Columbia Prostitution Teapot Tempest

There’s presently a crazy scandal about the Secret Service and some military folks doing a site visit to Columbia and doing Something Evil.

Now, from time to time, there’s been a bit of discussion in the news of the point I’m going to raise; but by and large here in the USA the ‘tone’ is one of “How Could They Commit Such A Crime!!@!!” and not much discussion of my point.

Yes, the ‘boys’ were bringing some prostitutes back to the hotel. Now I’m not going to ask about the morality of prostitution. IMHO it ought to be entirely a question of what a man and a woman choose. Pimping ought to be a felony (again, IMHO) but I see little difference between a “Lady of the night” and a “Trophy Wife” other than the size of the payment and the particulars of the contract.

So what has me bothering to say anything about the “event” in Columbia? Pretty simple, really: The Republicrims (those Republicans least bound by an intellectually examined moral compass) are getting all High And Holy about how terrible it is that the Obama Secret Service has hired Prostitutes!!!!.

What’s missing from this is the simple fact that in Columbia prostitution is legal.

Yes, Legal.

Regardless of how I might feel about it all, and regardless of my opinion that prostitutes ought to be left alone and pimps given a life sentence, the simple fact is that this happened in Columbia where it is a legal act. Rather like Nevada…

So, if the President is visiting Nevada and a Secret Service guy goes to Mustang Ranch (which, BTW, was owned by the government for a while for tax payment issues…) is that agent an evil person for buying a legal product?

Am I in some way broken (sorry Adrian, I’m going to actually talk about ME for a moment. Get over it.) for thinking that a legal service in a given jurisdiction ought to be thought of as, well, legal in that jurisdiction? That the local laws ought to apply in, well, a local place?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Colombia

Prostitution in Colombia is legal as long as it is done in designated “tolerance zones”.

So let me get this straight: I’m in a country, and buy what is a legal service or product in that country, and I’m to be held to the rules of some ill defined part of … where exactly? Ought I never buy bacon because in Israel it’s forbidden? Can I never have a beer because in Saudi Arabia THAT is “immoral”? How about marijuana in Saudi? It’s legal in some Muslim countries. Who’s rules apply when they are in conflict?

IFF there were some clear rational pattern to laws we’d not have this problem; but since laws are incredibly illogical and largely irrational, if not setting the rule to “Local laws apply” exactly WHO’S laws do apply?

Look I’ve never been with a prostitute (and likely never will be), but one came to the family restaurant when I was a kid. I was about 10 and washing dishes at the “cups and glasses sink” behind the counter. Face to face with the customer. She had a birth defect where one hand was basically a single shortened finger coming out of her right wrist. (The left hand was normal) She had a son, in some ways the joy of her life, who was about 7 or 8. In a town of 3000, everyone knows who the whore is. Especially in a Mormon town (they tend to rather strict morality a bit more so even than the Catholics). To me she was “a customer like any other” (as my Dad reminded me: All customers deserve respect.)

One day her son was swimming out at the river (as we all did) and disappeared into the waters. The bottom line was that he drowned. BUT, prior to that being known the entire town turned out to do anything possible to try and find that kid. Divers in the water and all the rest.

It was a great tragedy, and the entire town felt the loss of that innocent soul.

Was she ‘bad’ for letting her son “run loose” in town? No more than anyone else as we all were the children of the whole town. I “ran loose” as much as anyone else and we all swam in the river. Frankly, if you did something ‘bad’ the phone at home was ringing long before you could walks from one side of town to the other (all of 2 miles wide… so about a 30 minute walk if you were slow…)

What I remember most about the event was two items. First, folks coming into the restaurant calling for volunteers to head out the river for a search and rescue (and hopefully not ‘recovery’…) effort. This child was as cherished as any other in the town. Second, that after the body was recovered, everyone treated “The Whore” with the same care and respect as any other woman who had lost a child. Everyone was careful to be sensitive to her loss.

The point?

Now we have this Brave New World where folks are distant from the day to day realities of the individuals involved. The Columbian Whore who may well have a family to support and is participating in a locally legal profession. The young guy in a foreign land being told “it’s legal here” and dealing with being the Rich Guy for what may be the only time in his life. The dynamic of two folks both a bit lost in the world looking for some benefit from each other. How has that become a political football?

Maybe it’s an artifact of having provided the same respectful service to The Whore in our family restaurant as we provided to the Mayor (who I liked far less than The Whore, BTW… she was ‘good folks’ while he as a manipulative SOB…) or maybe it was just realizing that this life is hard enough without heaping piles of steaming shit on each other; but I just find it offensive that the news is all full of “The Horror!!!!” of single young lonely guys in Columbia buying a legal service from women who wanted the money.

And the intellectual dishonesty of the implicit assumption that the “jurisdiction” is not a jurisdiction at all; that there is some other rule that supersedes actual jurisdiction. If I can’t say “The law says this is legal here.” what can I say?

Yes, this is an “Aspe Moment”. The typical kind of thing we run into every day. There is a law. There is a Jurisdiction. Yet it gets thrown out due to … what exactly? Everyone involved was OK with the deal. The law was OK with the deal.

I grew up serving The Whore like anyone else, knowing her son, and her friends, and knowing her as a person who had some very hard places in her life and needed no more hard spots.

