Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?…' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

Post 1 of 2: Delegation of Federal Dollars (2000-2009)

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It is time we discussed these two Presidential letters from a sultry summer in 1995.  That’s Post 2 of 2 today 1993-1995.


Post 1 of 2 — Present:  Spending Snapshot & (My) Sarcasm

USA “today” 2000-2009:

 

INTRO:  Follow the Money

 

Of all the discussions I’ve read concerning father’s rights, mother’s rights, and family court reform, even when such discussion discuss the issue of kickbacks or payoffs (which is an issue in these arenas), few blogs or pages on-line discuss the relationship between:  Welfare (reform), Child Support issues (“OCSE”) and this “Fatherhood” thing which has compromised justice in the courts, turned them into behavioral modification centers, and jumpstarted a host of new professions, trailing conferences, publications, pronouncements (PAS anyone?) and professional certifications throughout the nation.  

And what this blog is about, particularly as these things, these days, are leading to body counts and a consistent degradation of the average household mental health, barring those who are mentally asleep, solid in their faith (in an afterlife, or miraculous provisions in this one), or in the upper 4% or so of society.  . . .. OR, who are making a solid living studying the rest of us, or managing us.  As some people do not take kindly to being so managed, this also requires significant prison and police help.

On that matter, a WSJ blog article Wednesday declared:  

Recession Watch: Calif. County Won’t Prosecute Petty Thieves (By Amir Efrati)

Contra Costa County


Law-breakers in northern California’s Contra Costa County, population 1 million, stand to benefit from the county’s budget gap. On Tuesday District Attorney Robert Kochly told his county’s police chiefs that beginning in May, his office will no longer prosecute a host of misdemeanors because he has to lay off 20% of his staff, or about 18 prosecutors.

Which infractions won’t be prosecuted? The list includes non-DUI traffic offenses such as driving with a suspended license and reckless driving, simple assault and battery, lewd conduct, trespassing and shoplifting. Here are stories from the SFChron and ABC News.

Even some felony drug cases involving smaller amounts of narcotics won’t end up in court. That means anyone caught with less than a gram of methamphetamine or cocaine, less than 0.5 grams of heroin and fewer than five pills of ecstasy, OxyContin or Vicodin won’t be charged, according to the Chron story.

But bad boys (and girls) shouldn’t get too cocky: “Core” misdemeanors offenses involving domestic violence, drunken driving, firearms and vehicular manslaughter will still be prosecuted. And the Mercury News reports that the police department says it will still make arrests for all misdemeanors, meaning suspects could spend time in jail, even if they aren’t punished by prosecutors.

Since The Golden State can no longer, at least in this county, afford to prosecute its less nefarious residents, we the people should be policing where the money went.  Right???  Or, each other (not from afar, or from ivory towers), but perhaps in our own communities and homes.  Oh, I forgot, we aren’t IN those homes, we are out working, our kids are in child care, or their Moms are on welfare while the government (finally noticing this) declared — back in 1995 at least, you’ll see — that many of those Dads in prison (possibly for assaulting Mom — or someone else, see 1994) — should be fetched out, re-educated (what happened the first time around?  See budget..) and persuaded, if their child support arrearages are reduced, or if they can spend more time with their kids (and pretty please, this time, promise not to molest or assault, and get a job:  we trust you, since we just re-educated you in batterers programs and by court-appointed parent educators, etc.) — and replaced in front of their offspring.  This is called “Healthy Families.”  Meanwhile, a different policy is sending nurses INTo the homes and taking little kids out of them, earlier, for more Head Start.  

 

In short, few follow the money trail.  Some do, and I say more should.

Few connect the money with the rhetoric.  Many connect sexual misbehavior (or criminal behavior.  Or, natural behavior, if you’re Richard Gardner of “PAS” fame) with the rhetoric, but in the long run, it’s about the money.  The ship of state is rowed with money.  Without  money, who would pay the psychiatrists (including those at institutes, not those just analyzing why one parent is so distraught, or child, at contact with the other one, by looking at them, rather than looking at the CASE file, and searching for facts, not assertions).  

In short, this nationwide attempt, purportedly to get deadbeat FATHERS back to work, has actually been great business for the analysts.  And, say some, child-molesters and woman-beaters.

