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Old 08-12-2015, 01:20 PM   #16
The_Doc_Man
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

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What are your thoughts on the death penalty and should it be brought back?
In the USA, not all states have removed it. Texas, for example.

I think the death penalty is entirely appropriate for certain Wahabbi sect extremists who like to slice off the heads of others. They need to be stopped and I guarantee you, if you cut the head off of a Wahabbi extremist, he will never again decapitate anyone.

On the other hand, the death penalty is overapplied to too many groups. I would say that we need to tightly limit those cases where death is the penalty and must also require both direct evidence (=testimony of MULTIPLE witnesses) and supporting (=forensic) evidence.

This willingness to keep the death penalty is because sometimes society needs to be able to say, "This person is like a cancer and must be cut completely out of society forever." If a state WOULD allow a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole, pardon, commutation, or compassionate release - and MEAN it, I might be less in favor of the death penalty. But in the end, society has to be able to tell someone, "You cannot stay in contact with our society."

Now, if we do like Robert A Heinlein's novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and send all criminals to exile in a lunar penal colony from which there is no escape... maybe I would say we could abolish the death penalty. Maybe.

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What are your views on animal rights?
Many people ask atheists if they have any firm moral principles. We do. One is "Do no unnecessary harm to others." Note that we don't specify the species of those others. By the way, most of the world's religions have that in one form or another. In Christianity, it is the Golden Rule. It also appears in Buddhism.

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Has health and safety gone too far?
Only because litigious yammerheads have sued the pants off the governments at national, state/province, and local levels. There is no excuse for selling something that you know to be unsafe. There is no excuse for misrepresenting something as having a health benefit when you know it does not. But what do you do when you realize that there will always be that fringe element for which "stuff happens"?

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If you had a choice, What laws would you re-instate or abolish?
I would abolish the Affordable Care Act if there was something reasonable waiting in the wings to replace it. I would reinstate campaign finance reforms. There are quite a few laws that have been warped by societal forces that I might try to unravel. The Patriot Act and other acts that allow the U.S. Government to perform surveillance without a bit more stringent judicial oversight - simply has to go away. No questions about it.

OK, now to another topic: Is prostitution a victimless crime? According to some, yes. According to many others, no - the prostitute is the victim of her pimp and of the societal pressure to sell herself to survive in a world where money rules too many parts of your life. When you see a woman on the street corner and she is wearing "working girl" clothes, she might be doing it for herself - but she might also be an immigrant who has been lured into a life of degradation by broken promises of bright futures. Typically, for those cases, the women answer ads, come to their new countries on a visitor visa, and suddenly have no paperwork at all - because their pimps have confiscate their passports, visas, driver's licenses, and whatever else they had. Then they are forced to sell themselves, with promises to get their papers back after X number of years. But it doesn't happen because they either die first or get discarded when life has turned them from the flower of femininity to the stubble of a field that has been plowed too often.

Before you characterize prostitution as "victimless" you should first find out whether the working girl is self-employed or pimp-owned. And yes, all too many pimps think they DO own their girls - like they would own any other livestock.

We have to take classes in this if we work for the U.S. Government because of the risk of being compromised if we use the "services" of one of these working girls. The training makes it clear. Sometimes the girls are just out making a living for themselves. Sometimes the girls are out making money for someone else who will beat them to a pulp if they don't produce.

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Old 08-12-2015, 02:20 PM   #17
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

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Originally Posted by The_Doc_Man View Post
Before you characterize prostitution as "victimless" you should first find out whether the working girl is self-employed or pimp-owned.
I submit that it was the earlier acts by the pimps, etc that were crimes, and the woman was certainly the victim of them. To say the "transaction" between the prostitute and the customer was not victim-less implies that the customer was the perpetrator, which would generally not be true (presuming he's just a guy out looking for a girl that will have sex with him for x dollars).
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Old 08-13-2015, 09:11 AM   #18
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

If the transaction is enabling the pimp to continue his predation of his "ho" then the john is guilty of aiding and abetting a continued crime of assault and felonious imprisonment or improper involuntary servitude, the latter of which is expressly and explicitly forbidden in the USA, Paul.

