News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Eurovision Love Ænema & Perverted Videogames from Vleeptron

NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

07 June 2006

Intersection Set [World Cup, Smuggled Underage Sex Slaves, Sports :-))) Fans]

Naughty! You clicked!

It's Sports Time on Vleeptron!
All the Sports from Vleeptron!
We've got the latest Qx'ii scores!
All the games from
the Dwingeloo League!
Bear-baiting, fish-shooting,
cockfighting too!
Bare-knuckle boxing from 1902!
A fifth of our Sports
all take place in the Zoo!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!

* * *


Whole lotta things I never done

But I never had Too Much Fun

-- Jerry Lee Lewis

================

The Editorial Board of Agence-Vleeptron Presse has been having a major internal crisis over this story.

Which is all the worse, because the A-VP Editorial Board consists entirely of Bob.

The temptation has been nigh-overwhelming for Vleeptron to get out of the News Business altogether and just post nothing but Math Puzzles and satellite images of large icebergs. Because they make sense, are very orderly, and don't drive Bob nuts.

News, generally, is about People. People (whom I sincerely love deeply) regularly make no sense whatsover, are incredibly disorderly, and drive Bob totally nuts.

Another reason Vleeptron wishes this story would go away and Vleeptron would post nothing but Math Puzzles is that maybe some readers will think Vleeptron is Europe-bashing.

Vleeptron is nicht Europe-bashing.

Since there's been an identifiable (English-speaking, largely Protestant) America, a central thread of American culture is to accuse Europe of being a Wicked Place drowning in Sin and Immorality.

Which is total bullshit.

Maybe there is a such thing as Sin, and maybe there is a such thing as Immorality, but the notion that there is More Sin and Immorality in Europe than in upright, moral, puritanical America is total bullshit.

Prostitution is illegal throughout the United States, except in most of Nevada.Prostitution is legal throughout Nevada except the cities of Las Vegas and Reno.

If k is the coefficient of Sex Slavery in a particular country's sex trade,

k(USA) > k(Germany)

k(USA) > k(Netherlands)


and ditto the coefficient of children trapped in a particular country's sex trade; it's much worse in the United States than in the legalized, government-supervised Western Euro nations.

Making and keeping prostitution a crime in the USA has little effect except to maintain a machine of permanent police corruption, because you can't operate a sex business without paying off the local police. (In some towns and cities in Canada, the police squad that enforces drug and prostitution laws is called the Drug and Morality Squad.)

In the European nations where prostitution is legal but government supervised, the police protect rather than predate prostitutes.

Prostitution as a vector for transmitting AIDS gets a free ride in the USA where prostitution is against the law. The only interaction between the sex trade and the government is corrupt extortionist cops (who traditionally take part of their protection payoff in free sex). In Western Europe, under government supervision of legalized prostitution in Europe, sex workers are assisted and encouraged to have a regular close relationship with the public health authorities, and safe sex is a fundamental element of the sex trade.

The crux of the A-VP editorial crisis has to do with the statue of John Calvin which was toppled by a happy mob of Vleeptroids about 214 years ago and now lies on its side, pigeons and all, in downtown Ciudad Vleeptron.

Stories like this make me think about perhaps hiring a crane to lift Calvin's scowling statue upright again.

Except I don't think Calvin really addressed the true moral and ethical problems which the following stories illuminate. If Ciudad Vleeptron raises his statue again, his teachings, and the thuggish way he turned his beliefs into Law and Authority, aren't going to change much for the better. Calvin never really gave a flying fuck about what happens to ordinary human beings while they try to figure out how to live on this Earth; he and his Code of Morality were fixated entirely on Salvation in the Next World -- to my understanding, a more difficult and evasive place to find than Vleeptron.

So I think it's best, for Vleeptron's people and Vleeptron's pigeons, to keep him toppled.

I honestly feel that the spirit of Calvin and his Scots Presbyterian counterpart John Knox -- the spirit of Forbidding All Fun and Stopping All Parties as a Holy Obligation -- has caused an incredible amount of harm and destruction to the human spirit, particularly when their theological beliefs have gotten their nasty, scowling hands on Government Power, and tried to turn their particularly vinegar-puss Morality into Law (and Prisons). The equation of

Pleasure/Fun = Sin = Crime

is, at this moment, turning the United States of America into a theocracy again, where Religious Fundamental Moralists are steering the Ship of State, and threatening to make millions of ordinary, reasonably decent human beings Walk The Plank. A move to change the name of the United States of America to The Republic of Gilead is on the near horizon in the USA. (The Congressional elections coming up in November will be a Big Hint about whether this sick toxic crap gets worse.)

