who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
International: Protecting the ‘Human Rights’ of
Johns, Pimps and Human
It’s Not The First Time Military Reporters Have Fought
The Pentagon Over Wartime
3. Unemployed young
people will be sent to work boot
camp, says minister
4. Ecuador hits back at UK
criticism over Julian Assange
5. DEPARTMENT STORE RESULTS
This is a Nederlog of Monday,
August 17, 2015.
This is a crisis
blog. There are 5 items with 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about an article by Chris Hedges I don't quite agree with; item 2 is about an article about the Pentagon's new
"Law of War Manual", that seems pretty sick to me; item
3 is about a British conservative proposal to degenerate and punish
all 18-21 year olds by "dedicated job coaches" (according to The
Guardian); item 4 reports Ecuador's fine and
valiant criticism of the sick British government's approach to Julian
Assange; and item 5 is an interesting article that
outlines that the U.S. depart- ment stores' results are much
worse than one would have expected in "a booming economy" with a mere
Amnesty International: Protecting the ‘Human Rights’ of Johns, Pimps
and Human Traffickers
article of today
is by Chris Hedges on Truthdig:
This starts as follows:
I like Chris Hedges, but
I disagree, although I know the issue - which is in the end: should
prostitution be legalized - is very difficult, very problematic
surrounded with lots of hypocrisies of many kinds.
decision by Amnesty International’s decision-making forum, the
International Council Meeting, to call for the decriminalization of
prostitution is another in a long line of triumphs for heartless neoliberal economics
and the grotesque commodification of human beings that defines
secretary-general of Amnesty International, said: “Sex workers are one
of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face
constant risk of discrimination, violence and abuse. Our global
movement paved the way for adopting a policy for the protection of the
human rights of sex workers which will help shape Amnesty
International’s future work on this important issue.”
In the sickness of modern
culture, the ability to exploit with impunity is distorted into a human
right even by a renowned and respected humanitarian organization. That
is quite a card trick.
But first as to prostitution. I am a heterosexual male of 65 who never
had sex for money, never went to a prostitute, and never
will: I completely disapprove of getting sex for money, and always
have. It's obscene
and sick, in my schema of moral values. 
It is possible I am a bit abnormal and it is also true that I had no
trouble finding women who wanted sex when I was younger, but these are
Then again, I live in a city where there are lots of
prostitutes since more than 500 years, and where their legal
position has been nearly all that time rather murky. The probably best
description is that it was "tolerated-but-forbidden", that is, it was
illegal-but-allowed, with large liberties for the mayors, the police
and the courts to interpret the law and its failures.
The fact that
this murky legal status for prostitutes lasted more than 500 years
in the city I live in (Amsterdam) shows it is a genuine problem. Now as
to Amnesty's decision. It seems to me one realistic question Chris
Hedges does not consider is this: Will criminalizing
prostitution help the prostitutes? This is related to another question:
What about the pimps and human traffickers? Are these activities
legalized if prostitution itself is legalized?
For in fact, I take it the main problem with prostitution are not
the women who prostitute themselves, but the men who generally
command them and take most of the money they make. How can you loosen
the bonds that bind them and the
women they send out to sell themselves?
It would seem to me that decriminalizing selling oneself for
money, while keeping pimping and human trafficking illegal (and
indeed raising punishments for these), overall is the best policy, and
that - mostly - because criminalizing prostitution as well as pimping
human trafficking gives the women even less chances. And again, the
main problems are the pimps and the human traffickers, much
the women who are forced to prostitute themselves.
Chris Hedges seems to agree with - at most - half of this. He argues
Women and girls
who are prostituted should be treated not as criminals but as victims.
The criminals are the johns and the pimps and traffickers who profit
from the sale of human flesh. Decriminalizing prostitution, which
allows these modern slave masters to openly ply their trade, means the
exploitation will grow explosively. We must work to create a world
where those who are dispossessed of their human rights are not forced
into this dilemma.
I agree prostitutes are not
criminals, and are best regarded as victims. But who said that
decriminalizing prostitution does or should make pimping or human
trafficking legal? Why not make prostitution legal and
make or keep
pimping (taking money from a girlfriend who made money having sex with
human trafficking illegal? 
Chris Hedges also has this line of argument:
The world has been
turned upside down. Every sentence uttered by the pro-prostitution
lobby—that prostitution is about choice, that prostitution is about
empowerment, that legalizing prostitution protects women—is a lie. But
we are a culture awash in lies, and amid this flood it is hard for many
to separate illusion from reality.
I agree I live in "a culture awash in lies", but I definitely did not say and do not
think that prostitution "is
about choice" or "is about empowerment" - but I should
like to know how criminalizing prostitution would help the
women who have to prostitute themselves. (Again, I am sttongly for
criminalizing pimping and human trafficking.)
