Monday, December 21, 2009

More Judicial Gerrymandering

This is a total joke. The system is slanted in favor of the ACCUSED and THE INNOCENT. Its also based on finding the FACTS at hand at ALL TIMES. This ruling has, like so much else in our FASCIST country, turned lying, cheating and stealing into REAL LIFE actions that go UNPUNISHED. What do you think the big corporations are going to do? HIDE ALL EVIDENCE SHOWING THEIR GUILT IN ANY MATTER AND DEMAND THE CASE BE DISMISSED AND NO FACTS FOUND DURING THE TYPICAL "DISCOVERY" PROCESS. Unreal.

Is America Still a Nation of Laws?

Congress and the White House may have been co-opted by the big lobbyists and Wall Street insiders, but you may assume that at least the third branch of government - the courts - are still following the rule of law and protecting the little guy.

Unfortunately, the American system of justice is also under attack.

I'm not talking simply about judicial corruption. True, as I pointed out on February 17, 2009:

Senior judges in Pennsylvania have pleaded guilty to falsely convicting and imprisoning hundreds of youths (they got kickbacks from the prisons).


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court refused to hear a case regarding the corrupt judges. A month later, only after the judges confessed to criminal wrongdoing, did the Supreme Court change its mind and take any interest

In fact, I'm talking about something much more disturbing than simple corruption. I am talking about abandoning the very foundations of our judicial system.

For example, as I noted on July 21, 2009:

The New York Times is providing important coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court's May 18, 2009 decision in the case known as Ashcroft v. Iqbal:

The lower courts have certainly understood the significance of the decision, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which makes it much easier for judges to dismiss civil lawsuits right after they are filed. They have cited it more than 500 times in just the last two months.

“Iqbal is the most significant Supreme Court decision in a decade for day-to-day litigation in the federal courts,” said Thomas C. Goldstein, an appellate lawyer with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington.

Why is Iqbal such an important case?

As the Times notes:

For more than half a century, it has been clear that all a plaintiff had to do to start a lawsuit was to file what the rules call “a short and plain statement of the claim” in a document called a complaint. Having filed such a bare-bones complaint, plaintiffs were entitled to force defendants to open their files and submit to questioning under oath.

This approach, particularly when coupled with the American requirement that each side pay its own lawyers no matter who wins, gave plaintiffs settlement leverage. Just by filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff could subject a defendant to great cost and inconvenience in the pre-trial fact-finding process called discovery...

Information about wrongdoing is often secret. Plaintiffs claiming they were the victims of employment discrimination, a defective product, an antitrust conspiracy or a policy of harsh treatment in detention may not know exactly who harmed them and how before filing suit. But plaintiffs can learn valuable information during discovery.

The Iqbal decision now requires plaintiffs to come forward with concrete facts at the outset, and it instructs lower court judges to dismiss lawsuits that strike them as implausible.

“Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the five-justice majority, “requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”

Note those words: Plausible. Common sense.

So what is the real world effect of the Supreme Court's decision?

The Times provides some hints:

“It obviously licenses highly subjective judgments,” said Stephen B. Burbank, an authority on civil procedure at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “This is a blank check for federal judges to get rid of cases they disfavor.”

Courts applying Iqbal have been busy. A federal judge in Connecticut dismissed a disability discrimination suit this month, saying that Iqbal required her to treat the plaintiff’s assertions as implausible. A few days later, the federal appeals court in New York dismissed a breach of contract and securities fraud suit after concluding that its account of the defendants’ asserted wrongdoing was too speculative.

Indeed, the Plaintiff in Iqbal himself, was a Pakistani Muslim working and living in Long Island, who claims he was arrested 2 months after 9/11 and then beaten and tortured. But the court didn't want to hear about it:

Justice Kennedy said Mr. Iqbal’s suit against two officials had not cleared the plausibility bar. All Mr. Iqbal’s complaint plausibly suggested, Justice Kennedy wrote, “is that the nation’s top law enforcement officers, in the aftermath of a devastating terrorist attack, sought to keep suspected terrorists in the most secure conditions available.”

In other words, the Court found the allegation that an innocent person was tortured as "implausible". It has become apparent to everyone, however, that many innocent people were tortured.

The Iqbal decision is - literally - an assault by the Supreme Court on the American system of justice. For it prevents plaintiffs from having their day in court if either:

1. The judge doesn't want to hear the case; or

2. The defendant has hidden the evidence of wrongdoing, so that the plaintiff cannot provide the details of defendant's wrongdoing without the use of the formal discovery process which only starts once litigation has commenced

People may ask "the Supreme Court interprets and enforces the American justice system, so how can it gut that system?

Well, Congress members and the President are supposed to represent the interests of the American people. Have they always done so?

Judges - like people in the White House and Congress - are human beings with political and personal viewpoints. Some stick to the case precedent while others - no matter how high and mighty - abandon it for political or personal reasons. That is the dirty little secret that those who work inside the justice system know.

In rendering the Iqbal decision, the Supreme Court abandoned some of the fundamental principals of justice, leaving a system which only pays lip service to that word.

Several Supreme Court justices dissented with the majority's opinion in Iqbal. As Raw Story writes:

Departing Justice David H. Souter sided with the minority in this case, expressing dismay in his dissent and suggesting the decision could “upend,” said the Times, the federal civil litigation system. He argued that complaints should be accepted “no matter how skeptical the court may be,” so long as the accusations are not “sufficiently fantastic to defy reality as we know it.”

