Archive for October, 2013

3 Maps Of Sex Trends Around The World

Amanda Macias Oct. 28, 2013, 11:57 AM 14,001 9

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Even if we’re all just human, sexual habits vary greatly by country.

Global sex trends identified by condom maker Durex in a 2005-2009 survey were mapped at ChartsBin (and cited as some of the 40 maps that explain the world by TwistedSifter).

Average Age of First Intercourse by Country:

Youngest on the list is Iceland at an average age of 15.6. Israel is almost as eager at 16.7 years old, followed by Brazil at 17.4 and the United States at 18 years. East Asians wait longest, China at 22.1 and Malaysia at 23 years old.

Average Age at first sex by Country

ChartsBin

Click to see interactive chart.

Sex on a Weekly Basis by Country:

Greece tops the list of having the most sex on a weekly basis at 87%. Brazil and Russia sit high on the list at 82% and 80%, respectively. Just over half of people in the US have weekly sex at 53%. Japanese are least likely to have weekly sex at 34%.

map of Percentage of People Having Sex Weekly by Country

ChartsBin

Click to see interactive chart.

Sex Satisfaction by Country

Nigerians are the most satisfied at 67% and followed by Mexico at 63%. The Greeks are only 51% satisfied with their sex even though they topped the “most sex per week” list. The United States is partially satisfied at 48% but ranks higher than Brazil, China, and Russia, which all have 42% sexual satisfaction. Japanese, who have sex least often, also have the lowest sexual satisfaction at 15%.

Satisfaction in Having Sex by Country

ChartsBin

Click to see interactive chart.

 

via 3 Maps Of Sex Trends Around The World – Business Insider.

how your girlfriend is hooking up

Yep Bang is back as Down.

 

Bang with Friends is Down – Business Insider.

Race and teh Bell curve again!

Just wondering how you explain then that the small portion of blacks (less than 10%) who attend all White/Asian schools (with combined 80%+) and in turn live in all White/Asian neighborhoods (read: rich,money, not ghetto, nice, no crime, no gangstas) all around California regardless of the fact that they are displaced from thug life and are raised in families who have money STILL consistantly with almost no exception rank dead last in all state test scores? How does your mainstream thought process explain this phenomenon?

Here are the test scores from my daughters very own middle school which is located in a very rich part of an otherwise very nice town in Northern California. Please explain this to me I’m curious what your thoughts are.

Ethnic/Racial (STAR) Percent

Asian 40%

White 38%

Hispanic or Latino 8%

Black or African American 5%

Filipino 5%

Other 4%

Asian 946

White 917

Filipino 854

Hispanic or Latino 838

Black 808

SCHOOLWIDE 912

Don’t even give me any of your culture bullshit because the culture largely surrounding these black kids is one of what you would refer to as “Privilege”. Fact is they live in neighborhoods with million dollar homes and go to the nicest schools our state has to offer. The disparity here is rather significant. And you know what? This is not the exception. My kids school is the norm. Regardless of social conditions in all schools across America, with very very few exceptions, this is largely the result you will almost entirely see without fail.

via Don’t Marry | Why Modern, Western Marriage Has Become A Bad Business Decision For Men.

How to Decide on Surrogacy in India

Edited by GlobalDoctorOptions, Maluniu, BR, Katie and 3 others

Surrogacy in the United States costs US$60,000 to US$80,000[1] and it can be difficult to find gestational surrogates. Surrogacy in United Kingdom costs US$25,000 to US$35,000. Surrogacy in India costs US$15,000 to US$25,000[2]. What are the steps to exploring Surrogacy in India?

via How to Decide on Surrogacy in India: 13 Steps – wikiHow.

 

 

Don’t Marry | Why Modern, Western Marriage Has Become A Bad Business Decision For Men.

If the link does not work:

 

Why Modern, Western Marriage Has Become A Bad Business Decision For Men

This writing seeks to educate men about the realities of what they may be getting into when they marry a Western Woman. An informed decision is less likely to be one that may be regretted later in the marriage. The intent is not to dissuade men from marrying, but to encourage them to communicate frankly their concerns and expectations regarding marriage with their potential spouses. The secondary aim of this essay is to enlighten women to a few of the reasons why increasingly larger numbers of successful, eligible, unmarried men, who would otherwise prefer monogamous long-term relationships, are turning their backs on marriage.

Society typically paints a negative stereotype of men who hesitate, delay, or elect not to marry.

They are labeled as either:

A) Womanisers who are unable to participate in a long term relationship, or
B) Selfish, childish or irresponsible men who can not take care of themselves or another person.

No other explanation is ever explored.

The cost of proclaiming your undying love

In University, in professional sports, in politics, in the workplace; women have the same educational and professional career opportunities as men. Contrary to commonly believed feminist propaganda, women do indeed get paid the same salary as men, given that they are willing to work the same types of jobs as men, and work as many hours as the men do. Despite this reality, many women come into marriage with very few assets, and often are saddled with substantial quantities of debt. In general, men are the ones who save and invest. Don’t believe me? Count the number of women of marrying age that you know who subscribe to financial services magazines or newspapers. A significant number of 20-something and 30-something women spend all of their disposable income on luxury rental apartments, upscale restaurants, frequent exotic vacations, leased cars, spa treatments, and excessive amounts of clothing, purses, shoes and accessories. Yet ironically, in the media, men are the ones who are portrayed as reckless, irresponsible spendthrifts.

When marriage enters the picture, double standards and financial imbalances leave responsible men to pick up the slack and fix the mess she may have made of her finances. Men are forced to spend their hard-earned savings, or take out an usurious loan, on a diamond ring. Women justify this relatively recent, mid-20th Century ritual, which was spawned by a brilliant 1940′s mass-brainwashing campaign launched by DeBeers, by insisting that a man wants to buy her a diamond and that it makes him proud to be able to proclaim his love and affection towards her in this fashion. Granted there are some men who may be inclined to declare their commitment to a life-long partner in this way, but there are plenty of men whom seek a lifelong partnership and commitment who have no interest in buying diamonds. What choice do these men have? None! To many young men, the ring, catered wedding, and honeymoon in an exotic locale at a five-star hotel is an unwelcome land mine on their journey towards adult financial stability and independence. To add insult to injury, he is now locked into a lifetime of insurance payments for this grossly overpriced jewelry. Contrary to popularly held belief diamonds are not rare at all, but instead are common and inexpensive. Their high price is due to their supply having been artificially manipulated. Some men are more concerned with realising their dream of owning a home and becoming financially stable enough to begin a family and responsibly provide for their welfare. Men worry about these matters, because, ultimately, it becomes their sole responsibility.

The purchase of the diamond ring is a predictor of things to come. Immediately after buying it, the man may be rewarded with bridal demands to finance all or part of a lavish wedding, depending upon the size of his bank account and the ambitions of his fiancée. The average costs of today’s Western Weddings frequently exceed that of a house down payment or, in certain parts of the world, the entire cost of the house itself. If a man enters a marriage having saved up a down payment for his dream home, it can suddenly be snatched right out from underneath him. Many men may object to spending such a large sum of money on what is basically a very expensive one-day, four-hour party. He also will be spending a year of his life planning it, when he could use the same time to further his career or education. However, what a man wants is really not of any concern anymore at this point in the proceedings. His wants, desires, hopes and dreams are ignored almost in their entirety. Her opinions regarding the wedding are frequently non-negotiable. A wedding is no longer an event that is equally for the bride and groom. As many of today’s Bridezilla’s will gleefully remind you, “Today is MY day!”. This gives her licence to become selfish, irresponsible, demanding and childlike. A man who balks at spending his entire life savings, or shouldering a five-figure debt load, for the ring, catered wedding and honeymoon in an exotic locale at a five-star hotel, can and will be labeled as a selfish cheapskate or not a “Real Man”. If a woman leaves such a man for him suggesting that they try to keep their costs under control, she would have the full support of everyone around her as she dumped him.

“She can do better”, “Clearly, he doesn’t love her”, “He doesn’t deserve her”, and similar sentiments will be muttered in quiet circles just out of his earshot. This is a sign of her good self-esteem and healthy self-image, and a sign that she won’t settle for anything less. She is the poster girl for the Modern, Independent Woman.

Imagine if a man demanded equal treatment and asked that she buy him a new bass boat, and a two-week bear hunt in Siberia as a condition of marriage. This would be viewed as absurd, yet women do it every day. Modern Western Marriage is supposedly an equal partnership, isn’t it?

The injustices go from bad to worse when children enter the picture. If he can afford to carry the entire familial financial burden, the woman may now elect to stop working entirely. She will often make this decision regardless of how he may feel about it. The day she stops working is the day that all of her past financial baggage unequivocally gets tossed onto his shoulders. If the woman has racked up substantial credit card debts, these are now his payments to make; if the woman has not bothered to pay off her student loans, these become his responsibility; if she owes an enormous sum on her luxury car note, it is up to him to pay it off. Irony of ironies is that he is now paying for her degree and she isn’t even working anymore! Can he object? Can he say: “No Honey, you made your mess, and it should not be my job to clean it up. You knew that you wanted kids even before you met me, and you should have planned ahead.” No, he cannot. The payments can’t be deferred until she is once again able to continue repaying them herself, not if he wants to retain a clean credit rating to get a loan for their dream home. If he even suggested that she return to work to pay off some of her own debt load, he opens himself to criticisms of being an unsupportive husband and bad father who is endangering the welfare of his children. Now the noose tightens and the responsible husband compensates for the mother’s freewheeling and irresponsible past, and begins slowly to pay off her old debts. In the most twisted turn of events yet, the debt he is paying off may often be on credit cards used to finance Vacations, Hotel Rooms and Christmas gifts shared with previous husbands, boyfriends, fiancés and lovers. Caveat Emptor! This is the reward for today’s man who works hard, makes sacrifices, plans ahead, and invests wisely. By getting married to the typical Modern, Western Woman, the man is certainly susceptible to being railroaded into this situation, because it is completely acceptable within today’s gender roles and societal norms.

Marriage can mean career slavery

Anyone who says, “Slavery is dead” clearly has not contemplated the predicament of the average Western Husband, where a good paycheck can mean career slavery. Merriam-Webster’s English Dictionary defines slavery as “…(T)he state of a person who is a chattel (an item of tangible movable or immovable property) of another person.” If the husband earns enough to support both of them, he would be hard pressed to make an argument to preserve equality and have her continue working as he does. If the wife decides to stop working, the man who has been left holding the financial bag finds his options very limited. He may find himself working in a career that he hates, for abusive and exploitative management, excessively long hours, in a position that is physically dangerous or demanding, in an organisation that has no growth potential, far away from home. At this point, considering the corner he’s been painted into, he is often powerless to affect any positive, meaningful change in his own life. He may have been harbouring delusions that once his wife was able to return to work, he would be able to gain some flexibility to rectify some of the shortcomings in his own career. Perhaps changing careers or accepting a lower salary at a different firm in exchange for better hours, a shorter commute, or more fulfilling work. Nevertheless, the distinct reality is that he will continue to shoulder the financial responsibilities of his family alone. His reward for working hard and getting ahead is to become trapped into his career, and become a specialised beast of burden to an emotionally and financially dependent family. Does it really pay to work hard anymore and apply oneself to his full potential?

If she stops working, she may never work again.

There are many debates about the merits of a stay-at-home mother vs. a working mother. My goal here is to simply educate the prospective husband on frequently unseen risks he is taking on when he agrees to accept 100% of the financial burden to allow his wife to stay at home. An informed decision is less likely to be one that may be regretted later in the marriage.

Every parent will agree that staying home with children is backbreaking and often mind-numbing labour. Many new fathers may concede that it is much easier to go to work than to stay at home with several children. However, the greatest imbalance in efforts and contributions to a marriage can manifest once all of the children are of school age. The house is now empty from 8am-3pm. The wife has 7 hours to herself while the kids are at school and the husband is at work. After a few years of hard work at home, many wives may feel entitled to “kick back” and take it easy. The good, supportive husband, however, has worked those same years, has done his 50/50 of the housework, and is still working just as hard to support the family once the kids are in school. His workload has not diminished, and it may have even increased as her expectations rise. He is rarely afforded the same option to scale back his daytime efforts.

What motivation does the modern wife have to return to work? Very little. For several years now, the man’s salary has been enough to live on. Otherwise, she would have been working to make ends meet. Unless tight finances dictate that she must return to work, the husband really has little say in this matter. The wife can hide behind many different excuses in order not to work, despite having little to do from 8am-3pm. Among the commonest are:

“I’m busy with the housework”
It is easy to exaggerate the labours of daily housework. Yet how long does it take to throw clothes or dishes into the washer, and remove them later? Vacuuming can be done in 1 hour a week. Grocery shopping is another hour per week. A decent meal can be prepared in under an hour. Does all of this add up to 7 hours a day? The lie that housework is hard, time-consuming drudgery is no longer as persuasive as it may have been in the past, because in an age of later marriage, many men are already experienced in cooking, cleaning, and general housekeeping and know that it doesn’t take that much effort or time. Humourously, not every stay-at-home-wife even performs all of these duties.

“I can’t find a job”
She has been out of work too long, and therefore is unable to find a job. This may be true, but many men do not consider this risk when they agree to support her while she “temporarily” stops working. Hopefully now they will, and can make a more informed decision. Many wives may use this as a convenient scapegoat to stop looking for any job at all. The next section describes how this can be used against him in the event of divorce.

“It doesn’t pay for me to work”
In the short run, the expenses of returning to work such as gas, lunch, clothes and day care may not make it worthwhile for her to return to the workforce. This may be true, but does that justify her playing tennis, drinking lattes and ‘catching up with her friends’ while her husband toils away? Many couples may be too shortsighted to thoroughly and comprehensively think through this issue. Initially, the cost to benefits ratio may not be ideal, but her returning to work will improve her job skills and network of contacts and over time the return on investment will improve. More so than strolling through the local mall every afternoon and window-shopping for new window treatments. Over time, as her career gets back on track, and she becomes qualified for better jobs, her salary should also improve.

It should be duly noted that some working wives view their salary as “personal spending money”, and still expect the man to pay all or most of the bills. Western Women are often heard to claim that, “What’s mine is mine, and what’s his is ours.”

Even more unfair double standards that favour wives

Cheating
If a married man cheats, he’s the scum of the earth. He is a selfish jerk that has jeopardised the family unit, done his ‘thinking with his little head’, and disrespected his wife and children. However, when the woman cheats, she’s portrayed as the victim of an insensitive and inattentive husband. “Poor thing, he ignores her. It is for her empowerment, to boost her ego. She deserves it after bearing and rearing his children.” It’s good for her self-esteem. Worse, her cheating is portrayed as the man’s fault. If he works long hours to provide for her and the children, he works too much. If he is tired at the end of the day from 13 hours of manual labour, then he doesn’t compliment her as much as she wants. Into this vacuum of conflicting expectations steps the first man who “makes me feel like a Real Woman again…”. You read that correctly; the man who is scrambling to pay the mortgage and car payments and is working double shifts to pay for the consumer goods she demanded to have is now considered a negligent and emotionally abusive husband. The man who may be working two jobs to allow her to be home with her kids is now considered a candidate for Domestic Violence.

When a woman cheats, the first thing people ask is what he did, or more often, didn’t do, to drive her into the arms of another man.

When a man cheats, no one ever asks the same question.

When a woman cheats, the reaction will be; “Oh, poor thing, I guess her husband couldn’t get the job done in the bedroom”.

When a man cheats, no one ever stops to think; “Oh poor fellow, his wife was horrible in bed.”

Let’s not forget what happens if a man were to leave his wife for a younger woman. This will become fodder at the coffee shop for months. It is automatically assumed that he is a shallow sex maniac whose only motivation was to be with a younger woman. The possibility that his wife was of a generation of women who were taught to hate men and that younger women do not, that she was lazy, or a reckless spendthrift, or verbally or physically abusive, or grossly overweight, or an incompetent mother, are rarely considered and are often totally ignored. The myth is that the only reason a man leaves his wife is to be with a younger, more attractive woman. Never mind if she is a better match for him and a more supportive, nurturing mate.

Pre-Nups
If a man insists on a Pre-Nup, he is selfish and unromantic. However, when is the last time a woman who demanded a Pre-Nup was called “unromantic”? On the contrary, if a woman requests a Pre-Nup, she is being fiscally responsible, sensible and looking out for herself. (Note: If your fiancée refuses to sign a Pre-Nup, she has just shown her hand. Best to leave now.) Why is it that a woman can refuse a Pre-Nup, and it is accepted by society? In reality, the man should be outraged that she is after a legal contract, and not love.

What is astounding is the hypocrisy of the usual reaction towards Pre-Nups. Women can conveniently assert that a man is unromantic if he suggests a Pre-Nup. After all, how can a man pollute true love with the signing of legal paperwork! However, what is a marriage licence? Nothing more than a legal contract entered into between the man, woman and local and state government authorities. A woman does not seem to balk at signing this legal paperwork, which entitles her to at least half the assets a man has accumulated as well as half of everything he earns in the future, and obligates him to support her in perpetuity in the event of a breakup. Why aren’t men allowed to note how unromantic this contract is? The distraction of bridal magazines, place setting selection, floral arrangements, wedding dresses, receptions, wedding showers, and honeymoons have clouded the legal reality of what men are getting themselves into. Marriage is as much an unromantic legal contract as a prenuptial agreement is.

Initially, Pre-Nups were devised as a way to protect women. Nuptial agreements were popularised in the 19th century, mostly to protect heiresses from marrying men who were “out for their money”. Until the Married Women’s Property Act of 1848, under English Common Law, a woman’s property, upon marriage, was usually transferred to her husband.

“Stupid, Irresponsible” Men
Men are severely abused in our media, quite frankly. Just watch any TV commercial or sitcom and see how they portray men as idiots, dolts, or well intentioned, if bumbling, buffoons. If women were portrayed in commercials in the same fashion, “Women’s Organisations” would have a fit. If it weren’t for their wives in these shows and ads the men would be lost “animals”, unable to feed themselves or perform even the simplest of tasks. Other commercials make it appear that men act without thinking, only responding in an impulsive and irrational manner, and that the wife is the brains of the family. Even many women will agree that women often are the ones who act upon emotions and make judgments solely based up on emotional attachments and not logic or reason. Almost every “couples budgeting” article will portray the woman as the one who has to rein in the man’s childish spending, when in truth it is usually the woman who cannot control her expenditures.

Job Loss
If a husband loses his job and is having trouble finding work, the wife is completely and totally justified in threatening to leave him. However, can you imagine the reaction if a husband threatened to leave a wife who was in the exact same position? He would be vilified! If a man loses his job, the woman is justified in resenting the fact that the financial burden lies on her. He is no longer a ‘good provider’. When is a man allowed to resent this very same predicament? If a man is laid off and cares for the household and kids while the wife is working, he may be accused of not pulling his weight! Yet this is exactly the same situation that women demand more recognition for with each passing year! No matter what role the man plays, he loses!

Traditional Roles
It is perfectly acceptable for a woman to demand that a man make a certain salary, drive a certain car, live in a certain part of the city, have a certain job, have the ‘right’ manners, talk a certain way, walk a certain way, behave a certain way, have a degree from the ‘right’ University and dress in a stylish fashion, to be deemed “marriage material” and be able to provide her with the stability she feels she deserves. If a man demands his wife do the cooking and cleaning, he can now be labeled old fashioned and sexist. If he asks her to carry her weight financially, just as he does, he may be criticised as an inadequate provider. If a man insists that his wife honor the conjugal requirements of the marriage contract, he can and will be accused of sexual abuse, sexual assault or rape.

To add insult to injury, some women have gotten so pampered that they not only quit their jobs the day they find out they are pregnant, but they then go out and hire as many nannies, cooks, gardeners and pool boys as their husband can afford. Many Western Wives stay at home and hire someone else to rear the kids and clean up, while they drink lattes and go shopping all day with other pampered “stay-at-home” mothers. Does it pay to work hard and get ahead anymore, if this is how your hard-earned money is squandered?

The concept of the pampered wife is a relatively new one. Most of Western Civilisation was primarily an agricultural economy even up until the 1920′s and 1930’s. Western Wives contributed to the well being of the household by helping on the farm. A man needed a wife as an equal partner. It was not until the 1950′s that the first generation of Western Wives, first in The States and later in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, began to emerge as dead weight. Perhaps this coincides with the spiking of the divorce rate in The States, and later Europe and the other English Speaking Nations, and the rise of Feminism. Perhaps men have become tired of giving so much, while getting so little in exchange.

Divorce

43% of Western Marriages end in divorce, and 70% to 93% of these divorces are initiated by women.

All men should consult a legal professional before marrying, and understand the implications of divorce, because the chances are 1-in-3 that they will participate in one whether they like it, want it, inititate it or not.

Upon divorce, all assets accumulated during and prior to a marriage are subject to division. It has become, simply put. a licence to steal. Even if the woman has not worked in years, and has spent the intervening decade(s) shopping and lunching from 8am-3pm, she is entitled to half, or more, of everything the man worked for during the course of the marriage. Is this fair? How many people would ever agree to a job contract that stipulated that in the event of separation that one party would have to return 50% of the gross amount of everything in the pay packet? No one in his or her right mind would knowingly sign such an agreement. Yet Western Men unknowingly agree to the exact same insanity each time they sign their marriage contract!

“Assets accumulated prior to a marriage are exempt from a divorce”. In theory this is true, in practice it is not. If funds from an account are commingled or combined, it can become marital property. How do funds become commingled, or mixed? If even the smallest sum from a prior account is spent towards the marriage, all of that account will now be considered marital property. Buy your child a lollipop from your own account, and a good lawyer will take one-half of it for your ex-wife when you divorce. If a woman moves into a home the man owned prior to the marriage, it is not safe from divorce. If she so much as hangs up a sheet of wallpaper, puts up draperies, paints a wall, or installs a light fixture, the home is now classified as joint marital property, and is now subject to equal division. Worse actually, the man can be ejected from the home if she makes a false claim of domestic violence, physical abuse, verbal abuse or child abuse. Where is the equality and fairness?

Note: “Equal Division” is also somewhat of a misnomer. Often, she can get upwards of 70% – 90% of the assets, while the man gets the majority of the debts! She gets all of the benefits, he gets all of the responsibilities. This, of course, is just and right and is his reward for working so hard all of those years. He can afford it; she can’t because she was not working.

If you pamper your wife, it can be used against you

Imagine that in the spirit of generosity and kindness that you gave a beggar a hot meal. A generous act, indeed. Now imagine your reaction if that same beggar sues you in court. He is petitioning the judge to have you keep providing him with the food that you gave him willingly, freely, out of a big heart. The judge orders you to keep feeding the homeless man meals, indefinitely, forever, because he has become accustomed to eating those meals! This is categorically absurd, yet this happens to Western Men in divorce court every day. Instead of thanking you for paying her bills for all those years, what you get is the privilege of being legally forced to pay her bills forever!

After having children, many women demand to quit working and stay home. Before the kids came along, many of these same women may have been in careers they hated, working long hours, and enduring long commutes. It is the man’s generosity and dedication to his own career that enables her to walk away from her own career. During a marriage, a man with a stay-at-home wife might work long and grueling hours in order to support her. He will pay the mortgage, the property tax, grocery bill, phone bill, cable bill, Internet bill and electric bill. He also pays for her car, gas money, clothes, and vacations.

As one final slap in the face, the man may be punished for working hard enough to allow his wife to have the luxury of staying at home with the kids. As noted above, after the children are in school, the wife may enjoy a life of leisure and relaxation that is afforded to her by her man’s hard work. In the event of divorce, he will be legally obligated to support her for years or decades to come. Because she stopped working and led a life of leisure, the ex-husband is now responsible for supporting her, forever! History has a tendency of rewriting itself. Originally, a woman may have had a career that she may have hated, and was begging to leave. Western Women often “play” at work and career for a few years after University, and then when they near 30 or grow tired of the workplace they seek out a man to “take her away from all of this”, whatever “all of this” may be. In fact her desire to leave the world of work may have been her motivation to have kids in the first place. But now, in her eyes, and definitely her lawyers eyes, she “gave up” her career for her man and his kids. She is now “owed” all of her “lost income”. His gift of leisure and support to her has now become twisted and is viewed as her sacrifice! Another way in which the situation is turned against him is that he will be characterised as being threatened by her having her own career, and that he forced her to quit her “lucrative career” and stay home with the children. Her lawyer will now attempt to convince the judge that he wanted to “oppress” his wife and “keep her down”. Truthfully now, how many men do you personally know that are upset at having a wife that earns a good living? Many of these misleading stereotypes still run rampant in our society, and are routinely used to the woman’s advantage during a divorce. As a result of her not working, regardless of whether she was minding the home or not, she remains a financial liability.

Generous, caring men who spoil their wives should certainly think twice about how this generosity can later be used against them. The phrase used in divorce court is “She has become accustomed to a certain lifestyle”. A husband’s reward for spoiling his wife today is the legal obligation to spoil her indefinitely, forever. Buy her a luxury car today, and you may be obligated to buy her luxury cars after she leaves you for another man! Yet, imagine a husband that became accustomed to eating a home cooked dinner, or regular conjugal visits. Now imagine the courts obligate the ex-wife to continue cooking for him and sharing her bed with him and his new girlfriend each night, despite being divorced! Inconceivable, but it happens the other way around every day!

The ultimate insult, however, comes when the man loses half or more of his life’s assets even when she has decided to leave him. Yes, a wife can unilaterally decide to kick a man out of his own home, and have the courts force him to continue paying the bills, while she is sleeping with her new boyfriend in the very house the husband worked so long and hard to buy! She can, and often does, spend her alimony check on gifts for her new boyfriend or lover! How is it that the legal system supports a woman who feels entitled to this?

The risks are clear, yet what exactly are men getting out of marriage? Many times, the reasons men get married are unfounded.

Many of the traditional reasons why a man gets married are a myth.

“I won’t die alone”
Wrong. The simple fact is that one spouse WILL die alone. Visit the hospital and go to the terminally ill or cardiac departments. Few people have the time to sit with an ill relative all day and all night. Yes, you may get visitors, but they aren’t having the same thoughts as you are. You’re contemplating your mortality, while they’re wondering what food the hospital cafeteria offers. In the end, even with a loving and supportive family, most of us will leave this world alone, unless you both die simultaneously in an accident of some kind. Your spouse may die fifteen years before you, or you may be in the hospital for your last year. Ultimately, we all die alone. Married or not.

“I won’t grow old alone”
Not necessarily. A marriage can self-destruct at any time. Your partner may initiate divorce at age 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 or 70. Many married people end up in the same position (alone) as if they had never married at all. Now they enter their twilight years broke, as a result of being stripped of half or more of their life’s assets, losing half their retirement and pension funds, and being assessed alimony payments. Experiencing financial devastation from one divorce often may preclude a man from ever marrying again. This is a common observation of many middle-aged Western Women. Q: “Where are all the men?”. A: “He is broke from the divorce settlement, alimony and child support payments.” Thus these women don’t find him marriable, and he grows old alone and poor.

Men are led to believe that not marrying implies only one destiny; that of a solitary monk in a cave, a shunned loner. However, life is not so black and white. Not marrying does not mean you cannot continue to date or have meaningful relationships throughout your life. There are plenty of single people in all age brackets. A bad marriage can be the loneliest of institutions, because most of your emotional outlet and companionship is concentrated into one person who gives back nothing in emotion, affection or support. Young men in their 20′s and 30′s should be more aware of the alternatives that exist in life. They should be aware that marriage is a choice, and is not the only path life has to offer. An informed decision is less likely to be one that is later regretted.

“I’ll get regular sex”
Not from Modern, Western Women. Access to regular sex is the oldest and the most frequently cited reason to marry. Many men now know that Modern, Western Women frequently stop having sex after just a short time of being married. There are plenty of “sexless” marriages. Talk to a few married couples that are honest about their relationship. One or both partners may stop wanting sex after kids, or the sex may be as infrequent as once a year or once every six months, or the wife may only have sex when she wants the husband to buy her something, take her somewhere, or remodel the house. Read the honest opinions of married men on the Internet. Most Western, Married Men will have more sex with their Western Wives in the first six months of their marriage than they will in the next 40 years. Lastly, it remains to be seen whether sex with one exclusive partner for forty years or more is even a natural act, or just a man-made convention. In many Western Nations, the wife is no longer required to have sex with her husband. She can deny him at any time, for any length of time. She can, if she wishes, deny him sex forever and there is nothing that he can do about it. In fact, if he insists that she honor her end of the marriage contract by being available for sexual relations, he can and will be accused of, charged with, and arrested for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault or Rape.

Marriage is hardly a guarantee of regular sex, as many people are led to believe.

“I’ll have someone to cook and clean for me”
Not necessarily. While a Modern, Western Woman is perfectly justified in quitting her job in the name of staying home with the kids, she can also demand that the husband pay for a cook, a maid, and a nanny. This leaves the man to earn the money, and leaves him to pay for maintenance of household and children, while the wife gets to play at being a housekeeper. Today’s woman is empowered by not performing the traditional housewife duties, regardless of whether she is working or not. If a husband asks that his wife perform traditional household duties because she is not working, he will often be labeled sexist, abusive or controlling, even if he is doing his “traditional role” of paying all the bills, providing for his family, and performing the traditional manly duties of vehicle repairs, maintaining the lawn and house upkeep.

“I have to be married to have kids”
Not anymore. Her ovaries do not physically need a contract at the government center in order to be fertilised by your sperm. Cro-Magnon man had children long before lawyers invented marriage contracts. Often, you do not need to be married in order to share health benefits. You do not need to be married to designate your partner on a life insurance policy. You do not need to be married to own a dream home together. It is ironic that responsible parents who raise a healthy family, but never actually sign marriage paperwork, get less respect than divorced parents or married parents who are ineffective, inattentive or incompetent.

-Having a lifelong, faithful, committed relationship has nothing to do with being “married”.
-Owning a beautiful dream home together has nothing to do with being “married”.
-Rearing healthy, happy, and successful children has nothing to do with being “married”.
-Building a family and life together has nothing to do with being “married”.
-Growing old together has nothing to do with being “married”.

In fact, recent changes in cohabitation, partner and marriage law have proven that the only tangible consequence of marriage is having a formalised separation process that usually requires the talents of an attorney.

You do need to be married in order to throw an extravagant four-hour party, and share the same last name.

You do need to be married in order to involve the state and government in your romantic affairs.

You do need to be married in order give away half of everything you own.

Besides that, marriage does nothing more than introduce lawyers and social workers into your life. These are people that otherwise would have nothing to do with your life or your relationship.

Men need to stop and ask themselves:

“Why exactly am I getting married? What exactly does marriage mean to me in today’s world? What is the benefit to me to get married?”

It is no longer a lifelong commitment, because it can be reversed overnight on her unilateral whim.

Marriage was originally created as a way for families to merge land, property, political power and influence; perhaps people should return to viewing it as just that and nothing more. The rest of it is fake modern TV Fantasy and Tabloid Gossip and Hype polluting the minds of today’s impressionable youth, and a way to keep the multi-billion-per-year wedding industry chugging along. Perhaps the only criteria should be to ask oneself: “How excited am I for us to merge our finances and assets?” When all the fluff and hype are boiled away, that may be the only remaining reality. Spend a day in divorce court, and you’ll see exactly what is real and tangible and lasting about marriage. You’ll see women who signed the marriage contract under romantic pretenses who are now expert laymen attorneys who can cite case law. Bouquet throwing ex-brides now embroiled in warfare to get everything that is coming to them and more! The rest are myths, lies, bold unsubstantiated promises, and maybes. “For better or for worse…”

The Western Divorce rate is 43%. It is higher in some parts of the world such as California, Great Britain and Australia. In Japan the recent change in pension law may have many pensioners out on the street. In India new changes to dowry law have men being threatened by their wives. Consider the number of people who are in a bad marriage, but elect to stay; Men who don’t want to lose 50%, women who know they can’t support themselves alone. Next, think of how many more couples stay together just for the sake of the kids. Of these “forced marriages”, consider how many of these marriages involve infidelity, no sex, or sleeping in separate beds or separate rooms. I estimate the percentage of happy and monogamous marriages to be under 5%. Are these odds you would take in a business venture, investment or loan? Most of the risk-averse population would not. Yet they seek this exception to the rule everyday through marriage.

 

Another important facet to marriage is the Violence Against Women Act (1996), which reclassified anything that could be considered domestic violence as a felony. The act covers gay men since 2013, but it is intended to reduce violence against women who are married or co-habitating. So, men living with their girlfriends are also impacted!

If we apply the definition of domestic violence as reported elsewhere, then we see that men are no longer allowed to:
– withhold money from a spouse, even if it’s because there is no money (physical violence)
– withhold food or medical care, or force upon her food or medical care (physical violence)
– say or do anything to influence her religion or beliefs (emotional violence)
– force her to have or prevent her from having a child (sexual violence)
– force her to take or prevent her from taking birth control (sexual violence)
– force her to get or prevent her from getting an abortion (sexual violence)
– force her to give up or prevent her from giving up a child, i.e. adoption (sexual violence)
– correct her, even if she is wrong about something (emotional violence)
– keep her from spending time with friends or family (physical violence)

So, married men have exactly two rights now: to make as much money as possible and give it all to their spouses, and to do as much work at home as is necessary to prevent her from having to do any work at all. The right to have or not have children is entirely a woman’s right now. i can’t have friends anymore, lest my spending time with them prevent her from spending time with her friends or family. i can’t buy things anymore, lest my purchases interfere with her ability to spend money on what she wants. i can’t get a vasectomy without her permission. i have to reverse my vasectomy if she tells me to do so.

i’m not being spurious. This is all very true. Nearly all the work in my house is done by me so that she can live the life she wants. To ask her for help with any of the housework is domestic violence. All my ships have sailed.

If you don’t believe me, see for yourself. The bill was only 180 pages long, and wikipedia has a link to the full text.

 

Feminism was born out of a woman’s selfish lust for power and control, but cloaked under the false media friendly title of “fairness and justice for all”. They starting floating around all of the equality bullshit, but that’s not what they want, they want all the power they percieve men have for themselves. They don’t want to be like men, but want the power they have.

So, women entered the workforce, dressed like men and hair cut off so they could get the power men have. They broke all the rules, became heartless bitches and forced their way into managment roles, which they had no business being in and became total failures, wrecking industry and displacing men who should have had those jobs. They stopping taking care of their children in this mad lust for power, wrecking their families. Feminism only exemplies a women’s selfishness, immaturity and power thirstyness, where power comes before all else whether it means wrecking the workplace, family or anything else that gets in her way.

The impact on society has been horrible; peace, respect and love mean nothing, to the feminist anyway, and has been replaced with lieing, cheating, disrespect and doing anything to get your way.

 

I only entered this site because of its title: “Don’t marry” and I added why I agreed. We, at this site, work from different perspectives but come to the same conclusion, “don’t get married” or in Tom’s case above, don’t even live with a girlfriend.
Marriage does work sometimes. I remember coming home from school many years ago and saying to my dad, “Today the teacher told us who the most beautiful woman in the world is, it is Elizabeth Taylor!” My father glanced in the direction of my overweight mother (who had recently given birth to my brother) and said, “Your teacher is wrong. The most beautiful woman in the world is your mother.” My parents weren’t worried about who would get what or when, each one would lay down their life for the other and to me as their child it was obvious. My parents had a happy, loving, life-lasting marriage. But they seem to be among the exception.

Melissa White

September 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

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We live in a new age where respect and love have no place. Today we lie, cheat and disrespect each other. The only thing that has taken place in history that could have brought this about is the feminist movement, whereby trying to act more like men and doing things they are incapable of doing, women have become heartless pieces of crap that have killed our society and wrecked our children.

John

September 25, 2013 at 11:36 am

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But John, what brought about feminism in your opinion? If women were happy in the roles they had been given why would they rebel? I know that some females are male haters but they call themselves “feminists”. They are not feminists, they are only people-haters. They taint the good name of people who work for fairness and justice for everyone and those people are the only individuals who earn the honor of being called “feminists”. I will not have a few wretched women degrade the word.

Melissa White

September 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

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Also, may I add, that the feminists whom I am describing do not want to be like men. They do not admire men and neither do they put them down. They accept men as people, like themselves – some good , some bad, some talented, some not so much. A feminists likes being who she is and does not want to emulate someone else – anyone else. This does not mean that therefore, she devalues other people. An intelligent feminist would recognize that if she were to trade places with a guy she would be putting him in the same untenable position that she used to be in. And that is not sustainable.

Melissa White

September 26, 2013 at 10:20 am

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Feminism was born out of a woman’s selfish lust for power and control, but cloaked under the false media friendly title of “fairness and justice for all”. They starting floating around all of the equality bullshit, but that’s not what they want, they want all the power they percieve men have for themselves. They don’t want to be like men, but want the power they have.

So, women entered the workforce, dressed like men and hair cut off so they could get the power men have. They broke all the rules, became heartless bitches and forced their way into managment roles, which they had no business being in and became total failures, wrecking industry and displacing men who should have had those jobs. They stopping taking care of their children in this mad lust for power, wrecking their families. Feminism only exemplies a women’s selfishness, immaturity and power thirstyness, where power comes before all else whether it means wrecking the workplace, family or anything else that gets in her way.

The impact on society has been horrible; peace, respect and love mean nothing, to the feminist anyway, and has been replaced with lieing, cheating, disrespect and doing anything to get your way.

John

September 27, 2013 at 6:19 am

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Sounds like what men been doing all along, no? So how does it feel to be on the other side? Maybe it is not so stupid of me to look for fairness and respect (not equality, there is a saying we use in teaching, “to treat unequals equally, is the greatest injustice”) for everyone, perhaps even towards other species.
Women do not cut their hair to be like men but because it is easier to take care of. They dress in pants made with spandex because it is more comfortable. It’s not because they want to be like men but because they find grooming for comfort is healthier and more convenient – which men have allowed themselves all along, wisely, if I may add. For true feminist as compared to man-hating women, men are NOT our reference point for anything.

Melissa White

September 27, 2013 at 10:46 am

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I don’t agree with John’s assessment, but considering that most of us men are innocent of the crap feminism accuses us of, that “it’s our turn” meme does illustrate the point that feminism isn’t about equality, but retaliation and suppression.

Where John thinks you shouldn’t be doing ‘male things’, I personally don’t care. I think, generally, that you’re capable of it, but after feminists have ‘invaded’ a male space, they usually turn it into something no man wants any part of, and we resent the loss of the easy going work environment for the hypervigilant “must not ever offend any woman” places they become. We also resent that women are not held to the standards that we are, in that regard. I think even at the core of it, that might be what John is really pissed about.

Female-only places abound, even in offices, but even most women can’t stand to be in them because of all of the petty crap that goes on in them. Women think they’re missing out on something that’s going on in all male places, but typically, the only thing that’s missing is the pecking order and cat-fighting. We left work at the office, and the male clubs were about cigars, dirty jokes, whisky and sports, but just in case, you feminists had to make sure, so you destroyed them in the name of ‘fairness’

And you wonder why we sneer at ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ when feminists use them?

Feminists bitch about being Offended all the time. They equate it with Rape, which really cheapens actual Rape. Yet, feminists don’t give a rats ass who they offend. It’s the first of many one way streets with feminists, and the mutual empathy that you’d like in a relationship is gone from the very beginning.

Feminism has succeeded in vilifying everything male, and for the most part, relegates most of us into a second class of citizen, though no fault of our own, and mostly, in spite of a genuine effort to do our due diligence and act in good faith.

Feminism has certainly achieved its stated goal of destroying families, and replacing men with ‘the state’. Congrats. You feminists made it suck so much that men avoid it like they would any bad business decision, and still, the press vilifies men for being immature for refusing to willingly embrace an awful contract. Brilliant! The degree that feminists have undermined a constitutional right of men to be parents of their children’s lives, and the child’s right to both of it’s parents, have all been rendered subordinate to whatever the golden uterus wants. We all get to hold our breath for two decades until she’s no longer in control and can’t change her mind anymore. Sure, Men want to be part of that paradigm!

Too much of feminism is blatantly contradictory, consists of double standards (when it has any standards), and is basically a justification for women to do whatever the hell they want, whenever, and to hell with the impact on other people (husbands and children), to hell with accountability, and to hell with picking up the tab or cleaning up the mess.

Too much of feminism is petty, vindictive, bitter, retaliatory. It’s about shouting down any criticism (kinda like the left and marxism, and now, ghey rights), and about maintaining the focus on women as uber-victim. And any attempt at a discussion of the damage that feminism does brings out the screaming harpies and the retaliation. Feminists at the University of Toronto caused so much grief for an attempt to hold a men’s meeting there (to discuss some very real grievances), that they were screaming obscenities at cops (calling them “rape enablers”, etc) and pulling fire alarms. The University of Toronto’s reaction? Demand the men’s group pay them for the additional police required because of what the feminists did. Aside from YouTube, there’s not much coverage, beyond some feminist misinformation about the subject matter.

This is what feminism looks like.

You’re right – the goal of feminism wasn’t to become men. Men are accountable for what they do, what they say, who they make promises to, the contributions they make, and the crimes they commit. Everything that I see about feminism is to avoid all of those things.

Every aspect of feminism is about three words: I, Me, Mine. Feminists behave (in groups, anyway) like the worst of any spoiled brat I’ve ever seen throwing a tantrum.

You may, personally, have a different experience and opinion about Feminism, it’s goals, and it’s actions. That’s fine. The very real experience that most of us men have had with the fallout of feminism, especially in school, work, law (criminal, civil and familiy), and how we men are perceived in this culture do not give us any reason to think that, for even a nano second, feminism is about ‘equality’.

The result is that most men see any self proclaimed feminist as “someone to avoid”. We can’t trust you. Not as we would care to trust an equal. That’s the saddest part of feminism, really – it’s destroyed any basis of trust between men and women.

If you see yourself different from “those feminists” then the feminists that we’ve encountered are a stain on your brand, I may have missed it, but I don’t see you taking any stance against the rabid anti-male feminists that are giving your personal label a bad name, and as far as we can tell, you’re enabling and encouraging that behavior, which effectively makes you the *same* as “those” feminists.

Wayne

September 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

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I am one of the “mothers of feminism”, Wayne, and have tried to guide its course (not very successfully so far, I’m afraid). You mentioned U of T, I was an engineering student there when we rolled a bathtub down Yorkville ‘to wash a hippie’. Never finished my degree because I could not take the constant male harassment. In my country of birth there are similar number of women in chemical as men and I had no idea what I’d be facing in Canada. That is not why I am a feminist. I was born one. I come from many generations of matriarchal aristocrats in Europe. It was my upbringing. Feminism was meant to be like Mother Nature, nurturing and just, educating individuals about what was the right thing to do, your sons as well as your daughters. There were not supposed to be any losers. That was the ideal.
The feminist movement that has developed does not seem to reflect our ideals. I believe the experiences and the hurt that people are expressing at this forum. Probably there is an element of retaliation for injustices to women in the past and where it is still going on. There is likely a hightened sensitivity by some women to any act that may seem to disparge or dismiss them. I am not excusing it, in fact, it hurts our cause as well as its victims.
I guess in my apologetics of feminism I am trying to bring us back to its original intensions, which is fairness, respect and kindness to all. I am not asking men to bend over backwards to accommodate selfish or toxic women – ever. What I, as a feminist ask, is don’t value a male higher as a human being, just because of his gender.

Melissa White

September 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

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Well, when I see the feminist response to works like “The War on Men”, “The War against Boys”, “Men on Strike”, I see nothing but venom in how your fellow feminists treat fellow feminists and former advocates like Erin Pizzey and Warren Farrell (egalitarians that receive death threats for criticizing feminism), after 35 years as an adult man dealing with feminist lies and vitriol, and more than 13 years of personal experience in family law, all I can say is:

Whatever you intend for feminism to have meant was kind of lost in the mad dash for grants, college programs, entitlement programs, the billions spent on “female only health programs”, mandatory female only benefits in Obozo-care, special treatment under the law in both criminal and civil law, the destruction of the family, the ability to ruin a a man (and his family) with a false allegation of rape or assault or ‘harassment’, and the ability to unilaterally eject a man from his family while still demanding he subsidize the choice, well, your name is attached to something pretty despicable, that makes anything ‘teh patriarchy’ did look like school yard antics in comparison. Whatever evil you think men did, feminism has enshrined far worse in our culture and in the law.

But you still hitch your wagon to that star by calling yourself a feminist?

I’m finally seeing some serious criticism of feminism. It’s posted because the authors of said criticisms come from women, and apparently, only women can be taken seriously when it comes to addressing the damage that feminism has created, championed, lobbied for, endorsed and defended – the men and children affected by it are without voice or agency.

When I read articles about things that are of interest to both men and women regarding the family, or who’s doing that role, or the compromises that couples have to make, or breakups of families, or the lack of ‘quality men to marry’, no one bothers to ask men what they think about picking up the slack in the family earnings, or why they’re not interested in marrying. We have to assume that only women know what’s going on in men’s minds, if it’s even worth bothering to give a shit about the impact on men in the first place. Usually, we’re left to take the hint that its some petty, puerile reason like “I don’t get to beat and boss around women anymore, so fuck it”, or “well, they’re so many women eager to have sex, why bother buying the cow?”, or “Thank god I get to stay at work all day instead of dealing with the brats”, presumably followed up by “where’s my sandwich?”

I’d suggest taking a quick read of “Men on Strike”. It’s a quick read, interviews of men who’ve dropped out or become frustrated with our society and legal system that treats them like crap regardless of their actions. Dr Smith makes the point that men are making the rational choice to withdraw, rather than embrace, a hostile culture and environment, from college to marriage to the workplace, but most importantly, its one of few books that bothers to ask men what they’re thinking, feeling and doing.

I appreciate that you’re willing to talk to us, and acknowledge some of what we’re fighting, but expecting us to forgive ‘feminism’ for the grief it has brought us, (and our children) is too much. Feminism has been a blight for my entire adult life. It has been little more than a vehicle for abuse, money and power without accountability.

Men don’t have a voice, save for the odd blog here and there. It’s sad to say that outside of here, your voice would carry where ours does not, and yet, it’s a risky proposition to stand up to that mob, which is likely why ‘mothers of feminism’, like you won’t do it. Or you benefit from it, while somehow managing to hold yourself at arms length from it, like Saudi Arabia does with Islamic terrorism.

 

Full text preserved here for educational benefit.

By Matt Welch,

Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine and co-author with Nick Gillespie of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America, now out in paperback with a new foreword.

Tony Pierce remembers vividly the exact moment in November 2000 when the state of California began trampling on his life. “There was a loud angry pounding at my door at five o’clock in the morning,” he recalls. “Very scary.”

It was a female police officer with a complaint accusing him of being the father of an 8-year-old girl in Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco. “I’m like, ‘Great! I’m definitely not the father of anybody,'” he says.

You can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake.

There were excellent reasons to think (He was not the right guy) so. He had never met or heard of the mother of the child. He had never lived in Northern California, and at the time of conception (spring 1991) he was attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, beginning a monogamous relationship that would last for two years. What’s more, he’s a condom fanatic — only once in his life, Pierce swears, has he failed to use a rubber during intercourse, and that was “many years after.” (He’s been a friend of mine for 15 years, and I believe him.) And if the summons had included the mother’s testimony (it was supposed to, but did not), he would have seen himself described as a “tall” and “dark” black man named “Anthony Pierce.” Pierce is a hair over five feet, nine inches; he is so light-skinned that even people who know him sometimes don’t realize he’s black; and no one calls him Anthony except his mom.

No amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, … in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?’

The front page of the court document gave simple but misleading instructions: “You have 30 days to respond to this lawsuit. You may respond in one of two ways: 1. File an Answer to the complaint with the Superior Court of Contra Costa County, not with the District Attorney….2. Settle the case with the District Attorney. You may call us at (925) 313-4200 to discuss your case.” Concluding incorrectly (but understandably) that he could settle the matter over the phone, Pierce called — three times that day — and tried to weave his way through a labyrinthine phone tree. Finally he found a human being, who instructed him to leave a message with a home phone number. The department called him back the next day and left a message; it took another three calls from Pierce before he reached a caseworker for the first time.

“I said, ‘What do I need to do? I’m not the father,'” he remembers. “And they were like, ‘OK, well this is what you do: You just call in every day, and then we’ll understand that you’re not it, because if you’re it, you’re not gonna call us every day.'”

Pierce did everything he was told over the next three weeks of phone tag, except for comprehending that the 30-day deadline for denying paternity in writing was etched in federal law, regardless of what he discussed with Contra Costa employees — who he says never once told him the clock was ticking. “All they were doing was delaying me from doing what I needed to do,” he says. “It’s a huge scam — huge scam….They’re just counting the days. They’re like, ‘Sucker, sucker, sucker, sucker.’…And this is the government!”

 

Two months later, after the phone conversations had ended and he assumed he was off the hook, Pierce received notice that a “default judgment” had been entered against him, and that he owed $9,000 in child support. He was between dot-com jobs, and his next unemployment check was 25 percent smaller; the state of California had seized and diverted $100 toward his first payment. Suddenly, he was facing several years of automatic wage garnishment, and the shame of being forced to explain to prospective employers why the government considered him a deadbeat dad. “That’s when it hit me,” he says. “I mean, it’s mostly my fault — ‘Fill out the form, dumb-ass!’…But it’s so rigged against you, it’s ridiculous.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

Dad Blamed

What Pierce didn’t realize, and what nearly 10 million American men have discovered to their chagrin since the welfare reform legislation of 1996, is that when the government accuses you of fathering a child, no matter how flimsy the evidence, you are one month away from having your life wrecked. Federal law gives a man just 30 days to file a written challenge; if he doesn’t, he is presumed guilty. And once that steamroller of justice starts rolling, dozens of statutory lubricants help make it extremely difficult, and prohibitively expensive, to stop — even, in most cases, if there’s conclusive DNA proof that the man is not the child’s father.

This stacked deck against accused dads has provoked a backlash movement, triggering “paternity fraud” legislation and related legal challenges in more than a dozen states. Combined with advances in genetic technology, this conflict may end up changing the way we define parenthood. For now, the system aimed at catching “deadbeat dads” illustrates how a noble-sounding effort to help children and taxpayers can trample the rights of innocent people.

Here’s how it works: When an accused “obligor” fails, for whatever reason, to send his response on time, the court automatically issues a “default judgment” declaring him the legal father. It does not matter if he was on vacation, was confused, or (as often happens) didn’t even receive the summons, or if he simply treated the complaint’s deadlines with the same lack of urgency people routinely exhibit toward jury duty summonses — he’s now the dad. “In California, you don’t even have to have proof of service of the summons!” says Rod Wright, a recently retired Democratic state senator from Los Angeles who tried and failed to get several paternity-related reform bills, including a proof-of-service requirement, past former Gov. Gray Davis’ veto. “They only are obligated to send it to the last known address.”

In fact, a March 2003 Urban Institute study commissioned by the California Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) found that “most noncustodial parents appear to be served by ‘substitute’ service, rather than personal service, which suggests that noncustodial parents may not know that they have been served.” In Los Angeles County, which is notorious for its sloppy summons service and zealous prosecution of alleged fathers it knows to be innocent, nearly 80 percent of paternity establishments come in the form of default judgments. In the state as a whole, which establishes 250,000 paternities a year while collecting $2 billion in child support, a whopping 68 percent of the 158,000 child support orders in 2000 (the last year studied) were default judgments.

Once paternity is “established,” even if the government has never communicated with the father, the county court imposes a payment rate and schedule under the statistically mistaken assumption that he makes a full-time salary at minimum wage. (State audits have found that a full 80 percent of default dads don’t make even that much.) To collect the money, the county may put a garnish order on the purported father’s paycheck or place liens on his assets. If the mother has received welfare assistance after the child was born, the man will be hit with a bill to pay back the state, plus 10 percent annual interest. “That’s what they’re trying to do, is get some reimbursement to the state,” says Carolyn Kelly, public relations officer for the Contra Costa County DCSS. “As you can imagine, [that’s] millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars.”

If the father falls 30 days behind on his payments, he will be blocked by law from receiving or renewing a driver’s license or any “authorization issued by a board that allows a person to engage in a business, occupation, or profession” — a category that includes teaching credentials, fishing licenses, and state bar memberships. If his credit rating was good, it won’t be any more. If his past-due tab exceeds $5,000, the U.S. State Department won’t issue him a passport. (An average of 60 Americans discover this each day. Meanwhile, Congress has been pushing to cut the limit to $2,500, while urging the State Department to begin revoking passports, which is allowed under the law.)

“When you tell people about the inequities of the system,” Wright says, “they’re surprised. They go, ‘This is America! You couldn’t do that!’ And I go, ‘Yes, you can.'”

Under the guidelines set forth by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, single mothers can receive welfare only on condition that the state take charge of collecting their child support, including unpaid amounts from the past. If the biological father is not paying support, he will be tracked down and hit with the bill. The admirable goal, which statistics show has partially been achieved, was to encourage more responsible sexual behavior by single women, give two-parent families an incentive to stay together, wean recipients off welfare by forcing them to work, and help them find a little extra cash they didn’t have before. At the same time, however, the law gave states an explicit mandate and direct financial incentive to name the maximum number of fathers and extract from them the maximum amount of money.

The bottom-line results have been impressive: Since 1993, according to Senate testimony last March by Marilyn Ray Smith, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, child support collection nationwide jumped from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $19 billion in 2001, while paternity establishments more than doubled, from 659,000 in 1994 to 1.6 million just five years later.

But you can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake. Since Congress first got into the child support business in 1975, the cornerstone philosophy has been to orient everything toward “the best interest of the child,” which in practice has meant ensuring that the kid receives money. Now that the states also have a financial incentive — they pocket a cut of child support payments, earn performance rewards from the federal government, and enjoy the savings from reduced welfare rolls — the cash motive is stronger than ever. California, for example, crunches the numbers every which way: total child support dollars collected per dollar of total expenditure, average amount collected per case, and so on. But nowhere does the state bother to count the number of citizens it has wrongfully named as fathers. The bias is overwhelming, and abuses are inevitable.

Paternity Test

Anyone familiar with paternity misestablishment horror stories will tell you that Tony Pierce is a fortunate man. “Oh, he got really lucky,” says Taron James, a wrongfully named father who recently founded a group called Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud. “Mine’s going on eight years.”

First of all, even at Pierce’s current low, entry-level salary, he’s rolling in dough compared to most default dads. According to the Urban Institute study, of the 834,000 Californians owing child support in 2001, “over 60 percent of debtors have recent net [annual] incomes below $10,000. Only 1 percent have recent net incomes in excess of $50,000.” It’s safe to guess that, also unlike Pierce, most don’t have good friends who are high-powered lawyers willing to work pro bono. Like obtaining a green card, which is a hellishly complex process navigated disproportionately
by the poor, fighting a paternity complaint is nearly inconceivable without legal representation, which Wright says costs a “minimum” of $2,000. “If he can’t get the two grand together, you know what?” Wright says. “He’s shit out of luck.”

Pierce’s lawyer, Kim Thigpen, is normally an entertainment attorney, so her crash-course education in family law came as a shock. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she says. Thigpen was able to get the default judgment set aside — not canceled — on grounds of excusable neglect and mistaken identity, thereby blocking the wage garnishment until the mother and child settled the question once and for all by checking their DNA against Pierce’s. Nearly three years and $10,000 in legal expenses later, they’re still waiting for the mother to comply. (It was far easier for Contra Costa County to declare Pierce the father from 400 miles away than to compel the local-resident mother to show up for a DNA test.) At the hearing, the county attorney admitted that Pierce looked nothing like the mother’s description, a fact that a simple Google search would have easily revealed, since Tony publishes a Web site that includes several dozen pictures of himself.

