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Posts Tagged ‘Nonie Darwish

Let’s Eliminate OCSE — the Office of Child Support Enforcement — and why.

with 6 comments

No, that’s not a joke.  I’m serious.

Or, we could just continue to watch this institution gradually eliminate the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution, in fact the entire concept of individual rights whatsoever, in favor of social(ism) science run amok.

This post also ran amok (as you can see) but the links are valuable.

The OCSE has to go.  It’s out of control, and is hurting men, women, and children — generation after generation– while loudly proclaiming it is, instead, helping society, families and kids.

WHAT DO YOU WANT — A SOCIAL SCIENCE SOCIETY, OR LIBERTY?

Obviously, it’s either/or, not Compromise/And.  Even the experts know this:

Do government sponsored marriage promotion policies place undue pressure on individual rights?

Karen Struening

Abstract

The dominance of social science research in the debate over the Bush Administration’s Healthy Marriage Initiative may explain why questions regarding the proper role of government in regulating adult intimacy (!!!) have received little attention. Social science research focuses on outcomes such as well-being and health. In contrast, rights-based legal theory considers whether state action undermines the rights of individuals. In this article, I intend to shift the debate over marriage promotion policy from questions of child well-being to questions of individual rights. I will ask the following questions: Do individuals have a liberty interest in making their own choices about intimate relationships, such as marriage? Do federally-financed (and frequently state-run) marriage programs compromise this liberty interest? Are there any constitutional grounds for objecting to marriage promotion policy?

Either we recover the OCSE from its fatherhood-dispensing-propaganda (and fundings) — repeal (or defund) the Access/Visitation grants system entirely.   There is no question, whatever its grandiose proclamations, the system is rife with corruption, has failed, and hasn’t even reduced TANF, allegedly the purpose for its existence.

Let alone the dubious ROI for this agency — Can you spell Four Billion?

Yes, +/- Four Billion (federal incentives), courtesy the IRS, to fix families, support children by adding “fatherhood.” which as I point out elsewhere, is one of several “hoodlums” used to justify stealing time and money from honest people and transferring them to dishonest.

$4,000,000,000

I’ve uploaded (hopefully) and linke two PDFs to this post to illustrate the cost and the personnel investing themselves into the system.  One is primarily charts the other, primarily rhetoric.   Please browse the Dept of HHS/Administration for Children and Families (“ACF”)

(Federal) 

PAYMENTS TO STATES FOR CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AND FAMILY SUPPORT PROGRAMS, including for FY 2012, and historic back to 2002.   Its charts speak loudly as well as this paragraph justifying some of the expense:

Promoting Access and Visitation. The budget provides $570 million over ten years to support increased access and visitation services and integrates these services into the core child support program. The first step in facilitating a relationship between non-custodial parents and their children is updating the statutory purposes of the CSE program to recognize the program’s evolving mission and activities that help parents cooperate and support their children. The proposal also requires states to establish access and visitation responsibilities in all initial child support orders. The proposal also would encourage states to undertake activities that support access and visitation. Implementing domestic violence safeguards is a critical component of this new state responsibility. These services not only will improve parent-child relationships and outcomes for children, but they also will {{??}} result in improved collections. Research shows that when fathers are engaged in the lives of their children, they are more likely to {{or is it “will”??  the program has been going on over 15 years.  Don’t we know which it is yet — “more likely to,” or “will”?}}meet their financial obligations. This creates a “double win” for children – an engaged parent and more financial security.

and paragraphs like this:

Budget Request – The FY 2012 request for Child Support Enforcement and Family Support programs of $3.8 billion reflects current law of $3.5 billion adjusted by +$305 million assuming Congressional action on several legislative proposals, including those supporting a newly proposed Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative. The Budget promotes strong family relationships by encouraging fathers to take responsibility for their children, improving distribution policies so that more of the support fathers pay reaches their children, and continuing a commitment to vigorous enforcement. The Budget increases support for states to pass through child support payments to families, rather than retaining those payments and requires states to establish access and visitation arrangements as a means of promoting father engagement in their children’s lives.*** The Budget also provides a temporary increase in incentive payments to states based on performance, which continues an emphasis on program outcomes and efficiency and will foster enforcement efforts.

**(This program has been known to promote mother ABSENCE from lives of the children after custody-switching enabled through mis-use of program funds in conflicts-of-interest with custody hearings…Despite more and more mothers becoming noncustodial, this program still remains father-centric. )

Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative

The CSE program plays an important role in facilitating family self-sufficiency and promoting responsible fatherhood. Building on this role, the FY 2012 budget includes a new Child Support and Fatherhood Initiative to encourage non-custodial parents to work, support their children, and play an active role in their children’s lives.

After I sent this document to Liz Richards, of NAFCJ.net, I got the following response:

OCSE cannot override federal and state law; it cannot initiate legal disputes without the approval of both the assumed litigants.  It cannot override standing court orders.
But this IS what the OCSE agency and been doing for years – and they believe they can get away with this fraud, because nobody is scrutinizing them.

You should not believe anything they claim about their policies and procedures which sounds good.  They have been hiding their corruption with “sounds good” analysis for  as long as I’ve been following them. They say one thing – and do the opposite.

Of the hundreds of women who contacted me each year, some are custodial mothers, and nearly none of them actually collect the support owed to them.
The local state agencies stonewall them for months and even years.

Once woman with a N. CA child support case got told by the San Fransico c.s. agency they couldn’t send her the support check because they hadn’t [earned] enough interest on it yet.  After she made strong complaints about this dishonest practice – they sent a check a few days later.

The OCSE even admits they have a policy of “retaining” undistributed but collected support to earn interest on it and to declare it “abandoned” and split this collected money 60/40 between the federal and state c.s. agencies.  (eg illegal confiscation of other people’s money).***  Even the HHS General Counsel, David Cade, admit to me this was the official policy.

I believe the whole agency should be shut down and the few vital services they have be transferred to Dept of Treasury.

Liz Richards

(**great example discovered by Richard Fine, resulting in the infamous Silva v. Garcetti lawsuit.  This extremely disturbing case over county abuse of privilege in MILLION$$ IN L.A. County CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS ALREADY COLLECTED shows how corruption responds to corruption uncovered —  Mr. Fine in jail, an attempt to intimidate him and a warning to others who might think to follow in his footsteps.  As far as I can tell, this case was eventually dropped, although eventual Mr. Fine was released from solitary coercive confinement, at age 70!)

(This BUDGET document is found at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/olab/budget/2012/cj/CSE.pdf)

AGAIN — what ROI, what overall good really comes out of this department, as reported by anyone who is not in on some of its many scams?   She writes:  “I believe the whole agency should be shut down and the few vital services they have be transferred to Dept of Treasury.”

I’m so glad she’s come around to my way of thinking, after I read enough rhetoric to gag on justifying the elimination of child support for most kids, and the inability of actual, legitimate abused children and/or spouses (primarily mothers) to EVER get free from abuse, resulting sometimes in their deaths at the hands of a father over a court-ordered visitation and after death threats and molestation had already been identified.  Alternately, they can just be impoverished needlessly, and society can be robbed of working parents while these parents instead go to court and suffer more legal abuse and trauma, often for years.

I ALSO UPLOADED a “Reviving Marriage in America:  Strategies for Donors” philanthropy roundtable talking about the foundations backing to these movements.  File it under “what your social worker and child support advocate,  your local domestic violence agency, or local legal aid office, didn’t and won’t tell you — but should have — about who’s really behind the fatherhood movement.“)

Looking at both these documents, I have to ask:  how much priming the pump is needed to produce a few good fathers, or get child support enforced? Are these indeed producing good fathers, and if not, who gives a damn?  The jet-setting, conference-presenting, politically connected fatherhood program administrators?  The family law judges, attorneys, evaluators (basically, all AFCC membership categories) whose nonprofits profit from this arrangement?   The funeral homes, who get extra business when some Dad goes haywire after separation?  The press, who reports the casualties?

An article from the “Institute for Democracy Studies” (Sept. 2001, VOl. 2, issue 1), lead article by a “Lewis C. Daly” focused on the “Charitable Choice:  The Architecture of a Social Policy Revolution” cites the Bradley Foundation’s influence, and provides a flowchart with National Fatherhood Initiative and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives central underneath.  They point out the “Heritage Foundation” connection (which I’ve noticed) and that a certain Kay James (directing the US Office of Personnel Management at the time — and as such placing “vast numbers of individuals throughout the White House national security apparatus, government agencies (etc.) ) endorsed the resolution of the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention (regarding wifely submission to husbands) — an endorsement that caused former President Carter to resign from this group in protest of its treatment of women.

O Say Can You See?” what’s happened to the “land of the free” (or even the concept of the land of the free….)

“OCSE”:  CLEAN IT UP OR SHUT IT DOWN:

The more I read about this, the more outraged I get at tax dollars being used for social science rhetoric — most of it a combination of belief, myth, and confusion of results with causes.

  • While promising delivery on child support — the fact is, it extorts both mothers and fathers in the courts to consume services and classes they don’t need, such as parenting education classes produced by judges-and-attorney-run nonprofits with unholy alliances with the family courts (kids turn, etc.).  (Kids Turn & look-alikes)
  • It s a guaranteed formula for reducing and eliminating child support, sold under the guise of doing the opposite.
  • The Access Visitation grants system, per se, while not huge — is the doorway to ever-expanding initiatives (fatherhood, marriage-promotion, etc.) — that undermine due process and individual rights.
  • Its own regulations indicate that the purpose of this grants system enables ONE Person in ONE Executive Branch Office to run demonstration social science projects on the populace, through the states, as I have pointed out before in reviewing 45 CFR 303.109:   As such, it’s anti-democratic, and contrary to the purpose of having three separate branches of government, which was to counter potential tyranny.  Section (a) basically says, there’s a need to monitor these grants.  Here’s (b):
(b) Evaluation. The State: (1) May evaluate all programs funded under Grants to States for Access and Visitation Programs; (2) Must assist in the evaluation of significant or promising projects as determined by the Secretary; (of HHS).

These significant or promising projects are going to be fatherhood promotion or marriage promotion projects.  They are poorly monitored, especially after going to subgrantees once they hit the sole state agency in each state that dispenses them.
For a quick sample, tell me why the Texas Office of Attorney General (generally associated with matters of law, right?) even HAS a “Deputy for Family Initiatives,” let alone why are they using this post to expand opportunities to turn this office into more therapeutic, right-wing, family intervention schlock?    (See RandiJames.com’s 2009 post, “Michael Hayes wants to Build Family-Centered Child Support” and how:
Before his current post, he helped create and was director of the Texas Fragile Families Initiative, a statewide project involving community-based, faith-based, and public agencies to support fragile families.”
See also my comment on that post, showing Mr. Hayes flying up to Minnesota to present at a Fatherhood Summit.    And about his plans for the “evolution of child support.”)
Now, when you have an Office of the Attorney General coming straight from a “Fragile Families Initiative” this tells me there is at least one foundation behind the scenes.  While Michael Hayes may have got this going in Texas, “FFI” has been going strong, courtesy of at least the Ford Foundation, in NY and elsewhere, and typically links a researcher, a reputable university (or several of them) such as Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, etc.  — and someone with a personal agenda getting paid to produce social science studies on how to fix America.  For example, Ronald D. Mincy, Ph.D., of Columbia’s
Black people will never reach economic parity if Black children have to depend on one income and White children depend on two,” says Mincy, the architect of the foundation’s “Strengthening Fragile Families Initiative.
{{i.e., while Mr. Hayes may have got it started in Texas, Dr. Mincy got it going, period.  This is the “foundation connection.”  As with President Obama’s stuttering on the word “mother” regarding his own mother, despite his obvious success in life (US President = success, right?), Dr. Mincy’s pedigree includes Harvard, and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT, teaching at Swarthmore, and heads up a
The multi-million dollar initiative focuses on increasing research about these poor fathers and their families, and working with policy-makers to create policies that encourage unwed parents to work together for the benefit of their children.

Since 1994, the Ford Foundation has spent a total of roughly $14.5 million on this issue. It is one of too few major foundations, according to Mincy, engaged in this work.

These days Mincy crisscrosses the nation giving speeches and meeting with child support officials and advocates for fathers as he tries to take advantage of the convergence of circumstances that has made fatherhood the issue de jour.

But there is a compelling personal reason why Mincy is so interested in this issue — he also grew up without his father. …

…So did many children, whose fathers served in the various wars our country has been involved in– Civil War, World War I, II, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, etc.   Wars definitely contribute to  fatherlessness.   So did slavery, which routinely broke up families.   Of all people who should know this, I’d think an economics expert would.  Of all people who also should (and I bet does) know that “jobs” =/= “wealth” or financial independence stemming from assets which spin off enough income to live on.   No, the experts are focused obsessively on “jobs” while themselves functioning, often as not, from their connections to foundations & government or university research institutes.
However, the “fatherhood” field developed in the LATE 1900s, not the EARLY 1900s or before.  Why?  When it was the air people breathed, there was no need to push the ideology.  But now, there is some competition — and it has to be pushed.  The most natural place to push fear of women, fear of feminism, is through institutions already controlled by men — faith-based ones, Congress, etc.
The “fatherhood” promoters did so in response to  at some level, I believe, gut-level primal fear of women and feminism, a feminism in possible in part because women can indeed vote.  It is also in fear of the reproductive capacity of people of color; this is clear from the boardroom discussions and the Congressional record.   The conservative’s push into inner city churches and ministries helped split off some of the progressive and civil rights activities in those areas, and partly clean up their image, just as the recent nonprofit group “Women in Fatherhood, Inc.” [WIFI] is a more recent formulation to help clean up the obvious gender bias in the “fatherhood” policies to start with.

After graduating from Harvard, Mincy went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate in economics in 1987. He taught economics at Swarthmore College, the University of Delaware, and Bentley College, before heading to the Urban Institute in 1987.

{{“obviously” no father in the home dooms a child to academic, professional and financial failure, case in point.}}

While at the Urban Institute, Mincy directed a policy-research project on the urban underclass. His work on poor, unwed families caught the attention of the Clinton administration and he led the Noncustodial Parents Issue Group for the Presidents Welfare Reform taskforce. The group’s mission was to figure out how welfare reform could accommodate poor men. His experiences in the Clinton administration laid the groundwork for the Fragile Families Initiative.

He’s now at Columbia, degreed, decorated, publishing and promoting.  Note the Foundation Connection throughout ….

Bio:

Dr. Ronald Mincy teaches Introduction to Social Welfare Policy; Program Evaluation; Economics for Policy Analysis; and Advanced Methods in Policy Analysis, and directs the Center for Research on Fathers, Children and Family Well-Being.