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Old 08-13-2015, 09:22 AM   #19
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

To be guilty of aiding and abetting, wouldn't the customer have to be aware of that crime? If the only person he deals with is the woman, and she doesn't mention it, how is he culpable?

If an old friend who is "on-the-run" comes by my house and stays a few days, am I guilty of aiding and abetting if I was unaware he had committed a crime and was fleeing the police?
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:20 AM   #20
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

Paul, the distinction is that (like it or not) prostitution in and of itself is already known to be a criminal offense whereas housing a friend for a couple of days is NOT known to be a criminal offense (unless your friend can't keep his mouth shut about why he is visiting.)

I am sympathetic to the woman's plight and don't want her to be severely punished. It is sad that the only solution is often to arrest the woman and get her off the streets that way even though it is the pimp who should be beaten to a pulp. But this is a case where the odds are very much against "independent contractors" working an area if any pimps are around at all. They are the territorial predators.

The problem with how you treat the johns is that without them, the whole situation quickly falls apart. Stated another way, if there is a transaction-based crime, it takes not less than two parties to have a transaction, so if it is illegal for the working girl, it has to be illegal for the johns, too.

Let's do this with a different crime, shall we?

Consider folks who buy a pack of weed for smoking. Where is the crime? Well, that is being revisited in some states, but where it is still illegal, the crime is buying an illicit substance where, if there were no buyers, you would have no sellers either. I.e. the guy at the bottom of the "food chain" - the individual consumer - is the reason that there is in fact something available for consumption - supply and demand. The demand exists regardless of whether the act of supplying is legal.

We cannot lose sight of the hard truth, that there are those in government who will always want to control others' lives by imposing laws in place of their own warped view of morality. We can't forget Prohibition as another case of tea-totalers trying to force their own morality on others. (This could quickly devolve into a religious debate, but this site has enough religious threads already, so let's not go there, please.) Because these "high moral ground" types are sometimes successful, laws exist to ban lots of acts that are otherwise innocuous.

If we are going to repeal the laws, fine. But until they are repealed, the act of soliciting for prostitution is illegal. We can make a different argument about whether changing the law to remove the criminal penalty is a good idea, since it would kill the profit margin associated with those who supply things "under the counter" for things that can't legally be "over the counter." But the only way that the johns should get away with a "slap on the wrist" for solicitation is if the working girl ALSO gets away with a slap on the wrist. I.e. balance of penalties, or fairness. Letting off the john without letting off the working girl is not a balanced solution. Either BOTH or NEITHER should be punished, but don't make it yet another example of male privilege and female disadvantage. The legal (equality) status of women was decided 100 years ago. Let's not step back into a prior century.
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Old 08-14-2015, 12:42 PM   #21
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

The premise of this thread, or at least the part I responded to, was "what laws would you abolish". In that context, I still contend that prostitution in and of itself is a victim-less crime and thus should not be a crime. I would say the same thing about the pack of weed you mention. Your well-made points are valid in the context of them still being crimes.

Here in Nevada, prostitution is legal in most counties. It is regulated, taxed, and the ladies are required to get regular medical checkups. To my knowledge there is no coercion; I've seen ads in the paper where the brothels advertise for ladies to work in them (and it is only legal in the brothels). Is there still illegal prostitution here? Yes, though in part that's because the brothels can't operate in the counties that have the larger cities, including Las Vegas.

I don't support prosecution of pimps and men who traffic in sex slaves. I'd just leave them alone in a room of armed mothers and fathers.
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:51 PM   #22
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

Paul, I also mentioned the word "still" because some of these crimes are being revisited.

However, a victimless crime doesn't exist. It is like a one-sided transaction. Granted, the crime's victims might be a diffuse population, but they exist.

Jaywalking? The victim is the jaywalker acting in a way to risk injury - and the person in whose way the jaywalker walks.

Littering? The victim is the community that is trying to develop a wholesome environment for themselves and their children.

We won't even bother with murder, robbery, theft, vandalism, assault, rape, etc. Those victims are all too easy to find. But I'll admit that some crimes are harder to analyze to find the victim. Having said that, I'll also admit that the very question begs itself, since crimes are defined in such a way that if no one else is the victim, that diffuse entity called "society" is the victim.