I just don’t “get it” how so many folks can have their panties in a bunch about this. Who was harmed? I just don’t see anyone. Not the whores. Not the agents. Not the President. Not the folks in the USA. Not the folks of Columbia. The harm all comes from the (false?) moral outrage.

I can only wonder to what extent it is an artificial outrage manufactured for effect. The alternative (an irrational outrage based on never spending a bit of time talking to The Whore about her life, as you deliver her sandwich and tea…) is very much offensive to me. Far more so than any “moral” issue involving two folks exercising their liberties to indulge in locally legal activity.

Sadly, I don’t remember the name of The Whore. I do remember how nice and careful she was when I asked (as only an 8 year old kid can) about her 1/2 a finger from a stump of a wrist and did it feel like other fingers… and her with a very kind and understanding expression saying “yes, it’s just like my other fingers, only a bit short, and all alone on that that arm” as she wiggled that one little finger… Only in retrospect many years later did I really appreciate that moment. Me being so innocent. Her being so aware of that innocence and accepting it. Some significant time after that I realized it was partly because she could just be herself with me. That my acceptance of her, as her, and being non-judgmental was a small gift from me to her.

So can’t we all just find a way to give “a small gift” to each other and accept who each of us might be? Even a Secret Service guy stuck in Columbia; and even a Columbian Whore, who likely has a kid to feed and maybe even likes the idea that she has manged to land a really big score? Can’t we just accept that we’re all stuck in this life, together, and that being mean to each other does not make it any better?

Or maybe I’m just being way too Aspe about it all…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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54 Responses to Columbia Prostitution Teapot Tempest

  1. George says:

    The problem is that at least one of the crew attempted to get away without paying for service. Since prostitution is legal in Columbia (as it is in the US, actually, where it is left to each state to decide) the lady was able to report the incident to police who lodged a complaint with the US Embassy embarrassing the US delegation.

    The more important thing here is a potential security issue. Married members who partook of the carnal delights might have exposed themselves to blackmail lest their wives find out. As a result, several security clearances have been pulled.

  2. Randall says:

    I agree with George. If the SS dudes want to go back to Columbia on their own time and pay for it, fine. But doing what they did was a dereliction of duty. There isn’t, and shouldn’t be, a government per diem for whores. Those rooms were being paid for by the taxpayers, and so were the beds, floor, shower, ironing board, whatever.

  3. R. de Haan says:

    Moral outrage…

    We have arrived in the age of meddling, from smoking ban, incandescent light bulb ban to telling you what to eat, what to drink and… what to think.
    How more boring can it get.
    Screw them all.

    As for the Secret Service, I think those involved behaved like a bunch of amateurs.
    When arrogance and stupidity….you know the drill.
    That’s the true embarrassement of the story.

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    The trouble was that ” it rained over wet ground”, after that government agency GS..something ( I don´t remember it) employees appeared on youtube being too joyful….

  5. Ian W says:

    That was a very good and perceptive post – thank you.

    It can be difficult to manage groups of ‘licentious soldiery’ at the best of times, but these were a secret service security detail, not the type of people that one would want drunk and talking about their current job to someone who is being friendly in a foreign bar. Potentially this was and is a huge security risk. While the secret service are in country they should be as sober as an airline pilot and as chaste as a Catholic monk. The major concern of the entire affair is the apparent lack of discipline that could have led to a security breach and a successful attack on the President that they were there to protect.

  6. R. de Haan says:

    Now we’re all worked up about secret service and prostitution look what Argentina’s No.1 hoar has cooked up:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17732910

    Zero Hedge thinks Argentina is on the verge of default.
    I say, what’s new.. Argentina is in a permanent state of defaulting for decades now.

    Repsol and the Spanish Government will be mad as hell.
    They probably give the Brits a hand if they start a second war with Argentina over the Falklands.

    In the mean time foreign capital is taking a hike and fresh foreign investments will remain a pipe dream for the next decades. Nice work.

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    Just another GSA type party on our dime!! These guys were there on official business and not a party junket. I say fire the bunch. If they didn’t pay the whores, rape charges are in order.
    I never could understand the righteous and their campaign against whorehouses and the women that work in them. I guess some people are just insane about their religion. pg

  8. Bruce Ryan says:

    Ian, I think most of this type of individual can “walk” and chew gum at the same time. Pretty sure you could too.
    Its a common argument in the media though, all of a sudden people who rate off the charts are babbling boobs.IF they were that type, who the heck hired them.

  9. Power Grab says:

    I can’t help but wonder if this “careful investigation” is supposed to gather evidence of which of the SS is supposed to be carrying on with The Mrs.

    Probably just a rumor. You know how election years are.

  10. George says:

    Additional details: It appears that some of the girls may have been under age and the agents had in their rooms certain documents such as the detailed movements of the President during the trip.

  11. Don Matías says:

    If the customers are from a nation that is highly indebted from the federal right down to the individual level do you expect them to be eager to pay?

  12. Sera says:

    I read that the girls have to sign in at the hotel (SOP), and they did, but they are supposed to be out by 7:00am. One of the girls was not out by then, so the manager went up there and found the customer/customee arguing about payment. So he called the police.

