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SB 1482 Hearing Postponed in
Face of Massive Opposition
April 25, 2006
SB 1482 Update :

In the face of over 3,500 calls, letters and faxes opposing SB 1482, the hearing on the bill has been postponed from today to Tuesday, May 9. Thanks to all of your for your participation.

The stated reason for the postponement is that the committee is working on fiscal matters right now, and SB 1482 isn't fiscal. It is possible that this is what happened. However, as I noted in last week's action alert, the bill's backers made a sweeping, last minute amendment to the bill in order to slip it through before opponents had a chance to organize. Now that there is great opposition, it is also possible that the bill's author realizes that this won't be easy and is delaying in order to marshal her forces. It is also possible that she is backing away from the bill, or is going to amend it to make it less objectionable. We will keep you informed. To donate to help our campaign, click here.

As I noted in my action alert NEW CAMPAIGN: Move-Away Bill Will Harm Children of Divorce (April 18, 2006):

"Under SB 1482...a parent seeking to block a move is
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specifically prohibited from citing most of the evidence that could provide a basis for restraining the move. Nonmoving parents are prevented from citing the move's impact on their children's relationships with them or the effects of the children losing their schools and friends. This directly abrogates current California case law which says that the children's relationship with their nonmoving parent must be considered when deciding a relocation case.

"SB 1482 is an attempt by the extremist Coalition for Family Equity and misguided feminists to reverse the progress made on behalf of California's children of divorce over the past two years. From 1996 to 2004 move-away determinations were based on the Burgess decision, which was interpreted by California courts as conferring unlimited move-away privileges. Under Burgess the bonds between tens of thousands of children and their noncustodial parents were needlessly ruptured.

"The California Supreme Court addressed the problem in the LaMusga decision in April, 2004 by making it clear that courts can prevent children from being moved when it is detrimental to their interests. Among the factors deemed important were the relationship between the child and the nonmoving parent.

"In the summer of 2004 then Senate President John Burton, one of the most powerful people in California, introduced SB 730, a bill which would have granted custodial parents an almost unlimited right to move children far way from their noncustodial parents.

"We organized opposition to SB 730, and thousands of you wrote and called Sacramento to oppose the bill. Our campaign gained widespread media attention and was endorsed by numerous mental health and family law professionals. Burton surprised Sacramento insiders by withdrawing the bill a few weeks later...

"California family law has a huge influence on other states, and parents all over the United States have a large stake in what happens here. I hear every day from devastated parents who lost their children in the aftermath of the misguided Burgess decision. I often hear from parents whose relationships with their children were saved by the LaMusga decision.

"The Alliance for Children Concerned About Move-Aways, which we originally formed to defeat SB 730, is working with the California Alliance for Families and Children to defeat SB 1482."

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children is dedicated to creating a family law system which promotes equal rights for all parties affected by divorce.  Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237 or visit them on the web at www.acfc.org.

New York Shared Parenting Bill Held

In a disappointing though not surprising vote, the New York Assembly Committee on Children & Families voted today to hold over A330, the New York Shared Parenting Bill. Four committee members voted in favor of the bill (see below), and the rest voted to hold, citing concerns about alleged technical issues or flaws in the bill.

This bill has been locked up in committee for 12 years. Jim Hays, president of Coalition of Fathers and Families New York, who sponsored the bill, told me that with the four "yes" votes and all the media attention, this is the closest they've ever come to getting it out of committee. He has asked me to tell you that it was the 8,000 calls, letters and faxes you generated which helped bring it this close, and to thank you.

These events show just how entrenched the interests we oppose are. After we launched the campaign in support of A330, the National Organization for Women and Stop Family Violence counterattacked, both launching action alerts and campaigns against the bill. Yet our numbers dwarfed theirs.

It's very hard to get publicity for bills that have not yet passed out of committee, yet a pitched battle over this bill was fought in the pages of the Albany Times Union, the liberal, pro-feminist newspaper in New York's capital. This included: a mismatched debate over the bill on the op-ed page (see Family law proposes to keep bonds strong by Mike McCormick and I and Joint custody bill not in child's interest by NOW's Marcia Pappas, 3/28/06);  a surprising endorsement of shared parenting by the Times Union in their editorial Custody challenges: It's time New York embraced the concept of shared parenting (4/11/06); two news articles; and a score of letters to the editor, including one from Pappas whining that the Times Union had dared to stop following the NOW party line on this issue.

The Times Union was fair and allowed both sides to be heard, which is all I ever ask a newspaper to do. The battle quickly became very lopsided, with the feminists reduced to babbling "domestic violence, domestic violence" over and over again in trying to scare legislators away from voting for A330.

The Assemblymemebers voting in favor of the bill were Ruben Diaz Jr., Karim Camara, Michael Benjamin and Vincent Ignizio. I suggest you send them an email thanking them for their support by clicking here.

Hays says the Coalition of Fathers and Families New York will bring the bill back next year.

Canadian Father on Hunger Strike

Canadian father Gerry Nicolas is now on his 9th day of hunger strike in front of the Quebec Provincial Court of Justice in Gatineau. Nicolas has a six year-old boy and a four year-old girl. He only gets every other weekend "visitation," and says his ex-wife often interferes or eliminates even that. He says that at one point he went three months without seeing his children because of her interference. The police (of course) refuse to enforce the order.

Nicolas also says his children are being alienated from him.  Nicolas is black, his ex-wife is Asian, and Nicolas claims his four year-old daughter told him her mother told her not to kiss him "because he's black."

Nicolas says he and his ex-wife both earn around $60 or $65 thousand dollars a year, but that he has lost his business and his savings and after his wages are garnisheed he is left with less than $300 a month to live on. He says he has been unable to get a court to resolve these issues, and is on hunger strike to try to force the court to give him a hearing.

