Showing newest 20 of 31 posts from June 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 20 of 31 posts from June 2009. Show older posts

Tuesday

Guess Who's Killing the Children

From Child Deaths Resulting From Inflicted Injuries: Household Risk Factors and Perpetrator Characteristics, by Patricia G. Schnitzer, PhD and Bernard G. Ewigman, MD, MSPH, 2005 (emphasis mine)
We identified 149 inflicted-injury deaths in our population during the 8-year study period. Children residing in households with unrelated adults were nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries than children residing with 2 biological parents (adjusted odds ratio: 47.6; 95% confidence interval: 10.4–218). Children in households with a single parent and no other adults in residence had no increased risk of inflicted-injury death (adjusted odds ratio: 0.9; 95% confidence interval: 0.6–1.9). Perpetrators were identified in 132 (88.6%) of the cases. The majority of known perpetrators were male (71.2%), and most were the child's father (34.9%) or the boyfriend of the child's mother (24.2%). In households with unrelated adults, most perpetrators (83.9%) were the unrelated adult household member, and only 2 (6.5%) perpetrators were the biological parent of the child.
But women are the child abusers, huh?

Wait a minute though. Using the information supplied above, the "support natural/biological family" crowd's assertion that the biological family is best, is correct; HOWEVER, single parent households (single moms) are just as safe AND STILL on top of that, it is the biological fathers that are doing the killing.

Phoenix toddler killed by father in murder-suicide remembered

...Teigan Peters died on Father's Day at a campsite along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. According to police, the 3-year-old's father, Ryan Peters, shot her and then killed himself.

...Investigators said Teigan's father was upset over the custody arrangement.
One more time, in case you didn't understand (emphasis mine):
Starling et al33 speculated that male caregivers are more dangerous then female caregivers. Our data offer support for this hypothesis and identify households in which a young child resides with his or her mother and her boyfriend as dramatically higher risk. In these high-risk households, the boyfriend was typically responsible for caring for the child at the time of the fatal-injury event and was the perpetrator of abuse. At the same time, it is important to note that although the relative risk is greater in households with unrelated adults, the most common male perpetrator of fatal inflicted injury was the child's biological father; nearly equal numbers of children were killed by their biological fathers as by other related and unrelated males, combined. For all household-composition categories, >70% of known perpetrators in our study were male, and >70% of known perpetrators lived with the decedent child.




See Also: Fathers and father figures are responsible for most child fatalities from physical abuse; mothers are held responsible in more cases of neglect abuse, including "failure to protect" from father abuse

Monday

Belize Survivor, part 75

When he returned with the baby forty-five minutes later, Max saw Alexis speaking with a big strapping Spanish boy who was picking out tomatoes. As the handsome young man left with his purchase, she could see her husband’s anger written all over his face.

"Who is that guy you were talking to?” he demanded.

"I don’t know,” she said. “I think he’s one of Rick’s workers. I don’t even know his name.”

"Well, stay away from him. You don’t need to be hanging out with these Spanish guys."

Max was in a mood; she could feel it coming on, so for the rest of the day, Alexis remained quiet but tense. As much as possible, she gave Max a wide berth, and answered his questions without offering anything extra, trying to avoid any remarks that might be deemed controversial. But still, a feeling of foreboding came over her as they rode home together in the truck. Max was somber and she could feel profound fear creeping into her consciousness. As they pulled in the rear of Michael’s property, and got out of the truck, Max started again with his verbal invective. As she carried Jordan up the back steps, she made the mistake of defending herself.

"I just think I should be able to carry on a conversation with whomever I want. It's not like I see other people very often. It gets lonely up in the bush. What’s wrong with a little social time in Cayo on a Saturday? You had a beer with Rick.”

"And who were you spending time with when I was in Guatemala buying the water pump? Some other little Spanish boy? Or perhaps that same one? If he works for Rick and Suzy, it’s only a short ride across the river and downstream."

"You’re being absurd. We didn’t even know Rick and Suzy yet.”

"Stop arguing with me, okay?” Max shouted. “You listen to me. I call the shots in this relationship and I don't want you associating with guys like that. End of discussion.

Now just shut the fuck up."

Alexis shook her head, close to tears. She put the sleeping baby in his shortened hammock and set the stick to hold it open. Then she went back into the kitchen to put away the provisions they’d bought.

"Oh no," she said aloud. Things had just gotten worse.

"What's the matter now?"

"I forgot the box of provisions in town. I had the girl in the store box them up for me, and I forgot to pick them up on the way home."

"You dumb-ass!” Max said angrily. “I can't believe this. I have the responsibilities of running our whole show and you can't even remember to bring home the groceries.
Now we're going to have to go all the way back into town tomorrow. That's half a day's work, plus gas and wear and tear on the truck. None of the dories run on Sundays. Hell, you'll be lucky to get the proprietor to open his store so we can get the stuff."

"I'm sorry, Max. It was a simple mistake."

"Right. ‘Simple’ being the operative word here. How the hell you gave birth, I’ll never know. You're not mature enough to be anybody's mother. You still need a mother yourself, someone to wipe your nose for you.”

Alexis burned at the insults. "I said I'm sorry."

"Words are cheap. Now fix me some dinner."

Without the groceries, there wasn't much of a selection. One thing that had been especially difficult for Alexis was to learn to prepare local foods, a situation made more difficult because many were best prepared by frying. Max preferred steamed or baked food; Alexis had a stove but no oven. She missed foods like cheese and apples, and yearned for crackers, yogurt, and whole wheat bread. Face it, she thought. All she could fix tonight would be a little leftover beans, some steamed plantain, and maybe fried eggplant. She hoped it would be adequate because that was all they had. Nightfall came quickly in the tropics, and Alexis constantly fought with the kerosene lamps. They were dim and temperamental. She was already emotional, and could barely see what she was cooking. At last the meal was ready.

"Here's your dinner," Alexis called as she put the food out. "I'm putting it on the table. Please eat it while it's still hot."

Max walked over and sat down. "Aren't you having any?"

"No. I'm not hungry. I'm just tired. I think I'll go to bed."

She had been in the bedroom less than one minute when she heard the crash of the plate and Max's cursing. He stormed in and tore her out of bed, hauling her into the living room by the arm. "What do you mean by putting that crap in front of me?"

"Shhh, not so loud,” she said, terrified. “You'll wake the baby."

"I don't care if I wake the whole goddamn river valley,” he screamed. “What's the big idea of putting that pig slop on my plate? Do you really expect me to eat that? You sure as hell aren't having any."

"I don't like eggplant. I thought you did. I'm sorry."

"Sorry!" he screamed in rage. "I've heard sorry out of you a few too many times lately. This time you're going to learn sorry."

Instantaneously, he cracked Alexis on the side of the face. She screamed and backed away from him as he grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her against the wall. He crushed her nose sideways with his finger and cursed her again. "You've had this coming for a long time, you uppity little bitch."
Then he drove her head against the corner of the exposed beam and she collapsed, feeling the warm blood trickle down the back of her neck.

"Stop! Please don't hurt me," she cried.

"You fuckin' bitch! What about your smart mouth? All the times you've hurt me? How about all the times you humiliated me in public? Associating with people you have no business hanging out with? How about when you flirted with that jerk with the big dick on the day before our wedding? Huh? Go on. Answer me. You always have an answer for everything. Well, this time you can scream and cry all you want. There's nobody to hear you and nobody to help. It's about time I taught you a little respect. Now get your ass up."

Max lifted her to her feet and she felt another powerful punch to her upper arm. No longer coherent, blood dribbled down her chin from the split in her lip. She could hear the baby crying, and felt a last hard kick to her thigh before dropping to the floor for a second time.