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @All:

    So “the Devil is in the details” eh? Some guys not wanting to pay up, some girls underage (whatever that means in Columbia…) and a security detail being a 24 x 7 operation, even a site prep detail… OK, I can see that… but the emotional invective in the news seems to be on the word prostitute…

    For folks not in the USA, turns out there is a wiki on Mustang Ranch:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang_Ranch

    Included a mention of the period of Government ownership. I found the description of how the property ended up in the hands of the Greens interesting. It seems they are going to ‘construct’ nature at a very nigh price…

    Forfeiture and sale following tax fraud

    After losing a tax fraud case in 1990, the brothel was closed for three months and auctioned off. Conforte fled the United States and now lives in Brazil. The brothel was bought by a holding company (a front for Conforte) and stayed open. After that company and the brothel’s manager (a former county commissioner) lost a federal fraud, racketeering and conspiracy case in 1999, the Mustang Ranch was closed and forfeited to the federal government. That same year, the Brazil Supreme Court ruled Conforte could not be extradited.

    In 2002, the brothel’s furniture, paintings and accessories were auctioned off. The Bureau of Land Management sold the Ranch’s pink stucco structures on eBay in 2003. Bordello owner Lance Gilman purchased the buildings for $145,100 and moved them to his Wild Horse Adult Resort & Spa five miles to the east, where the relocated and extensively renovated buildings eventually became the second brothel located at that complex. However, the rights to the name Mustang Ranch, which Gilman had hoped to use for this new brothel, were tied up in a court battle with David Burgess, the owner of the Old Bridge Ranch, nephew of Joe Conforte, and manager of the Mustang Ranch from 1979 until 1989. In December 2006, a federal judge ruled that Gilman was the “exclusive owner of the Mustang Ranch trademark” giving him the rights to use the name and branding.

    In late March 2007, the final remaining building, the Annex II which had been bought for $8,600 by Dennis Hof, was burned down in a fire department training exercise. A Reno Gazette-Journal report cited plans for the restoration of natural conditions to the section of the Truckee River flowing through the land, following the completion of a similar restoration five miles downstream on McCarran Ranch land owned by The Nature Conservancy. The McCarran Ranch had been the property of United States Senator Patrick McCarran, (1876–1954); when his last surviving daughter, Sister M. Margaret McCarran, SNJM (1904–1998) died, the land was deeded to The Nature Conservancy. It would likely include construction of natural meanders to the river channel and replacement of invasive whitetop (Lepidium draba) with native plants, willow and cottonwood trees. Such a restoration will cost millions of dollars and could begin by 2007.

    Contrary to a popular urban legend circulated by email, the Mustang Ranch was never operated by the US government.

    One has to wonder how it is possible to ‘construct natural’ but hey, it’s a Green Thing I guess…

    I am just a bit bummed that it looks like, per the wiki, there wasn’t a time when you could be screwed by the government and enjoy it . Guess that just goes to show how government and private enterprise differ ;-)

    @Adolfo:

    Like that phrase “rained over wet ground”….

    @George:

    On the news they said that the agent had balked over paying the hotel a ‘guest charge’; not over payment to the lady. I’m sure the real details will be slow in showing up….

    @PowerGrab:

    Those involved agents with a Mrs. at home ought to have a difficult time sleeping… IMHO of course….

    Either that, or she ought to have rights to have neighbors in for a party when he leaves town…

    Gooses, Ganders and all that…

    (How odd, the spell checker complains about WordPress as a misspelling but accepts gooses when it ought to want geese. Don’t know if I’m annoyed at it for being wrong or glad that it is allowing structurally valid variation, even if not ‘accepted’, for poetic effect…. )

    Never understood the mind set that could bring pain to a loved one and then expect to wake up without a skillet to the head, or ‘whatever’… but, IMHO, that too is a private matter and ought not be newsworthy. “Agent Jones returned from Columbia to explain to his spouse the details of his involvement. Services to be held at noon.” seems like a perfectly reasonable headline ;-) Then again, it would also be rather ‘fun’ to have “The Mrs.” just say “Don’t you think Tim down the block looks cute? When is your next trip, ‘dear’?….”

  14. Ian W says:

    @Bruce Ryan 17 April 2012 at 2:05 am — I am sure that some of the security detail can ‘chew gum’ and not be a problem; and partying hard is almost a military tradition. However, there are times when you don’t do it even if you could. It does raise the risk of a security issue. Were the hotel rooms swept for listening devices after the activities? Did any of their phones have ‘apps’ added while the owners were otherwise engaged? There are times and duties where raising the risk in any way is unacceptable so why do it? Are these security details always like this if they get the chance? This raises the other issue of reputation and national image and the President’s security detail image. Most of the people that are selected to act as the President’s security detail are proud of that achievement – now their much vaunted team is not seen as creme-de-la-creme professionals but as armed guards who have drunken parties with prostitutes given half a chance. South America has seen lots of that kind of presidential guard – so now the reputation of the USA and its military is sullied. On a political level the security detail’s behavior has become what this trip was about, few will remember what the President was doing there. It is probable that some in South America think that he chose Columbia so his guys could party – after all we see the President shooting hoops with these guys in back yards all the time…….

