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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Diary #489

Early last week I received a number of birthday presents that were apparently just a little slow in transit; among them were a CD transcription of an old vinyl album featuring a Boris Karloff interview about the Universal horror classics (given to me by Jeremy Dunn) and this Lovecraft-themed cookbook from Bad Luck.  I’m always especially happy when readers send me the weirder things from my wishlist; I know most people prefer to go for the sexy or useful things, but I was a Halloween baby and, as regular readers know, it shows in my writing and my love for horror stories and movies.  So when people send me the weird stuff it’s like they’re saying, “You’re a beautiful woman, but you’re also a weirdo and I respect that.”  I guess you could say it makes me feel seen and accepted.  I’ve never been good at putting on a persona in sex work; I’ve always just been me, nerdiness and all.  And the fact that this has never impaired my ability to make a good living just goes to show once again that clients are nothing like the two-dimensional caricatures prohibitionists seem to enjoy fantasizing about.

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Peacemaker

Last Saturday afternoon, a friend had a last-minute schedule change and needed to use my incall at the same time as I had promised to sit a different friend’s dog.  So I decided to take the dog to the bark park a few blocks from here, but when I arrived, I found two groups of people at the gate, arguing with one another.  Apparently one person’s dog had become aggressive with the other person’s dog and in the process of trying to break them up one of them had gotten very slightly bitten (no blood) and was freaking out about it.  Each of them had another person on their side and what I heard when I arrived was a lot of childish, pompous Seattle behavior.  I let my friend’s dog loose to run and was about to walk away until I heard the woman who had been scratched saying, “I was assaulted and I’m calling the police”.  At that point, I stopped being quiet; I told them I had no idea who was at fault, or if both were, and I didn’t care, but there was no way I was going to put up wih anybody calling the fucking cops (yes, that was the exact phrase I used).  The woman whined that she had been assaulted and that SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE because what if she came there again and the guy she was arguing with was there?  I replied, “Then you both act like civilized adults, say quietly to yourself ‘there’s that asshole again’, and go to a different part of the park.”  Naturally her opponent now thought I was on his side, so I quickly smacked down that notion and said, “Do I really have to be the kindergarten teacher and break up this playground foolishness?”  When the woman brought up the cops again, I asked, “Do you really believe this situation would be helped by calling in a bunch of thugs whose idea of ‘helping’ is to tase a few of y’all and then shoot some dogs while they’re at it?”  That seemed to do the trick, and after a little more mediation on my part the woman & her boyfriend left and the other dude went and sat on a bench.  The reason I’m telling this story is: reminding people that the cops are violent, unpredictable thugs who make things worse actually stopped a ninny from calling them.  Remember that next time you hear someone threatening to do the same; I get that most of y’all are hesitant to intervene in a quarrel between strangers, and I usually would be as well.  But it’s that attitude which results in cops showing up to tase, beat, gas or even murder people over noise complaints or other mundane tiffs bystanders could easily have handled without violence.

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The…carceral feminists[s]…are frightened. This is a culture war. – Nnenna

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

[Washington DC’s] “Human Trafficking Unit” is…a misnomer…only two percent of [those they]…arrest…[are charged with] human trafficking…The many proponents of D.C.’s decriminalization bill say that violence is endemic in the sex trade, and that policing is the cause of the violence, not the solution…[most] of the violence comes from [cops] themselves…in 2012, [cop] Kenneth Furr was convicted of [attempting to murder] a transgender woman who refused to [submit to rape.  Cops frequently]…rape people while…on the job, [using the excuse] of making an undercover arrest…MPD [claims] they have rules of conduct for prostitution stings [but the evidence shows these are ignored]…

Election Day (#840) 

Marijuana prohibition (in North America, at least) will soon be a thing of the past:

Mexico‘s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalise marijuana in the next few days…marking a [long-overdue] step towards…removing it as a source of income for [the police and] violent drug gangs…Senator Ricardo Monreal, the leader of…[the majority] party in the upper chamber of congress, said…“The end of the prohibitionist policy is good for the country”…Late last year, the Supreme Court said lawmakers have until 24 October to legalise marijuana, after the high court ruled in several cases that the prohibition of the recreational use of the drug violates the constitution.  Under Mexican law, if the Supreme Court issues the same decision five times, the rulings set a precedent and the court can then order the establishment of a regulatory framework as well as further legal action…

This could be the beginning of a new economic era in Mexico, and if they’re wise they’ll follow it up by legalization of all drugs and a campaign advertising that fact to tourists.

