Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Blog of Mine

Hey, folks!

If any of you have enjoyed anything you have read on my blog in the past, I encourage -- nay, beg -- you to check out my blog about pipes, tobacco, and luxury, at While it has almost nothing to do with politics, I would appreciate any patronage you give.

Cheers to all,
thefoolish Ethan

Friday, September 16, 2011

Of Republicans and Men

President Obama recently put forth a jobs proposal with a number of very popular aspects and a great deal of suggestions for getting our economy back on a good path.

This proposal will not pass.

It will not pass, not because of any economic problem within the proposal, nor because it involves spending. It will not pass because it might, just might, do some good.

This is something that Republicans cannot allow. They cannot allow something proposed by President Obama to be successful.

Why? Because of their priorities. The number one priority of the current Republican organization is not jobs, it's not the economy, it's not the deficit, it's not you: it is the systematic destruction of President Obama.

Now, before you think that I am pulling this out of nowhere, allow me to remind you of an infamous quotation: "Well that is true, [making Obama a one-term President is] my single most important political goal along with every active Republican in the country." That was Mitch McConnell. 

How can that goal be met if the President does something that help our country? It cannot. That is why, no matter what the President proposes, the Republicans will allow this country to die.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sexual Prohibition

A tan car pulls up to the curb on a dark street. A woman in thigh-high fishnets approaches the passenger window and gives the rates set forth by her pimp. When the man agrees, she gets in the car and directs the driver to a nearby alleyway that she has used many times before. She climbs in the backseat with the driver and begins to take off her clothing. Before she finishes undressing, the driver pushes her down, pins her hands, and forces himself upon her, ignoring her protests. The woman finds herself in shock and tells her pimp about what happened, only to find herself back on the street an hour later with a fresh black-eye for not making a profit.
Prostitution is a natural occurrence within society and is often said to be the world's oldest profession. Criminalizing prostitution has not even come close to eliminating its presence, but has created an underground market, which makes it easier to rape and abuse prostitutes without concern that action will be reported. Having worked with a number of women's rights organizations, ranging from NARAL to Washington University's Men Organized for Rape Education, I have come to realize that there is a solution that would help protect the women1 involved, reduce violence, and minimize the spread of sexually transmitted disease: regulation. Prostitution should be legalized in the form of regulated brothels because it would lead to enhanced public safety. To show this, I will lay out my proposition of the form that the legalization should take, the regulations that must be followed, and the many benefits that would result. I will then address the complaints that are likely to arise from this controversial suggestion.
One of the primary dangers of illegal prostitution involves the physical risk for the prostitute. The most significant of these dangers are rape and other forms of violence. According to recent studies, 62% of prostitutes report having been raped and 73% report suffering physical violence while on the job.2 This is a result of the business being outlawed and also because there is no one to protect them and thus there is no need for the criminal to fear punishment. With prostitution being illegal, a catch-22 situation is created for the victim: she can either not file a report and let the injustice go unpunished, or she can go to the police, without any assurance that the deviant will be caught, and risk being punished herself for her occupation. A well-regulated, legal brothel would prevent this situation. The first of the requirements for a brothel to operate legally is security. This security comes in many forms, including guards and cameras. Neither would not be present within any rooms in which intercourse would occur, but would be stationed nearby, in the main areas, and outside. One employee at The Mustang Ranch in Nevada, a legally run brothel, said, “We have the biggest security you've ever seen. Airports have got nothing on us.”3 The guard would be ready to step in should anything inappropriate occur on the part of the customer, much like the bouncers at strip-clubs who enforce the rules of the establishment. This would nearly eliminate the threat of physical danger towards the employees. With security on site, customers would be much less likely to attempt anything inappropriate and would be almost guaranteed to be punished if they did. Additionally, the knowledge that she has nothing to fear from the police would solve the rock-and-a-hard-place situation caused by illegal prostitution and the victim would not hesitate to report the incident. In this first aspect of a legal brothel, the danger of rape and assault is minimized.
Illegal prostitution is a breeding ground for sexually transmitted diseases and offers no regulated way to protect against them. When one engages in illegal prostitution on the street, it is impossible to know the health status of a given prostitute. Even with the proper use of a prophylactic, there is still a risk of spreading an STD, a problem that is rapidly impacting a greater segment of society as a whole. Conversely, it is difficult for the prostitute to ensure that she has proper protection and that the customer uses it correctly. A legally operating brothel would help to eliminate these risks through two specific procedures. The most necessary of these is regular checks for STDs and HIV and following through once these tests are conducted. As with employees in any other service industry, public health is a big concern – signs are posted in restaurants reminding employees to wash their hands and there is a health code that must be followed. In the case of brothels, not following these health standards carries greater risk to both the employee and the customer, so more stringent enforcement must be put in place. Using the standards set forth within the Nevada Administrative Code as a guide, those who work at brothels must undergo weekly STD tests, most often in the form of PAP smears, and monthly blood tests for syphilis and HIV. Should the weekly test come back positive, the employee is unable to work at a brothel until treatment has cured the issue and she is cleared by either an in-house or private doctor. If the HIV test comes back positive, it is a felony for the employee to continue working.4 This requirement is an important regulation aimed at protecting public safety. In tandem with the required exams, legal brothels take an additional step to safeguard the public health. The employees at the brothel are provided with any contraceptives that are needed. This provides a second line of defense against STDs without additional charge to the employees or the customers. At legal brothels, the safety of the employee and the customer is protected through regulated STD exams and the use of provided contraceptives.