Friday

Ms Hyde Gives Her Opinion of Me Based on One Post

I have "stumbled upon" MsHyde http://mshyde.stumbleupon.com/review/33918038/, who has stated,
"Abused or not, you're still a sexist gender fascist."
Apparently, MsHyde aka Milla is a "tranny" (or maybe just tranny-friendly) "woman from Sheckaago, Illinois, USA." (those are not my words, so don't jump on my ass, again)

Milla is responding to a post I wrote nearly a year ago when I first began this site, Profile of My Abuser. It is one of my most frequently read posts as people internationally must be looking for characteristics of abusive persons.

I provided a brief description of my abuser with the best words I could utilize at that time. If MsHyde knew any fucking thing outside of this one post, she'd understand that I wouldn't be at the top of the list for being a "sexist gender fascist." But I'll excuse her ignorance on the account of her failing to read shit or getting to know me or the context from which I wrote the piece.

And not that it is any of Milla's fucking business, but I am writing from a heterosexual viewpoint in which I am fully indoctrinated in the privilege that comes along with it. I have no problem with admitting it if she doesn't mind checking herself in the comment section of my blog if she really wanted to school me or engage in meaningful dialog.

Father and Murderer Leslie Schuler Didn't Want to be a "Visitor" to His Child Anymore

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/06/25/life_support_for_boy_in_fathers_day_beating_expected_to_be_removed/

Seven year-old Nathaniel Turner will be taken off of life support following a brutal father's day beating by none other than his father. According to what I have gathered from the media, this case has many twists and turns--almost every one of them a relevant issue that I continuously write about...It is all very confusing but I'll try to sort it out.

Father Leslie Schuler was an absent father who paid child support when he felt like it.

There was a paternity test--don't know if the father initiated, or perhaps the mother was on government assistance and thus the Child Support Office would have surely gone after their money the money due to the child. After paternity was established, a child support order was issued.

At some time, the mother, Alicia Taylor, asked for child support to be increased whilst simultaneously, father Leslie Schuler asked for visitation. No mention if perhaps the Child Support Office or the local fatherhood groups/program put this nonsense (asking for visitation) into the father's head (see The Purpose of Child Support Enforcement). And God knows how both the fatherhood groups and the Child Support Office target Black men. Oh, whoops, my bad, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and the fatherhood groups ARE THE SAME THING!!! (see The Office of Child Support Enforcement Wants to Promoted Both Agreed Upon Child Support Orders and Visitation Orders)

The judge denied the child support increase request and also the visitation request because a Department of Revenue (DOR= Child Support) lawyer told the judge that the mother didn't have custody of the child. I have heard this same scenario repeated many times in my circles. Remember that when DOR comes into your case, you, the custodial parent, are no longer a party to what was originally your own case.

But the father didn't have the child at that time either. It seems that the Nathaniel had been with his grandmother in Alabama because the mother had "mental problems." Could her mental problems have been related to...um...maybe not having enough money to support her son...or...um...maybe...her history [of abuse] with the father of her child? I don't know. Just speculating.

However, the father does have a "lengthy criminal record."

But what does this mean?

According to the fresh U.S. Department of Justice Special Report: Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research for Law Enforcement, Judges, and Prosecutors:
Most studies agree that the majority of domestic violence perpetrators that come to the attention of criminal justice or court authorities have a prior criminal history for a variety of nonviolent and violent offenses against males as well as females, and of a domestic or nondomestic nature.

...Similarly, 84.4 percent of men arrested for domestic violence in Massachusetts had
prior criminal records, averaging a little more than 13 prior charges (resulting from five to six arrests) — including four for property offenses, three for offenses against persons, three for major motor vehicle offenses, two for alcohol/drug offenses, one for public order violations, and 0.14 for sex offenses.
More eye opening, in light of the fact that many men are not charged or convicted (money and power)...you know, since "false allegations" are so prevalent:
Even if abusers have no prior arrest records, they may be known to local police..

Studies of abusers brought to court for protective orders find similarly high rates of criminal histories, ranging from slightly more than 70 percent in Texas to 80 percent in Massachusetts.
Anyway, moving forward, since most of the corruption is occurring with the law enforcement, judges, and prosecutors who don't give a damn about the report...

Of course DCF is covering its ass saying that they investigate people before they give them custody. When the hell did they start doing that? And obviously, absent father Leslie Schuler wasn't a part of this investigation.

And CPS won't comment on whether they were previously involved with the family. Well, of course they won't comment if there could be any possibility of negligence on their behalf. CPS, like DCF and DOR/CSE are all government entities.

Somehow, the grandmother is lead to believe that the father has court-ordered summer visitation with Nathaniel. She never sees an order, but want to be sure she is in compliance with the law. Grandmas don't want to be caught up in no shit (ask Eddy Curry's child's grandmother). BUT, somehow, no one from the court can find any order granting custody or visitation to the father. WTF?

And so, the father gets his wish to "meet the child and build a relationship," and while he is doing so, proceeds to emotionally and physically abuse his son Nathaniel who has ADD (which, by the way is an oh-so common condition that manifests itself during and after abuse). This ends in the father's day demise of the young boy.

Father Leslie Schuler is originally charged with assault and battery. Additionally, his girlfriend, Tiffany Hyman, is charged with the same for failing-to-protect. There goes that infamous woman-only charge again. Failure-to-protect.

Now I have read the comments on the article and they really paint girlfriend Tiffany out to be a monster accomplice. I MAJORLY disagree, based on the little bit on info that we have so far.

Tiffany is 28 years old. Is she a mother also? Does it matter? Was she responsible for this child? If so, who made her responsible? And is she legally responsible?

I know no one wants to hear the "maybe she was a victim of abuse, too" argument, because society is woman-blaming...but I have to present this to you:

  • Are we, as a society, saying that it is some random person's responsibility to protect other people?
  • Is it some random person's responsibility to protect someone just because that person is a child? Or disabled? Or what?
  • In which scenarios must we intervene? And who gets to decide if we properly intervened, or not?
  • What about the risk to ourselves?
  • Are we saying that every person is required by law to take on the hero/heroine/shero role given some specific or non-specific situation?
This is major!!!

Unless Tiffany participated in the beating, I think it is insane to hold her accountable. We could have had two dead human beings.

Why don't we hold Child Support, DCF and the legal system responsible?

And then, to top it off, bringing the child off of life support is now a public forum with the decision subject to a judge's approval. Is this necessary? Can't families make decisions for their own loved ones. The government fucked this whole thing up and now it wants end-of-life decision-making powers?

Fatherhood. Fatherless. Visitation. Child custody. Child Support. DCF. CPS. Judges. Children. Access/Visitation. Your tax dollars

Who's paying attention?

Wednesday

Failing to Report and Reporting to Fail

I have previously written about how Child Protective Services (CPS) is not interested in mothers' reports of intrafamilial child sexual abuse. I have also recently written about how mothers are victimized in the system and put in a catch 22: Don't report the abuse and get charged with neglect or failure to protect, report the abuse and not be believed and have the court system continue to force the abuser into your life. Both of the catches result mothers losing their children. The first, to CPS/DCF/DFCS (Department of Children and Families or Division of Family and Children Services), the latter to the perpetrator/abuser.

In the Casey Todd case in Georgia (father beat and sexually assaulted his two month old daughter), the mother was said to be present, but asleep and thus ruled non-participatory. However, the child was taken into DFCS custody.

Why?

Could the mother not be supported in the comforting and healing of her own six-week-old baby?

What about attachment and bonding?

How can DFCS even have the word children in its name without adhering to standard knowledge about infants?

In the Leonard Michael Garza case in Texas (father fractured his infant's skull), the mother was absent at the time of the injury thus rendering her uninvolved. The mother reports that the father had a history of abusing her prior to this incident. Police arrest her for city warrants.

What about her five-month-old baby in the hospital?

In the Derek T. Hill Sr case in Illinois (father burned child with a cigarette, also put him in the dryer), the mother was not present because she worked during the day. However she was arrested on the same charge as the father for "knowing about the abuse but doing nothing to stop or prevent it."