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900)

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

…28-year-old criminal defence lawyer Nadia Guo found herself thrown into the Canadian public eye [when] a local Toronto news story…outed her as a former escort…[with] the [stage name] “Dawn Lee”…the timing of the story…couldn’t be more conspicuous.  The morning after it dropped, she was due to appear in front of the Law Society of Ontario tribunal to prove she was of “good enough character” to become a lawyer.  This hearing was for reasons that had nothing to do with escorting…mostly…her outspoken social media…comments online about police, crown prosecutors and judges…in spite of the damage…Guo was finally granted her license to practice law [earlier this year]…[and has] used her platform to create a new story for herself, writing about navigating sex worker stigma in the legal world, using Tumblr to challenge how she’s been portrayed in media, signing with a literary agency to write a memoir, and officially starting her own legal practice.  We caught up with Guo to find out how one rebuilds a reputation – and life – after facing the full wrath of public stigma…

Safe Position (#944)

Hearings for the DC decriminalization bill dwarfed similar meetings in NYC:

For more than 14 hours on [October 17th], D.C. officials heard…public testimony about decriminalizing prostitution.  The…measure…would remove criminal penalties for…consenting adults…it would not touch existing prohibitions on sex work involving children, coercion, fraud, abduction, or violence, nor other criminal laws surrounding sexual assault, labor exploitation, or activity involving people under 18.  You might not have guessed that…from listening to…[speeches] from “anti-exploitation” groups that…were rife with refusals to distinguish between voluntary sex work and human trafficking, or between what the bill would actually do…and the detailed tales of trauma they told.  Again and again, nonprofit representatives invoked trafficked children and raped women…The president of…NOW…Toni Van Pelt, [fantasized] that the bill would [legalize kidnapping]…Councilmember David Grosso, who introduced the bill and is now among four sponsors, stressed repeatedly that, if anything, this measure would give police more capacity to handle the sex crimes that should actually be sex crimes…This…earned Grosso—a white man—a number of direct and indirect accusations [that]…he didn’t understand life in black and brown communities…But Grosso only brought forward the legislation after being approached by a coalition of activists…from…DECRIMNOW, [who] are overwhelmingly young D.C. residents of color, many with personal experience in sex work…

Torture Chamber (#964) 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

Robert Wayne Johnson…[was] grappling with mental illness…[and] couldn’t afford about $2,500 in municipal court fines and fees accumulated over three years for [minor] infractions such as driving without a license…a judge sentenced Johnson to a two-day stint in jail [but] instead…[he was caged without reason] for 52 more days until he killed himself in January 2018…county officials [have no explanation]…Johnson’s death is among the hundreds each year that make suicide the leading cause of death in local jails…in the days before his death, a distraught Johnson tied torn towel strips around his neck in an apparent effort to strangle himself.  That [was ignored]…by staff…on…the day Johnson died, he tied shoelaces around his neck and…later cut his wrists with a razor blade until another detainee took the blade away and alerted [screws who locked him]…in [solitary confinement]…15 minutes [later]…he was [found dead] with his shoelaces wrapped around his neck and tied to the bed frame…

Shift in the Wind (#965)

Pro-decrim articles are even common on conservative sites these days:

…Conservatives don’t have to like it, and they certainly don’t have to view prostitution as moral or acceptable.  But if they want to embrace practical reality over moral idealism and help women, they’ll begrudgingly accept that we must stop waging state-led war on the world’s oldest profession.  Criminalizing prostitution only pushes it underground, making it significantly more dangerous for the women that participate…Decriminalization doesn’t magically make the sex industry a wonderful place to work or eliminate the moral qualms that reasonable people might have with prostitution.  But it does do a great deal to make the trade, which always will exist and always has existed, much safer for everyone involved…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#974)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

This month, Florida became the first state in the nation requiring sex-trafficking [indoctrin]ation as part of every student’s curriculum…The new policy requires every school district to implement age-appropriate lessons about [how sex is bad and scary and women are too stupid to be allowed to make decisions about it]…Valerie Ellery, the Florida Department of Education’s new Human Trafficking Education Specialist [admitted] “[I am] very grateful we are able to have this rule passed so [I] can [ride this gravy train while it lasts]”…One of the lead proponents for the rule was Selah Freedom, a Sarasota-based…organization that [makes its money via a religious “diversion” program for sex workers that is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#980)

If you aren’t worried about spy planes, how about this?