* * *

At the opposite end of the Universe from Calvinville and Knoxtown is the City of Mahagonny, in Alabama -- an opera Fantasie of Bertholt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

(Boston and Los Angeles will stage productions of "The Rise and Fall of the City Mahagonny" in February 2007; Vleeptron will keep its eye out for upcoming European productions as well, and maybe Asia and Africa will surprise us with this incredibly powerful opera.)

In Mahagonny, EVERYTHING (I said EVERYTHING) is for sale. (Yes, I said EVERYTHING.)

And in Mahagonny, there is only one crime: Not Paying The Bill.

People like to have Fun and Pleasure.

People like Sex.

People are willing to pay for Fun and Pleasure and Sex.

Lots of people are willing to pay lots of money for Fun and Pleasure and Sex.

And this brings us to .....

===============

WeNews (web news about/for women)
Tuesday 6 June 2006

Activists Blow
Trafficking Whistle
on World Cup


Germany expects 3 million soccer fans during the World Cup tournament over the next month. That has provoked concern about the trafficking of women into the country, which legalized prostitution in 2002.

by Mindy Kay Bricker
WeNews correspondent


PRAGUE, Czech Republic (WOMENSENEWS) -- Three million fans are expected to flock to Germany for World Cup soccer matches in 12 cities across the country from June 9 to July 9.

In a country where prostitution was legalized in 2002, that large and presumably heavily male guest list has caused a flurry of preparations by women's groups and European Parliament members to thwart the sex trafficking of women into the country.

The trafficking of women is a shadow behind all the large festivals for sport and similar big money-making ventures, said Lissy Groener, a German Parliament member and women's rights spokesperson for the Parliament's socialist group. "We will not accept this violation of human rights and this violation of women's rights."

The European Parliament along with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, based in Amherst, Massachusetts USA, predicts that as many as 40,000 women could be trafficked into Germany for the World Cup, where an estimated 400,000 sex workers are already employed.

To pre-empt sex trafficking during the World Cup, the Berlin-based National Council of German Women's Organizations, an umbrella group of about 55 women's groups, in March launched a $90,800 awareness campaign funded primarily by the German government.

The campaign, along with Germany's record of prosecuting criminals, contributed to the nation's Tier 1, or top, ranking in the 2006 human trafficking report issued Monday by the U.S. State Department. The majority of women believed to be trafficked into Germany for the sex trade are from Central and Eastern European nations, the report said. Those include the Czech Republic and Russia. Both those countries were given middle, or Tier 2, rankings. The Czech Republic was cited for weak sentences for traffickers and concerns about forced labor practices. Russia was placed on a "watch list" for failing to comply with minimum standards for eliminating the problem.

The [US] State Department report estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year; of those, 80 percent are female and 50 percent are minors.

Some Red-Light Districts

Since the legalization of prostitution, which leaves related regulation and zoning to municipal governments, some German cities -- including World Cup hosts -- have designated red-light districts for the trade.

In recent months, for instance, city officials in the western city of Dortmund, with a population of 586,000, took steps to ensure that its red-light district on the outskirts does not spill into residential areas during the games. City officials arranged for the construction of drive-in sex huts equipped with emergency buttons to alert police to problems.

But major cities, like Berlin, have not tried to segregate sex work from the general economy.

Last year, a 3,000-square-meter brothel was built just down the street from the Berlin stadium. Its owners have denied that the World Cup prompted construction of the facility, which cost $6.5 million. In a September 2005 article [below], however, Spiegel Online quoted Norman Jacob, the project's attorney, as saying

"football and sex belong together."

During the World Cup, the National Council of German Women's Organizations will operate informational booths in each of the 12 host cities in Germany to distribute anti-trafficking literature, speak with fans about trafficking and encourage those purchasing sex services to look for signs of trafficking, which could be as simple as asking if a sex worker is there on her own, free will.

Thirty additional groups, such as the Bonn chapter of Amnesty International, will help distribute the group's pamphlets, posters and whistles, and hotlines are being funded by the government.

