I’ve been driven out by misandry and, I’m so lonesome I could cry

At a recent American Psychological Association (APA) convention the topic of loneliness, and how it impact health was discussed.  Dr. Keith Ablow writes about it on Fox news lamenting “we still don’t have a plan to reduce it”.  In the article he points to social media as increasing loneliness in America. Emma Sepala, Ph.D. tells us it is the American Protestant work ethic and drive to get ahead.  But both the work ethic and media (newspapers, books, long travel times) have been with us in the U.S. for 300 years.  And what explains the rest of the world?

Here I think they miss the point entirely.  We have throughout time always had distractions from close physical social interactions with others and a Protestant work ethic in America but what is different now is misandry and the removal of fathers from families.  The demonization of men has impacted how men interact to form families and interact within families, specifically the nuclear family of husband (father), wife (mother) and children and how these families interact with other families and the extended family is the change which has occurred in industrial societies and worldwide these past 40 years.

The government regulated family based upon the misandric common portrayal of men as deadbeats at best, and the demonization of men as dangerous at worst is resulting in policies which are destroying parental rights, individual rights, and tearing families apart, and harming men, women, and children in the process.  These government family regulatory policies have resulted in a 50% divorce rate, 1/3 out of wedlock birth rate, and 40% of children living apart from their father.  And now a generation of this has fostered young people averse to getting married or having children and if they do so are doing it later in life, often with children born outside of marriage.

In 1970, and for 300 years before that, it was recognized that the nuclear family was the building block of a strong society and beneficial to men, women, and children.  A 6% rate of children living in a home absent their father and a divorce rate of 5-8% in 1970 was considered high and cause for worry.  It was societies expectation that both husband and wife would get, and stay together, to have children (and siblings to have the same biological parents) and to raise them.  Marriage was a contract between 2 people not to be broken without cause.  Parental rights were fundamental rights which would not be interfered with absent applying the legal standard of strict scrutiny.  Parents, both parents, knew best how to raise their children.  No school, court, or state welfare agency would think to tell parents how to parent nor to designate one a “non parent” without a showing of harm to the children.

The 1970’s saw first the “war on poverty” which was the beginning of government subsidized single mother homes.  As government subsidized them they grew in number and to fill the federal coffers for expenditures to “single mothers” the government built a federal child excise tax system on “non custodial” fathers giving it the government double speak name of “child support”.  These systems followed historical sex based parenting patterns of the mothers having custody of children and receiving subsidies based upon the number of children she had and the father being charged a percentage of income based upon the number of children assessed to him, an excise tax.  Worse, the financial contributions were separated from child access for “non custodial” fathers.  These systems, originally designed for out of wedlock families with children were over time, 1970’s-80’s, applied to ALL families.

With out of wedlock, divorced, and separated single mother homes being subsidized we saw a increase in both out of wedlock births and divorced families with children.  Who needs a husband if the government will provide.  Add to this a system which based itself on women having custody of children and men paying the government for the children we end up with a government system which defined men’s value only as what they could pay for a family which they were not allowed to be a part of.  Historically a fathers responsibility to provide for his family financially was balanced by his right to parent and raise his children in the same home as wife and child.   Government collects the “child support” a father paid, but does nothing to preserve his parental rights.  A father taxation without parental representation.

As divorces increased the difficulty in obtaining one was seen as a “problem”.  Pushed by Bar Associations, enter “no fault” divorce.  Previously we needed cause to break the marital contract (such as adultery or abandonment) but now we were going to allow divorce based upon one party desiring to terminate the contract.   Called “no fault” they were actually a unilateral divorce against the wishes of one of the parties.   In the 1990’s studies showed that it was women who filed the majority of divorces (about 80%) and the number one reason given for the divorce was “we grew apart”, in other words a divorce of convenience by women to the detriment of men and children became the norm.

During this time special interest feminist groups were looking for funding sources.  Using the unproven and unchallenged feminist theory of a “patriarchal” system pushed on college campuses in “women’s studies” programs, they seized upon battered and abused women  at the hands of men as an issue and the domestic violence industry was born.  What was originally designed as a shield against physical violence against women in families was turned into a sword to be used by unscrupulous women to gain power and control over men and curry standing in the increasing divorce, child “support” and custody battles.  “Temporary” Orders of Protection (TOP) based upon unsubstantiated ex parte statements to a judge, with no regard to perjury, became the norm.

In law enforcement, prosecutor, and judicial systems, biased enforcement of allegations and reports, with the view of men as perpetrators and women as victims, became the norm even in casual dating relationships.  A woman’s allegations are always believed and a man’s dismissed.  Mandatory arrest took away law enforcement’s discretion to arrest or not. Mandatory prosecution took away a district attorney’s discretion, and legal mandate, to NOT prosecute a case which can not be proven.  Mutual aggression was dismissed as being the man’s fault under “primary aggressor” statutes.  In cases of blatant assaults on men by women “abuse excuse” and “female impunity” is applied and actions by women which would result in arrest of a man were dismissed with a warning.

Police, prosecutors, and judges are not trained by legal experts in the tradition of Blackstone, but by “domestic violence experts”, often a minimally trained worker in a “battered women’s shelter” who spouts dogma as fact.  Act of abuse, even minor ones, are lumped together with “violence” and protections for the innocent are thrown out under the guise of “protecting women”.  Innocent until proven guilty is now guilty until you prove your innocence.  Men are charged with felonies and high misdemeanors which carry sentences of years in prison, and then offered minor fines and TOP’s if they admit their guilt, thus undermining the system for innocent men.