“[Claims] about little green men, or the plaintiff’s recent trip to Pluto, or experiences in time travel,” he said, should be the bar for disqualification.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed, suggesting the court had “messed up the federal rules” for civil suits.

Now, Chris Floyd and Yves Smith point out another worrisome Supreme Court decision:

If the president or one of his subordinates declares someone to be an “enemy combatant” (the 21st century version of “enemy of the state”) he is denied any protection of the law. So any trouble-maker (which means anyone) can be whisked away, incarcerated, tortured, “disappeared,” you name it. Floyd’s commentary:

After hearing passionate arguments from the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court acquiesced to the president’s fervent request and, in a one-line ruling, let stand a lower court decision that declared torture an ordinary, expected consequence of military detention, while introducing a shocking new precedent for all future courts to follow: anyone who is arbitrarily declared a “suspected enemy combatant” by the president or his designated minions is no longer a “person.” They will simply cease to exist as a legal entity. They will have no inherent rights, no human rights, no legal standing whatsoever — save whatever modicum of process the government arbitrarily deigns to grant them from time to time, with its ever-shifting tribunals and show trials.

It is hard to overstate the significance of this horrid decision. The fact that the Supreme Court authorized this land grab says we no longer have an independent judiciary, that the Supreme Court itself is gutting the protections supposedly provided by the legal system. Per Floyd:

In fact, our most august defenders of the Constitution did not have to exert themselves in the slightest to eviscerate not merely 220 years of Constitutional jurisprudence but also centuries of agonizing effort to lift civilization a few inches out of the blood-soaked mire that is our common human legacy. They just had to write a single sentence.

Now Floyd saw this mainly as an issue of the treatment of enemy combatants and Obama hypocrisy about torture, which is bad enough:

The Constitution is clear: no person can be held without due process; no person can be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. And the U.S. law on torture of any kind is crystal clear: it is forbidden, categorically, even in time of “national emergency.” And the instigation of torture is, under U.S. law, a capital crime. No person can be tortured, at any time, for any reason, and there are no immunities whatsoever for torture offered anywhere in the law.

And yet this is what Barack Obama — who, we are told incessantly, is a super-brilliant Constitutional lawyer — has been arguing in case after case since becoming president: Torturers are immune from prosecution; those who ordered torture are immune from prosecution….let’s be absolutely clear: Barack Obama has taken the freely chosen, public, formal stand — in court — that there is nothing wrong with any of these activities.

Yves here. The implications are FAR worse. Anyone can be stripped, with NO RECOURSE, of all their legal rights on a Presidential say so. Readers in the US no longer have any security under the law.

Roman citizens enjoyed a right to a trial, a right of appeal, and could not be tortured, whipped, or executed except if found guilty of treason, and anyone charged with treason could demand a trial in Rome. We have regressed more than 2000 years with this appalling ruling.

Is America still a nation of laws? Or is it a nation in which judges get to throw out cases soon after filing because the plaintiffs claims go against the judge's belief system or world view and the President can decide that someone is entitled to no legal protection whatsoever?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Time To Rant: Banksters Blowing Out Country

The posts here are about men being raped by family courts, or by laws constructed by a male-hating class of radical feminists (cough, Pelosi, cough). But this post is about what's happening on a much larger economic scale.

Most people are simply wildly ignorant of what's actually happening. I'm a complete nerd who does nothing but research random economic theories and the general study of finance, politics, sociology, psychology, and history, so allow me to fill you in.

The country is on the path to complete ruin. That's right mom and dad: THIS ONE. YOUR country. I'm not talking about Zimbabwe here. I'm talking about the good 'ole U.S. of A. If anyone lost count, we've committed some 20-odd Trillion to the financial crisis between bailout and promises. The Government is now holding up three industries with its bare hands, BORROWED money and re-structured laws that encourage accounting fraud and racketeering. That 700 billion we gave away to multi-million dollar-swallowing, self-aggrandizing banksters last year? Yeah, we didn't have that stuffed down the front of our pants. That money is being borrowed in the bond market, a massive fixed-income debt market that could hold 10 stock markets in its back pocket.

Let me be as plain as I can - insiders report that the normal issuance of T-bills (debt issued by the Feds that they promise YOU and me will pay back), is about 20 billion a week. Sound like a lot? That's because it is. And what do they issue these days? Try 200 billion per week. That's insane. That's beyond the pale. Even with people and sovereigns (that's foreign governments) fleeing into the bond market to buy, the buyers are COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the massive issuance of U.S debt. So what? So this is a freaking problem. Here's why. The interest rate on bonds determine the interest rate we pay on the national debt. If that interest rate gets just a TAD too high, we're effed. We don't pay down national debt - we just roll it over - borrow anew to pay off the people we owe - PLUS INTEREST. As the amount of interest we have to pay - JUST the interest - will get so large, the country won't be able to make its debt payments - at that point the United States, the beacon of financial stability - must either default on its debt (cataclysmic) or else, MONETIZE the debt (that's a big fancy word for printing dollars out of thin air and using them to pay the nation's debts). So what are they doing? (They being the boneheads "in charge.") They're printing money like Hell and using it to purchase the T-bills being issued. Get it? The Federal Reserve board uses PRINTED money to purchase DEBT issued by the U.S. Treasury. Cute, eh? It keeps the purchases of T-bills up and interest rate paid on them down (rates and prices on bonds move in opposite directions). Its often referred to as a PONZI SCHEME. Its highly risky and ALWAYS collapses.