Football Federation Makes a Donation

The German Football Federation has donated €2,000 -- U$2,590 -- to the anti-trafficking campaign. The games are expected to generate about $3,200,000,000 billion in revenue for the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organizers of the international soccer games.

Zita Gurmai, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament and chair of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality, called the World Cup an "occasion to raise public awareness about the existence of human trafficking and forced prostitution, all over the world and all over the year."

But some anti-trafficking groups take issue with the German effort.

Janice Raymond, co-executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, which objects to Germany's legalization of prostitution, calls the campaign "an ethical John's program" that certifies some women as usable and others not and is skeptical of its effects.

"The men aren't going to say, 'Hey, babe. Have you been forced here or are you here on your own?'" Raymond told Women's eNews during a phone interview from her office in Amherst, Massachusetts. "Our message is that sex is not a sport under any circumstances."

Raymond says her group has circulated an online petition against all forms of prostitution and has so far collected some 112,263 signatures from 120 countries to be presented to the German government and the governing body of the World Cup games.

German parliamentarian Groener calls that effort counter-productive.

"In Germany, there is a difference in the moral judgment," she told Women's eNews. "In Germany, prostitution is legal ... I want really not to split powers. I want to join powers to fight modern slavery."

Problem Beyond Prostitution

At La Strada, an anti-trafficking organization based in Prague, the Czech Republic, staffers say the World Cup campaign missed a chance to broaden awareness of human trafficking as a problem that goes beyond prostitution and involves people forced into various kinds of work, from selling souvenirs to working in sweat shops.

"On one hand, the campaign is good because you hear about trafficking," Petra Burcikova, national coordinator for La Strada, told Women's eNews. "On the other hand, you don't hear about the other forms of trafficking. All people walk away with is: 'Trafficking equals prostitution. Good. We were right.' ... If we talk about forced labor, it concerns everyone."

In March, La Strada alerted media to the possibility that the Czech Republic, as a neighbor and transit route to Germany, might experience an increase in human trafficking during the World Cup.

Burcikova calls the 40,000 projection figure for women who will be trafficked for sex a bit exaggerated. "I think the guys who are coming to watch the championship would not have time to watch any games because they would have to be engaged in having sex with all of those prostitutes all of the time."

Katharina Cetin, project leader of Hydra, a prostitute advice center in Berlin, supports any effort to stop trafficking, but she called the 40,000 figure "hype" designed by Germany to make the campaign more shocking.

The National Council of German Women's Organizations hope that its anti-trafficking campaign during such a high-profile event like the World Cup will help push the problem higher on the political agenda, said spokesperson Ulrike Helwerth.

Gurmai, the Hungarian parliamentarian, said the campaign will help measure the long-term response to trafficking in Germany.

"Germany's concrete measures to tackle this problem are still unknown," Gurmai said.

- 30 -

Mindy Kay Bricker is a freelance journalist living in Prague, Czech Republic.

Women's eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org

For more information:

U.S. State Department / 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report

[United Nations] Trafficking in human beings: Global Patterns, April 2006

Women's eNews is a nonprofit independent news service covering issues of concern to women and their allies. An incubator program of the International Institute for Community Solutions, Fund for the City of New York, Women's eNews is supported by our readers; reprints and licensing fees; and the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the International Institute for Community Solutions, Fund for the City of New York; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the Barbara Lee Family Foundation; the Open Society Institute; the Rockefeller Family Fund; The Helena Rubinstein Foundation; the Sister Fund and the Starry Night Fund. The donations from readers are critical to our success. Donate now by going to http://www.womensenews.org/support.cfm.

Arabic Women's eNews
Letters to the Editors

Copyright © 2006 Women's eNews Inc.

=======

Spiegel on-line
Der Spiegel / Hamburg, Germany/Deutschland
23 September 2005

Der Spiegel [The Mirror] is Europe's and Germany's largest weekly news magazine.
[see Wikipedia description of Der Spiegel at bottom]

WORLD CUP

Soccer Fans Will
Get a Kick out of
Berlin's Latest Brothel


by Damien McGuinness in Berlin

As Berlin prepares itself for the World Cup soccer championship next year, the city is thinking about more than just hotels and stadiums. A unique new form of luxury brothel opens next week in the German capital. Although its owners deny that the crowds of randy soccer fans were the motivation, the brothel is just down the road from the World Cup Stadium.