Both fathers’ groups and mothers’ groups complain about violation of due process in the family courts, just not towards whom it is biased.  Well WHAT type of incentive would get a whole institution to violate due process as a matter of general practice?  

We need to talk about the money.  To do this, we should look at the Executive Branch of Goverment’s statements that helped turn over the ignition in driving the programs that are using it.  (Yes, I know I just switched analogies.  I do not have cartoon capacity, otherwise, I’d post a few illustrations).  Let’s look at the Head of State (historically), and who turned HIS (maybe in the next decade or so, I will have to write “His or Her.”  Sorry, Secretary of State Ms. Hillary, but not this time.  Moreover, I’m going to talk today about what your husband wrote, turning the ship of state, almost 14 years ago.

http://www.NAFCJ.net talks about this connection.  I also see that StopFamilyViolence.org has posted a page by Trish Wilson on this connection between

(a) Government rising concern about WELFARE (costs),

(b) Government’s then “aha!” moment that the deadbeat Dads should help reduce these costs, and

(c) Government’s suddenly “aha!” that Dads are People Too.  

(Perhaps if it had interviewed a few of the struggling Moms, it might have come to this conclusion sooner — that their children were growing up in poverty in a female-headed household) (Another thing it might, perhaps, have asked is why are Moms leaving Dads, or Dads leaving Moms?  In this regard, I refer to the 1994 V.A.W.A. act, up for re-funding, please contact your Senator, if you’re not a libertarian, or a Dad who believes you were wrongfully thrown out of your house, and she was asking for it, to vote YES to refund).

Again, this is the problem:

 (a)  single mothers needing welfare because they are not staying with the fathers, and said fathers are not supporting the kids; (b) to fix this, child support was started, or upped.  However, because said collection sucks, we will now: (c) divert money from directly (government dole) supporting single mothers to re-engaging single fathers, including those that have been in prison for, either nonpayment, or other serious crimes, such as assault and battery, or worse (worse? well, see yesterday’s post).   This is supposed to help all involved — the Dads, the kids, and the public deficit.  

OK, I think I just flogged Balaam’s ass long enough on this point.  Here’s the hard data, the angel in the road with drawn sword, as it were.  (FYI, for the uninitiated, Balaam was a crooked prophet.  He prophesied for pay and went panting after it.  His bad behavior in the Bible’s Old Testament makes mention in the New (as an example of prophesying for pay).

I hadn’t intended the comparison to our family law system’s paraprofessionals, but I’ll let the serendipity resemblance sit.


Are they working, these policies?

(Also, related, is our current President changing THOSE policies?)

Well, I looked yesterday at a site called “USAspending.gov” and saw that, in order, the top three 2008 expenditures of the Federal government are, in order:  Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dept of Education, Dept. of Transportation. (see interactive map) Together in one year these comprised respectively  54%, 18% and 9%–rounded.  Do your mental math (if you did NOT come up through the US public school system in recent decades, chances are better that you can do this.  Or, if you’re poor, and are must stretch pennies to eat, stay housed, and get to and from work, assuming you have work).  This is about 81% or MOST of the pie.

 Considering 2000-2009 overall, the top three federal department expenditures were:

Dept. of HHS (30.5%), Homeland Security (26.4%), and SSA (25.0%).  To get the impact, also click on the “switch to dollars” link above.  Please review this! (skip the rest of the post, if need be!)  Overall (2000-2009) the Dept. of Ed. is suffering, at a merely 3.68% or $532. 188.  Did I say, Billion dollars?

It seems clear to me that we (this IS still government of the people, by the people, and for the people, right? (I may have even got the prepositions wrong, but at least I know what a preposition is, as well as preposterous PROpositions, and I don’t mean the stranger that has been trying to talk to me for three days here, failing to get my nonverbal “buzz off” and  my verbal “I don’t want to talk to you” messages to date.)  . . . 