Check the value of the dollar lately? DXY is the dollar index. Its getting slaughtered - go figure. The Chinese, Japanese, South Koreans, and Germans are less than thrilled with us printing them into OBLIVION. You see those people hold MASSIVE amounts of U.S. dollars (T-bills) and if we're printing like crazy, the dollar value will crash (more printed dollars means the dollars currently in circulation are worth much less); that's something john q. public is finally starting to figure out as well. Prices of everything are rising thanks to the print-fest being run by the private Federal Reserve Board.

Bottom line is that there's no way out of this but to kill the big banks (as they tried to kill themselves). Bailing them out is causing the Feds to print to avoid defaulting on their debt, but all the printing is killing the value of the dollar, which will increase consumer prices, and make the Fed back off their printing. They wind down T-bill purchases and the like by October and mortgage security purchases, asset-backed securities and the like by year end. That could allow deflation to take hold again and drive the value of the dollar up (oh no), which makes interest rates rise, and anything priced in dollars (including houses) fall. That's a good thing for nearly everyone but the big banks, who will order the Fed to go back to printing immediately (The Federal Reserve board is private, not public, they can do whatever they like), re-pressuring the dollar again, raising consumer (yours) and producer (your boss) prices all over again. This will repeat for as long as 4-10 years or until the weight of our debt and interest payments CRUSH us.

Think it can't happen? Interest is an exponential function. Do some math. We're not getting out of this alive unless the big banks stop being the black hole of our money that they are. And given that the banks OWN congress.... WE ARE UP THE PROVERBIAL CREEK.

For more info:


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ain't it Wonderful to Come Home Exhausted to the Kids Everyday!

[Let me summarize for everyone who has never been married or had kids - YOU CANNOT HAVE IT ALL - NOT WITHOUT A LOT OF PAIN. Couples who both work and try to raise their kids too, are exhausted, don't have sex, and waste the extra money on crap they don't need such as luxury cars. Couples with one person - EITHER MAN OR WOMAN - staying home with the kids are going to have a cleaner house with better food to eat and healthier children who receive more attention and probably get better grades, don't drink, smoke, or abuse drugs and don't get pregnant at 15.

BUT, that means one parent will have to feel a bit left out of the career world and you will not drive a Mercedes. Its called SACRIFICE. Families sacrifice. That means EVERYONE. Guess what? Hubby may be doing a job he hates because THE FAMILY needs the money and he's ignoring the new, sexy secretary, and gives his paycheck every week to the bank for mortgage, credit card payments, after-school clothes, and car payments. He does this because he loves his wife and children, but somehow this never counts as a sacrifice, or as an honorable thing to do. Its ASSUMED and its taken FOR GRANTED. EVERYONE sacrifices in a family. Its how families function. Get used to it. Selfish people get divorced or get used by other selfish people. Jesus Christ. Look around and grow up, already, people.]

Having it all is a myth girls, so just make sure your daughters marry rich men
After years of fighting, it is not the glass ceiling but working mothers’ dreams that have shattered. Is there a new way forward?

India Knight

When it comes to mothers and work, the question I would most like to be answered is: “Would you like your daughter to have a life like yours?” If you asked a man the same thing about his son, the answer would probably be: “Yes, give or take the odd thing.” But for mothers the case is usually different. For an increasing number of women, the answer now seems to be a resolute: “Absolutely not.”

This was certainly the answer I got from a friend last week — an ultra-successful, glass-ceiling-busting woman with an enviable job — when I asked her about her two little girls and what she’d like them to do when they grow up. “I’d like them to marry rich men and do a little light charity work,” she said. Of course, it seemed laughable. But she was deadly serious.

Last Sunday, in the pages of this newspaper’s Magazine, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, the likeable and apparently sane presenter, and his daughter Cecile did the Relative Values column. Cecile, a spirited 13-year-old, said: “Daddy . . . says, ‘You’re not clever’, which is pretty much true, I’m not very bright, but I love fashion. Daddy says that if everything goes wrong with fashion I’ve always got a safety net, which is to marry a rich man.”

Admittedly, two hard-working, successful individuals wishing nothing more than haut-bourgeois domesticity for their daughters does not exactly constitute a sea change: perhaps they’ve both gone temporarily insane. But the idea that clever girls crave domestic bliss, too, seems to be gathering momentum. The other week saw the publication in America of Smart Girls Marry Money, which “challenges the ideals and assumptions women have blindly accepted about love and marriage, and shows how they’ve done so at their own economic peril”.

“Mercenary marriages,” the authors claim, “make the most sense for future happiness.”

So I asked some of my friends who work in offices if they hoped their daughters’ professional lives would end up being like theirs. “What?” said one. “See your babies for about 45 minutes a day, like I did for years? I don’t wish that for my daughter.”

But, but, but . . . “I’m just being honest,” she continued. “We have a very nice life and I’d like her to have a very nice life too, obviously, but not like this.”

It’s not that my friends don’t support the advances women have made. “I want to say yes,” said another, “but I can’t. You’re asking me if I want my daughter to have a life governed by compromise and guilt. No, is the short answer.”

