I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Glenn Sacks on Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin

April 24, 2007 - By Glenn Sacks

I appeared along with celebrity journalist Pat Lalama on CNN Headline News' Showbiz Tonight on Friday to discuss the Alec Baldwin case.

While I absolutely condemn Baldwin's angry phone message to his daughter, I defend Baldwin's overall position in this case. I consider Kim Basinger's long, well-documented Parental Alienation campaign against Baldwin to be far more damaging to their daughter Ireland than Baldwin's angry outburst, and believe that Basinger has put Baldwin in an extremely difficult and painful position. On the show I said:

"Parental Alienation campaigns such as what Kim has done to Alec Baldwin are very common. This campaign that she has done for the past six years has been so bad that even Basinger's mother has come out and condemned her daughter, and said that Alec is a good father, that he loves his daughter, that she loves him, and that Kim has done everything she could to drive him out of her life.

"This tape, what he did is wrong, there's no question that it's wrong, he should apologize, he has apologized. He lost his temper but let's look at this tape in context--for six years his fatherhood has been hanging by a thread. He's been trying to stay in his daughter's life against every attempt by Basinger to drive him out."

Regarding Basinger's mother's description of the alienation campaign, the Irish Examinerreported:

"Kim Basinger's mother has blasted her own daughter for wrecking relations between her ex-husband Alec Baldwin and the couple's daughter. Baldwin recently took Basinger to court in a bid to extend his custody terms after the actress allegedly violated a court imposed settlement, and now little Ireland's grandmother is speaking out about the court battle...she calls [Baldwin] 'wonderful,' adding, 'My heart is sad for Ireland. She's the one that's suffering the most. All this is killing her. I think Kim has tried to alienate Ireland from her father. Alec loves his daughter with all his heart. He really is a family man...I hate what [Kim] is doing.'"

I was very impressed with celebrity journalist Pat Lalama, the other guest on the show. She's followed the Basinger-Baldwin case form the beginning, and had several interesting observations. As a child of divorce herself, she has some insights as to how it must feel for Ireland to be caught in the middle of this.

Some other points:

1) There are times in any parent's life when the parent blows up at his or her child. There is not one parent reading this--not one--who can honestly say that they've never lost their temper with their children and said things that they should not have said. Those in the media moralizing at Baldwin are either hypocrites, have a faulty memory, or are such marginal parents that they never interacted with their kids enough to reach a real level of frustration. I was a teacher for many years, and Baldwin's tirade, while bad, is nowhere near as bad as some that I've heard. And sometimes the kids deserved it.

2) These tapes were apparently leaked to the media by Basinger, in violation of a court order. Basinger's purpose in leaking them was revenge against Baldwin and leverage in her court battle to drive Baldwin out of his daughter's life. Does anybody really think that Ireland's best interests are served by Basinger leaking this publicly?

Baldwin's lawyer, Viki Roberts, said, "Whatever happened yesterday was sealed and confidential...The mother and her lawyer leaked this sealed material in violation of a court order. Although Alec acknowledges that he should have used different language in parenting his child, everyone who knows him privately knows what he has been put through for the past six years....In the best interest of the child, Alec will do what the mother is pathologically incapable of doing - keeping his mouth shut and obeying the court order."

Had Basinger never leaked the tape to the media, Baldwin would've apologized to Ireland and the incident would've been soon forgotten. Instead Ireland is branded by the incident for the rest of her childhood and, to some degree, the rest of her life.

3) One tactic frequently employed by alienating mothers is to drive the father crazy by employing alienation tactics, violating visitation orders, forbidding the father to speak to the child on the phone, poisoning the child's mind against the father, etc. This is done in an effort to provoke the father into blowing his top. And when he does, mom pretends to be a scared, quivering little lamb fearful of "his awful temper."

Basinger played it very well here, and Baldwin was foolish to allow himself to fall into her trap. I'm sure Basinger will now be telling us how traumatized Ireland is, and how she is fearful and needs therapy and time away from her father to recover from what he did to her. What Ireland really needs is time away from Basinger and her malignant alienation. I doubt any conflict between Ireland and Baldwin would last 10 minutes if not for Basinger's influence.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

An Interchapter Interlude about the Plantronics Voyager™ 510S Bluetooth Headset as a metaphor for grit and determination