Feminist rhetoric of “men are bad” is forced on boys in our public education system.  Systems are designed to reward girls and how they learn and boys are lined up and medicated for “A.D.D.” when they act like boys do.  Boys are falling behind at all levels within our education system yet we have no “White House Council” to address the issues like we do for girls.  The boy crisis in education has gotten so bad that 65% of all college graduates are female and many colleges are looking to try to lure men to attend as girls complain of the lack of available boys.  “Girls go to college to get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider” and we turn a blind eye to this sexist biased bullying of boys.

Predatory act of abuse by female pedophiles (often by a teacher or trusted woman in a position of authority) are dismissed with the “lucky stud” myth that “boys want it”.  Abuse excuse is applied to the actions of the female (she was abused herself, she’s lonely, etc.) and when she is charged with a crime she is given female impunity in sentencing, often given time served or probation and not having to plea to a sex offense nor be listed on sexual offender registries.  By definition we don’t consider force able compulsion of sex by a female on a male as rape.  There are no counseling centers for female on male rape and sexual abuse victims.  Sexual abuse of institutionalized delinquent boys at the hands of female counselors and guards occurs on a regular basis and there is no hue and cry to address it.

We consider a drunk woman as incapacitated and unable to consent to sex with no similar protection for men and don’t allow a man to claim drunkenness as a defense of sexual assault.  Drunk women get protection, drunk men get prosecuted.  We readily believe allegations of rape by a female and dismiss a defense of consensual, even when it is a “he said-she said” case and the allegations of abuse occur days, weeks, or months later.  Again, defenses for the innocent do not exist when allegations are against men.

Woman can, and do, lie about their reproductive status.  Even though perpetrating a fraud we hold men financially accountable for children they did not want.  Even when a woman steals his sperm a man is held accountable for the child, in NYS the high court ruling that a “man’s right to reproduction ends at ejaculation”. Once on the hook and named the father of a child we hold the man financially responsible even if DNA results show the man to not be the father.  Another instance of a fraud perpetrated on men by women with no accountability for the actions.

The social interactions between men and women and social institutions have gotten so hostile to men that they are avoiding them wholesale.  At first it was risk aversion, now it is a conscious decision to NOT enter into a situation where you will be judged and risk life, limb, and property.  A generation of men watched their grand fathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends get cleaned out financially, removed from their homes, their family and their children, arrested and persecuted, abandoned.   Young men learned from their example.  Indeed it is now so hostile that many men espouse “M.G.T.O.W. – Men going Their Own Way, no committing to spouse and children due to the risk involved.

The Myth of the “deadbeat dad” was debunked in the 1990’s with federal studies (see Sanford Bravers “Divorced dads: Shattering the Myth’s).  Studies over time have shown that women are as violent as men and the hidden problem within families is those with mutual violence or male victims, which are ignored.  The problem of female pedohiles is flat out ignored due to the “Lucky Stud” myth and female impunity in criminal prosecutions and in sentencing.  Drunken and stoned consensual sex and tawdry behavior which is later regretted results in him being arrested and her treated the victim.  In all these instances we blame men, arrest men, prosecute men, vilify men, ostracize men, and incarcerate men.

When men avoid the dangerous minefield of relationships we look to men as the problem.  We have “responsible fatherhood” programs which purport to teach men how to responsibly pay for children they are not allowed to raise.  We look to see what is wrong with men who don’t want to get married.  We wonder what is wrong with young men without families who seem happy to sit in mom’s basement and play video games all day.  We wonder what is wrong with young men who look to crime, gangs, and drugs and make our communities unsafe and try to get “mentoring” programs.  We look to find “father figures” for the boys who are growing up missing “male role models”.

Men are good. Men are not the problem.  Men are not problem.  Recognize this and we can then begin to address the misandric anti-male policies of the past 40 years.  If we address the hostile environments that men have to face we need do no more than remove the barriers and men will do the rest. (link to men’s/boy’s issues here)

If Ablow, Sepala and others in the APA want to address the underlying causes of loneliness, in addition to a myriad of other problems in America, perhaps they would look to debunk the myth of the patriarchy and abusive bad men and the anti family government policies (listed above) which have been developed based upon these myths.  And debunk the myth that men and women are the same and their differences “socialized into a gender” and recognize it it the differences and strength’s of men and women which fosters a strong family for the benefit of all.  And they need to recognize it is these policies which are hostile to men which are the problem, and stop blaming men for the hostile environment they now have to navigate in.

In the Hank Williams, Sr. classic, “I’m so lonesome I could cry” we get to the end of the ballad before we learn he is lonesome as he pines for another, lamenting, he “wonders where you are”.  “You” isn’t stated clearly but it is apparent that the loneliness will go when they are together again.  It’s not hard to imagine that he is apart due to work to provide for his family and it is his family which will solve his loneliness.  And it is not hard to imagine that without their husband/father they are also lonely.  Is anyone lonely when they have a family to come home to?

 

Happy birthday disenfranchised daughter, happy birthday to you, where ever you are.

I was thinking that maybe you (the electronic world) could do me a favor.  Now with social media blasting things all over for everyone to see I thought maybe if you know her you would pass along a happy birthday wish from me for my daughter.  You see, I fulfilled my “responsible father” parental duties, as defined by my government, years ago and we have no contact with each other for nigh on 20 years now.  So please, if you are blessed with knowing her do pass along my wishes for a good birthday and a happy year to follow.

