Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed

From Bloomberg News: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html

By Bradley Keoun and Phil Kuntz
Aug 22, 2011

Citigroup Inc. (C) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) were the reigning champions of finance in 2006 as home prices peaked, leading the 10 biggest U.S. banks and brokerage firms to their best year ever with $104 billion of profits.

By 2008, the housing market’s collapse forced those companies to take more than six times as much, $669 billion, in emergency loans from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The loans dwarfed the $160 billion in public bailouts the top 10 got from the U.S. Treasury, yet until now the full amounts have remained secret.

Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s unprecedented effort to keep the economy from plunging into depression included lending banks and other companies as much as $1.2 trillion of public money, about the same amount U.S. homeowners currently owe on 6.5 million delinquent and foreclosed mortgages. The largest borrower, Morgan Stanley (MS), got as much as $107.3 billion, while Citigroup took $99.5 billion and Bank of America $91.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg News compilation of data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, months of litigation and an act of Congress.

“These are all whopping numbers,” said Robert Litan, a former Justice Department official who in the 1990s served on a commission probing the causes of the savings and loan crisis. “You’re talking about the aristocracy of American finance going down the tubes without the federal money.”

(View the Bloomberg interactive graphic to chart the Fed’s financial bailout.)

Foreign Borrowers

It wasn’t just American finance. Almost half of the Fed’s top 30 borrowers, measured by peak balances, were European firms. They included Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, which took $84.5 billion, the most of any non-U.S. lender, and Zurich-based UBS AG (UBSN), which got $77.2 billion. Germany’s Hypo Real Estate Holding AG borrowed $28.7 billion, an average of $21 million for each of its 1,366 employees.

Continue reading at:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-21/wall-street-aristocracy-got-1-2-trillion-in-fed-s-secret-loans.html

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Rick Perry Struggles to answer Question on Abstinence

Dozens arrested outside White House in Keystone pipeline protests

From The Winnipeg Free Press:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/dozens-arrested-outside-white-house-in-keystone-pipeline-protests.html

By: Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press
Posted: 08/20/2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama wasn’t around to see it, but 65 protesters were arrested Saturday as they participated in a peaceful protest outside the White House aimed at pressuring him to block TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Bill McKibben, a leading American environmentalist and one of the organizers of the two-week protest, was among those arrested. Others included gay rights activist Dan Choi; Jane Hamsher, the founder of the popular liberal blog Firedoglake; and Gus Speth, a onetime environmental expert under former president Jimmy Carter.

About 100 protesters, carrying a large banner that read “Climate Change Is Not In Our National Interest,” gathered at Lafayette Square directly north of the White House on a sunny and humid Saturday morning. They chanted “hey-ho, Keystone XL has got to go” as they stood on the sidewalk that runs along the White House’s wrought-iron fence.

When they didn’t respond to requests to move from the sidewalk, U.S. Park Police and SWAT officers handcuffed them and removed them from the area one after the other.

Obama, meantime, was vacationing with his family in Martha’s Vineyard.

But when he returns late next week, the protesters say they’ll still be there to protest a Canadian project that has become a lightning rod for the U.S. environmental movement in the wake of failed climate change legislation once passionately promoted by Obama.

“It’s not the easiest thing on Earth for law-abiding folk to come to risk arrest,” McKibben said before his arrest.

“But this pipeline has emerged as the single clear test of the president’s willingness to fight for the environment. So I wore my Obama ’08 button, and I carry a great deal of hope in my heart that we will see that old Obama emerge.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/dozens-arrested-outside-white-house-in-keystone-pipeline-protests.html

From Tar Sands Action Orghttp://www.tarsandsaction.org/fifty-more-americans-arrested-at-white-house-on-day-2-of-sit-in-over-oil-pipeline/

Fifty More Americans Arrested At White House on Day 2 of Sit-in Over Oil Pipeline

For immediate release
August 21, 2011

Fifty More Americans Arrested At White House on Day 2 of Sit-in Over Oil Pipeline

WASHINGTON  – Fifty more Americans were arrested this morning at the White House as fifty of their fellow protestors were held in jail in an attempt to “deter future participants” (1) from participating in an ongoing sit-in at the White House to push President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new tar sands oil pipeline.

Writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben, who is spearheading the protests, sent a message from jail last night, “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need more company.”

This morning’s sit-in featured participants from as far away as Montana and North Dakota to risk arrest defending their air, water and climate. A group of doctors from Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility wore their white lab coats as they stood at the White House fence waiting to be arrested.

The ongoing protests have helped turn fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline into President Obama’s most important environmental decision before the 2012 election. Many of the participants in the sit-in this morning wore “Obama 2008” buttons as a statement that they want back the candidate who promise to take on climate change and help end our dependence on fossil fuels.

McKibben was amongst those arrested yesterday, along with the co-founder of NRDC and former White House official Gus Speth, gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, author and activist Mike Tidwell, Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher, and many others.

“Saturday’s arrests and overnight jailings are already lighting a fire,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who was also arrested Saturday. “More people are now inspired, determined, and committed to join. On Monday alone over 20 DC-area doctors, lawyers and students will be going to jail to chant, sing, and stop the pipeline. They’ll be joining Nebraska ranchers and others nationwide. Word is spreading.”

Harriet Korim Arnoldi, a folk musician from Cape Cod, was arrested today and she celebrated her 65th birthday in handcuffs.

Notes

1. US Park Police told event organizers that they want to “deter future participants.” A full description of the situation is at tarsandsaction.org/not-deterred

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Rick Perry accused of hypocrisy as he comes under fire for investment in America’s largest pornography distributor

From The Daily Mail UK:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2028353/Rick-Perry-comes-investment-Americas-largest-pornography-distributor.html

By John Stevens
21st August 2011

Leading Republican contender and prominent Christian candidate Rick Perry has been accused of hypocrisy after it was revealed that he invested thousands of dollars in the country’s largest pornography distributor.

Just a week after he launched his presidential campaign, the Texas governor has come under fire for his investment in Movie Gallery, a company that rented pornographic movies.

In 1995, while serving as Texas’ agriculture commissioner, financial disclosures reveal that Mr Perry bought between $5,000 and $10,000 worth of the company’s stock.

The revelation is particularly embarrassing for the Republican candidate as the company was boycotted by the American Family Association, which hosted Mr Perry’s high-profile prayer rally in Houston a week before he kicked off his campaign.

In potentially even more damaging allegations, Mr Perry is accused of signing into law bills that could have benefitted the pornography distributor.

Continue reading at:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2028353/Rick-Perry-comes-investment-Americas-largest-pornography-distributor.html

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Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats from militants

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/21/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis

Scientists are subjected to a campaign of abuse and violence

The Observer, Sunday 21 August 2011

The full extent of the campaign of intimidation, attacks and death threats made against scientists by activists who claim researchers are suppressing the real cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is revealed today by the Observer. According to the police, the militants are now considered to be as dangerous and uncompromising as animal rights extremists.

One researcher told the Observer that a woman protester who had turned up at one of his lectures was found to be carrying a knife. Another scientist had to abandon a collaboration with American doctors after being told she risked being shot, while another was punched in the street. All said they had received death threats and vitriolic abuse.

In addition, activists – who attack scientists who suggest the syndrome has any kind of psychological association – have bombarded researchers with freedom of information requests, made rounds of complaints to university ethical committees about scientists’ behaviour, and sent letters falsely alleging that individual scientists are in the pay of drug and insurance companies.

“I published a study which these extremists did not like and was subjected to a staggering volley of horrible abuse,” said Professor Myra McClure, head of infectious diseases at Imperial College London. “One man wrote he was having pleasure imagining that he was watching me drown. He sent that every day for months.”

Chronic fatigue syndrome – also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) – is common and debilitating. A recent BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) feature suggested that as many as one in 250 people in the UK suffers from it. Patients are sometimes unable to move and become bedridden, occasionally having to be fed through a tube. For more than 20 years, scientists have struggled to find the cause, with some pointing to physiological reasons, in particular viral infections, while others have argued that psychological problems are involved.

