Saturday, May 30, 2009

Further Discussion on Prostitution.

The Providence Journal has a short history discussing the legalization of prostitution behind closed doors some thirty years ago. There's nothing terribly wrong with the article, but I really wish they had gone into greater detail about the now-retired prostitute who helped change the law back in the 1970's. In the whole of the article, they give her a single quote.

Considering that prostitution-as-bad is predicated almost entirely the argument that it's harmful for the prostitutes. Well, here's a real life prostitute who disagrees. A little important? I think so!

The prostitution-as-wrong argument is predicated entirely on the argument that sex is dirty. This is the domain of idiotic "conservatives" with religious motivations. Religion should have nothing to do with government. If you disagree, you're un-American. Yeah. I said it. I dropped the big "U" word. Un-American.

You want proof? The Projo describes the advocate for the anti-prositution law back in the 70's as "a social conservative, he protested abortion with a lapel pin that depicted a fetus’s tiny feet. And he told a Journal reporter he was worried that Roger Williams Park, where his father had once mowed the grass, was becoming a hangout for gays."

A hangout... for gays. I can only imagine that this guy was one of the people saying AIDS was Divine punishment. He called prostitution “sickening and despicable.” Too bad the son of a bitch is dead, I'd really love to argue that point.

The punishment before the new law was... intense. "Back then, prostitution in Rhode Island was a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison." Five years? Does anyone else just think that, on its face, that's FUCKING RIDICULOUS? Five years? Seriously? Five? For having sex? Why not just make gluttony punishable by three years of hard labor? Or how about making adultery punishable by death, again.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, sex is MY business, not yours. How, where, and why I have sex is of no concern to anyone else but me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drawing and Living are Different Things

The Protect Act has claimed its first victim.

A man is going to be sent to prison for a book. Nothing more. It wasn't anything but lines on paper. You find it repulsive, that's fine. But it's just lines on paper.

A man is going to be sent to prison for a book.

Long live the land of the free.

U.S. Manga Obscenity Conviction Roils Comics World (Wired.com)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dog Breeds and the ASPCA

I was just looking through the most recent ASPCA newsletter, and it referenced puppy mills.

Well, I'm sorry to say, puppy mills are a fact of life. There is nothing we can do to stop them. Jackass yuppies and people who want to be yuppies buy pure-bred dogs as status symbols. This drives desire and thus value up. With high value comes ersatz examples, such as Chinese knock-offs of Prada bags, because most people can't afford true pure-breds.

Illegalizing puppy mills is ridiculous. We can't stop it any more than we can stop drugs or knock-off bags. There is a demand in the market and it will be met. What we can do is eliminate the demand.

We should not only legalize pure-bred puppy mills, but subsidize them. Make them MASSIVE and federally regulated. Churn out doggies in mind-boggling numbers. The result? You drive the value of the dogs way down because suddenly everyone has one and it's not a status symbol. This forces those sefl-centered pieces of shit to seek out new status symbols in the form of new, designer dogs, like Labradoodles. This results in greater genetic diversity, fewer problems, and better dogs.

Because right now, lots of good dogs are born broken. If we can eliminate the system which generates those genetic instabilities, we can make the world a better place. We can do this with economics.

Let the Kid Die!

There's a story on Yahoo! about a woman and 13-year-old son who have apparently gone on the lamb to avoid court-ordered cancer therapy for the son.

They belong to one of those wack-job religious groups that believe in faith-healing, and the son himself has testified that he believes that chemotherapy will kill him. I guess he thinks the cancer won't.

First off, I believe firmly in the primacy of parental responsibility. The government cannot and should not take on the job of parents in cases like this. I even go so far as to say that kids should be left with drug-addict parents, just so long as the parents actually want them. It is the right and the responsibility of parents to care for their children, even if I think they're doing a shitty job.

But even then, the government has enough problems with children that no one wants. I think that as an enlightened society, we should care for these unwanted children because we can and because the possibility of a bright future, however weak, is there. But why take on more?! The foster system is already broken. The DCYF is maxed out. Social workers burn out in three minutes. Let's focus on these aspects.

I also think that in a free society, a government has no right to step on the toes of free parents teaching and raising their children however they see fit. Drugs, alcohol and orgies, not my place to judge. Daily beatings? Well, we might want to step in.

And finally, people of this sort of religious creed are the bottom of the intellectual barrel. This kid has NO hope for a bright, productive future. The more of these people that die, the better. Do not save him! We don't want him! The boy himself has said he will fight anyone who tries to treat him. His death is a good thing, trust me on this one.

Article copies below.

By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti, Associated Press Writer – 19 mins ago

NEW ULM, Minn. – Authorities nationwide were on the lookout Wednesday for a mother and her 13-year-old cancer-stricken son who fled after refusing the chemotherapy that doctors say could save the boy's life.

Colleen Hauser and her son, Daniel, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, apparently left their southern Minnesota home sometime after a doctor's appointment and court-ordered X-ray on Monday showed his tumor had grown.

Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg, who had ruled last week that Daniel's parents were medically neglecting him, issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Colleen Hauser and ruled her in contempt of court. Rodenberg also ordered that Daniel be placed in foster care and immediately evaluated by a cancer specialist for treatment.

The family belongs to a religious group that believes in "natural" healing methods. Daniel has testified he believed chemotherapy would kill him and told the judge that if anyone tried to force him to take it, "I'd fight it. I'd punch them and I'd kick them."

