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.

 

Do we support our Troops?

A common phrase which I hear a lot these days is “I support our troops”.  Good.  Regardless of personal political opinions we should recognize the sacrifice of the individual in the military who defends our freedoms here at home.  I expect “Troops” conjures up images in our mind such as the one below and others which can be found on the Department of Defense Web site of our Troops working towards goals and objectives to keep us safe.  Who wouldn’t support these fine young people sacrificing for our benefit.  Thank you for your service.

While it is important that we support our troops while on active duty our responsibility to support them doesn’t end there, it continues after they return home.  Unfortunately my experience as a father and family rights activist, Army Brat and Veteran, and member of the Critical Incident Management Team with a NYS law enforcement agency tell me that what we say is far different than what we do when we talk of supporting our veterans, more specifically our MALE Veterans.

A big part of the problem as I see it is men are treated at best as disposable members of society and at worst as  perpetrators of violence and abuse who we need to protect society from.  This bias against men works to foster the public perception that men don’t need any assistance with issues related to their service or due to their being males and in addition it is working to hinder men seeking the assistance they need by not providing male specific outreach and services.  We see this in the lack of programs and services directed towards the specific issues that men face, ignoring their problems.

First the stats:  Since the first Gulf War 97% of combat deaths and casualties have been men and they compose over 90% of US Veterans.  90% of homeless people are men and a large portion of that are veterans.  80% of suicides are men, and a large portion of them are also veterans. In 2016 males accounted for 86% of active duty enlisted personnel and 84.7% of officers.  If we look at longevity as a measure of overall health we find men have a life expectancy (76.2 years) 4.9 years younger than females (81.2 years).  White females life expectancy (81.4 years) eclipses black females (78.4 years), white males (76.7 years), and white females life expectancy is a whopping 14.1 years over black men (72.3 years).   It’s clear that there are many issues related to men which result in negative outcomes evidenced by life expectancy.

I go to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs website under “Health” and “Conditions and Treatment” I find a link to “WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES”  which brings me to the “Office of Women’s Health Services” which links to a study to determine female veterans barriers to receiving care.  Even though men account for 85% of veterans there is no male (men) specific link to resources designed towards the needs of men.  A search of “America’s Male Veterans” returns hits to “Women’s health Issues”!   There is lacking any link to male specific health issues (showing the value the VA places on men), and there is no reference to male specific health issues available (showing the health field’s lack of attention to men)!  The links to “women’s healthcare” include “comprehensive primary care”, “reproductive health”, “child care”, “domestic violence”, “culture change”, and “Special Groups” which is “homeless female veterans”.  Which leads me to ask, DON’T MEN HAVE MALE SPECIFIC ISSUES IN THESE SAME CATEGORIES?

The VA classifies sexual assault and sexual harassment under the heading “Military Sexual Trauma” (MST) and when I look at the issue as portrayed by the VA I see “1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men REPORT a history to the VA during screenings”.  For those of us who deal with male victims of domestic abuse, harassment, and sexual assault we understand the number one problem with male victims is their reluctance to report!  It is only when I dig through the materials do I find that almost HALF the victims in the program for MST are MALE!  One can only wonder, given the lack of male specific referrals and information, how many men are suffering in silence?

Usually when I author one of these truthful perspectives about the lack of male specific services I receive a ton of responses about being “anti-female”, to the point that I now include the (obvious) disclaimer that I am NOT promoting a reduction in services for females and/or female Veterans.  Indeed, to treat female Veterans like we now treat male Veterans woulds still be mistreating A VETERAN.  The VA (and US) should treat all Veterans equally based upon their individual needs understanding that their sex, race, religion, and national origin may require different outreaches and programs to achieve an equal outcome.  Veterans are not widgets, all the same, they are real people who have sacrificed for all of us and they deserve individual attention to their needs.

Men account for the vast majority of the homeless and the bulk of those men are MALE VETERAN’S.  Men account for the bulk of suicides and many of those are MALE VETERAN’S.  You can’t treat men as disposable members of society who don’t have male specific issues which require services and programs and then say “I support our Veteran’s” as the bulk of Veteran’s are MEN.  Disregarding the health issues of men is to disregard the health issues of Veteran’s.

If you would like to advocate for Veterans (feel free to cut and paste or send the link to this article) you can reach the VA here https://www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm, and the White House is here https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact, The US Secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs can be found here https://www.defense.gov/Resources/Contact-DoD/

They stood up for us, we should stand up for them.

