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DHS objections, and paternity horror stories

August 24, 2007 |  1:53 pm

The Department of Homeland Security to exception to my gloomy column of earlier this week whining about how U.S. citizens are suddenly being required to show their passports all over the damned place, except if they are deemed to owe $2,500 in child support, in which case they can't have one. Let's print the letter in full:

Dear Editor,

In an August 21 editorial, Matt Welch misstates the implementation date for new travel document requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Passport requirements at our land and sea borders do not take immediate effect in January 2008. Initially, a government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship will be required. Requirements for passports or other approved documents will take full effect next summer.

Even more problematic, Mr. Welch fails to grasp the fundamental reason why our nation is taking steps to strengthen travel document security at our borders and why we are working with states to create secure driver's licenses under the REAL ID Act.

Identification documents are as important as weapons for terrorists. They enable terrorist travel and plotting. Shutting down this known vulnerability was a core recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, and it was mandated by Congress.

Admittedly, these measures involve some modest individual inconvenience. But, that far outweighs increases in identity theft, or having to explain to a future 9/11 commission why terrorists were able to use fraudulent identification to enter the United States and carry out an attack.

Sincerely,
Russ Knocke
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Department of Homeland Security

There's a clarification now on the original piece.

There was also plenty of feedback from that minority-within-a-minority of the population aware of how the wheels of the System can overrun men falsely accused by the government of fathering a child. Click on the link to read a whole lot more.

Before reading the letters, I hope the journalists among you reading this note one fact -- these people are begging to be sources. Isn't that unusual?

First up, Douglas M. Richardson:
I personally want to thank you for your recent article. [...]

I was ordered to pay the biological father support to raise his own child.

The awareness created out of articles like yours is the only justice I will ever receive personally, but it will limit the victims of the future including the children involved in these cases.

I was no deadbeat father; I paid as the court ordered with full understanding the child was not mine. Now after $150,000, my biological son goes without what he was rightfully entitled to benefit from.
Here's the text of a recent speech Richardson gave.

One man barred from receiving a passport is Stanley Green, from Stop Abuse For Everyone(tm), Inc. (SAFE -- www.safe4all.org:
I received the link to your superlative editorial from my colleague Ronald Henry, author of the Family Law Quarterly article which you cite. [...]

My son -- a senior engineering student at USC -- attended with me the Taron James appellate court hearing in March 2007, which you cite. My longtime friend, Marc Angelucci, was plaintiff's attorney in that case, as you probably know.

I deeply appreciate your calling attention to this issue. The State Department refused to renew my passport in 2005, even though I am accused of no crime. I am a survivor of domestic violence perpetrated in Long Beach, Calif., and my abuser has waged major economic warfare against me, hauling me into court in all but two calendar years from August 1990 (in Long Beach) through April 2007 (in Walla Walla, WA). Although the Superior Court of California ordered me to pay zero monetary child support -- noting both parents' involvement in the children's lives (the court found that I had been the primary caregiver) and the difference in income (my abuser is a physician with an upper-middle class income) -- the Superior Court of Washington later ordered me to pay monetary child support based upon fictitious "imputed income," an amount I am unable to pay. Hence the denial of passport renewal, abrogation of my driver's and professional licenses, etc., all under welfare reform. And the person to whom this money is ordered to pay has an income which the state reported to me as being $180,000/year.

Nonetheless, I have repeatedly -- including in April 2007 -- been found to be NOT in contempt of court when charges of civil contempt for alleged arrearage of monetary child support have been brought against me. Despite this, my fundamental right to international travel has been abrograted, through the mechanism you so clearly delineate.

This is state empowerment of economic abuse in a case of domestic violence.

Do you see any hope of any civil rights organizations addressing this abrogation of rights? [...]

Thank you again for calling attention to this important matter.
Next, Jane Spies, executive director of the National Family Justice Association (www.NFJA.org):
Thank you very much for your article covering the issue of child support and for including the other side of the issue, which, as I'm sure you know, is not yet covered adequately by most mainstream media.

My paper, "The Myth of the Successful Child Support System," can be found here.

I hope that you will please consider writing more about this issue that is adversely affecting millions of people. It is an extremely important topic, as you know.
Jim Loose, chairman of People for Equal Parenting, Inc. (PEP):
Someone passed along your very thoughtful article to me. After reading it, I decided that in my role as chairman of a non-profit designed to fix the underlying problems your article gets at ... I simply had write you an email.

There is much more than meets the eye to the system that seems to have caught your attention. For just one (of many) examples of how unpleasant the real story is consider this proposition:

Our nation's child support crisis ... isn't.