The boy's father, Anthony Hauser, testified he didn't know where his wife and son were but had made no attempt to find them. He testified he last saw his son Monday morning, and he saw his wife only briefly that evening when she said she was leaving "for a time."

As of Wednesday morning, the mother and son still had not been found, said Carl Rolloff, a sheriff's dispatcher.

Officials distributed the arrest warrant nationwide. Brown County Sheriff Rich Hoffman said Tuesday that investigators were following some leads locally, but declined to elaborate.

"It's absolutely crazy. It's very disappointing," James Olson, the attorney representing Brown County Family Services. "We're trying to do what's right for this young man."

A message left at the Hauser home in Sleepy Eye early Wednesday wasn't immediately returned. But in an interview in Wednesday's editions of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Anthony Hauser said he knew places where his wife might have gone though he did not know where she was.

He said he and his wife had a plan for Tuesday's hearing and he was a "bit disappointed" she didn't follow it. "We were going to present a treatment plan to the court. If they didn't go with it, we would appeal it," he told the newspaper.

"I know many people around here who have had cancer, they did the chemo, it would come back," Hauser told the newspaper. "They did the chemo again and again and they are all in the grave. Chemo isn't foolproof."

Olson, the family services lawyer, had considered asking the judge to hold Anthony Hauser in contempt as well, but he said Wednesday he decided against that.

"I'm thinking that he probably doesn't know where his wife and child are," Olson said.

Daniel's Hodgkin's lymphoma, diagnosed in January, is considered highly curable with chemotherapy and radiation, but the boy quit chemo after a single treatment.

The judge has said Daniel, who has a learning disability and cannot read, did not understand the risks and benefits of chemotherapy and didn't believe he was ill.

The Hausers are Roman Catholic and also believe in the "do no harm" philosophy of the Nemenhah Band, a Missouri-based religious group that believes in natural healing methods advocated by some American Indians. Colleen Hauser testified earlier that she had been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives.

The founder of Nemenhah, Philip Cloudpiler Landis, said it was a bad idea for Colleen Hauser to flee with her son. "You don't solve anything by disregarding the order of the judge," Landis said.

The family's doctor, James Joyce, testified by telephone that he examined Daniel on Monday, and that an X-ray showed his tumor had grown to the size it was when he was first diagnosed.

"He had basically gotten back all the trouble he had in January," the doctor said.

Joyce testified that he offered to make appointments for Daniel with oncologists, but the Hausers declined, then left in a rush with lawyer Susan Daya.

"Under Susan Daya's urging, they indicated they had other places to go," Joyce said.

Daya did not immediately respond to a call Tuesday from The Associated Press. The court also tried to reach her during the hearing, but got no answer.

Minnesota statutes require parents to provide necessary medical care for a child, Rodenberg wrote. The statutes say alternative and complementary health care methods aren't enough.

Obama's Got Gas

The Obama administration has released its new CAFE gas mileage requirements for auto makers, and they're pretty intense. 39 mpg for cars, and 30 mpg for trucks.

As many articles have already posted, this puts the onus on manufacturers, not consumers, which is the problem. We can have manufacturers make small, efficient cars all we want, but consumers won't buy them. They never have. We have always, ALWAYS bought the biggest, most inefficient car we could. It's the American way, seemingly.

In Europe, where gas prices are somewhere around $4,567 per liter, efficiency is very important to the consumer, so cars sell well. Diesel cars, which usually get well north of 40mpg, are unsellable here because consumers have bad perceptions on diesel and we have high taxes on the fuel aimed at truck drivers. Why not just ditch the diesel tax and encourage diesel cars like the SEVENTY-NINE MPG Volkswagen Lupo Diesel. Or the slightly larger Polo which knocks out nearly 60mpg on the highway.

This regulation does absolutely nothing to deal with these fundamental economic problems, which dooms it to failure. Instead, since we're dealing with fleet average, we'll get the same gas guzzling cars everyone wants now, AND lots of crappy efficient cars no one wants to drive. Even worse, the manufacturing of those useless cars will use up MORE RESOURCES needlessly, which is the exact opposite of what everyone wants to achieve. And since those crap cars will be likely sold at a loss, it will drive up the costs of all the other cars, which will simply put a damper on car sales and thus the economy.

I want to be very clear on this, and this is a truism recognized by all the major oil companies, which is why they don't give a rat's ass about alternative fuels: WE ARE GOING TO USE EVERY DROP OF OIL ON THIS PLANET. It is a fait accompli. Environmental issues are immaterial. Every bit of carbon locked up in oil will be up in the atmosphere sooner or later. We want to, nay, we need to target other aspects that can be changed. We do not need to continue using coal, for example. We do not need to continue burning so much natural gas. There are things we can do, but this isn't one of them.

Now, I'm going to go drive recklessly in my 20mpg sports car.

UPDATE: 20 Minutes later

I've been thinking over this a bit more, and the possibility that the Obama Administration is totally aware of everything I said is there.

It's so refreshing to be able to attribute intelligence and wisdom to our president. I forgot how it felt after the past eight years. But as I said, this bill will do little to stop our purchase of gas-guzzling trucks and sports cars, but what it might do is increase funding for all-electric cars. It's the best way to meet the standards. Sell an ∞mpg vehicle.