When prostitution is illegal, it creates a violent and misogynistic black-market that endangers both the women involved and society as a whole. About 90% of the time, illegal prostitution involves pimps.5 These pimps, normally men, determine the rates for each prostitute and often take an extremely large cut of the woman's earnings. Additionally, the women act subservient to the pimp, providing him with sexual acts on command and typically fearing his punishment if they do not reach a given quota. Sometimes the pimp even tattoos the women working for him as a sign of “ownership”.6 Pimps often engage in other illegal activities, from drugs to violence against competing pimps. The entire notion of a pimp would be eliminated as a result of the business structure of a legalized brothel, specifically due to the fact that the women do not directly work for the owner of the brothel. According to the Mustang Ranch, the women there actually rent space from the owner and are free to charge their own rates and determine their own hours.7 Though they still have to follow the safety regulations set forth, this gives the women greater autonomy in terms of their business and the way it is conducted. Thus, it puts the women themselves in a position of control and prevents an institutionalized form of pimping from occurring. By eliminating pimps from the business of prostitution, it gives women greater rights and freedom, and helps to protect the employees and society as a whole by eliminating a major source of underground crime.
It is unsurprising that there are myriad objections to the legalization of prostitution in any form, despite the number of lives that would be bettered by decriminalizing brothels. One of these concerns might be that by legalizing prostitution, the popularity of the activity would increase and lead to more extramarital-affairs. Along with this is the concern that prostitution, no matter the form, is unethical. Another qualm might be that by legalizing the profession of prostitution, the spread of STDs would increase, as prostitutes have relations with many people and this multiplies the risk of passing on a disease. A final complaint leveled against the legalization of brothels is that it would not eliminate the black-market system of prostitution, and thus a number of a brothel's benefits are minimized.
The first of these two complaints can be addressed simultaneously. It is almost without a doubt that legalizing prostitution would make it more popular and it is very possible that might lead to more extramarital affairs. With this possibility acknowledged, it is important to note that adultery is not a crime on the federal level and it is not enforced in the few states where it remains a crime. Since it is not illegal, there is no problem with the federal government allowing something that might facilitate it. Since the issue of having an affair is strictly an ethical one, it is not the responsibility of the government to legislate it or anything that might encourage it. Laws are not put in place for the sake of morality, but rather to protect the people's safety, health, and fundamental rights. While there are times when the two goals coincide, such as not allowing murder, the government cannot make laws based solely on moral merits, such as making a law against lying to your neighbor. Since legalizing prostitution does not infringe on any of the aspects that the government is meant to protect – the criminalizion of prostitution actually does greater damage to the people's safety, health, and rights – it cannot be prevented on solely ethical grounds.
Worrying that the legalization of prostitution would increase STD transmission would be a valid concern only if one were not to take into account the regulations involved with a well-regulated brothel. As has been previously stated, there would be frequent, mandated health checks along with free contraceptives. These two safeguards would prevent the increased spread of STDs and would result in fewer STDs transmitted than occurs through illegal forms of prostitution.
The concern that legalizing brothels would not eliminate the black-market system of pimps and street-side prostitution is valid. After all, where there is a legal activity there is bound to be an illegal form of that same activity aimed at providing cheaper goods. Legal brothels would help to minimize the problem, though. Women who would previously have been working under pimps would be able to find a safer way to practice prostitution, while clients who would previously have visited an illegal prostitute would be able to visit a legally operating brothel. The rush of women wanting to leave behind the illegal system would be the first step in reduce the black-market, while the laws of supply and demand would further reduce the need for a black-market. Even if a small amount of pimps remain, any reduction in a system that encourages treating women as property and leads to violence towards the women, competing pimps, and society is a good thing and should be acted upon immediately.
When a law is in place that causes harm to society, it is imperative that the law be remedied or removed immediately. Banning prostitution has created a system that advocates the mistreatment of women and treating them like property; banning prostitution has created a system that allows for the rape and assault of women; banning prostitution has created a system that spreads disease to the prostitutes, the clients, and to society. Legalizing prostitution in the form of well-regulated brothels will immediately start to eliminate these problems and will lead to fewer pimps, fewer rapes, fewer beatings, fewer diseases, and more power to the women themselves. If this society places any value in safety, health, and women's rights, brothels must be legalized immediately.