What do we want mothers to do?

What if school officials told you that your child was suddenly acting out sexually--masturbating in public, putting a Barbie doll's face on a boy's genital area and talking about sucking her father's penis?

Any mother would be concerned, but what steps do you take when there is an accusation against your own husband, father of your children?

You get "professional help."

But what many mothers don't realize is that "professional" help comes in many flavors. You have to choose your "help" just as you would select a doctor, or purchase a car....Hard to do in an emergency situation.

And so in the therapist's office, your child draws her father as an erect penis, with legs. Two more therapists express concern about this sexualized behavior. Even people at the church overheard your child talking about father-felatio. What does everyone do?

Well, they are all mandatory reporters and thus must call this information into a state hotline. They can even make the call anonymously (at least in Florida). But instead they begin to look at you, the mother, for explanations. Yes, the focus becomes the mother. Never mind that this young child might be performing sexual favors for her own father, everyone wants to know what is wrong with the mother.

In four years of this behavior and professional help not one mandatory reported has reported.

What is wrong with this picture? What should a mother do?



See Also: Failure to Report vs. False Allegations

Monday

How Does Conflict Influence Joint Custody Research?

Dear Reader,

Let's see if I can properly address this. First, ask yourself, What is "conflict" ? In my mind, I think of it as being in a state of constant disagreement, usually involving words and ideas.

In the legal system, "conflict" is an umbrella term which serves to mask some very serious offenses, such as rape and assault and battery within a relationship. A divorce that is "high conflict" may involve two people who just can't get along and therefore, have many arguments, or one or more persons who are beating the shit out of each other. How do you know which is which--especially when the word "allegation" is thrown around?

Second, joint custody research is based on having a mother and a father in the home as married. Nope, no gay or lesbian couples, which is purposefully discriminatory. Nope, no cohabitating couples, again, purposefully discriminatory. This research creates our social policy, which wants us to be heterosexual and married (Responsible Fatherhood, Marriage Initiatives).

More importantly, joint custody research is based on intact households--where the parents are functional and not on the brink of divorce. They still love each other (or have some semblance of a loving relationship).

When "conflict" is present, the children are affected, period. Even if conflict is minimized directly in front of the kids, unhappy parents still affect the kids.

Joint custody research involves families who have opted for "joint custody" after being separated. Opted. Opted. Self-selected. Non-court imposed. Non-forced. Voluntary. Catch the drift?

Furthermore, "joint custody" means a variety of things in different studies: Both parents share decision-making and/or the both parents share physical custody of the kids...that joint custody arrangement can mean 25% at dads, and 75% at moms. What is joint custody, really?

Now add in a bit of resentment, psychological issues, family violence, dragging the kids back and forth between households, new girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives, new schools, money issues, power and control...and ask yourself again, How does conflict influence joint custody research?

It makes the shit impossible.

But as a result of our patriarchal system in which men continue to assert their father's rights this means joint custody at all costs. This means government interference on families as they maintain the for-profit system which involves third party, fourth, and fifth parties: child custody evaluators to see who would be the best parent (NOT based on who already has been successfully parenting), Guardians Ad Litem to represent the interests of the children parent with the most money, parenting coordinators to make decisions for families in violation of many of our Constitutions rights...and more psychology, and more psychology, and more.

Thanks for reading.

Do Mothers Commit More Abuse Than Fathers?

Dear Reader,

I could just give you a link and go about my day, but I am so upset that people do not use critical thinking anymore--they just accept information at face value.

Fathers' groups will tell you immediately that mothers/women commit more abuse (I assume you are referring to child abuse). It is one of their biggest "come back" phrases.

Consider these questions

1. What gender still remains primary caretakers of children in the home?
2. What gender remains the caretakers of children outside of the home (professional world)?
3. When there is a man/father present in the home, who is more likely to spend more time taking care of the children?
4. From a biological standpoint, who is more connected to children?

Let's say that 2/3 of women get custody of their children, which leaves 1/3 of men with custody.

What if I told you that often times women are charged with child abuse/neglect when it is in fact their male partner/father/babydaddy who perpetrated the child abuse. This is especially true when the mother is UNmarried to said partner.

Okay, so at a face value, it appears that women/mothers commit more child abuse--by mere association with children at greater numbers than men.

Think about the proportions. Proportions. Proportions.

The Role of Fathers in Risk for Physical Child Abuse and Neglect:Possible Pathways and Unanswered Questions

Neil B.Guterman
Yookyong Lee

Consideration of the role that fathers play in the risk for future physical abuse and neglect is long overdue. A growing body of evidence has pointed out that fathers, as well as father figures, are highly represented as perpetrators of physical child abuse, particularly in its most severe forms (e.g., Brewster et al., 1998; Krugman, 1985; Margolin, 1992). For example, Sinal et al.'s (2000) review of inflicted closed-head injury (shaken baby syndrome) cases in North Carolina reported that 44% were perpetrated by fathers and 20% were perpetrated by mothers' boyfriends, in contrast to 7% perpetrated by mothers. Similarly, a review of child-maltreatment-related fatalities in the state of Missouri reported that while 21% of identified perpetrators were biological mothers, 23% were biological fathers, and 44% were unrelated males in the household (Stiffman, Schnitzer, Adam, Kruse, & Ewigman, 2002). Given that fathers provide on the whole, substantially less direct child care than mothers (Margolin, 1992; Yeung, Sandberg, Davis-Kean, & Hofferth, 2001), these proportions of fathers and possible father surrogates as perpetrators of sever child abuse appear as rather startling.


The Role of Fathers in Risk for Physical Child Abuse and Neglect:Possible Pathways and Unanswered Questions -


Now read this excellent explanation and summary in Male vs Female: who is more likely to perpetrate child abuse.

Keep in mind, that sexual abuse is never counted in these stats--which is very suspicious, indeed.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday

Fathers, You Should Probably Pick Someone Other than Nas to Represent You for Father's Day

http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2009/06/19/nas_father_s_day_tribute

"We deserve the love! Becuz (sic) we don't even expect it, we do what we do regardless! With no signs of a reward for it. We put up with everything, standing true to what's real and letting life take its course protecting our household, our woman, our children, our family. Shout out to my pops, a great man! Biggest shout to my son on the way! It's a GREAT DAY!"
Why does he sound like a 15 year old?

I have done a post on Nas and Kelis previously. I suspected something was suspicious when a couple decides to divorce before the baby even gets out. Domestic abuse often begins during pregnancy--not to mention homicide is the number one killer of pregnant women.
The hip-hop star is currently battling his estranged wife Kelis over their unborn baby, with the rap star last month urging a judge to deny his ex's request for spousal support and legal costs. The former couple is also warring over custody arrangements for the baby.
This sounds like a great father classic abuser.

Legislation to Help Deadbeat Dads Get Back in Control of Their Families

http://www.wthitv.com/dpp/news/news_wthi_terrehaute_fathers_help_200906191751
Senator Evan Bayh presented President Barack Obama with legislation that would help fathers who aren't involved to take responsibility...
Because, after all, you need laws to get you to do the "right" thing.

But why aren't they involved?
"Get them into a job so they can pay their child support. Get them cleaned up if they have an alcohol or drug problem so they can be a decent role model for their child," he added.
Because, after all, we do want them to address their "issues" first, before they start becoming involved with the kids.

But what's the incentive? (The media isn't reporting this part.)

Waive some or all of the child support arrears that are owed to the children, so the fathers can get a leg up.

But what happens to the children?

Well, they won't get the money that was owed to them, and then, they get to have a previous (or current) criminal in their lives as role models.

At least they'll have a father.

And the states will have more money...grant money from the Administration of Children and Families, no more welfare monies being distributed, and unlimited potential from the family court system.

Senator Bayh, you are brilliant!!!

Fathercentricism.