…satellite imagery…resolution keeps improving…[the ability to] identify individuals or license plates from space…[is] not far-off…In just 15 years, we’ve gone from being able to see things the size of 40-inch TVs to those the size of smart tablets.  There are [US] government controls on the resolution of commercially available satellite imagery, but [not on the imagery available to any government.  And even]…current American spy satellites…[have] about 0.10 meters resolution…Drones can be shot out of the sky, yet little can be done to combat or hide from cameras virtually invisible from the ground.  No one consents to being imaged from space…Yet [in]…a…not-so-distant future…we [will be able to] direct very high-resolution satellites to any point on Earth, easily identifying a person’s location or activities.  Who will have access to this data?  The police?  Politicians looking for dirt on their opponents, or angry spouses with a vendetta?  How will this data be used in courts and who can be trusted to interpret it?  The thought of potential misuses is chilling…

Misuse by “authorities” in both the US and under other oppressive regimes is 100% certain, and given that China, Israel and other police states are already selling data and surveillance equipment, no law in any US jurisdiction will be able to keep this power out of the hands of American cops for much longer.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#981) 

This is getting both nastier and more tangled:

…the turmoil surrounding controversial adult website GirlsDoPorn took a sharp turn, when the Department of Justice unsealed details of an FBI investigation against the site’s owners…[which] complicate mainstream coverage of this as a cliché tale of innocent girls from the heartland getting duped by sinister smut-peddlers.  Go through the very strange story of GDP and you will encounter a teen affiliate marketing tycoon, accusations of rape and sexual assault, “uncharged conspirators” rolling on former associates, a remote island paradise full of financial secrets and a conveniently dead lawyer who set up shady companies with names like Bubble Gum Media…In July 2015, [GDP owner Michael Pratt and his associates] began publishing their victims’ personal information ([legal] names, links to social media accounts, hometowns, pictures, etc.) en masse to a website called PornWikileaks.com…[which the following] November…was transferred to an email address belonging to…Pratt.  Turns out PornWikileaks — the infamous website started by the even more infamous adult industry pariah, Donny Long, and which hosted a doxxing and extortion fodder forum against adult models called “Whore Hunting”…was owned by none other than the GirlsDoPorn owner…

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A while back my friend Allena Gabosch asked me to write an essay for a new collection called Sex Positive Now, and a few days ago I received a press release for the book with the request that I share it.  So without further ado:

Allena Gabosch and Jeremy Shub have written Sex Positive Now , a book about sex-positivity.  The book contains essays and interviews by and with sex positive celebrities, activists and educators along with additional content written by Allena and Jeremy.  The book covers topics including the History of Sex-Positive Culture , Sex Negativity, Cultural Taboos about Porn and Sex Work, Health and Emotions, Intimacy, Relationships, Polyamory, Kink, Tantra/Sacred/Taoism, Consent, and Community.  Our goal is to support the change of cultural norms around sexuality and relationships so people have the freedom and permission to be the sexual beings they already are.  Pleasure and joy are vital to our wellbeing and sexual shame is a thing of the past.  People are celebrated for their sexuality, gender, who or how they love.  Consensual sexuality in all of its forms is healthy and life affirming.  People can make conscious choices about their sexuality and relationships.  A few of our 55 contributors include Annie Sprinkle, Janet Hardy, Race Bannon, Susie Bright, Buck Angel and Cunning Minx.  If you want to review and promote the book, free ebooks will be available for review.  You can purchase the book at sexpositivenow.com and the book launch will be in Melbourne and Seattle on 28th Oct.

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Diary #486

Last weekend I went out to Sunset on Saturday and returned on Monday; in addition to allowing me to avoid Tacoma traffic, it also made the week feel shorter (which was quite nice considering that I had several lovely appointments in that shortened week).  And now this week I’m flying off to North Carolina for my friend Kaytlin Bailey’s wedding, then next week I’ll have a small birthday celebration mostly involving getting high as a kite with some dear friends.  All in all, it has been an exceptionally pleasant autumn for me; I’m no longer young enough to dance through the dry leaves under the moon, but I’ve at last reached an emotional space where I’m OK with my life as it is, and I live in the present rather than always in the future as I used to.  And since I’ve learned how to manage my summer anxiety through the magic of cannabis, my brain has already relaxed into dark mode rather than taking months to do so as it has for a number of years now.  My life isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but the awful things locked up in crates under my mental stairs have been relatively quiet for a while now, so I’m going to enjoy that for as long as it lasts.

