The truth about tuition free college.

Here is the truth tuition free college: It makes total economic sense. First, graduates, like many veterans with the GI Bill, come out of college debt free. What does this mean to the real economy? Well it frees up capital, that would have been spent paying back loans, that is spent in the real economy. The one you and I live in. People spending money, not tax cuts to the rich, actually create jobs. Secondly, you have highly educated work force that will create new businesses and technologies; which creates jobs; which turns to more spending and tax revenue which pays for college tuition.

Then, the question of how do we pay for it? Well those people are going to go out and get jobs, make money and spend money. This money will be taxed. Thus paying for itself.  This is why the GI Bill doesn’t cost the tax payer money.   And that is why it makes economic sense.

Now who would be against this? Very simple: Wall St.  You see banks give out student loans and tact on high interest rates that the students have to pay back. This is money that is not being spent in the real economy. This is houses that are not being bought. This is jobs that are not created.

Free tuition and how Sanders fails at communicating this.

Free tuition is one of the best things we can do for this country. It just makes economic sense and it pays for itself.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is really bad at communicating ideas. This being one of them. Tuition free college pays for itself because the people that go to college get jobs and pay taxes thus paying back their tuition.

Also, it isn’t about redistribution. It is about fair distribution. The reason you are not making a good money is because money funnels to the top. This is what trickle down economics look like. You work hard for little so that the top become wealthier. This is why the Republicans have not had any new ideas on economics since Reagan.

Also, about taxes and why I am for the wealthy paying their fair share; which they do not now: Those of benefit the most from society should pay the most. It is that simple. They benefit from the military, infrastructure, our courts, labor, security and I could go on.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Is has been terrible at communicating that. He just runs around saying he is going to tax the rich. Which taxing them just because they have money without cause would be pretty unfair. But they benefit the most from America so they should pay the most.

So it is a good time to start working on this blog.

So with everything that is going on in the world and here in America, I think it is time that I start writing on here in Notes from Outpost 187. This is a blog about politics, foreign policy and social issue blog, and there is much to write about. For those who know me know I have opinions and thoughts  on a wide range of topics. I try my best to be thoughtful and take a Socratic approach to things. I also have a great interest in our world, and I want to share them with you all.  I am merely trying to add to the discussion and contribute to our democracy.

I also would love to hear your opinions and thoughts. Please try to thoughtful and polite, but if you can’t be, I forgive you.

We are failing at being number one. Post 1

We fail at being number one.

We refuse to spend the money required to be a great nation. And yes, the means big government.
Why? Because we do not want to tax the people and corporations who BENEFIT
the most from our society. Instead you are asked to pay the bill for these freeloaders.
Yes, the rich and corporations are freeloaders who also receive money from us: the citizens of the United States.

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Amnesty International Sex Worker Policy.

I support Amnesty International Sex Trade policy. As you know I am making a film about sex trafficking. I have an unflinching hatred for pimps and traffickers, and feel that law enforcement does not do enough to prevent it. Putting women ahead sex traffickers is a no brainer. So I would not support any policy that would help pimps and traffickers.  As it stands right now we leave women and children vulnerable to sex traffickers and pimps. Women have no recourse because prostitution is illegal.  Now we know that when the sex trade is legal, women do have recourse through law enforcement because they are no longer engaging in an illegal activity. New Zealand decriminalized the sex trade, now women go to the police and work with them when they are raped or assaulted. This is where we need to go.

Also there has been a lot of talk about traffickers having rights and that it will lead to more trafficking. This is not Amenity’s position Let me say this, there needs to be a full out  assault on pimps and sex traffickers by law enforcement from around the world. As it stands women and children are exploited by pimps and traffickers, yet they feel, and for good reason, that they cannot go to the police, for they, by being a prostitute, are engaging in an illegal activity.   This is a simple fact. Amnesty deals with the exploitation of women and children.

This is putting women first. And here is the new Amnesty International policy on the sex trade.

