Eliot Spitzer (cont.)
posted by Susan Stark

When I wrote my previous blog about prostitution and Eliot Spitzer (Prostitution Should Be Legalized), I wasn’t fully aware of everything that Spitzer did wrong, such as the money laundering, etc., because the full revelations of his activities hadn’t come out yet. I do not approve of these kinds of activities.

But, still, when it’s all said and done, Bush and his gang are guilty of high crimes against humanity (invasion of a country without legitimate cause), and approximately 1 million people have died as a result. And they have squandered more money than we can comprehend. The cost of Bush’s war will be estimated to a high of 3 trillion dollars, and I’m sorry, but, that is way too much money to spend so that conservatives can achieve their nebulous feelings of “safety”.

The Bush gang gets off the hook, while Eliot goes down for much pettier crimes.

Still, my position that Spitzer should be able to solicit prostitution if he wishes still stands, and that Kristen/Ashley should have to right to provide those services. Period. They are both consenting adults. The only kinds of prostitution that should be illegal are the ones that involve under-age persons, or persons being forced to work against their own will. The former is child molestation, and the latter is slavery.

This is the position that most sex-workers advocate, and it is certainly healthier than the positions taken by neurotic soccer-moms posing as “reformers” and “experts”. And that includes the male soccer-moms.

15 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I feel bad for the gal. Saw a news article that said, Well she wanted to be famous. Not the case. She wanted to make some quick money. I doubt she cares for all the free exposure. I wonder if her rates will go…get lower?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    These are the typical liberal attitudes. Repackaging them from your earlier post changes nothing. The attitude that protecting our homeland is somehow criminal, and comparing that to an elected official committing a Mann Act is well …. disgusting.

    I’m sure you’ve uttered the immortal words of Obama’s preacher: “God damn America.”

  3. John Madziarczyk Says:

    Amen. I live in Seattle and by coincidence happened to be walking into a used book store when the obviously hippie-ish proprietress called out excitedly to a co-worker “Did you hear? The governor of New York just resigned!”. Because he hired a prostitute he was a bad, bad, man, never mind that after a little bit of digging on my part, basically catching up to what people in New York already know, he was very much anti-corruption and sort of progressive.

    But….Prostitution! Anti-woman! Fuck him to hell!

  4. Aggie Dude Says:

    I still disagree and still see your logic regarding prostitution in this matter as faulty.

    The main reason is a rebuttal of the following from your essay:

    “The only kinds of prostitution that should be illegal are the ones that involve under-age persons, or persons being forced to work against their own will. The former is child molestation, and the latter is slavery.”

    “persons being forced to work against their own will” could describe an enormous number of people on this planet, including those in the United States and other supposedly free nations. . .exactly where do you draw the line between different forms of coercion? Most coercion is structural, but we still insist on blaming the individual as though they have choices they don’t actually have.

    Yes…suicide is always “a choice” (just to preempt the obvious moron retorts)….but one looks at the characteristics of prostitutes and other sex workers such as strippers, and one finds a context that delivers them into what they are doing, usually one that involves egregious forms of abuse.

    Furthermore, Kristof’s latest NY TImes op-ed explains quite well that legal prostitution encourages a culture in which children and slaves are still used.

    I also challenge your assertion in your last paragraph:

    “This is the position that most sex-workers advocate…”

    I would like to see your evidence for this assertion, because it is completely off the mark from the findings of my colleagues who study such issues professionally.

    Lastly, your original essay included the line:

    “And if that $4300 was taxpayer money, so what?”

    I may have been alone in this feeling, but it made me believe you were referring to the use of public funds to pay for his private consorts. That information was already out at the time I read your piece. The fact that there are greater crimes committed doesn’t excuse it. This logic was the main point of your essay, that because Bush Co. got away with their crimes there’s something wrong with nailing Spitzer.

    I sense that you are trying to backtrack after going a little overboard.

    I suppose we’re a society that’s gotten used to pushing the reset button on the video game.