This would be fantastic. I could have an all-electric for trips to store, cafe, and about town, and my aforementioned 20mpg sports car for longer trips and suicidal moments of bravura. I think Tesla has proven there is interest in electric cars, and even GM's own EV-1 had its own fanatic following. If this is indeed the intent of the bill, it might just work.

Of course, we could also just end up with lots of crappy, 1.2 liter three-cylinder econoboxes that get 45mpg, thus wasting time, money, resources, and people. It's quite a gamble.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sex in Rhode Island

For a more complete deconstruction of prostitution and laws against it, read my post Of Whores, Slaves, and Kings.

Well, Mayor Cicilline, the mayor of our fair capital city in Rhode Island, who I like less and less as the years go on, is backing a law to completely outlaw prostitution.

For those not from Rhode Island, we're the only state in the union where prostitution is legal. As long as it is behind closed doors, you can do whatever you want. Sounds strangely... American, don't you think? When you're two consenting adults in private... YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT! My god! How novel.

Well, Mayor Cicilline, here goes... you're a moron.

Let's pick through some of his comments.

“The industry permitted by our ill-advised laws continues to flourish. We are and will continue to be a haven –– in fact a magnet — for this activity. We offer the legal equivalent of a welcome mat for commercial sex."

First, ill-advised is an analysis he gives no reasoning for. He's wrong. That "ill-advised" law is the only thing keeping our prostitution somewhat in the light. Second, why is it bad that were are a welcome mat for commercial sex. Doesn't the state need all the money it can get? And what is wrong with commercial sex. He makes the statement assuming that people will read between the lines and agree with his implied moral judgment. I don't. In fact, I think he's an idiot for making that judgment.

There is nothing wrong with sex! His judgment requires that underlying belief. In such a strongly religious and specifically Catholic state, it's not entirely surprising this belief is held, but for Pete's sake, Cicilline is gay! You'd think he'd try and disconnect himself from religious creed as much as possible. But no. There he is, spouting the same self-hating religious nonsense spouted by such intellectual luminaries as Jerry Falwell.

"The mayor also asked the Senate to consider taking the law further. He wants a law that penalizes landlords that knowingly rent to brothel operators, grants immunity from prosecution to prostitutes who were forced into the sex trade and funds police training and prostitute rehabilitation programs through the seizure of brothel assets."

Wow. You just love passing those terrible laws, don'cha? First, it will be nigh on impossible to prove that landlords "knowingly" rented to brothels. Unless the owner is actively seen running the brothel, nothing can be proven. It's called a safe harbor. The maker or owner of something cannot be held responsible for what someone else does with it, even if they have reason to suspect or even expect illicit activities. A baseball bat maker knows people will be killed with bats, but just try arresting the bat maker. Gun makers know full well that their guns will kill people, but we don't hold them responsible.

I know! Why don't we just expand it? Landlords who knowingly rent to college students who do drugs can be held for drug charges. Landlords who knowingly rent to loud people can be held for disturbing the peace. Landlords who knowingly rent to underage kids who have drinking parties can be held for facilitating the delinquency of a minor. It's ridiculous.

"The city even created an outreach team with a female Korean translator, sexual assault counselors and legal experts to try and persuade prostitutes to leave the sex trade.

"But in his letter to the Senate, Cicilline says the city found prostitutes were unwilling to cooperate: 'So complete is the power of those who control the women that not a single person has accepted our offer of help.'"

Apparently the possibility that the girls just didn't want to leave wasn't considered. Now, I'm not saying that there are no women who very much are trapped by pimps and controllers and whatnot, but he stupidly assumes the opposite. He assumes that no women want to stay, which is an overreaching statement. There are without doubt some women who want to stay.

And from the City of Providence's press release:

"In a letter to the Senate leadership, the Mayor discussed the negative impact indoor prostitution – disguised as so-called “spas” in various locations – has on the quality of life in neighborhoods, as well as the damaging impact on the state’s reputation."

Negative impact on quality of life? Oh I would love to read his explanation for that one. And the damage to the states reputation? Is he smoking the pot? Almost no one knows about our obscure law. You ask someone just from freaking Massachusetts, and they just assume it's illegal here as it is everywhere else that's run by twits. And don't you think that our biggest reputation problems stem from our legendary corruption, horrid financial condition, high violent crime rate in our capital city, and coruscating temples of justice and respect like the Wyatt Detention Facility?

“I personally went to court to testify about the city’s refusal to allow the opening of a ‘spa’ across the street from a school, public library and recreation center,” said Mayor Cicilline. “We won and this establishment was not allowed to open.”

Oh for fucks sake. He actully busted out the "protect our children" line that every politician on Earth uses to justify baseless laws. I am disgusted with mayor Cicciline. Why is sex something we should be protecting our children from? Why is sex bad? It's rhetorical. There is no answer. It's not bad and that is the underlying assumption behind all of this. Sex is bad. Sex is somehow how evil. God damn this religious state.

"The Mayor called the bills currently pending before the General Assembly an “excellent first step.” He urged the Senate to consider broadening the scope of the legislation in order to strengthen it in the following ways:

* Greater penalties for the customers which would increase for subsequent offenses by customers
* The ability for an individual to avoid criminal prosecution when he or she has been compelled into commercial sex
* Require the creation of an interview protocol to be used by police in cross-examinations to help identify victims of human trafficking and better identify and prosecute the profiteers
* Penalties for landlords who knowingly rent to brothel operators
* Using assets seized in prosecution of this crime, create a diversion program where those arrested for selling sex can avoid penalties by participating in a program of comprehensive services that will allow them to escape the conditions that compelled them into prostitution
* Use seized assets to provide training to local police departments and to fund partnerships that can assist victims of sexual trauma, provide translation services and more."