1The author acknowledges that there are men who engage in prostitution. All advantages of a well-regulated brothel will benefit male prostitutes, as well as the women.
2"Prostitution Facts." Rape Is. Web. 14 Feb 2011.
3Telephone Interview by Ethan Brandt. 15 Feb 2011.
4Nevada. Chapter 441A -- Communicative Diseases. Nevada Administrative Code. Print.
5"Prostitution Facts." Rape Is.
6Claudia Rowe. "No Way Out: Teen Girls Sell Bodies in Seattle." Seattle PI. N.p., 27 Jun 2008. Web. 15 Feb 2011. .
7"Frequently Asked Questions." World Famous Mustang Ranch. Web. 14 Feb 2011.   

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Economy and Scared Little Bunnies

    Everyone who has paid the slightest attention to the recent economic turmoil knows about Fannie and Freddie; we know about the reckless, indecent, and sometimes immoral behavior that has occurred on Wall Street; we know about the “housing bubble” and its infamous pop. All of these reasons and more are responsible for the turmoil, but these have all been talked to death on every talk-show. We have also had economic reform, which, though not perfect, indicates and awareness of the practices that caused all of this. All of this information, however, is not terribly practical for the average person. The primary question is no longer what caused the turmoil, but rather why is it taking so long for it to get fixed.
     If I could stand face-to-face with these people when they asked that question, I would happily respond, “You!”, while pointing at them. The current struggle to regain what we have lost is, in many ways, a self-fulfilling prophecy of stagnation. We so often hear about Consumer Confidence Reports, which indicate how the consumers are feeling about the economy. To skip a lot of analysis, they are scared. Why are they scared? They are worried that the economy will get worse, or that it isn't recovering quickly enough. So, what do they do? They take their money out of the stock market, they don't buy luxury items, even small ones, they don't buy that new house or car, and they don't hire that promising potential employee. What is the result of all of this? Production does not recover as quickly as it could, the housing market remains soggy, unemployment stays near record level, and the stock market looks weak (which, go figure, sends confidence lower, thus making the process repeat all over again). Let's go through this again without all of the details. Consumer worried economy will falter → consumer does not buy → the economy falters.
    This frightened rabbit attitude of the average consumer is what is making theirs lives so difficult. If people would go out an get that new house or new car, buy that TV, invest in a new business, or hire that employee, we would be able to help the economy, one person at a time. Of course, there is a risk. But it is better to take a risk at improving one's position than to resign oneself to the lot one has, especially when that lot has the potential of getting worse.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Thank you, Facebook