When we memorialize those who gave all, in perspective http://prospect.org/article/american-war-dead-numbers the vast majority are men, and it is an issue for our younger generation that men still have to register for the draft (under penalty) and women don’t https://nymensactionnetwork.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/welcome-to-adulthood-gen-z-advice-for-boys-aging-into-men/.

Equal rights, equal responsibilities, equal access to services.

Welcome to adulthood Gen Z: advice for boys aging into men.

As reported by Reason.com (Welcome to adulthood Gen Z) Pew research has moved up the millennials (19 to 36 years old in 2017) to welcome the next generation into adulthood under the moniker “Gen Z” (born after 1998).  Now that you’re 18 you’ve probably researched the “important” stuff, night time driving privileges and the age you can legally consume alcohol but there is some stuff that impacts men which you are probably not aware of.  So this paternalistic baby boomer card carrying member of Friends of Protection For Men and the National Coalition For Men, and a Men’s Rights Activist will give you a few pointers. At 18 you are an adult and will be treated like an adult.  Mistakes made now can have life changing and long lasting effects on your future.

MEN – Life isn’t fair, be ready for it.  You’ve probably been fed a regular dose of men are privileged and women downtrodden.  Edgar Allen Poe advised that we should believe only half of what we see and nothing that we hear.   This applies to what you have learned about men and society.  When faced with a “truth” which doesn’t apply to our actions we often accept the “truth” but figure it must be the other guy.  As you begin to navigate in the adult world you’re going to find that many of your assumptions about how things work are wrong.  Part of growing up is learning your own truth’s and what works for you in an ever changing society.  Unfortunately, some things you do have serious consequences if you are wrong.  Knowledge is power, so don’t take any one piece of advice as factual (even mine here), question everything, verify everything.

First up is Selective Service.  As a male you need to sign up for the military draft and if you fail to do so there are multiple penalties at both the state and federal level, including being charged with a felony, fined, and jailed.  The government tells us, “If a draft is ever needed, it must be as fair as possible, and that fairness depends on having as many eligible men as possible registered.”  Missing from their information is HOW IS IT FAIR THAT MEN HAVE TO REGISTER AND NOT WOMEN?  Most people will point to combat roles, indeed, it was the exclusion from combat in the volunteer military which was used to exempt women from the draft in the first place.  This is a ludicrous excuse as it takes 2 to 3 people working to keep one man in combat.  So we’ll draft  men to work in finance, planning, as quartermasters but not require women to do the same?  Now that the military has opened combat roles to women this lame excuse  has no bearing on serving.  Either EVERYBODY needs to register or NOBODY needs to register.  I would direct you to put this question onto your Congressman’s twitter or web page and ask them direct, remind them that at 18 you are now a voting member of society.  More is here at NCFM.

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Second is reproductive rights.  As a man YOU HAVE NONE!  Again, understand that MEN HAVE NO REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS!  The NYS Court of Appeals has even ruled that “a man’s right to reproduction ends at ejaculation”.   This is true even if she pokes holes in your condom or steals your sperm from a used condom in the garbage (and even if not used on her!).   If a woman gets pregnant she can abort the child against your will and has no obligation to notify you of this.  If she decides to have the child she does NOT have to notify you of that.  She can ask, and will receive, child support even for a child you did not want (no male aborting allowed) and if she hid the child from you for years and then seeks you out for child support you will be assessed back to the time of birth!  What sage advice do I have for this?  PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES!  Short of abstinence there is no 100% effective method to protect yourself.   Women CAN, and DO, lie about their reproductive status so WEAR A CONDOM!  I suggest, “How To Avoid “Getting Screwed” When Getting Laid” by RK Hendrick, Esq. for practical suggestions.  Get it, read it, abide by it.

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Third up is False paternity.   Mommy’s baby is Daddy’s maybe.  If you are identified as the father of a child and you you accept paternity it can NOT be rescinded even if DNA testing later in life proves you are not the father.  There are many men paying child support for children that are not theirs (estimates run as high as 10%) and there are even legal instances where you can be named the father and have had no relations with the woman and are forced to pay anyway.  Women CAN, and DO lie about their reproductive status and the number of sexual partners and relations that they have.  Many are known to “Daddy shop”, naming a man who earns the most money as the father to maximize their child support even if they are not sure who the father is. The system is designed so you pay more for one child than for two so it is in a woman’s interest to have TWO baby daddy’s paying for “her” two kids instead of one paying for two.    Again, wear a condom, bring your own, and dispose of the used condom away from females. and ALWAYS get an at birth DNA test before admitting paternity!