Another summed matters up neatly: “When my daughter was little, her school friends thought her nanny was her mother. I’d turn up to the nativity play and 10 little children would say, ‘Who are you?’ That would be a pretty weird thing to wish on my own child.”

There was a little more joy from the stay-at-home-mother camp, but not much. “I’d like her to spend as much time with her children as I have with mine,” said one woman, “but I’d also like her not to wake up in the middle of the night wondering what happened to her brain, her life, her ambitions, her dreams. Not wondering, really: panicking.”

“I would like her to have a life like mine,” said another. “Except I’d like her to be in a civilised world where going back to work is an easily achievable goal. I feel I’ve been put out to pasture and I’m only 36.”

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Alpha Males Extinct

[I love this article. Apparently it doesn't dawn on the author to examine how the academic curriculum in schools has changed in the past decade and how this might affect boys' grades and test scores!?!?!?!?

Does anyone realize boys are being asked to read Jane Eyre in HIGH SCHOOL?!?!?! I love the Bronte's. I read a collection of their work - WHEN I WAS 28 - and I have a degree in English. I'm a reader's reader. I read Shakespeare and old English poetry. But I didn't get into 19th Century English Literature until College and didn't truly appreciate it until my mid-to-late 20s. So I'm guessing your standard Engineering, math-centric, 17 year-old boy MAY NOT YET BE READY for old-English romance novels - JUST MAYBE? Hmmmmmmm?]

Now that women also earn money"—in many cases, more money than guys—"men may feel that their role is diminishing."

by Grant Stoddard

Is the Alpha Male in Danger of Extinction?

As more and more guys seem to lose their drive and females become increasingly ambitious, women wonder what this means for their lives. An investigation yields some startling consequences--and they aren't all bad.
Grant Stoddard

Having a penis used to mean something. From the time our species got its start until very recently, being a guy came with a codified set of behaviors and responsibilities: hunting large, dangerous mammals, charging into battle, subjugating would-be usurpers. Men who displayed prowess in these areas quickly rose in status within the group and increased their popularity with the ladies.

One reason for their success: For heterosexual women, sexual attraction is sparked by a collection of encrypted biological signals that offer vital clues about whether a man can protect and provide for a prospective family. And on a gut level, neuroscientists say, women respond favorably to Alphas—men who exhibit the right genetic stuff in their looks, intelligence, resources, and leadership. In fact, a 2007 study published in Nature Neuroscience demonstrated that when females (well, female mice) were exposed to the pheromones of dominant male mice, their tiny girl-rodent brains actually grew new cells that guided them to choose the Alphas as mates.

But it looks like among us humans, the behavioral Alpha signals men can emit—machismo, cockiness, the aggressive protection of their place at the front of the pack—are getting progressively weaker and less common as women's roles in relationships, jobs, and the economy become stronger and more central. With their traditional dominant, moneymaking position eroding, where does that leave men? Consider what might happen if the peacock didn't bother to fan his spectacular plumage, if the ram could no longer muster the will to clash horns, if the mighty lion neglected his patrolling duties. Can humankind handle the diminishment of the Alpha Male?

An uneven playing field
Right now, a woman's chances of finding a man who is as educated and financially secure as she is are small and, according to recent studies, dwindling. Women earn a greater share of high school diplomas as well as associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Significantly fewer men enroll in college than women, and an even smaller percentage graduate.

Those statistics suggest that men are both lazy and quitters, bringing to mind recent pop-culture depictions of dudes enjoying a prolonged adolescence of beer and PlayStation3 marathons—think Knocked Up and numerous other Judd Apatow and Seth Rogan films—and freeloading off Mom and Dad (even before this recession, twice as many men as women ages 24 to 34 were living with their parents).

In his book Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men, Leonard Sax, M. D., Ph. D., identifies a maelstrom of factors heralding an era of arrested male development, including video games, environmental toxins, and what he describes as "our culture's neglect of the transition to manhood." Sax notes that this phenomenon is not solely confined to Western cultures, and he disagrees that it's a consequence of women's achievements. "Think of Qatar, where women are still oppressed— yet a growing proportion of boys and men there are unmotivated."

Whatever the causes of men's waning drive, the women outperforming them in academia will surely have an impact on the future job market. But that market is already shifting radically along gender lines. While women working full-time still earn only 77.8 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, the recent economic downturn has highlighted the diametrically opposed trajectories of our work lives: The male-dominated construction and manufacturing sectors have taken a huge hit, whereas the overwhelmingly female-staffed professions of education and health care have been relatively insulated. From November 2008 through last April, employment among men declined by 2.5 million, while among women it was down by fewer than 700,000 jobs. And some economics experts think that women are better suited to the new "knowledge economy," in which such traits as sensitivity, intuition, and collaboration are valued over typically Alpha jockeying-for-power games.

This new female-centric model may in fact signal a return to gender equilibrium rather than a break from tradition. For much of human history, being a skilled provider wasn't tied so closely to earning money—it also meant hunting; farming; gathering materials for food, clothing, and shelter; and protecting one's goodies from covetous neighbors. "During most of our ancestral past, individuals in a family had to produce all the material and social goods," says Elizabeth Pillsworth, Ph. D., an evolutionary anthropologist at UCLA's Center for the Study of Women. "This created an interdependence between men and women."