CAH Circa 1989.jpeg

Birthday Party 1989

I suppose I should also here explain and make my apologies for her ending up a disenfranchised daughter to a beat dead, dead broke, disenfranchised dad (often referred to a “deadbeat dad” or “NCP – Non Custodial Parent”).  It certainly wasn’t my plan to be a disenfranchised dad, indeed I was actually a very involved dad and the primary care giving parent as her mother had returned to school and then work full time.   I didn’t plan my life this way, but life is the thing that happens to you while you are busy making plans.

You see, in the 1980’s we (me and her mother) believed that men and women should both share in providing for their children emotionally and financially.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me (and most other people out there), the system has defined “responsible fatherhood” as a father who pays his “child support” on time and in full, regardless of his ability to pay the government assessed amount or the needs of the child.  What I had been led to believe about society working “in the child’s best interest” and about fathers should be active and involved, “responsible”, I was soon to learn was not true.  I now believe only half of what I see and nothing that I hear.

In looking back I wonder if I would have been better off not trying to be an active nurturing participating father.  I could have accepted the “Standard NY Order” of every other weekend and Wednesday after school for 4 hour “visitations”.  I expect though that given the circumstances and the system that the disenfranchisement would have occurred just the same.  Indeed, I have come to learn that it is the hands-on active father who fights the hardest to be in their child’s life, and it is he who is often the one disenfranchised the most, an “inverse correlation”.  Of course, hind sight is 20-20 and nobody knew then what they know now.

I find some consolation in that I fought very hard to stay in my children’s life, over 3 years of litigation in multiple courts.  I was penalized financially for fighting “to hard”  and not accepting the “standard order” and made to pay attorneys and fees in addition to “child support”.  I was told to just “shut up and pay and you can visit your kids”.  I likened “visiting” on a regular schedule to being in jail.  I wanted more.  Alas, there was no avenue in which I would be allowed to be an active father in raising them.  The harder I fought, the worse I was penalized.  I had to define fatherhood as I saw it, not as another thought to make me be.  Unfortunately, Life isn’t fair, it was their way or nothing.

I think I did exceptionally well given I was fighting a government system with unlimited resources which was also plundering mine to pay to remove me from my children.  It was only after many years when I was ultimately arrested and suspended from work and lost all income that I capitulated.  I was bankrupt, facing incarceration, and a lifetime court order keeping me from my children or I could take a “deal”, return to work, pay my (extorted) “child support”, and rely on their custodial mothers good graces for any continued access to them.  I chose the latter as the lesser of two evils, she had no use for me.  In life you don’t always get what you want.

I did fault myself at times for “not fighting hard enough” or inversely, for not capitulating and accepting “visitor” status.  But in addition to be a father by my own heritage and definition I had to ask myself, “fatherhood at what cost”?   The entire system was designed to remove my parental right to raise my children, and so it did. I had no choice than to pay the “child support” extortion and it left me at maximum garnishment and I had to live on 35% of my income for 10 years (no bank account, no credit card, no home, no car).  When you add in the cost of “visitation” (denial of access, more false allegations and incarceration, loss of work, more jail for not paying the “support”) the cost of being a father wasn’t there, much less being a “visitor”.  My door is always open, I never denied any family member access the choice to not come to my door was not mine, and that’s cold hard fact.

When I tell people my now grown children haven’t called, emailed, or even been to “visit” me for 20 years they ask why or “who’s fault is it” (obviously I did SOMETHING to cause it).  It’s nobody’s I think, and EVERYBODY’S.  It’s “Parental Alienation” and a government system which encourages and rewards it, a system which most turn a bit of a blind eye to which is why it continues now for over 30 years.  To hide their discomfort most people will give the “maybe they’ll come back some day”, as if 20 years of acting a way will just change overnight.  Pffft is what I say back.  I certainly don’t expect them to crash my threshold, but I will stay true and never turn them away should they do so.

Photo on 12-20-16 at 5.03 PM.jpg

2017

This is a computer selfie of me in 2017.  I used to look for an unattended camera and snap a “selfie”, this in the days before smart phones and the term “selfie”.  So more than one person has had film developed (and then digitally downloaded) to find a photo of me smiling at them.  Of course I recruited my kids as accomplices when they were old enough.  I thought perhaps they would be interested in how I look now.  Perhaps.  Their choice now.

A lot has been taken away from me by this government system, more so my children.  They took a good active involved father from two children who deserved better.  What they can’t take away is me being a DadSometimes you fight the good fight, and lose.  Such is life.  The sun will come up tomorrow and God willing you get a new day.  So in keeping with still being a Dad I say to my daughter, the doors open if you desire.  I wish you a happy birthday and a good year to follow.  Love, Dad.

 

What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?

Before we jump into the morality and start to discuss the “right” of a woman to get an abortion let’s accept the fact that it is now the law of the land. Let’s add the other “reproductive rights” of women to the discussion also.  She has the right of abstinence, to use birth control of her choosing prior to sex,  the “morning after” pill the next day, the right to carry a pregnancy to  term, the right to abandon the baby in a “safe” location without question, the right to place it for adoption, and no obligation to inform the father of any of her decisions.