    But as I have said many times, “An ounce of prevention is worth a lifetime of denial.”

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Check this out:
    http://www.gregpalast.com/elliot-spitzer-gets-nailed/

    Excerpted:
    Eliot’s Mess

    Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke secretly handed over $200 billion to mortgage bank industry speculators. The Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks’ mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.

    Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush’s regulators went on the warpath against Eliot Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices.

    And that very same day the bail-out was decided – what a coinkydink! – Spitzer, the man called ‘The Sheriff of Wall Street’, was cuffed.

    The big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press – one was “Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer” – made clear to Bush’s enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn’t Bin Laden.

  6. Aggie Dude Says:

    Wholeheartedly agreed, Anon, this was classic Republican hit job crap. We’ll nail someone in a salacious act that the media will jump all over.

    I was pretty young during the savings and loan crap in the late 80s, I was wondering if this was shaping up to be more of the same? It has the same timing: 8 years of a neo-con followed by 4 years of a 1 term GOP loser.

    This will never end until government corruption is a capital offense, but the prosecution will always be political charged…so it will never end.

    Still, Spitzer should have known better.

  7. Susan Stark Says:

    Aggie Dude:

    I did not backtrack from my previous blog. I had to state that there was information about Spitzer that wasn’t available to me when I wrote it. I didn’t exactly know if he paid his escorts with taxpayer money or not, and I don’t recall reading whether or not he used taxpayer money. But I did say that it’s better to pay an escort, even with taxpayer money, then to flush billions of dollars into the Iraq War, which Bush has done.

    Furthermore, I have read the piece by Nicholas Kristof in the Times, and in my opinion it is contradictory and with many omissions, and completely dehumanizing and dismissive of actual prostitutes and their concerns.

    For example, he says that human trafficking of minors in the Netherlands has gone up since they legalized prostitution, and that in Sweden trafficking has gone down since they criminalized the solicitors of prostitution. But he doesn’t cite any statistics.

    Even if these facts are true, Kristof assumes that they are related to the status of prostitution. It is more likely that Sweden has done a much better job of cracking down on human traffickers than the Netherlands has. In other words, the Dutch authorities need to get off their collective asses and start busting those traffickers and stop blaming the prostitutes of Holland for their own failures.

    In other part of Kristof’s article, he quotes an Australian former prostitute who states that she enjoyed her profession while she did it. Then he immediately changes the subject. It is as if he quoted her mainly to ridicule her or dismiss her opinion as irrelevant.

    The subject that he moves on to is prostitution in America. He quotes a woman named Melissa Farley, who says that “girls typically become prostitutes at age 13 or 14”. I SEVERELY doubt that the women who work at escort agencies in Manhattan or elsewhere started their job at 13 years old. Ms. Farley must be talking about street prostitutes, but Kristof doesn’t say whether she included escorting in her study, or not. And here is my favorite: Kristof quotes Farley as saying that 89% of (street)prostitutes wished to leave their job. Well and good. They should be able to leave their job and should have the help that they need to do so. But my counter-argument to that is that the 11% who wish to continue their work should be able to do so safely and legally.

    In the next paragraph, Kristof states that, in the United States, the workplace homicide rate for prostitutes is 51 times that of women who work in liquor stores. Well, duh. They are working in an illegal and therefore underground kind of work, where they may come into contact with customers without any backup or safety guards put into place. A good argument for legalization, I say. (And this mortality rate, I assume, may and probably refers to street prostitutes. I find it laughable that escorts in Manhattan and brothel workers in Nevada, for example, would have this kind of homicide rate. But he doesn’t say which type of prostitution he is referring to.)

    And finally, here is my absolute, fourteen-carat favorite direct quote:

    “Some Swedish prostitutes have complained that the policy (of criminalizing the customers of prostitutes) reduced demand and thus lowered prices, while forcing sex-work underground. But the evidence is strong that the new approach reduced trafficking in Sweden, and opinion polls show that Swedes regard the experiment as a considerable sucess.”