I called Gerry yesterday, and he seems very sincere and determined. I'm not sure that a hunger strike is the best tactic--I prefer the bridge and rooftop protests of Fathers 4 Justice--but I support him in what he's doing. To contact Gerry and give him encouragement, call him on his cell phone at (819) 921-1877. His email, which his sister is retrieving and printing out for him, is GeraldNicolas1@yahoo.ca.

Leving's Divorce Magazine

The second edition of Leving's Divorce Magazine, the new magazine for the modern divorced men, is now available online with articles focusing on issues such as men's reproductive rights (or lack thereof), Parental Alienation Syndrome and child support. Visit now and get a free subscription. 

Help, Resources for Dads

The National Fathers' Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Houston. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers' rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org

"Convicted Felons Had More Rights than My Dad' Says Woman Who Supports A330"

A woman who joined our campaign in support of A330, the New York Shared Parenting Bill, wrote the following letter to the New York Assembly Committee on Children & Families: "I'm the mother of 3 boys as well as stepmother to 3 more children. When I was 9, my parents divorced.  The man I so admired, my dad, was treated so low class that he was unable to have any say at all about his children.  Convicted felons had more rights and control over their lives than my dad was afforded when it came to his children.

"My dad was a very active parent before the divorce.  So active, that I completely credit him for giving me the tools I needed to make me a good person and the tools to raise my own children.  I actively saw my mother literally play act the victim.  I guess she thought we wouldn't remember what she did to actively hurt him any way that she could.

"And she could, thanks to the state and their lack of a system that would at least allow my dad to have say over the children he helped bring into the world.
When I separated from my 1st husband, we agreed, without court involvement, how to finish raising our children...We also forced ourselves to maintain an open door policy. If my sons wanted to be with their father...they called him and vice versa...

"Growing up with divorced parents back in the 70's meant that you usually
befriended others that were in the same situation.  I think I had only two friends out of all of my friends in Saratoga that actually still saw their dads.  As for the reason why, all you had to do was see how the mothers made it nearly impossible for the children to see their dads without emotional trauma, scenes, etc... 

"It was ugly then and it is ugly now...no one parent should have so much control. If shared parenting can give both the say they deserve, our next generations will be much healthier."

Help for Men Struggling with Relationships, Depression, Anger or Anxiety

The Men's Center Los Angeles offers individual, couple, family and group counseling with a focus on men's issues. Call them at (818) 348-9302 or go to MensCenterLosAngeles.com

Concerned about Financial Issues in Your Divorce?

If you're concerned about financial issues in your divorce, contact Jim DiGabriele of DiGabriele, McNulty & Co by email here or at 973-243-2600.

St. Louis Man Kills 4, Self Over Child Support Dispute

According to the article 'If it was a mistake, it cost the lives of my family' (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/22/06):

"Did the state make some kind of mistake in calculating Herbert L. Chalmers' child support, possibly sparking a rampage that killed four women--including his children's mother and two members of the family whose business garnisheed his wages?

"Chalmers made it clear he felt there had been an error, railing about it for months before Tuesday's bloody spree. He complained about it to some survivors of the tragedy before using his last shot on himself...

"Chalmers told his boss, co-workers and at least one friend that part of his salary was being wrongly withheld.

"'What set him off was the fact that they were garnisheeing his check,' his co-worker James Lee, 76, said after the shooting stopped. Lee and another co-worker said Chalmers denied being the father of the children.

"Records indicate that Chalmers had accepted responsibility as father on the birth certificates, but reportedly he claimed later he determined he was not their father...

"The children are now grown, and the child-support issue involves payments allegedly owed from the past.

"Charlie Finninger, who with his wife owned Finninger's Catering Service in St. Louis, said Chalmers, a five-year employee, complained several months ago that the garnishment was wrong.

"'I told him my hands were tied,' Finninger said. 'I told him if the state was wrong, then he should fight it.' Finninger offered Chalmers copies of documents to help make his case...

"Finninger wondered aloud Friday whether Chalmers had been right about an error. 'If it was a mistake, it cost the lives of my family.'

"...[Chalmers said] he couldn't survive on $200 every two weeks and was going to kill the people who had made him suffer...

"It appears that Chalmers' withholding for child support had almost doubled over three years...

"Chalmers' back child-support payment ballooned from $362 per month in 2003 to what seems to be $675 three years later."

Finninger also told the Post-Dispatch "From a one to 10, I would say he was a 10 employee...He was always on time. Sometimes he talked too much, but he never gave us any problem."

Chalmers worked in the kitchen and occasionally drove a truck for the caterers.

It goes without saying, though I'll say it anyway, that what Chalmers did was absolutely unforgivable no matter what his child support situation. Having said that, I would also say that, given the enormous problems with the child support system, I'm surprised that such incidents aren't more common. I've received countless letters from men who are being harmed by child support system errors and abuses.

In my co-authored column Persecuting Low Income Parents (Cincinnati Post, Kentucky Post, 8/26/05), I discussed the problem of pervasive child support enforcement errors, and also of the unconscionably callous actions taken against low income noncustodial parents by chest-thumping district attorneys. Family law attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:

"In one McCracken County, Kentucky case, Francis Borgia, a carpet cleaner in Paducah, slit his throat in the courtroom after being sentenced to two years in jail for being $7,000 behind on child support. According to newspaper accounts, Borgia had become a 'deadbeat' after he lost a good paying job working in a casino and could not get a downward modification on his support.

"Also victimized by Maze's list [of alleged deadbeats published in the Louisville Courier-Journal] are those who are named in error. For example, according to television station WAVE 3 in Louisville, Maze listed James H. Frazier as a deadbeat who owes $57,000 but mistakenly gave out the home address of James R. Frazier. James R. Frazier and his wife Bertha have been erroneously targeted by enforcement officials before, and have spent years fighting to straighten out the error. The agency had previously acknowledged its mistake--and then went ahead and published the erroneous information anyway.

"Child support collection agencies are notorious for their errors and bureaucratic bungling, as even supporters of the lists such as the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support admit. A study conducted by ACES revealed that state child support enforcement agencies nationwide had failed to distribute over $500 million which had been paid by noncustodial parents.

"Beyond mistaken identity, as in the Frazier case, common agency errors include: mathematical errors; failure to record or transfer records of payments; billing men for children they did not father; failing to stop child support when a child reaches the age of emancipation; accepting custodial parents' false reports of nonpayment; and failure to update child support orders with later court rulings affecting modifications. Audits and evaluations have shown that errors comprise a third of all arrearages in some states and counties....

"Borgia, who survived his courtroom suicide attempt, noted:

"'My only 'crime' was my failure to make as much money as the state demanded...I couldn't quite understand why I was treated so harshly. I'm not a deadbeat dad. I'm a broke dad.'"

The abusive, error-riddled child support system was also behind Derrick Miller's suicide. In my column Distraught Father's Courthouse Suicide Highlights America's Male Suicide Epidemic (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11/02) I wrote:

"A distraught father struggling with overdue child support obligations and adverse family court decisions committed suicide on the steps of the downtown San Diego courthouse Monday. Angrily waving court documents, 43 year-old Derrick Miller walked up to court personnel at the entrance, said 'You did this to me,' and shot himself in the head...

"[One of the] most common suicide victims are divorced and/or estranged fathers like Derrick Miller. In fact, a divorced father is ten times more likely to commit suicide than a divorced mother, and three times more likely to commit suicide than a married father."

National Coalition of Free Men activist Harry Crouch later found documents which showed that in the fall of 2001 Miller's monthly child support obligations for the three children of a previous marriage were more than doubled, and Miller was asked to pay over $1,650 a month out of a net income of a little over  $2,000 a month.

After my column was published, Derrick Miller's widow, Yavonne Miller, wrote me, telling me that her husband took his own life because he had been stripped of the ability to take care of his family and thus felt himself to be a "burden without self‑worth."

Missouri child support officials say they're investigating the Chalmers case to see if they had made a mistake. Don't hold your breath. We've discussed child support enforcement's abusive tactics on His Side with Glenn Sacks on many occasions--to listen to a couple examples, see Fathers Targeted by Cox Speak Out (10/17/04) and Child Support Civil Rights Violations (7/18/04).

The Second Wives Club

The Second Wives Club is what women in blended families are looking for: Remarriage, divorce, child custody, and step parenting discussed in a solution-oriented, mature, and intelligent way; articles and news written by thought-provoking experts and journalists; personal accounts and advice from some of life's most interesting women. www.SecondWivesClub.com

Help for Boston Dads
Boston family law attorney Nick Palermo is a shared custody advocate who believes that divorced dads are parents, not visitors. The Law Offices of Nicholas Palermo is a dedicated and committed trial law firm which has worked to make shared custody for all fit parents the law of the land.

A Myth About Dads as Primary Caregivers

I heard part of a radio interview with anti-feminist writer Caitlin Flanagan this morning while driving my kids to school. The host asked Flanagan about stay at home dads or dads as primary caregivers. Flanagan was positive and supportive of this, but put it in terms of "when mom earns more, this makes sense," or "if mom's job is more important or demanding, it's good that dads pick up the slack" (not exact quotes).

The host agreed with Flanagan. What Flanagan says is true, but both Flanagan and the radio host missed the most important aspect of dads as primary caregivers--sometimes they're the parent who's better at it. In other cases, they may not be better at it, but they might be happier or more suited to it. Or they may appreciate the experience more than the mother does, because the dad never expected to have the opportunity.

As the primary caregiver for my kids for the past eight years, I find it mildly annoying that it is so often couched in terms of being an economic mediocrity. I'm the primary caregiver because that's what's best for my family.

I've discussed the issue of stay at home dads in several columns, including Father Care: The Other Child Care Option (W. New York Family Magazine, 6/01).

In Defense of R. Mark Rogers

According to the article Economist wants back in bidding: Child-support study in limbo since January (Concord Monitor, 4/23/06):

"A Georgia economist once jailed for failure to pay child support said he's 'absolutely' still interested in getting the contract to advise New Hampshire officials on child-support guidelines. He also wants to clear his name.

"The state's child-support system is based on a percentage of parental income, but lawmakers want to rewrite the guidelines to base them on the cost of raising a child. They passed a bill last year approving the money to hire an economist to determine that cost, and Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen recommended R. Mark Rogers for the $200,000 contract.

"Gov. John Lynch thought the bid-evaluation process might have been unfairly weighted to Rogers over Policy Studies Inc., the Colorado firm that also bid on the contract. After he learned about Rogers's legal history from the media in January, Lynch stopped the contract from being placed on the Executive Council agenda and asked Attorney General Kelly Ayotte to investigate.

"Ayotte, who returned her report earlier this month, said the process 'undermined public confidence' and that the bidding should be reopened. Lynch agreed with the recommendation and...also made it clear he does not want Stephen to recommend Rogers again: 'I don't think he should even be allowed to bid on it,' Lynch said.

"Rogers told the Monitor last week that he hopes to still be considered for the contract...

"Rogers said his economics background speaks for itself, with a 'very strong ethic of objectivity,' and should be the only thing considered. He spent 19 years with the Federal Reserve, authored an economics handbook published by McGraw-Hill and served on the Georgia Commission on Child Support. He also partnered with a UNH professor in making his proposal to the state.

"On the other hand, Rogers advocates for reducing guidelines and has served as an expert witness for noncustodial parents who wish to pay less in child support. A divorced father, he was jailed for two weeks in the mid-1990s after failing to pay more than $7,000 in child support. He said he suffered a financial downturn, filed for bankruptcy and set up a back-payment system to his ex-wife through bankruptcy court.

"A superior court judge thought the move was a ploy and found him in contempt. Rogers waited in county jail until his mother cashed in her retirement fund to bail him out, he said."

A few comments:

1) I don't know whether Rogers is telling the truth about his jailing for non-payment of child support in the mid-90's, but it certainly sounds credible. I hear from fathers all the time who have jailed or punished by judges for failing to pay sums they could not pay. It is very common for men to suffer financial downturns and then be treated as if it's just some kind of scam to get out of child support.

2) Rogers was never tried and convicted--the basis for him being a so-called "deadbeat dad" rests on the opinion of one judge. The judge may have been right, but it's not the same as being a convicted criminal.

3) Even if Rogers were a convicted criminal, and even if he really were guilty, he probably still would not have been stripped of the child support contract. There is such a thing as paying one's debts to society and moving on.

Rogers appeared on His Side with Glenn Sacks to debate Debbie Kline, Executive Director of the Association for Children for the Enforcement of Support, a nationwide organization which advocates higher child support levels and tougher child support enforcement. According to Rogers, "Child support guidelines currently in use by the U.S. states typically generate awards that are three to four times what they should be if based on economically sound cost tables and on a true equal duty of support standard for both parents." 

To listen to the show, go to Are Child Support Levels Too High? (12/12/04).

Rogers made some good points but I didn't feel he proved his case that the awards are "three to four times what they should be." Of course I could have easily stacked the debate against Debbie so Rogers would have won, but I don't do that. Despite the flaws in Debbie's arguments, I think listening to that show gives one a good idea of why fathers get beat in child support debates in state legislatures.

Father: A Child's Right

Visit www.fatherachildsright.org to find information about child custody issues related to fathers and their children's rights, as well as book reviews on parenting, custody and divorce. A fun and exciting father & son baseball component is added for enjoyment. Buy books, magazines and DVDs for your children. Learn about the Michigan Shared Parenting bill. www.fatherachildsright.org

College Campuses Are Hostile Environments for Young Men

I've written many times about the anti-male hostility prevalent on our college campuses. In my column Why Males Don't Go to College (She Thinks, 11/13/02);  I noted:

"...rampant anti-male feminism has made college campuses a place where many males feel unwanted and unwelcome. To use a feminist term, our universities have become 'hostile environments' for young men. To illustrate, let's look at one campus--the University of California at Los Angeles, 1999-2001.

"Sensationalized lies about men--what dissident feminist Christina Hoff Sommers and others call 'Hate Statistics'--were an integral part of the campus culture. The Women's Resource Center (later renamed the Center for Women and Men), the Clothesline Project and others publicized discredited academic frauds like 'one in four college women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape' and 'domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women aged 15 to 44.'

"Worse, such statistics were repeated ad infinitum and ad nauseam by the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, and also by both professors and students. The message behind the lies was clear--men are so powerful and despicable, and women are so helpless and victimized, that men had better not dare to complain about anything.

"This hostile attitude towards males is manifest in the classroom as well..."

One of my readers sent me a nice example of this last week. The reader wrote the University of Utah about their policy of having a women's week but not a men's week. In response, Leo Leckie, Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President for Diversity of the University of Utah, wrote:

"'Men's Week' is celebrated on this campus, in this city, this state, in this country and in the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The names on a vast majority of the buildings and named rooms and halls on our campus is but one of many examples that attest to the celebration of men. And there are indeed many, many offices and organizations on this campus that celebrate men daily.

"Because of the historical and continued marginalization of women and people of color on our campus, in our state, and in our country, our office specifically continues the essential work of representing these marginalized groups. The Women's Week Celebration is precisely that, a celebration of women, and invites everyone to join in that celebration.

"On a personal note, I am a white straight male, and as such I remind myself that I walk in the most privileged and empowered of spaces in this country. I remind myself that I have benefited from the country's oldest affirmative action program, and that my privilege is reinforced systemically every day. The challenge for me, as someone who occupies the highest rung on the ladder of power and privilege, is to remind myself that events that attempt to create awareness around issues of equity are about precisely that: equity."

Of course I dispute Leckie's conviction that men are the privileged gender in the United States--men have some advantages, but they also have disadvantages, too. One of the things which annoys me about Leckie's letter is the way he equates the experiences and social positions of blacks and Latinos with those of middle class white women. Blacks and Latinos are disadvantaged groups, white middle class women are not. To write to Leckie, click here

(A note about posting email addresses on my enewsletter. On numerous occasions people I've criticized on this enewsletter have been flooded with angry letters from my readers. However, I have never invaded a person's privacy. My policy is simple--if the email address is already available on the internet, I post it. If it is not, I assume it to be a private email address and I don't post it. Leckie's email address--leo.leckie@utah.edu--is posted on 138 internet web pages, so it's a public email address.)

Leckie's "men have everything/women have nothing so who cares what issues men face" position reminds me a lot of Michael Moore. In my column Michael Moore, You Used to Be My Hero (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 2/8/04 I noted: "Michael, you have betrayed those whose cause you once championed. Once the voice of the unappreciated working man, I have watched in amazement and dismay as you have degenerated into one of the all too common scourges of our society--the low rent man-basher who pours derision upon the last remaining politically correct target of bigotry: men."

We've discussed the issue of (alleged) male privilege on His Side with Glenn Sacks  many times--some examples are: NOMAS Leader Michael Kimmel Criticizes Men's Movement (6/6/05); Are American Women Oppressed? (11/28/04); and Is the Men's Movement Misogynistic? (1/23/05).

To learn more about how Woman's Studies have turned our universities into hostile environments for our young men, see my columns: Hate My Father? No Ma'am! (World Net Daily, 4/8/02); New Study Finds Myths, Misrepresentations in Women's Studies Textbooks (Cybercast News Service, 4/1/02); The Best Valentine's Day Gift for College Students: Gender Reconciliation (She Thinks, 2/13/03); and the His Side shows Poisoning Valentine's Day (2/1/04) and Former Women's Studies Professor Daphne Patai Slams Academic Feminism (7/6/03).

Lisa Scott Launches RealFamilyLaw.com

Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott has just launched www.RealFamilyLaw.com to expose the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was "tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers" and decided to start her own website. www.RealFamilyLaw.com

Friend to Fathers and Children Passes Away

I was recently informed by Dayle Kichula that Louise Malenfant, a friend to fathers and children of divorce, died earlier this month. I asked Dayle to write a eulogy for my readers, and this is what he wrote:

"Louise Malenfant passed away peacefully in her home in Calgary, Alberta on April 2, 2006.  She was laid to rest in a quiet ceremony by family members and a few of her many friends on April 5, 2006.

"Louise was the founder of Parents Helping Parents, a family advocacy program launched to assist parents falsely accused of abuse during divorce proceedings. She worked tirelessly to bring about change in the child welfare system in Manitoba and a few years ago moved to Alberta in hope of bringing about change to the bureaucracy here as she was successful doing in Manitoba.

"She helped countless parents, the majority of which were fathers, to regain access to their children as well as to regain their reputations, both lost due to false allegations of abuse. Louise's dream was to initiate change in the system whereby it would be more difficult for spouses to lie about abuse in order to sever access by the other parent to their children. She crusaded for full and fair investigations by child welfare authorities as well as by law enforcement authorities.

"Louise led and was the sole operator in the PHP organization. Losing her will be felt by many. It is this writer's hope that there will be someone to carry on and realize Louise's dream. 

"Louise was often told that she was 'An Angel on Earth,' to which she would give a modest giggle and say 'If I don't do this, who will?' She provided a lifeline to all of her clients, at a time when all hope was lost. She would take control of the situation and in no time at all her clients would begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

To our Angel on Earth
Louise Marie Malenfant

You have earned your heavenly wings now. You will be missed.
God love your heart and rest your soul."

An Announcement from the Leaders of the Campaign Against PBS's Anti-Father Breaking the Silence

The following is a statement from Fathers & Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and newspaper columnist Glenn Sacks, the leaders of the Campaign Against PBS's Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence:

"The purpose of this letter is to update you on what is happening with PBS in relation to its father-bashing documentary Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories. As most of you know, last fall we led a protest campaign against the film.

"Breaking the Silence, which aired on many PBS affiliates in late October, portrayed divorcing dads who contested custody as batterers who wanted to punish and abuse their ex-wives. It presented an extremely one-sided, harmful and inaccurate view of divorce and child custody cases.

"In response to our protest, over 10,000 people called or wrote PBS, and our campaign garnered widespread media coverage. From the beginning our demand was simple--we wanted PBS to provide fatherhood and shared parenting advocates a meaningful opportunity to present our side of the issue. The campaign was led by the shared parenting organizations Fathers & Families and the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and by newspaper columnist Glenn Sacks.

"Both the Ombudsman for PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) spoke out strongly against the biased nature of the documentary.  In a statement released on December 20, PBS notified us that it would 'commission an hour-long documentary' that would be 'produced and broadcast in Spring 2006' for the purpose of further examining the 'complex and important issues' raised in the film and by our campaign. Though PBS defended Breaking the Silence, they pledged that the 'hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity' for those of differing views to 'have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.'

"We commended PBS for understanding our concerns and taking action to address the situation. We have been in talks with the producers who are making the new film on behalf of PBS, and film crews will be filming and conducting interviews in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other places in April.  Fathers & Families members will be filmed April 27 and 28. The producers have informed us that they are also interviewing other experts on child custody, family law, domestic violence, and related issues.

"We will keep you informed as events progress.

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Chair, Board of Directors, Fathers & Families
Dan Hogan, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director, Fathers & Families
Mike McCormick, Executive Director, American Coalition for Fathers and Children
Glenn Sacks, newspaper columnist"

The PBS Campaign

I would like once again to thank the Sackson Horde and our allies for their massive participation in the campaign against PBS's Breaking the Silence. The film was a public relations debacle for PBS, particularly after we revealed that one of the mothers portrayed as a heroic victim in the film had been found culpable of multiple acts of child abuse by a California Juvenile Court.

We will not know the exact nature of this new film for certain until the final cut is made and the film is broadcast. However, over the past several months PBS has taken steps which indicate that they intend to honor their commitment to produce a balanced program.

informs fathers about their rights during divorce litigation while providing them with concrete, practical resources to get results in the courtroom. DadsDivorce.com is a popular meeting place for fathers facing divorce.

Learn About the 3 Forces That Make Men Weak, 'Nice,' and Passive
Paul Coughlin, author of No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts Men, Women, and Children, takes aim at a cultural prejudice against men, a dangerous caricature of gentle Jesus meek and mild, and explains how passive people think and how they are made, not born. Says Dr. Laura, who wrote the forward, "This is a fabulous book. It's so clever, I think it will jump-start you guys--Christian or otherwise." Join the Good Guy Rebellion and start a better life today. Visit www.christianniceguy.com

English Fatherhood Activists Strike Again

According to Reuters:"Two fathers' rights campaigners were arrested on Friday after scaling Westminster Abbey with a crucified dummy Jesus Christ, police said.

"Two protesters demanding greater access to their children clambered up the historic landmark on Thursday with the dummy figure that wore a T-shirt bearing the words: 'Our Father Who Art in Hell.'

"The 'Real Fathers For Justice' said in a statement that they had staged their Easter protest to 'demand that both parents be as equal in family law as they are in the eyes of God.'

"A police spokeswoman said: 'They were arrested for aggravated trespass when they came down early this afternoon. They have been taken to a central London police station.'

"In January, the mainstream Fathers4Justice campaign group decided to disband after reports that police had foiled a plot to kidnap Prime Minister Tony Blair's five-year-old son Leo.

"The group, which insisted that none of its current members had been involved in any kidnap plot, had staged several high-profile protests in the past few years.

"A campaigner dressed as Batman climbed Queen Elizabeth's Buckingham Palace in 2004 and another threw purple flour bombs at Blair while he addressed parliament."

According to another report, one of the two men protesting had not seen his child for four years.

The "kidnap plot" mentioned by Reuters and every other media outlet reporting on the Westminster Abbey protest was a scam. At the time screaming headlines proclaimed "Plot to kidnap Blair's son smashed," "UK police foil plot to kidnap Blair's son," and "Scotland Yard uncovers plot to kidnap Blair's son."  These illustrate Mark Twain's assertion that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."

Major media worldwide--including CNN, the Associated Press, the BBC, Fox News, Reuters, and hundreds of newspapers--reported that extremists tied to the British fathers' rights group Fathers 4 Justice planned to kidnap British Prime Minister Tony Blair's five-year-old son Leo. Yet subsequent reports reveal that the sensationalized kidnapping 'plot' was apparently nothing more than drunken pub chattering among a few fools and loudmouths who evidently didn't realize they were being monitored. Not a single arrest has been made.

Nevertheless, this non-incident is and will for many years be used to portray the fathers' movement as violent extremists. It is certainly true that fathers' groups do attract a lunatic fringe. But most fathers' activists are decent, loving dads who can't quite believe that the family law system so readily allowed them to be driven out of the lives of the children who love them and need them.

Fathers 4 Justice's always nonviolent campaign has included many daring, highly publicized protests atop cranes, bridges, and government buildings. The grievances which drive them and activists in the US, Australia, and Western Europe are very real.

I have repeatedly defended Fathers 4 Justice's tactics and encouraged their extension into the United States. To learn more, see The Future of the American Father, my address to the 2004 Men's Rights Congress in Washington, DC. In my speech I said:

"Fathers 4 Justice has shown that men CAN fight for themselves as men and men CAN win. It takes a strategy, it takes discipline, and it takes unity...I want to see us take the fight here, and I want us to fight with the same courage, the same discipline, the same humanity, the same humor, and the same conviction our brothers in England have employed.

"Part of our problem is that we've waited for large numbers, and felt that if we don't have them we can't fight.  What Fathers 4 Justice has shown us is that you don't need large numbers of people--what you need is a cause which resonates with a lot of people--and God knows the mistreatment of fathers certainly does--and you need a small, disciplined group willing to take dramatic action to fight. I want to see David Chicks and Jolly Stansbys and Ron Davises and Spidermen and Powdermen in every American city and in every legislature and family court in the country. We can fight, we should fight, we must fight, and the men in this room right now should form the core leadership of that fight."

Online Support for Men Going Through Divorce

Don't feel isolated, frightened, confused or alone when going through your divorce.  Get the help and support you need without leaving your home at the Ottawa Divorce Forums www.OttawaDivorce.com/forum/

BBC Program Covers International Fatherhood Movement, Plays Segments from His Side with Glenn Sacks

The BBC recently did a program on the international fatherhood movement. The show featured segments from radio shows in South Africa, Australia, the Czech Republic, and His Side with Glenn Sacks here in the U.S. The program discussed the way England's Fathers 4 Justice helped bring the issue of fathers' rights into the public eye.

The segments from His Side were from the show Father Fights Adoption Agency for Right to Raise His Son (7/17/05), which discussed the Mark Huddleston case. Huddleston is the biological father of a 16-month-old child he says he wants to raise. But a judge has ruled the child should remain with its adoptive parents, who have had custody since the infant was three days old. Huddleston claims he didn't know the baby existed until two months after its birth, and the state said the private adoption agency hadn't properly notified Huddleston.

Despite doing everything possible to be a father to his son, Huddleston's baby boy was given away by a vindictive mother working hand in glove with a predatory adoption agency. Sixteen months and $70,000 in legal fees later, Huddleston has no rights to his own son. Huddleston, his attorney P.J. Hartman, and Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, were guests on the show.

To listen to the show, click here.

Dads, Learn to Take Charge of Your Case in Family Court

Go to www.Liberty-Bell-Union.org to take a comprehensive ONLINE course that teaches you how to handle your case - with or without a lawyer. Learn to Fight for your rights and your children -all for one-hour of a lawyer's fees. Learn to tell public about the tyranny that fathers face in these courts: Reason for Revolution: The Tyranny Against Fathers, Family, and Freedom.

Has Your Career Been Impacted by Custody Issues?

After empowering people's careers for over 20 year, I was duly initiated into family law just like you--through a 30 month, $520,000 custody suit.  From corporate transitions to home-based business options, know that there is a way for you to shake the financial shackles and experience a "no limits" career.  More than ever, your kids now need a free and available parent.  Be there for them... and for yourself.  Darrell W. Gurney, www.CareerGuy.com.

Parental Alienation Awareness Day

Parental Alienation Awareness Day
today (April 25) raises awareness about Parental Alienation Syndrome, the psychological abuse children suffer when a parent attempts to turn his or her children against the parent after divorce or separation.

Parental Alienation involves the systematic brainwashing and manipulation of children, both overtly and with subtle behaviors, that results in the destruction of a loving relationship they once shared with the parent. As a result, the child fears and/or hates the target parent without reason. According to psychologist Richard Warshak, author of Divorce Poison, in PAS cases "You will see a degree of contempt and cruelty reserved for one's worst enemies".

In my column PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily, 10/20/05), I described numerous Parental Alienation scenarios, including the following:

"'A four year-old boy is jumping up and down with joy.

"'Daddy! Daddy!'

"Dad gets out of the car.

"'Daddy's here! Daddy's here!'

"The boy is behind a locked screen door. He tries to open it.

"'Daddy's here! Mommy, look, daddy's here!'

"Dad knows he shouldn't open the door. He waits for his ex-wife to open the door. She doesn't do it.

"'This is my visitation time,' Dad says, waving a court document.

"Mom still won't open the door.

"The boy jumps up and down, saying 'daddy, daddy.' He yanks on the screen door handle but still can't get it open.

"Dad looks at his little boy. He pauses, takes a deep breath, and walks back to his car.

"The little boy doesn't understand. Why won't daddy come? Why is daddy walking away from him?

"The little boy disappears inside the house.

"Dad calls the police. When the officers arrive he shows them his court documents. The officers go inside to investigate. They come out a few minutes later.

"'Your son says he doesn't want to see you,' the officer says. 'There's nothing I can do. You'll have to deal with it in the court. I can't make him go with you if he doesn't want to.'

"Dad finally gets to see his kids three months later. The children spit on both him and their grandmother. Almost in unison they repeat 'I don't want to be here. I want to go home with mommy, I don't want to be here. I want to go home with mommy, I don't want to be here. I want to go home with mommy.'"

Experts backing Parental Alienation Awareness Day include Dr. Richard Warshak, Dr. Michael Bone, Dr. Reena Sommer, and numerous others. Warshak played an important role in the LaMusga move-away case in the California Supreme Court (to learn more, click here and here). Bone helps divorced parents through Tree House Solutions, which he co-founded. Sommer has done fine work on PAS, including during our Campaign Against PBS's Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence and regarding the tragic Lohstroh Parental Alienation case. To hear Sommer discuss PAS and Lohstroh on His Side with Glenn Sacks, see The Lohstroh Case: Alienating Mother Pushes 10 Year-Old Boy to Kill Father (10/31/04).

To learn more about Parental Alienation Awareness Day, go to www.parental-alienation-awareness.com or write to them here.

Are You a Target of Parental Alienation Syndrome?

The sponsors of Parental Alienation Awareness Day are interested in hearing your PAS story. To tell your story, click here.

The Secrets of Happily Married Men

How can a man achieve a long and happy marriage? If you've been checking out  advice columns or seeing a therapist, you may have been looking in the wrong place. Despite all the advances in brain technology, and all of that we have learned about developmental psychology--men and women are given the same advice about solving problems. But when we ask men what works for them, we hear a different story. www.SecretsofMarriedMen.com

How Does Sex Discrimination Affect Men and Boys?

The National Coalition of Free Men is a non-profit educational & civil rights organization that looks at the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys. NCFM helps provide men a unified voice on important political and social issues. www.NCFM.org

Some Feminist Domestic Violence Leaders Do Have Some Brain Cells Firing

Some of you may recall my sparring with Esta Soler, founder and president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, one of the world's leading domestic violence organizations, in the San Francisco Chronicle last year. Soler was unhappy over my column Domestic violence a two-way street (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/8/05) (aka Domestic Violence Series Substitutes Emotion for Facts) and fired back at me in the Chronicle, calling my column a "shameful example of cherry-picking and distorting data to confuse readers." Read her letter here.

My domestic violence column was written in response to a recent series of alarmist, manbashing articles in Chronicle. The article series to which this opinion column responds is (Traces of Danger Beneath the Calm and Deadly Warning, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/13/05).

At the time we invited Soler to discuss the issue with us on His Side with Glenn Sacks but she declined. However, I recently noticed some encouraging news about Soler in a Men's News Daily column by domestic violence expert Richard L. Davis called Mandatory Arrest and No-Drop Prosecution. Davis wrote:

"Soler believes that all acts of intimate partner violence are wrong. But, Soler acknowledges that domestic violence is not one person pushing another person once or twice because of an argument. Soler believes that domestic violence occurs when there is 'an ongoing pattern of fear, intimidation and violent assault.'"

Davis also has some positive news about Ellen Pence, who pioneered the highly-influential Duluth Intervention Project. In my column Domestic Violence Treatment Policies Put Abused Women in Harm's Way (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 11/7/05) I wrote:

"Current domestic violence treatment strategies are based on the Duluth model, which depicts domestic violence as a function of patriarchy and men's patriarchal privilege. This model assumes that the reason men physically abuse women is to maintain control over them. In ideologically-driven classes for offenders, men in need of serious psychological intervention are instead screamed at and called 'domestic terrorists' and 'fascists.'

"A recent report by the National Research Council's Committee on Law and Justice condemns these programs for failing to consider non-Duluth causes of domestic violence. The report criticizes the way batterers are 'treated as a homogeneous group,' and states that treatment programs are 'driven by ideology and stakeholder interests rather than by plausible theories and scientific evidence of cause.'

"While some domestic violence no doubt stems from a warped desire to control spouses or intimates, most experts believe that the roots of domestic violence generally lay elsewhere."

According to Davis, Pence "also believes that today's one-size-fits-all mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies are not accomplishing what the Duluth Intervention Project intended. Pence acknowledges and understands that those who commit minor acts of 'family conflict' or one act of abuse are not 'batterers.'"

Davis' article criticizes the way the current domestic violence system hammers on anyone accused of abuse, regardless of whether the individual in question is truly a batterer or was instead involved in a minor and/or mutual physical confrontation, or was falsely accused altogether. I've discussed this problem in numerous columns, including Baseball Player's Domestic Violence Arrest Demonstrates How Men are Presumed Guilty in Domestic Disputes (Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 8/8/02), VAWA Renewal Provides Opportunity to Stop Destruction of Innocent Cops' Careers (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 7/19/05), and my co-authored Domestic Violence Lawsuit Will Help Secure Services for All Abuse Victims (Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 12/28/05).

Legal Help for Fathers

If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside or Orange counties and you're facing a divorce, separation, or a child custody issue, the law firm of Oddenino & Gaule can help.

Congressional Candidate Takes Strong Stand for Noncustodial Parents' Rights

In 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik had a strong noncustodial parents' rights platform.  Badnarik is clearly aware of and sensitive to the basic problems fathers today face, particularly the sole custody norm and the denigration of noncustodial parents to "second class parent" status. Badnarik is running for Congress in 2006--to learn more, go to www.badnarik.org.

Domestic Violence Law Enforcement Policies Criticized by Ex-Cop

George Sperry, a retired police officer, echoes similar sentiments in a recent letter to the editor of a San Diego newspaper. Sperry wrote:

"I recall police training classes in the '70s and '80s--mandated after the earlier laws were passed--given by female instructors (never saw a male instructor), with their teachings so dripping with male hatred that everyone in the class felt uncomfortable, male and female officers alike. Truly abused women needed better laws to protect them, but not these. They also removed arrest decisions from the responding officer and we repeatedly had to arrest the man, some whose only crime was physically repelling a woman attacking him.

"In the hundreds of calls of domestic violence I responded to in my career, perhaps 90 percent to 95 percent were false, yet I saw children's and men's lives destroyed irrevocably due to vindictive, greedy, spoiled, mentally imbalanced, and/or drug-infested women perverting the judicial system. This is not to say the man was a pillar of virtue, just that the judicial sword was placed in the woman's hand by poor laws.

"The best I could do, in face of mandated laws, would be to also arrest the woman if there was sufficient evidence she also was violently involved (not self-defense reactions) or initiated the incident. On rare occasion, able to prove the woman's claim was false, I would arrest only her. Obviously, in those cases, I was not popular with whatever movement supported this 'Alice in Wonderland' approach, nor with supervisors or prosecuting attorneys so self-absorbed with political correctness that truth was irrelevant."

Convicted Murderess Gets Protective Order Against the Father Whose Girl She Drowned

The Judi L. Noe case is....amazing. According to the Associated Press article Woman convicted of killing daughter gets protective order:

"A woman convicted of drowning her 2-year-old daughter obtained a protective order against the girl's father after she was released from prison earlier this week.

"Judi L. Noe, 36, served one year and 13 days in prison on a charge of voluntary manslaughter for drowning her daughter, Brieana Jaide Noe, in June 2004.

"The girl's father, Brad May, said Tuesday he was not surprised by the order, granted by an Allen Superior Court magistrate. He has been critical of the decision to release Noe.

"'I wish somebody would have put half this much energy into protecting Brieana as they are into protecting Judi now,' May said.

"Noe pleaded guilty but mentally ill to the reduced charges and was sentenced to serve five years of an eight-year sentence in prison, followed by three years on probation.

"Allen Superior Court Judge John Surbeck Jr. on Feb. 23 approved Noe's early release from prison and moved her to the county's re-entry program, which requires weekly court appearances and provides counseling and job-search assistance.

"Noe was scheduled to begin mental health treatment this week as part of her early release.

"The protective order prohibits May, who lives in Michigan, from contacting Noe in any manner, including by telephone, in person or by letter and from harassing, annoying, or threatening her for two years."

Amazing--she murders (OK, "manslaughters") their baby, and she's a victim in need of protection.

According to another article, after what could be euphemistically called Noe's "sentencing" on March 29 of last year, the little girl's father "described the sentence as absurd and said five years in prison isn't enough time for 'a baby killer.'"

The father asserted that it was not a coincidence that Noe drowned Brieana on Father's Day, and told the judge during the hearing that "he believed Noe planned to kill their daughter after he began pursuing custody. He also told the judge he believes his daughter struggled and suffered for at least 30 minutes before she died, based on his conversations with doctors."

If May had been given custody of the little girl instead of her mother, she would be alive today.

This case is another fine example of the female sentencing discount. Carol Kuhn, the child's paternal grandmother, believes "the judicial system made a joke of the situation by giving Noe such a short prison term."

"Judi essentially just got away with it," Kuhn said.

I discussed the female sentencing discount in my column Female Murderers Seen in a Different Light: Society Prefers to View Violent Women as Victims (Pasadena Star-News & Affiliated Papers, 7/5/01). My friend Marc Angelucci later wrote a better and more thorough analysis of this problem--see Males Get Longer Sentences Than Females For Same Crime (Ifeminists.com, 4/23/02).

To learn more about the problem of restraining order abuse, see my co-authored column Letterman Case Shows Problems with Restraining Orders (Albuquerque Tribune, 1/17/06) and my column VAWA Renewal Provides Opportunity to Stop Destruction of Innocent Cops' Careers (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 7/19/05).

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks
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