    This whole scenario of higher risk, loss of reputation, loss of gravitas for the President because the security detail could not control themselves in a foreign country for a day or so.

  15. Pascvaks says:

    What I find ‘disturbing’ is the failure of the SS to keep this quiet and under wraps. This ‘detail’ had a long-tested, tried, and proven SOP on everything from blowing their nose to squelching hotel managers and local media. I’m left wondering, how they were set up, who the media-mole was, what broke? I can’t imagine that SS operations since Johnson the First haven’t had to deal with this type of thing over and over again, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander is good for the gooslings is good for the farmer and the farmers kids and… there is nothing NEW in any of this. Whatever ‘broke’, whoever ‘didn’t follow SOP’, however it ‘got out’, these are the issues to the SS (and me;-).

    Other thoughts – If this was an internal ‘collapse’ of procedure, I don’t know how comfortable I’d be as El Presidente when having “The Boys & Girls” cover my next little trist; I have a feeling the Vice and the various hard-wired Secretaries of Departments & Agencies with SS privilages are having nightmares; wouldn’t you think that by now there would be a GSA contract in every country the Prez and the SS went to, maybe it’s a ‘new’ vendor that underbid the last ‘agency’ they had, and they, in turn, hired a buch of new guys, gals, kids, to do the lovin that some yo-yo idiot in GSA P.O.ed good during the auditions? This whole thing is stupid!!!!!!!!! This is Damnocrap efficiency at its brightest and best, and the stupid Goppers ain’t much better!

    On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese KGB or the EU CIA didn’t arrange the whole fiasco just for kicks;-) (Pay Back?)

  16. Pascvaks says:

    PS: The ‘TRUTH’ will never be known. There will be an OFFICIAL story. Every news outlet in the world will have their own ‘facts’. The folks who’ll be hurt the most are the ‘agents’ and their ‘guests’. On second thought, the ‘guests’ may actually get a boost in pay out of this fiasco. The DNC, the GOP will have their own ‘stories’. Obama will have his story for ‘Herself’, as will every other ‘married’ guy/gal/gau/les involved who has a partner at the moment. And the the lawyers, and rest of us, will make it up as we go along.

  17. philjourdan says:

    I have to say that George and Randall put it into perspective as far as the “scandal” is concerned. But the media hysteria is due simply to sloppy journalism. You will note that George and Randall got to the heart of the matter, and yet most of the news stories are concentrating on the “lurid” details. Why? Sensationalism. They have lost their ability to do their job.

    I find the whole episode amusing, and only a bit concerning given the additional information that Randall proffered.

  18. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M: @Adolfo:

    Like that phrase “rained over wet ground”….
    It originates in the spanish “Llover sobre mojado”

  19. I have similar thoughts with regard to prostitution; I’ve never had occasion to use such services, but they don’t strike me as inherently evil. Adultery is, but is independent of the issue.

    The details here are the issue, but as you noted, the media seems focused elsewhere.

    However, I will disagree with you on another point: Your complained-of word is not so wrong; it just gooses your mental spell-checker because you took it for (and used it for) the plural of “goose” instead of the verb.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @Keith DeHavelle:

    Oh dear… I’ve used ‘goose’ as in ‘Goose him’, and ‘goosed’ as in “He got goosed”, but not “gooses” as in “Who gooses whom”… For me it maps to a ‘poetic plural’. Hmmm…. I wonder who in Columbia gooses whom? Now that’s an odd sentence. We won’t talk about ‘with what’… even if it does bring a new meaning to ‘wild goose chase’… A “wild goose chaise” might be more appropriate “A chaise, sometimes called chay or shay, is a light two- or four-wheeled traveling or pleasure carriage, with a folding hood or calash top for one or two people.”

  21. Jerry says:

    OUTRAGED, JUST OUTRAGED, yeah, sure, ok………well, i’m not.
    http://news.investors.com/editorialcartoons/cartoon.aspx?id=607986

  22. Ian W says:

    @Bruce Ryan – it actually looks like they cannot walk and chew gum at the same time ;-)
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2130422/Secret-Service-scandal-Inside-Colombian-strip-club-Obamas-agents-picked-prostitutes.html

    As the press would say this story would appear to ‘have legs’.

  23. Bruce Ryan says:

    Ian, I hope you know I was not attacking your position, I may have been less than appropriate in my choice of words.
    I see from your link that the detail was less than business like in their behavior. What this says to me is, who hired them. If the guys can’t chew gum and walk they are not the men for the job. If this was the best of the best available then we have bigger fish to school.
    In the end though, we can’t say for certain what the story really is. It wouldn’t be out of the question for the episode to have been written in house. Maybe that is giving too much credit? Its certainly a stretch.

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian W:

    A bit long and repetitive, but the article does add some useful information.

    First off, several of the guys are married. I think a full report to their spouses is in order…

    Second, they did have travel info in their rooms. Bad idea. Little bit of drugs, a photo, an email, then wake up an hour later to a “lovely distraction” and a comment about “more tequila?” and all would be done without a trace. Very bad idea.

    Yes, it will ‘have legs’. But the constant emphasis on prostitutes distracts from the real issues, IMHO. The guys were buying a legal service. It’s about as important (vs blackmail) as buying a fifth of gin or going to to an X rated movie. It’s an issue if there’s a spouse involved or IF the boss wants to make it an issue. That they violated organization rules is all that makes it blackmail fodder.

