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.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Voices from the grave, betrayed by a restraining order

Carey Roberts
Carey Roberts April 6, 2009
Debi Olson had three restraining orders taken out against her. But that didn't stop the woman from ambushing ex-husband Mauricio Droguett in an Iowa shopping mall last July, fatally stabbing him in front of shocked mall-goers. Toni Brown of Washington, DC was shot by former girlfriend Raina Johnson on August 12, 2008, leaving the woman paralyzed from her neck down. Johnson is currently serving a 28-year sentence for a crime the judge termed "extraordinarily brutal." A restraining order had been previously issued against the assailant. Karen Allende of New York City was walking to work on a September day in 2006 when she was attacked suddenly by her husband. She died that morning on the sidewalk, a restraining order folded neatly in her purse. Each year 2-3 million domestic restraining orders are issued for the purpose of curbing domestic violence. Simply put, these orders of "protection" are a hoax foisted on unsuspecting victims, all at taxpayer expense. Restraining orders are a travesty for the simple reason that they don't work. Debi Olson had stalked her ex-husband across the country and worked herself into a lather of spiteful rage. Does anyone in their right mind really believe a piece of page will deter a person who is that intent on killing her former partner? And a 1994 study published in the American Journal of Public Health followed 150 women in Houston, Texas who had applied for a restraining order. Eighteen months later the researchers found no difference in abuse levels between women who received the order compared to those who did not. Ruing the lack of benefit, a 2005 report from the Independent Women's Forum noted restraining orders can "lull women into a false sense of security." Some persons would simply shrug their shoulders, saying there's an example of yet another well-intentioned but useless government program. But other research shows restraining orders can actually make a touchy situation worse. One Department of Justice report, "Civil Protection Orders: Victims' Views on Effectiveness," found that six months after issuance of the order, the percentage of persons experiencing repeated physical abuse or stalking had doubled, and the number facing psychological abuse had tripled. So how do restraining orders add fuel to the fire? The reason is restraining orders are often issued on the say-so of the complainant — all she has to do is tell the judge she is "frightened" or "afraid" of her partner — no proof needed. According to a study published in Cost Management last year, 71% of restraining orders are trivial or false. But according to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, "nothing is being done to stop frivolous requests for restraining orders." So how would you feel if you were booted from your house and told you couldn't see your kids because your partner happened to be feeling blue that day? Other times a restraining order is part of a calculated effort to gain a tactical edge during a divorce action. A 2005 article in the Illinois Bar Journal revealed restraining orders are "part of the gamesmanship of divorce." Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, once confided, "Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply." Tales abound of schemers who violate the terms of the restraining order, heaping even more penalties on the hapless man. Last summer Marshall Crandall of Vassalboro, Maine got into an altercation with his wife. By the woman's own admission the exchange was mutual: "I picked him up three or four times and slammed him on the ground." But when the police arrived, they arrested only the man and a restraining order was taken out against him. Once in jail, she visited him on three occasions. Even though she had initiated the contacts, they were seen as a violation of the restraining order. That unwanted attention earned Mr. Crandall nine months behind bars. By placing the burden of proof on the accused to show his innocence, many worry restraining orders violate fundamental notions of fairness and due process. At one New Jersey seminar, startled judges were told, "Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, 'See ya' around.'" Judge Milton Raphaelson of Massachusetts once opined, "Few lives, if any, have been saved, but much harm, and possibly loss of lives, has come from the issuance of restraining orders and the arrests and conflicts ensuring therefrom." Each year, the Violence Against Women Act spends up to $75 million to promote restraining orders. That's the kind of wasteful federal program that leaves a bad taste in taxpayers' mouths.