A neverending font of moronic argument full of non sequitur and ad homs.

The start of the argument: someone said that he "believes in amnesty for "illegal" immigrants... Anglo-Europeans ended up here in rather illegal ways (well, perhaps more like "un-legal"). Like it or not, English is NOT a language native to North America... it immigrated here... like our foreparents."

T, the oh-so-smart one, begins the argument:  But it is standard and every country has their own language. When in France you do not speak English without being shunned. I don't feel we should deport everyone, but they are capable of becoming legal. Simple steps. We all have rules and laws to abide by, so should they. That being said I do believe we are overpopulated and the immigration needs to stop somewhere. Maybe if they put forth the effort in their country they too could prosper?... 
I am Cherokee and German. I have many Mexican friends who are LEGAL immigrants. I lost my last two labor jobs to ILLEGAL immigrants. We took the land? Every piece of land on the planet earth was taken by someone. How far do we have to go back? If everyone would live in the present and not the past maybe we could work towards a future? My grandfather worked in steel mines. If we were a self sufficient country and quit importing cheap labor and goods and tried employing our legal residents maybe there would be less war? Maybe if illiegal aliens had to go to war to fight for the country they live so FREELY in? But the rules are different because people are afraid to offend them. Why should we speak Spanish? Because the Germans and Russians have a harder time getting here illegally?! Facts and statistics should prove to you that they are winning. And if you feel China has every right to own us, which they will by 2025, and believe its only fair? Then you should learn Chinese so you have a job not Spanish."

Me: "Interesting conversation we have going. If I provide my humble opinion. As someone who intends to be a lawyer, I must say that that which is illegal is something with which I disagree. However, as a freethinker, as a lover of Jefferson and Thoreau and Emerson and Dr. King and Lennon, some things which are illegal should not be, and some laws need to be updated. One of those includes facilitated the legalization and acceptance of those from other countries, other backgrounds, and other histories. I cannot help but agree with what Betty said about the ethnic factor involved with all of this. The simple fact is that the immigrant should not have to be here illegally, but should be welcomed into our country, the melting pot of the world which has succeeded because of the multitude of backgrounds and experiences of which we are composed.

Now to address several points that have been made. Terrie, I am sorry that you lost your job, but many people have lost more jobs to legal Americans than to illegal immigrants. Let's be blunt: illegal immigrants are not taking jobs at IBM, they aren't taking jobs at Microsoft or high ranking positions at Bank of America. They are assuming labor jobs that many do not want: working in 102 degree weather picking grapes, collecting and sorting trash. There are many Americans who are here legally who do not contribute to our economy, so if someone wants to come in and help the American economy become competitive, fantastic. China provides extremely low wages, allowing them to produce goods for extremely low prices. American good, for the same quality, cost nearly twice as much. It simply won't work.

Next you said "Maybe if illiegal aliens had to go to war to fight for the country they live so FREELY in?". No American *has* to go to war. Everyone gets the option...oh, aside from openly homosexual Americans. Should they be thrown out since they are not allowed to fight for the country they live in or do they get a free pass since our system is built on bigotry and superiority. What about when women weren't allowed in the military? I guess that means that they shouldn't have been legal citizens either, eh?

