Posted by David Berner at 9:13 AM
Last night at 6 o'clock I was flicking between NBC News with Brian Williams and the BBC.
"Two different worlds, we live in two different worlds..."
The BBC News was appropriately giving major and thorough coverage to the Euro and debt crisis in Greece, Spain and Italy.
A few nights ago, BBC staged a fantastic panel on this matter in the atrium of one of their main buildings. The speakers and guests in the front row of the audience were all highly placed and knowledgeable (and often brilliant) people from government and finance at the highest levels.
Make no mistake, this is a dire situation. If leadership in the Euro Zone stumbles, we will all suffer mightily.
But, hey, let that not be an impediment to American inward turned sensibilities.
NBC News would have none of this.
If their news coverage is an indicator of how the country pretends to think or what they think is thinking, they and we are in deep doo.
Posted by David Berner at 9:03 AM
It gave me great cheer last night to see protesters creating healthy civil disobedience in front of the Vancouver Club.
Some other Vancouverites had paid $500 each to hear Dick Cheney promote his new book.
Why would anyone do that?
Ghouls and suck holes with no moral compass.
Cheney is one of the most detestable thugs to ever work the corridors of power. He was always about money and power and Dick Cheney.
The protesters rightly called him a War Criminal.
He is that and more.
His favorite company - Halliburton - made billions of dollars on buttons, shoes, tanks, bullets, coffee, gas and oil and most of the other physical products one requires to operate a war theatre in say...Iraq.
Manthorpe's scathing review of Cheney's entirely self-serving book is worth the read.
Posted by David Berner at 8:53 AM
Yet those are the statistics for street and indoor prostitution respectively, and still most policy-makers simply shrug.
In 2005, 90 per cent of street prostitutes in Vancouver had been physically assaulted, 78 per cent had been raped and 72 per cent met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a report in the peer-reviewed journal Transcultural Psychiatry.
Those working from home, in massage parlours or escort agencies fare better. Still, 37 per cent of them experienced some sort of violence, according to research done in 2007 by a graduate student at Simon Fraser University.
Citing municipalities’ limited powers over the Criminal Code, education, health and social services, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and all of the city’s councillors are the latest to shrug.
They passed a plan based on a 30-page staff report, which gave only a cursory nod to the 12-year-old Nordic model pioneered in Sweden, which outlaws all aspects of the sex trade but provides generous social supports to at-risk youth and women exiting prostitution.
They didn’t ask for more information about that model or anything else, even though the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network and others among the 50 speakers at a public hearing urged them to at least consider that prostitution is a form of violence against women that ought to be stopped, not regulated.
In the end, Robertson and the others (including Suzanne Anton, the NPA’s mayoral candidate in the November election) bought into the excuse given in the staff report. Municipalities can do nothing about criminal law and little about education, health and social services, it said.
Of course, council didn’t use that excuse when it came to endorsing safe-injection sites for illegal drugs.
They didn’t balk last year from endorsing Will to Intervene, an international report that recommended Canada and the United States take leadership roles in preventing mass atrocities.
Which is odd since some people consider that 720 missing or murdered aboriginal women in Canada or that more than 100 women missing and murdered from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are slow-moving forms of genocide.
This council approved the report’s sanitized language (sex work, not prostitution) and never asked why the report neglected to describe just what such work entails.
They didn’t want to hear it. When 19-year-old Rachelle Rovner tried to read a graphic and disturbing description of the services that a Vancouver man bragged online about having purchased, she was told to stop.
Children might be watching the proceedings on TV, Coun. Andrea Reimer told her.
Rovner shot back. “If it’s not appropriate for our city council, then maybe it’s not appropriate for our city.”
Nothing in the city’s plan even hints at trying to lessen demand for prostitution in any of its guises.
Educational programs aren’t aimed at the men who harm prostituted persons. The only recommended educational programs would be aimed at teaching children, vulnerable youth and women how to better identify pimps and predators.
“Stop putting the responsibility on us to survive,” Trisha Baptie, a former prostitute, urged council. “Instead of abandoning us in the name of safety, health and verbal nonsense, you need to identify the problem: Men can pay for access to women’s and children’s bodies.”
Council paid no attention.
Child prostitution was deliberately omitted from the report and recommendations. It’s “strictly prohibited,” the report’s author Mary Clare Zak said at the meeting.
Yet, she also referenced a report that found 37 per cent of youth living on Vancouver’s streets say they have exchanged sex for food or shelter.
Regulating where sexual services are delivered is part of the plan. The city’s licensing department is urged to contact other cities to see how their bylaws differentiate registered massage therapists from massage and health-enhancement businesses that front for prostitution
Renfrew-Collingwood will get improved street lighting under council’s plan. But whether it’s in a car or alley, brothel or home, prostitution will never be safe.
There are hopes for housing, detox and rehab for at-risk youth, prostitutes and those exiting prostitution. But there’s no money.
There’s also no direction to end the long-standing practice of concentrating those services in the Downtown Eastside.
Bureaucratic not brave, it’s hard to see how this plan will prevent anyone from entering prostitution or make it safer for anyone regardless of whether they’re providing sexual services by choice, coercion, or out of desperation.
Posted by David Berner at 8:19 AM
A felon with a considerable history of public and private violence (and very little jail time) is swearing at two young women.
Another man intervenes and suggests to the offender that he cool his heels.
Maniac walks away, retrieves his box-cutters, and slashes the throat ear-to-ear of the man who asked him to calm down.
In our ever-vigilant injustice system?
Thank you Provincial Court judge Frances Howard.
The criminal is deeply imbedded in his criminal life-style and his drug-dealing business.
Why consider the community?
Let's continue to be nice to the crazies in the ignorant and desparate hope that they might one day by nice back.
Judge Howard should be removed from the bench for flagrant disregard of the citizens who pay her salary and expect some measure of protection and reasonableness from her decisions.
Posted by David Berner at 9:41 AM
City Council is studying the sex trade.
Lord help us.
Thankfully, people who actually know what they are talking about have appeared and made valiant efforts to cut through the muck.
Rachelle Rovner was one of several speakers who took issue with some of the language in the report, pointing out the term "sex workers" implies prostitution is a legitimate form of work, when it is not at all.
Jonathan Livingston, a front line worker who deals with vulnerable youth in the Downtown Eastside, said there is an inherent flaw in aiming to make sex work "safer."
"I don't think you can make it safe," he said, adding that both prostitution and the procuring of sex need to be wholly condemned.
MacDougall said the trade is "inherently unsafe."
MacDougall also noted she hears from countless women who are abused by men while "supplementing their income in some form of sale of sex for money through inside work," but would never identify as being in the sex trade.
"They would never say, 'I am a sex worker' because they don't want to identify with that label," she said.
"This is not a career path for them; this is a survival mechanism."
Many speakers, including 19-year-old Sharlene Petigara, pointed out the report failed to adequately address the demand from johns.
"Prostitution is violence against women and there are people inflicting this violence," she said. "So why are they not addressed in this report?" Janessa Greening, director of resource development at Union Gospel Mission, called on staff to rewrite the report to include more emphasis on the issue.
"The most notable gap is the lack of reference to who is abusing the power imbalance - those who are violating these women, those whose actions are initiating and exacerbating the long-term, devastating impact these women will experience."
Posted by David Berner at 9:56 AM
You must read Courier columnist Mark Hasiuk's piece posted yesterday.
He explains in chilling detail how the Vancouver Coastal Health will give children crack pipe kits, because "health is health, regardless of age."
The world has gone completely mad.
Posted by David Berner at 6:10 PM