Here is the last
argument by Chris Hedges, which indeed is considerably better, and also
- but implicitly - broaches an idea that Hedges did not mention
(in the last link,
from which I will quote):
and girls is a lucrative business. Germany, which legalized
prostitution in 2002, is now being called “Europe’s
biggest brothel.” It has industrialized sexual exploitation with a
terrifying corporate efficiency. Over a million men a day engage in
these transactions, sexually exploiting women and girls who come mostly
from poor countries in Africa and Eastern Europe. These women and girls
have been shipped to Germany to satiate the physical desires of the
affluent and enrich the pimps and traffickers who control them. The
women and girls do not do this because it is a choice. They do this
because they are desperate and poor. The German magazine Spiegel
published an investigative piece that lays out this abuse in detail, “How
Legalized Prostitution Has Failed.”
This last linked article (in
On Line of 2013) is indeed quite interesting. I will quote two bits
First, about the situation in Germany, where prostitition was legalized:
prostitution law improved the situation of women like Sina? Five years
after it was introduced, the Family Ministry evaluated what the new
legislation had achieved. The report states that the objectives were
"only partially achieved," and that deregulation had "not brought about
any measurable actual improvement in the social coverage of
prostitutes." Neither working conditions nor the ability to exit the
profession had improved. Finally, there was "no solid proof to date"
that the law had reduced crime.
I accept that. But then
the Swedes are mentioned, who did something quite unexpected in
In 1999, when
Sweden made it illegal to buy sexual services, its European neighbors
could hardly believe it. For the first time, it was the customers and
not the prostitutes who were being punished.
That seems a
sensible idea to me: Prostitution is legal, but being a paying customer
of a prostitute is not. Again, this program also has difficulties, but
Sweden punishes the
customers, pimps and human traffickers, not the prostitutes. This
approach is intended to stifle demand for sex for money and make the
business unprofitable for traffickers and exploiters.
it seems the least irrealistic, so to speak. (And yes, I agree
for I think you simply should not buy sex. Period.)
It’s Not The First Time Military Reporters Have Fought The Pentagon
Over Wartime Reporting
The next article is by Jenna
McLaughlin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
The Pentagon’s massive
of War Manual drew criticism from the New York Times
editorial board on Monday for its section on how to treat journalists,
Times said would “make their work more
dangerous, cumbersome and subject to censorship.”
The manual delineates the
military’s power to embed journalists with U.S troops, censor their
work, and even deem them “unprivileged belligerents” should they be
suspected of somehow spying for, or supporting the work of, the enemy.
Legally, people deemed
“unprivileged belligerents” are no longer considered civilians, and are
afforded even fewer protections than actual combatants.
The Committee to Protect
concern that the manual would allow for arbitrary detention of
journalists as well as lower the bar on freedom of the press
internationally, in a time when a record number of reporters are being
murdered and captured abroad. In particular, for reporters who write
critically of U.S. efforts, the line between spy or insurgent and
journalist might become blurred.
representing military and foreign correspondents are also raising
concerns about the new legal guidelines. The Military Reporters
and Editors Association announced this week that it intends to contact
the Pentagon to urge them to revise the guidelines.
This seems a totalitarian
law. The military should have no power "to censor their work"
("their" = "journalists'");
the "embedding" of journalists seems mostly a sick way to take away
many of their means of reporting; and it is insane and very
totalitarian to demand that journalists should agree to the
many crazy wars the
Pentagon thinks it is entitled to.
There is more in the article.
Unemployed young people will be sent to
work boot camp, says minister
The next article is
by Rowena Mason and Frances Perraudin on The Guardian:
This starts as
Cabinet Office minister
Matt Hancock has denied that a government plan to send young unemployed
people to boot camps to prepare them for work was a form of punishment.
“We are penalising nobody
because nobody who does the right thing and plays by the rules will
lose their benefits,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday.
“In fact this is about giving more support to young people.”
The senior Conservative,
who heads David Cameron’s earn or learn taskforce, will set out plans
for jobseekers aged between 18 and 21 to be placed on an intensive
activity programme within the first three weeks of submitting a claim.
They will get an initial
three-week intensive course of practising job applications and
interviews, which will then be regularly reviewed by a dedicated job
"Dedicated job coaches"?!
Why does The Guardian reproduce this sick Tory propaganda?! I know
Holland is not Great Britain, but I have had 31 1/2 years of
experience with the Dutch dole, in which I met just two (2)
civil servants who did not behave as if they were
sado-fascists (that is: compared to my father and grandfather, both
of whom were locked up as "political terrorists" in German
concentration camps, that my grandfather did not survive; compared to
their own bureaucratic colleagues this
may be quite different).