Dear Alonzo Mourning,

From Obama to fathers: Be involved in your kids' lives:
One of the mentors, retired basketball star Alonzo Mourning, told a group of boys: "You'll be dads one day. Help your kid develop the comfort to speak to you about anything. ... Anything."
Is this the best thing you have to say to our young men?

No, Alonzo, they all won't be dads,...unless you're assuming that 100% will have sex with women...that will be unprotected...or protected and will fail...or maybe they won't have sex with women...they will be gay...and adopt...or not be gay, and adopt.

You do know that being a dad is optional?

Fathercentricism.

Obama and His Fathercentrism

It has become more than apparent that our President has some psychological issues related to his father being "absent."

But is it really that serious? And does he have to make the rest of us suffer with him?

We all know that the President, in spite of having an absent father, turned out quite well. In fact, President Obama said that his mother was "frequently absent." So, where does this leave us? Is this such an atrocity because of the racial issues? Because we knowz dat da man keeps telling us dat da Black family be damned 'cuz of all of dem single momz.

Obama's father was an "intellectual" who pursued his goals, including attending Harvard. He was like many men who are committed to education and career first, and thus leaving the family behind. He may not have been "there" for Obama but Obama can still attribute some of his own success to his genes.

How many other Black boys and men can say the same?

And don't go blaming single Black mothers, again. If these fatherless kids end up as troublesome youth and adults, you can likely attribute that to the characters of their fathers, coupled with the constraints of life in poverty.

Obama described his own father as "volatile and vaguely threatening." Would he have wanted someone like this in his life full-time?

What Obama is doing and preaching is unfair, because he is coming from a position of privilege.

Didn't Obama make his family secondary to his career?

The fact that he remains married and participating in his household [as a "father"] is related to the resources that he has had available to him (education and money for both Barack and Michelle, and a patient wife whose number one duty is the kids), coupled with his value system and self-esteem issues related to his family of origin.

I respect that as a role model, our President is intent upon helping us reach the mountaintops through speech directed at fathers. But we would be better served if Obama focused on our educational system and jobs, respected different family styles and values, and licked and healed his wounds on his own dollar and time. By giving people the tools they need to reach their potential, everything else will fall into place. Stop legislating the family.

Friday

Belize Survivor, part 74

Due to distances, transportation, weather, and lack of communications, homesteading gringos rarely saw each other unless they went to town. Going to San Ignacio on Market day was usually the only sure-fire way of touching base with most of the friends they’d made. But through unique circumstances, they’d met Rick and Suzy on the river one day. He was a tall fair-haired handsome Brit who had spent much of his life in Kenya. Rick impressed Alexis as one of those endearing hard-working mad-dog-Englishmen types, who earned and enjoyed his daily gin and tonic sundowners with good humor.
His wife, Suzy, was a smart spunky curly redhead, a pretty girl with a good head for business and a full-steam-ahead attitude. As it turned out, they had been lucky enough to purchase a spectacular piece of land on the other side of the river from Mrs. Whitmore. Their friend, Anita, was from Chicago. With long gypsy hair and dark warm intuitive eyes, she was an earth-mother type who had spent many years living in the wilds of one of the most remote areas of Mexico. As an herbalist and naturalist, Anita had bought an adjacent smaller parcel next to Rick and Suzy. Her plan was to study ethnobotany and natural healing with an old Maya shaman she’d heard about in the Maya Mountains. At almost eighty years old, she was anxious to absorb as much of his knowledge as she could. Otherwise, when he died, it would be like losing an irreplaceable library of information.

One Saturday in mid-August when their crop was ripe, Alexis and Max took hundreds of pounds of tomatoes to San Ignacio, where they found them in high demand. Max had been right. Tomatoes were completely out of season, and people were paying a dollar-fifty BZ per pound at that time of year. Taking a red five-dollar bill for her purchase, and making change for one of the local women, Alexis looked up to see Rick, Suzy, Anita, and Eric walking in their direction.

“Hey, you guys!” called Alexis, as the girls all took turns hugging and the men shook hands. “How’s it going? Long time, no see. What are you up to today?”

“Just making the rounds, buying provisions” said Suzy. “And Anita’s been on a house call with Eric.”

“Why? What’s up?” asked Max, looking over at him. “Are you sick?”

“Not exactly, but I do have a real problem." Eric pulled off the red bandanna and exposed a huge raw red hole in the middle of his forehead. It was an eighth of an inch deep, and nearly the size of a quarter.

"Wow, are you working on your third eye?" said Max, covering his horror with an attempt at humor. “Or did you get hit with a pickaxe?"

"Neither of the above,” Eric replied. “It's some type of weird infection that I can't seem to cure. Actually, I had it the first time you came to the valley. It was just covered up.” Alexis thought back to the visit with Maggie and the others. Come to think of it, she had never seen Eric without a bandanna, and remembered seeing him adjust it frequently. “The British Army doctor says it's not bacteria, or a virus, but some type of protozoa,” he continued. “I remember one day when I was chopping bush and I got bit by a sand-fly. It just started out as a little dot, but the damn thing has gotten bigger and bigger. I've used every antibiotic cream and cortisone junk you've ever heard of. Nothing seems to help. Now the doctor has scheduled me for regular heavy metal injections, shooting right into the rim of the sore itself."

"And I’m trying to help him avoid it,” said Anita. “I’ve been searching my pharmacopoeia for natural cures, but haven’t found anything yet. So I’m going up to San Antonio village sometime over the next few days to see if I can find this old shaman, the venerable Don Elijio. Maybe he will have some suggestions.”

"I hope you can find something,” said Eric, earnestly, “because I sure as hell am not looking forward to the British Army alternative.” Just then, Sheila pulled up in the jeep to pick up Eric. “Well, that’s my ride; I got to go.”

"Take it easy,” said Alexis. “Say hi to the rest of the gang for us."

As Eric got into the vehicle, Max said to Rick, "Did you see the size of that thing? There’s one good reason why I wouldn't choose Baron's Creek to buy property: protozoa infection-bearing sand-flies. I know there used to be yellow fever in Belize, and I hear there are still cases of malaria from time to time. I'd just as soon live by the Macal River. Good drainage and reliable water. I sure hope Michael wants to sell."

“My feelings exactly, Max,” Rick replied. “But don’t hold your breath. We tried to buy that piece before old Jake Gardener sold us this one. Renting it is one thing, but I guarantee Michael won’t budge and neither will Mrs. Whitmore. How about a beer, old boy?”

"You go ahead with Rick,” offered Alexis. “I'll stay here and sell the veggies."

"Okay, thanks, Ntombi,” said Max. “I’ll take Jordan, so you can use both hands. See you in a few."

Operation Orangetree: Who's Your Daddy?

It has taken me over a month to report the great Operation Orangetree in Florida--the child porn sting that caught 70-some perverts in possession of obscene images of children on their computers.

Why?

Because it just isn't thrilling to me that most of the people they caught were looky-lookers. Yeah, I know, my pessimism isn't helping "the cause"...but it goes much deeper than that.

Every now and then there is some large-scale porn sting in which police departments "catch" some local people with kid porn; and then the state politicians pat themselves on the back and talk about how safe they have made us.

Has anyone ever stopped to ask WHERE the children in the images are coming from?

Let's explore our options:

A) There are a bunch of kidnapped children in some underground location being tortured and exploited by random strangers

B) There are a bunch of kidnapped children in some underground location being tortured and exploited by non-strangers (family, friends of the family, teachers, pastors, etc.)

C) There are a bunch of kidnapped children in some underground "location" being tortured and exploited by their fathers

Yes. My goal was to ruin your Father's day because I am a misandrist and a card-carrying member of the Feminazi clan.

But now that we've gotten that out of the way, read these excerpts from TBO's article on the matter (which, by the way, is the most descriptive piece on the entire internet):
"Most of the pictures are children 4, 5, 6, 7 years old," Assistant State Attorney Brad Copley said.