Once our society became centered on a wage economy, she continues, "if you had cash, you simply purchased all the goods you needed. As men became wage earners, they assumed the role of sole provider. Now that women also earn money"—in many cases, more money than guys—"men may feel that their role is diminishing."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marriage: Still the Safest Place For Women and Children

by Robert E. Rector, Patrick F. Fagan, and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D.
Backgrounder #1732

The institution that most strongly protects mothers and children from domestic abuse and violent crime is marriage. Analysis of ten years worth of findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has conducted since 1973, demonstrates that mothers who are or ever have been married are far less likely to suffer from violent crime than are mothers who never marry.

Specifically, data from the NCVS survey show that:

* Married women with children suffer far less abuse than single mothers. In fact, the rate of spousal, boyfriend, or domestic partner abuse is twice as high among mothers who have never been married as it is among mothers who have ever married (including those separated or divorced).
* Married women with children are far less likely to suffer from violent crime in general or at the hands of intimate acquaintances or strangers. Mothers who have never married--including those who are single and living either alone or with a boyfriend and those who are cohabiting with their child's father--are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than are mothers who have ever married.

Other social science surveys demonstrate that marriage is the safest place for children as well. For example:

* Children of divorced or never-married mothers are six to 30 times more likely to suffer from serious child abuse than are children raised by both biological parents in marriage.

Without question, marriage is the safest place for a mother and her children to live, both at home and in the larger community. Nevertheless, current government policy is either indifferent to or actively hostile to the institution of marriage. The welfare system, for example, can penalize low-income parents who decide to marry. Such hostility toward marriage is poor public policy; government instead should foster healthy and enduring marriages, which would have many benefits for mothers and children, including reducing domestic violence.

Violence Against Mothers

The DOJ's National Crime Victimization Survey collects data on victimization through an ongoing survey of a nationally representative sample of Americans. The survey defines violent crime as rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault. Domestic or intimate abuse is defined as violent crimes performed by a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend, or former boyfriend.3

Ten years of NCVS data (from 1992 to 2001) reveal interesting patterns among mothers (ages 20-50) with children under the age of 12.4 Specifically:

*Never-married mothers experience more domestic abuse. Among those who have ever married (those married, divorced, or separated), the annual rate of domestic violence is 12.9 per 1,000 mothers. Among mothers who have never married, the annual domestic violence rate is 26.3 per 1,000.

Thus, never-married mothers suffer domestic violence at more than twice the rate of mothers who have been or currently are married. (See Chart 1).

* Never-married mothers suffer more violent crime. The NCVS provides data on total violent crime against mothers with children under the age of 12. Total violent crime covers rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault committed against the mother by any party. Total violent crime covers violence against mothers by former and current spouses and boyfriends as well as by relatives, acquaintances, and strangers.

As Chart 2 shows, ever-married mothers with children suffer from overall violent crime at an annual rate of 38.5 crimes per 1,000 mothers. Never-married mothers with children, by contrast, suffer 81.0 violent crimes per 1,000 mothers.

Thus, never-married mothers experience violent crime at more than twice the rate of ever-married mothers. Based on these data, the institution of marriage best shelters mothers from the specter of violence.
* These differences in crime rates across married versus single mothers are statistically significant.5

Violence Against Children

Rates of victimization of children vary significantly by family structure, and the evidence shows that the married intact family is by far the safest place for children.6 (See Chart 3.) Although the United States has yet to develop the capacity to measure child abuse by family structure, British data on child abuse are available. These data show that rates of serious abuse of children are lowest in the intact married family but six times higher in the step family, 14 times higher in the always-single-mother family, 20 times higher in cohabiting-biological parent families, and 33 times higher when the mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend who is not the father of her children.

When an abused child dies (see Chart 4), the relationship between family structure and abuse gets stronger: It is lowest in intact always-married families, three times higher in the step family, nine times higher in the always-single-mother family, 18 times higher in the cohabiting-biological parents family, and 73 times higher in families where the mother cohabits with a boyfriend.

What Policymakers Should Do

In legislation and social policy, the government should not penalize parents for marrying. Given the rising evidence that non-married mothers and their children are at greater risk of violent crime and abuse, government policy should not encourage--either directly or in unintended ways--single motherhood and cohabitation.

Yet that is what is being done in many of America's means-tested welfare programs. Because mothers and children are safest from harm within a married family, policymakers should begin the work of implementing policies to reduce the bias against marriage in welfare programs and to strengthen marriage as the primary institution for raising children.

Members of Congress should support President Bush's proposal to spend $300 million per year on efforts to rebuild marriage among the poor. It is the first serious proposal in this regard ever to come before Congress. His suggestions, if adopted into law, would begin the necessary work to reconstruct the institution of marriage, which failed welfare policies of the past have undermined. Now that the first stage of welfare reform--rebuilding an ethic of work--is well underway, Congress should support the President as he focuses on the second important stage: rebuilding a culture of marriage in American society.

Members of Congress should begin to reduce and eventually eliminate the penalty against marriage in most means-tested welfare programs. For example, they could issue a joint resolution indicating their intent to achieve this goal. Then they could request that the Department of Health and Human Services submit a list of options that would be good candidates for this reform.

In establishing programs to help those who need assistance, the question before Congress should not simply be whether or not to fund a program, but how much its policies would improve the well-being of adults and children. Social science data clearly show that mothers and children are safest and thrive best in a married family. It is time for the government to adopt policies that reflect this knowledge and rebuild, rather than undermine, the institution of marriage.