    Now, was it incredibly stupid? Absolutely. Especially for the married guys where real blackmail risk exists. But frankly, I’m more concerned about a bunch of drunk and hungover guys being the ‘security detail’. Not exactly going to be working at their best… And telling folks? Are they just trying to wake up with a heroin drip into their arm and photos on the wall with El Jefe telling them what he wants them to do? I’d be absolutely mum on my job / travel reason just because I’d not want to make myself a target.

    IMHO the story that ought to ‘have legs’ is the one about violation of code of conduct and drinking on the job…

    Now, the particular bozo who was fussing over $47 is incredibly dumb. I’m sure the rest of the group will ‘explain it’ to him.

    Maybe Romney can suggest some nice Mormon Secret Service agents for Obama. No drinking. No caffeine. No much of anything. Boring as hell, but they work really well.

  25. j ferguson says:

    E.M. and All,
    These guys CANNOT EVER be just ordinary servicemen out for a night on the town. Theirs is a 24/7 responsibility to prevent bad things from happening. If this responsibility is not honored around the clock, then it cannot be assumed to be effective.

    Statements that the President’s security was never at risk are nonsense if the substance of the reporting of this incident is accurate. I don’t have the same level of skepticism with regard to this administration as many of the other readers here. It’s just me, no criticism of any of you. You guys may have thought about it more than me. And that’s the prelude to me stating that the announcement about the President’s security not being compromised by this misadventure was a bald faced lie. I really get pissed at being lied to so inelegantly. Do they think we are all morons?

    Further:

    I was astonished at the support from members of both parties for Sullivan, the head of the Secret Service – except for Susan Collins. She had it right. If it had been one or two people that would have been one thing, but eleven? I understand she isn’t running for re-election. Too bad. She was the only person I saw who grasped the gravity of the thing.

    It speaks to a breakdown in the culture at Secret Service. Such a breakdown is strong evidence of neglect at the top. Something like what was alleged to have been done by the eleven in Cartagena should have been unthinkable. In the organizations I’ve worked in where there was such a culture, we seldom had problems with more than a very few people and not very often. Sullivan had not insured that his people thoroughly understood that when they were on business, they were on the job around the clock and that any compromise to their dignity was a compromise of the entire service. And such a compromise would not be tolerated. If as many as eleven employees on a mission of this nature didn’t understand this, then the culture didn’t exist. And Sullivan is directly and totally responsible for its absence. Eventually, they’ll figure this out and he will go. Just like the ninny at GSA.

    Obama clearly doesn’t understand any of the above. That he backed Sullivan in public is the best evidence that I’ve seen that he knows little about running an organization. He’s never had the experience. He should have publicly regretted the incident and planned a very serious private session with Sullivan for when he gets home. And a second one for Sullivan’s successor.

    People shouldn’t get confused about outfits like the Secret Service, or for that matter, the FBI. Both organizations show far too visible concern about their public images. It would be wonderful if the public images were accurate. They probably are most of the time. But that doesn’t mean they are accurate all the time. And this episode is a clear demonstration.

    A close friend from my days in DC who worked at a high level in one of the agencies used to say that Republican Administrations tended to run tight ships and the Democrats seemed almost to enjoy chaos. I asked if he believed that because he started during Nixon’s second term where things were by then running smoothly, then saw the chaos of the Carter term to be followed by twelve years of Reagan/Bush, then chaos of Clinton’s first term, and so forth. My thought was that there is always 18 months of chaos after a party change in the administration especially following eight years of the other party in office.

    “No,” he said,” it’s not that. It’s more fundamental. The Democrats simply worried about other things.”

    If the guy at the top doesn’t know what a well run shop should look like, he’ll never ask the questions that need to be asked and he never will have a well run shop.

    I’ll save my bombast on the incompetent at the top (note I didn’t say “running”) Homeland Security for the inevitable catastrophic blunder whose occurrence will surely come our way in the fullness of time.

  26. j ferguson says:

    I should probably admit that I was usually in bad odor with HR after this stupid name was applied to what should have stayed “Personnel.” At one company, in the late nineties, I was told that I was the only one who had fired someone and had him out the door before noon on the day of discovery of his truly egregious crime – concealing a design error on construction drawings being built in the field.

  27. Jerry says:

    I would suggest hiring Muammar Gaddafi’s female bodyguards as replacements. They are Muslim, certified virgins, don’t drink alcohol, really need a gig, and just think how much firepower one could stash under a burqa compared to a business suit. :)

  28. gregole says:

    Interesting as always at chiefio – great post and good comments. I would like to weigh in.

    I spent 26 years in the US military – 23 of them in military bands. We traveled outside the US. We were commonly within touching distance of presidents, senators, foreign dignitaries etc. Never, and I mean never did any of us so much as remotely consider having sex with prostitutes while on assignment. Never as in never ever, not going to happen ever. Never as in never did any of us ever have inappropriate contacts with foreign nationals ever as in never ever.

    These things are strictly understood by government service professionals who routinely function at the diplomatic level.