And of men’s reproductive rights?  Abstinence, condoms, and trust in your partner to be telling the truth about her reproductive status.  As the NYS Court of Appeals has ruled, “a man has no right to reproduction post ejaculation”.  This unequal application of rights and responsibilities of many is codified in judicial opinion.   This is evidenced in multiple court decisions which held men FINANCIALLY responsible for children even where the female sabotaged the condom by putting pin holes in it, “stole” his sperm from a discarded condom or other means, and even when it is taken by means of rape such as a recent case shows us, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/statutory-rape-victim-child-support/14953965/.   Men who claim they do not want the child of an unintended pregnancy are held responsible anyway, indeed, are even labelled ‘deadbeats” for not “standing up” and accepting paternity.

Recently a bill in the OK legislature has brought the issue of equal rights in reproductive choices to the forefront as the bill would require the approval of the father before a woman is allowed an abortion.  There was an immediate backlash from the left leaning women’s groups, the shout of “my body, my choice” resonating with posts spread all over social media to awake “women” to fight this “injustice”(http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0214/Oklahoma-lawmakers-debate-bill-requiring-men-s-permission-for-abortion-video?cmpid=FB.).

I felt compelled to post on the CSM Article an opposing view in the form of a question: Do men have no reproductive rights?  We seem to be able to find a father when she wants child support.  So if a man says he doesn’t want to pay for a child of an unwanted pregnancy he is a “deadbeat” but if a women wants to abort that child she is exercising her rights?  A woman who has a child against a mans wishes is again exercising her rights, but a man who would ask that the pregnancy give him the child he wants he is then “forcing” her?  So we’ll just give all reproductive rights to women and disregard that their choices affect the father, the child, and society at large?  And can we say anything about responsibility for these “unwanted” pregnancies when women have so many means of birth control at their disposal?

In addition to the “my body, my choice” and the “women carry the baby” what also followed was a host of “men be responsible” comments, the “HE got HER pregnant” perspective which, ironically, failed to see the irresponsibility of women who find themselves in need of an abortion.   The argument was framed around “her rights” and “his responsibilities” and when pressed both sides of the argument dismissed a man’s reproductive rights as ending at ejaculation, where his responsibility begins for her choice.

Not a single person seems to want to address the issue of how can we say men and women have equal rights when we deny men rights which woman have.  Lost also in the discussion is RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions.  For we see a woman can give away her financial responsibility by giving the child up for adoption or even dropping it off anonymously.  A man suffering an unintended pregnancy is forced to pay for her decision.  Her choice is his being forced to 21 years of income execution, the sacrificing of his body at work without compensation.  A poor woman witt a child gets welfare, a poor man with a child gets a garnished.

Perhaps the worst part of the denial of men’s reproductive rights is the fact that most men don’t walk away from the responsibility of her choice.  Most are like Nick Olivas, our rape victim.  At 14 he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old.  Fast forward 6 years and Olivas learns he has a 6 year old child as he is served with child support papers demanding payments from the time of the child’s birth, even though he was not old enough to consent and was never informed of the existence of the child and allowed to decide to be a part of the child’s life.

Now, at 24 Olivas is trying to be a part of his child’s life stating, “I can’t leave her out there.  She deserves a Dad”.  Here he’s finding out that the state isn’t concerned with a fathers emotional support and raising his children for they consider the financial support as separate from access.  And as he is sure to find out, there are a multitude of means to collect, even incarceration into a debtor prison if he can’t pay.  But there are no avenues to help him with, much less guarantee, his time and emotional support for his child.

And what of a child’s rights?  Is there no right to both parents?  In going after Olivas for financial support the state says they are “doing it for the child”.  Really?  So why didn’t the state demand to know the father up front?  Isn’t a child the product of both parents and doesn’t a child have a right to know both sides of their family tree and both heritages?  Can someone from the state explain how it was in the child’s interest to be denied her father, his love and support, for 6 years, and then to collect retro dollars on her behalf?  I’m waiting for that response?  Why is a fathers dollars more important than his love and nurture?

In arguing for his legislation, Rep. Justin Humphrey stated he believes excluding the man out of these decisions is adding to the break down of society.  Once again a man’s rights and a child’s rights are lost in the discussion and the requirement for the mother to notify the doctor of the child’s father was more to make him responsible than to protect his rights.  His bill did do one thing, it exempted rape from the notification requirement, something we do not do for boys who are raped.

The bill was described as being opposed by “reproductive rights advocates” on unconstitutional grounds.  The regional director of planned parenthood stated that “Oklahoma should trust women to make the choices that are best for them”.  I suspect the choices are made easier when others bear the responsibility for your choices but have no choice themselves.   The article should clarify that the advocates are for a woman’s reproductive choices without regard for the father, child, or society.

But as I read the U.S. Constitution I see it guarantees God given rights to every individual equally.  And so I close with the question, What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?

 

Men in the middle

The bulk of us in the middle of the bell curve of male perspectives and issues regarding family are being shouted down by the din from the echo chambers on the right and left.  A polarized media spin which ignores the voices and opinions of men.  Regardless of liberal or conservative it is a cacophony of moral busybodies advocating for the “rights” of women while holding men responsible to pay for the choices made by others.  And unfortunately our perceptions and policies on men, father, boys, and families, are derived from the loud extreme ends and not from the needs, wants, and desires of men and boys in middle America as expressed by them.

Years back (2004) we at the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. (FaFNY.org) complained to the Albany (NY) Times Union about sexual bias in reporting with them having more woman’s perspectives than men’s.  Of course they denied it.  So we did a content analysis over a 30 day period where we cut over 60 articles about women’s issues with none of them negative and 5 articles about men, 3 negative.  We met with the editorial board, they again denied being biased and we then plunked the paper articles on the table in front of them in 2 piles.  The long pregnant pause set over the room.  This, we said, shows great sexual bias in reporting against men, a regurgitation of the NY Times bias against men.