Robert E. Rector is Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy, Patrick F. Fagan is William H. G. FitzGerald Research Fellow in Family and Cultural Issues, and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D., is Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Data Analysis, at The Heritage Foundation.

Bob Herbert's Fact-Free Op-ed: Women Uniquely at Risk of Violent Crime

August 10th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

It's predictable as the sunrise. No sooner had the echoes of George Sodini's gunshots died away than they were replaced by the diligent tap-tap-tapping of keyboards. Feminists and their apologists leapt as one to their desks and began churning out the same sermon we've heard for years now: George Sodini's brutal slaying of three women in a Pennsylvania exercise class was not the act of a lone deranged man, it was the act of all men; it was the act of a male-dominated culture that so loathes women it turns a blind eye to their injury and death. Women are uniquely victims, uniquely threatened by ravening men who prowl the land searching for the next one who shows a weakness or errs in judgment. Here endeth the lesson.

The latest to commit the requisite public auto da fe is Bob Herbert here (New York Times, 8/8/09). An intelligent space alien, reading his op-ed would never guess that, far from being uniquely targeted by crime, women and girls are uniquely protected from it. A two-minute jaunt through the Bureau of Justice Statistics website shows that 61% of violent crime victims are men. Our space traveller would never imagine that incidents of violent crime of all kinds have been plunging over the past 16 years to their lowest rate since we began gathering data. How would he know that a woman's chance of being raped is one-fifth what it was in 1973?

The space alien wouldn't know these things because Bob Herbert doesn't mention them. He doesn't because the facts don't fit with the false yarn he's spinning. Herbert seeks to instruct us and he uses mythology to do it.

That's clear enough to even a casual reader, because the facts Herbert relies on to make his case...well...don't. Take a look. The article consists mostly of that time-honored rhetorical crutch of high school students everywhere - the unsupported assertion. For example,

We’ve seen this tragic ritual so often that it has the feel of a formula.

I wrote, at the time, that there would have been thunderous outrage if someone had separated potential victims by race or religion and then shot, say, only the blacks, or only the whites, or only the Jews. But if you shoot only the girls or only the women — not so much of an uproar.

We have become so accustomed to living in a society saturated with misogyny that the barbaric treatment of women and girls has come to be more or less expected.

We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.

The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny

Really? Killing women and girls is a "cornerstone of our nation's entertainment?" The "barbaric treatment of women and girls" is "more or less expected?" There hasn't been "thunderous outrage" at the Sodini killings? Herbert provides no support for these frankly loony claims for the good and sufficient reason that he has none.

Perhaps realizing that an actual fact might serve his cause, he searches for one, but alas, in vain. He tries the mass murder in 2007 at Virginia Tech University, but even his misrepresentation of the facts of that tragedy don't do the job. The fact that Seung Hui Cho shot both men and women, completely at random, deflects Herbert from his mission not at all. The fact that Cho, at the time of his rampage, had been diagnosed for many years as so mentally ill as to require medication and hospitalization goes unmentioned. Nor does Herbert tell us that the targets of Cho's violent anger were not women, but "rich kids" and "deceitful charlatans," according to Cho's diary.

That Herbert wants us to believe that Cho's slaughter has something to do with misogynistic culture only shows how desperate he is for material. Does it occur to him that, if this culture is as dominated by men who are as violently hateful toward women as he would have us believe, that our misogyny isn't very effective? How does he square those beliefs with the fact that women are now and, as far as our data show, always have been, far less likely to be hurt or killed in any way than are men? I guess men must be as incompetent as the commercials say we are.

Claims of collective guilt for the wrongdoing of single, deranged individuals is a dangerous game indeed. As an African-American male, you'd think Bob Herbert would understand that. How can a man who's appropriately criticized racial profiling by the police, turn on a dime and engage in gender-profiling himself. Herbert wants us to believe that not just George Sodini, but men in general, are guilty for his crime. Someone should remind Herbert that that includes him.

Young Father Fights Long, Hard Battle Against Adoption Agency to Raise His Own Daughter

Babies are often given up for adoption against the father's will or by evasion and deceit, which are often winked at by authorities. Putative Father Registries are often used to circumvent fathers' rights.

Below, Fathers & Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. reports on a particularly egregious case involving a young father. Young fathers are continually vilified for their alleged refusal to take responsibility for their children, but this case provides an excellent example of just how many roadblocks are often thrown up to separate fathers from their children.

Robert writes:

Cody O'dea and Ashley Olea had a brief sexual relationship when they lived in Wyoming. At age 18, she turned up pregnant. Cody immediately told her that he wanted to help raise the child. A few months later, Ashley told Cody that she had miscarried. They split up and he moved to Idaho.

Still more months later, a friend informed Cody that Ashley was then eight months pregnant and making plans to place the child for adoption. She was still in Wyoming, but working with an adoption agency, LDS Family Services, in Montana.

Cody immediately contacted Ashley and reasserted his desire to have custody of the child. He also filed the appropriate form with the Wyoming Putative Father Registry. He also filed with the Montana Putative Father Registry. He wrote a letter to the adoption agency telling them that he would not waive his parental rights.

Cody spoke with two people including a supervisor at LDS Family Services, informing them of his intention to get custody of the child. Eventually, LDS decided to not continue with the adoption process and wrote Cody a letter saying so.