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism. Mr. Roberts' work has been cited on the Rush Limbaugh show. Besides serving as a regular contributor to RenewAmerica.us, he has published in The Washington Times, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, Men's News Daily, eco.freedom.org, The Federal Observer, Opinion Editorials, and The Right Report. Previously, he served on active duty in the Army, was a professor of psychology, and was a citizen-lobbyist in the US Congress. In his spare time he admires Norman Rockwell paintings, collects antiques, and is an avid soccer fan. He now works as an independent researcher and consultant. © Copyright 2009 by Carey Roberts


Edward Kruk, M.S.W., Ph.D. The University of British Columbia December, 2008
This paper was commissioned by the Father Involvement Research Alliance (FIRA) based at the University of Guelph. Funding support for FIRA and this paper was provided through a Community University Research Alliance grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The intent of this paper is to promote informed dialogue and debate. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FIRA or of other researchers/collaborators associated with FIRA. Communications can be addressed to the author.
About the Author
Dr. Edward Kruk, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, has been extensively involved in research in the area of child and family policy, particularly child custody, child care, and child protection policy. His research has focused on noncustodial fathers, women struggling with addiction, the working methods of divorce professionals, and harm reduction. Dr. Kruk has been the Academic Leader of the Cluster on Separated and Divorced Dads, a component of the Father Involvement Research Alliance, conducting research and working in partnership with a variety of programs dedicated to supporting fathers and their children. You can contact Professor Kruk at kruk@interchange dot ubc dot ca
Child custody and access law and policy remain among the most contentious areas of family law and family practice. A rights-based discourse dominates the field; as Mason (1994) has argued, the “best interests of the child” standard has historically reflected a struggle between mothers’ and fathers’ rights, with children’s needs considered to be commensurate with either position. Children are viewed at different times as fathers’ property, as requiring the “tender care” of mothers, and as rightfully “belonging” to one or the other parent.
In recent years, however, with increasing scrutiny of the indeterminacy of the “best interests of the child” standard (Bala, 2000), a new ethic has emerged, one that recognizes the fact that children’s needs and interests are separate from (although related to) the rights of their parents. Thus a new “parental responsibility” discourse is gradually being introduced into legal statutes, public policy and, at the level of practice, mainly outside of Canada. Any analysis of child custody and access policy, then, must take into account both the limitations of the dominant “parental rights” discourse and the emergence of the new “parental responsibility” framework.
Unlike previous examinations of child custody and access in Canada, this paper proceeds from the perspective that the “best interests of the child” during and after parental separation are, essentially, a matter of recognizing and addressing the child’s most fundamental needs in this time of family transition. These needs are, according to child development experts such as Penelope Leach and Gordon Neufeld, best addressed by supporting parents in the fulfillment of their parental responsibilities, a goal to which social institutions such as legislatures and the judiciary are bound. Such a focus on children’s needs, parental responsibilities, and the responsibilities of social institutions to support parents in meeting their parental obligations is largely absent in current Canadian socio-legal discourse. This paper aims to shift the current rights-based discourse of Canadian feminist and fathers’ rights groups to a responsibility-based framework focused on children’s needs.
The most recent research strongly supports a shift away from the “one size fits all,” “winner take all” sole custody framework toward the notion of shared parental responsibility. This report highlights the following research findings in this regard:
  1. Sole maternal custody often leads to parental alienation and father absence, and father absence is associated with negative child outcomes. Eighty five per cent of youth in prison are fatherless; 71 per cent of high school dropouts are fatherless; 90 per cent of runaway children are fatherless; and fatherless youth exhibit higher levels of depression and suicide, delinquency, promiscuity and teen pregnancy, behavioural problems and illicit and licit substance abuse (Statistics Canada, 2005; Crowder and Teachman, 2004; Ellis et al., 2003; Ringback Weitoft et al., 2003; Jeynes, 2001; Leonard et al., 2005; McCue Horwitz et al,, 2003; McMunn, 2001; Margolin and Craft, 1989; Blankenhorn, 1995; Popenoe, 1996; Vitz, 2000; Alexander, 2003). These studies also found that fatherless youth are more likely to be victims of exploitation and abuse, as father absence through divorce is strongly associated with diminished self-concepts in children (Parish, 1987).