    Regular soldiers? Different story. I have seen tons of fun photos from the guys that did stuff like loading airplanes – you know the drill – wild parties with South and Central American whores. Big deal. Join the military and see the world.

    The moral outrage – yeah, it’s kind of stupid; to me the story is the lack of professionalism by government officials on obvious diplomatic mission. Dumb. Lame. Fire all of them and their bosses.

    As far as the general practice of prostitution; I find it appalling for some reason I can’t quite explain. I have seen it all over the world – first in Germany in the ’70s when I was on active duty. It shocked me and somehow deeply offended me when on the encouragement of my fellow troopers I made a visit to the Nuremburg wall – a public area designated for the commercial practice of prostitution. Needless to say, I did not partake.

    While in the military I saw plenty of it. Appalling and indescribably offensive to me for some weird reason. I lived in Hollywood for a couple of years. Street prostitutes were very common and a nuisance. A serious nuisance in our neighborhood and I lived in two different locations – both places thick with them every night. Horrible.

    Just my opinion and aesthetics. I love women and have been married a couple of times and passionately loved them both. But from what I have seen of prostitution; it turns my stomach.

  29. Pascvaks says:

    As has been pointed to already, it’s the fact that “IT’s” a problem –obviously just one of many that isn’t normally present or noticeable according to my old US History Book from 1962– and if, Heaven Forbid, it’s in the good old, faithful, loyal, brave, squeeky clean Secret Service, just how prevalent and serious is it in real ‘critical’ places like GSA, Treasury, State, Interior, Labor, TSA, the Mint, the NWS, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, Government Moters, NOAA, etc., etc.? This smells like the tip of an iceberg with a lot of dead seagulls, seals, penguins, and polar bears. I say, tis’ more the reason to be concerned about the long, down hill slide of the country. More the reason to think that we need a revival. Hummmmm… (SarcOff)

    Oh well, nothing lives forever. Right?

  30. A few thoughts:

    There are reports that cocaine was being consumed…not good.

    Some of the people involved were in the military, they are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Code_of_Military_Justice

    People have been prosecuted for Adultery in the past, Lt Kelly Flynn was the first female B-52 pilot, she was allowed to resign her commission in lieu of a Court Marshall.

    I traveled to both Mexico and Canada with my father when I was 19. We drank beer and smoked a few Cohiba’s where it was legal to do so, but not in the U.S.

    We all screw up from time to time, but I think if one follows a few simple guidelines your ‘Moral Compass’ will usually point in the right direction. (Recall the outrage Bill Bennett faced over gambling?)

    The Golden Rule

    “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar and unto God the things that are God’s”

    Lastly, “Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth”

    Often we get far to wrapped up in what is ‘LEGAL’ and forget about doing what is right. If you are trying to base your guilt or innocence over the definition of the word ‘IS’, I would say your compass may be broken.

  31. Roedy Green says:

    Some people think the secret service is overreacting. Consider

    1. the agents were married men, who could be blackmailed.

    2. hookers were in rooms of all the agents where they could plant bugs or steal documents.

  32. I have been told by qualified experts…that both the FBI and CIA had very strong bias’s to hire Mormons in the past. (50’s-70’s)

    The logic behind the ‘bias’…

    If you understand how LDS works and the ‘rules’ they follow…it makes sense in terms of blackmail…IMHO.

  33. Duster says:

    George says:
    17 April 2012 at 7:14 am

    Additional details: It appears that some of the girls may have been under age and the agents had in their rooms certain documents such as the detailed movements of the President during the trip.

    There are two issues confounded here. ‘Underage’ is by and large a legal concept with a highly elastic definition, even within the US. So the question is, ‘under age where?’ Look up ‘age of consent in North America’ for a view of just how vague a phrase ‘under age’ is on our continent. In Colombia the age of consent is 14 for both genders. Adults (18+ ?) can be prosecuted if they ‘gain consent’ through deceit.

    The security issues for the president are an entirely different issue. Those papers containing information about the presdential schedule should have been secured from everybody – room service as well as prostitutes. At a guess, room service would offer a far more reliable target for an agent to penetrate security than the potential the advance SS crew would decide to party.

    Of course if all politicians were denied any security that wasn’t funded out of their own pocket, or worn in a holster on their own belt, we might have an elected body that paid more attention to who votes than to who pays for their campaigns.

  34. Pascvaks says:

    I still can’t believe it! These were seasoned agents and prostitutes. This has got to be a Chinese KGB or EU CIA payback trick! OK, it could also have been cooked up by somebody at the DNC as a way to get the Prez hisself out of the headlines, that’s possible, hell, it’s quite likely. But this was NOT a bloody failure within the SS, nobody is that dumb, nobody! (SarcOff;-)

    True, the Goppers could have cooked it up, anything’s possible. But think how much super planning and coordination would have been required, I’m telling you they just couldn’t have done it, it’s beyond them, this IS 2012 y’know.

  35. p.g.sharrow says:

    I agree, The quality of government employes has gone down hill fast. But what can you expect with Collage Professors in charge? Animal House. pg

  36. Pascvaks says:

    PG- You don’t suppose it has anything to do with a clash between the Hooker Unions and Government Employee Unions do you? I mean, the AFL-CIO wouldn’t do that to us would they?