On July 15, 2006, Cody received a strange call from Ashley which, according to him, went as follows:

Ashley: You will listen and you will not speak. First of all I want you to stop harassing me and that includes your mother. I am in Utah. You will not father this child. You will pay child support until the child is in College. You will never see this baby. Do you understand?

Cody: No, I do not understand, does this mean you are planning to keep the child?

Ashley: Do you understand what I’m saying?

Cody: No, I don’t understand, does that mean you are keeping the child and not giving it up for adoption?

Ashley: If you understand what I have told you, that is all I have to say.
Then she hung up. Notice that she mentioned nothing about placing the child for adoption. In fact she strongly suggests the opposite. And the ruse worked. Cody thought that, since he had filed with the registries of Wyoming and Montana, and gotten LDS to back off, that he had successfully blocked the adoption. To him, Ashley's phone call meant that she'd changed her mind and would keep the child.

But that was wrong. Ashley's call was almost certainly prompted by an attorney. Her statement that she was in Utah constituted legal "notice" to him that perhaps an adoption would occur there. Therefore, he then became obligated to file with Utah's registry and begin paternity proceedings. In fact, unknown to him, he had only 20 days to do so.

Despite Cody's repeated efforts to comply with the law and assert his parental rights, a Utah court approved the adoption in 2006. A different agency, the Adoption Center of Choice, provided the adoptive parents. Neither they nor Ashley notified Cody that the adoption had taken place. The Adoption Center of Choice contacted the Wyoming Putative Father Registry and ascertained that Cody had registered there and was asserting his parental rights. Apparently, that made absolutely no difference to the Adoption Center of Choice.

Cody then filed a paternity suit in Utah, but it was too late. His twenty days had passed. The Supreme Court of Utah has just ruled that all his efforts to be a father to his child were meaningless. It was solely his failure to comply with Utah's 20-day period that destroyed any hope he had. He will never see his child; he will never be her father in more than the biological sense.

The United States Supreme Court has called parental rights "far more precious than property rights." But when it comes to a father's rights, those are mostly just words. In the real world of family law, in this case, adoption law, they have next to no meaning.

Let's look at what happened in the Cody O'dea case. His child's mother decided she didn't want the child with whom she was pregnant, so she lied to Cody, telling him that she had miscarried. That Cody discovered her lie, was, for Ashley, an inconvenience, but little more. She shopped for an adoption agency in one state, abandoned that idea and located another in another state. The new agency was willing to overlook the fact that it knew perfectly well that there was a father who wanted custody.

In short, a few well-placed lies, an unscrupulous adoption agency, and an unscrupulous attorney combined with a young father who failed to know the laws of a foreign state, added up to the denial of his parental rights. You remember those; they're the ones that are "far more precious than property rights." But when those rights are placed, not in the father's hands but in the mother's, abrogating them turns out to be simplicity itself.

Robert's piece continues here. Cody's website can be accessed here--it contains many of the case's documents. As for the anti-father bias of adoption agencies, take a look at the second part of paragraph two of this letter from an agency to Cody.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On How to Raise a Happy Child and Keep Your Sanity

By J. Green

Like most “modern day” children, I was unforgiveably spoiled as a child. The youngest in my family, I was coddled, soothed and nursed for the most part. Grit and fortitude I also learned, but for the most part I was handled with kid gloves and to my parents good fortune I was an easy child to rear. This belies what I later learned was the key to parenting as taught to me by my own child: beatings are they key.

I can already hear the sighs and groans of so many na├»ve, inexperienced mothers and hesitant, would-be fathers out there. Gasp! No! Beatings are inhumane and violent! You are teaching the child violence and you are abusing him! To disabuse you of any visions of savage physical attacks, allow me to clarify. By beatings I mean spanking. And by spanking, I mean, for the most part, a few light taps on the derrier, the likes of which wouldn’t seriously harm a baby dove.

For you see nearly everyone under the age of 50 misses the point of spanking. Spanking is not really spanking. In the words of the late Jackie Gleason “that was just an attention-getter.” As anyone with two eyes and kids knows, standing still and making idle chatter and empty threats demonstrates your willingness to DO nothing and that is the best way to be ignored and run roughshod upon. You are literally volunteering to be your children’s whipping post, their own personal Welcome mat.

To understand this, you must first accept the fact that you children are 42 times as smart as you by the time they are 3 or 4; if they are girls, subtract 2 from that number. Lesson 2, your kids are not darling kids, they are young, budding animals. You’re an animal too, but years of fluoride and too little science in school has led you to forget that fact. We are all animals and these ones are smart and always seeking out their own best interest, including testing your limits constantly, especially when you’ve had a hard day and are not prepared. They get you when you are weak and beaten down; they have nothing but time, energy, and cunning. Accept it: you are already beaten.

You are weak and they are strong, but there is hope yet. You are older and more sophisticated, so you will reason with them. This is tantamount to climbing up a telephone poll slicked with axle grease. You will get nowhere and waste a lot of time. Yet everyone tries. Its as if there is a bag of money and sex at the top of the poll and everyone needs to be shown they can’t get it even if they try. Your child loves your attention and talking, nay, negotiating, over how much they will get of what they want is fine by them.