Your point about Nevada and prostitution is actually in favor of my point, for it is the exception that provides counterpoint to the rule. In Nevada, prostitution is TREATED like a business of people getting something for something. In all too many other places, sex trafficking is a business run like a kennel instead of something more lofty. Nevada gives us the contrast against which to compare the seamy side of that life.

Part of this thread implies "what laws would you not abolish and which ones would you {create or} reinstate." I would make stiffer penalties for pimps, casting-couch directors, predatory priests and schoolteachers, and anyone else who uses a position of real or imagined power to prey on those unfortunate souls trapped in their sphere of influence. In a society where all are supposedly created equal (under the law), those who violate that concept are scum.

From your discussion, the Nevada prostitutes, being treated openly and above-board, would be either not violated or at worst only very mildly violated by their employment. The women trapped by traffickers, on the other hand, are clearly victims and thus put some doubt into the victimless nature of the crime. I'm pretty sure that even in Nevada, if a prostitute is NOT employed by a licensed and legal brothel, the law would not be kind to her.

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Old 08-26-2015, 11:59 AM   #23
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

Prostitution is not necessarily a victimless crime.
Women working the streets who have to give up large portions of the money they worked for to pimps for example.
There is also the drugs related to prostitution. Many women only sell their bodies to pay for their habits.
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Old 09-02-2015, 08:27 AM   #24
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

"Prostitution is not a victim-less crime" implies it is a crime and uses a double-negative to express the justification for government to force the population to protect themselves from a threat to religious morality.

Taxes to enforce selective morality is the same as being pimped.

I don't appreciate the tax man forcing me to pay for protection of sexist laws enforced by unelected appointed officials. These same laws directly contribute to profit criminal activity and encourage law enforcement corruption.

More Direct:
"Prostitution is an obsolete sexist Prohibition" It's funding and laws should be abolished in any democracy or republic where women are considered to have equal rights.

Watch the new series "Public Morals" based on actual 1960's New York City police.

The police are the ones directly profiting from running the prostitution rings. The writers pulled actual police cases and interviewed retired police to make the stories as realistic as possible.

By the way, over 40% of college girls in the US have a "sugar daddy" to help with the obscene cost of college education and/or to pay Student Loans. Many women are selling their bodies to pay for that habit too.

Last edited by Rx_; 09-02-2015 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 09-02-2015, 09:00 AM   #25
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Re: Open Ended Questions for Debate.

Rx, I agree that the language of the argument tends to contribute to the obfuscation of the origin of some of those laws and the so-called victimless crimes.

Prohibition was a prior example of trying to control victimless crimes - except they weren't without victims. By making it illegal to make/sell alcoholic beverages, the government exposed the people to rot-gut whisky that (probably) contained a lot of impurities. If I recall my distillation chemistry correctly, rot-gut vodka often had fusel oil in it because of the property called enantiomerism (means "two things that distill at the same temperature because they form stable combinations.") Whisky probably had a mix of ethanol (the good stuff) and methanol (also called "wood alcohol") which would kill your liver very quickly - if it didn't make you blind first. We could probably find other nasty stuff in other types of alcoholic beverages, but we don't have to for the purposes of this discussion. The point is, during the Prohibition era, there was stuff out there that would kill you if you drank it, even in moderation. The government finally wised up and made money by issuing tax stamps for each bottle of approved booze.

Now an idle thought: If the government starts to legalize prostitution, where will they stick the tax stamp? But I digress...

Back to the thread: Would you like to outright win the war on drugs? Use the old phrase, "If you can't beat them, join them" and start legalizing (but controlling the quality of) various controlled substances. Make more money off of the legal and "cleaner" drugs but drive down the price of the illicit (and usually poor-quality) street varieties thereof.

When we talk about the role of government to oversee and protect the general welfare of its people, which is better? To expose them to dangerously impure product that (a) won't be as reliable as the "real" stuff and (b) will be more likely to poison them? Or to control the quality of the stuff they want anyway and will pay any price to get?

Before you jump up on my desk and do a screaming howler monkey dance, please open your mind to the comparison with Prohibition. We couldn't win that war, either, until we decided to make it legal and just control the product. Then we got the criminals on tax evasion and controlled the violence that way. We found that we COULD NOT protect people from themselves - but we could at least make their personal form of purgatory less damaging. Isn't that ALSO promoting public welfare?

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