Megan Leavey: A movie review.

The movie Megan Leavey opens in theaters June 9 but as former military and an AT&T subscriber I was invited to an early screening of the movie on May 30 for free to mark National Military Appreciation Month.  In addition to being a U.S. Army Veteran (76-79) I was also an Army Brat to a career (43-70) US Army E.O.D. (Explosives Ordinance for non military) and am a dog lover also, so a movie about a bomb sniffing dog caught my attention as I was watching the trailers, announcements, and snippets of the plot line leading up to release.

I’m looking forward to it until I get a preview trailer which contains an interview with a male in the film where he says how wonderful it was to work on a film “with so many women” with “wonderful energy” (a women overcoming bias film, I’m sure).   The Director goes on to say there are many war films depicting male marines and few with women.  And this is where I go I go DUH.  Since the first Gulf War 97% of combat deaths and casualties have been men and they compose over 90% of US Veterans. And previously men fought all wars with very few female combatants.  Ironically I posted a piece about female specific services and the lack of MALE specific services in my memorial Day piece, “Do we support our troops”.  Now I’m thinking I’m headed to a PC “women overcoming adversity and hostile men” piece of work.

I was pleasantly surprised as I found the movie to be a nice piece of linear story telling which wasn’t in any form preachy or judgemental.  The movie opens to a young person (who just happens to be a female), from divorced parents, who is coming of age and wondering what to do with her life.  Deciding to enlist in the Marines she carries her bad habits with her until she finds the canine program, and this is where we meet the dog, “Rex”.  Here she encounters the reality of life, to achieve (anything) requires setting goals and objectives and a commitment to succeed.

We follow her to her deployment in a war zone, having to face the unknown.  She has the “what did I get myself into” and “I’m not ready for this” thoughts that I’m sure every young person has when they first start to make their own decisions for themselves, then have to either suffer the consequences or reap the rewards of their decisions.  Here again the movie isn’t preachy but sticks to the story line presenting issues as the normal course of life.

The story line continues to post deployment where Leavey tries to arrange to have Rex evaluated to allow her to adopt him when he is no longer being used by the military.  Again there is no preaching and the story line shows all perspectives in why things are being done the way they are.  There is no glossing over the challenges she has to face, nor is there a demonization of the people who make decisions counter to her wishes.

I found the story line believable. The interactions of her and her family showed the stresses divorce play upon children and the and the actions and dialogue of parents believable.  The training and conduct of the military personnel was also believable, as were the war scenes, which showed the dangers of military deployment without being overly graphic.  The dangers, and rewards, of military service were portrayed factually.

If you are looking for a movie which speaks to the issue of women in the draft, women in combat, or the downtrodden female overcoming patriarchal adversity, this isn’t it so if you’re looking for a PC movie – stay home.  Also, it isn’t a “blockbuster” nor is it set to be a classic cleaning up the Oscars.  It is a nice little film with a good story line which you can take your teenagers to, enjoy together, and maybe open up some discussion about life itself and their decisions for their future.  If you are looking for a good coming of age war story with a dog as the co-star, this is it.   And if nothing else, you have to like the dog.

Megan Leavey Opens in theaters today, June 9, 2017.  More on “Rotten Tomato” here.

And at the end of the movie I say … 1304-royalty-free-content.jpg and 4 of 5 stars.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Boys will be … defined? Is nature (sex) v. nurture (gender) settled debate?

When I fill out paper forms I cross out “gender” and write “sex” next to it.  The PC police get mad at this, “it’s gender” they tell me and some even cross out “sex” and re-write in “gender”.  I can only wonder how it was over time a persons sex turned into gender in classifying the sexes.  Sex, defined, is the 2 main categories of humans based upon their reproductive functions (Sex organs).  Gender, defined, is the state of being male or female based upon social and cultural differences and not by biology.

The argument of nature versus nurture as impacting human behavior has been going on the my entire social science career of 40 years.    Except in rare circumstances people are born with either male or female reproductive functions and so throughout time we have identified people as either male or female.  For example,  you might be a heterosexual male or gay male but you were still identified by reproductive ability, male.  Your sexuality and sexual preferences were separate from your sex.

Enter Gender Feminist Theory which holds that the sexes are actually “genders” and the state of being male or female is based upon social and cultural differences entirely and not on biology in any amount.  The theory holds that your sex (defined by nature) has no bearing on how you act as a male or female, but that you are socially constructed to act a certain way.  Boys will be boys because they are taught to be boys by society, so the theory goes, ditto for girls.

I guess missed the “it’s settled science” memo and reports in peer reviewed scientific journals explaining that nurture won out totally.  I have seen no paper or report discussing that the issue of nature (reproductive function) over nurture (socially constructed) was settled science or that one had more weight than the other.  From what I had read and reviewed, forced gender identification opposite to your sex actually caused developmental problems.  A good example of biological sex holding over socialization is the case of David Reimer (Bruce at birth).