“We don’t see it that way” said the mostly male editorial board, flat-out denial of the evidence before them.  Perhaps our response to their continued head in the sand denial of bias was a little extreme when we gave them the “Pretty Pig Award” for 2004 as “You can put as much lipstick on a pig as you want but at the end of the day it’s still a … pig”.  We even offered to provide little votive boxes with pink ribbons to the male editors so they could carry their testicles around with them and put them safely away while at work.  It doesn’t hurt to burn a bridge that they won’t let you cross anyway.

One would have hoped over the next 10 plus years that social media and competing news outlets would have made things better, but it hasn’t.  At best it is the same, perhaps even worse with truth second to belief.  This past year I found the same NY Times regurgitation of anti male bias in the Schenectady (NY) Gazette online edition.  I complained to the editorial board that they had more NY Times content than local news, mostly anti-male.  I posted this opinion on their web-based comments section for each anti male article but when I didn’t even receive a form response to any of my inquiries I cancelled my subscription.

Over the past few days Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/02/07/better-sex-better-health-more-money-what-men-really-get-out-marriage.html#)          Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170207135943.htm#.WJ9qHLLgizs.facebook),                                                                                  and National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444746/marriage-benefits-men-financial-health-sex-divorce-caveat?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=wolfinger) have had pieces advising men to get married for their own good.  This on the heels of a podcast by Prager University which resulted in an outpouring of negative “what planet are you on” responses by men.  All the articles are based on one recent study by a pro marriage sociologist that marriage is good for men resulting in “more sex, better health, and more money”.   Don’t be a selfish oaf going your own way they advise as there is obviously something wrong with men.  We see the echo regurgitation in multiple outlets of the “marriage” party line, even in the face of push back from men who point out the 50% divorce rate, the vast majority filed by women, which results in the destruction of many men.

This on top of a January NY Post hit piece on men, “How to make deadbeat dads do more to help out” (http://nypost.com/2016/12/21/how-to-make-deadbeat-dads-do-more-to-help-out/).   Even though the myth of the deadbeat dad was busted back in 1995 finding that the majority of men were beat dead, dead broke, and disenfranchised, they hold to the “deadbeat” label.  Recent studies have shown that the bulk of unpaid child support is due to poverty on the part of men.   Ironically the focus of the article is NOT how to get poor men out of poverty for their health and well-being, it is to try to get them to pay into federal coffers to reimburse for welfare and entitlement payments given to women.  In this day and age of “gender” equality one does wonder why we don’t hold mothers accountable for financially providing for their children and have developed a social safety net for women and children only.

In 1975 we had a divorce rate in single digits as was the rate of homes with children absent a father.  The echo chambers of right and left have pushed policies which caused a divorce rate of 50% and 40% of children living in homes absent a father.  Contrary to the din which would lay the blame on men and fathers as “abusive deadbeats who forego marriage” the result is from the negative consequences for men.  Over two-thirds of divorces are unilaterally filed by women against men, men lose custody of their children over 85% of the time, and they are then forced to pay for the children they aren’t allowed to raise.  There are no family violence programs for male victims of family violence nor are there any financial social safety nets for men.

I have been a men, boy, father, and family activist now for over 20 years with organizations like FaFNY (http://www.fafny.org/), the National Coalition For Men (http://ncfm.org/), NY Men’s Action Network (http://www.nymensactionnetwork.org/), and Friends for the Protection of Men (https://www.facebook.com/groups/protectionformen/).  Maybe it’s time you stopped telling us how to be men, fathers and families.  Maybe it’s time you stopped turning a blind eye to our problems. And maybe it’s time you stopped turning a deaf ear to our issues.  You could learn more with your mouth closed and your ears open.  That is my “Dad” advice, direct to you from my father.

A nightmare story of Mrs. Hays’s, and an ode of warning, alas take heed

I was sitting in my favorite recliner, the game on before me, and in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “what day is today?” as I drift off to sleep before the 7th inning stretch.  Time passes uncounted by me in slumber and I awake to darkness and an infomercial on the box advertising unhealthy pre processed one pot meals for lazy ones to feed their entire family with.  I’m thinking to get up and go to bed.  But isn’t this all Hallows’ eve?

Then in an instant I feel myself falling backwards, down, down, into a cauldron in a burning ring of fire.  Am I to be a one pot meal, for what or whom??  Vertigo and fear engulf me at the same time!  I land in the tepid water and it tastes sweet and I think, “well not so bad”, but then the flames grow higher, alarmingly higher.  I hear a screech, a high pitched shrill voice – then two of them!  They seem familiar, until they stop, no noise save for the sound of the fiery ring and the bubble, bubble, boil and trouble I’m in in the hot soup of the cauldron.

The silence sits eerie upon me and then slowly I hear a siren song from two obviously fair maidens.  Would I hear the third siren song?  I felt just like a child, warm in the cauldron.  I feel our hearts meet and I am thinking to get out of the cauldron but here am now bound by desire.  But which one?  Who’s love, one or both? Love, love which is a burning thing that holds me in it’s spell?  I think the taste of love is so sweet, but then the fire went wild!

I come to my senses, but is it too late?  I am the proverbial boiling frog, content in ever warming water only soon to be boiled of all flesh.  The voices go shrill again and I see it is two witches, flying in a circle, opposite each other but unaware of each I believe as both stare at me intently to the exclusion of all else.   Yet they both narrate the same ditty:

I stripped you bare of kith and kin,
I drove you mad with a constant din,
I plundered all assets that you had,
Although you were good I labelled you bad.

I promised forever, till death do us part,
And I did my best to make you depart,
Alas you’re still here for me to see,
And you shall soon learn, you are never free.

I took all you had and left you alone,
And now I am back for the meat on your bone,
I’m entitled to you, though you thought it was over,
Give it to me, or I’ll ever flyover.

Alas it was bad, I envisioned the worst.  Then I see each in rhyme, casting a curse and behind them marches an army of zombie bureaucrats, judges, and well meaning omnipotent moral busybodies to do the bidding of witches for their cut of the soup which is me in the cauldron.  I am thinking all is done for, how can one man overcome such evil in the world?

But then a stroke of luck befalls me, fate I am sure.  For each witch had not seen the other and was acting alone in her narcissistic greed.  When each saw the other and realized they weren’t getting a full cut of me, and bound by the desire of their greed and not wanting to share the meat from my bones, they turned on each other.  Flying right at each other with a evil eye look to kill, and shouting curses and chants, they both in turn neglected to see the telephone pole placed before them by fate I am sure.  The splat was a horrendous sound heard throughout the valley, but to me it was a song of freedom.

 

I now had no trouble in turning the cauldron on its side and the soup I was in put out the mighty ring of fire allowing me to escape.  I did a Scottish victory dance and zombies, being the leeches they are, would not take on a man with muscle still attached to his bones, and here they retreated.

I was marching away from the madness, happy to escape with my skin and was thinking to myself that I had succumbed to the siren song of two, alas I am now smart enough to never hear the song of the third!  I then heard a thump and my chair hit the floor and awoke me for I had apparently leaned to far back in the recliner and weight distribution slowly let my head fall down.  I sat in wonder, was it a dream or was I in another nightmarish world?

I get up to go to bed but think to myself to pass along my misadventures as an example to others.  And this advice I give to young men everywhere;  beware the siren song of the first that you see, and the second in marriage will not set you free, and heed the words of the man in black, for once in the cauldron you can’t go back, and knowing the fate of those who went before you, beware the fiery ring.

I close with the immortal wisdom of the man in black https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhWJF35Q81k

Remove the Stench from the Bench!

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The New York Men’s Action Network (NY MAN) and the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. has for many years asked the parents the question, “are you happy with the system as it currently exists?”  If the answer was no we would encourage people to get involved in the political process and to make sure they registered in a party, vote in the primary and again in the general election. (find general advice on party affiliation, the NYS political process, and grass roots lobbying here http://nymensactionnetwork.org/advocacy-get-active.shtml)

The question would come up on who to vote for if both candidates were equally bad and we would advise to vote out the incumbent.  Or another option would be to write in a name, any name, as a protest vote.  This was especially important when you had only one candidate running and they were bad for men, fathers and families.

In the worst of the worst of political cronyism is when the two major parties would get together and cross endorse one candidate with a Democrat in one district and a Republican in the other, thus each party ensuring their hold on a position.  And in many districts the voter advantage for one party is so high that the other party doesn’t run a candidate and so the primary is the real election.  But here, party loyalty takes hold and most candidates won’t buck their own parties leadership.

Other than for Town Justice in New York State the “rules” limit the judicial positions to a member of the Bar Association.  So we not only have a one party monopoly, it is further limited to just attorneys who are forced to work not only in the party system but also in the court system, both of which would frown on a “maverick” stepping up to buck the system and tell the truth.

But this is family court, a court of equity and one dealing with people.  How is it that attorneys are more qualified to pass judgement on individuals?  Actually one would think that those in the medical or social science fields would be equally if not more so qualified.  And why would we rule out an everyday citizen?  We use a “jury of our peers” to ensure fairness in our criminal courts so why do we exclude these protections in our most important court, the one deciding the fate of our family and of ourselves?

So what’s a person to do?

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Yes, one Doug Smith is running to remove the stench from the bench and we here at NY MAN are encouraging everyone who finds themselves with a one person “race” for Judge, or a two bad person race to write in Doug’s name.  Especially those in Saratoga County in NYS.

No more standing idly by and not voting because you don’t have a good choice or any choice at all.  If you are tired of the stench that the parties keep sending to the bench, let them know you want an open, honest election of qualified persons.

The New York Men’s Action Network has found NO race with an impartial qualified judge not beholden to the system.  As such we endorse DOUG SMITH to REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH and ask that you write in his name for judicial positions this coming election day.  By writing in your vote for DOUG SMITH you are letting the NYS Court system that you are NOT happy with their biased and inefficient system which ;lunders family assets all the while tearing them apart.

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If you wish to talk to Doug or to comment on the “REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH” You can reach him, FaFNY, and NY MAN online at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/.

And remember VOTE for DOUG SMITH to REMOVE THE STENCH FROM THE BENCH!

I Do ………. agree to government control of myself and my family

I am a co-founder of the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. and was its primary lobbyist for many years.  I have been following these issues now for 20 years, advocating for families.  While we initially focused only on shared parenting and court reform we also developed positions on issues such as unilateral divorce and and gay marriage.  As an organization our membership was made up of a broad base of the political spectrum, liberals, conservatives, and libertarians, men, women, parents, grand parents and extended family members who had one unifying experience, they had their rights violated in New York (anti) family and supreme courts.