So how was Pierce fingered? How low is the legal threshold for placing men in the cross hairs of default justice? Both Contra Costa County and the California DCSS refused to discuss the specifics of this or any other case, citing privacy regulations (though Contra Costa’s Carolyn Kelly did point out that “if you don’t contact us, there’s nothing we can do”). But a look at how the process works reveals great potential for error.

Counties typically launch paternity investigations for one of two reasons: Either a parent or custodian directly asks for help in locating a biological parent, or a mother applies for welfare, which now is reported to the local child support system. If the mother was unwed, says California DCSS Assistant Director Leora Gerhenzon, “you ask about when you became pregnant, why you believe that date is correct, whether or not the father was named on the birth certificate, has the father seen the child,…does the father provide for support, has he ever lived with the child,…a Social Security number….It’s a half-hour [interview], or even an hour and a half to two hours.”

What if the only information the mother provides, I ask Gerhenzon, is that it was 10 years ago, with a white guy named Matt Welch, now between 30 and 40 years old, who maybe lives in the Los Angeles area?

“In that case, now it depends,” she says. “We run our search on him; if we come back with one Matt Welch who lives in L.A., whose birthday fits that 10-year range, and we have nobody else, we presume in general we have the person. If we come back with three Matt Welches, all of a sudden we know there’s a problem. We have to call her back in, or call her on the phone, and say ‘OK, here’s what we’ve pulled up. We need more help from you to identify which is the correct [one].'”

So a name, race, vague location, and a broad age range is sufficient to launch a process that could quickly lead to a default judgment, asset liens, and a blocked passport? “Right. Right,” Gerhenzon confirms. “If it’s clear that she’s given us enough identifying information to come up with one discrete name, we would go ahead.” Wouldn’t that make people with unusual names easier targets? “Absolutely.”

In addition to a low threshold for accusing men of paternity, the system lacks penalties for naming the wrong father. Mothers sign their declarations under penalty of perjury, Gerhenzon says, but neither she nor anyone else I talked to for this article could recall a single case where a mother was charged with a crime for naming the wrong man. In fact, until recently California hasn’t had any way to see whether a woman had named different candidates in different counties. Asked how a caseworker might respond after discovering such a disparity, Gerhenzon says, “I think in all likelihood they would confront the custodial parent with both names, and say, ‘Who is the appropriate parent?'” For both the mother and the state, the punishment for making a mistake is indirect, in the form of receiving less child support. (The state is much less successful in collecting from default dads, on average, and the wrongly named defaults surely pay the least.)

So how many default judgments catch the wrong guy? Nobody knows. Paternity reform activists point to a 2000 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found 30 percent of the 300,000 paternity DNA tests conducted at accredited centers nationwide excluded the father. But the actual percentage of wrongfully named default dads is certainly much lower, since these samples come largely from people with doubts about paternity (as opposed to real deadbeat dads, who have considerable reason to avoid a DNA test).

Whatever the number, the state of California recognizes misidentification of fathers as a serious problem. “Some default orders are expected,” reported the Urban Institute, “but a default rate of 71 percent statewide indicates that something is terribly wrong.” In its study, which addressed the collectibility of California’s $17 billion in outstanding support, the Urban Institute’s No. 1 recommendation was to “reduce default orders.” The DCSS now has a Default Work Group, established at the behest of former Gov. Davis after he vetoed one of the reform bills, that is preparing recommendations for reducing the rate.

The bottom-line results have been impressive: Since 1993, according to Senate testimony last March by Marilyn Ray Smith, director of the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, child support collection nationwide jumped from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $19 billion in 2001, while paternity establishments more than doubled, from 659,000 in 1994 to 1.6 million just five years later.

But you can read thousands of pages of laws, reports, and testimonies, and not see a single reference to the importance of naming the right guy, or to the gravity of making a mistake. Since Congress first got into the child support business in 1975, the cornerstone philosophy has been to orient everything toward “the best interest of the child,” which in practice has meant ensuring that the kid receives money. Now that the states also have a financial incentive — they pocket a cut of child support payments, earn performance rewards from the federal government, and enjoy the savings from reduced welfare rolls — the cash motive is stronger than ever. California, for example, crunches the numbers every which way: total child support dollars collected per dollar of total expenditure, average amount collected per case, and so on. But nowhere does the state bother to count the number of citizens it has wrongfully named as fathers. The bias is overwhelming, and abuses are inevitable.

Paternity Test

Anyone familiar with paternity misestablishment horror stories will tell you that Tony Pierce is a fortunate man. “Oh, he got really lucky,” says Taron James, a wrongfully named father who recently founded a group called Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud. “Mine’s going on eight years.”

First of all, even at Pierce’s current low, entry-level salary, he’s rolling in dough compared to most default dads. According to the Urban Institute study, of the 834,000 Californians owing child support in 2001, “over 60 percent of debtors have recent net [annual] incomes below $10,000. Only 1 percent have recent net incomes in excess of $50,000.” It’s safe to guess that, also unlike Pierce, most don’t have good friends who are high-powered lawyers willing to work pro bono. Like obtaining a green card, which is a hellishly complex process navigated disproportionately
by the poor, fighting a paternity complaint is nearly inconceivable without legal representation, which Wright says costs a “minimum” of $2,000. “If he can’t get the two grand together, you know what?” Wright says. “He’s shit out of luck.”

Pierce’s lawyer, Kim Thigpen, is normally an entertainment attorney, so her crash-course education in family law came as a shock. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” she says. Thigpen was able to get the default judgment set aside — not canceled — on grounds of excusable neglect and mistaken identity, thereby blocking the wage garnishment until the mother and child settled the question once and for all by checking their DNA against Pierce’s. Nearly three years and $10,000 in legal expenses later, they’re still waiting for the mother to comply. (It was far easier for Contra Costa County to declare Pierce the father from 400 miles away than to compel the local-resident mother to show up for a DNA test.) At the hearing, the county attorney admitted that Pierce looked nothing like the mother’s description, a fact that a simple Google search would have easily revealed, since Tony publishes a Web site that includes several dozen pictures of himself.

So how was Pierce fingered? How low is the legal threshold for placing men in the cross hairs of default justice? Both Contra Costa County and the California DCSS refused to discuss the specifics of this or any other case, citing privacy regulations (though Contra Costa’s Carolyn Kelly did point out that “if you don’t contact us, there’s nothing we can do”). But a look at how the process works reveals great potential for error.

Counties typically launch paternity investigations for one of two reasons: Either a parent or custodian directly asks for help in locating a biological parent, or a mother applies for welfare, which now is reported to the local child support system. If the mother was unwed, says California DCSS Assistant Director Leora Gerhenzon, “you ask about when you became pregnant, why you believe that date is correct, whether or not the father was named on the birth certificate, has the father seen the child,…does the father provide for support, has he ever lived with the child,…a Social Security number….It’s a half-hour [interview], or even an hour and a half to two hours.”

What if the only information the mother provides, I ask Gerhenzon, is that it was 10 years ago, with a white guy named Matt Welch, now between 30 and 40 years old, who maybe lives in the Los Angeles area?

“In that case, now it depends,” she says. “We run our search on him; if we come back with one Matt Welch who lives in L.A., whose birthday fits that 10-year range, and we have nobody else, we presume in general we have the person. If we come back with three Matt Welches, all of a sudden we know there’s a problem. We have to call her back in, or call her on the phone, and say ‘OK, here’s what we’ve pulled up. We need more help from you to identify which is the correct [one].'”

So a name, race, vague location, and a broad age range is sufficient to launch a process that could quickly lead to a default judgment, asset liens, and a blocked passport? “Right. Right,” Gerhenzon confirms. “If it’s clear that she’s given us enough identifying information to come up with one discrete name, we would go ahead.” Wouldn’t that make people with unusual names easier targets? “Absolutely.”

In addition to a low threshold for accusing men of paternity, the system lacks penalties for naming the wrong father. Mothers sign their declarations under penalty of perjury, Gerhenzon says, but neither she nor anyone else I talked to for this article could recall a single case where a mother was charged with a crime for naming the wrong man. In fact, until recently California hasn’t had any way to see whether a woman had named different candidates in different counties. Asked how a caseworker might respond after discovering such a disparity, Gerhenzon says, “I think in all likelihood they would confront the custodial parent with both names, and say, ‘Who is the appropriate parent?'” For both the mother and the state, the punishment for making a mistake is indirect, in the form of receiving less child support. (The state is much less successful in collecting from default dads, on average, and the wrongly named defaults surely pay the least.)

So how many default judgments catch the wrong guy? Nobody knows. Paternity reform activists point to a 2000 study by the American Association of Blood Banks that found 30 percent of the 300,000 paternity DNA tests conducted at accredited centers nationwide excluded the father. But the actual percentage of wrongfully named default dads is certainly much lower, since these samples come largely from people with doubts about paternity (as opposed to real deadbeat dads, who have considerable reason to avoid a DNA test).

Whatever the number, the state of California recognizes misidentification of fathers as a serious problem. “Some default orders are expected,” reported the Urban Institute, “but a default rate of 71 percent statewide indicates that something is terribly wrong.” In its study, which addressed the collectibility of California’s $17 billion in outstanding support, the Urban Institute’s No. 1 recommendation was to “reduce default orders.” The DCSS now has a Default Work Group, established at the behest of former Gov. Davis after he vetoed one of the reform bills, that is preparing recommendations for reducing the rate.

 

The systems for establishing paternity and providing child support are replete with legal deadlines that vary from state to state. Besides having 30 days to respond to a paternity complaint, an accused father in California has 180 days to contest a child support order and two years from birth to challenge paternity using DNA evidence (unless he has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity in the hospital under the federal government’s new Paternity Opportunity Program, in which case he has just 60 days). If, for what-ever reasons, any of these deadlines aren’t met, no amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, family court cases typically hew to the “finality of judgment” principle to prevent disruptions in children’s lives. Or, in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?'”

That’s how a man like Taron James could be slapped with a support bill for thousands of dollars from Los Angeles County in 2002, and continue to be barred from using his notary public license, even after producing convincing DNA evidence and notarized testimony from the mother that her 11-year-old son, whom he’s seen exactly once and looks nothing like, is not his child and that she no longer seeks his support. James says his name was placed on the child’s birth certificate without his consent while he was on a Navy tour of duty; then the mother refused to take blood tests for eight years, and he became aware of a default order against him only when the Department of Motor Vehicles refused to issue him a driver’s license in October 1996. By that time, James had missed all the relevant deadlines, the court was unimpressed with his tale of woe, and he has since coughed up $14,000 in child support via liens and garnishments.

“I contact Child Support Services, and their whole thing is, ‘Take us to court. You don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court,'” he says. “Whether or not you’re the biological father doesn’t matter — if someone’s got your name, and you’ve…failed to participate in the court date, then you have an obligation to pay child support, period.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

State bureaucrats say their hearts bleed, but rules are rules. “We are obligated by law to enforce the order,” says California DCSS’s Gerhenzon. “We have no ability not only to stop enforcement of our own, but not to proceed with doing everything we can to get child support in this case, because we have to enforce the legally established order. The recourse is to get that order set aside, or overturned.”

When judicial systems enthusiastically enforce rulings they know to be unjust, it’s a surefire formula for creating activists. After writing scores of letters to politicians and conducting endless Internet searches, James and his girlfriend, Raegan Phillips, hooked up with a national group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, founded by a Georgia engineer named Carnell Smith. Smith paid more than $40,000 in support over 11 years to an ex-girlfriend’s child he assumed to be his, until she requested more money in 1999. He then took a DNA test and discovered he wasn’t the father, but the court ordered him to pay $120,000 anyway. Enraged, he launched Citizens Against Paternity Fraud and began lobbying the Georgia legislature to change laws that limited the admissibility of DNA tests. In May 2002, the effort passed, so now at least some default dads in Dixie — those who have never adopted their children or officially acknowledged paternity — can overturn support orders using DNA evidence, regardless of how much time has elapsed. In March of last year, under the new law, Smith’s personal support order was finally overturned.

Similar laws have passed in Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, and Alabama; others are working their way through statehouses in Texas, New Jersey, California, Florida, Michigan, Vermont, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, courts across the country are trying to redraw the legal lines of paternity now that genetic testing and welfare reform are colliding with 500 years of common law tradition, which has presumed that all children born in a marriage are the husband’s responsibility, whether or not he is the biological father. In May 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that men who have admitted paternity, even if the mother lied to them, are not allowed to introduce DNA evidence to challenge support orders. Carnell Smith has been trying to push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, so far without success.

Although paternity fraud activists are beginning to gain traction, they face formidable obstacles. The Welfare Reform Act is largely a popular success. More two-parent families are staying together, more single mothers are entering the work force, and child support collections have doubled. By just about any measure, these trends are in the best interests of the affected children. In Massachusetts 18 years ago, for example, women had a miserable rate of success (around 10 percent) in suing for paternity, according to Marilyn Ray Smith, the state’s chief child support enforcer, and genetic tests were inadmissible except to disprove paternity. For single mothers and their children, the legal climate obviously has changed much for the better.

Which helps explain why so many feminist groups and politicians have dug in their heels to block paternity reform bills. Considered in zero sum terms, any change that prevents some unjustly named fathers from supporting kids they didn’t sire reduces the amount of money children and single mothers receive while increasing states’ welfare payouts. Child support advocates also worry, with some reason, that narrow-sounding legislation aimed at preventing obvious injustices may become a Trojan horse for men who change their minds about the responsibilities of fatherhood. But that’s rarely how the issue is presented. Women’s groups usually argue that fatherhood cannot be measured by DNA alone — a disingenuous stance, considering the thousands of men who pay for kids they’ve never lived with.

“What makes a father?” California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) said in an August 2002 interview with the Los Angeles Times, explaining why she was voting against Rod Wright’s latest reform bill. “This bill says the donation of genetic material makes a father. I don’t agree.”

Kuehl, a former family law attorney who cosponsored a law that reworked California’s child support system in 1999, has been the single biggest opponent of paternity-related reform bills in the state, to the point where activists like James and Phillips refer to her as “Sheila Cruel” and are planning demonstrations outside her office. Kuehl refused repeated requests to comment for this article. “She says it’s not her issue,” a spokeswoman told me. “She’s not interested to talk about it.”

Wright, who considers Kuehl a friend, says he tried several times to sway her with individual stories of innocent victims who’d been trampled by the current system. “Sheila said to me one day in a hearing room: ‘You know, I understand that, through the convergence of science and thousand-year-old common law, we have to work toward a kind of balance. And I side with the kids; I don’t really care about this guy.'” Wright chalks it up to the prevailing poli-tical winds. “If this was a case where women could be charged similarly,” he says, “Sheila would be all over this like a cheap suit. It’s really a case where it becomes a guy vs. a child. So it’s like, ‘Well, screw the guy.'”

Paternity activists argue that the best interests of the child should include, among other things, knowing who her real biological father is, so she can have accurate medical information. And every day the wrong man is on the hook, they point out, is a day not spent finding the real father.

The systems for establishing paternity and providing child support are replete with legal deadlines that vary from state to state. Besides having 30 days to respond to a paternity complaint, an accused father in California has 180 days to contest a child support order and two years from birth to challenge paternity using DNA evidence (unless he has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity in the hospital under the federal government’s new Paternity Opportunity Program, in which case he has just 60 days). If, for what-ever reasons, any of these deadlines aren’t met, no amount of evidence can move the state to review the case; the DCSS has to be sued. Unlike capital murder convictions, which are being overturned around the country because of DNA evidence, family court cases typically hew to the “finality of judgment” principle to prevent disruptions in children’s lives. Or, in the words of former California legislator Rod Wright, “It ain’t your kid, you can prove it ain’t your kid, and they say, ‘So what?'”

That’s how a man like Taron James could be slapped with a support bill for thousands of dollars from Los Angeles County in 2002, and continue to be barred from using his notary public license, even after producing convincing DNA evidence and notarized testimony from the mother that her 11-year-old son, whom he’s seen exactly once and looks nothing like, is not his child and that she no longer seeks his support. James says his name was placed on the child’s birth certificate without his consent while he was on a Navy tour of duty; then the mother refused to take blood tests for eight years, and he became aware of a default order against him only when the Department of Motor Vehicles refused to issue him a driver’s license in October 1996. By that time, James had missed all the relevant deadlines, the court was unimpressed with his tale of woe, and he has since coughed up $14,000 in child support via liens and garnishments.

“I contact Child Support Services, and their whole thing is, ‘Take us to court. You don’t like what we’re doing, take us to court,'” he says. “Whether or not you’re the biological father doesn’t matter — if someone’s got your name, and you’ve…failed to participate in the court date, then you have an obligation to pay child support, period.”

Needless to say, taking DCSS to court is expensive (James says he’s already run up legal bills of $4,000), and success isn’t likely. To add insult to injury, even if you win, you won’t get any of your money back.

State bureaucrats say their hearts bleed, but rules are rules. “We are obligated by law to enforce the order,” says California DCSS’s Gerhenzon. “We have no ability not only to stop enforcement of our own, but not to proceed with doing everything we can to get child support in this case, because we have to enforce the legally established order. The recourse is to get that order set aside, or overturned.”

When judicial systems enthusiastically enforce rulings they know to be unjust, it’s a surefire formula for creating activists. After writing scores of letters to politicians and conducting endless Internet searches, James and his girlfriend, Raegan Phillips, hooked up with a national group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, founded by a Georgia engineer named Carnell Smith. Smith paid more than $40,000 in support over 11 years to an ex-girlfriend’s child he assumed to be his, until she requested more money in 1999. He then took a DNA test and discovered he wasn’t the father, but the court ordered him to pay $120,000 anyway. Enraged, he launched Citizens Against Paternity Fraud and began lobbying the Georgia legislature to change laws that limited the admissibility of DNA tests. In May 2002, the effort passed, so now at least some default dads in Dixie — those who have never adopted their children or officially acknowledged paternity — can overturn support orders using DNA evidence, regardless of how much time has elapsed. In March of last year, under the new law, Smith’s personal support order was finally overturned.

Similar laws have passed in Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas, and Alabama; others are working their way through statehouses in Texas, New Jersey, California, Florida, Michigan, Vermont, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, courts across the country are trying to redraw the legal lines of paternity now that genetic testing and welfare reform are colliding with 500 years of common law tradition, which has presumed that all children born in a marriage are the husband’s responsibility, whether or not he is the biological father. In May 2003, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that men who have admitted paternity, even if the mother lied to them, are not allowed to introduce DNA evidence to challenge support orders. Carnell Smith has been trying to push the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court, so far without success.

Although paternity fraud activists are beginning to gain traction, they face formidable obstacles. The Welfare Reform Act is largely a popular success. More two-parent families are staying together, more single mothers are entering the work force, and child support collections have doubled. By just about any measure, these trends are in the best interests of the affected children. In Massachusetts 18 years ago, for example, women had a miserable rate of success (around 10 percent) in suing for paternity, according to Marilyn Ray Smith, the state’s chief child support enforcer, and genetic tests were inadmissible except to disprove paternity. For single mothers and their children, the legal climate obviously has changed much for the better.

Which helps explain why so many feminist groups and politicians have dug in their heels to block paternity reform bills. Considered in zero sum terms, any change that prevents some unjustly named fathers from supporting kids they didn’t sire reduces the amount of money children and single mothers receive while increasing states’ welfare payouts. Child support advocates also worry, with some reason, that narrow-sounding legislation aimed at preventing obvious injustices may become a Trojan horse for men who change their minds about the responsibilities of fatherhood. But that’s rarely how the issue is presented. Women’s groups usually argue that fatherhood cannot be measured by DNA alone — a disingenuous stance, considering the thousands of men who pay for kids they’ve never lived with.

“What makes a father?” California state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) said in an August 2002 interview with the Los Angeles Times, explaining why she was voting against Rod Wright’s latest reform bill. “This bill says the donation of genetic material makes a father. I don’t agree.”

Kuehl, a former family law attorney who cosponsored a law that reworked California’s child support system in 1999, has been the single biggest opponent of paternity-related reform bills in the state, to the point where activists like James and Phillips refer to her as “Sheila Cruel” and are planning demonstrations outside her office. Kuehl refused repeated requests to comment for this article. “She says it’s not her issue,” a spokeswoman told me. “She’s not interested to talk about it.”

Wright, who considers Kuehl a friend, says he tried several times to sway her with individual stories of innocent victims who’d been trampled by the current system. “Sheila said to me one day in a hearing room: ‘You know, I understand that, through the convergence of science and thousand-year-old common law, we have to work toward a kind of balance. And I side with the kids; I don’t really care about this guy.'” Wright chalks it up to the prevailing poli-tical winds. “If this was a case where women could be charged similarly,” he says, “Sheila would be all over this like a cheap suit. It’s really a case where it becomes a guy vs. a child. So it’s like, ‘Well, screw the guy.'”

Paternity activists argue that the best interests of the child should include, among other things, knowing who her real biological father is, so she can have accurate medical information. And every day the wrong man is on the hook, they point out, is a day not spent finding the real father.

Every child support official I talked to was sensitive to the criticism and eager to discuss many past and future reforms aimed at reducing the number of default judgments, humanizing the system, and even (in the words of Contra Costa County’s Kelly) eliminating the word deadbeat from their vocabulary. “This is a tough area,” California DCSS’s Gerhenzon says. “When you have bad results in these situations, they are tough on everyone involved in the process: the parents, the legal parents, the child, the system. It is to everyone’s benefit not to have these cases come up.”

But as long as state and federal laws remain as they are — with low evidentiary thresholds for issuing paternity complaints, no proof of service required, the presumption of guilt in default cases, a series of short legal deadlines beyond which paternity becomes extremely difficult to challenge, and financial incentive for the government to keep naming dads and extracting money — these cases will continue to come up. “I can see how so many men could be totally screwed right now,” Pierce says. “You know, I was educated, I had a good job, I’d never been involved with the cops before, I had nothing to fear, nothing to run from. But still, I got tied into it….I can see where this stuff could create many victims.”

Victims like Taron James, who lost at least two jobs while putting his life on hold for eight years so he could fight a judgment that should have never been made. “I’m a veteran — I fought for and defended my country,” James says, sitting in a Torrance, California, park down the street from his great aunt’s crowded house, where he lives with his girlfriend and splits his time looking for work and driving to Sacramento to lobby legislators. “To be treated like this is ridiculous….Right now, I’m fully disgusted with California and the United States for allowing this to go on after I put my hind end on the line.”

Note: The print edition of this article incorrectly stated Raegan Phillips’ name and one detail about Taron James.

 

 

 

Injustice by Default – Reason.com.

Image
The difference between the “normal” .22 and the 60gr Aguila .22 SSS I use is pretty immense.

via Zombie Squad • View topic – Suppressed Ruger MK III & Optics Question.

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System

Good stuff on the controlled mass media and firearm suppressors!   Just STFU and read some of what the man has to say.

 

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System.

More on dead farm animals

There is an emerging body of data connecting the ingestion of red meat with inflammatory processes associated with cancer and chronic diseases. Numerous studies have been published describing the relationship between red meat intake and increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. A recent study published in March 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that each additional daily serving of red meat was associated with a 12% higher risk of dying of any cause, including a 16% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 10% greater risk of death from cancer.

A convincing case has been developed by the Varki lab and Sialix to indicate that these sequelae may in part be caused by the inflammatory response elicited by the consumption of non-human Neu5Gc sialic acid. Neu5Gc molecules obtained through dietary intake of red meat and dairy products may be incorporated into glycoproteins onto the surface of human cells. These non-human molecules are viewed as foreign by the human immune system, resulting in a low-grade, chronic inflammatory response. It has been shown that chronic inflammatory reactions such as these can be linked to the development and progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, as well as other chronic disorders.

To that end Sialix is developing a proprietary dietary formulation to dampen or eliminate the immune response induced by Neu5Gc. This approach promises to substantially reduce tissue levels of Neu5Gc and the resulting inflammatory response.

References

Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, Schulze MB, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC, Hu FB. Red meat consumption and mortality: results from 2 prospective cohort studies. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Apr 9;172(7):555-63.

Banda K, Gregg CJ, Chow R, Varki NM, Varki A. Metabolism of vertebrate amino sugars with N-glycolyl groups: mechanisms underlying gastrointestinal incorporation of the non-human sialic acid xeno-autoantigen N-glycolylneuraminic acid. J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 17;287(34):28852-64.

Pham T, Gregg CJ, Karp F, Chow R, Padler-Karavani V, Cao H, Chen X, Witztum JL, Varki NM, Varki A. Evidence for a novel human-specific xeno-auto-antibody response against vascular endothelium. Blood. 2009 Dec 10;114(25):5225-35.

Google.

This is how politicians get elected.  They allow the public unions to bankrupt the cities, counties, and states so they will endorse them for votes. 

This forces companies to leave the state over high operating costs and drives the private sector into fiefdom with taxes on everything in the state. 

This is a poor write up that glosses over this special deal to amass HALF A MILLION DOLLARS prior to retirement as a kiss good by for public employees. 

City lawyers are asking a Superior Court judge to revoke a former police sergeant’s early-retirement deal because he applied to collect unemployment benefits after retiring with a $107,000 annual pension and a $572,000 special retirement account.

In a six-page complaint, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office said recent retiree Jorge Leon should be de-enrolled from the Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, and his retirement benefits should be returned to the city.

“Only persons who are involuntarily terminated from employment qualify for unemployment benefits,” states the lawsuit, dated Tuesday.

The complaint follows a pledge that City Attorney Jan Goldsmith made earlier this month, when he learned that Leon and at least five other former participants in the city DROP program sought taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits after leaving their jobs.

“The fact that an employee would apply for unemployment benefits after voluntarily retiring and while receiving a substantial pension is unconscionable and won’t be tolerated,” said Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper.

In the DROP program, workers are allowed to stay on the payroll while they also collect retirement payments into a special account — so long as they agree to leave employment within five years.

At the end of his five years, Leon argued his departure was no longer voluntary because the city had reduced some benefits, making retirement less attractive for him.

In addition to the suit, the city is appealing the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board decision upholding Leon’s unemployment benefits, which he valued at $17,000 to $20,000 over six months.

“The remedies are independent of each other,” Assistant City Attorney Paul Cooper said.

Leon said Wednesday that he paid into the unemployment fund and deserves the benefits.

“It’s not an entitlement,” he said. “I got it because I was working. I didn’t get it for nothing.”

Leon enrolled in DROP in 2008 after 29 years with the police department and agreed to retire by 2013. In the interim, the 8 percent guaranteed interest payment in his special retirement account was lowered.

Leon said he would gladly forfeit his $572,000 special account balance if the city would in turn restore to him the balance he would have enjoyed with the original guaranteed interest rate — which he estimated at $700,000.

“I would be happy to give it back to them, every single penny,” Leon said.

Leon previously told U-T Watchdog that he would donate his unemployment benefits to wounded warrior charities, but said on Wednesday that he will keep it while the lawsuit unfolds in court.

He noted that others pursued a similar course to his and are not being sued.

“I wasn’t the first through the door,” Leon said. “I was told I could file for unemployment by the woman in our HR department. Why am I the guy who’s being singled out?”

In the complaint, the city said it would credit Leon with the five additional service years toward his final pension benefit, as if he had never enrolled in the DROP program. City lawyers also want Leon to pay the cost of their suit.

Early this month, the City Attorney’s Office disclosed that Leon and five other former DROP participants had applied for unemployment benefits after leaving City Hall.