Some of the children were toddlers, still in the crib, Copley said during a news conference Thursday morning...

"We have one video clip that instructs child predators and child rapists how to have sex with children between the ages of birth and 8 years of age," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The images are graphic, Copley said. "When they started putting sound with these movies - and I'm not talking about a music background; I'm talking about hearing the little children cry - the first time I heard a child say,
'Stop, Daddy, it hurts',
it was tough."
Now ask yourself:

1) Where can a person get a 4, 5, 6, or 7 year-old child?
2) Don't 6 and 7 year-olds go to school? (maybe even 4 and 5 year olds)
3) Where can a person get a toddler?
4) At what location(s) can a person find a toddler in a crib?
5) How does a person get access to a newborn or infant?
6) Why are the children crying?
7) "Daddy," is a reference to whom?
A former Polk County deputy, a retired school teacher, a pizza deliveryman and a radio technician were among those arrested. Four of the suspects are teenagers.
What a variety. No names given. But are any of them the Daddy?
Here are the names of the suspects still on the loose, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Donna Wood:

Jean-Pierre Johnson faces 40 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography

David Soli faces 40 counts of possession of child pornography.

Douglas Kulda faces 40 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography.

Clarence Williams faces 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promotion of child pornography.

Scott Liberatore faces 40 counts of possession of child pornography.

Jose Ornelas faces 30 counts of possession of child pornography
Are these Daddies?

From Tallahassee.com:
Among those arrested was Nicholas Andrew Martin, 19, of Leon County. He was arrested on charges of 10 counts of sexual performance of a child.
He might be a Daddy.
Five children were removed from suspects' homes, including three who were subjects of videos, said Florida Department of Law Commissioner Gerald Bailey. He said authorities found evidence the other two children also had been sexually victimized.
Those may be by Daddies.

Think this isn't political?
Twenty-three law enforcement agencies participated. The Polk County Sheriff's Office was most active with 45 arrests...

[John] Walsh called the crackdown "historic" and heaped praise on Crist and McCollum, saying he hoped both Republicans win their next political races. Crist is running for U.S. senator and McCollum for governor.

"The cooperation between different agencies in the state of Florida I think is unprecedented," said Walsh...

Crist said he "cannot think of a more despicable action and more harmful crime."
But what is Crist referring to? The crime of looking at child porn, having child pornography, distributing child porn, or creating child porn?
McCollum, who has made fighting cybercrime a hallmark of his term as attorney general, said he's determined to bring violators to justice.
Cybercrime? *eyes rolling* Again, what violators is McCollum talking about? And what exactly is justice? Justice, in Florida, especially concerning children, is questionable.
"We're going to get 'em and where we don't get 'em, we're going to educate children to protect themselves," McCollum said.
Educate the children to protect themselves against their friends? Family members? Their own fathers? I hope that is more successful than teaching adult females about how to prevent rape.

Polk county is like the countriest county in Florida. I know that means nothing, really, and I shouldn't be discriminatory (which I am not) but what about Miami-Dade County? (the largest county in the state) Broward County? (the most corrupt county in the state) Hillsborough County (I'm not even sure what to call it). Did they not bother to participate? Child pornography/sex abuse friendly??????????

John Walsh is being used by this because his child was abducted and murdered in Florida...supposedly by a sex offender.

But, our Dear Governor Charlie Crist is known for ignoring, brushing aside, and/or passing the buck on the pleads of many furious mothers that report intrafamilial father child sex abuse. He'd rather almost support parental alienation--a child sex abuse EXCUSING claim.

So what's really going on in Florida--where NCMEC happens to have a headquarters unit? Oh yes, NCMEC only investigates stranger abductions and mothers who "kidnap."

Go through the family court files, the CPS files, Judge Shawn L. Briese's files, Deborah Day's files, Vicki Plant's files, Phil Heller's files, medical files, clergy members...Find the children and ask,
Who's Your Daddy?
...because oranges don't fall too far from the tree.

And also please read:

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The System Sends Mixed Messages to Abuse Victims

Child porn's dirty secret: fathers and trusted relatives and friends are usually behind the camera lens

Thursday

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The System Sends Mixed Messages to Abuse Victims

Do you stay, or do you leave?

If you haven't been a victim of abuse, or a victim of the legal system, you may not be able to understand why this is even posed as a question.

Of course you should leave!

I mean, who deserves to get beat up and/or sexually assaulted in their own home...regularly...or even occasionally. Even as careful as you could try to be to make sure everything is perfect, so as not to anger your abuser, SOMETHING always sets him off...sooner or later. He is a time bomb. You are his target.

What does it mean to be a target?

When you are a target, all of your abuser's anger is directed toward you, specifically. Typically, he doesn't pull the same shit towards those who he considers his equals, or more powerful than he. This is about power. He needs you like capitalism needs slaves. He uses you so that he can feel better about his shortcomings. He doesn't know how to feel good without you.

But he is a good father. He doesn't beat the kids.

You're right. Good fathers don't beat their kids...But nor do they beat up on women to whom they are temporarily, or permanently committed. Getting beat in front of your children doesn't exactly send the kids a good message. In fact, they are put in limbo because your kids will either

A) Side with your abuser because he is more powerful and gets what he wants, or
B) Side with you in attempt to protect you...But let me break that down a little more
1) In protecting you, your children become targets, and the moment will come when they take blows for you
2) In choosing to side with you or not, your children will mimic the behaviors they have seen and normalize them.

Is this what you want?

I hope not because if some outsider reports what is going on in your household, CPS will come knocking and your kids may be gone before you ever get a chance to ask questions. You will be charged with neglect, endangering your children, or failure to protect.

Why?

Because everyone on the outside thinks you should have just left. You are the mother. If you didn't leave, you must be an accessory to the abuse.

What mother allows her children to get abused?

And what mother lets her children watch as she gets abused?

You must be a bad mother. You don't deserve to have children. If you're lucky, maybe your relatives will do you a favor and step in and raise your children for you. If not, foster care will do a great job...because it is indeed a job when they are getting paid.

Maybe you have a chance though, if you would just leave.

That seems like the best idea. Leave.

Wait!

Are you going to tell your abuser in advance, or are you going to sneak out in the middle of the night?

Remember, he needs you...is he going to agree to all of this?

Who the fuck do you think you are leaving him, and taking his children?

He owns you. He's paying the bills. He's the reason you can stay home and take care of his children.

If you go, you have reason to be fearful. Get a lawyer and a restraining order. But, back up a little. The lawyer says, if you take out a restraining order, in the near future, the judge in family court could use it against you. He (the judge and your abuser) may say this was part of your vindictive scheme to get the kids and the money and the house and the car. Restraining orders don't prevent you from being harmed though anyway, because you still have to rely on law enforcement to act.

Get the restraining order anyway.

You'll have record of what you tried to do, in case the news opts to report it upon your "tragic" death. But you can't put the kids on the restraining order...Silly woman! You know fathers have rights!

In fact they have so many rights that if your abuser happens to get locked up, Responsible Fatherhood money will ensure that he has the means to transition back into his caretaking, father-role (don't roll your eyes, we know you were doing the caretaking, but you're not important and this is politics).

Go ahead and report the entire history of abuse.

You do have pictures, right? You mean to tell me in all these years that you have been getting assaulted, you weren't taking pictures of your injuries and saving them in a secret location?

Did you at least tell the doctor? Is there anything in your medical record?

Where are your vaginal tears, bruises, scars?

In talking to police without evidence (or with it), your case will seem suspicious. It will be your word, against your abuser's. Your local DA will be hesitant to take the case...well, hesitant is an overstatement because he may not even acknowledge you. DA's only take cases they can win. DA's aren't interested in intrafamilial abuse reports in the midst of divorce...

