Saturday, February 13, 2010

NY governor candidate: "Legalize, regulate and tax prostitution and marijuana."

I received an ad for a webinar that, I was told, would feature a woman who was "locked up with felons, thieves, hoods and thugs in one of the world's most notorious prisons -- Rikers Island" for "a crime [she] didn't commit."
No friends... no support... no help... only YOU!

What would you do? How would you react?

On February 16th at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, you'll meet a very special person who suffered that very fate... and you'll also hear her inspiring story of hope and triumph in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Would you give up? Would you run? Would you flee the country?

Not this person! In fact, she turned this adversity into one of the greatest personal True Life Success Lessons I've ever heard... and you'll hear her first-hand account of how she did it.
The guest sounded fascinating. I wanted to see if I could figure out who she was before--or without--having to take the time to listen in on the phone call.

I did a Google search on rikers island adversity she and thought maybe the first site on the list would take me to my target.


Apr 9, 2009 ... Last year this time I was sitting in Riker's Island. ... I learned how to be a better person through this adversity. ... yesterday after 2 yrs fighting her case from Riker's Island. She is facing 40+ years in prison. ... - Cached

After having spent some time on her site, however, and now that I compare notes, I think most probably Kristin Davis is not the one whom Jim Edwards had in mind. Because she says she knows she did break the law though she wants to change it and she is hopping mad about how the legal system turns a blind eye to the behavior of societal heavy-weights even while crushing those of lesser stature.

Kind of reminds me of how our president has appointed so many people to positions of high authority, and Congress has approved them: people who are supposed to hold "the rest of us" to account in and for laws of which they have been found in gross violation. (I'm thinking of people like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (who is in charge of the IRS). In 2009, as he was being examined for fitness for the job, someone discovered that Geithner had failed to pay some $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes on his salary at the IMF (International Monetary Fund) between 2001 and 2004. Oh! Geithner finally paid what he owed: most of it, anyway. Just not any of the hefty penalties that anyone else would have been unable to avoid. Geithner got a pass from his political buddies. . . . Oh. But while we're on the subject, let's consider how it also came out last year that Geithner had employed "household help" that was ineligible to work in the United States. --Y'know, "the rest of us" could face time in prison for such dereliction of duty to the law of the land. But Geithner? --He merely had to acknowledge that he had done something illegal. And now he holds one of the most powerful positions in the government of the United States. . . . Or how about Rep. Rangel of New York, one of the men responsible for legislating tax policy for the nation? He has yet to explain to anyone's satisfaction how he "forgot" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from an off-shore rental property. . . . Y'know, a lot of critics of the most outspoken leaders of the "Religious Right" note that those who are most outspoken on matters like homosexuality seem, most often, to be involved themselves in the very behavior they speak so vociferously against. --One wonders if the same may be true about our legislators in Washington. . . . But I get ahead of myself.)

Back to Kristin Davis. The blog post by which I was introduced to her site talked about the horrible and fearsome conditions at Riker's Island and then concludes (forgive the lousy spelling!):
Now when I think about it, I am glad I had the experience. I am truly a better person for what I have gone through. I really and truly value the people in my life and the experiences I have. Its not so much about the outcome of the event, its about having the experience. I learned how to be a better person through this adversity. I learned how to value and love those who love me.

A lot of people ask me if I'm mad at those who ratted me out and how I feel. I actually don't think about it much. I don't have time for bad energy. I have had a lot of people do me wrong - that I can't dispute. If you think I think twice about it - I don't. Why should I? It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with that person's character. If you think I'm dwelling on anything from the past then you don't get what I'm about. The past is the past and its better left in the past. The "now" for me is amazing and I am so incredibly happy its not even funny. I have met so many amazing people and have a great group in my life, I couldn't ask for more.

Don't get me wrong, I could have completely done without the Riker's Island Experience. However, I think this is the path that was chosen for me. I have the opportunity to do some good now and thats what I am doing.
A little further down the page, I read her "next" post in the series.

She described two of the women with whom she spent time in prison:
Janet Redmond-Mercereau . . is the Staten Island woman who was on trail for murdering her husband, an NYFD marshall, while their 2 young children slept. She was convicted by a jury yesterday. . . I don't know if she did it or not. It is not my place to judge.