The four applicants who did not receive benefits were not identified. The fifth was former officer Jethro Hudgins, who collected unemployment benefits after he left the city and before he was hired as an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office in January.

The City Attorney’s Office said it has not decided whether to go after Hudgins.

“We are investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Hudgins,” Cooper said. “No decision has been made yet on whether the city will sue Mr. Hudgins.”

Cooper said he knows of no others beyond the six.

The disclosure that Leon was collecting unemployment after retiring with more than $572,000 in his DROP account prompted outrage — and support — in segments of the community.

Both the Mayor’s Office and police union officials condemned the Leon application.

“While I don’t always agree with Jan Goldsmith regarding litigation, in this matter I wholeheartedly support his decision and council’s action to pursue litigation to end this disgusting abuse of unemployment benefits,” said Jeff Jordon, the police union vice president. “But for Leon’s voluntary actions to leave city employment, he would still be employed as a police officer with SDPD.”

Others said Leon was merely seeking what he is due under state rules.

“If he’s eligible for it and he contributed to it, why penalize him just because he worked for the city?” asked Mike Elerding, a retired San Diego employee. “He might actually be trying to get another job.”

City sues sergeant over unemployment Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com.

The wheels of justice grind awfully slow in financial services. Thus I read with satisfaction in this morning’s Wall Street Journal that Beverly Hills broker Bambi Holzer has been deprived of her securities license by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The news comes a mere four and a half years after I edited a Forbes story about Holzer titled “Beware of Your Broker.” In that article, my former colleague Emily Lambert profiled how Holzer had cast herself as a media darling, dispensing sage financial advice through the likes of the Today show, NBC Nightly News and USA Today. All this despite the fact that Holzer had already been the subject of 54 customer complaints that had resulted in her and her employers shelling out a combined $11.6 million in settlements since 1990.

“Holzer’s continued prominence should serve as a warning to investors,” the story cautioned. “Despite the fierce criticism showered on securities regulators lately for failing to protect investors from Bernard Madoff and other financial predators, brokers with troubled pasts are prowling around by the thousands.”

They still are. It’s a drum the Journal has been beating on repeatedly of late. “More than 5,000 Stockbrokers From Expelled Firms Still Selling Securities” stated one of its headlines earlier this month. Disheartening as that news is, it’s nothing new.

Finra cited Holzer in its October 18 disciplinary complaint for several alleged infractions, including lying to regulators and recommending that an 86-year-old widow and a divorced mother of three buy high-risk securities in a company named Provident Shale Royalties 8 LLC, which later went bankrupt. The industry-funded regulator suspended Holzer’s license and said it’s seeking further penalties, including a possible bar from practicing in the securities industry.

“It seems a lot worse than it actually is,” Holzer told the Journal, declining further comment.

Really? A Journal analysis of more than 550,000 brokers’ records shows Holzer among the top 10 in the number of customer complaints, its story adds.

The real eye-popper to me, however, is that Finra’s website lists 64 customer complaints and five regulatory cases involving Holzer, dating back to at least 1991. That means the vast majority of complaints against her have been out in the open for years, as they were when Emily reported about them for Forbes. Where were the financial cops? Asleep on the beat is where. As I said in my last blog post, an awful lot of wrongdoing still thrives out in the open on Wall Street. Sadly, it often costs honest, hard-working people their life’s savings.

*****

Neil Weinberg is the editor-in-chief of American Banker. The views expressed are his own.

Follow me on Twitter @neilaweinberg

Follow American Banker at:

LinkedIn: American Banker

@AmerBanker

www.AmericanBanker.com

 

One Crooked Broker Down, Thousands to Go | LinkedIn.

 

 

“The victim’s sentence was increased because her lawyer had spoken out…”

When the defense attorney for a raped Saudi Arabian woman appealed a Sharia Court decision that the 90-lash sentence against his client was unjust, all that was succeeded was the more than doubling of the punishment meted out to the woman who was raped and beaten by seven men, as reported by the women’s rights-centered news portal The Clarion Project on Sept. 22, 2013.

A yet to be publiclly identified female gang rape victim was initially found guilty and sentenced to 90 lashes for violating the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia‘s (KSA) rigid Islamic law on segregation of the sexes.

The Kingdom’s General Court determined the woman sat in an automobile with an old school chum to whom she was no blood relation, hence, she violated Islamic Sharia Law of gender segregation.

The victim’s lawyer Abdul Rahman al-Lahem had plead to the international community for help in freeing his client or at least pressuring the Saudi government to grant an appeal.

From Bad To Worse…

And an appeal he got — along with an increase in sentence from 90 lashes to 200 along with a six month prison sentence tacked on for good measure.

The KSA Ministry of Justice implied the victim’s sentence was increased because her lawyer had spoken out to the world’s news outlets.

As carried by the government’s official Saudi Press Agency:

For whoever has an objection on verdicts issued, the system allows to appeal without resorting to the media.

The statement also said that the “charges were proven” against the woman for having been in a car with a strange male, and repeated criticism of her lawyer for talking “defiantly” about the judicial system, saying “it has shown ignorance.”

The Lead Up…

The victim was attacked in 2006 while she was attempting to retrieve a photograph from a male high school student she knew.

While in her acquaintance’s vehicle, two other men got in the car and drove the woman and her friend to a secluded area where five other men met them.

It was in this remote area where all seven men raped the woman.

The Clarion Project also cited that the woman’s friend was in turn “attacked” by the assailants, but it is unclear if he was beaten, raped or both.

The Price of Questioning Saudi Law…

Abdul Rahman al-Lahem has since banned him from further defending the woman, the KSA has confiscated his law license and summoning him to a disciplinary hearing later this month.

Rape victim sentenced 200 lashes by Saudi court – Wilmington Conservative | Examiner.com.

SO Bitch if some fucking monkeys can have manners when are you going to shut the fuck up?

BBC News – Monkeys ‘take turns in conversation’.

US quietly releasing $1.6B in Pakistan assistance | Fox News.

The 9/11 payoff continues.  Hey Israel is getting their payoff every day!

How To Wire Your Brain For Happiness

Why she is a bitch and why your are happy about it.

 

 

The secret to lasting happiness might be neatly summed up in a cheesy neuroscience joke: “The neurons that fire together, wire together.”

“It’s a classic saying, and it’s widely accepted because it’s very true,” neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, tells The Huffington Post. “The longer the neurons [brain cells] fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength –- that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.”

But on a day to day basis, most of us don’t stay with our positive experiences long enough for them to be encoded into neural structure (meaning there’s not enough wiring and firing going on). On the other hand, we naturally tend to fixate on negative experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain, according to Hanson, and positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to long-term memory.

Hanson argues that the problem is we’re wired to scout for the bad stuff — as he puts it, the brain is like velcro for negative experience and teflon for positive ones. This “negativity bias” causes the brain to react very intensely to bad news, compared to how it responds to good news — research has even shown that strong, long-lasting relationships require a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions in order to thrive, by virtue of the fact that the negative interactions affect us so much more strongly. The brain has evolved to be constantly scanning for threats, and when it finds one, to isolate it and lose sight of the big picture, according to Hanson.

“We’ve got this negativity bias that’s a kind of bug in the stone-age brain in the 21st century,” he says. “It makes it hard for us to learn from our positive experiences, even though learning from your positive experiences is the primary way to grow inner strength.”

The way to “hardwire happiness” into the brain, then, is to take in the good — being present to life’s tiny, joyful moments.

“[Lingering on the positive] improves the encoding of passing mental states into lasting neural traits,” says Hanson. “That’s the key here: we’re trying to get the good stuff into us. And that means turning our passing positive experiences into lasting emotional memories.”

Hanson shared some of neuropsychology’s best secrets for overcoming your negativity bias and hardwiring happiness into the brain, optimizing your potential for joy.

Take in the good.

We all encounter positive moments each day, and no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are, they can be instrumental in changing our perspective. But in order to do so, we must take the time to appreciate these moments of joy and increase their intensity and duration by lingering on them for longer, effectively “wiring” them into our brains.

“People don’t recognize the hidden power of everyday experiences,” says Hanson. “We’re surrounded by opportunities — 10 seconds here or 20 seconds there — to just register useful experiences and learn from them. People don’t do that when they could.”

When you appreciate and maximize the small, positive experiences, he says, “increasingly there’s a sense of being filled up already inside, or already feeling safe inside, or already feeling loved and liked and respected. So we have less of a sense of striving … Insecurity falls away because you’ve got the good stuff inside of yourself.”

Focus on the positive experiences with the greatest personal impact.

Certain experiences will have a greater positive effect depending on your individual negativity bias at the time. For instance, if you’re worried about a health scare, you need experiences that address this worry — so rather than seeking success or praise at work, you’d want to look for things that gave you a sense of safety or a feeling of wellness.

“You want experiences that are matched to your problem, like matching the medicine to the illness,” Hanson says.

We have three fundamental needs for safety, satisfaction and connection, he explains. So if you have a safety-related issue like a health scare, you’d want to seek positive experiences that boost your feelings in that sector. If the issue is connection-related, you should focus on small moments of positive interaction with others. And if you’re anxious and feeling threatened, it would help to feel stronger and more protected inside.

Be on your own side.

An essential ingredient of happiness, as research has recently reaffirmed, is setting an intention for joy and then insisting upon it.

“We don’t get on our own side; we don’t take a stand in which we are for ourselves, and that’s foundational,” says Hanson. “There’s a joke in the therapy world: ‘How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.’ It’s lame, and it’s profound, because right there is square one.”

He explains that if someone we love is upset or worried, we try to help them move beyond that state of mind. But when we are upset or worried ourselves, we often don’t help ourselves the same way. Instead, we tend to stay upset and ruminate over things longer than we need to.

Maintain a sense of wonder.

Einstein once said, “He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.” And when it comes to taking in the good, a sense of wonder is key. Experiencing moments as fresh and new, with a childlike awe, allows them to stick in the brain for longer, potentially becoming part of our lasting emotional memory.

“The more that things seem fresh and new, the more that you’re looking at them with beginner’s mind or child’s mind, that’s going to increase brain structure because the brain is always looking for what’s new,” Hanson says.

Open your eyes and look around.

The secret to bliss could be as simple (and extraordinarily difficult) as paying attention. Mindfulness — the cultivation of a focused awareness on the present moment, developed through practices like meditation and deep breathing — is perhaps our greatest tool when it comes to increasing our capacity for happiness.

“I think of attention as the combination of spotlight and vacuum cleaner: it illuminates what it rests upon, and then shuuup! It sucks it into our brain.,” Hanson says. “The problem is, most people don’t have very good control over that spotlight, and they have a hard time pulling it away from what’s not helpful.”

It can be very difficult to pull our attention away from the negative, which can take the form of rumination, self-criticism, obsession and anxiety, according to Hanson. But one way to change this, and to create more lasting positive memories in the brain, is to make a concerted effort to notice those little, everyday pleasant encounters: A smile from a stranger, a small gesture of caring from a friend or a little personal victory.

“Mindfulness is a great way to get control over your spotlight,” explains Hanson, who is also a longtime meditation teacher and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. “It can help you stay with — for 10 or 20 seconds at a time — these positive experiences, and it can help you be present in your own life, so that you’re showing up for the good experiences that are here for you.”

 

How To Wire Your Brain For Happiness.

Big asteroid buzzes past Earth and will again in 19 years – CNN.com.

Big asteroid buzzes past Earth and will again in 19 years – CNN.com.

Flush your brain with sleep and stay bright for the light.

 

Brains flush toxic waste in sleep, including Alzheimer’s-linked protein, study of mice finds – The Washington Post.

http://www.atlasobscura.com

via What are These Giant Concrete Arrows Across the American Landscape? – Core77.

Lying to forgive the unforgiveable….

It’s one of the most well-known psychology experiments in history – the 1961 tests in which social psychologist Stanley Milgram invited volunteers to take part in a study about memory and learning. Its actual aim, though, was to investigate obedience to authority – and Milgram reported that fully 65 percent of volunteers had repeatedly administered increasing electric shocks to a man they believed to be in severe pain.

In the decades since, the results have been held up as proof of the depths of ordinary people’s depravity in service to an authority figure. At the time, this had deep and resonant connections to the Holocaust and Nazi Germany – so resonant, in fact, that they might have led Milgram to dramatically misrepresent his hallmark findings.

Nazi Overtones

Stanley Milgram framed his research from the get-go as both inspired by and an explanation of Nazi behavior. He mentioned the gas chambers in the opening paragraph of his first published article; he strengthened the link and made it more explicit twelve years later in his book, Obedience to Authority.

At the time Milgram’s research was first published, the trial of high profile Nazi Adolph Eichmann was still fresh in the public mind. Eichmann had been captured in Buenos Aires and smuggled out of the country to stand trial in Israel. The trial was the first of its kind to be televised.

Suddenly the Holocaust was in American living rooms.  A procession of witnesses, most of them survivors, gave testimony while Eichmann, impassive and ordinary looking, looked on from inside a glass bullet proof box. Hannah Arendt, covering the trial, dwelled on his terrifying ordinariness, and famously coined the phrase the “banality of evil” to describe it.

Milgram stressed the connection between Nazi functionaries like Eichmann and the subjects in his lab. His findings appeared to demonstrate that ordinary people would inflict pain on someone else simply because someone in authority told them to.

In his 1974 book Milgram described how a person surrenders his will with that of an authority, entering an “agentic state.” For subordinates of Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia, this state was a “profound slumber” compared to the “light doze” of subjects in his lab, but the process was the same. Once a person merges with an authority who gives the orders, and enters the twilight zone of the agentic state, even though he might be doing inhumane things that are “alien to his nature” he feels “virtually guiltless.”

The trouble was that this zombie-like, slavish obedience that Milgram described wasn’t what he’d observed.

Truth in Numbers

The statistical story of the obedience experiments is not nearly as straightforward as you’d think. The 65% headline figure, of people who followed the experimenters’ orders and went to the maximum voltage on the shock machine, implies that there was a single experiment. In fact there were 24 different variations, or mini dramas, each with a different script, actors and experimental set up.