    In other words, who cares what the prostitutes think? Their opinions and concerns are irrelevant, according to Kristof. Swedish prostitutes should be forced underground with reduced profits and reduced safety because an opinion poll said so, and, well, because he *thinks* the evidence is strong that it reduced trafficking. But like I said, maybe Swedish law enforcement simply did their jobs.

    In his article, Kristoff fails to disguish between the different kinds of prostitution: legal and illegal, indoor and outdoor, escorting and streetwalking, etc. He doesn’t cite statistics where he should. And most, importantly, he completely dismisses the words and concerns of actual prostitutes. This is what you call dehumanization. If I wrote an article like this one in college, my English teacher would’ve given it an F.

    Also, Aggie Dude, it’s a guess for me to say that *most* sex-workers agree that consensual prostitution should be legalized, but it is an educated guess. Over the past few years, I have been in correspondence with a woman who had worked as a escort for 14 years, have talked to actual sex-workers in person, and have been to sex-worker advocacy websites (sex-workers who advocate for their own rights). For the most part they agree that prostitution should be legalized and/or decriminalized. But I guess these people are not as important as your “colleagues”.

    😉

  8. Susan Stark Says:

    http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2008/03/95408.html

  9. Aggie Dude Says:

    Susan,

    I never said anything about the importance of individuals’ and their personal biography. However, as a methodological issue, this is indeed what separates journalists from social scientists: a methodical system of inquiry and generalization based on aggregates, rather than talking to a self-selected group of individuals (how big is your sample population and are they representative of all sex workers?) and then trying to make the claim that this is somehow generalizable to the entire population.

    I thank you for elaborating on your disagreements with Mr. Kristof, but perhaps the difference between you and I is that I would not have it evaluated by an English teacher.

    It would be one thing if you’re going to critique his grammar, but it’s entirely another to critique his logic or research methodology.

    Likewise when students of mine have difficulties with basic writing skills I refer them to English professors. If they have problems with critical thinking or conceptualization, that’s my domain.

    This is precisely why I dislike the humanities so much…

    Talking to a few people and going to a sex worker advocacy website (which gives policy positions and has an agenda) does not constitute research, however I acknowledge that it raises issues that should be discussed and researched.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    The problem with people who reflexively argue about continuing an existing prohibition, whether drugs or prostitution, is that they rarely ever make an effort to discern what harms are intrinsic to the prohibited act and the harms that are intrinsic to the prohibition itself. Therefore every problem created or made worse by prohibition is simply evidence for continued or increased crackdown.

    It is akin to this: an authoritarian father discovers his daughter is addicted to drugs, and in his outrage, throws the daughter out of the house. The daughter, now out on the street and with no way to support herself, then turns to prostitution to support herself and her habit. When the father finds out that his daughter is now a prostitute, he then says, “Well, I now see that I was justified in in throwing her out over the drugs, since drugs lead people to become prostitutes.”

  11. Susan Stark Says:

    “Well, I now see that I was justified in in throwing her out over the drugs, since drugs lead people to become prostitutes.”

    That’s a pretty good point, anonymous. Much of the “ills of prostitution” can point to it’s criminalization rather than being inherent in prostitution itself.

    However, even in places where the laws are much more relaxed, you still have vulnerability to attack, and using prostitution to pay for drugs. But in the case of drugs, the problem isn’t the prostitution, it’s the drug addiction.

    More money for drug treatment, please!

  12. Angelo Says:

    Prostitutes don’t sell their bodies for drugs. Druggies sell their bodies for drugs.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    How about less money for drug treatment AND abolishing the ban on (currently) illicit substances?

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Susan,

    I think you draw a false distinction between those who are pro-sex workers and “soccer moms”. Many of my favorite adult websites are based on the theme of paying soccer moms for sex.

  15. Angelo Says:

    Many of my favorite adult websites are based on the theme of paying soccer moms for sex.

    ha!

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