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This is political prosecution with no evidence.  –  Cliff Yi

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

A review of what looks like a decent book on the reality of sex work in China:

…sex is for sale everywhere in China and deeply embedded in the culture, allowing migrant women to earn a living in large cities and provide companionship to men left alone by unfavourable demographics…Eileen Yuk-ha Tsang explores these aspects of China’s sex industry and more in her new book China’s Commercial Sexscapes. She takes an in-depth look at prostitution in Dongguan…one of China’s sex industry hotspots…Tsang, an associate professor in the department of social and behavioural sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, worked at a bar for several months to gain the trust of sex workers, and her sources eventually open up with stories which are vivid with humanity…Tsang details how sex workers from rural areas see their lives in big cities as modern and sophisticated, and they take pride in being able to support their families living in other provinces such as Sichuan, Guangdong, and Hunan…many find sex work preferable to their former jobs in factories, where they would work 30 days a month, 12 hours a day, in mind-numbing and harsh environments for around 1,600 yuan a month.  In the sex industry, they can earn from five to 50 times that amount, working perhaps three or four days a week.  Tsang also discusses the foreign men who hire Chinese sex workers.  [Unsurprisingly], more than a few end up marrying the women and move them to their home countries…

The Missing Word

They’re bending over backwards to avoid that word:

Maricopa County Assessor Paul D. Petersen has been indicted in an adoption fraud scheme…in addition to being County Assessor for Maricopa County, Petersen is also an adoption lawyer…none of the women who gave birth did anything illegal, and none of the families that adopted children are accused of any crimes…Petersen and [his accomplice Lynwood] Jennet facilitated travel for pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to come to Arizona for the purpose of giving a child up for adoption…Petersen [has been charged] with 11 felony offenses, including human smuggling, sale of a child, and communications fraud…Authorities say they were first alerted to the scheme by concerned hospital workers who called a human trafficking tip line…

Bread and Circuses 

So will Newsweek next tell us that some politicians want a $15 minimum hourly “rental” fee, or that some big company has “rented” a new CEO?

A website that allowed…folks to review, rent and…message…escorts has been [stolen] by federal authorities.  Now, those who frequent[ed] IndependentGirls.com [will] look elsewhere…The website…wasn’t just geared for those wishing to buy, rent or even casually view women, but it was also a way for escort agencies to advertise themselves and their clients…

“Buy women”.  Yes, this is an actual supposed adult who apparently believes that it’s possible to purchase slaves on an ordinary review board.  And a supposedly-serious news outlet actually printed that.

If It Were Legal (#560)

While stigma and criminalization exist, this will keep happening:

The account details of the 250 thousand users of Dutch website Hookers.nl…we[re hacked and the]…hacker…is offering [the data] for sale…The website is popular among [both] clients [and] sex workers…The leaked data includes email addresses, user names, IP addresses and passwords.  The passwords are encrypted, but the email addresses are legible…[and some government] names are in the email address used to open an account.  The hacker is offering to sell the data for 300 dollars to any individual who wishes to purchase it…

Dutch Threat (#578)

Dutch authorities keep pretending their ever-narrower bottleneck is intended to help sex workers:

The [Dutch] government is taking extra measures to fight…the sex industry.  Sex workers will soon be required to have a permit to do their job, and the minimum age for sex work will be raised from 18 to 21…the government wants to bring “uniformity” to the rules around sex work in the Netherlands.  Currently…the minimum age varies per municipality, with some maintaining a minimum age of 18 and other 21…The articles that criminalize human trafficking and exploitation in prostitution will be expanded to include the persons “involved” with sex workers who get “financial benefit”.  It will make it illegal to [be a roommate, partner, landlord, etc] of a sex worker that doesn’t have a permit…People within the sex industry have warned that the[se stupid laws] will lead to sex workers going underground and working illegally [as such laws invariably do]…

The Cop Myth

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. How many more don’t admit it?

…In the nineteen-nineties, researchers found that forty-one per cent of male [cops]…admitted that, in the previous year, they’d been physically aggressive toward their spouses, and nearly ten per cent acknowledged choking, strangling, or using—or threatening to use—a knife or a gun.  But there are…no [more recent] empirical studies…[due to] reluctance to fund a study that will bring attention to [the violence intrinsic in policing]…the factors that lead to abuse at home—coercion, authoritarianism, a sense of entitlement to violence—are also present in [public cop behavior]…It should not be surprising that domestic abuse appears to predict excessive use of force—a link that scholars have suggested should [but won’t] alter the way that departments respond to both kinds of aggression.  The Citizens Police Data Project, in Chicago, analyzed the records of Chicago cops between 2000 and 2016 and found that [cops who commit]…domestic abuse received fifty per cent more complaints than their colleagues for using excessive force…one in five [cops actually] arrested for domestic violence…had also been the subject of a federal lawsuit for violating people’s civil rights…

Cooties (#816)

AirBnB “sex trafficking” fantasies are going global:

At the end of September, Airbnb unveiled a new special portal through which [pigs] can [demand private] information about users…The company [snivelled that] the portal will provide [pigs] with a dedicated channel they can use to [root through things that really are none of their business]…short-term rental properties such as those offered via Airbnb…have [long been the subject of cop masturbatory fantasies about]…human trafficking and prostitution…in…so-called “pop-up brothels”…[blah blah]…pimps and gangs…[blah blah] law enforcement agencies…

Even before one reads the article, the word “illicit” is a red flag for puritanical authoritarianism.