  2. Children of divorce want equal time with their parents and consider shared parenting to be in their best interests. Seventy per cent of children of divorce believe that equal amounts of time with each parent is the best living arrangement for children, and children who have had equal time arrangements have the best relations with each of their parents after divorce (Fabricius, 2003).
  3. A recent meta-analysis of the major North American studies comparing sole and joint physical custody arrangements has shown that children in joint custody arrangements fare significantly better on all adjustment measures than children who live in sole custody arrangements (Bauserman, 2002). Bauserman compared child adjustment in joint physical and joint legal custody settings with sole (maternal and paternal) custody settings, and also intact family settings, examined children’s general adjustment, family relationships, self-esteem, emotional and behavioral adjustment, divorce-specific adjustment, as well as the degree and nature of ongoing conflict between parents. On every measure of adjustment, children in joint physical custody arrangements were faring significantly better than children in sole custody arrangements: “Children in joint custody arrangements had fewer behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem, and better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements.” The positive outcomes of joint custody were also evident among high-conflict couples.
  4. Inter-parental conflict decreases over time in shared custody arrangements, and increases in sole custody arrangements. Inter-parental cooperation increases over time in shared custody arrangements, and decreases in sole custody arrangements. One of the key findings of the Bauserman meta analysis was the unexpected pattern of decreasing parental conflict in joint custody families and the increase of conflict over time in sole custody families. The less a parent feels threatened by the loss of her or his child and the parental role, the less the likelihood of subsequent violence.
  5. Both U.S. and Canadian research indicates that mothers and fathers working outside the home now spend comparable amounts of time caring for their children. According to the most recent Health Canada research (Higgins and Duxbury, 2002), on average, each week mothers devote 11.1 hours to child care, fathers 10.5 hours. According to Statistics Canada (Marshall, 2006), men, although still less involved in primary child care, have significantly increased theirparticipation in recent years. As the gender difference in time spent in child care has diminished, shared parenting after separation has emerged as the norm among parents who are not involved in a legal contest over the custody of their children (Statistics Canada, 2004).
Although recent research on Canadian child custody outcomes in contested cases is largely lacking, court file analysis data (Department of Justice, 1990) reveal that in 77 per cent of contested custody cases, child custody is awarded solely to the mother, and solely to the father in only 8.6 per cent of cases. The fact that sole maternal custody is the norm in contested custody cases in Canada is obfuscated by the fact that the label of “joint custody” is often applied by both judges and researchers to post-separation living arrangements in which children remain in the primary care of one parent. From the perspective of children, such de facto sole custody arrangements are woefully inadequate, often resulting in the loss of one of their primary caregivers. From the perspective of both international conventions (U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child) and reports such as that of the Special Joint House of Commons-Senate Committee on Child Custody and Access (1998), such arrangements undermine children’s fundamental need for both parents actively and responsibly involved in their lives. Canada lags behind several U.S. jurisdictions, Australia, France, Sweden and other countries in reforming child custody law and practice in a manner that positions children’s need for the responsible involvement of both parents in their lives at the forefront of child custody legislation. Children and other family members remain at risk of abuse, parental alienation, and depression within the dominant sole custody framework. The shared parental responsibility approach to child custody determination is presented here as a viable alternative to sole custody in contested cases, and as the arrangement most compatible with the stated objectives of Canadian legislative family law reform, as outlined in the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access report, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Family Law Committee report, and the Child-centred Family Justice Strategy: to promote meaningful relationships between children and their parents following separation and divorce, to encourage parental cooperation, and to reduce parental conflict and litigation. The shared parental responsibility model of child custody determination for the Canadian context is detailed herein as “A Four Pillar Approach to Child Custody Determination In Canada,” as follows:
  1. Legal Presumption of Shared Parental Responsibility (Rebuttable Presumption of Joint Physical Custody in Family Law): the first pillar establishes a legal expectation that existing parent-child relationships will continue after separation; in cases of dispute, shared parenting, defined as children spending equal time with each of their parents, would be the legal presumption in the absence of established family violence or child abuse. This expectationprovides judges with a clear guideline and will avoid placing judges, in the absence of expertise in this area, in the position of adjudicating children’s “best interests” in non-violence cases. It will preserve meaningful parental relationships between children and both of their parents, maximize parental cooperation and reduce conflict, and prevent serious family violence and child abuse. It will divert parents from a destructive court battle over their children’s care, and will provide an incentive for parents to engage in therapeutic family mediation focused on the development of cooperative parenting plans. Shared parental responsibility is in keeping with current caregiving patterns, as the majority of mothers and fathers are now sharing responsibility for child care in two-parent families.
  2. Parenting Plans, Mediation, and Support/Intervention in High Conflict Cases: the second pillar establishes a legal expectation that parents jointly develop a parenting plan before any court hearing is held on matters related to post-separation parenting. The court’s role would then be to ratify the negotiated plan. Through direct negotiation, parent education programs,court-based or independent mediation, or lawyer negotiation, a detailed parenting plan that delineates the parental responsibilities that will meet the needs of the children would be developed before any court hearing is held. With a legal presumption of shared parental responsibility as the cornerstone, mediation could become the instrument whereby parentscould be assisted in the development of a child-focused parenting plan. High conflict couples would be helped, with therapeutic intervention, to achieve more amicable shared parenting arrangements over the long term.
  3. Shared Parenting Education: shared parenting education within the high school system, in marriage preparation courses, and upon divorce, is an essential element of a much-needed program of parent education and support. Public education about various models of shared parenting, including models for “high conflict” couples, would replace the current focus on seeking partisan legal representation in an effort to “win” the custody of one’s children.
  4. Judicial Determination in Cases of Established Abuse; Enforcement of Shared Parental Responsibility Orders: a rebuttable presumption of shared parental responsibility means that proven cases of family violence would be exempt, and those cases involving either a criminal conviction, such as assault, in a matter directly related to the parenting of the children, or a finding that a child is in need of protection from a parent by a statutory child welfare authority, would be followed by judicial determination of child custody. It may be appropriate in such cases, argue Jaffe et al. (2006), for one or both parents to have limited or no contact with the children because of potential harm. In child custody situations in which assault is alleged, a thorough, informed and expeditious comprehensive child welfare assessment is required. The criminal prosecution of those family members who are alleged to have been violent toward any other member of the family would hold accountable perpetrators of violence as well as those who are found to have alleged abuse falsely. In such cases the family court would retain its traditional role in the determination of custody finding that a child is in need of protection from a parent by a statutory child welfare authority, would be followed by judicial determination of child custody. It may be appropriate in such cases, argue Jaffe et al. (2006), for one or both parents to have limited or no contact with the children because of potential harm. In child custody situations in which assault is alleged, a thorough, informed and expeditious comprehensive child welfare assessment is required. The criminal prosecution of those family members who are alleged to have been violent toward any other member of the family would hold accountable perpetrators of violence as well as those who are found to have alleged abuse falsely. In such cases the family court would retain its traditional role in the determination of custody.

Multiple divorces increase dropout rate

The following are comments left on the NP site.

This is an interesting study but it doesn't break a lot of new ground. We already know the impacts of many social dysfunctions visited upon children given the social engineering of Family Court Judges by awarding custody in a 9-1 ratio to moms only, disenfranchising fathers. These details are missing from this story. The 38% divorce figure is misleading as married families are now a minority in Canada given the burgeoning common law relationships which are breaking up at a far faster rate than traditional marriages. Dr Edwark Kruk's study, mentioned by two of your columnists recently, clearly shows the impact on children in fatherless homes. Perhaps more details will arise as to the custody and co-habitation arrangements within this study.MJM

National Post

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Alberta Study


Keith Gerein, Canwest News Service

Parents thinking about getting divorced, especially for the second or third time, should consider the impact of that decision on their children's schooling, new research from University of Alberta suggests.

The groundbreaking study -- believed to the first in Canada to look at the long-term impacts of family upheaval on educational attainment -- found children who experience changes to their family structure are much more likely to become high-school dropouts than classmates whose parents stay together.

The findings were particularly grim for children who live through three or more parental changes, such as divorce or death, remarriage and another divorce. Such children have just a 40% chance of completing their high-school diploma, a success rate half that of children with no upheaval.

"This is a long-run picture, where we can look at number of changes a child experiences and link it to how they finish up as they enter into young adulthood," said Lisa Strohschein, a professor at the University of Alberta, who co-authored the project. "We hope the more of these kids we can get to finish school, the better position they will be in to get into post-secondary education and find good jobs."

The study, considered especially relevant at a time of high divorce rates and increasingly complex family relationships, is published in the new edition of Canadian Journal of Sociology.

Previous research has linked family breakups with negative outcomes for children, but such work usually focuses only on short-term impacts, Prof. Strohschein said.

For her team's study, the scholars tracked the lives of more than 9,400 children from birth to age 20. The data was from a group all born in 1984 in Manitoba into two-parent married households.

Of the initial 9,403 children, 7,569 saw their parents stay together, 1,325 experienced one divorce and 172 had a parent die.

A small number, 285 children, lived through two family transitions (divorce and remarriage) while 52 experienced three transitions.

Analysis of the data found children whose parents stayed together were 78.4% likely to finish high school by age 20, well ahead of classmates with one change to family structure.

Interestingly, there was little difference between children who experienced divorce and those who had a parent die. Both groups were about 60% likely to get a high school diploma. Also at around 60% were children whose parents divorced and remarried.

The biggest concern was for those children in twice-divorced households.

"It's that cumulative effect," Prof. Strohschein said. "Things really seem to fall off when there is a loss of a second marital relationship. It's really striking."

The divorce rate in Canada has been holding steady in recent years at around at around 38%. Prof. Strohschein said the study generalizes because in some cases divorce can be a benefit to children, if the household is particularly dysfunctional.

© 2009 The National Post Company. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited.

No more tug of war

The following letter from Grant Brown encapsulates the Family Law (FLAW) problems in short to the point form. it is in response to Justice Brownstone's 1o steps following the letter. Brownstone has opened up a dialogue between the 50% of families who will see their marriage or common law relationship fail and the very flawed Family Law in this country but Grant adds his very salient perspective.MJM

Letter to the Editor National Post

Fathers 'reduced to ATM status' by the courts

Published: Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Re: No More Tug of War, Justice Harvey Brownstone, April 3.

What Justice Brownstone fails to mention in his attack on separated parents is the extent to which they are merely responding rationally to the adversarial, winner-take-all system they face in court.

A survey of family court cases in Ontario since 2000 reveals that almost 80% of the time costs are awarded against the father. That gives a fair indication of a father's chances of success in family court.

Nearly always, he is relegated to the status of a visitor in his child's life, and reduced to the psychological state of an ATM.

Justice Brownstone also admonishes parents to separate financial issues from parenting issues.Yet family court judges are so eager to award mothers exclusive use of the matrimonial home and begin the flow of "maintenance" that parenting issues usually get dealt with summarily on the basis of myths and stereotypes.

Judges create the unseemly focus on money matters, while refusing to take access denial and parental alienation seriously. (One judge, now on the Court of Appeal in Alberta, told me that it is not his job to "punish" mothers who deny access and alienate the children.)

Until family court judges clean up their own act by implementing a presumption of equal shared parenting and favouring the more co-operative parent in custody disputes, nothing is going to change significantly.

Grant A. Brown,


No more tug of war

Book excerpt: A judge with years of family-court experience offers 10 tips to parents facing separation or custody battles

Harvey Brownstone, National Post Published: Friday, April 03, 2009

Parents must learn to love their children more than they dislike each other. Make your child's wellbeing the focal point of every discussion you have with your ex-partner.

Parents must learn to love their children more than they dislike each other. Make your child's wellbeing the focal point of every discussion you have with your ex-partner.


Parents must learn to love their children more than they dislike each other. Make your child's wellbeing the focal point of every discussion you have with your ex-partner. Before taking a position on any issue, ask yourself, How will this affect my child? Never let a discussion with your ex-partner be about your needs or his/her needs; it should always be about your child's needs. The first step to being a mature, responsible co-parent is to always put your children's needs ahead of your own.


