to countries that have legalized, due to a larger market. Let's assume this is so, though such data can be questioned. (Do all countries report equally well on human trafficking, do they have the same definitions, have reporting standards been the same throughout, etc.)

Now note, from your link:

"Democracies have a higher probability of increased human-trafficking inflows than non-democratic countries. There is a 13.4% higher probability of receiving higher inflows in a democratic country than otherwise."

This is not an argument against democracy, right?

Furthermore, the article concludes as follows:

While trafficking inflows may be lower where prostitution is criminalized, there may be severe repercussions for those working in the industry. For example, criminalizing prostitution penalizes sex workers rather than the people who earn most of the profits (pimps and traffickers).

“The likely negative consequences of legalised prostitution on a country’s inflows of human trafficking might be seen to support those who argue in favour of banning prostitution, thereby reducing the flows of trafficking,” the researchers state. “However, such a line of argumentation overlooks potential benefits that the legalisation of prostitution might have on those employed in the industry. Working conditions could be substantially improved for prostitutes — at least those legally employed — if prostitution is legalised. Prohibiting prostitution also raises tricky ‘freedom of choice’ issues concerning both the potential suppliers and clients of prostitution services.”

Human trafficking must be addressed as its own evil. (Here a distinction needs to be made between forced trafficking and undocumented immigration; the latter is often called "trafficking" falsely.) Ending human trafficking doesn't require punishing prostitutes -- which is exactly what happens with criminalization, even if it's the johns who are arrested. As the article you are using also suggests.

Why aren't we thinking in terms of economic justice and opportunity and development everywhere in the world, rather than forefronting the solution of criminalizing the poor? (Criminalization will rarely make a difference to the rich either way, of course.)

You: "This is where we are seeing the attacks coming from."

And by the way, if that is where "we" see the attacks coming from, where do "they" see the attacks coming from?

Stuxnet on the loose?

"When the United States mounted its cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities early in President Obama’s first term, Mr. Obama expressed concern to aides that China and other states might use the American operations to justify their own intrusions."


NSA breaches into Huawei servers, installs backdoors

Huawei is a totally evil company barred from the U.S. because it might install backdoors into its software, and that's only good if it's Microsoft or Apple doing it for the NSA.

Solution: indict Chinese military unit for trying the same thing, howl about it like it's an unprecedented breach of all law.

I don't see "our" criminals or "their" criminals. I see criminals regardless of nation. The people are everywhere are contending with degrees of authoritarian rule, some deadlier, some less so and therefore held up as the "good guys."

Then don't call it crime.

There's a real enough problem with retail malware but what is it compared to things like industrial installation of hidden spy apps on everyone's shit? (Oh, but it's legal! It's only violating the constitution, after all.)

"Cybercrime" is an ideological trope that pretends that some forms of crime conducted online are very, very bad, especially if they're done by FURRNERS! This is in part a marketing scheme for companies like those trumad names. Focusing on only one kind of "cybercrime" and not the other distracts from the industrial forms of crime conducted online.

You want to talk about crime, then crime should be discussed. You want to talk about relatively petty crime, then identify it as such.

You want to link to TIME magazine as though it's anything other than the weekly sheet of reactionary panics, expect a reply on that as well.

This is what TIME magazine is about:

The ones armed by the official U.S. allies?

The ones probably armed indirectly by the CIA, but certainly armed and backed and sponsored by the monarchical dictatorships of the Gulf, whom the U.S. government is in turn arming and backing and sponsoring? The ones "we" are now bombing while "our" allies continue to back them?

You mean those people, Sir?

Answer: Americans are not against a universal health care system.

The propaganda is. The health-profiteering corporations are. The politicians and the paid wonks of "realistic" policy are.

The majority of the people would support the adoption of a German or Canadian model. They only need to hear about it. A campaign to have adopted it, explicitly citing these and other countries, would have triumphed against all opposition in 2009-10. Possibly even in 1993-94. Instead, you got an insurance company bailout with a moderate extension of coverage to many of the uninsured (from which I've benefited, thanks). In the end, you get talking points like the above, purporting to blame the lack of a universal health care system on "American exceptionalism" and other abstractions so useful to the wonks.

All that was lacking was the will, and the courage to express ideas with clarity, instead of making up excuses why some incomprehensible compromise is more feasible even though it ends up pissing everyone off.

The U.S. has been at war with Iraq for twenty-four years.

In one form or another, since August 1990!

And the U.S. government bears primary responsibility for the situation that has now arisen, in a multitude of ways:

by letting U.S. foreign policy be run by military contractors, arms dealers, big corporate interests and bloodthirsty geopoliticians claiming "realpolitik,"

by destroying the Iraqi nation in an unprovoked and imperialist war of aggression at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives,

by promoting the bloody civil wars and ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq,

by not cleaning house of the war criminals of 2003, but "looking forward,"

by the long alliance with the Gulf states, a coterie of repressive monarchical dictatorships that most recently have created and armed the "Islamic State" and crushed the "Arab Spring," as they have waged war historically on all democratic notions,

by arming and at times backing (and also betraying) nearly all of the various sides shooting at each other, such that claims of a CIA hand in the origins of IS and al-Qaeda itself are all too credible,

by always in a crunch preferring "our bastards" no matter how extremist to independent secular movements.

In the absence of a full acknowledgement of that history, and of measures to assure it does not continue (by uprooting the U.S.-based parts of the machinery that drove the history), it's an absurdity to think a new military intervention, without historical consciousness and with transparently bullshit motives ("protecting American personnel," please) is going to yield a chaos superior to that which has followed any of the other interventions.

As a first step, when an administration announces an end to the alliances and arms deals with the Gulf states backing IS and an intent to see peace in the region on the basis of current borders, it might be taken seriously. That even this is "utopian" is another indicator of our predicament.

Instead "we" are off to bomb our new enemy, while continuing to supply arms and support for the states that arm and finance it.

Who has the courage to lead and take on the risks of self-examination? Ain't evident in the present or in any prospective administration. All of them live politically from historical denial and self-praising bullshit, ever since Reagan proved this is a formula for success in American politics.
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