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Fourth is Consent for sex – and false allegations of sexual abuse and rape.   Everyone understands that no means no (and this should apply to MEN also) but here are 3 areas where YES MEANS NO; Age of consent, intoxication, and her regret the next day.  It is the biased perception that all sexual abuse is perpetrated by men towards women (all women “need” protection) which has made it so that normal legal protections, the right of due process and innocent until proven guilty,  have been thrown out when men are accused of rape or sexual abuse.   This applies to criminal charges but is even worse in some institutions such as at colleges and universities and at work, especially those needing professional licensing.  Even if adjudicated “not guilty” the allegation and the negative perceptions of you will follow you throughout your life.  And, except in rare circumstances, there are virtually NO repercussions for making false allegation.

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If you get intoxicated with a female the intoxication will be determined to remove her ability to consent to sex but it will NOT remove your responsibility for having sex with her.  If equally drunk or stoned there is a very good chance you will be charged with rape because you are male.  There are even circumstances where a third party reports the “rape” of a female having drunken and/or consensual sex and the male is investigated and charged civilly.  The federal government has pressured colleges, threatening to remove funding, if they do not combat “sexual abuse” by applying “affirmative consent” rules to private sexual relations between consenting adults.   These rules have undermined due process on colleges.  The best way to protect yourself is to NOT have drunken sex.   The issue of colleges, affirmative consent, and the loss of protections for the falsely accused is reported on by Reason Magazine here.

Find out the age of consent in the jurisdiction that you are in!  And understand that there are different rules in each and every state and that also there are federal rules and criminal penalties.  As an 18 years old you will be treated and tried as an adult if you are having sexual relations with a female who is statutorily determined to be a child by age.  Sexting is a big problem as the transmittal of  “child pornography” is a federal crime, and the transmission of a photo of an underage female in her underwear to a male can be construed to be “child pornography” and you can be arrested for a felony, tried and/or coerced into pleading guilty, and have to register as a “sex offender” for the rest of your life.    You can find coverage of an individual case here and Reason Magazine has a good overview of the overreach and over reaction here.  Stop any “underage” sex and NO SEXTING!

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Regret reported as abuse will result in investigation and possibly criminal charges and civil actions.   The Duke Lacrosse case is a good example of the impact of false allegations.  People sometimes do regret the sexual situations they get themselves into, especially females, and especially if it is talked about or sent around on social media.  False allegations of rape and sexual abuse have been used by females to solicit sympathy and/or jealousy.  Allegations of sexual abuse can, and have, been made weeks and months after the incident and even if you are found to have not committed the act you can still suffer the stigma as the “Mattress girl” case shows.  Be careful not to put yourself into situations which could be construed as non consensual sex when looked at AFTER THE FACT!  You can get more information at SAVE-Stop Abusive and Violent Environments.

Fifth is Domestic violence, specifically disorderly incidents and false allegations by females.  IF YOU ARE A MAN YOU WILL BE TREATED AS THE PERPETRATOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EVEN IF IT IS MUTUAL, YOU ARE DEFENDING YOURSELF, OR YOU ARE THE VICTIM!  The fact of the matter is our response to domestic violence is a one sided affair which looks at men as perpetrators and women as victims.  What was designed as a shield to protect abused people is now a sword used regularly through false allegations.  Inversely, if you are a male victim there are almost no services available for you and most likely, if you are to report, you will end up being the one investigated.

Statutory protections and due process.  Every person is protected from assault by the penal code and if you are involved in an altercation with another person you can press charges or, in the case of a mutual disagreement or their being extenuating circumstances, decide to not press charges.  For the district attorney to prosecute they would require you to make a statement and then appear at trial.  If you declined to make a statement or appear then charges would not be pursued.  YOU decide to press charges, to make a statement, and to pursue a trial.  In cases of mutual combat between males (most often) charges would not be filed.  But remember, even in defense, most physical acts towards a female by a male will be viewed negatively and result in charges field against you.  However, the only recourse is through criminal court where you would need to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (high standard of proof).  But that’s not true for domestic “abuse”.