It’s surprising how often Milgram’s 24 different variations are wrongly conflated into this single statistic. The 65% result was made famous because it was the first variation that Milgram reported in his first journal article, yet few noted that it was an experiment that involved just 40 subjects.

By examining records of the experiment held at Yale, I found that in over half of the 24 variations, 60% of people disobeyed the instructions of the authority and refused to continue.

Then there are the methodological problems with the experiment. The highly controlled laboratory study that Milgram described actually involved a large degree of improvisation and variation not just between conditions but from one subject to another. You’d expect this to happen in the pilot phase of a study when the protocol is still being refined, but not once a study has begun.

Straying From Script

In listening to the original recordings of the experiments, it’s clear that Milgram’s experimenter John Williams deviated significantly from the script in his interactions with subjects. Williams – with Milgram’s approval – improvised in all manner of ways to exert pressure on subjects to keep administering shocks.

He left the lab to “check” on the learner, returning to reassure the teacher that the learner was OK. Instead of sticking to the standard four verbal commands described in accounts of the experimental protocol, Williams often abandoned the script and commanded some subjects 25 times and more to keep going. Teachers were blocked in their efforts to swap places with the learner or to check on him themselves.

The slavish obedience to authority we have come to associate with Milgram’s experiments comes to sound much more like bullying and coercion when you listen to these recordings.

Subjects’ Suspicions

Milgram went to great lengths with the stagecraft of his experiment, and was dismissive of subjects’ claims that they had seen through the hoax. Yet unpublished papers at Yale show that suspicion was alive and well among many of Milgram’s subjects (which is not surprising, given that Candid Camera was the most popular TV show in the United States at that time).

Subjects wrote to Milgram or called him afterwards to describe what had made them suspicious. Some commented on how the learner’s cries seemed to be coming from a speaker in the corner of the room, suggesting it was a tape recording. Others noticed the check given to the learner looked dog-eared and worn, an indication that it had been handed over many times before. The experimenter’s lack of concern for the learner and failure to respond to the learner’s complaints suggested there was nothing to worry about. Some subjects described how they had surreptitiously pressed switches of lower voltage but still the learner’s cries intensified.

But this skepticism of the subjects – whose belief in the experimental set up is pivotal to the validity of the experiment – has consistently been downplayed in discussions of the relevance and meaning of the results.

Poet Scientist

In the fifty years since publication of Milgram’s first journal article the obedience research continues to be cited as evidence of an enduring psychological truth: inside all of us is a Nazi concentration camp guard waiting to be called into service. Yet my archival research and examination of primary sources and that of other scholars contradicts this claim.

Milgram himself was privately aware of the methodological weakness of his research and struggled with many of the issues about the validity of experiments and their generalisability beyond the lab. Privately Milgram reflected that his work was more art than science, and described himself as a “hopeful poet.”

Poet or scientist, his determination to make a contribution to an understanding of one of the pressing issues of his generation led him to frame, shape and edit the story of his research for maximum impact. And while Milgram may have not measured obedience to authority in his lab his findings do offer us a powerful lesson: to question the authority of science and to be more critical of the stories we’ve been told.

 

Gina Perry is a psychologist and author of the book Behind the Shock Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious Milgram Psychology Experiments, published in September 2013.

The Shocking Truth of the Notorious Milgram Obedience Experiments – The Crux | DiscoverMagazine.com.

Toxin Found in Most U.S. Rice Causes Genetic Damage – The Crux | DiscoverMagazine.com.

How I Rediscovered the Oldest Zero in History – The Crux | DiscoverMagazine.com.

A frequently prescribed blood pressure drug could aid in the fight against cancer, BBC News reported.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital believe that the angiotensin inhibitor losartan could be used in combination with existing cancer drugs, to open up the collapsed blood vessels in solid tumors.  The scientists hope to give losartan to patients with pancreatic cancer in an attempt to improve life expectancy for this deadly disease.

Used for more than a decade, losartan works by dilating blood vessels so they can carry more blood.  This helps to ease pressure against the blood vessel walls.

To test their theory, the researchers gave losartan, in combination with other chemotherapy drugs, to mice with breast and pancreatic cancer.  They found that the blood pressure drug improved blood flow surrounding the tumor, allowing the chemotherapy drugs to be more easily delivered to the target.  Overall, the mice given this treatment survived much longer than mice given chemotherapy alone.

The researchers, who published their work in the journal Nature Communications, are currently recruiting volunteer patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer to test this new drug combination, according to BBC News.

Blood pressure drug may help fight against cancer | Fox News.

A trip to the intensive care unit for a serious illness may result in Alzheimer’s-like symptoms for a year or longer after leaving the hospital, according to concerning new research.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University studied hundreds of patients from the time they entered the ICU to 12 months after they were discharged, and found 75 percent of them left the hospital with a cognitive problem. One in three left with cognitive troubles similar to what’s seen in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The study’s authors point out that survivors of a critical illness frequently report developing new cognitive troubles or experiencing worsening ones, but not much is known about long-term risks.

“We knew that something was going wrong with people’s brains when they were getting out of medical and surgical ICUs but we didn’t understand to what degree their brains were being disabled and then having to live with that throughout their life,” Dr. Wes Ely, a professor of medicine and critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said to the CBS Evening News. “So, we set out to define exactly what was going on with the survivors of critical care in terms of brain function.”

Common reasons a person might be admitted to the ICU include breathing failure, cardiogenic shock — a medical emergency when the heart suddenly can’t pump enough blood — or sepsis, a potentially deadly illness in which the body has a severe reaction to bacteria or germs.

Sepsis is the number one disease people come into the ICU with, says Ely, and many who battle it or other critical illnesses may experience “delirium,” a type of temporary brain dysfunction marked by extreme confusion. Delirium has been associated with increased risk for long-term cognitive problems. Taking sedative drugs while in the ICU may increase risk for delirium.

The researchers think delirium itself may be the strongest predictor of long-term cognitive problems, and could serve as an area for doctors to better target to stave off thinking and memory issues.

For their study, researchers enrolled 821 ICU patients and gave them cognitive tests at three and 12 months after discharge.

Delirium developed in 75 percent of them during their hospital stay.

Persisting cognitive impairments at 12 months were seen in both older and younger patients, with 34 percent and 24 percent of all patients having cognition scores similar to patients with moderate traumatic brain injury and mild Alzheimer’s disease, respectively.

Ely, an associate director of aging research at Vanderbilt, started the study thinking that people over 65 would be most at risk. But, he found healthy people in their 30s and 40s — who should be at the height of their brain function — developed cognitive problems after the ICU.

Taking a sedative itself was not independently associated with risk for long-term cognitive impairment.

Ely called the results “dramatic,” but added, “we weren’t as surprised by the numbers as we were worried that the rest of the world was not aware of this problem.”

This study only tracked patients for one year, but the researchers have continued to look at the study group and plan to track them for four to six years. While those results have yet to be published, Ely said most of the patients whose problems did not resolve early unfortunately still have permanent cognitive impairments.

“It’s really a shocker to most people to understand that when they survive and they go through all of that ICU experience now they have to survive with essentially a new disease of the brain,” he said.

 

Lisa Uribe

/ CBS News

 

Lisa Uribe, a 46-year-old who underwent routine gallbladder surgery 18 months ago, has been feeling these effects firsthand since her procedure resulted in an infection and a three-week trip to the ICU. She still experiences short-term memory loss and other cognitive troubles that prevent her from working or driving without getting lost.

“Being somewhere and not knowing why you are there or what your purpose was for being in this location. It’s a scary thing,” Uribe told the CBS Evening News. “Every day I wake up and I keep thinking this is the day I’m going to go back to my old life.”

Some people who have cognitive problems stemming from a serious illness may be incorrectly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Ely added, “which is why we think that this is a major public health problem that the community and the lay public need to be aware of.”

He thinks more needs to be done to keep patients in the ICU alert, awake and walking around if possible to reduce their odds of developing delirium. Exercising your brain with puzzles and games like Sudoku and Scrabble while in the ICU may also boost brain function.

Monitoring how much patients sleep may also improve outcomes, since beepers, lights and staffers taking X-rays or blood tests may prevent someone in the ICU from getting adequate rest. Ely says in general that hospitals need to get better at safely handling ICU patients.

“We package eggs in a very careful fashion so that the eggs are not broken when we get them home. In the ICU, we need to package our patients more carefully so they don’t get broken while they are in the ICU,” he said. “We get them out of the ICU not only living, but living to the fullest of their capacity as close as before they got sick, which I think is not happening to our best of our ability in the present time.”

In an accompanying editorial published in the same journal issue, researchers at the University of Toronto pointed out that not all patients had delirium, and some of the patients with cognitive problems at three months showed improvement by 12 months. Still, the study “unequivocally” showed that cognitive impairments in these patients is a public health concern.

“This new knowledge provides detailed education for patients, families, ICU stakeholders, primary care physicians, and health policy makers and should fuel an informed discussion about what it means for our patients to survive an episode of critical illness, how it changes families forever, and when the degree of suffering and futility becomes unacceptable from a patient-centered and societal standpoint,” wrote Drs. Margaret Herridge and Jill I. Cameron.

The study will be published online on Oct. 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Study: ICU stays lead to Alzheimer’s-like problems in one-third of patients – CBS News.

Rare seawater ‘flesh-eating’ bacteria kills 35 a year.

Making eye contact doesn’t always help your cause.

Statins could treat gum disease « This Is Jersey.

The ACLU opposed early versions of the law, but dropped its opposition once narrower language requiring an intentional desire to harm another person was included. Still other critics of the law suggest that this is government over-reaching.

“What are they going to do next – fine people for breaking each others’ hearts?” says Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman via e-mail.

NO DUMBASS,  THEY ALREADY PUT HUSBANDS IN PRISON FOR “RAPING” THEIR WIVES BASED ON CONTRIVED FAKE SITUATIONS.

STAY THE FUCK OUT OF CALIFORNIA.  MOVE YOUR BUSINESS OUT OF CALIFORNIA.

Of course, she adds, “it’s ‘not nice’ to post naked photos of one’s ex on the Internet, and the naked ex can file a lawsuit as their remedy.”

California outlaws ‘revenge porn.’ Not everyone thinks that’s a good idea. – CSMonitor.com.

 

 

Busted! Most in US believe brain disease myth | Fox News.

 

Federal authorities have shut down what they called the “most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet today,” an underground operation responsible for distributing illegal drugs and other black market goods and services.

The site’s alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht, was arrested and $3.6 million in anonymous digital currency known as Bitcoins was seized. The site, which did about $1.2 billion in sales, was taken over by federal authorities, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday in the Southern District of New York.

Ulbricht was alleged to operate a website responsible for distributing hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services, including fake IDs and computer hacking-related services. He was indicted on charges of  drug conspiracy, computer intrusion offensives conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

Ulbricht, 29, used the aliases “Dread Pirate Roberts,”  “DPR,” and “Silk Road” while operating the site, authorities said.

He appeared in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday and was scheduled to reappear Friday for a detention hearing.

The government seized approximately 26,000 Bitcoins in the largest ever seizure of the online currency designed to be as anonymous as cash.

The website, described as “a sprawling black-market bazaar,” was used by several thousand drug dealers and unlawful vendors to distribute hundreds of kilograms of illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine and LSD as well as other illicit goods and services in over 1000,000 buys from January 2011 to September 2013, the court papers alleged. The site also allegedly  laundered hundreds of millions of dollars from the illegal transactions.

According to court papers, the site had nearly 13,000 listings under categories including “Cannabis,” “Dissociatives,” “Ecstasy,” “Intoxicants,” “Opioids,” “Precursors,” “Prescription,” “Stimulants” and “Psychedelics.”

As of September 2013, there also were 159 listings in the “services” category, which included vendors offering to hack into Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts of the customer’s choosing, allowing them to “Write, Upload, Delete, View All Person Info” among other information.

One listing offered tutorials on “22 different methods” for hacking ATM machines while. another offered criminal services,  including access to a “Blackmarket Contact List” described as a list of “connects” for “services” such as “Anonymous Bank Accounts,” “Counterfeit bills,” “Firearms and Ammunition,” “Stolen Info [credit card, Paypal]” and “Hitmen (10+ countries.)”

Silk Road Hidden Website was designed to facilitate illegal commerce by providing anonymity to its users via “The Onion Router” or “Tor” network. The site required transactions to be paid in Bitcoins.

Since November 2011, undercover law enforcement agents made multiple purchases of controlled substances from Silk Road vendors and the payments for those substances were then involved in money laundering transactions on the Silk Road website, according to the civil forfeiture complaint made public on Wednesday.

The site generated sales revenue of over $9.5 million Bitcoins, which prosecutors estimate equal about $1.2 billion in sales and about $80 million in commissions.

Undercover agents bought various drugs, including heroin and cocaine, as well as hacking services, including malicious software such as remote access tools allowing a hacker to remotely control and steal information from infected computers, according to court records.

The papers alleged that while Ulbricht managed a small staff of online administrators, he alone controlled the massive profits generated from the site. He is also accused of having “been willing to pursue violent means to maintain control of the website and the illegal proceeds it generates for him,” according to the criminal complaint.

Specifically, in March 2013, Ulbricht, “in connection with operating the Silk Road website, solicited a Silk Road user to execute a murder of another Silk Road user, who was threatening to release the identities of thousands of users of the site.”

In response to the Silk Road takedown, Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who urged federal authorities to go after the site in 2011, said:

“Sayonara to Silk Road. Over two years ago, I called on the DEA and DOJ to put the kibosh on this outrageous virtual illegal-drug bazaar, and I am pleased that today they hung a ‘Closed for Good’ sign on Silk Road’s door. “I congratulate the DEA agents and the law enforcement personnel at the Department of Justice for their hard and successful work in shutting down this marketplace, which in only two and a half years generated a staggering $1.2 billion in sales of drugs, computer hacking material, and other illegal and dangerous goods.  The country is safer now that this open market for law-breaking has been shuttered.”

Feds shut down $1.2 billion criminal internet marketplace | Fox News.