1: Prostitution exists in Iran, where the penalty is death. That means there is no law that can prevent the sale of sex.
2: What about those who aren't compelled? I guess he assumes that person doesn't exist. Or if he does, those people are apparently S-O-L.
3: Ooooooh. A protocol! Watch out! The police have a protocol! They will fail as much in their efforts as everyone, everywhere fails in their efforts now.
4: Discussed above.
5: First off, why are we arresting those for selling sex? I thought #2 sort of precluded that. I guess they're S-O-L. Furthermore, a large-scale institution to facilitate prostitutes' escape from the conditions that sent them into it is impossible. Unless we are willing to provide full costs for an education, housing, food, and guarantee that the many, many illegal immigrants will not be deported, our efforts will end in total failure. And if we do that, why bother making prostitution illegal? We already have the perfect social system, and if Mayor Cicciline is correct, no woman would ever want to become a prostitute and thus none would. Thus, no need for a law no one wants to break.
6: Or, ya know, we can put it in the general treasury like we do with all law enforcement revenue and use it to fund the aforementioned corruption and fiscal stupidity.

I am not going to mince words. Mayor Cicciline and the anti-prostitution crowd are idiots. Raging, flaming, idiots of incomprehensible idiocy.

If you are actually concerned about prostitution, don't outlaw it, make it more legal. Legalize it to the fullest extent. Drag the operation into the sun where it can be regulated, controlled, taxed, and monitored. By outlawing it, you drive it into the shadows, where you cannot do anything with it. Laws against it increase violence, create pimps, and trap prostitutes even further because they cannot go to the police.

And if you think outlawing the purchase of sex but not the sale will help, you're dead wrong. If the prostitute has any hope of continuing work in the sex trade, she'll never go to the police because either her johns will be arrested or her brothel will get shut down, which then might result in retaliation from the brothel owners and other prostitutes, again... increasing problems. That is all this law will do.

Press Release (ProvidenceRI.com)
Providence mayor backs prostitution bill, says legislators could do more (Projo.com)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Postage Rates

The U.S. Post Office is raising the rates on stamps today

From the AP...

Peel 'em and weep: First-class stamps rise 2 cents

Despite rate rise, cost-cutting, Postal Service could run out of money by year's end

* Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press Writer
* On Monday May 11, 2009, 5:12 am EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The post office wants two more pennies for your thoughts. The price of a first-class stamp for mailing a letter -- or paying a bill -- climbed to 44 cents Monday, though folks who planned ahead and stocked up on Forever stamps will still be paying the lower rate.

It's the third straight year rates have gone up in May under a new system that allows annual increases as long as they don't exceed the rate of inflation for the year before.

While the increase will bring in added income, the post office continues to struggle financially as more and more lucrative first-class mail is diverted to the Internet, and the recession discourages businesses from sending their usual volume of advertising.

The Postal Service, which does not get a taxpayer subsidy for its operations, lost $2.8 billion last year and is already $2.3 billion in the hole just halfway through this year.

Postmaster General John Potter has asked Congress for permission to reduce mail delivery to five days a week. The agency is offering early retirement to workers, consolidating excess capacity in mail processing and transportation networks, realigning carrier routes, halting construction of new postal facilities, freezing officer and executive salaries at 2008 pay levels and reducing travel budgets.

Even so, the rate increase is unlikely to cover the ongoing losses and the possibility remains that the post office could run out of money before the end of the fiscal year.

The post office could have cited extraordinary circumstances and asked the independent Postal Regulatory Commission for larger increases, but officials worried that would only result in a greater decline in mail volume and worse losses.

Potter has also urged congressional changes in how the post office prepays for retiree health care, to cut its annual costs by $2 billion.

While the new 44-cent rate covers the first ounce of first-class mail, the price for each additional ounce will remain unchanged at 17-cents.

Postal officials estimate the increase will cost the average household $3-a-year.

Other changes taking effect May 11:

-- The postcard stamp increases 1 cent to 28 cents.

-- The first ounce of a large envelope increases 5 cents to 88 cents.

-- The first ounce of a parcel increases 5 cents to $1.22.

-- New international postcard and letter prices are, for one ounce, 75 cents to Canada; 79 cents to Mexico; and 98 cents elsewhere.

Most Postal Service shipping services prices were adjusted in January and will not change in May.


I just find it amazing that they think a larger price increase would result in an appreciable decrease in volume. I trust them, certainly, since I seriously doubt they would say that otherwise, but still. It's FORTY FOUR cents, people! That's not a lot of money.

I think the American post office is a wonder of the modern world. It redefined how mail was delivered lifetimes ago, and remains, as far as I know, the most efficient postal service on the planet (not counting package services).

I want the postal service to be profitable, because I think it can be. They provide an excellent service with excellent reliability. Please, don't screw around. Raise the price more. Raise it to a full fifty cents! Forget this limp-dicked price increase of TWO cents. What's two cents going to do? Nothing, that's what.