It seems clear to me that “we” are dedicating 30 cents out of every dollar to studying ourselves, another 26 cents spying on ourselves, in part to answer why we let hijackers fly planes into the Twin Towers, demolishing both of them and killing thousands — and into the Dept. of Defense headquarters, taking a chunk out of it also (9/11/2001), and another 25 cents financially supporting adults who can’t or don’t support themselves & kids in poor households.  (note these are not 100% female-headed households, FYI), perhaps because?  the 3 cents we spent educating them, resulting in some of the dads being in prison or unable to work, or uninvolved with the family.  

Or possibly?, because of prior social engineering in the schools that kept kids so under-engaged in creative activities that sex was the best they could come up with, and violence.  When this happens, of course it’s still not the government’s fault from prior generations (of schooling or social engineering), but the parents.  This is the direct consequence of unmonitored government Of, BY, and FOR “the people,” a perceptual divide where WE (the people) farm out most of our vital force and dollars, trusting THEM (the elite, informed specialists) to steward OUR (or our parents’) money wisely, without OUR oversight.  Well, that’s bright, and perhaps a value system we learned under the 3cents worth.   Thats my two bits’ worth.  (FYI, that’s $0.025, and not $0.02).

I am a subject of some of these socially re-tooling society programs, and as such shouldn’t really have a voice.  Plus, I didnt’ graduate in a School of Behavioral Health, nor am I a Harvard psychiatrist.  However, my two-bit thinking thinks that if the Dept. of Education with its 30% had done its job right,  could teach the kids, while they’re growing up, about how to stay together as a family, at least as well they have been taught about how NOT to have one, or how to unburden one’s womb of an unwanted pregnancy (possibly gotten from some of the healthy-marriage-promoting relationships one developed while at school, and Mom at work).  

Perhaps the school environment could have itself modeled a healthy family environment — not the kind with 26 children, close in age to each other, and a rapidly changing assortment of parental figures (some of them molesting kids, others superb, some of them last-minute substitutes who don’t really know the children, for when the main teacher got stressed out or sick, or quit) going in and out of a kids’ lives and trying to keep them all entertained and engaged in learning. 

I mean, come to think of it, if we are going to teach kids how to have healthy marriages and families, if No Child is to be Left Behind, then perhaps the one-room schoolhouse with the teachers actually living with the families served, even rotating from house to house (what a commitment!) might be a slightly better model, than being taught by strangers.

(Could we safely say that apart from immigration as adults or halfway through K-12, and private, parochial or other religious, and homeschooling educational scenarios, MOST of the U.S. populace has come through this system, created in the late 1800s).  Now what has happened in “family law” is that another department, the Justice Dept. — which funding is far lower (see USAspending.gov) has become a remedial, therapeutic, educational institutional form of jurisprudence (see my post on this).  Perhaps, sooner or later, the entire US populace can receive employment, paid by taxes it pays itself, in studying itself.  Believe me, I have considered this alternate form of employment, once I learned who is being paid what to study what under the HHS / ACF department responding promptly and expensively to the Presidential Directive below.

Given the current economic situation and tenor of the news, how would you say this government by the people, of the people, and for the people is doing?  

 

I’ll let that question hang over the shadow of the last set of family wipeouts, or the little girl found in a suitcase at the bottom of an irrigation pond, last month.  I am today going to apply for Food Stamps for the first time in 9 years, and only second time in my life.  THe only reason I would do so is that attempts to enforce child support, create a safety zone (from prior violent husband) in which to safely and non-traumatizedly work, and to raise children while fighting constantly in the family court arena, AFTER  my non-welfare-receiving family was just about solvent and, apart from the thunderstorm brewing (because I was doing things that supposedly single mothers couldn’t do — and was told as much, in writing, by someone who didn’t notice, I guess, what I did while living in an intact household with an abuser).  Bus lines are being cut (my car is gone, as well as kids, as well as prior profession), and as much as I hate to go one more round with the government THIS decade, it seems a better use of my days to spend one applying for a little piece of plastic that will produce food, than hoofing it around on the buses to bring it back again.  That routine (as well as my body) is getting old.

 END OF POST 1 of 2.  POST 2 HAS MORE PRESIDENTIAL AND FEWER OF MY WORDS.

 

Written by Let's Get Honest

April 24, 2009 at 8:03 am

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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?...' (posted 3/23 & 3/5/2014). Over 680 posts, Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.

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