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The belief that decriminalizing prostitution will slow the spread of HIV is based on science fiction, not science.

February 4, 2019

Nordic Model Now! has posted a great piece debunking the myth that the Nordic Model impedes the global campaign to slow the spread of HIV. The essay critiques the reliability of mathematical models that claim that fully decriminalizing the flesh trade will slow the spread of HIV.

In an earlier post on this website, I showed that the unrealistic assumptions behind one of the most often-cited models render its predictions no more reliable than wishful thinking.

When assessing the integrity of such models, it’s important to identify the donor who funded its creation. It’s my impression that mathematical models are created to grant scientific authority to political agendas.

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Favorite progressive podcasts

December 8, 2018

It’s been two-and-a-half years since I posted a list of my favorite progressive podcasts.  In that time, podcasts have become an even more important source of news and views that the mainstream media won’t report. Podcasts’ value became even clearer last week, when CNN’s celebrity hosts and recycled panelists wasted three hours speculating about the contents of Mueller’s redacted document about Mike Flynn.

Here are my favorite podcasts:

CounterPunch Radio with Eric Draitser (@stopimperialism)

Intercepted (@intercepted) with Jeremy Scahill (@jeremyscahill)

Eyes Left Podcast (@EyesLeftPod) with Spenser Rapone (@punkproletarian) and Mike Prysner (@MikePrysner)

Citations Needed (@CitationsPod) with Nima Shirazi (@WideAsleepNima) and Adam Johnson (@adamjohnsonnyc)

The Ralph Nader Radio Hour with Ralph Nader (@RalphNader)

Scheer Intelligence (@scheercast) with Robert Scheer (@Robert_Scheer)

Under the Skin with Russell Brand (@rustyrockets)

The Hartmann Report with Thom Hartmann (@Thom_Hartmann)

Unauthorized Disclosure (@UnauthorizedDis) with Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhalek) and Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola)

Media Roots Radio  (@MediaRootsNews) with Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) and Robbie Martin (@FlourescentGrey).

 

In Winners Take All, Anand Giridharadas critiques the benevolence business

December 6, 2018

 

Anand Giridharadas’s Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World is a courageous, scathing critique of the social reform and international development efforts of billionaire philanthropists and corporations.

Giridharadas argues that such efforts don’t reduce inequality because, “when elites assume leadership of social change, they are able to reshape what social change is—above all, to present it as something that should never threaten winners.” (p. 8) Quoting OECD leader Angel Gurria, Giridharadas writes, “Elites have found myriad ways to change things on the surface so that in practice nothing changes at all.” (p. 9)

To explain and illustrate how the elite’s efforts fail to address structural causes of poverty and inequality, Giridharadas provides several examples. He describes a meeting of the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Advancement Program’s advisers in which, “the issues . . . would be presented in the business way, in the form of slides with graphs and charts. The question of building more inclusive economies would be atomized into endless subcategories, until the human reality all but vanished. The fundamental problems would grow almost unrecognizable. Justice and inequality would be converted into problems the private equity executive was preeminently qualified to solve.”(p. 132)

Giridharadas argues that the protocols by which McKinsey consultants analyse corporate problems are not suitable for analysing social challenges. He writes, “Our age of market supremacy has blessed the protocols with a remarkable change of fortune: They have evolved from being a specialized way of solving particular business problems to being, in the view of many, the essential toolkit for solving anything.” (p. 139) The problem, according to Giridharadas, with using the protocols for analysing social problems is that, “problems reformatted according to the protocols were recast in the light of the winner’s gaze. After all, the definition of the problem is done by the problem-solver and crowds out other ways of seeing it.” (p. 142)

Giridharadas’s cites the final Clinton Global Initiative’s one-sided panel discussions to demonstrate that private social reform efforts fail to address poverty and inequality because they exclude divergent perspectives and voices: “The organizers of this final CGI, held in the throes of the antiglobalist revolt, decided that a panel on the topic was a must. And the organizers evidently concluded that the panel should consist entirely of globalists, with no one representing the other side.” (p. 214)

Giridharadas devotes much of the book to examining the sycophancy of thought leaders, to show how the elites reward the generation and promotion of winner-safe prescriptions for social change.