Torture Chamber (#950)

Just locking hundreds of women in secret dungeons and denyng them lawyers; nothing to see here:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement moved more than 700 women, some of whom have critical medical conditions, out of a Texas detention center in September without giving their lawyers any way of finding them…Starting on Sept. 20, the women being held at the Karnes County Residential Center were sent to other centers around the country so that the facility could be used to detain families.  More than two weeks later, their lawyers from the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) have no idea where the majority of these women are being held, and they can’t find any updated information in ICE’s online detainee tracking system…

A Procrustean Bed (#958) 

These programs to warp women’s minds and indoctrinate them in anti-sex dogma are very popular in Ohio:

A [so-called] diversion program for [sex workers] is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to [force] women [in]to…[“conversion therapy”] instead of jail…Judge Paul Herbert…[like most modern authoritarians, infantilizes sex workers] as victims of human trafficking…At the start, CATCH was one of only a few such programs in the country.  There are now seven of these [re-education programs]…in Ohio alone…[victims of this system are] subject to drug testing and must show up in court every week for two years [making both normal life and square jobs impossible.  It’s no wonder that fewer]…than 1 in 4 of the women [forced into the scheme] make it to [the end]…

Loose Cannons (#967)

I’m pleased to see yet another big article on the Robert Kraft raids recognizing what a huge scam the whole thing was:

On July 6, 2018, a health inspector named Karen Herzog visited a massage parlor in South Florida for a routine inspection.  She noticed that the spa worker, a young Asian woman, was “dressed provocatively,” spoke “little English,” and appeared “nervous.”  Herzog also noted suitcases, clothes, a fridge full of food, and condoms, all of which, according to the [racist indocrination] she had received, could be signs of human trafficking.  She reported her findings to the Martin County sheriff’s office…[which] launched a…[snoop campaign] into what [they thought they could sell to the media]…as a large-scale prostitution ring engaged in human trafficking…

The “sex trafficking” hysteria is finally dying; unfortunately, the laws it spawned will continue to be used to destroy thousands of lives and eviscerate the internet.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#971) 

Is there anything the government won’t call “sex trafficking”?

…the U.S. attorney’s office of San Diego charged the owners and one employee of the adult website Girls Do Porn with four counts of sex trafficking…[in] August…another case against the company—a class-action lawsuit representing 22 Jane Does—went to trial after years of hearings, discovery, and strategic delays from the defendants.  The trial was initially planned for February…but delayed for six months when the company’s owner, New Zealand native Michael Pratt, filed for bankruptcy.  “As soon as I bankrupt the business,” Pratt wrote in texts later submitted as evidence, “they are fucked”…The company…conned the plaintiffs and several hundred other young, low-income girls into porn by making false promises that their scenes would not go online.  They claimed the tapes would sell only to private collectors abroad…

This is clearly criminal fraud, but it doesn’t help anyone for the government to roll it into the inflated “sex trafficking” numbers it uses to justify police violence, grotesque violations of civil liberties, and mass censorship.

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Peak Relationship

The idea that sex is some sort of magic, holy sacrament despite the fact that all but the simplest life forms engage in it is a perfect example of how delusional humans can be.  Though sex is a powerful drive, so is hunger, and I don’t see anyone claiming that eating with someone else creates some magical bond between them.  I honestly feel sorry for those who truly believe that the best way to “connect” with other people is by boinking them, and the notion that people must boink to feel “connected” is a tragedy.  Sexual relationships are held up as the pinnacle of human interaction, but they’re not even close; they’re in fact nearer the bottom because they’re extremely conditional.  The true pinnacle of human interaction is intimate friendship; it persists under conditions that destroy “romances”, lasts much longer on average, and is an incredibly powerful connection despite governmental attempts to place other relationships (including sexual & familial ones and even the one-sided “relationship” between individual & State) above it.  Friendship is the most powerful kind of love in the world, which is why government constantly tries to weaken it; it persists despite the fact that, unlike practically every other relationship between two people, it has absolutely no legal status.  Other relationships require government to prop them up; friendship is the only one which is able to stand completely on its own.

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