If you're terribly frightened of losing customers, start offering second and third-class stamps again. They were once offered commonly before first-class became laughably default. All you have to do is find a away to offer more and you can increase prices greatly. The status quo is obviously broken. With the advent of e-mail, sending rote information is no longer neccessary of the postal service.

  • Raise first class stamps to fifty cents or more

  • Reintroduce Second and Third Class stamps, don't restrict those classes to magazines and whatnot.

  • Allow people to buy stamps for different speeds. A stamp for overnight, 2-day, etc.

  • Sell postage, not stamps. All stamps are forever stamps.

  • Streamline shipping with easy tool sets for people to ready and print postage at home.

Just do it!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Senator Franken?

I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed the comical hypocrisy involving the Republican party and the Franken/Coleman senate race in Minnesota?

If the democrats simply try to seat Franken in the senate, it will be seen as a power grab. This comes after multiple recounts showing Franken to have gotten 312 more votes than the incumbent Coleman. Seems pretty rock solid. No reports of possible fraud or anything.

Yet the democrats shouldn't stand in the way of the democratic process playing out!

Of course, during both the Gore and Kerry defeats -when there was rampant problems with possible fraud, questions of integrity, errors with the computers, etc.- and the Democrats threatened a prolonged battle, the Republicans ranted and raved about not standing in the way of the democratic process and giving the people what they want.

Just noticing.

It's Lonely Up Here

Why does Rhode Island stand alone in gay marriage? The Projo has an article discussing the supposedly manifold reasons.

I think there is only one reason: abject stupidity. We've got a governor who borders on being a Special Ed student and overly zealous local bishop. Idiots, the both of them.

It's going to happen whether they like it or not. It's going to happen because it's not a question of integrity; it's a question of freedom.

House Speaker William J. Murphy "has a standard answer to the gay marriage question. 'A marriage, in my eyes, is between a man and a woman.'"

Well, guess what, a marriage in MY eyes is between loving partners. My eyes and your eyes are exactly the same, which means I win because I take the passive, non-judgmental stance. I take the live-and-let-live stance. I take the stay-the-fuck-out-of-other-people's-lives stance. I take the American stance.

It's about freedom, pure and simple. I take solace knowing that future generations will look back on this time with a bemused sense of superiority. Those who stood for freedom and equality will be remembered, and those who stood against it will be forgotten. History has shown this to be the way.

And in case you don't hate these men, here's a quote from someone like them...

"Satan uses homosexuals as pawns. They're in, as you know, key positions in the media, they're in the White House, they're in everything, they're in Hollywood now. Then, unfortunately, after he uses them, he infects them with AIDS and then they die."
Anthony Falzarano, PFOX, Janet Parshall's America, 2/27/96

The very same dogma underlies this loony as it does our illustrious governor and his supporters. If you asked, they likely wouldn't say something so outright and antagonistic, but the fundamental belief that that statement is true IS accepted by them, whether they admit it or not.

Why Rhode Island stands alone in New England on same-sex marriage (Projo.com)

Friday, May 08, 2009

Of Whores, Slaves, and Kings.

The Providence Journal, my local newspaper, has an article in it about a push for new laws against human trafficking, particularly the sex trade. There are so many things wrong with it, it's hard to know where to start.

First off, there is a huge difference between prostitution and human trafficking. The former is the simple sale of sex for money. The latter usually involves lies, kidnapping, and some form of slavery. Nasty business. But, again, there is a big difference, and this article blurs that difference, which is one of the fundamental problems with this legislation and any of its ilk. Sex slavery and prostitution are entirely different things. That they both involve sex is like saying that farming is the same thing as a southern plantation.

One of the subjects of the article, Tiny Frundt, has suffered through one hell of a life. She was sold for sex by her foster-mother's boyfriend. Ran away, met a guy who promptly did the same thing, but this time when she refused he and some friends just raped her. Again. I feel for her. In fact, the very concept of rape is so repulsive to me that I'm unable to watch movies depicting it, or read books describing it. But her problem had nothing to do with prostitution. Her problem was other people.

It's wrong to say that rape, violence, and general scumbaggery irrevocably goes hand-in-hand with prostitution. It doesn't even make sense. Prostitution has existed since the beginning of time, and we have well documented evidence of the high-society of which many brothels were a part. Yes, some brothels invariably were scummy, but that's like saying that some restaurants are scummy, so they're fundamentally disgusting and should be outlawed.

And to this day, there are legitimate, violence-free sex clubs, big ones, in France, and Nevada, which has regulated brothels of high-repute. I'm not denying that there are tons of shitty places, but why we have them when they needn't be there in such high numbers is a question this article doesn't even pose.

What about the full legalization of prostitution? The only argument I hear in response to this is that prostitution is by its nature degrading to women, and cannot be separated from slavery. I have never heard an adequate explanation as to why this is the case.

First off, why is it fundamentally degrading? Why would a woman willingly selling her body for sex be degrading, whereas a woman selling her body to give a massage, or clean a house, or cut hair, is not degrading? I think there is an assumption hidden between the lines, and that assumption is not at all feminist. In fact, it is an assumption that feminists have been trying to get rid of for about one hundred and fifty years. These women are assuming that female sexuality is something fundamentally precious, as opposed to a mere aspect of life in line with eating, sleeping, and pooping.

