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by John Stossel

        When police charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with soliciting prostitution, the press said the police rescued sex slaves.
        "They were women who were from China, who were forced into sex slavery," said Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show."
        We're told this happens all the time.
        "Human trafficking is the fastest growing illegal business in the United States," says fashion model Kathy Ireland.
        It's bunk, says reporter Elizabeth Nolan Brown.
        In the Robert Kraft case, she points out, "They had all these big announcements at first saying they had busted up an international sex trafficking ring, implying these women weren't allowed to leave."
        But now prosecutors acknowledge that there was no trafficking. The women were willing sex workers.
        The police and the media got it wrong. That's typical. "Ninety-nine percent of the headlines are not true," says Brown in my latest video. "Sex trafficking and prostitution are sort of used interchangeably."
        What about the headlines that say police are "rescuing victims"?
        "By rescue they (mean) put them in jail and give them a criminal record," says Brown. "The victims are the sex workers ... getting harassed and locked up in cages by the cops."
        Politicians tell us that thousands of children are forced into the sex trade.
        "Three-hundred thousand American children are at risk!" said Rep. Ann Wagner on the floor of Congress.
        That 300,000 number comes from just one study, and that study's lead author, Richard Estes, has disavowed it.
        "The National Crimes Against Children Center says, 'Do not cite this study'!" says Brown. It's "total bull."
        Widely quoted bull.
        On TV, former prosecutor Wendy Murphy shouts, "Three-hundred thousand kids a year are raped, sex trafficked and pimped in this country!"
        "If that was the case, cops would be able to find this all the time," responds Brown. "Cops wouldn't have to go through these elaborate stings."
        Florida police spent months taking down the spa Robert Kraft visited.
        "They had Homeland Security involved," recounts Brown. "They were following these women around in the grocery stores, watching them buy condoms."
        I'd think cops would have better things to do with their time.
        "If this was really a situation where these women were being forced and sexually assaulted multiple times a day, the cops just let it happen for months on end?" asks Brown.
        She covered a case in Seattle where the local sheriff, at a news conference, said he'd rescued sex slaves.
        But when Brown spoke to the sheriff later, "he ended up saying, 'Well, you know, maybe they weren't being forced by whatever, but we're all trafficked by something and there was money involved.' Then by the end of the investigation they were like, 'Well, I mean, they were pressured because they didn't know a lot of people and they wanted to make money'."
        One former sex worker says the moral panic over prostitution is a "combination of the conservative fetish for going after people for doing 'sex stuff' and the liberal instinct to help a group of people that they can't be bothered to understand."
        That includes the celebrities who perpetuate the myth that sex slavery is rampant.
        "You can go online and buy a child for sex. It's as easy as ordering a pizza," says Amy Schumer.
        "Thousands of children are raped every day!" says comedian Seth Meyers.
        Actor Ashton Kutcher even promotes an app that he claims rescues victims. He told Congress, "We have identified over 6,000 trafficking victims this year."
        Really? Where are they? Kutcher's representatives did not respond to our repeated emails.
        "If Ashton Kutcher is finding all those victims, he's not turning them over to police," said Brown.
        Sex slavery is evil. Authorities should do everything they can to stop it. But there is a big difference between slavery and sex work done by consenting adults.
        "When we have these exaggerated numbers," says Brown, "it forces people into this crazy emergency moral panic mode that ends up not helping the actual problem that we have."
        Periodic crackdowns on prostitution don't help either.
        "They want this imaginary world where you take away a safer option for these women," says Brown, and then "the oldest profession, as they call it, will magically stop. But that's not going to happen."
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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by John Stossel