FaFNY did oppose unilateral divorce and for many years were able to stop this legislation pushed forward by the NYS Bar Association.  Our 2004 memo in opposition (following at the end of this piece) to no fault divorce cited the negative consequences of single parent households on children, at the time standing at 24.7 million children growing up without one of their parents (usually the father).  We did note that our opposition, child focused and in the interest of the children, could be lifted with “ a corresponding overhaul of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for children, spouses and/or parents wishing to preserve their marriages and maintain their families intact, and for those parties most likely to become non-custodial parents.”

Regarding the issue of gay marriage we took a neutral stance.  FaFNY, at that time, supported marriage as being as being beneficial to children but given the diverse membership who supported everything to all marriages to only traditional marriages, so we didn’t come to a consensus on the issue.  The one response that was universal within the organization was, why would you want to get married and subject yourself to these courts?  To that end the VP at the time, Randall L. Dickinson, wrote an op ed piece, “Be careful what you ask for…” (which I include at the end of this piece for your enjoyment).

Ultimately no fault divorce passed in New York.  But none of the measures put forth that would strengthen parental rights; shared parenting, terminology change from “visitation” to “parenting time”, court restructure and reform, mediation, collaborative law, grand parents rights, alimony reform (called maintenance in NY), nothing, nada, none, not a single piece of reform in New York’s Courts has been enacted.

Even on gay marriage the NYS Legislature kicked the can down the road, following Vermont passing “civil union” reforms first, then recognizing marriages of other states.  But on the issue of gay marriage, as in the reform of family and matrimonial law, the most dysfunctional legislature in the nation did nothing.  But now SCOTUS has changed all that, marriage between any two consenting adults is the law of the land.

My response to gays, or any other person for that matter, is why would you want to?  Why get a state sanctioned marriage license?  What are the benefits?  And the down side?  By saying “I DO” with license from the state you agree to a contract that holds no one responsible.  Worse, the contract and case law protects the defaulting party.  Even prenuptial agreements are no protection for the parties for they are routinely thrown out by the courts.

And one would expect that gay marriages will lead to children with adoptions, surrogate parenting, artificial insemination and new age techniques bringing children to married gay couples.  I can only imagine the field day the mostly incompetent judges will have deciding “custody” under these circumstances.  With two married biological parents the best the courts could do was to strip one of their parental rights, relegate them to visitor status with the “standard NY Order” of visiting every other weekend and one mid week 4 hour visit.  One can only imagine the violation of individual rights of a parent with no biological connection to their child.

Gays thought they were fighting for a right that other people had and which was denied to them.  In their ignorant bliss and fight for individual equality they, as most of us did before we suffered under the injustices of these courts, have entered a system which does not grant nor guarantee an individuals rights but works to plunder their assets, destroy their civil liberties, individually abuse them, and all the while being accountable to no one.

We tried to warn you.  But now I say, WELCOME to the family!  Perhaps when we have enough individuals and organizations which watch and suffer the abuses of these courts we’ll get large enough to change things.

Sincerely,
Mr. James Hays

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February 2004

Be Careful What You Ask For …

By Randall L. Dickinson

The recent Massachusetts Superior Court decision granting gays the right to marry and the highly publicized same-sex marriage ceremonies performed in San Francisco, are only the latest examples of what some are suggesting may become the most important social issue of the upcoming presidential election. As the debate intensifies, those on both sides of the social and political spectrum continue to define their positions on gay marriage, indeed, on the very definition of the institution of marriage itself. While those on the political left, backed by the Democratic Party and aided by the liberal press/media attempt to frame the issue as one of civil rights, conservatives on the right, backed by the Republican Party, promote a more traditional definition of marriage. Indeed, most recently, President Bush, himself, has called for a Constitutional Amendment that would clearly define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Largely overlooked in all of the sound and the fury, however, is one aspect of the broader issue itself that gays and lesbians might want to ponder before proceeding much further on their quest for the Holy Grail of connubial bliss. Beyond the ideals of “marriage” and “family”, what are the realities associated with each in the late 20th and early 21st centuries; how have they evolved, what are the implications for those wishing to enter into the bonds of matrimony, and what happens when it all ends, and couples no longer wish to remain married.

Changes in state laws beginning in the early 1970’s have given a legal preference to any spouse wishing to leave a marriage, even if the other spouse wants to preserve the marriage and has done nothing to give the deserting spouse “grounds” for a divorce. Such laws have essentially acted to empower whichever party wants out, leaving the spouse who wants to preserve the marriage powerless to prevent its dissolution and with no recourse but acquiescence.

The marriage contract has, thus, been described as having been reduced to little more than a contractual economic partnership devoid of any legal protection. Maggie Gallagher states, in her book The Abolition of Marriage, that it has become “less binding than the average business deal. Marriage is one of the few contracts in which the law explicitly protects the defaulting party at the expense of his or her partner”. If all of our business transactions were conducted in a similar fashion, our national economy would collapse. With the marital contract now worth less than the paper it’s written on, why should we deceive ourselves into thinking that it is not having the same devastating impact on our marriages and our families.

Adding to laws that help facilitate the divorce process are others that drive the decision to initiate it. Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining

which party is most likely to file for a divorce is the expectation of being awarded custody of the kids. Along with the kids usually comes a whole range of other financial benefits, as well, including child support, alimony, the marital residence, and one half of the remaining marital assets. With most states still adhering to the standard sole custody model, wherein one party receives the kids, while the other is left to pay, it’s not difficult to understand how at least one of them may perceive little or no downside.