Why do I say female sexuality is fundamentally precious? Because you never hear these anti-prostitution advocates argue against male prostitution. There's lots of it. You never hear them say it's degrading for men to sleep with women for money, or men to sleep with men. Politicians don't talk about. Men certainly don't. Because as with old religious ideas, and old American beliefs, male sexuality is not precious. It should not be guarded. It should be blown to the wind. Fuck everyone that you can. The more you do it, the better a man you are. Women are sluts.

Anti-prostitution advocates are assuming a double standard.

Prostitution is not degrading. It's a job. Like many people, some women may not like their job, but it earns money. I mentioned the farming example above and it applies perfectly. Many farm hands hate their jobs. It's hard, back-breaking labor for low pay. It ages you quickly and is not a job many people would want. But it's not slavery. Few people would even say it's degrading. It's just a job. I worked at a grocery store when I was younger. It was degrading. I had to suck up to crazy old people who wanted me to put everything in a separate bag. But it wasn't degrading. It was just a job. That assumption that sex is somehow precious is the key point of the prostitution-is-degrading argument.

Second, why is prostitution fundamentally slavery? In Rhode Island, prostitution is legal behind closed doors. All you have to do to see the vast number of independent prostitutes, offering everything from domination to erotic asphyxiation, is look at the local newspaper, The Providence Phoenix. It has an adult sexti... Freudian typo, SECtion, in the middle of the paper. There are many brothels listed, but an equal if not greater collection of single ads. These women are not slaves. They're doing it for the money, by themselves.

Women have the right to have sex with whoever, whenever, and for whatever reason they choose. If they want to do it for money, that's their choice. Sex is something that automatically attracts scummy people, as such, there should be less regulation, but more support and an immediate legislation attempting to extinguish those very same ideas that that anti-prostitution advocates assume. Women who have sex for money are people working a job who should receive equal rights under the law. They deserve Police help, not condemnation, and they deserve social recognition and acceptance.

That, right there, is the real problem. Illegalization automatically makes a black market where scumbags can thrive. Abused prostitutes cannot run for help, or go to the police. They are trapped in an underground world of society's making. The prostitution is not the problem, it's the abuse, because prostitution is not itself abuse. It is society's job to best eliminate the abuse and give women the freedom to work in prostitution with the protection of law. Even Rhode Island, where's it's legal, there is stigma. Not surprisingly, the brothels here have many young women working in them who were, for lack of a better word, tricked into the job and now have no choice. While I could make an argument that our ridiculous immigration laws make this worse, the fact that, even here, prostitution is grey-market is the main problem. Expose the world to light and just watch the scum melt away.

I won't say otherwise. Prostitution as it is today, sucks. This rather heartbreaking short video documents the lives of some prostitutes in Britain. But while watching it, remember, it's not the prostitution that's the problem, it's the drugs, addiction, and bad life decisions.



Penn & Teller did a good episode on prostitution which I have embedded. It's a bit outdated, they mention how only one state allows same-sex marriage, but otherwise timely.

BS_Prosttu8ion


I have included a link to a debate about prostitution where the majority of people presents were against prostitution after the end of the debate. I'd argue it's because the pro-prostitution crowd was terrible at debate.

Let's go through some of the arguements against prostitution.

Wendy Shalit: "I would submit to you
that paying for sex is at least as wrong as building an ugly highrise... Why, because we’re using— we’re talking about using a human being as a means to your ends. Today people want to believe that paying for sex is just like paying for a hamburger. But a sexual transaction is different, because it teaches on the deepest, most personal aspects of ourselves. The proof that sex is different, in my opinion, is our response to the terrible crime of rape. If paying for sex were as morally neutral as paying for a hamburger, well then, rape is akin to just forcing someone to eat a hamburger. Right?
"

She says wrong, and rightfully so. But think about that. Imagine someone holding you down, forcing a hamburger down your throat. Maybe using a broom handle to get it all the way down there. She presents it as an absurd idea, but doesn't go all the way. Yeah, frankly. Imagining someone forcing a hamburger down my throat sounds pretty bad. So, it's not all that absurd.

"For example today we place a lot of value on hotness in women, have you noticed this?"

LIke many politcal commentators, she is now-biased. Women are based on hotness now? Where the hell was she in history class. There was a time when women had NOTHING but youth and looks. No rights, no freedoms, no money, and no job opportunities. She also misses the boat on male-oriented problems. If she thinks dolls give unreasonable expectations of girls, she hasn't looked at action figures recently. They're HUGE. Jacked beyond description. Just look at the Batman to the left. He's enormous! No wonder Batman wants to fight crime. He just wants to fight, period. Might as well just change his name to 'Roid Rage.

"To those who are against trafficking, but they insist that some women have nothing else to sell but their bodies, I say that they suffer from a real lack of imagination."

No, the WOMEN lack imagination. I don't. I can think of plenty of things that the girls could do other than prostitution, but that's not my job.

"About the power of the human spirit and about the strength of women in particular and if you keep up with the Harvard Business Review, you may have noticed, that they’re now talking about micro-loans to poor women and only lending them, only having these loans to poor women. Right?"

This is absurd. This discussion has nothing to do with the power of the human spirit. This is about economics, not judgement. If the woman wants that loan, she can try for it, if she doesn't, she can continue being a prostitute. Moreover, nothing against the human spirit, but if you're a street-walker, you aren't thinking about micro-loans.