Dr. Mincy is also a co-principal investigator of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and a faculty member of the Columbia Population Research Center (CPRC).

He came to the University, in 2001, from the Ford Foundation where he served as a senior program officer and worked on such issues as improving U.S. social welfare policies for low-income fathers, especially child support, and workforce development policies; he also served on the Clinton Administration’s Welfare Reform Task Force.

This tells me, he may have had input into the Access & Visitation factor of 1996 Welfare Reform.  And, he’s as much as stated he has a chip on his shoulder from childhood.  However directed at low-income noncustodial fathers this work has become, by targeting the child support system, this re-balancing of “welfare” has been exploited by all levels of fathers (including some multi-millionaires) and has resulted in lots of noncustodial (and some homeless) mothers after processing through this wonderful child support system plus therapy-dispensing family law system.  It has pushed social science dispensaries (whether institutes or initiatives) to the top of the administrative heap.  The discussion is no longer of individual rights, due process, bias — but of outcomes, of best “practices” and “promising projects.”   Such language keeps the research $$ flowing and sets up a subject/object relationship between the researchers and the poor slobs with the actual problems and lives affected the most.

Only through the internet have we become more able to “eavesdrop” in on some of these conversations, and hear the incredible logic behind them, pick on the tone of how policymakers view the nation, of how Federal entitities attempt to set up a trainee/dog relationship with the states (good states get more treats [incentives], bad states will have treats withdrawn….  Clearly in such an environment, the obvious line of work is dog trainer — if one is not of sufficient drive, connections, inspiration, pedigree, (etc.) or luck to be the ones paying the dog trainers.

NEXT QUESTIONS:

HOW MANY FOUNDATIONS DOES IT TAKE

TO ELIMINATE THE US CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS?

Whose idea was it, to switch society’s main institutions from the concept of individual rights (eventually — at least in theory — including minorities & females, in that order) in favor of “social science” (next step — back to eugenics….)?

Whose idea was it to centralize rule under Executive Dept. initiatives (versus the original idea — three branches of government).

Whose idea was it to eliminate the restrictions on sectarian religion on public government?

Well, in my book, this is in great part, a 4-letter word:  “B.U.S.H.” (GWB), aka Government by Executive Order.

CONSIDER THE IMPACT OF THE

Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), was established January 29, 2001, when President George W. Bush “issued twoexecutive orders related to faith-based and community organizations. The first executive order established a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. The second order established centers to implement this initiative at the Department of Justice, along with the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development.  (wikipedia)

NOT a good idea for women…..

Let alone this particular President’s (and other right-wing Republicans) curious connection with the Unification Church.  Don’t laugh.  See my “Shady-shaky Foundations’ post and look at that picture of Sun Myung Moon being crowned in a US Senate building.   And rethink all this “Family” and “Marriage” promotion agenda in terms of this known money-laundering, criminal-enterprise cult headed by the world’s “True Parents.”  Or read from the Steve Hassan’s “Freedom of Mind” site on Moon/Bush:  Ongoing Crime Enterprise (2007 article) :

By the early 1980s, flush with seemingly unlimited funds, Moon had moved on to promoting himself with the new Republican administration in Washington. An invited guest to the Reagan-Bush Inauguration, Moon made his organization useful to President Reagan, Vice President Bush and other leading Republicans.

Where Moon got his cash remained one of Washington’s deepest mysteries – and one that few U.S. conservatives wanted to solve. …

While the criminal enterprises may have been operating at one level, Moon’s political influence-buying was functioning at another, as he spread around billions of dollars helpful to the top echelons of Washington power.

Moon launched the Washington Times in 1982 and its staunch support for Reagan-Bush political interests quickly made it a favorite of Reagan, Bush and other influential Republicans. Moon also made sure that his steady flow of cash found its way into the pockets of key conservative operatives, especially when they were most in need. […]

Throughout these public appearances for Moon, Bush’s office refused to divulge how much Moon-affiliated organizations have paid the ex-President. But estimates of Bush’s fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000.

Sources close to the Unification Church told me that the total spending on Bush ran into the millions, with one source telling me that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million from Moon’s organization. . . .

The senior George Bush may have had a political motive, too. By 1996, sources close to Bush were saying the ex-President was working hard to enlist well-to-do conservatives and their money behind the presidential candidacy of his son, George W. Bush. Moon was one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles.

The “Marriage Promotion” and “Fatherhood” fanaticism definitely has Unification overtones.  I first began comprehending this summer 2009, while protesting another round of fatherhood funding at the Senate Appropriations Committee.  This was headed up by Rep. Danny K. Davis.  Naturally, I looked him up, some, and discovered the Moonie (Unification Church) connection.  I told some friends, and now they think I’m nuts for the assumption…   When our leaders start crowning kings in Senate Buildings, and don’t apologize for it – which Rep Davis did not — we have to start wondering where their heads are at.  (Hover cursor over the “Danny K. Davis” link for the incredible/incriminating details… When our leaders start play-acting coronations and it’s somehow a joke, I think it’s time for someone else to be put on the stand and questioned.

Now that I think of this, several Judges in the SF area were found in a similar charade.   Poormagazine.com alerted us to this.  Photo is from 2002 AAML (Amer. Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) gathering, apparently.  It was accompanied by a spoof of the tune to “Camelot,” called “Familawt.”   Compare to “coronation” photo(s)

The Round Table 
Queen Dolores Carr (San Mateo) 
Queen Charlotte Woolard  (SF)
Queen Marjorie Slabach (SF)
King James Mize (Sacramento) King Gary Ichikawa (Solano)King David Haet (Solano)
Queen Beth Freeman (San Mateo) not pictured

Compare:

I’m not against a little light-hearted fun, but given the state of the family law system (and the increasing god-like attitudes found in the Executive Branch overall, towards the rest of the country), this is more than disturbing — perhaps it represents the true regret of some elected leaders and public “servants” (such as the judges/commissioners) that there is no title of royalty available, at least per our founding documents, in this U.S.A., which got its start protesting such abuses of power from England….

There is also a unification connection to an Arizona legislator, (1998 article on “Parents Day”). Sorry I’m not an Arizona resident following their elections, but here’s a 2007 article:

(www.bizjournals.com)  “Arizona state legislator and member of Unification Church weighs bid for US Congress”

The Business Journal of Phoenix — August 29, 2007
by Mike Sunnucks, The Business Journal

State Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, is considering a challenge of freshman Democratic Congressman Harry Mitchell in next year’s elections.

Anderson, who is in his seventh term in the Arizona Legislature, has formed an exploratory committee for a possible run against Mitchell.

Anderson is a Realtor and a member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.  If elected, he would be the only member of Congress to be part of the Unification Church.

The Republican lawmaker cited Congress’ low approval ratings in considering a run.  In the Legislature, Anderson has favored tuition and school tax credits; abstinence education programs; and removing junk food and sodas from public school vending machines.

UNIFICATION CONNECTION:

Given what this particular organization represents, worldwide (criminal enterprises, money laundering, and cult activity), the simple math should tell us:   (1) The Office of Faith-based Initiative comes from Bush by Executive Order, not popular mandate (2) Bush & GOP ties close to Moon & Moon’s money.   (3) Some faith-based groups are just too danged misogynist, and turn a blind eye to wife-beating and molestation.  Some women became single to start with, because they found no way to stop this in their local communities.  Moreover, many faith-based (husband = head of the household) groups also encourage men to control the finances, thereby when they separate, actually CAUSING, rather than SOLVING, additions to the welfare role.

The co-founders of the influential National Fatherhood Initiative include the first appointee to this Office, i.e., Don Eberly.  The other co-founder of the National Fatherhood Initiative is Wade Horn.   Successor (?) Ron Haskins was instrumental in passing the Access/Visitation funding mentioned above.  Combined with the powerful influence of foundational wealth, their social-science, religious-based myths rhetoric is distributed nationwide, and also funded unwittingly

Then come back here.

The HERITAGE FOUNDATION (with Unification church ties….) has its FAMILY & RELIGION page, and objectives, including developing a rhetoric. Yep:

  1. Cultivate an environment in which the permanent institutions of family and religion can flourish and fulfill their role in maintaining ordered liberty in America.
  2. Develop the best research and accompanying rhetoric that will strengthen and unify the current pro-family constituency and win over new target audiences to preserve the institution of traditional marriage and restore the family to its central role.
  3. Unite religious and economic conservatives more effectively around the goal of restoring the family to its central role, both legally and culturally, and reviving religious liberty.
  4. Shape a healthy public discourse that appreciates the historic and continuing significance of religion and moral virtue in American civic life.  {as signified by the pedophile priest scandal, and coverups?}

THEY SAY:

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Family and religion are foundational to American freedom and the common good.** For example, the married family plays an important part in promoting economic opportunity: children raised by never-married mothers are seven times more likely to be poor when compared to children raised in intact married families. Meanwhile, religious institutions and individuals form the backbone of America’s thriving civil society, providing for the welfare of individuals more effectively than government programs. Yet the role of these institutions in maintaining ordered liberty is poorly understood, and policy and social developments have factored in undermining their important contributions.

**Not for young women, and middle-aged women honor-murdered for being too Western, or for divorcing.

**This must be why we have the First Amendment, to enable Congress — naw, let’s just work through other arms of government — to establish a state religion called “marriage and family/fatherhood”  etc….. and facilitated by some of the most misogynist groups around, including faith groups that don’t permit ordination of women, require celibacy for their priests, and believe that Eve is responsible for bringing sin into the world, primarily because she acted independently from Adam in talking to someone besides her husband.

Here’s a sample Abstract of a Heritage Foundation report on Marriage as the cure for poverty:

Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty

Published on September 16, 2010 by Robert Rector

Abstract: Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware that its principal cause is the absence of married fathers in the home. Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result.

The rationale for pushing fatherhood through the child support system is that these engaged fathers will then contribute child support to the home, which would then help reduce poverty.  Seems to me that using kids as child-support bait is not a good idea.   Seems to me that anything that requires THIS MUCH POLICY PUSHING (and rhetoric-production) IS NOT COST-EFFECTIVE FOR KIDS.

Has anyone considered the custody-battle factor?  When Moms go for child support, Dads go for custody and have federal help in this.  Perhaps PART of the poverty factor is that both parents are being taken out of the workforce to litigate, but only one of them is getting the federal government on HIS side in the family law venue.   Besides which child support contractors such as Maximus, Inc. (look ’em up!) have been caught in embezzlement, fraud (repeatedly, and in the millions) yet still get multi-million-dollar contracts after paying millions to settle.  I personally think that until we either make a determination to root out fraud from this system — which would have to be consistent, local, diligent, and probably done by mothers and fathers NOT in think-tanks or on the federal (county, or state) “teat,” — we can safely assume that this is where a good deal of the nation’s wealth and GDP is going.   Everyone gets a cut but the actual children….

Look at Maximus, Inc.’s range of services:

Look at one review of this group in TN, and the cases, to date, involving embezzlement & fraud:

Thursday, May 28. 2009

Maximus signs $49M Tennessee child support deal

Your private information may have just gotten more vulnerable in state of Tennessee. In a deal that is qualified as the largest state privatization deal up to this point has been awarded to “Government Health Services Provider Maximus, Inc.” to provide services that the state is paid to provide to its residents under a federally mandated social security program known as Title IV-D. (42 USC 651). The contract details, we are working on, but Maximus, Inc. will be doing the government’s job in locating absent parents, establishing paternity, carrying out support orders and medical support orders, processing interstate cases, and providing customer service. This comes as a surprise because just last month there was a Former Child Support Services Employee Arrested in Tennessee for selling confidential records.

I am in the process of obtaining the government’s documents associated with these contracts, stay tuned for more information. We have some legitimate fears of access to citizen’s private data that have not been found guilty of any crimes being placed in unregulated databases that are accessible by unsavory characters that aim to make a profit with identity theft.
Over the past several years we have noticed a climate ripe for embezzlement, identity theft, invasion of privacy, and more. Just this year the Federal government removed some protections to the taxpayer to stop the continuous growth of these agenciesThe reversal of the tax payer protection policy that was originally implemented under the Budget Deficity Reduction Act of 2005, paves the way for more disastrous consquences for taxpayers.

Just in June 2008, Delaware Child Support Program Employees were caught stealing from taxpayers and the children. Just over a year ago, we demonstrated how Theft was Running Rampid in State Child Support Programs. The widespread lack of accountability in these programs continues, without sufficiently limiting access to private data and ensuring digital fingerprints are placed on all data in the various systems nationwide, there will continue to be fraud on the taxpayers and the participants of Child Support Enforcement programs.

The Child Support Enforcement program continues to be plagued over the past several years of documented fraud, identity theft, embezzlement, bribery schemes, and more.

Here’s a report from Canada complaining that this giant company has already run into problems in 5 US states:

B.C. Contractor Maximus Mishandled Public Funds in U.S.

Liberals, as part of privatizing push, gave a $324 million contract to a firm with a history of controversy in five states. A TYEE SPECIAL REPORT

By Scott Deveau, 3 Dec 2004, TheTyee.ca

In its move to privatize PharmaCare and the Medical Service Plan, the provincial (CANADIAN) government hired a company that was found by the state of Wisconsin to have misappropriated public funds.

The same company, Virginia-based Maximus Ltd.,  has been embroiled in controversies in four other states, involving accusations of mismanagement, overspending or improperly receiving information while seeking a contract. … …

 U.S.-based giant

The company, which is one of the largest providers of outsourced business and information technology to governments, has 280 offices in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and more than 5,000 employees worldwide. It provides a range of services from welfare, educational and judicial programs, to debt collection agencies on student loans and child support.

Bill Berkowitz tracks a lot of conservative funding, and wrote a famous article nailing Bush’s payoffs to certain individuals pushing marriage promotion (Wade Horn, Maggie Gallagher, etc.).  This 2001 report Prospecting Among the Poor:   Welfare Privatization (co. May, 2001, Applied Research Center) summarizes the situation and deals with the Maximus, Inc. group, first, including its troubling practices in Wisconsin:

Discriminatory Practices

The Milwaukee Business Journal reports that, on top of the company’s financial shenanigans, “16 formal gender or racial discrimination complaints have been filed with the Milwaukee office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, against Maximus or one of its subsidiaries. In addition…as many as a dozen internal grievances were filed with the company’s human resources office related to unfair promotion practices.”34

Linda Garcia is an organizer with 9to5, a national nonprofit grassroots organization working to empower women through securing economic justice. Garcia has observed the activities of Maximus first-hand from the front lines in Milwaukee. “The public has not been served well by privatization, “ she says. “The standards of accountability and monitoring have been practically non-existent. We’re not seeing decent services provided to the community or a decrease in poverty or homelessness.” Garcia, who has been working on behalf of the women involved in the discrimination suit against Maximus, believes discriminatory practices “may be widespread” at Maximus’ MaxStaff entity, which seems to be “funneling women to low-paying jobs in order to quickly receive the bonus staff gets for placements.”35

2001 Prospecting Among the Poor- Welfare Privatization~ Berkowitz

The bonus principle cited here exists in virtually any custody battle; in court cases easily become the “kickback” principle, opportunities to overcharge or double-bill, and opportunities to “buy” a decision, especially as the family law system is known for wide discretion given to judges.

In the Access and Visitation grants (and the expanding other grant systems they attract or work alongside, through the child support agency, as in Texas), the presence of (poorly-monitored) federal incentives, multiple nonprofit sub-grantees, and program facilitators with connections to the courts, makes an atmosphere ripe for case-steering when the stakes are, children and child support.

So I recommend scanning this report and considering its implications.  I’m glad that people like Mr. Berkowitz have reported on events that took place while I, and other families, were struggling with their individual cases, and also to survive in their own households.  Excerpts:

INTRODUCTION

Even before the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 was signed, sealed, and delivered to the states, the conservative Reason Foundation’s William Eggers and John O’Leary had lauded “aggressive” privatization initiatives in New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Georgia.

New York Governor George Pataki, chair of the Privatization Task Force of the Republican Governors Association, had argued at a meeting of governors that it was time for the immediate repeal of federal barriers to privatization at the state and local levels:

The privatization of welfare was a triumph for many Republican as well as some Democratic governors, and for conservative national and state legislators.

Policy analysts at right-wing think tanks and policy institutes were also elated. In a 1997 speech, Lawrence W. Reed, President of the conservative Midland, Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy, touted privatization as the wave of the future:

….

Bernard Picchi, growth stocks analyst for Lehman Brothers, estimated that the potential market (for welfare privatization) could easily be more than $20 billion a year. Others placed the target figure as high as $28 billion, more than 10% of the national expenditure on welfare recipients.15

…CHARITABLE CHOICE:

In addition to unleashing predatory corporate forces, the Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act of 1996 contains the first enactment of a concept conservatives call “charitable choice.” Far from expanding anyone’s choices, “charitable choice” forces state and local governments to include religious organizations in their pool of bidders for service-delivery contracts.

Cathlin Siobhan Baker, Co-Director of The Employment Project, explains although religious organizations have received government funding over the years for emergency food programs, childcare, youth programs, and the like, they were expressly prohibited from religious proselytizing. Baker writes: “Gone are the prohibitions regarding government funding of pervasively sectarian organizations. Churches and other religious congregations that provide welfare services on behalf of the government can display religious symbols, use religious language, and use religious criteria in hiring and firing employees.”50

 …

On January 29, [2001] amidst great fanfare and surrounded by Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, President George W. Bush signed an executive order cre- ating a new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. As governor of Texas, Bush has been a strong advocate for charitable choice, supporting the notion that faith-based organizations take over a large part of the provision of a broad array of government services. One of the things the new White House Office will do is help religious groups compete for billions of dollars in government grants.

During the presidential campaign, Bush called for “armies of compassion” fielded by “faith-based organizations, charities and community groups” to help aid America’s poor and needy. In an opinion piece for USA Today, Bush laid out his plan for taking “the next bold step in welfare reform,” proposing $80 billion over 10 years so that faith-based organizations can become “our nation’s most heroic armies of compassion.” He also proposed a $200 million federal initiative to “sup-port community and faith-based groups that fortify marriage and champion the role of fathers.”51 The ceremony at the White House was only Bush’s first step toward fulfilling his campaign promises.

Right-wing ideologues find charitable choice attractive because it not only reduces government involvement in service-delivery but also injects their religious and “moral framework” into the welfare debate. Welfare is no longer a question of poverty or the economic inequities in our society; the debate is framed within such time-honored right-wing moral premises as an epidemic of out-of-wedlock births and the lack of personal responsibility – behaviors that conservatives believe contribute to the general moral breakdown of our society.

Not only has the web changed the workplace, it has most certainly also changed government.  However the policies forced on the poorer population are geared to the industrial economy, a 9 to 5 mentality, a public education mentality, a faith-based mentality.

The welfare concept eliminates and discourages single parents from supporting themselves in creative ways (including through this internet).  Its assumption that poverty has to do mostly with fatherlessness is nonsensical, and dishonest — when many times it may relate instead to a present, and abusive, father.  Failing to distinguish one case from another, and listening primarily to their own rhetoric, social scientists in key positions + political appointees force basic “solutions” on the entire society, and stick society with the bill as well.   It is basically taxation without representation.

The only people escaping this taxation without representation are those profiting from it — who run or own nonprofit businesses, have or benefit from private foundations or wealth — or in some other way have learned to maximize profits, reduce expenses, and make their expenses, including conferences on how to keep the systems going, tax deductions.

These people are not uniformly two-parent income, or even stable-marriage families.  Heck, some (including Presidents & legislators) are not even faithful to their own wives.    So how dare they preach to the rest of us, who are not quite so wealthy, or don’t have backing to get into political office, on our morals and work ethic?

In the “Payments to States for Child Support Enforcement and Family Support Programs” (links above), on page “271” there is an Appropriations History Table, from 2002 through 2009.  Its simple, (two-column) and speaks volumes.     The costs range from $2+ billion to $4+ billion, and always with an advance of $1billion or so.  ALWAYS the appropriation is higher than budget.

The Philanthropist Roundtable (Reviving Marriage in America, link above) lists these benefits to Marriage.  Are you in agreement with all of them?  If not, do you want your IRS payments to go towards pushing marriage education, (let alone abstinence education for parents), do you want families EXTORTED into high-stakes custody litigation through the child support system, do you really believe that we should have such foundations running our lives through major institutions?

If not, take some time to read the links I’ve provided here, which prompted this piecemeal protest post.   Really these are TAX issues.   Perhaps more of us should focus on establishing foundations and stop working W-2 jobs;; there has to be a better way.  Anyhow, rich conservative foundations declare:

The Benefits of Marriage 


Benefits for Adults

1. Married men and women have lower mortality rates and tend to have better overall health than their single counterparts.

2. Married couples tend to have more material resources, less stress and better social support than people who are not married.

3. Married men are less likely to abuse alcohol.***

[[potential cause of divorce — wife gets tired of living with a chronic alcoholic.  Hence, those who stay married might indeed drink less…]]

4. Both married men and women report significantly lower levels of depression and have better overall psychological well-being than

their single, divorced, widowed and cohabitating counterparts.**

[[Exceptions:  marriages with abuse, or chronic infidelity.  Which definitely is depressing and affects psychological well-being!]]

5. Married African-Americans have better life satisfaction than those who are single.

[[! ! !  How are these people checking out African-American’s “life satisfaction” quotient?   Apparently, it’s important not to have too many angry, dissatisfied African-Americans around. After all, the prisons are already overcrowded, and with US already the largest per-capita jailor on earth, what’s a ruling elite to do if the anger spills over?]]

6. Married men report higher wages than single men and have been found to be more productive and more likely to be promoted.

[[So women should marry and stay married to encourage men to work.  Single working parents, single nonparents should also contribute to the federal marriage movement, because without  marriage, men are simply not as motivated to work.  Potential cause — the wife at home is supporting the guy, or the wife at WORK is supporting the guy.  What about married mother’s wages or likelihood of promotion?  Knowing the high potential for divorce, women should (sure, yeah….) most definitely go for marriage, because it’s good overall for the nation, even if they sacrifice their financial futures post-marriage, ending up eventually on welfare, in court, and fighting for custody of their children with a federally-funded fatherhood mandate run through the child support system?]]

7. Married women tend to have substantially more economic resources than single women. The economic benefits of marriage are especially strong for women who come from disadvantaged families.

[[I really wonder where this statistic comes from…  There are obviously exceptions, some of them in abusive religious marriages, some where, at times, a woman was sought from another country to make some babies for a US resident.]]

Benefits for Children

1. Children from families with married parents are less likely to experience poverty than children from single-parent or cohabitating families.

2. Children born to cohabitating couples have a higher chance of experiencing family instability, a factor that has been linked to poor child well-being.

3. Children from married, two-parent families tend to do better in school than those who grow up in single-parent or alternative family structures.

4. Children from intact, two-parent families are less likely to experience emotional-behavioral problems.

5. The more time children live in a married, two-parent home, the less likely they are to use drugs.

6. Children who grow up in a married, two-parent family are less likely to have children out of wedlock in their future relationships.

7. Women with married parents are less likely to experience a high-conflict marriage.

8. Single mothers report more conflict with their children than married mothers.

[**depending on date of this report, one factor may be this agenda being run through the family law system to start with — as it has been since 1996 at least, which guarantees ongoing court litigation where one parent wants to struggle, and the case was flagged for program funding to help ONE side do this.]

9. The rate of infant mortality is lower among married parents.

10. Children living with their married, biological parents are less likely to experience child abuse.**

[[see note on married men drink less.  Child abuse by either parent is a deal-breaker for most marriages.  And, what about also the ongoing situations where the child experiences abuse on visitations with the noncustodial parent — such cases would fall under “not living with their married biological parents” — but who is the perpetrator?  If someone is willing to abuse a child initially, whether married or single, would life be better if such parents were together, and the abuser had daily access??  This statements imply doesn’t handle many situations.]]

  • What this entire report fails to address is that domestic violence can turn lethal within marriage, or leaving a marriage.
  • Moreover, an on-line “find” (search) in this report of the word “father” (which covers fathers, fatherhood, fathering etc.) shows 23 occurrences.  The corresponding search on “mother,” only 7.  That’s imbalanced, and typical of certain sites sponsored by conservative foundations.

A token reference to the fact that for some, marriage has problems occurs here, in context of the tail end of an inset about marriage education movement.  Notice, no mention is made that some marriages result in death by femicide.  This is virtual denial…..

“Feminist leaders at the time emphasized the dark side of marriage for women whose husbands refused to be equal partners to their working wives and women trapped in abusive relationships. {{note order:  not equal partners, and just a token, vague reference to “abusive” which is then dropped.  Completely:…}}

The mainline Christian  churches emphasized pastoral sensitivity to divorced people and single parents, which seemed inconsistent with proclaiming the unique value of life- long marriage. {{meaning, to be consistent, churches who believe in lifelong marriage should be harsh to divorced people and single parents?  which harshness of course would be inconsistent with the gospel record of their hero, Jesus’, sensitivity, including to a woman caught in adultery, a poor widow, a woman with an issue of blood, and so forth…}}

The conservative Christian churches still preached about life- long marriage but were not organizing programs for couples to help them achieve such relationships.”

OK, so the Bradley Foundation acknowledges there are churches with thoughts about divorce.   But ….

Do we or do we not have other religions in this country?  (But none mentioned here?).  How about Islam — what about Shari’a?    Does marriage promotion apply here also?  Because the Muslim and the Christian/Jewish (let alone agnostic/atheist) concepts of marriage are radically different from each other. Should the US move towards the Shari’a model because marriage is “good” for a nation?   How could any discussion of this topic among conservative foundations just “forget” other major world religions, let alone that First Amendment is intended to protect religious choice — not push one variety of it on all of us through governmental institutions.!

Nonie Darwish at Temple University (April 2011) — these are Youtubes of a presentation, and a following Q&A.  I haven’t viewed them (fresh off a Google search to you), but have read at least one of her books:

Nonie Darwish:  Shari’a Law & America at Temple University

Q&A to the above presentation

This is another reason why the US should NOT allow religious groups to be grabbing federal funds to collect child support and promote fatherhood.  What if the group favors shari’a law, which goes like this:

Shari’a, that is Muslim law, controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

In the Western  World (including America ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shari’a Law under which wives can not obtain a divorce and men have full and complete control of their children.  It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities and other parts of the Western world are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shari’a law.

By publicizing the information below, I hope to help enlightened American and other women avoid becoming slaves under Shari’a Law:
1. In the Muslim faith, a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old, consummating the marriage by 9. 
2. A dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman who becomes a slave. 
3. Even though a woman is abused she cannot obtain a divorce. 
4. To prove rape, a woman must have four male witnesses. 
5. Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry.  The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. 
6. Husbands can beat their wives ‘at will’ and do not have to say why the beating occurred. 
7. A husband is permitted to have 4 wives and a temporary wife for a limited period at his discretion. 

The goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shari’a law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.  If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual.  Islamic law (Shari’a) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

Peace and prosperity for one’s children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.

While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics – one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others..

While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with G-d, Shari’a advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

This woman should know — and has earned the right to speak on it.   The blurb:

“Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza  before immigrating to America in 1978, when she was eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks on Israel. He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza.  When he died, he was considered a “shahid,” a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.  But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing and later abandoned Islam.” (For Christianity, incidentally).

What about a woman who has escaped a violent marriage, and may wish to partake, for once, in a better one — but because of the family law system, is doomed to struggling with custody until all kids turn 18?   Should she suffer, should the next potential partner suffer alongside, because some people believe that the problem with this country is out-of-wedlock fertility, unhappy AFrican American couples (read the list!) and of course the cause of child abuse and poverty is fatherlessness – not failure to prosecute child abusers properly, or economic policies that exploit wage-earners and outsource child support collections to corporations like Maximus, Inc., famous for fraud, gender discrimination, embezzlement, and poor performance?

We do not need cults (Unification Church), Crooks, or Misogynist Faith Institutions running the child support system as if there was a war on fatherhood by virtue of women having gained some options in the mid to late 1900s, including to vote, and an uphill fight that was.

We do not need another caste system — or royalty — created through welfare policies based on myths, which then undermine the primary documents on which our country has been founded by trying to tip the court favor towards fathers based on a job-based workforce system and inferior educational system.

As Berkowitz wrote in 2001 (above), Welfare Privatization is a cash cow, a big one, and Charitable Choice may fall hard on women overall, given how many religious groups already do.   Those in the (expanding) bureaucracy get to inhabit lofty positions writing about the poor while those poor often live lives at risk from their partners, their neighborhoods, and the myth that the legal system exists for them — and not for those running it.

OCSE – TANF – FATHERHOOD PROMOTION, MARRIAGE PROMOTION — PRIVATE CONTRACTORS CAUGHT IN EMBEZZLEMENT AND FRAUD — GOP PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTIONS WITH INTERNATIONAL MONEY-LAUNDERING, CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE (the Unification Church) & CULT — and PRIVATE WEALTH (whether honestly or dishonestly gotten) RUNNING AND RESTRUCTURING GOVERNMENT, HIGHER EDUCATION, LOWER (EARLY CHILDHOOD) EDUCATION, AND SO ON.

Let’s begin with this Eliminating this Child Support System — which garnishes wages and has the power to put a man or a woman in jail, or homeless, if they don’t pay up, farms out collections to companies known for gender, race discrimination, fraud, embezzlement, and poor performances (Maximus), selling private information and in general tearing up the lives of innocent people (but still getting multi-illion$ contracts).  While its federal fatherhood focus is indeed sexist, it is also  equipped to turn on EITHER gender, depending on the case, and get away with it.  Which, while the original concept was — child support — the “evolution” of it is becoming more and more like an episode of “Aliens” only more frightening.

Which is just too big and too entrenched.

Sounds like a good idea, on the surface:  I briefly took welfare (food stamps) and the county went for the father to pay themselves back.  They could be the “bad guy” in the situation, protecting me.  But in practice, I see, they’ve had a makeover, and are more interested in being the nice guy (and enrolling men in fatherhood programs, access visitation programs, etc.).

I thought it was a great transitional idea immediately after marriage to have someone besides myself (for a change) asking the father of my children to pull his own weight, like I was, and to do so without in-home assault & battery privileges.  We got a child support order when I got welfare help (rather than ask him for help myself).   Not having the operational structure laid out in front of me, I thought that my getting OFF the system would be the end of the story, and they could go their way, and I mine, end of acquaintance. What did I know about the federal incentives, or how the interest income — of pooled, undistributed collections — was a real low-hanging fruit for the operation, and by withdrawing

Not so, not with all these grant programs and federal incentives flying around the place; not when within my own state, the same jurisdiction that basically spawned the family law industry was caught with its pants down, sitting on millions of collected child support (and its interest) until one father and one attorney caught them at this (John Silva, Richard Fine).    

SO, LET’s ELIMINATE — OR AT LEAST BOYCOTT — THE ENTIRE AGENCY.  HELP YOUR NEIGHBORS NOT NEED CHILD SUPPORT.    KNOW WHAT IT MEANS IN ADVANCE.  WARN MOTHERS LEAVING VIOLENT RELATIONSHIPS.   AND TELL YOUR LOCAL LEGISLATOR (FIND OUT IN ADVANCE IF HE OR SHE IS ON A “NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE” LEGISLATIVE TASK FORCE — MANY ARE…) THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  If a program takes over $4 BILLION just to enforce, and is still resulting in increased welfare loads, is not well-tracked, and has already been caught in repeated scandals — then it’s simply not worth the investment.

Mothers of minor children can only do so much, but one thing we can do is boycott (boycott seeking child support if you can.  Or marriage — or sex (believe me, it’s been discussed in some groups I know) — or the family law system.  You might get dragged in, but don’t go voluntarily — and publicize — put the warning labels out on blogs — they won’t reach mainstream media — and encourage them to find another way to live; there has to be one.

Decent Single Mothers AND Decent single Fathers AND decent non-parents (single or married) should figure out what we have in common, start asking hard questions about this OCSE agency and how it spends its funds.  Meanwhile, we should work TOGETHER (unilaterally) to boycott it until it gets the message we are serious.

Most will not, or cannot, because their lives are already so entwined in and dependent upon this system, whether for work, for their kids’ school, or they are simply already employed by the huge bureaucracy.  Or, their free time weekends is soaked up volunteering at the local faith-based organization…

FOUNDATIONS AND WELFARE POLICY:

Foundation after Foundation are writing the policy, through government institutions….  When one considers what foundations are, to start with, tax-exempt, one wonders about the arrangement.  The Lynde and Larry Bradley Foundation (who published the “Marriage Guidebook — strategy for donors” I linked to, above) also is sponsoring another welfare think-tank in Wisconsin, with the “same old” players included that re-wrote welfare to include more Dads.   Hmm.  Wasn’t Wisconsin having LOTS of fiscal/political problems recently?

During the conference, an eclectic group of national thinkers will address the intersection between welfare policy and issues such as:  parental involvement, especially fatherhood; {{now WHY doesn’t that surprise me?}} child well-being; marriage and divorce; family living arrangements; and non-marital sex, pregnancy, and child birth.  Attendees will gain a better understanding of what the state of Wisconsin — and the nation as a whole — can (and can’t) do to build a welfare policy that has strong, stable families at its center.
The discussions will be moderated by former White House and Congressional welfare-policy advisor Ron Haskins of theBrookings Institution in Washington, D.C.  The luncheon speaker will beWade F. Horn, a former Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports WPRI.
This is hardly an “eclectic” group.  Where are the feminists, where are the representatives from people affected by these policies?   Where are the atheists who believe in separation of church and state?  However the phrase “group of national thinker” (what is a “national thinker”? someone who wants to run the nation???) reminds me of the National Fatherhood Initiative self-description as having been founded by a “few prominent thinkers” (egotism, much?)…..
Presenters:
  • RON HASKINS — INSTRUMENTAL IN TACKING THE “ACCESS AND VISITATION” LANGUAGE ONTO WELFARE REFORM AT THE 9TH HOUR…
  • WADE HORN — CONFLICTS OF INTEREST (PRIVATE NONPROFIT WITH HHS)
ALSO GOING TO BE PRESENTING:  DAVID BLANKENHORN:
  • “David Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan organization devoted to strengthening families and civil society in the U.S. and around the world. Blankenhorn is the author of several books, is a frequent lecturer, and has been featured on numerous national television programs.”
{{another Bush appointee, per Wikipedia:  “In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed Blankenhorn to serve on the National Commission on America’s Urban Families.[4][2][5] Blankenhorn helped to found the National Fatherhood Initiative, a nonpartisan organization focused on responsible fatherhood, in 1994.“}} Blankenhorn is anti-gay, but not anti-polygamy, it seems……

“Why Shariah?” (Noah Feldman, at CFR), “Islam’s Double Standard” (Arthur Frederick Ides) and {No Feminine Nouns at} the Michigan Family Forum’s home (Brian Snavely): But First, Four Women…

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This blog should be filed along with my ones about the Gulag Archipelago, and Bahrain Archipelago.

With respect and appreciation intended this season towards:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, Nonie Darwish, and Immaculee Iligibazi, who survived the Rwandan Holocaust in a cramped bathroom in a pastor’s house, although others who sometimes sought shelter in churches then, didn’t find it.  In their books (I haven’t met any of these women, all activist and all authors, and all who overcame many odds and losses), and in reverse order:

  • Immaculée

Immaculée Ilibagiza was born in Rwanda and studied Electronic and Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Rwanda. Her life transformed dramatically in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide when she and seven other women huddled silently together in a cramped bathroom of a local pastor’s house for 91 days! During this horrific ordeal, Immaculée lost most of her family, but she survived to share the story and her miraculous transition into forgiveness and a profound relationship with God.

(title of page also: “From a country she loved to the horrors of genocide:  A journey to understanding and forgiveness.”)

I love what I think this country stands for.  I understand we are in a period — perhaps we have always engaged in this – of  a different sort of “genocide” and the “genus” we are involved in eradicating is the word Mother and Woman as a functional reality in the major institutions of life — except we comply and fit in.  what we are expected to fit in with is becoming nonpersons, and religious and sectarian violence against us and our children because we spoke up against violence and weren’t aware ahead of the family law system that is designed to STOP such speaking up and leaving it.  As formerly it was “not without my children,”  Nowadays it has become, “OK, but ONLY without your children…”

I think that story needs to be heard, too, and how having children, then losing them to systems, transformed each of us personally, and our relationships with the rest of the world, particularly any religious segments of it.  If the U.S. is the BEST for women, then we are indeed in trouble throughout the world.

  • Nonie:

(Wikipedia entry).

Nonie Darwish (Arabic: نوني درويش‎) (born 1949[1][2]) is an Egyptian-American human rights activist, and founder of Arabs For Israel, and is Director of Former Muslims United. She is the author of two books: Now They Call Me Infidel; Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror and Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish’s speech topics cover human rights, with emphasis on women’s rights and minority rights in the Middle East. Born in Egypt, Darwish is the daughter of an Egyptian Army lieutenant general, who was called a “shahid” by the Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser,[3] after being killed in a targeted killing in 1956. Darwish blames “the Middle Eastern Islamic culture and the propaganda of hatred taught to children from birth” for his death. In 1978, she moved with her husband to the United States, and converted to Christianity there. After September 11, 2001 she has written on Islam-related topics.[3]

She was too outspoken.  Respectable organizations headed for the hills when

Shari’a in the Ivy League

By: Pratik Chougule
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Where are the moderates of the Islamic world? The question has befuddled Americans since the September 11 attacks. Indeed, while President Bush and other leaders of the West have fervently defended Islam as a “religion of peace,” there has been a conspicuous dearth of prominent Middle Eastern leaders openly willing to criticize radical Islam or defend the United States and Israel in the War on Terrorism. A recent incident at Brown University this past November sheds light on the perplexing issue.In late November, Hillel, Brown University’s prominent Jewish group on campus, invited Nonie Darwish to give a lecture in defense of Israel and its human rights record, relative to the Islamic world.  

Her father, Mustafa Hafez, founded the Fedayeen, which launched raids across Israel’s southern border. When Darwish was eight years old, her father became the first targeted assassination carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces in response to Fedayeen’s attacks, making him a martyr or “shahid.” During his speech nationalizing the Suez Canal, Nasser vowed Egypt would take revenge for Hafez’s death. Nasser asked Nonie and her siblings, “Which one of you will avenge your father’s death by killing Jews?”

After his death, Darwish’s family moved to Cairo, where she attended Catholic high school and then the American University in Cairo. She worked as an editor and translator for the Middle East News Agency, until emigrating to the United States in 1978, ultimately receiving United States citizenship. After arriving in the United States, she converted from Islam to evangelical Christianity based on her belief that even American mosques preach a radical, anti-peace message. Due to her decision to convert, Darwish instantly became branded as an “apostate” in several prominent Muslim circles. After 9/11, Darwish began writing columns critical of radical Islam, and authored a book Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror. She is also the founder of the organization Arabs for Israel, which pledges, “respect and support the State of Israel,” welcome a “peaceful and diverse Middle East,” reject “suicide/homicide terrorism as a form of Jihad,” and promote “constructive self-criticism and reform” in the Islamic world.

When Hillel announced its decision to invite Darwish to speak, the Brown University Muslim Students’ Association promptly insisted that Hillel rescind the invitation. Their reasoning: Darwish is “too controversial.” Similarly, the Sarah Doyle’s Women’s Center, which Hillel had contacted to cosponsor the event given Darwish’s advocacy of women’s rights, refused to support the lecture.

After a brief period of internal debate, Hillel buckled to the pressure and withdrew its invitation. In an open letter explaining the decision, Hillel cited a “desire to maintain constructive relationships” with the Muslim Students Association. Inviting Darwish, they argue, “would not be a prudent method of Israel advocacy.” Defending the decision, one member of Hillel stated that Jews “should be especially sensitive about comments which criticize strict religious observance and deem it unacceptable in America.” This member was particularly concerned that his Muslim peers “were extremely offended by this characterization of them as ‘extremists.’”

Amidst a flurry of negative press, including stories in the New York Post,

National Review Online, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, the University moved into damage-control mode.

A woman, presumably Brown student, responds in the Daily Herald (newsletter) “Nathalie Alyon ’06:  Nonie non grata?“:

The recent Nonie Darwish cancellation betrays Brunonian*  values

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2006

{**a.k.a. “Brown,” give me a break with the language, eh?}

I was shocked to read a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report that Nonie Darwish, a Palestinian peace activist, would not be speaking at Brown because the Muslim Student Association, the Muslim chaplain and the Office of the Chaplains and Religious Life are afraid what she has to say is controversial (“Free speech controversy builds as pro-Israel speech canceled at Brown,” Nov. 20). What happened to the Brown I know and love, the haven of liberal education that encourages free thought and debate? Apparently, we have turned into a university easily intimidated when the subject matter gets sensitive.

And, may I add, possibly when the speaker is also female… (and a mother at the time, I think)….

What about Darwish is so offensive to Muslims that Hillel students decided to cancel her appearance to avoid jeopardizing the wonderful relationship between Jewish and Muslim groups on campus? …

Are the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim chaplain not willing to face the reality that there are people using Islam to incite violence, promote terrorism and spread hate across the world? Would they rather keep things simple, inhale hookah smoke with a couple of Jews in the name of multiculturalism and call it a day?

I think the answer there is self-evident….

Now that we know who is not allowed to speak on campus, let’s take a look at some events that have taken place

Good.  This young woman (presumably) is on the right track to feminism {a.k.a. females speaking their minds} in the real world…

By the way, isn’t Nonie Darwish (along with President Obama) a PURRRfect example of what risk any fatherless child is of teen pregnancy, runaway, drug use, etc.  Look at her disgraceful track record, educationally, and as to contributions to this world.  What a burden on society.

(my point being — WARS, too, help make fatherlessness; don’t blame the Mamas!)

She also got silenced at Princeton and Columbia — so mothers silenced in the courts are perhaps in good company?  Granted, both quotes from known conservative ezines (exception the BrownDaily, which I don’t know about). But it kinda makes you wonder, eh?

Nonie Darwish, the executive director of Former Muslims United and author of Cruel And Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law, was scheduled to speak at Columbia and Princeton last week, but both events were canceled under pressure from Muslim groups on campus.

Darwish, a soft-spoken ex-Muslim and daughter of an Islamic martyr, is a champion of the rights of women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, and leader of the group Arabs for Israel. She had been planning to speak on “Sharia Law and Perspectives on Israel.” She is one of the few courageous voices who speak out against Islamic anti-Semitism and the oppression of women under Sharia.

She is eminently qualified to speak about this, having lived it.  Her education is fine.  It’s the topic which is politically incorrect even in “liberal” circles..

At Princeton, she was invited three weeks ago and was scheduled to speak last Wednesday. But on Tuesday evening, Arab Society president Sami Yabroudi and former president Sarah Mousa issued a joint statement, claiming: “Nonie Darwish is to Arabs and Muslims what Ku Klux Klan members, skinheads and neo-Nazis are to other minorities, and we decided that the role of her talk in the logical, intellectual discourse espoused by Princeton University needed to be questioned.”

??Character assassination, sounds like to me…  Good grief, here’s a Princeton Commentary on it:

Darwish herself, who has never advocated violence against anyone, pointed to this unfounded moral equivalence to neo-Nazism as “the worst kind of intimidation and character assassination aimed at those who dare to question, analyze, or criticize.” And she found it ironic that while her punishment for speaking out as an apostate against Islam’s worst practices was silence at Princeton, it would be death under Sharia law.

But more than the issue of free speech, the scandal has exposed in the religious community a problematic link between faith and politics, one that is the root of any inter-religious conflict. When asked if the religion of Islam were inseparable from politics, Imam Sultan explained, “There are a whole host of theories on how Islam can interact with politics, from the least imposing to the most imposing ways. I find myself agreeing more with the former, but I cannot deny that it is a source of great debate and difference of opinion among Muslims.”

(in “Censored:  The Politics behind silencing Nonie Darwish” (Dec. 09, in “THE PRINCETON TORY A JOURNAL OF CONSERVATIVE AND MODERATE THOUGHT)

While I have not met any of the above women (who are writer and speakers, I sometimes consider — of recent two years — my mentors, as I struggle to find a metaphor or “handle” to put the experience of the U.S. “FAMILY” court system (as well as my own particular extended family – actually a very small in number family, but intensely Western (so they think, I believe) and intensely “liberal”), I have read Chesler books since I was young (don’t think the age difference is that great) and I have written her often, with alarm, about my concerns how the family law system is moving towards shariah, as seen my Christian/NOT fundamentalist background.  I do not feel that some women who while understanding that certain more radical, secular views of domestic violence may not “get” this, they too, may not “get” how (relative to the rest of the US culture, overall) this evangelistic and highly patriarchal (or else) sector has sprung from the same roots.  So, I decided to post THIS 2009 article, which addresses it.

Yesterday, I completed a QNA with the National Review about honor killings/”honorcides” which appears there today and which you may readHERE. I also did a long interview with a major new service on the subject which is slated to appear tomorrow. Like many other wire services and like the mainstream media, ideas such as mine are usually sidelined, marginalized, attacked, or simply “disappeared.” I do not think this will happen tomorrow.

And now, I have a number of honorable allies. One surely is NOW-New York State President, Marcia Pappas who is now also being attacked for her having linked the Buffalo beheading with “honor killings,” with “Islam,” and even with “Islamic terrorism.” Indeed, she was attacked yesterday by a coalition of eight domestic violence victim advocacy providers in Erie County where the Buffalo beheading took place. I quickly posted a blog which dealt with this, (it deserves a longer piece), but I mainly praised the recent rally in London which was sponsored by One Law For All.

Lo and Behold: A second honorable ally wrote to me. I want to share what he said. His name is Khalim Massoud, and he is the President of Muslims Against Sharia Law, an international organization. After reading my most recent blog HERE, he wrote me as follows:

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that (the) Buffalo beheading is a honorcide. We, Muslims Against Sharia, prefer this term to honor murder. Beheading is not just a murder, it’s a ritual. It’s a form of control and humiliating a family member who “stepped over the line,” in this case, wife taking out a TRO (order of protection) and planning to divorce her husband.

Ms. Pappas must be commended for her courage to call a spade a spade. (The) PC-climate presents considerable danger for future honorcide victims. Trying to sweep cultural/religious aspects of honorcide under the rug keeps the problem from being addressed. While most of the media wouldn’t touch the issue with a ten-foot pole, (for) fear they would be portrayed as Islamophobic, a few brave women, the true feminists, like Marcia Pappas and Phyllis Chesler are speaking out on the subject just to be slammed by so-called victim advocacy groups because they dare to expose Islamism’s dirty laundry. Muslim women in America are at great risk because Muslim establishment, with help of the media, wants to portray honorcide as fiction.

Honorcide has no place in the modern world, but especially in the West. It must be forcefully confronted; not written off as domestic violence. Almost a year ago, MASH started STOP HONORCIDE! initiative. The goal is to have honorcide classified as a hate crime. The Buffalo case is a perfect example why honorcide should be a hate crime. The suspect is being charged with the 2nd degree murder. If honorcide were classified as a hate crime, he’d be charged with the 1st degree murder.”

Khalim Massoud
President
Muslims Against Sharia

OK, now again briefly (since I mentioned above), Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Again, I find it a little disconcerting she is a scholar at a conservative think-tank also known to have “fatherhood” advocacy within its ranks… (AEI.org).

Biography

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, was born in Mogadishu, Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands in 1992 and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society. In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by an Islamic extremist. At AEI, Ms. Hirsi Ali researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women’s rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe.
Here is a beautifully written article (on this ugly topic) and well-posed question. As I worry about the direction the courts are taking women, and religion is taking (or should I say, HAS taken) the U.S. Constitutional protections, I realize, yes I’m privileged, but feel also, we need to still wake up, HERE, and NOW, even though by comparison, other places are worse.  Women have physical lives and emotional lives and social lives.  We have come to demand meaning and purpose in our lives, here, and feel entitled to it.
However, if the whole social climate goes heirarchical (men, particularly pale ones, on top) and religious (Collaborations, faith-based initiatives and out-come based court processes…), we are in trouble.  And we are.  I wasn’t born in Egypt or Yemen.  I was born HERE, U.S.A.  What is it, if family law becomes shariah law in so many words, because men are afraid of empowered women?  Of non-dominated women?

We were on our front yard of white sand. It was a hot day, like almost all days in Mogadishu. There was nothing unusual about the flies that irritated us or the ants that I avoided for fear of their sharp, agonizing bites. If they happened to crawl under my dress or I sat on them accidentally they would punish me with a sting that made me shriek with pain. That shrieking and hopping about would earn disapproval and even a slap from Grandmother.

I think I was 6 or 7 on that day, maybe younger, but I know I was not 8 because my family had not yet left Somalia. Grandmother was moralizing as usual. On that day, like all other days, she was admonishing me to remember my place.

There was yet another thing I did wrong and I did not have the ability to set right. If only I wasn’t so dimwitted; if only I understood how I was to blame for the flaw that granny abhorred so much.

“Cross your legs,” she said, “lower your gaze. You must learn not to laugh, and if you must laugh then see to it that you don’t cackle like the neighbor’s hen.” We had no chickens but the noise of the neighbors’ hens screeching and hooting and trespassing was enough for me to get the message.

“If you must go outside make sure you are accompanied and that you and your company walk as far away from men as possible,” she said.

To my grandmother’s annoyance, I responded with the question: “But Grandmother, what about Mahad?” My brother Mahad never seemed to invite this kind of endless preaching from Grandmother. She answered me like the obtuse child she decided I was.

“Mahad is a man! Your misfortune is that you were born with a split between your legs. And now, we the family must cope with that reality!”

I thought: There was yet another thing I did wrong and I did not have the ability to set right. If only I wasn’t so dimwitted; if only I understood how I was to blame for the flaw that granny abhorred so much.

“Ayaan, you are stubborn, you are reckless and you ask too many questions. That is a fatal combination. Disobedience in women is crushed and you are disobedient. It is in you, it is in your bone marrow. I can only attempt to tell you what is right.”

Grandmother pointed to a piece of sheep fat on the ground. It was covered with ants, and flies were zooming above it, landing on it, sucking it. It was a vile piece of meat that was being warmed by the sun, and a trickle of fat seeped out of it. She said: “You are like that piece of sheep fat in the sun. If you transgress, I warn you men will be no more merciful to you than those flies and ants are to that piece of fat.”

A lot has changed in my life since those days in the sun with Grandmother. Today when I look back I see that I have proven her wrong. I disobeyed, true to my nature, I transgressed, but I avoided the destiny of the sheep fat.

Sitting in an airplane, I have on my lap the memoir of Nujood Ali. The title of the book is “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.” My reading list contains another book, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is called “Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia.” The reason I associate the two books is because of their description of marriage and divorce, and particularly the word “painful.”

Nujood was 8 years old when a delivery man approached her father in Sana, Yemen. After the initial expression of hospitality, the delivery man stated his business: He was looking for a wife. Nujood’s two older sisters were already married, so she was the logical bride, regardless of her age. Her father accepted $750 in dowry money and gave away his 8-year-old daughter. When Nujood’s mother and sisters appealed to him, pleading that she was too young to get married, the father responded with the excuse used by all Muslim fathers who marry off their daughters before they come of age: “Too young? When the Prophet wed Aisha she was only 9.”

In fact, Muhammad wed Aisha when she was 6. According to Scripture, the Prophet waited for Aisha to begin menstruating before consummating the marriage. Nujood’s new husband, Faez, showed no such restraint.

In painful detail, Nujood describes a real nightmare on her wedding night: How she runs away, how she seeks help, how she struggles, how he touches her and she wriggles out of his arms, how she calls out to her mother- in-law. “Aunty,” she screams, “somebody help me!” But there was silence. She describes how he gets hold of her, his awful smell, a mixture of tobacco and onions. She recounts the childish threat she makes–“I will tell my father”–and the husband’s reply: “You can tell your father whatever you like. He signed the marriage contract, he gave me permission to marry you.”

From the time Nujood was able to gather her wits about her she set about planning her escape. The story is recommended reading for anyone who seriously wants to understand what Muslim women can be subjected to.

In Yemen, Nujood’s father, her husband, the judges, the policemen and the broader society–with the exception of a very few–view her situation as normal. And Yemen is by no means unique.

When I turn to Elizabeth Gilbert’s description of a painful divorce it becomes clear to me what feminism has accomplished in the West. Gilbert decides to divorce her husband not because he was forced upon her, but because there is something intangible that he cannot give her. She chose to marry him. Every decision she made was voluntary: to marry him, to buy property with him, even to try for a child. Yet still she felt unfulfilled.

The deep sense of dissatisfaction leads her to abandon her marriage, the life of a privileged woman. She goes to Italy to find a piece of herself, the pleasure of eating. She goes to India to find another piece of herself: the pleasure of devotion. In Indonesia she finds yet another piece of herself: the balance between the pleasures of eating and praying. In India she finds a guru who answers her spiritual needs.

Gilbert’s story shows what feminism can achieve elsewhere, especially in the Muslim world.

But her story also demonstrates something else. Those women in the West who, like Gilbert, have harvested what the early feminists fought for have almost no affinity for women like Nujood–and like me when I was a little girl.

This is not to pass judgment on Gilbert. On the contrary, I admire her intellectual honesty and her pursuit of self-knowledge. The woman I have become in the West now feels closer to the Gilberts of this world than the Nujoods. But I find myself asking as I read these two books: What can current Western feminism offer the Nujoods?

I often am asked by my Western audiences: “Where did feminism go wrong?” I think the answer is staring us in the face. Western feminism hasn’t gone wrong at all–it has accomplished its mission so completely that a woman like Elizabeth Gilbert can marry freely and then leave her husband equally freely, purely in order to pursue her own culinary and religious inclinations. The victory of feminism allows women like Gilbert to shape their own destinies.

But there is a price for this victory: The price is a solipsism so complete that a great many Western women have lost the ability to empathize with women not only in the Islamic world, but also in China, India and other countries; women whose suffering takes forms that are now largely unknown in the West, save in the ghettos of immigrants. They are too busy hunting for the perfect prayer mat or pasta to give two hoots about a case of child-rape in Yemen.

The best we can hope for is not for the West to invade other countries in the hope of emancipating their women. That is neither realistic nor desirable (and remains our least plausible war aim in Afghanistan).

The best we can hope for is a neo-feminism that reminds women in the West of the initial phases of their liberation movement.

“If you transgress, they will show no more mercy than flies on  sheep fat.”  This grandmother warned her little girl how to survive, grown up.
Here, women who grew up with some feminism (but didn’t pay for it), went to college maybe, and married, perhaps wrongly — they find out soon enough how society treats them after childbirth and exiting the marriage….
So, here we are on New Years’ Eve — and I’m quoting an article comparing a ittle girl, because she is female, to a piece of sheep fat with flies crawling on it, and writing about child rape, by older man, socially accepted (which, FYI, is some of the prime subject matter of the contested custody cases — basically they are gender issues, and treated as a problem by the social agencies addressing divorce as a crime, — although it’s supposedly “no fault.”)
Now I”m about ready to post 2 to 3  more brief articles or links to make my point:  The wide discretion given in the family law judges makes many laws meaningless.  REALLY meaningless.  A certain outcome is desired.
I’ve not done the right thing with the last day of the year, but I feel I have connected (virtually, here) with three real human beings, remarkable women who are aware of this issue and doing something to make their world better as they go through it.   There is always something “human” about “truth” and correspondingly unreal about this season of the year in the electronic-soaked West.
. . . .
We need to wake up, and I’m not talking Tea Party, who will make a brief appearance (but not the word “mother” or “women” in any prominent place, — like a subject heading!) in the next post.
. . .

How bad Is it? ~ Skirting the Truth at Cairo, Telling it in America, Turned Down at Brown, Left to Tell after Rwanda

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I was told to shorten my titles.  This was the original:

In Cairo, Obama Delicately Skirts the Issue of Islamic Violence Towards Women, but Chesler (Honor Killings), LetsGetHonest (DV and Christianity), Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel), Nonie Darwish (They Call Me Infidel), Immaculee Ilibagiza (Left to Tell, 91 days in a Rwandan bathroom) shoot from the hip on the dangers of ANY pride/shame/hate-based culture

 

Note:  Of the above “notables” obviously President Obama’s OFFICE outranks the rest of us, but I’ve put 4 famous female voices (& mine) to 2 male to underscore, well, who and what the others have downplayed

Note:  LetsGetHonest’s voice here doesn’t mean she considers herself on a par with these feminist &/or COURAGEOUS for Truth women, but that my experience resonates to elements of their voices.  I have many role models, but these are among them, particularly Imaculee with her faith and Dr. Chesler with her decades of feminist writing & reporting, including on some matters regarding the courts.  
The two “Infidel” Books (“Infidel” and “They Call Me Infidel”) describes aspects of polygamy which  – – strangely — spoke the inbred emotional truth of my own family line, in ganging up against a grown, literate mother to (try and!) teach a lesson about authority, and the punishment being removal of children and “excommunication.”  (and my family line identifies itself, with apparent pride, as NOT believing in God, this is for supposedly inferior intellects and emotionally weak individuals).  

[Have been told to shorten the posts, too, not just the titles.  Working on it!]

 This post, July 2 (2 days before “Independence Day” USA)  had been on hold. Unlike several women featured here, I added my voice to theirs, telling it like it is, then self-censored out of fear:  I felt MY contribution was too radical, too out-spoken, and too indignant.

Well . . . . 

BUT, I have noticed the headlines since July 2nd — a litany of murder/suicides, family annihilations, and slaps on the wrist for men punching, stalking, kidnapping or threatening to kill women, after which they then kill.  I had my children stolen for daring to report abuse, violations of court orders, and for refusing to “submit” to arbitrary orders on how to dumb down my smart daughters.  I know what “shunning” is.  I know what “enabling abuse” is.  

I have never experienced fundamentalist Islamic violence against women, but the sense of the Christian version of it over here is starting to feel like a sort of ritual purging process.  It is starting to ffeel like “No Exit” unless there is a miraculous parting of the Red Tape, a CLOUD covering my behind and a FIRE leading the way.  We already tried the “appeal to reason” paradigm, or the “appeal to law” ONE, ALSO.  We also did the “it’s not in your best interest” reason, but some people will pay a lot of money for the privilege of refusing to stop abusing.  Like they say, truth is on the auction block, and was sold cheap, Lies fetched a higher price.

I pay attention, and have SEEN Protestant so-called Christian Caucasian men drilling young men how to dominate women twice their age in the name of their god, and been subjected to this as well.  Recently.  Yeech — Retch!  What kind of “sanctuary” is that??

However, now that a suburban California back yard finally released ,29-year-old Jaycee Dugard and her 11 year old and 15 year old girls fathered by the man who kidnapped HER when she was only 11, I felt this post is quite appropriate:

This case is shocking for its combination of statistics (18 years! Missed opportunities!  “We never knew!”  “But they looked like a nice couple!”  “I spoke with Jaycee on the phone, she was courteous and professional” (She was not only a sex slave, but also supported this man’s business while living in shack-like conditions in a back yard with her kids).  A WOMAN called the police reporting that people were living in the back yard.  Like my calls and reports to police that another man, their father, was going to kidnap MY daughters, her voice was not heard.

Are we willing to listen and change behavior YET?  The behavior “we” need to change is to get smart and act on hunches.  While people who take the scriptures too literally are castigated and censored, disdained in public media, how about some of us in the U.S. start taking the 3 charters of freedom:  Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights literally for a change?  Starting by knowing their INtents based on their CONtents!  And then recognizing that humanity is a DNA thing, not a color thing or a gender thing!  And the usage of “all men are created equal” in the first was NOT “men vs. women” and did not say, although it was so practiced, “all Caucasian landowning males.”  It meant ALL EQUAL and not to be colonized, or, like Miss Dugard (sr.) was, pimped.

 

I am United States citizen by birth, and was never beaten, or degraded because of my gender before I married.  Nor was I forced into marriage.  But women of faith or no faith nowadays who attempt to leave, risk being stripped of children, or killed, for the act of — leaving their marriage and asserting legal rights they already have.

While our current President has described the angst and sense of loss he felt not having his father in his life growing up, the rest of us describe some of what it’s like to be a target of violence and punishment for the crime of having been born without a Y chromosome, for some, a life sentence punishable by death.

 

President Obama, pre-election, helping out Senator Bayh in Indiana, with some more Mother-Omission:

2006 – EVER TRYING TO RAM THROUGH ANOTHER BILL, FINE-TUNING & REDEFINING FATHERHOOD AND HEALTHY MARRIAGE

As one of my fellow-bloggers commented in Indiana Mothers for Custodial Justice:  Evan Bayh is not his Father’s Son,

Senator Evan Bayh’s (fatherhood-promoted) own father Senator BIRCH Bayh, was in favor of equal rights for women:  so much for a chip off the old block, and passing down values from father to son, politically.  

According to this post (Verifiable Here) both Senator Evan and then-Senator Obama co-sponsored  YET ANOTHER “Healthy marriage and Responsible Fatherhood” bill, which was defeated in 2006.  

Like this Senator, and another well-known FR attorney from the Chicago Area,  both the Senators also remembered all the Hoopla around Father’s Day, Fatherhood, Father Celebration, and etc., etc. (can we say “patriarchal?”) in June PR (June is Father’s Day month, FYI), but forgot the same on Mother’s Day, in May.  Actually, in 2009 and (I found) 2008, PR around now-President and then-Senator Obama eclipsed this acknowledgement of where they came from, literally (they  had mothers, right?), as the word “Mother” has become, as I blogged elsewhere, virtually invisible linguistically in connection with “families” on the whitehouse.gov site.  The preferred term, for those of you not in the know, is “Parent” when it comes to the divorce situation, and “Women” when it comes to who’s having violence (including murder) perpetrated against them by, often enough by the father of mutual children.

~ ~ ~ ~

It is difficult to control a population aware of their “unalienable rights,” not intimidated by verbal derogatory talk, or economically dependent upon abusers or captive to them by the threat of death as they leave.  Now one factor that often gives a mother courage and motivation to LEAVE abuse is precisely her motherhood, so no wonder it would be threatening to any:

Fear/Shame/Pride-based culture or religion.

The mother/daughter/son bond, culturally needs to be degraded and broken (stepmothers will do) if we are to have a truly sheepish culture that will do what they are told without protest.  Family Court venue is GREAT for this, and I happen to believe was designed for the purpose, despite all the hoopla from under-funded (??), under-recognized (????????) fathers, especially those who like to minimize their own violence towards their own women, often prompting separation, which even that bill (above) recognizes is a primary cause of separation!

 

@@@

The link “parsing Obama” caught my attention, and led to an article from “Real Clear Politics” on the Cairo Speech.

I have just written on “Women” vs. “Mother” and the weak (# occurrences) presence of both when it comes to Family Issues being discussed under the current US Administration’s “White House” page.  Not only were the words barely absent, but their usage (which I didn’t analyze and post — but noticed) was also weak.  In looking for the word “mothers” I would have to assume that after the age requiring home nurse visitations, we don’t exist.  For example, the President’s own mother was transformed into the word “parent” in a  sentence highlighting absence of a father.  To people who haven’t been through systemic prejudice against their “mothering” it may not register, but when examined, it’s blatant PR omission.  It undermines the credibility of the whole page.  (granted, the month was the month of Father’s Day, however, if someone has a record of this page during May and wishes to countradict my post, please feel free to comment).  

SIMILARLY, when it comes to speaking in this nation, Egypt, the mention of Islamic violence (not bias, but violence) toward women, the omission is just as loud.

So, I just slapped up the article, with someone else’s commentary on it, for your consumption.  Then I searched out and pasted up interviews, articles or book reviews from several women who do NOT Delicately skirt the issue of violence towards women, and hate talk in general.  Two of these women came to America, and one of them, since coming, has converted from Islam to Christianity.  

A third woman from Rwanda didn’t convert, but was already Christian.  Her story isn’t about gender violence, but it was another “can’t put down” book of survival in the face of hate, and refusal to hate back.  The individual verbal abuse or hate talk that often DOES escalate to physical domestic violence got me (in marriage, after marriage) sensititve to moods and fluctuations in language that might indicate an “event” about to erupt also precedes genocides or attempted genocides.  The speech sometimes works the speaker or groups of speakers up, or justifies the abuse.  Whether the Holocaust or Rwanda, hate talk is a danger sign.  Just as PTSD from domestic violence does indeed have similarities with PTSD from actual war.

So, this had me also noticing books and commentaries on the languages preceding genocides or attempted genocides; Rwanda had caught my attention earlier from the book on which the movie “Hotel Rwanda” was based.  This book details times when pastors protected, and times when pastors betrayed, those that were being hunted down.  So I include the “Left To Tell” book because it seems relevant.

And I added my two bits.  And a few links indicating that this fatherhood stuff is turning to vigilante behavior, unfortunately.   And pointed out, again, what our Declaration of Independence was about….

On my blogroll to the right, is a little Youtube showing just how low my President bowed, casually, quickly, to the leader of a Muslim country, in the company of Queen Elizabeth and a G20 meeting.  This disturbs me, and was of some serious debate in a blogtalkradio dialogue (as I recall the source, anyhow) moderated by Dr. Phyllis Chesler and Marcia Pappas of NYS NOW.  Is he the leader of the free world, or at least part of it?  Then what’s that obeisance about?  Would he kneel to the Pope to be politically correct, kiss the ring and insult all those boys and girls abused by priests, and the concept upon which this nation was founded, Bill of Rights Number I?  

I myself am VERY disturbed at how domestic violence killings are starting to take on a vigilante nature, as if in retaliation to a woman leaving a family, or exposing a sin, how DARE she?  As a mature woman and mother who has been dumped by the roadside by a combination of my own family and my ex-batterer, apparently for — again, exposing family something or other — I am thinking about:  

  • How
  • Why
  • Who ARE these people?
  • What IS this world?

How many OTHER myths have I believed about life, my country, my family, the legal system, etc.?  I will tell you one I have let go of:  “The American Dream.”  I have switched this my dream from anything material, and am changing it to a character issue, a personal one with myself.  

I am calling upon the combination of my God (NOT the one that is a respecter of persons, or genders, or legalistically profiling and whimsical in judgment, that I have seen in certain places), and my courage, and putting my intellect a good bit lower, respectively, than it used to be.  Plus, from within, my emotions of concern and compassion for others, and whatever picture I can imagine.  Indignation about injustice only goes so far, and as the injustice basically never stops, another motivation must be found.

I think part of the trouble around here is that people pretend to be neutral and detached (a high value) when they aren’t anything of the sort.  They can incite to violence, ride roughshod over families, due process, and civil rights, as easily as any other nation or culture, but claim this is based on “evidence-based practices.”  In one place on this post, I included a Rwandan woman — the issue was not on men versus women, but the same principles:  hate talk towards a certain group of people (Tutsis) and how quickly it ignited. 

We have become an incredibly morally bankrupt place (as well as fiscally — and they are related), while drowning in certain materials and products.  However, the solution to this is not to be found in the institutions, but rather in the people who are aware that these institutions are not going to replace human basic functions of:  produce, protect, educate, alleviate, CREate (when it comes to arts, ideas, concepts, etc.), that which we have procreated.  If you’re new to this blog, you’ll notice that when I have a strong emotional reaction to a certain thing (or idea), I pile on labels, like sauce on a hamburger, or whipped cream on a milkshake, or, . . . . or. . . .    

 

I was referring to the churches, some of which I left voluntarily, and one of which I got thrown out of last month for being female, having understanding of a Biblical passage, and speaking up (even with permission).  How dare I think I knew something!  

See:

Family Values” Pundits not so upstanding themselves.

 

This is a new site to me:   REAL CLEAR POLITICS.  This dates to June 2009

I simply posted the whole article.  Any italics are my emphasis, some (not all) of the other style changes are mine, too:

 

Did Obama Say Enough About Women’s Rights?
Posted by Cathy Young | Email This | Permalink | Email Author

 

As I said in my previous post, I had a largely positive reaction to Obama’s Cairo speech.  However, I agree with David Frum’s criticsm of Obama’s comments about women’s rights — which should have been a key part of an “outreach to Muslims” speech.  In contrast to Obama’s strong affirmation of the principles of democracy, his discussion of women’s issues and Islam was too general, too weak, and afflicted with excessive even-handedness.

{{with which “even handedness, as I have beLABORED in previous posts, the Whitehouse.gov agenda on families is not even remotely afflicted.  It flat out ignores the fact, practically, that mothers exist.  Period.}}

Here is the passage in its entirety:  (OBAMA):

“The sixth issue that I want to address is women’s rights

“I know there is debate about this issue. {{“debate”?!?}} I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women’s equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam.

{{EXCUUUUUSE me?  Is this or is this not a dodge, or an understatement?  Was there a political or safety reason for this understatement at this particular conference?

http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/211/are-honor-killings-simply-domestic-violence

I have posted an excerpt below.  And photos.  OK, now you may continue reading President Obama’s speech…}}}}

 

“In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women’s equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity – men and women – to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.”

Frum takes issue, in particular, with Obama’s remarks about the head-covering issue: he points out that not only “some in the West,” but many women in the Muslim world regard the hijab as a symbol of female submission (not to God but to man), and that many women who “choose” to cover themselves (sometimes not only their hair but their face) do so because of coercion and intimidation either by family members or by radical Islamic militias.  I do believe Obama was right to affirm a woman’s right to choose hijab; quite a few Muslim feminists regard it as a legitimate and positive form of religious expression, no different from the Jewish yarmulke, and quite a few moderately traditional Muslims are alienated by the categorical rejection of the hijab as oppressive.  However,  it would have been fitting to balance his statement with an assertion of a woman’s right to choose not to cover their hair — a right that, in some countries, they are denied not only by informal pressure and harassment, but by law and official policy.

As for the rest of this passage, it was nice of Obama to assert the importance of educational opportunities for girls and women, but that’s about as uncontroversial as it gets: who, except for the Taliban, disagrees?  In all too many Muslim countries, the main problems facing women are far more severe: forced marriage, vastly unequal treatment when it comes to divorce and child custody, and socially sanctioned violence.  How can one talk about women’s rights in the Muslim world and not mention honor killings?  Or the horrific recent public flogging by a Taliban militia in Pakistan of a 17-year-old girl whose apparent offense was to have stepped outside her house without a male relative escorting her?  Or cases in which Islamic courts have sentenced rape victims to death for fornication or adultery when the rape could not be proved under a stringent standard requiring two male witnesses?  (While we’re at it, how about the fact that in Islamic courts, the word of a female witness is officially given half the weight of a man’s?)  What about female genital mutilation?  Against the backdrop of these genuine horrors, literacy programs and micro-financing for young women’s employment look like a rather feeble response.   How about first ensuring that the girl who participates in a literacy program doesn’t get brutalized for showing a strand of hair in public?

In this context, Obama’s comment that “the struggle for women’s equality” is also a problem in America is also, to say the least, unhelpful.  Yes, there are still gender disparities in the U.S., though I think many of them are due to, as Obama put it, women not making the same choices as men.  But to mention what sexism still remains in American society in the same breath as the violent misogyny and patriarchal oppression still pervasive in much of the Muslim world today is a truly misguided attempts at even-handedness.  It’s a bit like saying that of course it’s a bad thing that of course it’s a bad thing that Joe locks his wife in the closet, beats her senseless, forbids her to talk to any other man and monitors every penny she spends, but hey, Bill spends only half the time his wife does on housework and child care and treats his own career as more important than his wife’s, so if he voices disapproval of Joe he’d better mention his own failings too.

Yes, of course it’s not only in Muslim countries that women face severe oppression.  (The issue of women being elected to lead in deeply patriarchal cultures is a separate, and fascinating, one, but I don’t think it’s a good measure of the overall status of women in society.)  And I know there is a vigorous debate about whether Islam is inherently more female-unfriendly than other major religions and whether an Islamic feminsm is possible.  Nonetheless, the fact remains that in recent decades we have seen a rollback of women’s rights in many societies — sometimes a drastic rollback — due to the influence of Islamic extremism.  Obama’s failure to mention this fact was extremely disappointing.  Talk about a missed opportunity.  In my previous post, I said that Obama’s comments on women’s rights deserved no more than a B-.  Analyzing them now, I’m lowering the grade to a gentleman’s C.

 

I give it an “F.”  See below:

PLEASE READ THIS ARTICLE:  I PASTE ENOUGH TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET OVER THERE AND READ IT!

 

Dr. Phyllis Chesler:

 

 

Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence? (title is URL)

by Phyllis Chesler
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2009

 

Families that kill for honor will threaten girls and women if they refuse to cover their hair, their faces, or their bodies or act as their family’s domestic servant; wear makeup or Western clothing; choose friends from another religion; date; seek to obtain an advanced education; refuse an arranged marriage; seek a divorce from a violent husband; marry against their parents’ wishes; or behave in ways that are considered too independent, which might mean anything from driving a car to spending time or living away from home or family. Fundamentalists of many religions may expect their women to meet some but not all of these expectations. But when women refuse to do so, Jews, Christians, and Buddhists are far more likely to shun rather than murder them. Muslims, however, do kill for honor, as do, to a lesser extent, Hindus and Sikhs.

 

{{Everything underlined here, was an issue in my Western, non-Muslim marriage.  I snuck education.  I was stalked, through my own family and individually for leaving to the point that I have had major fear to finalize this divorce, and have not;  I experienced retaliation consistently of engaging in activities outside the home, specifically anything that related to my former profession.  This retaliation could come in the form of interfering with me getting out the door, or sabotage — allowing me to start, but making it hard to complete, a simple season’s engagement; complaining about or withholding funding for something as elementary as a simple black skirt and shirt to perform in; display of weapons immediately after returning from a rehearsal, leaving the car with insufficient gas to get back from one, and other night-mare-inducing behavior.  This extended also to times my daughters were engaged in music as well; UNBELIEVABLE.  I have watched my piano be physically attacked, buried under virtual trash, and then I was mocked for not practicing it enough, which I barely could find time to do in a day.  I left home once, with an infant, in another state, for a week.  I was given extra tasks to complete before leaving, and I came back to a house that was dangerously trashed –NO dishes had been done, broken glass on the floor (and we had a baby), and a special plant/bush I’d given him had not been watered, and was dead.  Food in pots was moldy; I was stunned.  In subsequent (to marriage) public times, in court, he repeatedly talked about the condition of the house, as if I didn’t also work, or was solely responsible.  I had an unbelievable time getting access to a car, which was resented.  

Finally, when I was able to leave the family home for two weeks, for a music camp, with daughters, when I returned, I’d been thrown out of the bedroom, a lock installed, and in short, this was when I determined to leave.  These TYPES of activities continued, to this day, post-separation.  Every decision I made that entailed putting daughters in a music class, or lessons, was permitted reluctantly, but eventually stopped.  Then public declarations were made that I was isolating and depriving them.  I attended a VERY liberal Midwestern college, and as a young person, was not restricted or berated for anything regarding my gender.  The place I met this man was not illiberal — it ordained women, we preached in teams, and sometimes lived together.  

During this marriage, I began to doubt that I was indeed in America.  I had never heard of any experience like this, or known anyone who had experienced a situation like this violence, and abuse.  Speaking of it to the variety of people I did, indeed, come in front of year after year, few of them had words to describe this thing that was happening to me.  To this day, my “liberal” relatives will not use the word “domestic violence” or “abuse” in front of me, practically, and appear to be furious that I have actually spoken in these terms and insisted that this is indeed what happened.  The denial has taken it beyond the legal terms — there has been, within my family — a literal denial that any of the laws to protect people from domestic violence exist, apply, or have anything to do with our case, or my many difficulties. Experientially, it needs a name.  Now, gradually, through blogging, networking, reading, talking — and I have not been through ANYthing like the women below here — I have come to understand that this is a serious moral / emotional / social crisis our country is in.  There are powerful political factors that HAVE to say the words “domestic violence” with their mouths, because the cat is out of the bag, and the horse is out of the barn.  BUT, they are diluting, reframing, derailing the conversation and attempting, in many and disturbing ways, to turn back the clock on this matter of women saying NO!  You can NOT do this! and saying it through the courts.

Every woman has to determine how she is going to respond to this shunning, when women in our world survive, and are emotionally supported primarily through their connections with others.  that is the value that is respected (often) with American women.  We are in our communities, we have children  OR, we have careers, or juggle both.  For women of my age (middle, OK?) to have both lost children AND career, and contact with their family, but not be a radical feminist, is indeed interesting.  We can come into the church perhaps as ministers, acolytes (so to speak), or servants supporting its infrastructure.  I, for one, no longer care to support the infrastructure of anything so dysfunctional.  I consider myself to be courageous and independent (in certain ways), but there comes a burnout level.  I have PTSD, and when exposed to more “women, get thee behind me, Satan” talk in certain denominations (many of them), I simply have to speak up, then leave.  I will not hang out there.  At least I have a few options.  

To survive abuse, sometimes, one has to become two people:  a public one and a private one.  This includes sometimes with one’s spouse.  At some level, my soul was not going to show itself any more, for another verbal beating for mere existence.  Instead, I took the verbal tirades for being, supposedly, apathetic, wimpy, not caring and passive.  Well, being anything else got me physically assaulted, or some other form of escalation, sometimes involving property destruction, or attack on pets.  Children were in the home.  I just couldn’t keep that up, and guess what:  No one was backing me up.  No one was confronting this man, really.  At the end of the day, I had to come home to sleep.  He began accumulating guns, and large knives.  I don’t use these, or know how to, and it wasn’t too long (although more than a year) after this that I realized — we had to separate.  I cannot tell you the level of shame and embarrassment I had, with or without children, having to hide my mail, ask strangers for rides, or a few $$ to put in the ggas tank (if I had a car).  One night, I got stranded late at night in a downtown urban area after my night job.  I took a ride with what might have been a drug dealer to get to a gas station.  My ex came and got me, but with the news that someone had run over the cat that day, my favorite one (I always found this suspicious timing).  The concern for my personal safety was at zero level.  I kept journals.  My journals were targeted, and I had to remove them from the home for safekeeping.  He went after, and befriended the people keeping them, I got them back.  

NOW:  Now, I cannot live that dual personality way, and will not. When I go into a church and am expected to adopt a certain demeanor — I won’t.  It’s like violence to the soul.  I am one person:  I will tell someone (in my family) if I am upset with them, and why.

The Court System:

The Family Court system in this country has become a charade.  It rewards short-term performance in front of evaluators, mediators, judges, and other people.  No one really looks behind the scenes — there is no interest, time or resources to fully check facts.  For the most part.  This system rewards the batterer “snake” personality:  Charming, manipulative, dissembling.  Or, alternately, wounded and looking helpless.  I have seen a (female) judge leap to aid my ex, to the extent of testifying for him, as if he could not speak.  I have watched him interrupt an attorney and derail the direct question, and get away with this.  When I go to court, I am primarily PTSD, although I try pretty hard.  All such a person needs to do is get through the next appearance with some person in authority, get their way, and afterwards, do whatever they want.  

 

There are too many similarities between the hypocrisies and coverups of fundamentalist religion, and what I see in these courts.  It is going to take women, feminist women, to address it.  The other factor is, in this court, children are involved.  We are  not always 100% on board with the radical feminist regimes.  I cannot tell you how many women in my situation, leaving batterers, losing their kids to stand by helplessly as their kids are showing symptoms of abuse, including child sexual abuse, are themselves religious.  Many of them, their husbands or partners specifically targeted them in these circles — because the environment is male-domination-friendly.  

When I say in my posts, that churches are NOT havens for women leaving violence, or necessarily shelters for them, I am absolutely in earnest.  i hope, in my way, to be able to speak to this and do something about the shameful failure to support — or even SPEAK about — the laws against violence towards women, and children — in these venues.  They are in their own ether, with their own agenda, and their own intents.  I do not believe this is the genuine religion of, in my case, the man Jesus Christ as I read about him in scripture.  I read nothing about his abusive or dismissive treatment of women; in fact it is the opposite.  I think what we have now is a charade of that.  For the most part.  I don’t think most people have the guts to do what he did, but some do.

(WOW — where did THAT come from?  Well, I’ll post.  I may erase some of it another day…..)

 

Amina Said (L), 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were shot dead by their father Yaser at their home in Irving, Texas, in January 2008. Said was upset by his daughters’ “Western ways” and was assisted in the killing by his wife, the girls’ mother. The victims of honor killings are largely teenage daughters or young women. Unlike ordinary domestic violence, honor killings often involve multiple family members as perpetrators.

Let’s Get Honest comments:

In “ordinary domestic violence” family members could be either hostages, victims, OR enablers.  The truth is, it takes enablers for a PATTERN of domestic violence to thrive and grow.  There is denial, there is incompetence, there is scapegoating, there is helpless ignorance in what to do.  Many people in my culture have very strong emotions, but in certain classes and circles, this is not “socially acceptable.”  So they suppress them behind circuitous speech, evasive answers, or simply no answers.  When I got, out, I had some strong emotions (anger) as I began to stop hating myself (which was safer) and be angry.  My anger was noticed – his violence, and the danger this represented — was not.  I only recently simply decided to forgive, and do this entirely detached from any reason to, other than a decision, and a desire to be free from anger, and reactionary mode, which is typically either anger, or depression, when the insults, aggressions, etc. continue.  That’s how I am choosing to handle it at this point.  

I am posting quite a bit here about Islamic violence towards women.  However, I am doing so with an understanding that forms of Protestantism (mainstream and nonmainstream) Christianity can still kill, destroy, and maim — physically and emotionally.  I am here to warn out country not to ignore this hate talk from governmental circles towards women.  In the lingo of domestic violence, denying it is a form of it (a.k.a. crazymaking).  Below, is a passage from “Infidel” about “baari.”  If I am able, I will find the passage from a Focus on the Family publication that sounds uncomfortably similar.  And I will say, the “shunning” and patronizing (social, psychological) takes a different form, but still exists, when a Christian woman throws out an abusive husband and then shows up in church unapologetic.  

And expecting to be treated with respect. Or worse, looking for an opportunity to actually speak or teach the Bible (this was why I got thrown out of the last place, and I was entirely too submissive in that as well).  I finally came to the conclusion that it was safer outside those buildings.

Another alarming trend, vigilante-style behavior  — AND TALK — around the issues of the family courts.  Continuing on the topic of Honor Killings, which was “skirted” nicely in the Cairo speech, above….

 

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 5,000 women are killed each year for dishonoring their families. This may be an underestimate. Aamir Latif, a correspondent for the Islamist website Islam Online who writes frequently on the issue, reported that in 2007 in the Punjab province of Pakistan alone, there were 1,261 honor murders. The Aurat Foundation, a Pakistani nongovernmental organization focusing on women’s empowerment, found that the rate of honor killings was on track to be in the hundreds in 2008.

There are very few studies of honor killing, however, as the motivation for such killings is cleansing alleged dishonor and the families do not wish to bring further attention to their shame, so do not cooperate with researchers. Often, they deny honor crimes completely and say the victim simply went missing or committed suicide. Nevertheless, honor crimes are increasingly visible in the media. Police, politicians, and feminist activists in Europe and in some Muslim countries are beginning to treat them as a serious social problem…

(SO WHY ISN”T OUR PRESIDENT?)

 

 

PLEASE ALSO, READ THESE TWO BOOKS.  OK, THREE.  I DID.  I COULDN’T PUT THEM DOWN, IN FACT.  AND I FELT I WAS READING ABOUT MY OWN FAMILY.  I LIVE IN THE WEST.  I LIVE IN THE USA.  I DIDN’T EXPERIENCE, PHYSICALLY, AT ALL THE SAME AS THESE WOMEN.  WHY DID IT FEEL FAMILIAR?  

I FEEL AS THOUGH OUR FAMILY HAS BECOME LIKE A POLYGAMOUS CULT, AND WE ARE A SMALL, NUCLEAR, PROFESSIONALLY INVOLVED FAMILY, ABOUT 3RD GENERATION IN THE COUNTRY.  NO ONE HAS BEEN JAILED.  WHY DID THE BEHAVIOR SOUND SO FAMILIAR, AND WHAT’S GOING ON?  I BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL CONTENT OF THE BEHAVIOR WHICH IS THE SAME, FROM CULTURE TO CULTURE, EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY.  HATE IS STILL HATE.

 

This book, and woman, are so well-known, I don’t think there is too much to be added.  However, if not, READ.

WIKIPEDIA:  (evidently not fully current)

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nl-Ayaan Hirsi Ali.ogg pronunciation (help·info)Somali: Ayaan Xirsi Cali; born Ayaan Hirsi Magan 13 November 1969 in Somalia)[1]is a Dutch feminist, writer, and politician. She is the estranged daughter of the Somali scholar, politician, and revolutionary opposition leader Hirsi Magan Isse. She is a prominent critic of Islam, and her screenplay for Theo Van Gogh‘s movieSubmission led to death threats. Since van Gogh’s assassination by a Muslim extremist in 2004, she has lived in seclusion under the protection of Dutch authorities.

When she was eight, her family left Somalia for Saudi Arabia, then Ethiopia, and eventually settled in Kenya. She sought and obtained political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992, under circumstances that later became the center of a political controversy. In 2003 she was elected a member of the House of Representatives (the lower house of the Dutch parliament), representing the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). A political crisis surrounding the potential stripping of her Dutch citizenship led to her resignation from the parliament, and led indirectly to the fall of the second Balkenende cabinet.

She is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, working from an unknown location in the Netherlands.[2][3] In 2005, she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[4] She has also received several awards for her work, including Norway’s Human Rights Service’s Bellwether of the Year Award, the Danish Freedom Prize, the Swedish Democracy Prize, and the Moral Courage Award for commitment to conflict resolution, ethics, and world citizenship.[5]

 

HERE IS A LINK TO A 2007 Interview (NY Mag Review of Books).  “The Infidel Speaks,” by Boris Kachka, Feb. 4, 2007

 

SHE SAYS SOME EXTRAORDINARILY RELEVANT THINGS.

I THINK IT EXTRAORDINARLY REMARKABLE THAT MY PRESIDENT DIDN’T MENTION MUCH ABOUT THE TREATMENT OF WOMEN, OR ANY OF THESE EXTRAORDINARY ONES, WHEN VISITING A MUSLIM COUNTRY.  NOTE (AS TO “CAIRO SPEECH”), NONIE DARWISH, BELOW, FLED EGYPT FOR THE USA, AND CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY.  HER YOUTUBE AND A PARTIAL INTERVIEW IS BELOW (SO LABELED:  THIS IS THE SOMALIAN SWEDISH AMERICAN WOMAN HERE:

 

 To her admirers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a maverick, bravely defying the Netherlands’ political correctness to address Europe’s growing cultural rifts. To detractors, she’s a charismatic bomb-thrower with as little regard for her adopted nation’s safety as for her own. Both sides would have to admit that the former Somali-Dutch politician is a master of self-reinvention. After a rough childhood (circumcision, daily beatings) in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia, she escaped to Holland from a forced marriage, eventually joined the Dutch Parliament as a Muslim criticizing her own culture, and made a provocative film with Theo van Gogh that got him killed and sent her into hiding.

This is why I think that, just perhaps, President Obama might have been a little remiss to simply not address this issue in a Muslim nation.  Nonie Darwish’s father was killed in jihad, and she left Egypt for the US.  Now here is an American leader back in Egypt, speaking on this topic, and nothing substantial?

When a rival threatened to revoke her citizenship, the resulting furor toppled the governing coalition. But Ali just moved on, resigning and moving to Washington, D.C., where she now works for the American Enterprise Institute. It’s all retold in her eloquent new memoir, Infidel. Stopping by Soho House recently, she spoke with New York about life and politics in her latest adopted land.

  

You’ve been here for six months. How do you like the U.S.? 
That is the question they all ask! I love it. The most comforting thing is the anonymity. I’m not allowed to talk about security—to tell you who in this room is security and who is not—but the pressure cooker of Holland is over. I am now just one individual in the melting pot.

 

You’re at a conservative think tankperhaps an odd place for a harsh critic of religion in political life. 
I consider myself nonpartisan, but I’m a liberal—not in the American sense, because Americans seem to refer to communists as liberals. What we see in Europe, because of the welfare state, is government pretending to provide all sorts of services they shouldn’t be providing.

 

Let’s Get Honest comment:  My point EXACTLY, in many of these posts! 

But what do you make of Christian conservatives in your ranks? 
No one in the American Enterprise imposes their beliefs. We clash, and I think that’s what the West is all about.

 

But you’re with them on the whole “clash of civilizations” thing? 
When I was in Holland, the idea was, all cultures are equal and all are to be preserved. My idea was, no, all humans are equal but not all cultures are equal. In the culture of my parents, we never seemed to be able to succeed in such basic issues as getting food, interacting and living in peace with each other, or adapting to our environment, and the West, they’ve succeeded in all those. I’d been taught Western culture’s only bad. Maybe that’s good for your self-esteem, but it wasn’t taking us anywhere.

This woman comes from WHERE?  And she understands the Declaration of Independence (principles) better than we do?  It’s not the CULTURE, it’s the HUMANS:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

THAT IS THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENTS.  NOT DISHING OUT HAPPINESS AND HEALTH, BUT SECURING THOSE RIGHTS!

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

 

LOCALLY SPEAKING, SOME WOMEN NEED TO DISBAND THEIR FAMILY UNIT, TO SECURE THEIR SAFETY.  WHO THE HELL IS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO UNDERMINE THAT DECISION BY GOVERNMENTAL DECREE, AS HAS BEEN DONE IN THE FATHERHOOD RESOLUTIONS, GRANTS, INITIATIVES, AND TASK FORCES ??  ???  

THE MAIN QUESTION IN THESE MATTERS IS WHETHER OR NOT WOMEN ARE INCLUDED IN THE INCLUSIVE NOUN “MEN”  NOW, WOMEN HAD TO FIGHT FOR THIS, BUT IN 1920, AFTER SLAVES, WE MANAGED TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE.  THIS WOMAN CAME FROM A RELIGION, THE NAME OF WHICH MEANT, “SUBMIT.”  THE NAME OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, PER DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM GREAT BRITAIN, ABOVE, IS IN ESSENCE, PERMIT.

NOW AS TO FAITH-BASED INITIATIVES, I’D LIKE TO CITE THE PRIMARY CHRISTIAN VERSE USED TO JUSTIFY WIFE-BEATING:  


 

 

You’ve dismissed accusations that you’re lashing out because of childhood traumas. So why write a memoir graphically detailing the abuse you and your siblings suffered? 
It became important to say, “Okay, you guys keep accusing me of using my past. Let me tell you my story, and my story shows that I do not blame the death of my sister on Islam. I do not blame female genital mutilation on Islam.” My whole awakening was triggered by the eleventh of September, and it did not affect only me, it affected a lot of people.

 

 

Do you regret certain things you said about Muhammad—like that he was a pervert and a tyrant? 
I don’t regret that. I’m still convinced that for Muslims to integrate fully into modern society, we cannot avoid discussing the prophet. We didn’t only deal with communism militarily, but we said it is a bad idea. The works of Karl Marx were discussed.

 

 

Maybe academia would have been a better—and less dangerous—venue. 
Politics is not a good thing for me. But I wanted to bring out the issue of Muslim treatment of women in Holland, and I could only accomplish that in Parliament. If I had been a professor, it would just have disappeared in a cabinet.

 

 

 

 

“the Territory that is now Somalia was divided between the British and the Italians, who occupied the country as colonizers, splitting it in two.  In 1960 the colonizers left, leaving behind a brand-new, independent state.  A unified Somalia was born.”  

Page 12 of her book “”Of course my mother had no right to a divorce under Muslim law.”  “a woman who is baari is like a pious slave

 

“If in the process of baari you feel grief, humiliation, and everlasting exploitation you hide it.  If you long for love and comfort you pray in silence to Allah to make your husband more bearable

 

Page 13 of her book

 

 

 

AND:

“They call me infidel”. Ex-Muslim Christian Nonie Speaks out

This was of interest to me because the author had experienced a regime change within her home country, and then come to America and experienced a change of religion.  So she spoke of the qualitative differences.

 (11/20/2006)

Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish is “too controversial” to speak at Brown University, where her invitation to speak was just taken back. The title of her new book about says it all Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror . Good luck with that one. Here, where we’ve been attacked by jihadists, we don’t like to hear about the enemy we face.

(THIS IS AN INTERVIEW.  EXCERPTS, HERE:)

LOPEZ: Are the majority of Muslim women oppressed? What can be done for them?

DARWISH: The majority of Muslim women are oppressed and that is due to Islamic sharia law which severely discriminates against women. Even the most educated and powerful Muslim women are faced with a legal system that is very discriminatory against women. Muslim women start the marital relationship from a weaker position. The Muslim marriage contract itself is unfair to women because Muslim men can add three more wives if he wishes. That changes the dynamic of husband/wife relationship even if a Muslim man does not exercise this right. Polygamy has a devastating impact on families. There are chronic social ills and tragedies stemming from this single right.

The court system is designed to oppress women, without a doubt.
 

{{Commentary:  I read her book.  She talks about how polygamy (one man, many women) pollutes relationships not just between the man and the woman, but also between women:  backbiting, whispering, intrigue.  I remembered my own case, which has many women involved in protecting a single man, vigorously defending his behavior, which was criminal, as though it were honorable, and I were the criminal for speaking up.  I could not put this book down, asking WHY? does this sound like my family?  I think these are spiritual issues, and that while the West does NOT endorse polygamy, within the court systems, at least, many of these dynamics are at play — first wives, second wives, etc.  They are used against each other, undermining ALL women.  }}

LOPEZ: How prevalent is “honor killing”?

DARWISH: According to Islamic law sex outside marriage is prohibited and the penalty for that is often death. The woman is always to blame because she is regarded as the source of the seduction. Muslim men’s honor is dependent on their women’s sexual purity. It does not matter how honorable the character of the Muslim man; but if his female relatives commit any sexual taboos, Muslim society will dishonor him. Arab culture is based on pride and shame** and a Muslim man cannot survive with this kind of shame unless he kills the source of that shame which is the female relative who have had sex outside of marriage. It is not known how common this crime of honor killing happens since it is often goes unreported and the police often looks the other way, but I believe it is common in certain parts of the Muslim world if the girl is discovered to be no longer a virgin or pregnant. That is why most girls in the Middle East remain virgins till marriage and there are very few births out of wedlock in the Middle East.

{{**I am concerned about the culture of “manhood” in the west being based on the same things.  It is not a good basis.  I also believe that, despite the level of indoctrination being nothing of the like, this same BASIS of education in the U.S. exists — and that is not a good basis for human behavior.  Rather, how much better, to respect accomplishment in a variety of life situations.  But school is NOT a variety of life situations, it is ONE of life’s many situations.  To teach people to be puffed up, or feel inferior, based on their grade performances (although it is good to study and learn, and be able to have those skills), is simply wrong.  How much better to be, rather engaged in the process of learning, and let that be the intrinsic reward.  We will have better people.  

I believe (opening up a bit here) that what happeend to me in music was, I was allowed to be more expressive, and less analytical, also less about, producing a grade.  I didn’t value grades — already had them.  They did nothing for me socially and weren’t hard enough to earn.  They di dnot increase my sense of self-worth at all, as an adolescent.  I learned to be ashamed about things that had no basis in shame, including my (good) grades, and so forth.  The act of going to and from a classroom is not exactly a major accomplishment in life.  The ability to help others learn to do something, or to engage as a human being; to build something, to design something, to perform something.  But to fill in the correct multiple choice answers on a test sheet according to data you were fed in a textbook?  That’s nothing; it’s for the convenience of the school comparing you to everyone else.  . . . ..  I remember failing on purpose, just to see what it felt like.  I still graduated at the top of my (public high school class).  The skills needed in college were entirely different.  Thank God, there were pianos and there was singing, which led to different types of social interactions.

I believe that what I noticed about this book was when she spoke about the intense hatred, rivalry and bitter suspicious, ongoing, between women in particular.  I have been dealing with this for the many years since I left my ex-husband, after the difficulties while dealing personally with him in the home.  It really is wearing to the soul, and saddening.  I am still seeking and believing for some of these family issues to resolve, but I feel sad when I see that, for the sake of eradicating my world view and values, my children were, literally, uprooted from contact with me, as if I might contaminate them somehow, with self-confidence, and the courage to be different.  The courage to expect a woman to have equal legal rights to a man, in America, our country.  So far, “NO DEAL”!!}}}}

LOPEZ: What’s it like to be a journalist in Egypt? Worse than life under the Patriot Act?

DARWISH: I was a journalist in Egypt in the early seventies when I worked at the Middle East News Agency in Cairo, Egypt. I was an editor, translator, and censor. As a censor I decided what was to be allowed for publication and what was not allowed. Egyptian media outlets at the time were controlled more or less by the government. Journalists were not really journalists in the Western sense of looking to expose government corruption and internal problems; they were more concerned in blaming the outside world. Military information was totally off limits in reporting. I once said to a fellow journalist that I met a Jew in one of my trips and that that was the first time I met a Jew. The colleague warned me that Arab journalists who communicate with Jews in foreign countries come back to Egypt in a box. Very few Arab journalists were even aware of the true role of media in a society. As to Western life under the Patriot Act, I think it the opposite Arab government controlled Media. In the West it has often become Media controlled government where freedom of the Press (having too much of a good thing) often comes before other important things in Western society, such as for example national security. Sometimes Western media has no tolerance for any restrictions and that can help America’s enemies.

LOPEZ: 
What made you leave Egypt?

DARWISH: I always regarded America as the land of hope, equality, and opportunity and that was my motivation. I also wanted to leave the Middle East with its problems, its jihad, its pride, anger, and anti-Semitism and above all the constant state of war with Israel.

I CAUTION, the United States of America, I CAUTION them to monitor the “us/them” mentality in every area of life.  I CAUTIOn them to keep a lit on this vigilante return to Fatherhood, and the farming out of any conscience, guidance, and education of their young to anyone such as those in those in the Executive Branch of Government, who are presently engaged in establishing, on one hand a national religion (through a variety of means) and on the other hand, a totalitarian system in which choice is the heresy.  Opting out of government involvement in the basic processes of life is a heresy.

There are aspects in which the fatherhood movement — as practiced, reminds me of the KKK.  It is the same type of hate speech.

I am going to talk about another, very uncomfortable genocide I have read in some detail about (it just came up, and I continued reading, OK?  It’s what I DO!)  Rwanda.  This is of interest to me because some churches protected, and some betrayed.  Here is a personal, amazing story I ran across.  Again, it is told by a woman:

 

LEFT TO TELL

 

 

In 1994, Rwandan native Ilibagiza was 22 years old and home from college to spend Easter with her devout Catholic family when the death of Rwanda’s Hutu president sparked a three-month slaughter of nearly one million ethnic Tutsis. She survived by hiding in a Hutu pastor’s tiny bathroom with seven other starving women for 91 cramped, terrifying days. This searing firsthand account of Ilibagiza’s experience cuts two ways: her description of the evil that was perpetrated, including the brutal murders of her family members, is soul-numbingly devastating, yet the story of her unquenchable faith and connection to God throughout the ordeal uplifts and inspires. This book is a precious addition to the literature that tries to make sense of humankind’s seemingly bottomless depravity and counterbalancing hope in an all-powerful, loving God.”
-Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review, March 2006

 

We all ask ourselves what we would do if faced with the kind of terror and loss that Immaculée Ilibagiza faced during the genocide in her country. Would we allow fear and desperation to fill us with hatred or despair? And should we survive, would our spirit be poisoned, or would we be able to rise from the ashes still encouraged to fulfill our purpose in life, still able to give and receive love? In the tradition of Viktor Frankl and Anne Frank, Immaculée is living proof that human beings can not only withstand evil, but can also find courage in crisis, and faith in the most hopeless of situations. She gives us the strength to find wisdom and grace during our own challenging times.” 
-Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of the Omega Institute, and author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“Left to Tell is for anyone who is weary of the predictable “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” trance most of the world suffers from. Immaculée Ilibagiza breaks that spell by bravely quelling the storm within, and contacting a force so powerful that it allows her to calm the storm “without,” and more important, to forgive the “unforgivable.” Her story is an inspiration to anyone who is at odds with a brother, a nation, or themselves.”
-Judith Garten, teacher and counselor of The 50/50Work© and a child of the WWII Holocaust

 

 

 

(As far as I got on this post July 2, 2009

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