       "I'm not going to let them bully me out of reporting," said Tim Pool after recording an Antifa protest where angry activists cursed at him. There might have been violence, but Antifa's "de-escalation team" protected him, he says.
        That surprised me. "Antifa has a de-escalation team?" I ask Pool in my latest internet video.
        "They have people who try and make sure nobody from their side starts it -- because cameras are rolling," he answered.
        Pool is part of the new media that now cover stories the mainstream media often miss.
        I've become part of that new media, too. I still work at Fox, but now most of my video views (117 million plus) come from short videos I post on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
        Pool considers himself a man of the left. He supported Bernie Sanders and once worked for Vice. But now he often finds himself criticizing his fellow leftists.
        "This really strange faction of people on the left are saying ridiculous things," he says. "They're helping Donald Trump."
        Trump probably does gain support when people watch street protests turn violent.
        "Look at this protest in Portland," recounts Pool. "A Bernie Sanders supporter showed up with an American flag -- to protest fascists. What did Antifa do? Crack him over the head with a club."
        Pool won new followers with his coverage of the Washington, D.C., conflict between a Native American protestor and Covington, Kentucky, high school teens wearing Trump hats, including one who looked like he was smirking.
        "All these big news outlets, even The Washington Post, CNN, they immediately made the assumption 'He must be a racist sneering at this Native American man'," says Pool. "I didn't make that assumption... I just see a guy banging a drum and a kid with a weird look on his face."
        Pool and Reason TV's Robby Soave were the rare journalists who bothered to examine more of the videos.
        "The initial narrative that we heard from the activists was that this kid got in this man's face... It's actually the other way around," Pool said. "No one else watched the video."
        No one? Major news outlets said the student was racist without ever examining the full video?
        "Here's what happens," Pool explains. "One left-wing journalist says, 'Look at this racist!' His buddy sees it and says, 'Wow, look at this racist.' And that's a big ol' circular game of telephone where no one actually does any fact-checking. Then The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN all publish the same fake story."
        Although Pool made those big-name outlets look like irresponsible amateurs, he doesn't have a journalism degree. In fact, he didn't even finish high school. He dropped out of school and just started videotaping what interested him, funding his videos with ads and donations from viewers.
        "I want to know why things are happening. Some people don't trust the media. I don't know who to believe. Why don't I just go there and see for myself?"
        That's brought him more than a million internet subscribers.
        It's also made him an advocate for free speech.
        "When I was growing up, it was the religious conservatives that had the moral panic about music and swear words. But today the moral panic is coming from the left. Today, the left shows up with torches and burns free speech signs."
        I'm glad there are young journalists like Pool, who still value open debate.
        Actually, we have lots of new media options today.
        Joe Rogan's podcast covers viewpoints from all sides. He has won a huge audience.
        Dave Rubin reports on YouTube from a classical liberal perspective.
        Naomi Brockwell covers how tech is changing the world.
        On the right, Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder and Candace Owens irreverently critique my New York City neighbors' sacred cows.
        On the left, Sam Harris has attracted a big podcast following by discussing all kinds of ideas, and Jimmy Dore takes a principled left-wing stand.
        I don't agree with all those new media people. I very much disagree with some of them. But I'm glad they are out there, giving us more choice.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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by Walter E. Williams