An example of the winner-safe social-reform approach is the Open Society Foundations’ campaign to empower women by normalizing prostitution, which I critiqued in an earlier post. The foundations advocate decriminalizing pimping, brothel keeping, and the buying and selling of sex, ostensibly to protect the human rights of prostituted women, even though a foreseeable consequence of decriminalizing the flesh trade is that many girls will be removed from school and sent to brothels against their will, thereby undermining one of development’s widely recognized imperatives: increasing girls’ educational attainment. The Open Society Foundations prefer the winner-safe path of normalizing prostitution rather than increasing taxes on corporations and the ultra-wealthy and then using such revenue to strengthen social services that would reduce the pressure on women to sell sex for survival.

Frank Giustra of the Giustra Foundation wrongly criticizes  Giridharadas for not offering solutions to the problems presented in Winners Take All. Giridharadas does propose solutions. To more equitably distribute the gains from the increasing productivity of the workforce, Giridharadas calls for “tighter regulations on trading, higher taxes on financiers, stronger labor protections to protect workers from layoffs and pension raiding by private equity owners, and incentives favoring job-creating investment over mere speculation.” (pp. 40-41)

In recent podcasts, Giridharadas discusses Winners Take All with Robert Scheer and Ralph Nader.

What does full decriminalisation of the sex trade mean in practice?

June 25, 2018

This piece by Nordic Model Now provides a thorough overview of the consequences of complete decriminalisation of the sex trade.

QotD: “#MeToo must include prostitution”

June 1, 2018

This post raises the extremely important point that the human right to a workplace free from violence and sexual harassment is universal. Prostitution should be abolished because it is commodified sexual harassment.

Anti-Porn Feminists

The #MeToo groundswell of women who are challenging everyday sexual predation by men is consciousness-raising and courageous activism that will hopefully benefit all women. Men’s money and power coerce women’s submission to sexual harassment both in and out of prostitution, in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, in Ford auto factories, in the California and Massachusetts and U.S. Senates, in domestic service, and everywhere else on the planet. But does this wonderfully expanding big-as-the-sky-sized basket of women’s voices include women in prostitution? Is their “me too” welcomed? Is the prostitution of women in pornography included in #MeToo?

Sex trade survivors’ voices are essential to a discussion of sexual harassment, rape, and male supremacy because their experiences are that of tolerating sexual harassment and rape and verbal abuse in exchange for money or goods or something else of value. Sometimes the “something of value” that is exchanged for sex acts is food or…

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Radical feminists oppose shutdown of underage sex-trafficking site

June 1, 2018

Here’s a great post about the closing of Backpage.com’s prostitution ads:

WINTERY KNIGHT

Women's March Women’s March

Wow! Read that tweet by the organizer’s of the Women’s March (which doesn’t even represent all women). A web site that facilitates “sex work” was shut down by the FBI, and the Women’s March is upset. What can it mean?

Well, here’s an article from The Federalist to explain. (H/T Sean M.)

Excerpt:

Last Friday, the FBI seized Backpage.com, a website well known for facilitating the sale of trafficked minors, mostly girls, for sex all over the United States. On Monday, seven top Backpage officials were arrested after being indicted on 93 counts, including money laundering and facilitating prostitution, 17 cases of which involve trafficking victims as young as 14. The Washington Post says Backpage earned an estimated $500 million in prostitution-related revenue since its launch in 2004.

The National Center on Missing and Exploited Children reports that 73 percent of all child sex trafficking cases it has handled involved Backpage.com. According to…

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Prostitution survivor to pro-lobby: I’m sick and tired of you!

April 21, 2018

This is an extremely important letter by Huschke Mau.

Purple Sage

This is a letter written by German ex-prostitute Huschke Mau. I don’t know the name of the translator, but thank you, whoever you are! The original can be found here. Please read the whole thing to support Huschke Mau in her activism.

I’M SICK AND TIRED OF YOU!
After having read an interview with prostitution lobbyist Stephanie Klee, she’s had enough. Now, Huschke Mau, who has exited prostitution, responds to her. “I am one of those ‘voluntary’ prostitutes so many people talk about,” she writes. “And I am sick and tired of you prostitution proponents!”

Dear Stephanie Klee,
I am referring to the interview the city magazine Zitty Berlin has conducted with you and first of all, I would like to thank you for giving it. I would still be silent had I not read it. Before I go ahead: I hope you don’t mind me talking to you from…

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