This is a special note not related to the dispute with the ex but worthy of reporting. I use a bluetooth mobile phone headset, particularly while driving as it is safer and given I use a prosthesis on my left arm it is also practical. During one very cold morning this winter (I believe it was January 23rd, 2008 the day I was to take Delia to school early to catch the bus for Buttermilk downhill ski lessons with her classmates.) I lost the headset in the driveway after a heavy snowfall while trying to start my truck. I needed to hook cables to the battery under the hood. I must have moved my ear against the upraised collar of my coat and given the coldness didn't feel the headset fall off. It disappeared under the snow of which we have had copious quantities. Delia saw it on the weekend sitting forlornly out of the melting snow, its tarnished grey body attesting to the cold and dark grave it sat in for over two months. What a keen eye she has. I immediately took it in the house and started drying it out. Water had gotten into the electronics portion and was dripping out as the device was tapped against my wrist. I put it on the window ledge and let it soak up sunshine and heat and then overnight on the furnace grate to catch the warm air circulating. I checked it after 24 hours on the grate and it seemed to be dry. I plugged it into the charger and the flashing red light came on. A good sign I thought. This morning the blue light was burning steadily meaning a full charge. I'm wearing it now and it is fully functional. I am impressed. It spent over 2 months under the snow and ice, got driven over many times in its icy cocoon and yet it is functional. This is not a commercial by any stretch of the imagination nor do I have shares in Plantronics but I am one impressed user of this device. It is a bit of good news amidst all the gloom. My daughter has great visual acuity and helped rescue this headset from its icy grave. That it works is testament to not giving up against what appear to be very large odds. I could have thrown it out but instead persisted. Let persistence relating to this device I recovered and rehabilitated be a metaphor for any parent being alienated from their children. Don't give up - be determined! Your children are your legacy and worth every ounce of love and resolve you can give. What else is there in life more important than your progeny and family. Family is the basic building block of our civilization and is, therefore, fundamental to all that flows outward whether it be your part of the street, the neighbourhood, the community... Mike Murphy

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Who’s oppressing who?

Barbara Kay | Saturday, 5 April 2008

One of Canada’s leading newspaper columnists takes on the ideology of feminism.

Rosie the Riveter, a famous WWII posterIn its earliest and most benign form – the political campaign to achieve equality under the law and equality in economic opportunities – feminism was a necessary and welcome reform movement. No rational person could be less than delighted to see barriers to a full range of educational and career options for women fall by the wayside.

The feminism I take exception to today is not the mild and blameless right of a woman to self-actualize that all women absorb by osmosis from the cultural air we breathe, but the radical ideology that has come to dominate the movement’s academic and institutional elites over the last 40 years.
This is an ideology that sees the relations between the sexes as a never-ending antagonistic power struggle, with women as eternal victims and men as eternal oppressors. It is an ideology that explains away the moral failings of women as the fault of a patriarchal "system", but holds men responsible for their actions. And most important, it is an ideology that shortchanges children by privileging the rights and importance to children of mothers over fathers.

That kind of feminism is so deeply entrenched in our society’s cultural elites and the institutions they dominate -- really it is the defining ideology of our era -- that whether she wants to or not, no thinking woman can escape the necessity of negotiating some kind of relationship with its claims.

However intellectually objective we all try to be, each of us brings our own particular life experiences to the decision of what kind of relationship that will be, and I am no different.
So for full disclosure: I brought two relevant pieces of personal history to the table. The first is that I am the daughter -- one of three -- of a charismatic, entrepreneurial, risk-taking father. Having known the privations of extreme poverty in his youth, he was so obsessed with providing economic security for his family that he literally worked himself to a premature death.

Because he was a hero to me, I am well disposed toward the men I meet, unless I am shown good reason not to be, and as a result there are many wonderful men in my life, not least my husband of 44 years and my son and son-in-law, both supportive, loving husbands of high-achieving women and engaged, beloved fathers of two daughters each.

Everything in my experience with men points to the conclusion that different cultural values around relations between the sexes produce different outcomes. Normal, psychologically healthy men, raised in a society respectful of women, as Canada’s heritage culture is, are governed in their relations with women by the instinct to protect them, not to hurt them.

The second element I bring to the subject is the fact that I am a Jew, and grew up at a moment of expanding acceptance of Jews as social equals, a direct result of the world’s sympathy for Jews following the Holocaust.

Because of my people’s unique history, I am instinctively wary of any group – whether a race, an ethnic group, a religion or a sex - that plays a dualistic hand, scapegoating an entire group to explain the unachieved goals of its own members. For a scapegoating ideology always ends in grievance-collecting and a conspiracy theory of history. My people has been unusually vulnerable to conspiracy theory evils over the centuries. It is presently in the midst of battling a particularly destructive and existentially threatening one.

Virtually all Arab and many other Muslim nations rely on Jew hatred to externalize an explanation for their own failures. It works very well. The world has not seen such a widespread and virulent strain of anti-Semitism dominating an entire region since the Nazi era. So I can say with the conviction bred of close scrutiny that I have no use for blame-laying ideologies of any kind.

The time and place in which I grew up was friendly to intellectual diversity, friendly to Israel and becoming very friendly to women. The time and place I inhabit today is unfriendly to intellectual diversity, very unfriendly to Israel, not so friendly to heterosexual men, but extraordinarily friendly to women. These are some of the themes I have lived, and now they are the themes I write about.

The Bridget Jones phenomenon
I started writing intermittently for the National Post in 2000, and on a weekly basis in 2003. For the first several years I wrote frequently about "bad girl culture": a column on children’s hookerwear – little girls dressing like Vegas show girls with the complicity and even active encouragement of their mothers; then one on young women at Ivy League universities starting porn magazines; and a few about the demeaning custom of "hooking up": guilt-free promiscuity with no consequences, or rather none admitted.

I argued that what began for women as sexual liberation had degenerated into irresponsible, intimacy-anaesthetizing, sexual libertinism, an unhealthy trend for women and for society.
In its most delusional form, I cited what I considered a perfect media representation of the phenomenon: the 2001 movie Bridget Jones’s Diary. This was supposedly an update of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s classic novel of a meeting of true minds. In the novel the dignified and witty Elizabeth Bennet captures the heart of the upright and gallant Mr Darcy through her strong character, integrity and intelligence.

In the movie version Elizabeth has morphed into the ditzy Bridget Jones, an impulsive, chain-smoking slob of no discernible wit or understanding of human nature, entirely focused on sex, and available to any good-looking man who crosses her path without regard to his character. She is cute and sexy, nothing else.

Strangely, the modern Mr Darcy character with whom Bridget ends up -- completely unrealistically, of course because in real life such a man would never take her seriously -- is in every way a faithful recreation of the original, an intelligent, refined man of taste, discernment and sexual restraint. My conclusion: "Bridget Jones’ and Mark Darcy’s screen characters illuminate a curious postmodern gender disparity in moral standards… For the gentleman is a gentleman still, but the lady has become a tramp."

Feminism and demography
I moved on from there to the dramatic demographic consequences feminism has had on society. As a result of feminists’ promotion of career equity with men and unrestrained sexual experimentation over early and faithful commitment, women are having fewer children later, and many are having none. Consequently, birthrates are down in all western countries, in many below the replacement levels. Canada’s current fertility rate is 1.54 per woman, behind one-child China’s 1.7.

Sadly, many women realize they want to have children, but too late. They were not warned by their Women’s Studies teachers or by feminist commentators that fertility peaks by age 25, or that late pregnancies carry elevated risks, or that induced abortions pose a risk of pre-term delivery in future pregnancies.
Abortion is now such a commonplace here that it is used as a backup form of birth control. Abortions in Quebec have doubled in the last 10 years: in 1998 16 percent of pregnancies resulted in abortion. Today 30 percent do. You don’t have to be a religious Christian to find that statistic disturbing.

All of these realities are directly traceable to feminist doctrine. Feminists’ original goal may not have been the intention to preside over the actual demographic decline of western civilization. Their goal was to empower women. But as the old saying goes, when you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s difficult to remember that your original intention was to drain the swamp.

Campaigning against men
I then turned my attention to the negative and far-ranging effects, of feminism on men. Misandry, which is the female equivalent of misogyny (misanthropy is a hatred of humankind), is now entrenched in our public discourse, our education system and social services. Misandry flies beneath most people’s radar, because we have become compliant in the acceptance of theories that have nothing to do with reality, and compliant in the speech codes that accompany that tendency.

Denigration of men in ways both casual and formal are a commonplace in society. Last Christmas I saw an advertisement for a butcher block knife holder in the shape of a man. The slot for the largest knife was placed in his groin. Hilarious? Imagine a knifeholder in the shape of a woman and a knife slot at the vagina. Hilarious? Not so much. Once you become aware of the phenomenon, you will see it everywhere, trust me.

For overt misandry, one has only to survey the industry around domestic violence. You could be forgiven for thinking that domestic violence is a one-way street, for that is certainly the impression one has from the fact that there are innumerable tax-funded shelters for abused women, none for abused men, unlimited funds for campaigns to raise consciousness around abused women, none for abused men. There is not a single social services agency or charity in Canada advertising "family services" that offers counseling, shelter or legal services for men who have been physically abused by women.

When angry feminists adduce their mantra that only men are inherently violent and that women use violence only in self-defense, I bring up a theme that is forbidden to discussion in women’s shelters: how is it then that partner violence amongst lesbians is significantly higher than amongst heterosexual partnerships?

How is it that children are far, far more likely to be physically abused by their mothers than their fathers? And when they are, how can we justify a woman’s right to take her children to a shelter to escape a violent husband when there is no shelter in the country that will accept a father with children fleeing an abusive mother?

The implosion of the family
Finally I want to talk about the implosion of the traditional family, which can be directly traced to feminism’s repudiation of normative marriage and the role of fathers as vital to a child’s psychological well-being. In June 2006 I wrote about the imbalance, in women’s favour, in the family law system: 90 per cent of contested custody suits end in sole custody awarded to the mother. Such a skewed percentage is unthinkable in any other branch of law.
The family law system is now systemically colonized by radical feminists. Their goal is the incremental legal eclipse of men's influence over women's spheres of "identity" interests, which includes children. To that end the custody issue has become a front line in the gender wars, supported by all feminist academics and institutional elites, by supine cabinet ministers and by feminist judges.

To illustrate with just a few examples:
  • Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin: "We have to be pro-active in rearranging the Canadian family"
  • Former justice minister Martin Cauchon: "Men have no rights, only responsibilities"
  • Feminist psychologist Peter Jaffe, a social-context educator of family court judges: "[J]oint custody is an attempt of males to continue dominance over females"
  • And most egregiously this from the National Association of Women and the Law: "Courts may treat parents unequally and deny them basic civil liberties and rights, as long as their motives are good".
Here we are truly in George Orwell country. In simple words this statement means "The end justifies the means" and there is not a totalitarian regime in the world that does not espouse that exact excuse for their denial of rights to their citizens. In our courts the "good" that motivates them is supposedly the child’s "best interests" but in fact it is virtually always the mother’s happiness. This is not justice.

Misandry in family law
Misandry in family law arises from an ideology that views children as the property of women, even though many peer-reviewed studies show children want and need both parents, and no studies show sole parenting by a mother serves children's best interests. This ideology is instilled in judges during training sessions featuring feminism-driven materials, and subsequently often plays out as unaccountable kangaroo courts.
The result is that an adversarial mother who initiates a divorce against the will of the father --however indifferent her parenting skills, however superb his - and even if the children spend their days with nannies or day care workers --pretty well has a lock on sole custody of the children.

If she makes a false allegation of abuse in order to have him barred from the house -– this happens regularly; any unsubstantiated claim of abuse or even voicing her fear of abuse by a woman will be acted upon instantly by the police and the courts with no recourse for the man – or denies rightful access to the father, she will never be punished at all.
Conversely, if he withholds support money, even if he has lost his job and has no other means of paying, he will be criminalised: His picture as a "deadbeat dad" may appear on government-sanctioned internet sites, and if he goes to jail, as is likely, he will serve a longer sentence than cocaine dealers.

In the days when children belonged to both their parents, it used to be said that children were "hostages to fortune." Today they are hostages to feminism and the state.
And yet every credible sociological study on record demonstrates without ambiguity that if there is a single sure indicator for success in adulthood, it is the presence of a father in a child’s life from the time he or she is old enough to negotiate a path through the world beyond her doorstep. If there is a sure indicator of failure – dropping out, drugs, promiscuity, crime – it is not poverty, it is fatherlessness in later childhood and adolescence.
There is a Yiddish expression my mother used to invoke with a philosophical sigh, "der reidele dreht sich" – the wheel turns. A hundred years ago, it was homosexual love that dared not speak its name. Today homosexual love roars, and it is manliness that whispers in the shadows.

Goethe said: "All theory is grey, but green springs the golden tree of life." The time for zero-sum theories – if your sex wins, mine loses – is past. Men’s voices needn’t be silenced for women’s to be heard. We need more conversation, less monologue. Only one voice should be privileged by everyone: the still, small voice of conscience. Conscience leads away from sexism and toward humanism. Humanism leads to mutual respect and trust between the sexes. And collaboration between the sexes leads to the "golden tree of life" we should all be striving toward – a healthy society.


Barbara Kay writes for the National Post. This article is an excerpt from a speech given earlier this week to the McGill University Women’s Alumnae Association on the Impact of Feminism on Society.