        Last week's column discussed Dr. Thomas Sowell's newest book "Discrimination and Disparities," which is an enlarged and revised edition of an earlier version. In this review, I am going to focus on one of his richest chapters titled "Social Visions and Human Consequences." Sowell challenges the seemingly invincible fallacy "that group outcomes in human endeavors would tend to be equal, or at least comparable or random, if there were no biased interventions, on the one hand, nor genetic deficiencies, on the other." But disparate impact statistics carries the day among academicians, lawyers and courts as evidence of discrimination.
        Sowell gives the example of blacks, who make up close to 70 percent of NFL and AFL players in professional football. Blacks are greatly overrepresented among star players but almost nonexistent among field goal kickers and punters. Probably the only reason why lawsuits are not brought against team owners is that the same people hire running backs and field goal kickers. One wonders whether anyone has considered the possibility that professional black players do not want to be punters and field goal kickers?
        Different social classes raise their children differently. Studies have shown that children whose parents are professional heard more words per hour than children whose families are on welfare. Studies show that professional parents used "more words and more different words ... more multiclause sentences, more past and future verb tenses. ... The ratio of affirmative words to negative words was six to one with parents who had professional occupation." By contrast, families on welfare used discouraging words more than two to one: words such as "Don't," "Stop," "Quit," and "Shut up." Sowell sarcastically asks are we to believe that children raised in such different ways, many years before they reach an employer, a college admissions office or crime scene are the same in capabilities, orientation and limitations?
        Social justice warriors ignore many differences that have little or nothing to do with discrimination but have an enormous impact on outcomes. Age is one of those factors. Median age differences between groups, sometimes of a decade or two will have an enormous impact on observed group outcomes. The median age for American Jews is slightly over 50 years old and that of Latinos is 28. Just on median age alone, would one be surprised at significant group income disparity and other differences related to age?
        Sowell says that a single inconspicuous difference in circumstance can make a huge historical difference in human outcomes. During the 1840s, Ireland experienced a potato famine. Potatoes were the principle food of the Irish. That famine led to the deaths of a million people and caused 2 million to flee. The same variety of potato that was grown in Ireland was also grown in the U.S. with no crop failure. The source of Ireland's crop failure has been traced to a fertilizer used on both sides of the Atlantic. The difference was that fertilizer contained a fungus that thrived in the mild and moist climate of Ireland but did not in the hot, dry climate of Idaho and other potato growing areas of the U.S. That one small difference caused massive human tragedy.
        A study of National Merit Scholarship finalists found that firstborn children were finalists far more often than their younger siblings. In the U.S. and other countries such as Britain and Germany, the firstborn's IQs were higher than their siblings. Among medical students, a high proportion are firstborn. Sowell asks that if equality of outcomes don't exist among people with the same parents, raised in the same household, why would one expect equality of outcomes elsewhere?
        Morally neutral factors such as crop failures, birth order, geographic setting, and demographic or cultural differences are among the reasons why economic and social outcomes fail to fit the preconceived notions of "experts."
        The bottom line about Sowell's new book, "Discrimination and Disparities," is that it contains a wealth of data and analysis that turns much of the thinking of politicians, academicians, legal experts and judges into pure, unadulterated mush.
        Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

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By Taylor Kovar (

  Hey Taylor - I’ve just started doing freelance work because I feel like this is the best way to boost my earning potential and take control of my career. Problem is, I have no idea what to charge clients for my design and copywriting services. Is there a standard for this? - Katie

Hey Katie - Good for you! The first step is usually the hardest, so I feel like you’re on your way to success already. As for what to charge, there are all sorts of different standards, and you need to figure out what works for you. Some things to think about:

What makes sense for you? I know, I know, I’m responding to your question with virtually the exact same question. The thing is, you don’t just get to start at the same level as everyone else. Like with any job, you climb the ladder and earn your raises. However, you need to make sure you’re not underselling yourself right out of the gate. In your haste to get clients, you might find yourself overworked and underpaid, and that’s a very common occurrence. You need to establish a price that isn’t wildly different from what other freelancers are charging, but still feels comfortable to you and helps you get a few clients.

Keep long-term goals. If you get too caught up trying to get lots of clients who don’t pay much, you’ll find yourself hating the work, not making enough money, and constantly behind on deadlines. If you’re just diving into freelance, it’s best to take your time and give each project the attention it deserves as you find your rhythm. Financially, taking your time doesn’t make a lot of sense, as more work means more money in your pocket. However, if you stay focused on the business you’re building, it will help you stay patient and produce good content. After all, you don’t just want to get by as a freelancer, you want to thrive and avoid going back to a job you don’t love. So, while you establish rates in the early going, remember the better your work is, the more you can make in the future.