It is the latter group that has become the subject of extremists’ attacks. The antagonists hate any suggestion of a psychological component and insist it is due to external causes, in particular viruses. In the case of McClure, her “crime” was to publish a paper indicating that early studies linking the syndrome to the virus XMRV were wrong and the result of laboratory contamination. So furious was the reaction that she had to withdraw from a US collaboration because she was warned she might be shot.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/aug/21/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis

Major Funder For Glenn Beck’s Israel Rally Linked To Anti-Semitic Group

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/19/299557/funder-for-travel-to-glenn-becks-jerusalem-rally-tied-to-anti-semitic-group/

By Eli Clifton
Aug 19, 2011

Glenn Beck’s upcoming rally to “Restore Courage” has run into a snag after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the House Ethics Committee rejected the requestby a number of House members to travel at the expense of the International Israel Allied Caucus Foundation to Beck’s rally in Jerusalem.

But political and religious leaders from “around the world” will be enjoying U.S. taxpayer subsidized — through non-taxable charitable contributions — travel to the rally. The travel will be paid for by WallBuilders, an organization founded by David Barton, a pseudo-historian and frequent Glenn Beck guest. Barton has a history of anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric, has spoken at events sponsored by anti-Semitic organizations, and promotes a revisionist history of the U.S. claiming that the “Church-state separation is a liberal myth.”

Beck’s partnership with WallBuilders is listed on the rally’s front page by clicking the “Donate” button which takes visitors to WallBuilders website. The site accepts contributions to the “Restoring Courage — Israel” fund:

<snip>

But David Barton’s record of intolerance and historical revisionism should offer some insights into who is funding Beck’s Jerusalem rally and which individuals have Beck’s ear. Back in 1994, the Anti-Defamation League had harsh words for Barton’s decision to appear at events hosted by the Christian Identity movement, a group the ADL said:

Asserts that Jews are ‘the synagogue of Satan’; that Blacks and other people of color are subhuman; and that northern European whites and their American descendants are the ‘chosen people’ of scriptural prophesy.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/19/299557/funder-for-travel-to-glenn-becks-jerusalem-rally-tied-to-anti-semitic-group/

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Jubilant Rebels Control Much of Tripoli

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/africa/22libya.html?_r=1&hp

By and
Published: August 21, 2011

TRIPOLI, Libya — Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power dissolved with astonishing speed on Monday as rebels marched into the capital and arrested two of his sons, while residents raucously celebrated the prospective end of his four-decade-old rule.

In the city’s central Green Square, the site of many manufactured rallies in support of Colonel Qaddafi, jubilant Libyans tore down posters of him and stomped on them. The rebel leadership announced that the elite presidential guard protecting the Libyan leader had surrendered and that their forces controlled many parts of the city, but not Colonel Qaddafi’s leadership compound.

The National Transitional Council, the rebel governing body, issued a mass text message saying: “We congratulate the Libyan people for the fall of Muammar Qaddafi and call on the Libyan people to go into the street to protect the public property. Long live free Libya.”

Officials loyal to Colonel Qaddafi insisted that the fight was not over, and there were clashes between rebels and government troops early on Monday morning. But NATO and American officials said that the Qaddafi government’s control of Tripoli, which had been its final stronghold, was now in doubt.

President Obama said Sunday night that Colonel Qaddafi and his inner circle had “to recognize that their rule has come to an end” and called on Colonel Qaddafi “to relinquish power once and for all.” He also called on the National Transitional Council to avoid civilian casualties and protect state institutions as it took control of the country.

“Tonight, the momentum against the Qaddafi regime has reached a tipping point,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Tripoli is slipping from the grasp of a tyrant. The Qaddafi regime is showing signs of collapsing. The people of Libya are showing that the universal pursuit of dignity and freedom is far stronger than the iron fist of a dictator.”

The shocking collapse of the Qaddafi forces appeared to signal the end for one of the world’s most flamboyant and mercurial political figures, the leader of an idiosyncratic government that was frequently as bizarre as it was brutal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/world/africa/22libya.html?_r=1&hp

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Congressman Paul Ryan Protester Calls For Nationwide Sit-in Of Congressional Offices

From The Rochester Citizen:  http://therochestercitizen.com/congressman-paul-ryan-protester-calls-for-nationwide-sitin-of-congressiona-p685-1.htm

August 21, 2011

On Thursday a group of four unemployed constituents of Congressman Paul Ryan entered his Congressional office in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Rochester Citizen spoke to Shanon Molina, one of Ryan’s unemployed constituents on Saturday afternoon to get an update on the situation in Kenosha.  The sit-in continued on Friday.  Molina said that on Friday there were as many as nine or ten people occupying Congressman Ryan’s office.

Shanon Molina Update on Occupation of Congressman Ryan’s Office

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What’s the Matter with Obama?

From Ted Rall:  http://www.rall.com/rallblog/2011/08/18/syndicated-column-whats-the-matter-with-obama

It’s the Not Caring About the Economy, Stupid

By Ted Rall
August 18, 2011

As a pundit it’s my job to explain why politicians do the things they do. Every now and then, however, a pol behaves so irrationally that I have to throw up my arms and ask:

What the hell is this guy thinking?

That’s what Obama has me doing. For over two years. Why isn’t he worried about unemployment?

Thomas Frank wondered in “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” why Americans don’t vote their (liberal) self-interest. What I can’t figure out is why President Obama isn’t following his self-interest.

Obama says he wants a second term. I believe him. Every president wants one.

Americans vote their pocketbooks. Not exclusively—they care about a candidate’s values—but no president has ever been reelected with an unemployment rate over 7.2 percent. Right now it’s 9.1 percent. Unless there’s an unexpected reversal, it will still be way high by Election Day 2012.

Economists surveyed by USA Today predict that the jobless rate will be pretty much the same, 8.8 percent, at this time next year. Goldman Sachs is even more pessimistic. They think it will be 9.25 percent by the end of 2012—with a “meaningful downside risk” that it will be even worse.

Polls indicate that economic insecurity, specifically high unemployment, has been the biggest issue on voters’ minds since Obama took over in 2009.

77 percent of Americans tell Gallup the economy is getting worse. That’s up from 62 percent a month ago.

If Obama wants to get reelected he has to do something about jobs. Something BIG. Failing that—and that’s an epic fail—he has to at least be perceived as trying to do something about jobs. But he hasn’t done squat so far. And his job approval rating, now at an all-time low of 39 percent, reflects that.

I don’t like admitting this, but I’m mystified. Why isn’t Obama even trying to look like he cares about the one issue that could make or break his reelection chances?

What’s up? Are he and his advisors morons, or just out of touch? Do they have some secret jobs-related October Surprise that will magically reemploy the 22 percent of Americans who are out of work during the last few weeks of the election? Are they the Chicago Black Sox of politics, determined to throw the race to the Republicans? Psychologist Drew Westen can’t figure it out either, wondering aloud if Obama is sick in the head.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rall.com/rallblog/2011/08/18/syndicated-column-whats-the-matter-with-obama

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America In Decline

From In These Times:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/11806/america_in_decline/

By Noam Chomsky
August 5, 2011

“It is a common theme” that the United States, which “only a few years ago was hailed to stride the world as a colossus with unparalleled power and unmatched appeal is in decline, ominously facing the prospect of its final decay,” Giacomo Chiozza writes in the current Political Science Quarterly.

The theme is indeed widely believed. And with some reason, though a number of qualifications are in order. To start with, the decline has proceeded since the high point of U.S. power after World War II, and the remarkable triumphalism of the post-Gulf War ’90s was mostly self-delusion.

Another common theme, at least among those who are not willfully blind, is that American decline is in no small measure self-inflicted. The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy.

The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.

Corporate power’s ascendancy over politics and society—by now mostly financial—has reached the point that both political organizations, which at this stage barely resemble traditional parties, are far to the right of the population on the major issues under debate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/11806/america_in_decline/

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Study: Boys are reaching sexual maturity earlier, social maturity later

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/19/study-boys-are-reaching-sexual-maturity-earlier-social-maturity-later/

By Muriel Kane
Friday, August 19th, 2011

A new study has concluded that the age of sexual maturity in boys has been steadily decreasing in Europe since the mid-18th century. A similar trend among girls had previously been determined on the basis of medical records related to the onset of menstruation, but it has been harder to establish equivalent statistics for boys from historical documentation alone.

However, Joshua Goldstein of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany believes that sexual maturity can be correlated with what is known as the “accident hump.”

As explained by ScienceDaily, “When male hormone production during puberty reaches a maximum level the probability of dying jumps up. This phenomenon, called the ‘accident hump,’ exists in almost all societies and is statistically well documented. Goldstein discovered that the maximum mortality value of the accident hump shifted to earlier age by 2.5 months for each decade since the mid-1700s, or just over two years per century.”

The story further explains that “the accident hump, which also exists among male apes, occurs because young men participate in particularly risky behaviour when the release of the hormone testosterone reaches its maximum. Dangerous and reckless shows of strength, negligence, and a high propensity to violence lead to an increased number of fatal accidents.”

The decline does not appear to be related to recent technological changes — such as the invention of the automobile or the greater availability of guns — so Goldstein concludes that it is probably the result of better health and nutrition. It may, however, have ceased about 1950.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/08/19/study-boys-are-reaching-sexual-maturity-earlier-social-maturity-later/

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US suffering big rollback of abortion rights.

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LMRK Investigates Massive Fish Kill in Pearl River Basin

From The Lower Mississippi River Keepers:

August 18. 2011

The Temple-Inland Inc. paper mill in Bogalusa, LA discharged chemical laden effluent into the Pearl River late last week resulting in a fish kill.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011 Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper was contacted by Jerry Wagnon, a concerned citizen and 30 year veteran of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (retired). I could tell by the tone of his voice that Jerry was quite upset. Jerry explained to me what he was seeing happen with the fish kill. He relayed to me that the fish kill was much more severe than was being reported at the time and that it appeared to him that the state agencies were not investigating the incident in an adequate manner. Jerry graciously offered for he and his friend and Pearl River Basin resident Denty Crawford to take us out and see what was going on first hand.

We arranged to meet at 9:00a.m. Wednesday August 17, 2011 at Davis Landing near the city of Pearl River, La. Denty and Jerry picked myself and LMRK Media Master Jeffrey Dubinsky up in Denty’s aluminum fishing boat. Denty piloted us on a short ride up to the property he owns between West Pearl River and Porters Bayou. It took only a minute or two to begin to see the carnage. At first it was a few fish here and there hung up near the bank of Pearl River but once we got into Porters Bayou it quickly became clogged by large rafts of dead fish and clams. There were every kind of fish that you would expect to find. Channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, freshwater drum, buffalo fish, American eel and a variety of shad and bream were the easiest to recognize and made up the bulk of the dead fish we saw. There was also a really astounding number of dead freshwater mussels, many large baseball to softball size mussels and smaller mussels as well. The other creatures that we saw dead in large numbers were the the larval forms of the dragonfly and the mayfly.

It was really quite astounding. I have never seen anything like it. And we were assured by Jerry and Denty that we were not even seeing half of what was there the day before. Frankly it was disturbing to see what had to be every fish, mussel and larvae in the area dead in the water. I know it was particularly difficult for Jerry and Denty. Jerry spent most of his 30 year career with Wildlife and Fisheries protecting the wildlife and fisheries in the Pearl River Basin area and Denty’s whole life revolves around the swamp and the rivers there. They are his home and how he makes his living. Denty was particularly upset by all of the dead catfish (what had to be hundreds of pounds worth just in the small area we could see) as he catfishes to raise extra money to help offset some of the expenses he incurs helping mentor troubled youth from his community. Judging by the sheer number of catfish dead at all stages of life; the outlook for the catfish harvest looks grim for the next year or two assuming the fish begin recovering soon. Not to mention the anxiety and uncertainty of wether the fish will even be safe to eat that area residents will understandably feel after this event.

The natural resource damages from this incident are huge. We were over 30 miles as the crow flies from the outfall of the paper mill and we were seeing utter devastation to the aquatic organisms. The area is home to a number of the state of Louisiana’s endangered species including the ringed map turtle, the inflated heel-splitter mussel, the Gulf sturgeon and a plant called the Louisiana quillwort. Dead Gulf sturgeon have already been reported amongst the casualties of this event. However, it appears that the state agencies have not been conducting a thorough investigation of this incident. The magnitude of the incident and the sensitive area in which it occurred calls for a rigorous investigation into the kinds and amounts of toxic materials released, the species and numbers of organisms killed and all potential impacts that this event will have on the ecosystem and the animal and human communities that exist there.
LMRK Sampling Mussels

This event also sends a clear message that we also are seeing at other facilities; paper mills in this state have been allowed to use outdated and inadequate treatment processes on their waste streams. All paper mills in Louisiana must be upgraded to the maximum achievable control technology as the impacts from these facilities are unacceptable and represent a significant burden on the nearby ecosystems. It is only fair that a company that is making a profit from some of our natural resources do everything that they can to prevent their operations from damaging other natural resources relied upon by others like Denty Crawford.

Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper took samples of water and affected organisms during the outing and will test them for materials likely to be found in paper mill effluent. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep everyone informed of our findings.

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Look God, No Hands

From Utne Reader:  http://www.utne.com/Mind-Body/Dirty-Girls-Ministries-Evil-Female-Masturbation.aspx

Dirty Girls Ministries is on a crusade against the evils of female masturbation

by Blaire Briody, from Bust
September-October 2011

In a small, plainly decorated room in Lenexa, Kansas, 26-year-old Crystal Renaud logs on to a free video-chat site. She sits at her desk and peers over her black-rimmed glasses, which reflect the dull blue glare of the computer monitor. Meanwhile, in homes scattered around the United States, five other women are staring into their webcams as well. As their faces pop up around Renaud on all their screens, they begin the 6th week of a 12-week pornography addiction recovery group for women called No Stones.

“Does anyone want to share a story where they felt they had some sort of personality disorder? Or something related?” Renaud asks, before her voice temporarily cuts out and the screen freezes. The group is having technical issues tonight. “For me, I found myself really clinging to certain personality types, those opposite of my dad,” she says when she’s back on. The assignment for this week, she tells the women, is to write down their sexual histories. “I know it’s overwhelming, but don’t be defeated by this,” she says. “There’s hope. This is truth. Even though it’s hard and painful, the truth is what sets you free.”

The No Stones recovery group is part of an organization called Dirty Girls Ministries that Renaud launched in 2009 after suffering from her own self-described pornography addiction. She says she wanted to help other women recover from their X-rated fixations by connecting with them online and holding meetings at her local church. But her use of the terms porn and addiction may be misleading. The growing group of 100-plus members who participate in the forums say that they masturbate or view porn—which they define as including erotica and romance novels—twice a week or less. For most of us, that would hardly be considered excessive. But to Renaud, it indicates an epidemic of addiction, one that can be treated by helping women stay “clean” of masturbation.

In addition to the online ministry, she speaks regularly at various evangelical churches in Kansas and has written a book called Dirty Girls Come Clean. “Whether you believe it or not, women are addicted to porn,” Renaud preached in a recent sermon. “You’d be surprised at how many women—women in your own lives—are hiding this deep, dark, and dirty secret.”

While many of the women she counsels report turning to pornography as a form of escape—from traumas like sexual abuse, infidelity, and even prostitution—Renaud compares their masturbation to alcoholism, saying that “like drugs and alcohol, so many things that feel good in a short amount of time can end up hurting you.”

Renaud’s advocacy is labeled anti-pornography, but it aims to treat all masturbation, whether it involves porn or not. When you peel back the layers, the core of her crusade is against sexual thought—even within marriage—unless those thoughts are about your husband while you are engaging in intercourse with him.

Continue reading at: http://www.utne.com/Mind-Body/Dirty-Girls-Ministries-Evil-Female-Masturbation.aspx#

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