[image] Loads of Leopard. The Artemis, Berlin's biggest and most luxurious brothel, has clearly decided not to hold back on the décor.

With plush red curtains, leopard-print cushions and more gold than you'd find at Posh and Beck's wedding, within about 30 seconds it is clear that the Artemis, is a brothel. The name may be odd for a bordello, since the Greek goddess Artemis was also known as the eternal virgin, but this place has been designed with sex in mind.

[Wikipedia: Artemis was the virgin goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, and childbirth. She was worshipped as a fertility/childbirth goddess in some places since, according to some myths, she assisted her mother in the delivery of her twin.]

Strictly speaking though, the new €5 million facility isn't really a bordello at all -- but it is an interesting experiment that could alter the traditional structures of the world's oldest profession. The women working here when Berlin's Artemis swings open its doors next Thursday won't be getting a paycheck. In fact, they won't even be employees. They don't have to work for a pimp and they certainly won't have a madam. Instead, they are required to pay an entry fee of €70, just like the men who come here seeking their services. Don't expect to find a prix fixe sex menu either -- at Artemis, women negotiate prices directly with the johns.

That's not the only thing Artemis's backers hope will be different. In a country where the illegal trafficking of prostitutes, often against their will, from Eastern Europe and further abroad is a rampant problem, the brothel's management say they will also take steps to keep out crime. Prostitution is legal in Germany, but the company is requiring that sex workers who want to do business here provide their tax number and proof of permission to work in the EU. Otherwise they won't be permitted to enter.

For the prositutes, the main advantage over a traditional brothel, says Artemis lawyer Norman Jacob, is that instead of paying 20, 30 or 50 percent to a madam, all the profits she earns here are hers to keep.

"She can go into the sauna or the swimming pool, get food and non-alcoholic drinks for free," Jacob said. "She can even spend the night here and just sleep. And if she has sex she earns money."

In Berlin, the concept is getting a good reception -- at least among sex workers. "We think it is really positive that it is all so transparent," said Katharina Cetin of the Berlin-based prostitute support group Hydra, "and the environment itself is attractive and hygienic. We also like the fact that no alcohol is served." But while Cetin has no problem with the concept, she is wary about being overly enthusiastic at this stage and says it is too soon to judge the actual working conditions.

More Vegas than St. Tropez

[image] Not-so-private dancer. But if the women aren't in the mood for pole-dancing there are also separate rooms.

Located at the Western edge of the city, Artemis is housed in a former warehouse spread over 3,000 square meters. Although the outside of the building is about as erotic as a corporate office park, the interior is a bizarre cross between mid-1990s Las Vegas and a cheezy British "Carry-On" film. The historical decorative flourishes, presumably designed to give the place a touch of class, are almost overwhelming: Greek and Roman statues nestle under Moorish arches, pseudo art deco frescos adorn the walls and even the odd Chinese character on black lacquer is thrown in for good measure. Pretty much every era which has ever been deemed erotic is represented.

The four-floor den of sin, which can accommodate up to 100 prostitutes and 650 male clients, is also equipped with saunas, jacuzzis, cinemas and a swimming pool, complete with the requisite mini-tropical island. Leopard skin textiles and strategically-placed mirrors abound, and there are both areas for sex in the open as well as private rooms for the more discrete.

Artemis's backers pumped millions into the project, hoping to repeat the success of other mega-bordellos in Germany. And when the flood of tourists arrives in Berlin next June as Germany plays host to the World Cup soccer tournament, Artemis will be awaiting them. Located just three train stops from Berlin's main Cup venue, Olympic Stadium, Artemis managers are hoping that football fans will seek even more traditional pleasures after games.

"We didn't even think about that when we started the project," said attorney Norman Jacob. "But obviously it's very nice for us that it is happening. Business will be booming," he added smiling. "Football and sex belong together."

- 30 -

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Der Spiegel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Der Spiegel (German for "The Mirror") is Europe's biggest and Germany's most influential weekly magazine, published in Hamburg, with a circulation of around one million per week.

Overview

The first edition of the Spiegel magazine was published in Hanover on 4 January 1947, a Saturday. Before that, there had been a short prelude under the name Diese Woche (This Week), which ran for a few issues starting in November 1946 and was initiated and sponsored by the British occupational administration. After clashes with the British, the magazine was handed over to the principal German editor, Rudolf Augstein, and was renamed to Der Spiegel. From the first edition in January 1947, Augstein held the position of an editor, which he retained right up until his death on 7 November 2002, and of the editor-in-chief.