Calculate the cost of your needs. You’re going to have a lot of expenses that standard employees don’t have to deal with. From supplies to certification programs and tax payments, a lot of the invoices you collect won’t go directly into your bank account. That means you’ll have to crunch some numbers before setting your rates to ensure you’re getting enough to survive. After you get an idea of what most people are charging, make sure you know what rate will actually be realistic for you.

What you charge will evolve over time, and it may vary between your clients. As long as you value yourself and the work you do, I’m sure you’ll settle on a price that makes sense. Good luck, Katie!

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by John Stossel

       Socialists like Bernie Sanders tell us that "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer."
        That's a lie.
        Yes, rich people got absurdly rich. Last year, says Oxfam, "the wealth of the world's billionaires increased (by) $2.5 billion a day."
        I say, so what?
        The poor did not get poorer. Bernie's wrong about that. The poor are (SET ITAL)much(END ITAL) better off.
        "As we've increased the number of billionaires around the world, extreme poverty has shrunk," says former investment banker Carol Roth in my video about inequality.
        She is right. Over the past 30 years, more than a billion people climbed out of extreme poverty. Thanks to capitalism, more than a billion people no longer struggle to survive on a few pennies a day.
        Bernie is correct when he says that the wealth gap between rich and poor grew. In America over the last 40 years, the richest people got 200 percent richer, while poor Americans got just 32 percent richer. But again, so what?
        Gaining 32 percent is a very good thing (all these numbers are adjusted for inflation).
        Everyone's better off, despite the improvement not being even. It never is.
        Now the myth:
        The media claim in America there's "a lack of income mobility" -- that people born poor are likely to stay poor.
        Some do. It's true that people with rich parents have a big advantage. But it's a myth that Americans are locked into their economic class.
        Economists at Harvard and Berkeley crunched the numbers and found most people born to the richest fifth of Americans fell out of that bracket within 20 years.
        Likewise, most born to the poorest fifth climb to a higher quintile. Some make it all the way to the top.
        In fact, says Roth, "3 out of 4 Americans will hit that top 20 percent at some point in their lifetime."
        You see America's income mobility on the Forbes richest list. Most of the billionaires are self-made. They didn't inherit money. They created their wealth.
        Still, the very rich are ridiculously rich. The Forbes billionaires have more money than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population.
        "Unfair!" say the progressives. "It doesn't matter if nearly everyone got richer, income inequality itself is a huge problem."
        It's "threatening to tear us apart!" says New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.
        It might, if people come to believe that inequality itself is evil. But one question: Why is that true?
        Progressives like to point out that in Scandinavian countries, people say they are happier than Americans. Scandinavians have more equal incomes than Americans.
        But that proves nothing. Incomes are more equal in Afghanistan, too. Incomes are more equal when everyone is poor.
        Forget money for a moment and think about how impossible it would be to make everyone equal.
        I'll never sing as well as Adele or play basketball like LeBron. The best athletes, singers, dancers, etc., are just physically different. I'll never be as self-confident as Donald Trump or as verbally smooth as AOC.
        "There's inequality in everything. There's inequality in free time, inequality in parents. I don't have any parents or grandparents," says Roth. "I have two kidneys. There are people out there who need one, don't have one that functions. Should the government take my kidney because somebody else needs it?"
        I suggest to her that some people having so much more than others is just inherently unfair.
        "Life is unfair!" she replied. "Unfair is good. Unfair is a feature. It's not a bug!"
        Certainly, it's wrong if government makes rules that (SET ITAL)create(END ITAL) inequality.
        Racist laws forbidding some ethnic groups to do business where they please, or restricting where they live, are evil.
        So are government subsidies to rich people and well-connected corporations.
        But allowing people to be different from one another, to employ their unique talents and succeed or fail by them, to rise as high as the market will bear -- that's an important part of freedom.
        We won't all end up in the same place, but most of us will be more prosperous than if government decided our limits.
        And we will be freer.
        John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit