Monday, October 19, 2009

The Dirty Thirty

The Dirty Thirty and the Silence of the Media Lambs
by Paula Gordon

When the U.S. Senate finally stopped Joseph McCarthy's violent, devastating attacks on American values, 22 Senators SUPPORTED McCarthy. They were all Republicans.

When a 19-year-old woman was reportedly gang-raped by co-workers in Iraq, 30 Senators* supported the rapists' company, effectively protecting the RAPISTS along with the company. All Republicans, these Senators self-righteously voted AGAINST an amendment holding government subcontractors responsible for the actions of their employees. "Free enterprise" beat out accountability for a gang-rape.

What kind of human being, much less Senator, champions private profit over justice in the face of rape? I can only wonder -- would it have been different if a man had been gang-raped?
When The Daily Show with Jon Stewart reported this week on the debate, then vote on the Senate Floor -- including simply unbelievable speeches from a number of these 30 Republican Senators -- we went looking to other news sources to learn more, quite reasonably turning first to The New York Times. Zero, zip, zilch.

Alternative media, such as Alternet and the Huffington Post had the story, as did the member-supported in the hometown of the Senator who had introduced the proposed amendment, Senator Al Franken. A press release was reprinted by Coverage was also provided by numerous bloggers and special interest groups. Except for Haliburton's hometown Houston Chronicle, in the mass/traditional media, we had to go to the U.K.'s Guardian** for more information. Lest one argue that the story "isn't news", as of 7 PM Mountain time on Saturday, the story ranked #4 on the Guardian website's most viewed list. We're still waiting for the screaming-Fox-News-headline: Republican Senators Support Gang-Rape by Three to One Margin.

Minnesota Senator Franken served decency well by introducing this piece of proposed legislation. Anyone working for the United States government, even mercenaries working for subcontractors, has the right to expect their fundamental human rights will not be blindly violated, left with no where to turn for justice.

More, Sen. Franken has served a greater good in letting these Senators' actions speak for themselves. It is they -- not he -- who are keeping front and center the reality of Republican ideological and dogmatic maliciousness in the service of their corporate masters.

These 30 Republican Senators may refuse to hold accountable government contractors and those to whom they subcontract. For me, the larger question is -- will voters in the states nominally represented by this Dirty Thirty hold THEM accountable?

Arbitration for gang-rape? Surely the Republican Party has earned the right to die.

*- These are the Republican senators, all male, who voted against the amendment and for the right of corporations to do pretty much what they damn well please without suffering any consequences:

The Dirty Thirty WALL of SHAME:
Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Apparently their views were actively supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

These are the Republican senators who voted for the amendment:***

Robert F. Bennett - R-UT
Susan Collins - R-ME
Chuck Grassley- R-IA
Orin Hatch-R-UT
Kay Bailey Hutchison - R-TX
George S. LeMieuz - R-FL
Richard Lugar - R-IN
Lisa Murkowski - R-AK
Olympia Snowe - R-ME
George Voinovich - R-OH
Four of the 10 are women, bless them all.

** - see, particularly, the "controversial history" of Halliburton at the end of this article. That history appears to be part of what the DIrty Thirty voted to protect.

***- two Democratic senators, West Virginia's Byrd and Pennsylvania's Specter, did not vote.

Read more at:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

As Addictive as Cocaine?

By Olivia LichtensteinLast updated at 8:54 AM on 28th July 2009

A very modern dilemma: If a wife catches her husband watching porn, should she forgive him or throw him out?

She's younger than you, and prettier, too. Her breasts are pneumatic, her stomach is taut and flat. Your husband is spending more and more time in her company (and in the company of hundreds of women just like her). She's never tired and is always ready and available at the click of a mouse.

Sound familiar? Then you have most likely joined the legions of porn widows spawned by the internet.

Never has the subject of pornography been more hotly debated than since former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that she had forgiven her husband Richard Timney for watching porn films - which she later claimed for on her Parliamentary expenses.

What's more, she said, she had not even made him sleep on the sofa as punishment.
These days, we're told it's 'uncool' to mind too much about porn: everyone watches it, come on, loosen up, what's the big deal? No one is coercing the women involved, so should you mind if your man is watching it?

As a mother of two in a 22-year marriage, I'm not sure I can be so understanding. My husband has never been able to see the point of porn and has no interest in it. But he is unusual.
I suspect thousands of wives who discover their husbands are watching porn are then left with a very modern dilemma: should you forgive them, or throw them out and try to explain to your children why Daddy has gone?

Pornography today permeates society. It's available on TV screens and in magazines and to anyone of any age on the internet. Teenagers in the UK spend 87 hours a year looking at porn, according to a survey carried out this year for CyberSentinel, a parental-lock software company.
Studies suggest that as many as 80 per cent of men watch porn on TV or the internet, and many of them are so addicted to it that it's been called the new cocaine.
Why is it so powerful? Pornography taps into intense emotional, biological and chemical connections throughout the brain and body. Arousal through pornography leads to the release of the naturally occurring chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin.

Mary Anne Layden, Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Programme co-director at the University of Pennsylvania, says: 'Porn is the most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.'

According to Layden, online pornography is akin to having an addictive drug pumped into your house for free, 24 hours a day.

And unlike other drugs, which users can get out of their system, pornographic images stay imprinted in the brain.

Many men might argue that it's harmless; a naughty diversion from the stresses of everyday life. But how many wives will agree?

Has Jacqui Smith really forgiven her husband? Can a marriage ever really recover from this sort of betrayal?

Hilary is 45, a successful working woman from Manchester with two teenage children, and married to a market researcher.
Four years ago, I saw a bill for our cable TV,' she says. 'My husband snatched it away from me before I could examine it, but I'd already seen it was for about £1,000.'
Her husband said it was for repairs he'd had done to the TV system and she forgot all about it. But then a second bill arrived for a similar amount and she found that it was actually for adult films.

Embarrassment: Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced she had forgiven her husband Richard Timney for watching porn films

'I felt sick and horrified, and confronted him with it,' she says. 'He said it was research for a project he was working on. Part of me wanted to believe him, but part of me knew the truth. I chose to go with the lie, though, because I didn't want to confront the alternative.'

But over the next few months, more and more bills arrived - and then Hilary found that he'd also been buying films and magazines.
It was revolting, really horrible. I felt utterly sickened.'

By now, their sex life had dwindled. 'I thought: "If that's what you want, fine, but you're not having me, too."'

Their physical relationship has still not recovered from it. Still, she claims to have forgiven him.
'It was a period of great stress in his life and this was his way of escaping from it,' she says.

She admits she still feels uncomfortable about it and stayed in the marriage so that their children would have a father at home.

'I find the whole thing so distasteful - this notion of a dolly bird who will do anything for you. I insisted there would be no pornography in the house again, but I'm not sure if we'll ever resume our physical relationship.'

Sex, at its best, is the physical expression of love between two people. Lonely, narcissistic cyber sex is a poor imitation of the real thing.

The problem for many women who discover their partners are looking at pornography is that all too often they blame themselves - a fact identified by therapist Charlotte Friedman, who specialises in divorce.

Pornography is a factor in a significant number of the cases that she deals with. In her experience, men are liable to argue that looking at porn is harmless and that they're doing it because their wives aren't having sex with them. '

As a result, the women blame themselves and think that they've driven their partners to it.'
Friedman finds that women generally do forgive partners' porn habits - if the behaviour stops and work is done to rebuild the relationship. She argues that a woman's natural inclination to blame herself makes her more likely to forgive her husband.

What is disturbing, however, is that in clinical trials where subjects are exposed to repeated presentations of pornography over a six-week period, the subjects are found by the end of the trial to devalue monogamy and cease to regard marriage as a lasting institution.
It's no surprise, then, that excessive use of pornography causes a disturbance to family life and decreases sexual satisfaction within marriage.

In the U.S., pornography is the third largest money-maker for organised crime, after drugs and gambling. In the UK, it's a fast-growing billion-pound industry that trades on men's fantasies, increasingly featuring scenes of violence.

Expensive habit: Relationship support groups reported as many as 40 per cent of couples with problems believed pornography contributed to their difficulties

Familiar plots are those where women find themselves helpless and at the mercy of men enacting rape 'fantasies' and reinforcing age-old stereotypes of 'you know you want it'.

A recent review by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice, the body responsible for setting standards in advertising, stated that: 'Pornography distorts human sexuality and undermines dignity and respect for others by making sexual intimacy into little more than a spectator sport without love, commitment or responsibility.'

The review highlighted the fact that relationship support groups reported as many as 40 per cent of couples with problems believed pornography contributed to their difficulties.

That view supports research by the University of Calgary, which has shown exposure to pornography puts men at an increased risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies and of experiencing difficulties in intimate relationships. Don't you find that sad and depressing? I know I do.

Pornography addiction is sad. It eroticises male supremacy and debases women. It makes wives feel hurt, betrayed, mistrustful and lacking in self-esteem - and it's when they are in that state that they're forced to choose whether to forgive the man who has betrayed them or break up their marriage.

The men, too, experience feelings of shame and self-loathing. One man I spoke to who uses porn said: 'There is always a little nagging voice in my head which says I'm a filthy, woman-hating lout and I should abstain.'

Where, in the past, men had to pluck up the courage to pick a magazine off the top shelf, now, thanks to the internet, there are no witnesses and no controls.
The easy, open-all-hours access that exists means many men neglect their families, give up hobbies and don't get enough sleep because they are up until four or five in the morning on the computer.

There is an argument - which many feel has some currency - that a lot of these men would not be that interested in porn if it were not so freely available at the click of a mouse. If that's the case, then it's another example of the internet subtly debasing society - and chipping away at the self-respect of men and women alike.

'Pornography is not real and the only thing human beings get nourishment from is reality: real relationships,' says David Morgan, consultant psychotherapist at London's Portman Clinic, whose patients have problems with sexuality or violence.

'The problem with the internet,' he says, 'is that it enables you to find people who share your predilections and it normalises them. Pornography is corrosive and addictive and, like any drug, every time you use it, you need more to get the same high.'

As many wives have discovered, men are being seduced into seeking ever more extreme 'highs' with internet porn. How those wives react when they find out is a complex and troubling question.

And make no mistake, the fate of many marriages is hanging in the balance.

Print this article
Read Read more:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Certified Sex Addiction Therapists

Finding a CSAT or Certified Sex Addiction Therapist is crucial to finding help by someone who is trained in treating the specific and real symptoms of porn and sex addiction.

Dr. Patrick Carnes' website includes a valuable link to find a CSAT by zip code.