The elimination of any need to establish grounds for a divorce was based on the presumption that both parties are equally motivated to end a marriage, and was supposed to make the process less adversarial and more amicable. Today, 50 percent of all first time marriages and 60 percent of all second marriages will end in divorce, 80 percent of them initiated against the wishes and the will of one of the parties. Ooops!

Such public policies as these have been supported by both liberals and conservatives alike. Ironically, many elected representatives, jurists, legal “experts”, and social services “professionals” who advocate for the right of gays to marry, at the same time continue to resist any reasoned consideration of the impact these same policies may be having on the dual institutions of “marriage” and “family” and the trap that may await those who sail blindly into these uncharted waters.

Nor has the institution of the Church been any great help. While continuing to pay lip service to the ideals of strong marriages and healthy families, most churches today appear reluctant to address the issue of divorce for fear of offending their congregations, large portions of which having experienced the phenomenon of divorce either directly or indirectly in some manner. Preferring to go along in order to get along, many churches that haven’t chosen to ignore the elephant in the room altogether, have simply adopted a policy of acceptance. Rather than providing assistance for couples struggling to save their marriages, and admonishing them that the Church will not condone divorce as an option, some churches have, in essence, begun to legitimize divorce by performing so called “New Beginnings” ceremonies designed to help divorcing couples “move on” with their lives. Today the divorce rate among those professing to be Christians and who claim to attend church on a regular basis is higher than it is for the general population overall. Coincidence? Maybe, but it’s difficult not to draw certain inferences.

Before the gay and lesbian community becomes myopic in its passion for the equal right to marry, it might be wise to consider, as well, the need to lobby for the equal right to certain protections under the law following divorce. Matrimonial and Family Law, including those dealing with the custody of children, the “equitable” distribution of marital property, and child support standards are in desperate need of a major overhaul. Without such reforms, rather than embarking on a journey toward nuptial bliss, many gays and lesbians may find that they have unwittingly entered into a Faustian bargain, ending in the inferno of Divorce Hell. The message for gays and lesbians is crystal clear: be careful what you ask for; you might just get it.

Randall L. Dickinson resides and works in the Albany, New York, area and is Vice President of the Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc. The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc. is a not-for-profit public information, education, and lobbying organization dedicated to the advocacy of family related issues and to preserving the relationship between fathers and their children. Its national affiliate is the American Coalition of Fathers and Children.

 

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The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc.,

an affiliate of the American Coalition of Fathers and Children,

Date:            November 11, 2004

 

To:            Members of the New York State Assembly/Senate and Executive Branch.

 

From:            The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc.

 

Re.:            Memo in Opposition to No-Fault Divorce

 

 

 

The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc. is opposed to No-Fault Divorce without a corresponding overhaul of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for children, spouses and/or parents wishing to preserve their marriages and maintain their families intact, and for those parties most likely to become non-custodial parents.

 

No-fault divorce is ill advised because:

 

  • No-fault divorce laws have produced a failure rate among all first time marriages of 50 percent, and 60 percent for all second marriages.

 

  • Eighty percent of these divorces are initiated against the will and without the control of one or the other of the parties.

 

  • This rate of family dissolution is responsible, in part, for producing 24.7 million children growing up in the U.S. without at least one of their parents (usually their fathers).

 

  • The devastating impact this is having on children has been extensively documented, is well known, and is widely recognized. Virtually every social and/or behavioral dysfunction and psychological pathology experienced by children and young people today can be directly traced to the absence of at least one of their parents, and 80 percent of all child abuse occurring in single parent households.

 

However well intentioned the proposal to reduce the cost and stress associated with the divorce process, it is difficult to rationalize how any demographic, except the initiator of divorce, can be said to have benefited from making divorces easier to obtain. More fundamental then is the question of whether or not it is really in the best interest of the State or the Nation to promote divorce in such a manner.

 

After almost thirty years of experience with no-fault divorce laws it is widely recognized that, in effect, it has given a legal preference to any spouse wishing to leave a marriage, even if the other spouse wants to preserve the marriage and has done nothing to give the deserting spouse “grounds” for a divorce. These laws have essentially acted to empower whichever party wants out, leaving the spouse who wants to preserve the marriage powerless to prevent its dissolution and with no recourse but acquiescence.

 

Marriage is one of the few contracts in which the law explicitly protects the defaulting party at the expense of his or her partner. The marriage contract has, thus, been described as having been reduced to little more than a contractual economic partnership devoid of any legal protection.

 

If all of our business transactions were conducted in a similar fashion, our national economy would collapse. With the marital contract now worth less than the paper it’s written on, why should anyone deceive him or her self into thinking that it is not having the same devastating impact on our marriages and our families.

 

Adding to laws that help facilitate the divorce process are others that drive the decision to initiate it. Research has shown that the single greatest factor in determining which party is most likely to initiate a divorce is the expectation of being awarded custody of the kids. Along with the kids usually comes a whole range of other financial benefits, as well, including child support, alimony, the marital residence, and one half of the remaining marital assets, to name but a few. With many states – most notably New York – still adhering to the standard sole custody model, wherein one party receives the kids, while the other is left to pay, it’s not difficult to understand how at least one of them may perceive little or no downside.

 

Without a corresponding overhaul of the entire body of family and matrimonial law and statutory protections for those most likely to become non-custodial parents, no-fault divorce will only produce more of the same devastation in the lives of countless innocent people. The Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, Inc., vigorously opposes and will not consider supporting any such proposal, otherwise.

 

 

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