The International Council

REQUESTS the International Board to adopt a policy that seeks attainment of the highest possible protection of the human rights of sex workers, through measures that include the decriminalization of sex work, taking into account:

  1. The starting point of preventing and redressing human rights violations against sex workers, and in particular the need for states to not only review and repeal laws that make sex workers vulnerable to human rights violations, but also refrain from enacting such laws.
  2. Amnesty International’s overarching commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s rights.
  3. The obligation of states to protect every individual in their jurisdiction from discriminatory policies, laws and practices, given that the status and experience of being discriminated against are often key factors in what leads people to engage in sex work, as well as in increasing vulnerability to human rights violations while engaged in sex work and in limiting options for voluntarily ceasing involvement in sex work.
  4. The harm reduction principle.
  5. States have the obligation to prevent and combat trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and to protect the human rights of victims of trafficking.
  6. States have an obligation to ensure that sex workers are protected from exploitation and can use criminal law to address acts of exploitation.
  7. Any act related to the sexual exploitation of a child must be criminalized. Recognizing that a child involved in a commercial sex act is a victim of sexual exploitation, entitled to support, reparations, and remedies, in line with international human rights law, and that states must take all appropriate measures to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
  8. Evidence that sex workers often engage in sex work due to marginalisation and limited choices, and that therefore Amnesty International will urge states to take appropriate measures to realize the economic, social and cultural rights of all people so that no person enters sex work against their will or is compelled to rely on it as their only means of survival, and to ensure that people are able to stop sex work if and when they choose.
  9. Ensuring that the policy seeks to maximize protection of the full range of human rights – in addition to gender equality, women’s rights, and non-discrimination – related to sex work, in particular security of the person, the rights of children, access to justice, the right to health, the rights of Indigenous peoples and the right to a livelihood.
  10. Recognizing and respecting the agency of sex workers to articulate their own experiences and define the most appropriate solutions to ensure their own welfare and safety, while also complying with broader, relevant international human rights principles regarding participation in decision-making, such as the principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent with respect to Indigenous peoples.
  11. The evidence from Amnesty International’s and external research on the lived experiences of sex workers, and on the human rights impact of various criminal law and regulatory approaches to sex work.
  12. The policy will be fully consistent with Amnesty International’s positions with respect to consent to sexual activity, including in contexts that involve abuse of power or positions of authority.
  13. Amnesty international does not take a position on whether sex work should be formally recognized as work for the purposes of regulation. States can impose legitimate restrictions on the sale of sexual services, provided that such restrictions comply with international human rights law, in particular in that they must be for a legitimate purpose, provided by law, necessary for and proportionate to the legitimate aim sought to be achieved, and not discriminatory.

The policy will be capable of flexible and responsive application across and within different jurisdictions, recognizing that Amnesty entities may undertake work on different aspects of this policy and can take an incremental approach to this work (in accordance with and within the limits of this policy) based on assessments of specific legal and policy contexts.

The International Board will ensure that, following the release of the final research report, Sections and structures have an opportunity to review and give feedback on the final draft policy before it is adopted.

Sex Trafficking: Should All Perpetrators Be Sentenced As Sex Offenders? By Holly Austin Smith

Holly Austin Smith is a sex trafficking survivor. She has written a book, Walking Prey, How America’s Youth is Vulnerable To Sex Trafficking  which I am in the middle of reading for my film research. She also has written a series of articles for the Huffington Post,

 

PROSTITUTION LAW

Recently I was contacted by an organization seeking feedback from survivors regarding a sex trafficking bill. I often advocate that any anti-trafficking efforts should include feedback from survivors, and I’m grateful they reached out to me as well as other survivors. One of the main points of this particular bill was that it would require any person convicted of sex trafficking youth to register as a sex offender. This sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Well…maybe not. When I first began anti-trafficking advocacy in 2009, I believed any person convicted of human trafficking should face mandatory sentences, including registration as a sex offender if the offense involved sex trafficking minors. However, after reading multiple cases, I’ve since changed my mind. I now believe that each case should be judged on an individual basis. And, if you read Wendy Barnes’ recently released memoir, And Life Continues: Sex Trafficking and My Journey to Freedom, I think you might agree or at least be open to the debate.