"So…we have to believe in the women first, it takes a risk to give them that loan.
If instead we demand their bodies instead of appealing to their intelligence, it’s this philosophy of this is all she can do, and the not too subtle misogyny behind it, that feeds the demand and expectations that cause the problem.
"

We DO believe in women. It's hard not to. They make up 60% of college students, they own businesses and stock portfolios. I'm not talking about women/people, I'm talking ONE woman. In the same way that men and women alike, for whatever reason, can only ever hope for a career in burger flipping, some women honestly have their body as their most valuable asset. They don't NEED to do it. They could work another job just as easily, that whole human spirit thing and all, but they can probably earn a lot more as a prostitute, and that's their choice and theirs alone.

And why do I get the feeling that Wendy is a man-hater. Demand their bodies? Does she frequent seedy bars? No one is demanding their bodies. There's a big difference between demand and economic demand. And importantly, no one is saying that this is all women can do. The argument she's trying to get to is that this is all a woman can do, and that's possible. In the same way we could say that a janitor is all some stupid guy can do, there is no misogyny in saying that the most valuable thing a woman could do is prostitution.

Melissa Farley
: "These pimp-messaged slogans are good for business but there’s
not much truth to them.
"

Again, an assumption that it's a pimp writing the message. As the Penn & Teller episode shows, many women are independent entities.

"What’s wrong with prostitution, and what’s wrong with buying sex, are the same things that are wrong with other forms of violence against women, incest, rape, and battery."

Prostitution is not violence. It can be if they pay for it, but it's not. No way. No how. Violence is violence, prostitution is prostitution. They are entirely distinct concepts.

"A woman in Lusaka, who knew that five blow jobs would get her a sack of mealy meal to feed her kids. That’s not a choice."

First, yes it is. She could try some other way to get money for food, but, right, she's in fucking Zambia. No one there has a choice about anything. It's a toilet. It's a terrible example. She's likely happy she has something, anything of value. But it's still a choice. I could be hungry and have a valuable heirloom and choose to sell it for money, never to get it back. But it was still a choice.

"Or the young woman sold by her parents in a brothel in Nevada."

The only significant example she brings up and says nothing else about it.

"The Emperors Club, where [Elliot] Spitzer bought her, was run by pimps who charged a lot because they said it was high-class call girls. But it was the same as any other pimps, they took their 50 percent off the top. Like a majority of johns, Spitzer most likely enticed, coerced or persuaded her with money to put her life on the line by not using a condom. That’s not a freely made choice."

Yes it is! She could simply not accept the money. Coerced with money? You mean, made an offer? And he didn't buy her, he bought her services. Earlier in the debate, Ms. Farley said "Some words hide the truth." She's doing that right now.

"A woman at a legal brothel in Nevada said, it’s like you sign a contract to be raped."

Again, one of the most significant things she says and she then goes on to say nothing more about it. Who is this woman? What's her story? If she was raped, why didn't she go to the police? If she didn't like it, why continue?

"Women in prostitution are seen as body parts or fake girlfriends and their feelings don’t matter, and they’re not seen as human which is perhaps why they’re murdered at a higher rate than any other group of women ever studied."

Really? I've seen interviews with men who have a nasty habit of falling in love with the prostitutes they use. Oh yeah. They don't see them as human. Too bad she's making the exact same mistake and not seeing the men has human, either. OH, and the murder statistic, maybe is has to do with the fact that most of them work in undergound black markets where everyone gets murdered in large numbers.

"What’s wrong with sex is what johns themselves tell us about it. For example, if you look at it, it’s paid rape. She has to do what you want."

Gah! No it's not! No they don't! It's a transaction on agreed terms, that's prostitution.

"When women are turned into objects that men masturbate into, it causes immense
psychological harm to the person acting as a receptacle. Please don’t be fooled by people who tell buying sex is just another job. It’s wrong to set aside a special class of women, those who are the most vulnerable among us, for men’s sexual use. What’s wrong with paying for sex is it’s the business of sexual exploitation.
"

First off, men aren't masturbating into a woman, they're having sex with her. They want HER. They want the other person. And we're not fooling anyone, we're making an argument that just happens to make a lot of sense. Moreoever, we're not setting aside anyone. It's not like society is like "Ok, all you women over here, yooouuuuu will be the whores." And yes, it is the business of sexual exploitation. Just as McDonalds is the exploitation of hunger, and La-z-Boy is the exploitation of lazy people. As long as it's the woman doing the exploiting of her own body, there is no problem. That should not, and cannot, be eliminated.

Catherine MacKinnon: "In prostitution, women have sex with men they would never otherwise have sex with. The money thus acts as a form of force, not as a measure of consent. It acts as physical force does in rape."

What the hell is it with them and this argument? The money is a form of MONEY, or more accurately a motivator. It's not some tractor beam that pulls the woman in against her will. That's like saying that a hot woman who dates a fat slob because he's a millionaire is being forced into it. It couldn't be farther from the truth. Was Anna Nicole Smith forced into her relationship with J. Howard Marshall?

"We're not here, actually, to discuss the proposition “it’s wrong to be paid for sex.” We are here to discuss the proposition, “it is wrong to pay for sex.” I’ve just been talking about what’s wrong with it for her. What’s wrong with it for him is, he’s using her, he’s exploiting her, he’s exploiting his inequality to her, which is usually a desperate economic inequality. In order to have access to her person in a form of bodily invasion, while he gets off on the illusion that he has chosen this freely, when he is taking more than can ever be paid for."