You have bad timing. You should have reported this before you were trying to separate. Oh, whoops, I forgot, they would have charged you, too!

Maybe you can work things out peacefully without involving the court.

When was the last time you worked things out "peacefully" with an abuser?

In good conscience, you allow your abuser to continue to have a relationship with the children he didn't abuse, well, directly abuse (or at least you think so). I don't know if you are really doing him a favor, or rather doing as the court would order you to do so, because you do know that the court will order you to do it, right (ask Ms. Leichtenberg and also ask the Paul family...family, because Monica Paul happens to be deceased)? Father's rights.

I know, I know. Yes, you have been abused, but now, yes, yes, you will be court ordered to continue to have a relationship with your abuser because kids deserve both parents. If you try to resist, they will call in the child custody evaluators and Guardians ad Litem and they will say things you would never imagine...because you ARE crazy, aren't you?

What mother would keep a father away from his children?

You know your abuser best

You know that when he makes threats, he can carry them through. You know if you don't meet his demands, you and your children will suffer. But if you try to protect yourself and the children, you risk losing custody to your abuser. And why would you want to put your kids in that situation? They don't want to live with him and if they do live with him, you already know how their lives will turn out. They will be like lost souls.

Sacrifice yourself...like Jesus Christ. Maybe you were put on earth to suffer for the sins of others.

You were supposed to be omniscient--to know that this man you chose would end up being an abuser.

You were supposed to be omnipresent--to know that this man would abuse your children while you were away at work, or school, or while he was away with the kids.

You were supposed to be omnipotent--to protect yourself and your children and to be able to hide and simultaneously remain visible, and to be able to leave your abuser, but let him remain in your life.

How do you want to die?

What do you want the news to say about you when you are murdered?

That you were nice? No, they won't say that! The neighbors and other members of the community will say how nice your abuser was. He was a family man. He played with the kids in the yard.

Everyone will be so shocked and sad that this happened. No one knew that you and your children were getting your asses kicked on a regular.

Your family may've thought you were crazy, or a bad mom, so they may've distanced themselves from you a long time ago. In fact, they may have ADORED your abuser.

Your children's friends will not come forward. They are children--either they won't tell anyway, or their parents won't let them.

You know who else might know? The teachers. But teachers are so busy disciplining and teaching to the test...and besides, it's too late for them to come forward now.

You see what you get for pretending and ignoring and trying to keep the family together? No credit.

Maybe the media will pull your court record and note that you tried to get a restraining order, but you didn't show up. More than likely, they will relay gossip about how you were having an affair and how you were always provoking your abuser. Because violence is mutual. Girls hit, too.

Didn't you know in advance that he was easily provoked? You should have checked his criminal record, or asked his ex.

Maybe your children will die, too. But everyone will talk about how tragic it was and how innocent they are. They, not you, because you had to have done something to make a nice guy want to kill you.

Or maybe you wanted to be killed, because who stays with an abuser anyway?


See Also: Carl Brizzi: Prosecuting Battered Women

Wednesday

Belize Survivor, part 73

On the sixth day of June, the rainy season began. What started as a gentle breeze soon became a stiff wind that blew up the river valley, flipping the leaves upside down to expose their silvery undersides, and bringing the sweet smell of ozone that signaled the coming storm. Soon the torrential rains began their assault on the hard-baked earth, and within two days everything changed. The brittle forest of dead crunchy leaves became soft and receptive. The branches of the trees relaxed, gratefully opening their arms to the sky as they drank in the life-giving moisture. The ground transformed into a sea of mud.

Green and more green. Alexis never knew there could be so many shades of green – surely God's favorite color. There were the deep blue-greens of the distant pines scattered over the peaks, and the true forest-green of the high bush. Nestled in the river valley were innumerable varieties of bushes and plants in greens of every imaginable shade: spring green, jade green, dusty olive, brilliant chartreuse, kelly green, bright lime, dark bottle green, and shining emerald.

High in the mountains, the loose soil and debris of the dry season washed from the hillsides in the onslaught of tropical rains, sliding into hundreds of small springs that divided the valleys. Springs became streams, streams merged to become the Rio On, the primary branch of the upper Macal River. Restricted by the narrow canyon, the turbulent water churned, cutting between jagged rocks and boulders. Through miles of untamed jungle, the volume of water continued to race its course. At last, the flood reached the part of river valley where the Lord family lived.

From the house, Alexis watched the level of the Macal rise steadily as the water raged. Within the course of the morning, she had seen it rise twenty-five vertical feet, spill its banks, and spread across the lower pasture to twice its usual width. She knew it was dangerous to go closer, but felt the magnetism of its power. Walking down the hill to the edge of the surging floodwaters, she listened to its roar and felt vibrations deep in the earth.

A great crashing brought her out of her reverie, and Alexis stared dumbfounded as a giant tree came floating down the river. Over a hundred and twenty feet long, its enormous root mass came downstream first, bobbing up and down in slow motion like a sea serpent, its tremendous trunk and canopy of sodden branches trailing behind in majestic counterbalance. Suddenly as the forward mass of roots bobbed downward, they caught on some unseen obstacle under the surface. Unable to be restrained in the awesome force of the flood, the tree up-ended into the air and struck an arc of one hundred and eighty degrees across the sky, literally tumbling its leviathan canopied crown over its submerged foot. Breathless, Alexis watched as the monster tree continued its journey downstream.

Monday

Belize Survivor, part 72

By noon, Max and Alexis had purchased a large washtub, a corrugated glass washboard, some half-gallon Mason jars with glass lids and wire clamps, some Tupperware, four cans of thirty-weight oil, and two female Nubian goats whose previous owners had named them to match their personalities. Fine-goat was sweet and well-mannered with a quiet disposition. From all indications, Space-goat seemed to be the stereotypical irascible goat with an attitude problem. Both had the long droopy ears and huge udders for which Nubians are known. Fine-goat was said to be a particularly good producer, yielding over a gallon a day when she freshened. Both nannies were already pregnant, and since goats usually give birth to twins, Max figured the purchase guaranteed an instant herd.

Getting the goats back to Michael’s property had been no easy task, and a month later Alexis was still not doing well at the not-so-gentle-art of goat-milking. Both nannies had given birth since the purchase and were newly freshened. Space-goat bleated and stomped the ground and turned with a baleful look in her eye.

"Hold still, you bitch," Alexis yelled. Grabbing her udder again, the nanny lashed out and knocked over the bucket of milk, turning her head a second time and glaring triumphantly. "Now look what you've done! Of all God's creatures, I have never known a more cantankerous animal."

"What's going on down there?" Max yelled from upstairs. The goats mostly lived outside within the fenced-in property, but Max had created a straw-lined quadrant under the house especially for milking.

"Space-goat kicked over the milk again," she yelled back.

"Damn it, Alexis. Can't you do anything right? That's the third time this week. For heaven’s sake, control the animal."

"This goat is making it personal. I never have trouble with Fine-goat, except that her bag is harder to squeeze. She's got the upper hand. She knows she intimidates me. No wonder they say goats are evil," Alexis muttered. "With those horns and that beard, they have the silhouette of the devil."

The goats had been nothing but trouble since day one. Originally, Max had been concerned with keeping the goats from wandering off. The problem turned out to be just the opposite; they insisted on wandering IN, wanting to be part of the family. Being fond of animals was one thing, but finding a goat in the living room was something else. With their love of climbing and natural affinity for high places, the goats had simply mounted the steep front stairway, knocked over the precious tomato and pepper seedlings on the verandah, scattering the dirt everywhere, and then walked right into the house. In that particular instance, they found Space-goat on her hind legs amidst the ruin of pots, pans, and broken dishes, with her hoofed forefeet on the kitchen counter.