While domestic abuse laws used to apply only to those related by blood or marriage or those who had a child together they have now been expanded to persons in an “intimate relationship” (intimate partner).  Thus the domestic abuse laws now apply to heterosexual and same sex dating couples including teenagers which is YOU.  Worse, there is no definition of “intimate relationship” so if she says she’s in an intimate relationship with you, you will be treated as if she is even if you do not consider her so.

This is important because if you are an “intimate partner” then the domestic violence laws apply to you.  Now both criminal court AND family court have concurrent jurisdiction.  There is Mandatory Arrest for any injury and if there are injuries to both parties (such as a mutual spat) then the police have to determine the Primary Aggressor.  Being a certified police domestic violence trainer I can tell you that “Primary Aggressor” equals “arrest the man”.

You also lose control of what will be done.  Should you both say neither wants to make a statement a regarding a private matter, one will be put on file anyway (Domestic Incident Report-DIR).  Should she say it was mutual and doesn’t want to press charges, but has a mark on her, you will be arrested anyway based upon Primary Aggressor and Mandatory Arrest Laws.  If she tells the district attorney’s office that she will not make a statement and press charges, you will still be arrested, arraigned in front of a judge, and made to either post bail or spend the night in jail.  You will have to hire an attorney and show up for a trial date and submit a motion before the case is dismissed for lack of evidence.

Should a woman be mad at you for any reason she can claim to be an “intimate partner” and file for an order of protection.  As family court has concurrent jurisdiction she need not file any criminal charges as she can go direct to family court and request the order.  Temporary Orders of Protection (TOP) can be obtained based on ex parte testimony (her word alone) and for even slim allegations such as “I’m afraid of him” and “I feel threatened by him”.  Once issued you will be ordered to stay away from her, including if you go to school together, work together, or live in the same neighborhood, thus disrupting your life.  They will even seize any and all firearms that you own.

It will be months before you get into family court for a hearing on the need and validity of the TOP and unlike criminal courts high “reasonable doubt” standard it is the civil court standard of “a preponderance of evidence” (51%).  In a “he said, she said” the judge will believe her and rule favorably.  Should you inadvertently violate the TOP, even if it is found later to be without merit and thrown out, you will be charged with a misdemeanor (up to a year in jail) and a second violation is a felony!

MEN, If you are involved in a disorderly, harassing, or physical altercation of any kind DO NOT STATE YOU ARE IN AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYONE, and if asked state it is a casual relationship only with any participants (the other party should do the same).  If it is determined to be a “domestic incident” the police lose all of their authority to use discretion in arresting and/or filling out a report.  You BOTH lose your right to NOT press charges or file a report.  If it was physical in any way state that you were trying to retreat and defending yourself from their attack and you do not (or do as the case may be) wish charges to be pressed against them AND MAKE NO OTHER STATEMENTS WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY.  There are severe repercussions for police NOT following domestic violence protocols so they are protecting their own interests and not yours and/or your friends.

I’ll close here with a welcome to the “life isn’t fair man’s world”.  I know this is a lot to consume, and in fact there is even more wrongs you’ll suffer as a man, high suicide rates, high work death rates,  DV victimization yourself, loss of access to your children post separation/divorce and punitive “child support” payments.  You can find more on these issues at the National Coalition For Men web site.   Domestic Violence and false allegations is covered at Stop Abusive and Violent Environments or Stop Abuse For Everyone.
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You can also find more on men’s and boys rights and issues on Facebook at Friends of the Protection For MenPFM/Boys Rights and Issues, PFM/College and University, PFM Men’s Human Rights Movement,  and PFM Men’s and Boy’s Health among others.  PFM was founded by RK Hendrick, the author of “How to Avoid “getting Screwed” When getting Laid” and you can reach him there.  Feel free to join the discussion.

 

I can be reached through Facebook on the PFM sites or at the “Coalition of Fathers and Families NY” Facebook site or at NY MAN.  Information used here is based on New York State and US Laws although much of it has practical applications in all jurisdictions. This is NOT legal advice and we direct you to seek competent counsel for your specific jurisdiction and circumstance.
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The author, Lt. James Hays (Ret.) is a recently retired NYS Law Enforcement Officer of  34 years, 9 as a supervisor.  I am also a 20 year plus men/father rights activist co-founder, past President and current Treasurer of the Coalition of Fathers and Families NY, Inc., (501c3 Educational and Advocacy Organization) and Director of the NY Men’s Action Network (Blog link), (a grass roots political action group founded in 1997.  The opinions expressed herein are those of Mr. Hays and are not necessarily the opinion of any organization or individual mentioned herein.