Everything is wrong with this statement. Why is using her wrong for him? Does that make we wrong for paying a maid to clean my house? That applies to her successive points of inequality. And it has nothing to do with bodily invasion. Again, they use these nasty, hard words like invasion. No, invasion is rape. Whereby someone is made to have sex against their will. Not against their liking or enjoying, their will. And the whole "taking more than can ever be paid for" statement again drives home the ridiculous belief that female sexuality is somehow precious and needs to be protected. He has taken NOTHING. Virginity is not a thing! It's a social construct created by a male-dominated society obsessed with such things. You are the same person after as before sex. Nothing has been diminished or taken.

"And you de-criminalize the sold. You couple this with real education, real employment opportunities, real jobs, real money. Women are entitled to real equality and real choices."

They have that. Well, to a degree. Sexism is still pretty bad, but they DO have everything she listed. Some people are underpriviledged and we could say that we need to spend more money on education for poor people, social programs for people, and jobs for people. The focus on women against society greatly diminishes Ms. MacKinnon's position.

And you know what? Even with all of that, we WILL STILL HAVE PROSTITUTION. You know why? Because the service is valuable to people. If anything, all of these services combined with legal prostitution would be great for the prostitutes because there would likely be fewer of them competing for the same number of clients, thus driving up prices.

"And you know, prostitution is what women do when all else fails, and all else fails often. And there are a lot of things that men do, in general, when all else fails, and prostitution is not that thing. And that means this is an institution of sex inequality."

Man-hating, again! First, it is not always the last resort, sometimes it's the first or second, or fifth. And she obviously does not live in a gay-friendly town. Providence is FULL of male prostitutes, some of which undoubtedly started as a last resort. So that means this is NOT an institution of sex inequality. It's an institution of horny men willing to pay for sex, with more straight men in the population than gay. Duh.

Melissa Farley: "I would like to quote, to respond to what Sydney said, and quote
from her book, which is, she said, “A call girl is simply a woman who hates poverty more than she hates sin.” I would use the word prostitution and not sin, so I would say a call girl is simply a woman who hates poverty more than she hates prostitution. I think that’s the whole point we’re making here, that shouldn't be
the choice. If we’re seeking an end to inequality between men and women, if we’re seeking an end to violence against men and women, women should not have to make the choice between poverty and education, paying the next month’s rent, and prostitution.
"

Yes, and a shitty job at a burger joint with an asshole boss is worked by someone who hates poverty more than the job. Oh wait, right, that argument applies to ALL jobs. Why is prostitution fundamentally terrible? Why is it so much more terrible than working any crap job just to afford rent? And when she says "that shouldn't be the choice," she used that magical word "should." Sorry, girl, but "is" is the only word that matters. By focusing on women you miss that economic inequality is among both sexes, all across the world. Should it be otherwise? I don't know, I just know that it isn't, and it would likely be better if the inequality wasn't there. She's basically saying we shouldn't have poor people. But too bad, it's there. The world sucks and it has always sucked for many people. Outlawing prostitution will not change it, it will only make it worse.

Ok, I've said enough. I've made my point fully. The full transcript is available at the link and I encourage a read. It would only take a few hours to full digest. But in closing, my complete point is that there is nothing wrong with paying for sex. It is an economic transaction. To say it is wrong applies a judgment that goes dangerously close to morals, which as we all know are completely subjective and worthless in substantive arguments.

Moreoever, history has shown us that no regulation, even the threat of death, has ever stopped prostitution. It cannot be stopped. It will not be stopped. And to say it's wrong is to say that human nature is wrong. Such a judgement call make assumptions about the prostitutes, the clients, and all of their motivations, hopes, dreams, desires, and lives.

True equality for women will only come when they are allowed to do whatever they damn well please without judgment, stigma, or penalty. And that is not what these advocates are doing. They are doing damage to women and their rights and, whether they know it or not, supporting the very same male-dominated society they claim to hate. I have only one bit of advice for you, shut up.

I close with a video about sex in Japan, showing how Western ideals color these women's perceptions of sex and relationships. Strange, the prostitutes there seem to be doing just fine.



Hundreds rally to end sex trafficking in R.I. (Projo.com)
X RATED: DC's Underground Sex Industry (Washingtonian.com)
It's wrong to pay for sex (Intelligence Squared)

Holy crap.

I just found this great site with a long list of quotes from various, ultra-right wingnuts.

My personal favorites include...

"Gays who practice oral sex verge on consuming raw human blood"
-- Paul Cameron http://www.biblebelievers.com/Cameron2.html

"Nobody has the right to worship on this planet any other God than Jehovah. And therefore the state does not have the responsibility to defend anybody's pseudo-right to worship an idol."
--Rev. Joseph Morecraft,Chalcedon Presbyterian Church, Marietta, Georgia, quoted in "the Public Eye," June 1994

And Pat Robertson, always good for a laugh,

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
Pat Robertson, fundraising letter, 1992

Honestly, these people are out of their gourds. While it would be absurd to say that the entirety of the right-wing in this country is as comical as these people, they still cater to these loons. Coulter, Robertson, and a number of others have all appeared, frequently in some cases, on Fox News. People listen to them. That's depressing. Most of these people are in the same boat as Neo-Nazis, the only difference is that people don't listen to Neo-Nazis.