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Wendy Barnes was 15 years old the first time she met Greg, a sixteen-year-old high school junior who would ultimately become the father of her three children and force her to accept a life in prostitution for 12 years. “All I wanted was to be loved,” writes Wendy in a personal email. “I wanted to be special to someone.”

Wendy grew up in what she calls a “pretty average” home life. She writes: “Considering that ‘average’ is the biggest bulk between horrible and great. We were poor, the ‘working poor.'” Wendy says she was “picked on” by peers and her older brother while in grade school. “I had red hair and freckles and the neighborhood kids were [bullies]…I was quiet and mostly a loner.”

With both of her parents working full-time, Wendy says they were preoccupied. “I had no one to ‘run to’ and hold me when my brother would pick on me and neighborhood kids would tease me. I had no one to comfort me.” Wendy’s parents divorced when she was eight, forcing her mom to work two jobs. “My father moved away and married another woman who had 3 kids of her own,” she writes. “My Dad put me on the back burner to his new wife and kids. Not like he didn’t try at all, but I would mostly say that because of the way my Dad was raised, it turned him into the father he became. ‘Children are to be seen and not heard’ [was his way of thinking].”

“They did the best they could with the lack of parenting skills they each had,” Wendy continued. In her memoir, And Life Continues, Wendy describes a childhood in which she sought love and approval but often experienced feelings of isolation and disapproval. “[My mom] was a yeller,” Wendy says. “She would scream over every little thing. I took her screaming very personally. She was good at giving guilt trips. She wanted to be a good parent. She tried to show us love, but she had her own personal issues and demons which made it difficult for her.”

Life then took a turn for the worse when Wendy turned 11 years old.

“[My] Mom started dating a guy who started sexually abusing me,” she writes. “The experience broke what little tiny sense of self that I had and I learned to hide ‘me’…Although people could see me, touch me, tease me, I hid my true self in the pit of my stomach.” Later, Wendy disclosed the abuse to a counselor, but by then the abuser and her mother had married. Despite a court order banning contact between Wendy and her stepfather, Wendy’s mother moved both of her children back into the man’s home.

As Wendy entered adolescence, she attempted suicide more than once. “[These were all attempts] to rid the world, my family, my mom and dad from the horrible burden I [thought I] had become,” Wendy writes. “I felt that it was all my fault, that my mom had to work two jobs. I thought it was all my fault that everyone was not happy. I felt like a disease and only by my death would the world be rid of this disease.” This was part of the foundation of Wendy’s childhood, and then she met Greg in middle school. In her memoir, she writes:

Every girl at the party noticed Greg, and almost all them were hanging around, gawking at him…Greg didn’t know that I existed, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming of him at night. Looking back, I don’t really know why I was so attracted to him. Maybe that’s just a rite of passage when you’re 15, to secretly fall in love with the popular guy at school, knowing he would never like you in return.

Later in the school year, Greg did notice Wendy. They began a relationship that Wendy was unable to see as unhealthy and exploitative. By 16, Wendy was pregnant; and, by 17, she was trapped in a relationship that had become violent and manipulative. Before she turned 18, Greg isolated Wendy from her family and ordered her into prostitution, using their child as a tool for coercion. In her memoir, Wendy describes the scene — she is broke, living in a shelter with her infant daughter, Latasha, and waiting for Greg to follow through on his promises:

After a short pause [Greg] started to speak. “I know of a way we can make some money…What are you willing to do for Latasha? How much do you love her?” [he asked me.]