One of twin boys, Bruce, born in 1966 he had a botched circumcision which seriously damaged his penis.  His parents brought him to a psychologist who advocated for the theory of gender neutrality, socially constructed boys and girls, and convinced his parents he would be better off raised as a female, so Bruce had sex reassignment surgery (testes removed) and was to be socialized as a female, Brenda,  and given estrogen in adolescents for breast development.  But the socialization didn’t work and “Brenda” did not identify as a girl.  From 9 years old on “she” wasn’t acting the part and knew he was a boy.

At 14 years old “Brenda” had surgery (including a double mastectomy, testosterone injections and his penis reconstructed) and he changed his name to “David”.  The failure of the gender socialization was reported in medical circles by noted sexologist Dr. Milton Diamond debunking the blank slate social construct gender theory and to prevent this from occurring in the future.  The story was told in 1997 in the book “As nature made him: the boy who was raised as a girl”.

Even though the theory of a socially constructed “gender” was debunked prior to the turn of the century we still write “gender” on our forms and there are those who still see men and women as “socialized” beings, ignoring their biological sex.  Certainly nurture plays a role in how we develop, and there is great overlap in how male and female humans behave naturally.  But it is easy to see that it is the forced roles placed upon children which are bad, this whether you are forcing a boy into a traditional male role or are trying to force a boy into being a female.

We are beginning to see some people calling out the “gender” feminists for putting forth a socially constructed sex theory which is scientifically unproven and wrong and contrary to biology.  Dr. Barry Kuhle, an evolutionary psychologist speaks to this denial of science in his piece in Psychology Today entitled “Giving feminism a bad name”.  He points to the gender feminists radical response and denial of any science which contradicts their theories and beliefs.

Christina Hoff Sommers has also pointed to “gender” feminists theories undermining science most recently in a Dartmouth Review interview where she not only takes to task those who would distort the truth for their ideology, she points to how those who put the social construct theory into practice with their own toddlers soon learn of its fallacy.  A recent article in Intellectual Takeout, “Neuroscientist: Gender-neutral Parenting is Futile” quotes neuroscientist Debra Soh who cautions against treating children as blank slates with no biologically determined sex characteristics.  The articles author, Annie Holmquist asks the valid question, “Are we actually degrading both male and female by encouraging them to ignore scientific fact and abandon the natural differences between the two sexes?”

I would answer her, yes we are.  In my mind gender feminists are the sexists as they would define the behaviors of both male and female by their definition of acceptable behavior based upon unproven theory all the while ignoring science based avenues of study with proven outcomes.  Theirs is not a social science, it is a dogma to be followed with religious fervor.  And treating children as blank slates and forcing them into unnatural gender roles can be damaging to their development.

Boys will be boys, girls will be girls, with a little bit of nurture piled on top of that.  And it is our responsibility to ensure that each one, individually, is allowed many varied experiences and many opportunities so that they can decide what they enjoy and how to be for themselves.  The argument of the weight of nature versus nurture will go on unsettled as individuals don’t fit into any one category.  By definition nurture is to care for and encourage growth and development and I see in neither nature or nurture where it is beneficial to force upon or remove sex based roles upon a person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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!

TEN MYTH’S OF THE CURRENT “CHILD SUPPORT” SYSTEM

The Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc.,  “Working to Keep Fathers and Families Together”, brings you;

 

TEN MYTHS OF THE CURRENT “CHILD SUPPORT” SYSTEM

1. Child support is for the children. [False]

Currently there is NO system of accountability by the custodial parent. Many parents can, and do, spend the money for the child on personal luxury items that have no bearing on child welfare. If we really wanted the children to have the financial support shouldn’t the custodial parent have to show how the money is spent?

2. Those “deadbeat dads” who have abandoned their children should pay for them. [True, but…]

There are very few parents who abandon their children. Actually most non-custodial parents were forced into being “non custodial” against their will as over 80% of divorces are against the wishes of the other parent. Over two thirds of divorces are filed by women and yet 90% of the time women “win” custody of the children even when they wanted out of the family. In New York State there is no SHARED PARENTING statute. No matter who files, one parent or the other will be forced into being a visitor and “non custodial”. The “winner” receives full control of the finances with no accountability. The overall vast majority of non-custodial parents did not abandon their children; they were forced away from them.

3. No matter who caused the divorce the child shouldn’t have to suffer financially. [True, but…]

Over 90% of parents who have shared parenting pay their financial child support on time and in full compared to under 70% for those with just visitation. Children of divorce fare better emotionally when they have TWO involved parents in their life. If policies promoted shared parenting for children they would receive both FINANCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT FROM BOTH PARENTS. A win-win situation for all involved. If we want to ensure the child’s financial well being we need to promote both parents access to the children.

4. All that may be true for divorcing couples but, we need to get those “deadbeat dads” who are fathering these children out of wedlock and dumping them on welfare! [True, but…]

Studies have shown that over 80% of out of wedlock fathers are present in the maternity wards at the time of their children’s birth. Most acknowledge their paternity and are ready and willing to be financially and EMOTIONALLY involved in the upbringing of their child. And why aren’t these mothers equally financially responsible?