"Facts and statistics should prove to you that they are winning. And if you feel China has every right to own us, which they will by 2025, and believe its only fair? Then you should learn Chinese so you have a job not Spanish." Pure and utter fear is one of the best means of control. People said the same thing about French, then Russian, then it was Spanish, now it's Chinese. Winning? Winning what? If you are referring to the economy, then yes they are. And guess what, it isn't the liberal government that is dragging our economy down. It's the unwillingness to put our money out there and maybe allow for some cheap labor. The fact are that with illegal immigrants, the legal ones still get the best paying jobs. Look at the average income of an illegal immigrant. You couldn't survive on their year's wages for 6 months."

T: "E, i went to school for international busines with a lawyer too. i realized it is a job for scum. Your arguments are biased and based on ignorance. cheap labor does leave willing legal citizens without jobs. and while you may be afraid to get your hands dirty, i am not. besides overpopulation is the issue, not the language and most nonresident aliens have papers they legally obtained to be here. i work with them daily to assist their transition. if they wish to become doctors or biochemists, that's great they did it honestly. also, i worked for a company that save a penny per item by using child laborers in China. you praise that? don't tell me about free thinking.....i've been around a lot longer than you and your words, while well written sound like a read from fox news. i hope as a lawyer you get to represent the illegal immigrants and get paid with their cheap wages. and China becamse the second richest country this past week, and will soon be the richest. i refuse to buy anything but american made. but preach to your choir, i am bowing out of the uninformed forum of nonsense."

Me: "Wait, wait, wait, T. Did you just say *my* opinions come from Fox news? Now that's humor. Actually, Beck and Palin agree with you, not me. 

"It's a job for scum". Wow, that's kind. I know, there are no good lawyers out there. Jefferson 
was a bastard, and every single one that has ever done anything good is scum, too. Damn them all!

"...biased and based on ignorance." Well, as Tyson said, here come the ad homs. I am far from ignorant, as I always go my research before I state an opinion. Biased? Perhaps. But if you're making an argument, you are naturally biased to believe the side for which you are arguing. I am biased for the under-represented, for those who are constantly suffering abuse by those hard working Americans who refer to the immigrants as scum and trash and want them to get out. If they leave here, their family's will likely starve back home, because even the $4 an hour jobs, which no American will take, as they legally cannot, is more than they would make if they return home.

No, I don't praise the company that uses child labor, and I never said I did. However, you worked for that company, and thus helped it continue its campaign founded on blood and sweat of little children. On the upside, those children are providing money for their families and helping them survive. It's horrible but true. And you worked for them, not me.

"don't tell me about free thinking.....i've been around a lot longer than you and your words" Actually, the majority of the words I used are older than you, and age does not make you right. Age does not always make you wise. Just because you've been around longer does not mean that you've practiced freethinking or currently do.

"i'm just a rude little bitch with an education." I find this interesting. Rude, yes. Bitch, some might say. Your writing and frequent attacks in the ad hom fashion do not give justice to your education, however. Now, I am not calling you stupid, I am saying that you are not acting as one of you age and education more than likely should. I am much younger than you and still behave in a more dignified fashion.

By the way, I feel inclined to mention that not a single point you made addressed my argument or supported yours. It was all non sequitur of "I'm older, educated, and you're dumb", which, though a frequent tactic by master-thinkers of our day, such as Glenn Beck, does not justify your position.

"i'll just sit back and laugh now" The classic final actions of one who does not like having to defend his views. "I'm done, you're dumb. I'm right, you're wrong." See how I just made myself look good? Now, if I don't respond to your argument, it's not because I'm outclassed, it's because I'm better! I wish that my education in argumentation, international politics, and debate allowed be such an easy maneuver, but it doesn't. It requires that I actually attempt to coherently state my case without resorting to logical fallacies and personal attacks."

T: " hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
haha!! no, really hahahahahah!!!! you'll make a great lawyer :)...
you do not even know who i really am, but i got you going and it made my day! your post is now part of my blog, would you like the address?"

Me: " If you'd like mine where your rants are, T."

This is, if nothing else, an example of how to argue and how not to argue. I leave it to you to guess which is which.