 

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!

Text of todays Op Ed in Schenectady Gazette RE: Trump and the elections

I’m posting this here as an issue that I believe men’s and father’s rights activists need to get their hands around.  Neither party supporting big government has the interests of men, fathers, or families.  Until such time as men get political, and look to vote out incumbents in BOTH parties who do not support men/father/family issues we will keep getting sucked into the quagmire of the government regulated family.  It isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue, It is a MEN’S ISSUE.  For more on party and politics go to http://nymensactionnetwork.org/advocacy-get-active.shtml

Link to Op Ed (requires subscription) http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2016/mar/30/0330_online/ “Voting for Trump in protest of elite in major parties”

Article as originally submitted (name was changed by the paper)

The Unholy Alliance

The unholy alliance, as spoken by Rand Paul is the big government liberals and the big government conservatives getting together to compromise to make government bigger.  So when I see Linda Chavez: By predicting violence, Trump encourages it (The Daily Gazette 3-22-16 Viewpoints) labelling the violence at Trump rallies as self fulfilling prophesies I see the unholy alliance at work.

You see, Linda Chavez has connections back to the republican party establishment working in the Reagan administration and being the nominee of then president George W. Bush for Secretary of Labor so it is no surprise to me that she would take the party elite position of trying to derail Trump’s nomination by preventing him enough delegates to win outright.

In a CNN Live interview the reported asked Bernie Sanders about the violence at Trump rallies in Chicago being caused by Sanders supporters and pointed out that the person who rushed Trump onstage was a Sanders supporter, Sanders responded (rightfully so) that he can’t be held responsible for the actions of individuals based solely upon their support for his candidacy.  It appears when it comes to Trump we have a double standard for laying blame.

A social media post by one Brandon Tatum reports on his experience at the Trump Rally in Arizona (I’ll not vouch for the validity, but believe it as much as other media sources).  In it he points out that it was the protestors who were “outrageous and out of control” with one wearing a KKK hat hollering F… Donald Trump, with many cussing and screaming.  And contrary to as it is being reported the trump supporters were calm and respectful, just looking to see the candidate speak, many like him an undecided voter looking to make up their minds based upon fact.  He reports that there were multiple announcements for Trump supporters to not react to protestors and let police handle any incidents.

Given the fact that it is protestors, supporters of democratic candidates, who are trying to disrupt Trump republican rallies with intimidation and threats of violence and prevent people from hearing what Trump has to say, I find Chavez exhortations about suffering the same in her public speaking events to support Trump and his efforts to speak to the voters and let them decide.  But instead she tries to label Trump the same as autocratic despots and blame Trump for the violence.  Her stance is without merit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I quit the democratic party after 30 years due to their increasingly intrusive big government spending policies and eventually joined the republican party in spite of their big government polices because of candidates like Rand Paul.  As parental civil rights and shared parenting advocate for 15 years I have seen this unholy alliance of republicans and democrats up close and personal in the NYS Legislature, one of the most corrupt and dysfunctional legislatures in the nation.  I don’t like it at the state level and I don’t like it at the national level.

Both Trump and Sanders have hit a nerve with the American people who are sick of the status quo of government NOT working in the interests of the people.  Unfortunately for Sanders and his supporters, the democratic party elites “super delegates” give the party standard bearer, Clinton, the nod.  Not so with the republicans which thankfully saved us from another party elite supported Bush as the republican nominee.

When Trump speaks of their being “riots in the streets‘ he is talking about the response of people like me who are tired of both parties and their elite giving me no option to vote for, at best choosing what I see as “the lesser of two evils” and I must admit to being so disgusted that I often just write in a protest vote for neither.  The “riot” he speaks of is non violent and will be the loss of my support for the republicans at the national level, the streets will be at the voting booth where I abandon them.  But perhaps that is what they want, perhaps the elite republicans would take a Clinton over a Trump.

I was, up to today, undecided on who I would vote for in the republican primary.  I should probably send a thank you note to Chavez for making up my mind, for the unholy alliance, “big government republican (Bush supporters) and democrat (Clinton supporters) elites” working together against Trump has just moved me to pull the lever for Donald Trump in the upcoming NY Republican primary.  And should the republicans abandon the choice of the people, I’ll still vote for Trump in the national election when he runs as an independent.

Jim Hays,
Amsterdam NY