5. Fathers should accept their paternity and financial responsibilities! [True, but…]

Most fathers do accept their financial and EMOTIONAL responsibilities for their children but the system is gender biased labeling fathers as financial providers and discounting their emotional value to their children. The saying goes “mommy’s baby, daddies maybe”. Even in those cases where DNA evidence has found the man NOT to be the father HE IS HELD FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE ONCE HE ACCEPTS PATERNITY OR IS MARRIED AT THE TIME OF BIRTH. DNA testing facilities report that 50% of paternity tests come back negative. FALSE PATERNITY IS ESTIMATED AS HIGH AS 18% IN BOTH MARRIED AND OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS! Don’t children have a right to know who their real father is? Fathers should accept responsibility for their children and mothers should be held responsible for telling the truth when it comes to paternity! Responsible fatherhood belongs to the biological father.

6. OK, some fathers may have gotten a raw deal but there are a lot of them who just refuse to pay child support to children who need it! [False…]

The number one reason given, by both custodial and non-custodial parents alike for non payment is inability to pay.  6% of those in default in a recent government study that was released to show “the arrears problem” were found to be dead. In fact women are found to be in default of child support payments at twice the rate of men. The vast majority of default on child support is due to inability to pay not a refusal to pay!

7. The important thing is children are financially cared for to keep them out of poverty. [True, but…]

The number one indicator of child poverty is coming from a single mother household. Over 54% of children in poverty come from single mother families as compared to 11.5% of children in married households. If we want to combat child poverty we need to develop policies that discourage single parenthood.

8. If non-custodial fathers or mothers can’t afford to pay they can just get their support reduced. [False…]

Support is based on a percentage of income at a fixed point in time based on ability to earn. Once the amount is set non-custodial parents are rarely, if ever, afforded a reduction. The “Bradley Amendment” states that child support arrears can NOT be reduced no matter what the reason for the arrears! Courts have even gone so far as to “impute” income, that is add on other income or assets for inclusion in child support payments. An example of this is a non-custodial parent who moves into a relative’s residence temporarily without paying rent. The fair market value of the “rent” not paid can be added to the non-custodial parent’s income in computing child support. Non custodial parents who suffer unexpected interruptions in their income are often penalized for being “in arrears”. An example of this is Bobby Sherrill, a Lockheed Employee and divorced father who was captured in the Gulf War in Kuwait and spent 5 months as an Iraqi hostage and prisoner of war. The night after his release he was arrested for being $1425.00 in arrears in child support. Non custodial parents are penalized including loss of driving privileges, suspension of automobile registrations, loss of hunting and fishing licenses, suspension of professional licenses even if needed to produce income, posting on public “wanted” posters, turned in as “bad” credit risks and arrested and incarcerated for six months at a time even if they can prove that payments were not made due to inability to pay! These same penalties are applied even when there are no arrears and the report is in error. Child support owed continues to build while the non-custodial parent suffers the above penalties, including while incarcerated.

9. These non-custodial parents are just trying to get their child support payments reduced. [False…]

The number one complaint by non-custodial parents is that they were forced to be non- custodial against their will. Of those who have accepted the non-custodial status the number one complaint is that there is no access (visitation) enforcement. Even when it is spelled out in a court order, there are no penalties for the custodial parent who denies the non custodial parent. Complaints of being labeled a paycheck and a visitor fall way behind access enforcement and lack of time with their children. Prior to separation both parents cared for their children financially without a child support unit.

10. Overall, child support payments are based on the needs of the children. [False…]
Child support payments are based on an arbitrary “ability to earn” income of the non-custodial parent. It has no actual basis in the costs to raise a child or even in the actual expenses paid towards the child. New York does not even have a proportional offset for non custodial parents who spend more time, or spend money directly, on the care of their children. Non custodial parents are assessed 17% of their gross income (35% of net) for one child and 25% of gross income (48% of net) for two children. This assessment is the same for a non-custodial parent who spends no time whatsoever with their children and the non-custodial parent who spends 49% of the time with their children with increased direct expenses for the children. The NY Court of Appeals has even gone so far as to rule that when two parents spend equal time (50%) with the children that the “custodial” parent can be determined for the purposes of child support by who makes more money, even when the financial needs of the children are being met in both households. The guidelines are strict application regardless of circumstance.

Conclusion:

The child support system is based on the premise that after divorce/separation one parent or the other will be the sole custodian of the children and the other parent will be the financial provider. This fails to address the real world where both parents are actively involved in the child’s emotional upbringing and share in the financial responsibilities to the family. Current policies reduce the value of one parent or the other to children and in fact contribute to child poverty by promoting single parent households. Not only are these single parent households financially distressing to children but they are also emotionally damaging to children in ways that are to numerous to mention in this short hand out.

In fact the system is actually causing problems and is destroying families and is fixing no problems.

Go To www.FaFNY.org, or find us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Fathers4Kids/ for more information on this and other topics relative to “Non Custodial Parents”, children and families or to network and get help and advice from other parental rights activists.