Stories and jokes about goats eating anything were also well-supported by Space-goat's capricious habits. Over time, she ingested one of Jordan's baby rattles, a small Tupperware lid, several crayons, and had actually chewed on tins cans and the clothes on the line in the yard – just like in the cartoons. But a few days previous to giving birth, the situation had turned serious when Max discovered Space-goat had eaten a tube of epoxy resin. She had been due to deliver at any time. As much as Alexis disliked the goat, she didn’t want her to die.

"I don't know; she doesn't look sick, but I definitely saw her grab the tube from the workbench. See?” Max said, opening the goat’s mouth and pointing. “She still has paint flecks from the tube label on her tongue. Maybe we should make her throw up."

"Good idea,” said Alexis. “I’ll go check natural medicine book." Ten minutes later she came back with a vile-looking concoction. "It's an emetic. Warm water, salt, and mustard. I thought this old glass coke bottle might give us the best chance of getting it down her throat."

Max nodded. "Good. Okay, I'll hold her head back and you shove it in." Together they forced the foul mixture down the throat of the struggling goat. After a half hour, still nothing had happened.

"I hate to do this, but I guess I'm going to have to go see the vet at the agricultural station at Central Farm. It’s time to take action. Epoxy is highly toxic. We can't afford to lose her or the kids." Fervently, they hoped that Space-goat didn’t have boys. Uncharacteristically, Fine-goat had delivered triplets, except they’d all been males. Yikes! Three billy-goats-gruff.

"It's still weird that she doesn't look sick." Alexis commented.

"Yeah, but we can't take a chance. You stay with her; I'm going for the vet."

It took Max a full two hours to drive to the agricultural station and back. And yet, when he returned, he was alone. “So where's the vet?" she asked as Max got out of the truck.

"He said it was pointless to come. The goat will either live or she'll die. The emetic was a waste. Goats are ruminants; they can't throw up."

At that, Alexis broke into laughter and then Max did too. "So she's got all that stuff inside her? The kids, plus the warm water, salt, mustard, and epoxy resin? Did the vet have any advice at all?"

Now Max could hardly get the words out, "Well, he did suggest that we feed her the other tube, the epoxy catalyst, so it could just mix together and she could hopefully poop out the whole thing."

Strangely enough, Space-goat had suffered no ill effects from the epoxy glue or the intended cure, thus confirming that goats really do have cast-iron stomachs. A few days later she gave birth to a single healthy kid. Unbelievably, it had been another male. In keeping with tradition, they had named the little billy, “Scapegoat.”

Wednesday

Belize Survivor, part 71

"I’ve got a cave story for you," Maggie said, "You’ll like this one.”

Alexis picked up Jordan and moved to the hammock where she stretched out and got comfortable. Baring her breast so he could nurse, she settled back to listen.

“Tim and I arrived here in the valley before Eric and Sheila, and Joel and Kirsten. It was dry season then, and the water was low. We thought it would be fun to build a house on twenty-foot stilts on the west bank, up against the cliffs, rather than out on the flat – almost like a tree house. But six weeks after completion, the rains broke unexpectedly, and then one night in early June it rained like hell for hours, big fat raindrops – like bullets. The noise of the roaring river woke us. It was directly beneath us."

"It was nerve-racking," emphasized Tim, "and terrifying, especially when I looked out with a flashlight and saw the white turbulent water halfway up the stilts. The force of it was pushing at the whole structure."

"We knew there wasn't much time,” Maggie continued. “Twenty minutes later the river was only about thirty-six inches below the floorboards. We knew the whole house was going to collapse; we could feel it swaying," said Maggie. "It was time to bail out."

"Bail out where? How on earth did you get to safety?” Max demanded.

"We pried a long board off the veranda and crossed the gap between the house and the cliff. Then we literally `walked the plank' on our hands and knees and escaped up the side of the mountain. Five minutes later, the whole house was swept away. We spent the night in a cave. Hey – it came down to survival,” Maggie laughed.

“Anyway, when the water receded there was nothing left. Luckily, all these guys,” she gestured, “had arrived by then, and that’s how we all ended up living together, or at least until we have our own places finished. But you’ve probably been here long enough to have heard some ‘dumb gringo’ stories, right? Because if you haven’t, you’ve just heard your first!”

Supreme Court Rules that Judges Cannot Rule on Cases Involving Financial Contributors. What Year is This?

No matter how much I despise the field of psychology, psychology tells us that when a person makes a gift to someone else--be it a gift of a kind words, or a tangible gift--the recipient is more likely to view the gifter in a favorable light. It is actually written in several books and manuals as a "trick" to winning someone over.

Political contributions are public records. And judges must report all monies that they receive. Law firms make financial contributions to judges on the record, and off the record. The more clandestine transactions take place when attorneys fund the judge's vacations and even their homes. Universities also make gifts to judges when they invite them to speak on campus...travel, housing, etc.

So, how are the judges able to rule accordingly? Duh, because judge possess superhuman powers, called impartiality.

In this NY Times article:
Elected judges routinely accept contributions from lawyers and litigants who appear before them, and they seldom disqualify themselves for cases involving donors.
Let me add, that judges seldom recuse themselves from ANY case, it doesn't have to be this specific (read The Paradox of Recusal).

But what are the justices really worried about:
But the four dissenting justices predicted that the decision would generate a flood of groundless recusal motions and undermine confidence in the judiciary.
Who, in 2009, still has confidence in our judiciary? My guess is only the people who have never been caught up in the legal system.

Anyway, this ruling only concerns
cases involving people who spent exceptionally large sums to put them on the bench.


What about the rest of us? How long will we have to wait for justice?

Tuesday

Parenting Coordination: The Next Step in Big Brother's Society

Society REALLY wants families to stay together...I mean REALLY, REALLY. Even though we women have the option to get out of bad marriages (some of those marriages proposed to us by former President Bush's "Marriage Initiatives"), society wants us to reconcile with our husbands in "the best interest of the children."

No, we don't have to fuck them or clean the house anymore, but we must make ourselves constantly available to our ex-husbands for the sake of maintaining a relationship for the kids.

And to make this happen, our government and legal system (grant money cha-ching!) has been so generous as to set up visitation centers for the domestically violent and sexual predators so that our children can continue with their right to have a relationship with both parents. Additionally, parenting coordination has been implemented so that we don't even have to be mothers anymore...some third party can make all of the decisions!

The following is a list of the reasons why you should have a parenting coordinator assume your motherly duties:

# Parenting coordination is an inappropriate delegation of the judicial function
# Parenting coordination is an impediment to court access
# Parenting coordination is a denial of due process
# Parenting coordination violates privacy
# The parenting coordinator concept encroaches on family liberty interests
# Parenting coordination represents arbitrary dictate by a person, in denigration of rule of law
# Parenting coordination is a make-work role newly invented by psychology trade promotion groups
# No studies indicate parenting coordinators make good decisions
# No studies indicate parenting coordination improves families' lives or child wellbeing.
# Nothing qualifies a stranger make family decisions for other people
# Nothing qualifies a mental health professional to interpret a court order or legal document
# Nothing qualifies a lawyer to play at being an unlicensed, unregulated therapist for hire
# Nothing qualifies any third party to "fill in the gaps" in someone else's contract
# There is no definition of what constitutes a successful parenting coordination
# Parenting coordination does not, in the long term, alleviate court docket congestion
# Parenting coordination provides a new forum for squabbling over petty disputes
# Parenting coordination is an additional expense that many can ill afford
# Parenting coordination enables one parent to spend the other's funds
# Parenting coordination is time-consuming and tedious
# Parenting coordination is not confidential
# Parenting coordination constitutes continuous government discovery, 4th Amendment
# Parenting coordination constitutes continuous discovery by each parent into the affairs of the other
# Parenting coordination can never be "voluntary" because it implements unwanted court orders
# Parenting coordinators demand that the parties sign "consents" that give up constitutional rights
# Some have demanded that parties give up the right to go to court, contact police, or involve their lawyers
# They are hired or appointed under shadow of the threat of court sanctions or loss of custody
# They are agreed to by parties ignorant of the repercussions, in fear, out of funds, or overwhelmed
# Parenting coordination does not result in increased family well-being
# Parenting coordination does not make children happier, healthier, better adjusted
# Parenting coordination is not therapy but coercion backed the state's police power
# Parenting coordinators tend to be hostile to, and at odds with attorney-client relationships
# They align with GALs and other court appointees in a pretext of "focus on the children"
# They encroach on parental-child relationships and decision-making
# They alone decide if a parent is "cooperating" with them
# They are given unwarranted authority to impose or recommend sanctions against parents
# They are given unwarranted authority to speak with extended family, friends, and collaterals
# They are given unwarranted authority to speak with children, teachers, and school officials
# They are given authority to demand private medical and therapy records
# They are given authority to demand meetings, and meeting times and places
# There are no studies of parenting coordination methods or techniques
# There is no research into parenting coordinators' efficacy, and there cannot be
# Decisions are based on the parenting coordinator's private agendas, values, and beliefs
# Most parenting coordinators lack psychological insight
# Parenting coordination is not "co-parenting therapy" which rarely works anyway
# Mental health professionals are ignorant of the repercussions in law of their ideas
# There is no valid "training" because there is no body of knowledge to base training on
# Decisions are made without actual knowledge of people's households and daily lives
# Parenting coordination provides a forum for the arguing of minutiae, not just major decisions
# Parenting coordinators frequently make bad decisions
# The parenting coordinator has absolutely no incentive to work himself or herself out of a job
# Parenting coordinators tend to be individuals who can't make a go of practicing their profession
# Many have axes to grind; others need to re-live and normalize their own family-of-origin issues
# Parenting coordination is unregulated and practicably unable to be regulated
# There is no effective oversight, and there cannot be
# There is no recourse against the parenting coordinator for malfeasance or malpractice
# Parenting coordinators have control to self-generate their work and churn fees
# The claim of parenting coordinators that they sought this role in order to "help" people is specious
# Parenting coordination proceedings are informal, outside court, and not subject to effective oversight
# Parenting coordinators can report conversations and events differently from how they really happened
# Parenting coordinators can cover themselves by blaming parents for the failure of the venture
# Parenting coordinators give parents make-work at whim
# Parenting coordinators may not have any personal parenting experience
# Parenting coordinators may not have experience being primary caregivers, or as single parents
# Many of those drawn to the field are by nature meddlers, incompetents, or petty tyrants
# Parenting coordination is dangerous, founded on an erroneous beliefs about "high conflict"
# "High conflict" means "abusive relationship", not "difficult learning situation"
# "High conflict" means "threats to security and well-being", not "lack of communication skills"
# Fears and concerns are real, not irrational, vindictive, or merely personality disordered
# "High conflict" means that the "parenting plan" is inappropriate, unjust, unhealthy, or unsafe, and
# there is no "adjustment period" to get through or equal "co-parenting relationship" to regain
# Parenting coordinators have missed domestic violence
# Parenting coordinators have inflamed emotions and exacerbated legal issues
# Parenting coordinators have assumed facts that are not true
# Parenting coordinators have perceived emergencies or situations incorrectly
# Parenting coordinators have mischaracterized events
# Parenting coordinators have made egregious judgmental mistakes
# Parenting coordinators have lied outright and there is no basis to presume their "good faith"
# There are no ethical guidelines that practicably can be enforced
# There are, and can be, no enforceable practice parameters, only vague aspirational generalities
# Parenting coordinators will be biased because of the nature of human relationships and the role
# Court oversight is illusory because the parenting coordinator has more credibility than either parent
# Court oversight is illusory because the parenting coordinator has the ear of the judge, and
# because the parenting coordinator has relationships with supportive guardians ad litem, and
# because the parenting coordinator has other courthouse referral relationships who will back him or her
# Court oversight is illusory because it's easy to claim a parent is uncooperative or lying
# Court oversight is illusory because it's expensive
# or there is not enough time to get a hearing
# or the party doesn't have a lawyer post-decree, and
# because the judge who appointed the parenting coordinator did so because he didn't want to hear it
# Most of all, parenting coordination is proof that joint custody does not work

Belize Survivor, part 70


Within the first ten days of March, the heat intensified in quantum leaps. The sun burned down fiercely; the air felt like a blast furnace. In spite of adverse growing conditions, Max and Alexis planted tomato and green pepper seeds in peat pots in the shade on the front porch and watered them three times daily. Their hope was to nurse the seedlings through the dry season and get them into the ground in June when the rains broke. With luck on their side, they would have tomatoes when no one else did, securing them a premium price at
the market. The new water pump Max had purchased was making all the difference, and they were relieved to know that their water supply from the river would now be dependable, no matter how long the dry might last.

In the weeks that followed, Alexis and Max met more newly-arrived Americans at the Saturday morning market. Three couples, Tim and Maggie, Eric and Sheila, and Joel and Kirsten, had combined their financial resources to purchase a fertile tract of land tucked away in Baron's Creek Valley, about four miles south of Len and Betty. For the time being, they were all living in a single communal dwelling while their houses were being built out on the flat, just east of the little river that flowed alongside the sheer rock wall on the western side.

According to Maggie Davis, the southern end of the valley narrowed abruptly, marking the end of all human habitation, becoming a steep gorge of virtually impenetrable forest where even the bravest of chicléros, or chiclé gatherers, did not go. Rising into the undisturbed highlands where jaguars reigned supreme, the jungle abounded with deer and wild pig and other exotic-sounding tropical fauna such as: peccary, tapir, kinkajou, agouti, coatimundi, and paca. Boa constrictors, black-tails, coral snakes, and deadly fer-de-lance all slithered through the fragrant leaf mold of the forest floor, while great white falcons, king vultures, owls, toucans, and scarlet macaws flew in the upper reaches of the high canopy. Max and Alexis were intrigued, so when Maggie invited them to visit the valley, they accepted happily.

That night the four couples, and baby Jordan, sat together in the little communal house made of wood and thatch while the crickets and howler monkeys sang their evening song. The floor was raised about three feet off the ground and the thatch extended into an extra-long overhang to compensate for the fact that there were no walls. And other than a few hammocks and the single rough-hewn table of heavy mahogany around which they gathered, there were no chairs or couches, but comfort was not an issue. Laughing with their new-found friends, and passing a joint and a bottle of rum, Max and Alexis had at last found what they sought: like-minded people, other young expatriated Americans who had been prompted by the very same forces to seek the alternate lifestyle of a Belizean homestead.

"Tomorrow I’ll take you to the water cave near my house site," Eric said, as he readjusted the bandanna lower on his forehead. "The cave's enormous, and Baron’s Creek itself, which is really a substantial river, flows right out of the face of the mountain creating a huge blue-green pool called Nohoch Sayab. It means Big Spring in Mayan."

"Wow," said Max, impressed. "Can you swim up inside the cave?"

"Oh yeah, you bet," said Eric "The pool is cold though, and once you get around a couple of big rocks at the mouth and up into the cave itself, the water gets even colder. It's really dark too, until your eyes adjust. Then you can start to make out the details of this enormous chamber. The ceiling is vaulted like a cathedral; it must be a hundred and twenty feet high in there, at least. And there are huge stalactites everywhere, twenty or thirty feet long, and big rounded stalagmites underneath. The colors are beautiful too; all the formations are stained orange and green and brown with mineral deposits and molds."

"Sounds pretty intimidating," said Alexis.

"It is. But so spectacular,” Kirsten said. “You can feel that the place doesn't quite belong to mankind. You can see river otter tracks on the bank and there’s a heavy animal-smell, a musky, wild odor – like
it belongs to them, and we're the intruders."

Joel agreed. "I swear you can feel the presence of the ancient Maya. It's...," he hesitated, "a feeling of holiness."