It was such an unexpected question. It was hard to imagine what he was going to suggest. This job must be pretty bad, maybe even picking up garbage on the sides of the streets, I thought — but I was more than willing to do even that. All I wanted was for Latasha to be loved and to have the good life she deserved…

Greg wasn’t giving me answers — just questions that weren’t making sense to me.

“I know how we can get diapers and formula. You just have to believe in me and trust me. Do you believe in me, Wendy? Do you trust me?”

“Of course I believe in you, Greg. Of course I trust you.”

Greg instructed Wendy to prostitute. Despite feeling confused and afraid, Wendy conceded. Afterward she writes “my soul was completely empty.” Over the next 12 years, Greg continued to prostitute Wendy while gaining control over multiple other victims, including minors. In the end, Wendy was so fearful and emotionally broken that she was unable not only to advocate for herself but unable to advocate for others.

Wendy was ultimately sentenced to 23 months in prison and was mandated to register as a sex offender. “I was arrested and charged with the same crime as my pimp,” Wendy writes. In her memoir she describes the moments just after she is told she must register as a sex offender:

The words were a knife to my heart…I choked on the thought. A sex offender is my step-father…a sex offender is a horrible person who does horrible things to helpless children. I felt hopeless, knowing that I would be labeled a monster and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it…all I wanted was to wake up from this horrifying nightmare.

So, here’s the question…should Wendy have been held accountable for minors who were trafficked for commercial sex under Greg’s control? And if so, then to what degree? Does Wendy’s lack of action equal Greg’s actions? Should Wendy have been sentenced as a sex offender? If so, should there have been an expiration date based on graduation from the program and presumed rehabilitation? Should Wendy have lost access to her own children? These are important questions to consider, especially as legislators and anti-trafficking advocates across the country push for mandatory sentences against perpetrators, including perpetrators whose actions (or lack of actions) may have been committed under force, fraud, or coercion.

I realize this is a complex issue, but if you’re working to protect victims of sex trafficking then you must hear the perspectives of all victims. I encourage you to read Wendy’s memoir not only to gain insight into the life of a victim of sex trafficking but to gain insight into the mindset of a victim who is arrested and convicted of charges related to sex trafficking minors. You’ll find that Wendy is not looking for pity. Even as a victim, Wendy says that being held accountable was crucial. She believes her prison sentence was not only appropriate but necessary to release her from Greg’s brainwashing. She was fortunate to have had access to what she describes as an excellent in-prison program and compassionate corrections counselors and probation officers. She points out, however, that such programs are rarely available to victims/offenders.

Despite the success she experienced from this program, Wendy says the court-mandated registration as a sex offender created the biggest obstacle to her rebuilding her life. My hope is that, after reading And Life Continues, you will agree that each offender convicted of sex trafficking must be judged on an individual basis with customized sentences. Yes, all perpetrators must be held accountable; however, all perpetrators are not equal and should not be prosecuted equally. Wendy’s story demonstrates that an appropriate sentence, an effective program and counseling, and a second chance at a new life is not only necessary and fair but is in society’s best interest. Wendy is now an author and national advocate for victims and survivors of sex trafficking.

 

I want the Indiana and Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act to stay in effect and here is why.

It is true,I want Indiana and Arkansas to keep their Religious Freedom Restoration Act to in place. It allows anyone to discriminate anyone they chooses base off their religious beliefs. That mean LGBT, black, minorities and whomever they choose to discriminate. The reason I want it to stay in place is because of the backlash it is and will cause. We see business, conventions and other groups  boycotting these states; which hits them hard economically .  This will make other states to think twice if they are thinking about passing their own RFRA.

These bills also show what the Republican party is really about.  They have become a religious party who, like ISIS, believes in strict social codes. The GOP and ISIS are vehemently against homosexuality and feel that it is an abomination to God.  This is based off of their interpretation of their religious text. This opposition  will drives people away from the GOP,because America has became a more tolerant nation. We are progressing in that way; which is nice to see.