Another woman I was in jail with was Nizelie Santiago. She was convicted of manslaughter of her daughter when her husband beat her to death and they left her sitting there for 1 day. She got 40 years in prison. . . .

These are the types of criminals I was in jail with. Me- little old promoting prositution charge (class D felony-these are class A)....a victimless crime was sitting there befriending murderers. When I think about it, it makes me sick that our society would classify my crime in the same manner as theirs. My crime which happens to be legal in 2 states yet just not the one I was operating in.

I sat there day in and day out surrounded by baby and husband killers. These are people who confided in me about their cases and the people I LIVED with every day. Can you imagine that? . . .

I'm writing this to point out the hypocrisy of our system. That me, a former madam, with a "promoting prostitution" charge was classified in the same manner as a murderer. That is ridiculous. And there sits Elliot Spitzer in his plush Park Avenue apartment with NUMEROUS pending felonies in the Class C category (worse than mine) and he gets away scott-free.

I'd like for us to address why there is a different set of rules for the elite and connected then there are for those of us who worked our way up from nothing???
It was when I read about the "promoting prostitution charge" that I suddenly paid attention to the fact that Kristin's site is titled The Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis.

What is this site really all about? I wondered.

And then I found out. I continued reading down the page and clicked on a few of her most recent posts: Why I will run for Governor in 2010 (February 7, 2010); Throw The But [I think she meant Bum--JAH] Out!!!! (January 21, 2010); Move Over Eliot! (December 14, 2009); and Harvard Pimps the Luv-Guv (November 13, 2009).

You get a good idea what she's "all about." She's about trying to expose hypocrisy. And about taking personal responsibility. She wants
to highlight the inequities and sexism in our criminal justice system which penalizes women, minorities and poor people while wealthy, connected white men like Eliot Spitzer evade justice. Our system that allows Spitzer to walk on money laundering and violating the Mann act (transporting a prostitute across state lines), but sends Plaxico to prison for seven years for shooting himself in the foot is ripe for real reform. . . .

New York's so-called " political class" is driving this state into the toilet. Crushing income and property taxes pay for sweetheart public employees union compensation deals with the State. The unions, in turn, give money and manpower to re-elect the very same politicians' who gave them this deal and everybody benefits- but the taxpayers.

Now adding to this disgrace is Senator Hiram Montserrat. This thug beat up his girlfriend in a jealous rage and slashed her face with a broken glass. Convicted of a misdemeanor (for anyone else it would have been a felony) he still sits in the Senate, making decisions that effect the lives of all New Yorkers. Every woman in New York should be outraged. What kind of role model is he for young people looking at our system and trying to figure out if democracy really works? This bum needs to be expelled from the Senate now!

Having once run a multi-million dollar escort business- a business I'm through with and will never return to-I've seen the battered women syndrome up close. I've helped dozens of women get away from abusive husbands and boyfriends. While not everyone will agree, I always looked at my business as empowering to women and encouraged them to set their own boundaries and make their own way. Hiram will beat up his girlfriend again. In fact, if he get's away with it this time it will only embolden him to do it again when he thinks he is safe and no one is watching.

I wasn't very "political" until I got embroiled in the Spitzer scandal and I experienced first hand the inequities and unfairness of the criminal justice system, which discriminates against women, poor people and those without political influence. How could Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau send me to Rikers Island for four months and set my bail at $2M for arranging for escorts when Eliot Spitzer who paid for and utilized the services of those escorts walked away scot-free? . . .

When I was finally moved into my housing unit, Closed Custody (CCH), reality began to set in. Here I was in this tiny 8x8 cell with no mirror, no running water, no human interaction of any kind- I had only my thoughts to contend with. And all I thought about was if I would have a life after this experience.

I know that might sound extreme. But, you have to realize that I'm sitting in jail with a $2 million dollar bail for promoting prostitution. There are people in there for robbery and armed assault whose bail is $25,000. H*ll, even my friend Remy Ma who was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon for a shooting, her bail was $250,000. All I could think of is that I'm in jail to keep me silent, because I know too much about some powerful people. . . .

If Eliot Spitzer runs, I will also take the plunge and enter the Democratic Primary for New York State Comptroller. I am confident I can gather the necessary signatures to get on the Primary ballot. . . .