    I’m starting to really worry now. What if it was UNIONS that sprang and spilled this mess all over the Good Ol’ SS? This is getting DEEPER by the day, and more frightening. Bet UN pimps was in the middle of it too. AND, I bet Hottywood makes a pic. Money!! Money!! Money!!;-)

  37. Juker says:

    Hate to be a spelling Nazi, but it is ColOmbia not Columbia. There is even a slight pronunciation difference.

    I know the pricing structure in Colombia pretty well… I can’t say why :) The press says $800 for all night. That is preposterous. I’ve also heard 400. Possible, maybe, but most would gladly accept 200.

    He committed an egregious newbie error not negotiating beforehand… which only makes me think this doesn’t happen all that often, or they’d know the deal. He was also a cheap-skate offering only 47 or whatever. Ditto for the hotel fee, which would be something like $10-$20. Jerk.

    [Reply: Hey, you wanna be a Nazi, go right ahead… As I’m not that gud a spller anyawys, I’ll likly not notise. I’m frome the “Never trust a man who can’t spell a word more than one way” school and, frankly, being partly deaf I’ve noticed that I’m losing vowels first. Add to that some fuzzyness when reading without the glasses on, and you’re luckig it wsn’t Klumbriah. So “knock yourself out”, it’s your life to waste… -E.M.Smith ]

  38. tckev says:

    Maybe the teapot was kept stirred and cloudy because other news of the Summit of the Americas was less palatable.
    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1161752–emboldened-latin-america-parts-ways-with-canada-u-s-on-cuba-and-drugs

  39. Pascvaks says:

    We need to STOP, BACK OFF, TURN SLOWLY, and RUN. There’s sumthin cadywhompus here. Somthin real catiewampus, hear?

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @tckev:

    Interesting point…

    Wonder what it means that I’m on the Latin American side on those issues? Let Cuba sit at the table (then at least you can berate them…) and since several other S.American countries are about as “leftist”, not seeing the point being made. Unless, of course, it has to do with Cuban involvement in helping to get Kennedy whacked…

    Ending the “War on drugs” would take tons of money out of the criminal side of the Latin American societies. While they’d miss the money, the lack of a criminal element with more money than the governments would be a great boon. (Besides, then they could ‘nationalize’ the industry and call it taxes ;-)

    But once one President starts a stupid program, no other President will ax his “Legacy”… so the crap just keeps piling up.

    Wonder if the CIA still gets a ‘cut’ of some of the drug deals?…

    Yeah, wouldn’t want that kind of discussion breaking out on the nightly news…

    @Pascvaks:

    NEVER run from a predator. Walk away at a reasonable pace, aware and watchful.

  41. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tkev: You are right: Nothing was signed there, as in Copenhagen and many other places….
    Bad luck?, quite peculiar.

  42. @p.g.sharrow… “But what can you expect with Collage Professors in charge? ”

    So…be honest…was that a typo? lol. I ain’t da grammar Gestapo either…but if you meant to do that you may deserve to be in the ranks of Twain or maybe Yogi Berra, lol.

    A collage (From the French: à coller, to glue, French pronunciation: [kɔ.laːʒ]) is a work of formal art, primarily in the visual arts, made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
    A collage may sometimes include newspaper clippings, ribbons, bits of colored or hand-made papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.

  43. p.g.sharrow says:

    @Andrew! What do you expect from an old dirt farmer. I can almost read reading and bearly write writing. :-) college or collage, what’s the difference? their both a mess. pg

  44. Pascvaks says:

    @Andrew –
    Dang nab it Andrew, an here i alwus thout dat college was jus da yankee way a spellin collage and it all ment da same dang thin, a jumble a stuff ya studied jus ta get a sheep skin (what’er a sheep skin is) sho’ seems like a big waste a time fer a stupid skin, sheep or pig. You mus have a penchent fer words, order, and round pegs in round holes. Well, ever one i ever knew had at least one bad habit. Relax, let yer har down, lean back, wittle a stick, let yer mind wander, don’t matter bout words, they all mean more than one thin anaway no matter hows ya spells em. ESP’s da wave a da future, mark my wods! Esp!;-)

  45. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: You are right. It´s great not knowing!, the more you know the more you ignore. It happens that education, belief in some other peoples´theories impede the connection with the source of all knowledge (worst if concocted on purpose by some to improve their profits, or invented as part of war/political propaganda). As we are made by universal laws and follow the same, either consciously or unconsciously, as we have engraved in our flesh and recorded in our blood´s magnetic hematite, and in our cells´DNA those universal principles, it is proper of fools not to realize this truth, not being able to read such a “Mutus Liber” (Dumb Book) the Alchemists urged to read.
    So we and our progeny are left with the only possibility of playing with computer games, use the greatest energy available to us for “pleasure”, and follow that “Hollywood philosophy and Science”, while eating trash food, for ever “amused”….until we finally face the harsh reality of the ultimate fate of an intrascendental death. Tradition tells that such unbecoming “human beings” not having built something in themselves capable of surviving death, having only the heat of their corpses to leave the body, this IR energy goes up, attracted by a hungry Moon.

  46. I am feeling a tad phuny and pun-ee (in a paronomasiatic way) this morning…

    “Arocdnicg to rsceearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pcale. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit pobelrm. Tihs is buseace the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.”