Success is not always arrived at pleasantly. This is no different. You must think of living before we had society. Think of the time of hunter gatherers and the brutality of nature. This encompasses thousands of years. Combine this with the fact that the modern day couple has 20 minutes a day of free time. Now we have arrived at our solution, the same one your parents, grandparents arrived at 80 years ago: spanking.

You are going to cut through the bull that kids use like a drug dealer uses heroin to keep their addicts in line. You are going to DO something. This your kids will understand – you outweigh them by 150 pounds. No animal on earth is ignorant of that fact. If they are, they are soon eaten by something else. Your child’s animal instinct will command them to respect you like you never imagined. Talk and you’ll talk for a lifetime. Spank and you’ll save the rainforest with the oxygen kept in the atmosphere. Tasks are done the first time you ask when spanking has been established and is brandished for effect.

Now you think your kids will hate you and fear you. Think again. Your kids will always love you and now, what’s more, they will respect you. Why? Because you are showing them that you know them and you won’t play their games and insist they perform their best. Every kid alive is elated to perform their best. You are helping them through their fear and anxiety and frustration at not wanting to brush their teeth and go to bed on time. When they are spending more time playing and doing more things themselves, they can only be happier – after all, wouldn’t you be? Recruits to military boot camps are miserable for the first 9 weeks. And after that? Then they’re proud. Proud of themselves and the capable, respected people they have become. This is no different.

Now this is how to spank: offer the child the choice to do as you say. They will ignore you. Fine. Tell them if they don’t do it, you will do something: you will spank them. They will look at you hard and think, then go back to ignoring you. Pick them up and put them across your knee and lower their pants, they will panic and beg and plead and squirm – don’t give in. This is about your credibility and your credibility will insure peace later. Spank them a few light times on the naked butt. They will scream as if you just cut their heart out with a dull spoon. You will feel bad. Toughen the eff up. You are an adult. You know they are fine and the screaming is a tactic and nothing more. You have tactics too and its time for brass tax.

The next time you ask them to do something they will ignore you. Tell them you will spank them. They will not move. Stand up. They will dash off like lightening to do your bidding. There you have it: the laws of disincentive. The law of nature. They can hurt you or help you. Right now, I can guarantee you that your kids are using the laws of nature AGAINST you. Why? Because they are tiny, little, results-driven organizations. They get what they want. You don’t. Kids play hardball: they know when to play helpless and needy and they know how to manipulate you. Kids can be easy and sweet and innocent and delightful - just not while they’re being spanked.

I had children with the world’s biggest children-excuse-creator. She enjoys our 7 year old son very, very much. Everyone remarks about how well behaved he is and how polite and considerate he is. Why? Because when he was pushing the two of us around at the age of 2, I figured out his ways and spanked him half a dozen times. It doesn’t take much: kids are not slow learners. His mother nearly went hoarse reasoning with him until I rolled up my sleaves and did the dirty work. My young, foolish, gentle friends who have children? They are worn, miserable shadows of themselves at the tender age of 30. Their children use them like the dishrags they resemble. Their kids run the house. Others play with me and my son in relative peace, order, and harmony. Later, they visit other young people with kids only to return breathless and wide-eyed, exclaiming “Those children were complete ANIMALS!” No one knows better than children what an animal is. Your delusion that they are anything else enables their behavior, mocks your intelligence, and gives the keys to the asylum over to the inmates.

God did not design your world to be run by a 32 pound dictator. Spank. Spank well. Spanking is right. Spanking is good. And spanking is better for everyone, especially the kids.

J Green

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Child Support Doubled and Tripled

Who Cares, Right? Its only divorced men. "Mad" dads. Then again, wouldn't this make you mad?

Fathers & Families Files Lawsuit to Stop New Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines
December 31st, 2008 by Ned Holstein, MD, MS

Fathers and Families has filed suit in Federal District Court in Boston to stop the scheduled January 1 implementation of new Child Support Guidelines. The suit seeks a temporary injunction halting the use of the new guidelines until a full hearing can be held. It will be heard before Judge D.P. Woodlock on Monday, January 5 at 10 AM in courtroom 1.

Fathers & Families’ attorney Gregory Hession of Springfield argues that the new guidelines were not formulated using the actual costs of raising a child, as required by federal law, and are thus “arbitrary and capricious.” The pleadings before the court assert that the process used to put together the new guidelines violated the due process and equal protection rights of the payers of child support, as protected under the United States Constitution. Additionally, the state bypassed the normal legislative process by having a secret committee prepare them and a single judge declare them to be law, in violation of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

The new guidelines will cause almost all child support orders to increase substantially — when all factors are considered, middle-class recipients will enjoy a standard of living almost double that of payers who earn about the same amount. In some cases, child support orders will triple, even in cases in which the payer is poor and the child is economically comfortable because the custodial parent earns over $100,000. And in high income cases, the child support order for one child could be nearly $50,000.

Fathers & Families Executive Director Ned Holstein, MD, served on the commonwealth’s Task Force that recommended the new guidelines, but authored a minority report dissenting from the main recommendations. Dr. Holstein said, “The new guidelines will harm children. Kids want to live with both parents after divorce, and we want them to be well cared for in both homes. But these new guidelines will create a ‘castle versus a hovel’ situation for kids. These increases are radical and unexplained. They come at the worst possible moment, just as a bad recession is causing people to lose their jobs or suffer declining incomes. Our lawsuit is a way of saying, ‘Let’s pause and reconsider the wisdom of these controversial changes at this moment.’”