Anyway (those who read Dutch can read my "Moorddreiging
i.e. the many threats with murder I received from two
Amsterdam civil servants, who also offended my mother as "a dirty
cunt-whore", and myself as a "fucking, stinking queer", who went completely
unpunished, though they clearly behaved as sadists and fascists to many
of the Surinams and Muslims who wanted dole, in 1984)...
Here is the response of the only man I know of (including females) I
can take at least halfway serious in the British Labour Party:
Responding to the
announcement, a spokesman for the Corbyn campaign said: “This is
another punitive turn by this Conservative government that is failing
young people. They have cut further education places, driven a punitive
welfare regime that has failed to reduce youth unemployment, and are
raising university fees and taking away grants.
“As it takes away
opportunities for young people to earn or learn, this government is
blaming young people rather than addressing the real problems. It
proposes more free labour from the young with fewer rights, and will be
resisted by young people and Labour MPs.”
4. Ecuador hits back at UK criticism over Julian
The next item is by
Press Association on The Guardian:
This continues yesterday's article on Julian Assange,
to which I refer first. Here I will only quote Ecuador's reply:
Ecuador’s acting foreign
minister, Xavier Lasso, said he categorically rejected the accusations.
“It is not acceptable to try to place the responsibility for the lack
of progress in this area over the last five years on Ecuador.”
If diplomatic relations
had been abused it was the British government that had done so, he
said, recalling that it had threatened to “violate the immunity of
diplomatic premises” and maintained a police cordon outside the embassy
“The British government
has the sole responsibility for such an invasive and unnecessary police
deployment,” Lasso said.
“The republic of Ecuador
will not take lessons from any foreign government, least of all those
that are unaware of the institution of political asylum, its
legitimacy, attached and enshrined in international law, and its
humanitarian nature based on the sovereign equality of nations.”
5. DEPARTMENT STORE RESULTS IMPLODING
This last item is
by JimQ on Washington's Blog:
This starts as follows (and I
am sorry for the capitals, but they are in the original):
In fact, this is the beginning
of a fairly long article that does support its title. Here is a
from near the end:
The government issued
their monthly retail sales this past week and four of the biggest
department store chains in the country announced their quarterly
results. The year over year retail sales increase of 2.4% is pitifully
low in an economy that is supposedly in its sixth year of economic
growth with a reported unemployment rate of only 5.3%. If all of these
jobs have been created, why aren’t retail sales booming?
The year to date numbers
are even worse than the year over year numbers. With consumer spending
accounting for 70% of our GDP and real inflation running north of 5%,
it’s pretty clear most Americans are experiencing a recession, despite
the propaganda data circulated by the government and Fed. The only
people not experiencing a recession are corporate executives enriching
themselves through stock buybacks, Wall Street bankers using free Fed
Bucks while rigging the the markets in their favor, politicians and
government bureaucrats reaping their bribes from billionaire oligarchs,
and the media toadies who dispense the Deep State approved propaganda
to keep the ignorant masses dazed, confused, and endlessly distracted
by Cecil the Lion, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, Ferguson, and blood coming out
I fear that is mostly true,
though I would probably have said that this holds for the 90% and
possibly not for the 10% of the richest: There is some growth
in the economy - but any benefits go to the richest 10%.
The truly disturbing
revelation from the Census Bureau data and the terrible financial
results being reported by some of the biggest retailers in the world is
that it is occurring with unemployment at 5.3%, the economy in the
sixth year of a recovery, and a Fed who has pumped $3 trillion into the
banking system while still keeping interest rates at 0%. What happens
when we roll back into the next official recession, unemployment soars,
and consumers really stop spending?
What is revealed when you
look under the hood of this economic recovery is that it is a complete
and utter fraud. The recovery is nothing but smoke and mirrors, buoyed
by subprime auto debt, really subprime student loan debt, corporate
stock buybacks, and Fed financed bubbles in stocks, real estate, and
am aware of the argument that, as a male, who lived with women, I "must
have effectively paid them", but I am sorry: that is utter baloney. I
lived with them because I loved them and they loved me; I never
married; and I also never lived with a woman I didn't love.
never paid women, for they made or had their own money, and all the
time I lived with a woman I also had a less-than-legal income.
 Giving legal proof that a pimp pimped
will be difficult, but it
even more difficult if prostitution itself is illegal. Or so it seems
Then again, as the end of the article (at least: in Nederlog)
makes clear, there is another alternative, namely the Swedish
one, where prostitution is legal, but buying prostitutes is illegal.
This seems best to me.