    That being said…like most interweb stories, Cambridge refutes the claim, but as pointed out above, we do thangs that r intuitive, our minds will pick up a lot.

    Times they are a changing, but as we try to demonstrate what cunning linquists we all r…take note of the past, from the Lewis and Clark Journals…

    ps…to the Collage Professor…should you ever need to pronounce the ‘Corps of Discovery’…the ‘PS’ is silent, I seem to recall POTUS butcher the word during a Medal of Honor ceremony. (“the Teleprompter made me do it…”)

    [Clark] October 5th 〈Friday〉 Saturday 1805

    a Cool morning wind from the East, Collected all our horses, & Branded them [1] 38 in No. and delivered them to the men who were to take Charge of them, each of which I gave a Knife & one a wampon Shell gorget, The Lattd. of this place the mean of 2 observations is 46° 34′ 56.3″ North. nothing to eate but dried roots & Dried fish, Capt Lewis & my Self eate a Supper of roots boiled, which filled us So full of wind, that we were Scercely able to Breathe all night felt the effects of it. Lanced 2 Canoes to day one proved a little leakey the other a verry good one

    [Clark] October 5th 〈Friday〉 Saty 1805

    Wind Easterly and Cool, had all our horses 38 in number Collected and branded Cut off their fore top and delivered them to the 2 brothers and one Son of one of the Chiefs who intends to accompany us down the river to each of those men I gave a Knife & Some Small articles &c. they promised to be attentive to our horses untill we Should return.—

    Latitude of this place from the mean of two observations is 46° 34′ 56.3″ North—

    Nothing to eate except dried fish & roots. Capt Lewis & myself eate a Supper of roots boiled, which Swelled us in Such a manner that we were Scercely able to breath for Several hours— finished and lanced [NB: launched] 2 of our Canoes this evening which proved to be verry good our hunters with every diligence Could kill nothing. The hills high and ruged and woods too dry to hunt the deer which is the only game in our neighbourhood. Several Squars Came with Fish and roots which we purchased of them for Beeds, which they were fond of— Capt Lewis not So well to day as yesterday
    http://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/read/?_xmlsrc=1805-10-05.xml&_xslsrc=LCstyles.xsl

  47. Pascvaks says:

    @Andrew –
    Hay, that’s all right! Ya sound a whole lot better;-)

    Now, back to morality, pot, and temps… ah nevermind… I see you fish…

  48. @Pascvaks….

    I do fish…therefore I am…or at least I once onwed a shirt that made that claim. I do however try to resist the temptation to inflate my fish stories…I even ‘test’ myself sometimes while buying produce, last week I guessed 4 lbs of apple…the scale said 4.22lbs.

    When I don’t get the opportunity to relax and fish I sometimes find the need to argue with people on the interweb about morality, pot, and temps…

    With the rivers blown out by snowmelt…look out liberal socialists…I don’t always practice ‘catch and release’. (where is the ROLF emote when you need one)

    (btw, the scale said the halibut weighed 69lbs…nothing to brag about. However the grouse I got the next day was a piece of work…I told my fishing buddy I was going to try for a ‘head shot’…with the rear differential…we dined on road kill grouse that night and had to spit out some bird shot from the halibut cheeks…irony?)

  49. Pascvaks says:

    @Andrew- (et al)
    Isn’t it funny how Old Men like to sit around and watch the world go by? It’s like, after a certain age, they think that they’ve seen it all so often before that they’re smart enough now to tell each other in low voices: “Watch over here, see that kid, he’s going to drop that bag.” Well, if old age doesn’t have much to offer, at least we’re smarter than those that are just too damn young to know how damn lucky they are. My Dad used to repeat something I often think myself now: “Youth is wasted on the young!”

    Fish stories ain’t lies, if ya’ want someone to listen ya’ first gotta’ get their attention and then ya’ gotta’ hold it, right? A story is jus’ that, a story;-)

  50. @Pascvaks

    Our fathers were wise men!

    …and I would hazard to guess…I will lower the mean in the gathering of Old Men here, but I appreciate the opportunity to learn!

  51. adolfogiurfa says:

    So….it happens that this @E.M. place has turned now into an old goats grazing field. :-)

  52. @adolfo

    Ewe serious? a bunch of gruff old billy goats? I am just a 40 something kid, wether you guys want me here or not…

  53. Pascvaks says:

    @Andrew – “just a 40 something kid”
    Damn Junior! Wish I was back at that age again! Got some slanted, life acquired advice for ya: “Use it while ya still can, before ya lose it , or she cuts ya off; ya never know how good it was till it’s gone; and it can go in a skiny minute long before you (or your ‘H-mones’) are willin’ to admit yer finished! Life is full of surprises, sometimes they can be downright fast and hard and mighty depressing.”

    Cancer, and any number of things, can take more than your life no matter how old you are. But, word to the wise, in your 40 somethings it all starts to come apart in any case, so enjoy life while you can if you can. One day, like today for example, you’ll be on top of the world, and the next day you’re looking up and back at everthing. And, if you’re married, chances are 100% you’re going to be a hurt bad, no matter who in the family gets burned first.

  54. @ Pascvaks

    Thank you. You must have been listening to your father!

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