Eliot Spitzer has violated the public trust. His hypocrisy--patronizing escort services while prosecuting others--and his lies about the illegal financing of his campaigns for Attorney General should exclude him from any position of trust.

His black socks in the boudoir are an additional affront to good taste. His abuse of some of the women I arranged for him to spend time with raises serious questions about his character.

If I run, I will advocate the legalization, regulation and taxation of both prostitution and marijuana to solve New York's fiscal problems. Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo, and Tom DiNapoli offer only tax increases, more borrowing, greater debt and service cuts: I will offer a plan for new revenues from two activities that are going to happen anyway.

Under my plan New York's budget can be balanced without raising taxes on working people or cuts to vital services. Who else can say that?

Prostitution should be legalized for both the public safety and to fill the public coffers. No more Craig's List murders. No more Johns robbed. Regular medical check ups and licensing of service providers by the State.

Millions of pot smokers are prepared to pay taxes on an activity no more dangerous than drinking alcohol, which is legal in New York State. Let people grow their own up to a reasonable amount. Standardize distribution and tax.

I really would like to see a Candidate for Governor articulate this platform.

I [am] ready to match my ideas with the Steamroller- not to mention asking him some pointed questions. I am ready to throw my hat in the ring. I will be the first candidate in New York history to run while on probation. See you at the debates, Eliot.
Clearly, there's a lot of anger there. I think that's the motive (or emotive!) force behind Davis's candidacy. But there's a lot of serious thinking, too.

I know it's almost beyond imagination that a conservative Christian would speak up in behalf of decriminalizing pot or prostitution. But I'm willing to put the case before you. Though I myself have never imbibed marijuana or any other illegal or mind-altering drugs; though I have absolutely no interest in ingesting such things; though I have drunk only the bare minimum of wine upon occasion when social convention--including participation in certain communion services at some Christian churches!--required it; though I have never engaged in any form of pre- or extramarital s*xual intercourse; I find the arguments compelling for the decriminalization of drug use and of prostitution.

Davis's brief but (I think) potent argument is to be found in her article Legalize It! (speaking of prostitution).

Probably the best argument I've seen for (not so much legalizing, but) decriminalizing drugs is to be found in Thomas Szasz' Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market.

If you're more of an auditory than visual learner, check out these pointed interviews on national TV:

Fox News "Your World" (???; sorry, I don't know who the interviewer is):

Sean Hannity:

ABC's "20/20":

Y'know, I think Kristin could be a formidable candidate if she and her campaign manager decided to present her in a more serious and professional light.

On this last point, see the New York Daily News article, Kristin Davis, alleged Eliot Spitzer madam, to run for New York governor with GOP Roger Stone's help. Clearly, a very serious headline, but it is accompanied by a very un-serious news story . . . including a photo showing too much of Ms. Davis' ample cleavage; an opening line about how "'Manhattan Madam' Kristin Davis is tossing her lacy brassiere into the political ring - with the help of one of the GOP's most fearsome strategists"; and the following conclusion, quoting her campaign manager:
"Kristin knows lots of Penthouse Pets," he said. "We'll get four, make them notary publics and have them, suitably attired, collecting signatures at Grand Central Station during rush hour."

Davis is also ready to put her own pulchritude to work, having posed for a topless photo with "pot" written on one arm, "sex" on another and "legalize" across her chest.

"Unlike other candidates, she has nothing to hide," said Stone.
Or this one from New York magazine: Former Madam Kristin Davis Wants to Be Your Governor.

Again, the article begins with a salacious comment (this time about how she "is preparing to throw her sizable bust into the race for the state's highest office"), and it is accompanied by a photo more oriented to selling Ms. Davis' s*x appeal than her business sense, brains, or political platform.

Probably the best serious discussion about her candidacy can be found on the Independent Political Report site at ‘Manhattan Madam’ Kristin Davis: ‘Why I will run for Governor in 2010′.

If I lived in New York, and if Davis would actually pursue her candidacy in all seriousness, I could imagine actually voting for her.

She has established her credentials in a couple of areas; she has certainly demonstrated poise and quick wit in her response to some rather antagonistic interviewers; can she demonstrate competency on a wider range of issues?

If so, her campaign could prove very interesting, indeed!

[NOTE: If you are reading this article on Facebook and can't use links or don't see videos, please realize it originally appeared and is still available on my personal blog.]
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