In Sunday’s Sun: it isn’t sex – it’s bought rape

It isn’t the world’s oldest profession. The world’s oldest profession is apathy.

Those who, when confronted with wrongdoing or injustice or abuse – and prostitution can be any one of those things, or all of them – just, you know, shrug. “It’s been around for a long time,” they say. “There’s got to be a good reason for that.” And then they go back to sleep.

That recent Supreme Court of Canada decision is just that: apathetic (and pathetic). It’s dressed up in all sorts of legal finery, and high-sounding words, to be sure. But, when distilled down to its base elements, it just sort of gives up. Young girls being coerced into trafficking their bodies? Women being traded like commodities, and beaten and battered and worse? Innocence being lost to dirty old men, who care nothing for anything, except their own grimy desires?

Who cares.

The highest court in the land doesn’t certainly doesn’t seem to care. If you pore through their 132-page collective shrug, their reasoning effectively comes down to this: prostitution has been around a long time, so deal with it. In the very first sentence on the very first page, no less than the Chief Justice intones: “It is not a crime to sell sex for money.”

And it goes on from there. But, as in a lot of legal reasoning, the problem lies with definitions. Is what is being sold really, truly “sex”?

Not according to a lot of people who would know. The U.S. National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children – who do, dare I say it, God’s work – think that what is being bought and sold isn’t actually “sex.” It’s something else. Says the Centre’s experts: “Prostitution creates a setting whereby crimes against women and children becomes a commercial enterprise.”

When a pimp, or circumstances, compels a girl to sell her body, that isn’t sex, says the Centre. When forced to submit “to sexual demands as a condition of employment, it is exploitation, sexual harassment, or rape – acts that are based on the prostitute’s compliance rather than her consent.” Noticeably absent from the Centre’s assessment: that it is, in the benign language of the high court, “sex for money.” It’s a lot, lot less than that.

Unconvinced? Melissa Farley is a Ph.D, and the founding direction of Prostitution Research and Education. She doesn’t really define it as “sex,” either. Nor is she as indifferent to prostitution as Canada’s highest court seems to be. “Prostitution is extremely dangerous for women,” she says. “Homicide is a frequent cause of death.”

Farley goes on: “It is a cruel lie to suggest that decriminalization or legalization will protect anyone in prostitution. It is not possible to protect someone whose source of income exposes them to the likelihood of being raped on average once a week.”

Finally, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – because, really, that is what we are talking about, trafficking in human beings – doesn’t define this age-old commercial enterprise as “sex” either. They are much more blunt, and therefore (to me) closer to the truth.

“Prostitution cannot eliminate rape when it is itself bought rape. The connection between rape and prostitution is that women are turned into objects for men’s sexual use; they can be either bought or stolen. A culture in which women can be bought for use is one in which rape flourishes.”

So say the experts – so say former prostitutes themselves. It isn’t “sex.” It is a business. It is coerced submission. It is bought rape.

There are many, many people who – when confronted with a problem that has been around for a long time – say that it cannot be solved. Drug addiction, or prostitution, or myriad other social problems have been around for centuries, they say. So, ipso facto, they can’t be eliminated.

That may be. And it may be that those like me – a left-leaning type, who aspires to a better and more equal world for his daughter – will ultimately lose this debate.

But don’t you think it is better to try and make things better, than to be apathetic, and to simply shrug?


Neo-Nazi banker’s lies follow him to the grave

The squabble over the deceased Nazi’s possessions comes as no surprise to lawyer and commentator Warren Kinsella, a QMI Agency columnist who’s written books about Canada’s far right.

He said Nazis “are telling a lie about history about the Holocaust and about race and about Jews and gays and people that they hate. “They tell lies about all of it, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that they get convoluted and dishonest about the disposition of their personal affairs,” he said.

Kinsella, who’s written about Weiche, said the London Nazi was seen as “the bankroller of the far right in Ontario.”

The paranoia and distrust in the Nazi movement often extends to their inner circle. “Basically, they try to continue their hateful life in death,” Kinsella said.


The Toronto Star’s mistake: talk minus action equals zero

This is a mistake. Possibly a big one.

It is not a mistake for the reason expressed in Peter Kent’s (ALL CAPS!) reply – although he has a bit of a point. It is a mistake for these reasons.

• It – once again – reduces the Ford scandal to a dispute between a conservative “mayor” and a liberal newspaper. It is way more than that.
• It suggests that the only opinions worth showcasing are those of rich downtown elites and intellectuals – the very people Rob Ford won office by opposing.
• It won’t have any impact, at all. All it might do, in fact, is underline the powerlessness of those who oppose Rob Ford.

I’m a punk rock guy. I believe in DOA’s credo: talk minus action equals zero. Or, ZERO, in Peter Kent’s style.

You want Rob Ford out? Me too. We do that, together, with action, not with yet more talk.

There is only one person who can beat Rob Ford, and I am doing my utmost to convince her to run. If you feel as I do, let’s get to work on that. She isn’t there yet.

No more talk. Action.


Gee, I wonder if this is a Glen McGregor story?

“Paul Calandra court documents point to family dispute over money, assets.”

Has all the elements, doesn’t it? You know: (a) poking through ancient court documents (b) to find personal stuff (c) about someone Glen doesn’t like, and (d) about whom no one else gives a shit.

What is amazing isn’t the “you can take the boy out of Frank magazine, but you can’t take Frank magazine out of the boy” truism. What’s amazing is that his editors at the Citizen have zero – as in, zero – critical faculties when it comes to this guy.

Oh, and just to be clear: I think Calandra is an idiot, like everyone else. But Glen McGregor is way, way worse.


The most shocking paragraph you will read today

. In the United States, newspaper advertising revenue – the main source of economic support by far – was $63.5 billion in 2000. By 2012 it had fallen to $19 billion. (During the same period, advertising revenue at Google went from zero to $46.5 billion.) Employment in the American newspaper industry fell by 44 per cent between 2001 and 2011. In the European Union, newspaper revenue is falling by more than 10 per cent a year. In the UK, newspaper circulation has dropped by more than 25 per cent during the twenty-first century. It would be hard to think of another industry that is going through such a sudden collapse.

Man, is that ever hard to read.