The fact that your ex-partner was a bad partner does not necessarily mean that he/she is a bad parent. The way that a person treats his/her spouse in an unhappy relationship when no children are present may not be a good indication of how that person treats his/her children. Your child is entitled to get to know the other parent in his/her own right and to have a relationship with the other parent that is independent from your own. If your feelings about the other parent are standing in the way of your child's relationship with him/her, you should seek help from a counsellor or therapist.


Your child has a right to a loving relationship with each parent, free of any influence or brainwashing. It is unfair and cruel to place your child in a conflict of loyalties and make him/ her choose between you and your ex-partner, as this deprives the child of an important relationship. Never draw your child into your disputes with the other parent.


No exceptions. If you and your ex-partner cannot behave civilly in front of your child, then don't be together in front of your child. I cannot understand why so many parents have trouble pretending to get along with each other for the few minutes it takes to pick up or return a child at access exchanges. Why are parents able to behave well in a courtroom in front of a judge but not in front of their own children? There is absolutely no good reason for parents to expose their children to their conflict.


If you are going to communicate directly with your ex-partner, remember that communicating with maturity starts with listening. In any disagreement, try repeating back to your ex-partner what his/her position is, and the reasons why he/ she is taking that position. I often do this in court and am frequently amazed by many people's inability to correctly repeat back to me what their ex-partners have just finished telling me only a few seconds before! You cannot decide whether you agree with someone if you have not clearly understood what he/she is saying. Even if you end up disagreeing with the other parent, you should at least be able to convey to him/her that you have understood his/her point of view. Good listening skills are not acquired overnight, but post-separation counselling can be very helpful in speeding up the learning process.


Too many parents react in a knee-jerk way to each other's conduct by running to family court without first getting legal advice or considering the impact of starting a court case. It is essential to consult a family law lawyer before taking any steps to resolve a conflict with an ex-partner. It may not be necessary to turn the decision-making power over to a judge. Many thousands of parents have found mediation to be a beneficial problem-solving mechanism, so it is definitely worth exploring.


In any family breakdown, there are two types of issues to be resolved: financial issues and parenting issues. These are completely separate matters and should be dealt with that way.

Your relationship with your children should have nothing to do with financial transactions or property transfers. It can certainly be a challenge to behave civilly with someone whom you think is trying to cheat you financially, but the ability to keep parenting issues separate from financial matters is a hallmark of maturity.


If you truly accept that your children are innocent and bear no responsibility for your separation, then you know that they are entitled to be part of a family and to have their parents behave like family members, even though they live apart.

I have had situations in which a child's health suffered because one parent didn't tell the other about the child's medical problem, so the child didn't get the proper medical attention in the other parent's care. This is unforgivable. When a child is going frequently from one parent's home to the other's, it is vital that each parent know about anything important that has happened to the child while in the other parent's care, especially an illness. Parents should have equal rights to obtain information about their children from schools, doctors and other service providers.

Both parents should be able to attend special events in the children's lives, such as religious ceremonies, school events, sports tournaments and music recitals. Even if there is a restraining order prohibiting contact, speak to your lawyer about the possibility of amending the order to permit at least some minimal form of communication regarding your child, even if it is in written form, or through a third-party intermediary. Your children need you to know what's happening in their lives even when they're with the other parent.


By far, the greatest area of conflict between separated parents is that of organizing, carrying out and enforcing access visits. Family courts everywhere are swamped with parents complaining of each other's frequent cancellations, lateness and a myriad of other misbehaviours. In a great many of these cases, a little common sense and fairness from both parents would have gone a long way toward resolving the problem. Be flexible and reasonable in accommodating your ex-partner's work schedule and travel concerns, as well as changes in your child's routines. Remember that access schedules must be adjusted to accommodate changes in the parents' and children's lives. This is not only normal but is to be expected, so go with the flow.


Family breakdown is one of the most stressful and painful experiences anyone can go through. You do not have to do this alone. There are specialized counsellors and therapists who can help you. Many community organizations offer programs to help separated parents make the transition from ex-partner to co-parent. There are social workers and parenting coaches with the expertise to help you and your ex-partner develop a workable parenting plan.

Excerpted from Tug of War by Harvey Brownstone, published by ECW Press. Copyright Harvey Brownstone, 2009. Reprinted with permission.