The magazine was owned by Augstein and John Jahr after 1950; Jahr's share was taken over by Richard Gruner in 1962. In 1969, Augstein bought out Gruner for DM 42 million and became the sole owner; in 1971, the Gruner + Jahr company bought back a 25% share. In 1974, Augstein restructured the company to make the employees shareholders. Every employee who works at the magazine for more than three years is offered the opportunity to become an associate and participate in the management of the company as well as in the profits.

Since 1952, Der Spiegel has been residing in Hamburg. It occupies its own building in the old town.

Der Spiegel is similar in style and presentation to American newsmagazines such as Time or Newsweek, but its long, in-depth articles are more comparable to the Atlantic Monthly or the British Economist. It is known in Germany for its distinctive, academic writing style and its incredible heft. A typical issue is over 200 pages, despite being a weekly and even while retaining a content to advertising ratio of 2:1.

Affairs and Scandals

Der Spiegel has a long track record of uncovering political misconduct and creating scandals, earning itself the moniker "Sturmgeschütz der Demokratie" (assault gun of democracy). In fact, it became notorious for this role as early as 1950, when the federal parliament had to launch an inquiry into the Spiegel's accusations that bribed members of parliament had helped make Bonn (rather than Frankfurt) the seat of the West German government.

The incident that cemented the magazine's image as a sentinel of democracy, however, was the so-called Spiegel scandal in 1962. After an article had been printed that reported on the low state of readiness of the German armed forces, minister of defence and right-wing figurehead Franz Josef Strauß initiated an investigation against the Spiegel, causing the editorial offices to be raided by the police and Rudolf Augstein as well as several other editors to be arrested on charges of treason. Although he had no authority to do so, Strauß even made sure that the article's author, Conrad Ahlers, was arrested in Spain where he was vacationing. The legal case collapsed soon, and the whole affair led to a major shake-up in the cabinet of chancellor Konrad Adenauer, including Strauß's resignation. It was widely viewed as an attack on the freedom of the press, with the Spiegel being the bastion the assault on which would rather lead to the downfall of the administration than to that of the bastion. Since then, Der Spiegel has played a significant part in uncovering various political grievances and misdeeds, including the Flick Affair.

[more at the full Wikipedia article]


3 Comments:

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

technical problems ... i received thus via e-mail, am posting it here as a comment from Despicable Teacher from Lisboa:

=========

just wanted to say a huge demo of skinheads is expected in Germany on the 10th this month. The Portuguese skinhead leader is there already. Now THAT is a sin. ( my 2 cents)


Despicable Teacher

01:39  
Anonymous patsteamwillwintheworldcup said...

well the comments section seem to be working again. I'd like to add that i heard a story claiming that a lot of these stupid skinhead bastards plan to show up at Iran's first game because iran's loony president bastard (the one with the 7-day beard) once claimed that the Holocaust never happened. Those stupid bastards will give kudos to this bloke just because he represents a dictatoric regime and denies the Holocaust. Now how absurd is that ? I bet you a Sixpack that you will hear more about Hools and Skinheads as a side effect of the World Cup than all those prossies. There will be trouble, i grant you
(but I'll stick with Camper Van Beethoven and say: Take The Skinheads Bowling !!)

14:18  
Blogger Bob Merkin said...

giggle i used to love that song "Take the Skinheads Bowling," when I was a deejay at the 3 volt FM radio station down the street at the college, I had to play what the students called "New Releases" -- so I called it "Cat-Strangling Music." But I became very fond of Camper Van.

Skinheads and Footie Hools (in the USA, nobody knows the word "hool," but I guess if you stretched it to "hooligan," they'd understand what you were talking about) are sort of society's mosquitos ... annoying, lots of them, they never seem to go away, the police swat them and spray pepper spray in their faces, but there are always more of them.

Mosquitos, on the other hand, are creatures of Natural Selection, and somehow (don't ask me exactly how) Fit into a full and natural environment. I don't exactly understand how Skinheads and Footie Hools fit into the scheme of a full and healthy society.

It's nice to know extreme theocratic politicians in Iran have some fans and admirers in Europe. I'll try to find an image of their Euro-admirers.

18:50  

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