Evidence? Oh yes. Although PEP never has been primarily concerned about the financial part of the problem we're trying to fix (seeing it as a predictable outcome of an underlying civil rights abuse), statistics in the link below make the point: the child support crisis is mostly the result of a system that a cynic might see as practically designed to produce the problem (e.g., 70% of child support arrearages are owed by people making less than $10K/yr ... naturally such people can't afford lawyers to bring their obligations into line with reality ... and so their arrearages climb ... which produces a "crisis" for bureaucracies to pound the table about ... but since poor people have no money, the bureaucracies have used the crisis to drag the middle class into a federalized child support system called Title IV-D ... which then impoverishes lots of the middle class through the legal conflict the system produces, intentionally or otherwise ... sort of a Catch IV-D that would make Joseph Heller smile and shrug). This is a straightforward conclusion to be drawn from the #s here; see especially pages 4, 5 and 6.

There's much more if you're interested. In my opinion contemporary America could really use some well-done muckraking journalism. If you want to get the bit in your teeth we can source you solid information, analysis, and sound bites that most journalists only dream about. We've been preparing for this for years.
Marc E. Angelucci, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Coalition of Free Men, and also the attorney for the wrongly accused non-father Taron James (who I mentioned in the piece), writes a letter too long to print in full:
I had stopped reading the L.A. Times because it was never covering men's issues but only women's issues, and in a biased manner.

Your op ed gives me hope.

I write hoping you would have interest in helping get a story on a very neglected and unaddressed but serioius problem. I work with male victims of domestic violence. There is an enormous gap between what the experts have found and what the media and the public believe.

Male victims are being denied shelter services all throughout L.A. County except at Valley oasis in Lancaster, where men travel hundreds of miles for shelter because nobody else will shelter them. I have sworn declarations from the current and former directors of Valley Oasis.

Crime data now shows about 25% of the victims are men, but men underreport more than women, while virtually all sociological data from around the globe shows women "are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men in their relationships with their spouses or male partners," as Cal State Long Beach Professor Martin Fiebert shows.

I can get your sworn declarations from numerous peer-reviewed experts on this.
Other studies Angelucci would like to have us read include this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

From the great city of Olympia, Wash., comes an interesting note from Doug Martin:
[G]reat analysis of the law and its impacts on "average America." This is something that appears to have been lost in the press since the time of Ben Franklin.

Don't know if you are interested, but I have encountered some VERY interesting circumstances regarding "loss of freedoms" up here in WA that may be occurring in CA as well. One place you might consider checking is the courtroom. I don't know about in CA ... but up here in WA we have (supposedly) "Courts of Record." As you are probably aware, the concept is to keep a record of the activities of the court to capture evidence, objections and argument in order to prevent corruption, abuse of power, etc. In WA, the appellate courts have never determined what a "court record" is. However, for the purpose of an appeal, they have determined "what it isn’t;" e.g. the clerk's minutes. This leaves the "verbatim report of proceedings" taken by the court reporter (a state employee) or a substitute (e.g. narrative report of proceedings drafted by the participant) as the alternatives. But today, we are in the "bring me a rock" state of the law as it pertains to the "court record" up here in Washington.

Unfortunately, the Verbatim Report of Proceedings has not been declared as a "public" record. It is considered a "work product" of the court reporter who takes the record and as such, you can't get access to it under the freedom of information provisions/statutes (the federal statute excludes the courts - however, the WA statute specifically does not exclude the courts). You have to purchase it from the state employee who covered the proceeding. To compound matters, some jurisdictions are requiring the record to be passed through the presiding judge for "review and correction" prior to the record being "published" (made available for purchase by the parties). Guess what we are finding? One prosecutor I talked with concedes the altering of this sworn document (verbatim report of proceedings) prepared by an officer of the court is nothing less than "suborning perjury" – a criminal act subject to prosecution. The Commission on Judicial Conduct, staffed with judges and attorneys, refers to it as "judicial error" – not impropriety.

Our freedoms are not being lost in the legislature and congress ... they are being lost (stolen) in the liberalization of the courts and by making the law an elite practice where few if any challenge the dictates and policies of the judges when they bounce up against fundamental freedoms and practices long since established ... even back to the Magna Carta.

The degradation continues on down to the District Courts where the state can bring its traffic cases on a declaration of the officer alone. In the old days, the courts were required to bring a case by a preponderance of the evidence ... and that evidence had to be subject to the rigors of cross examination. It is VERY difficult to cross-examine a declaration and as such, under the rules of evidence (federal) the declaration would not have been enough to "bring a case" where testimony could be had. Today, however, if you challenge an infraction, you have to subpoena not only your witness – but the State's witness as well. Failure to do so invalidates your right to cross examine the State's witness. This occurs even if your infraction could result in the loss of your driving privileges or resulting in a large fine (something that would appear to conflict with the "shall not be deprived of life, freedom or property without due process" clauses of the Constitution – both state and federal).
Finally, Walter Fields breathes new life into the creative use of "NOT" (all capitalization in the original):
Matt Welch proposed possible hyperbole [in the following quotation]:
What's next? Passport refusals on the grounds that one's student loan payments are delinquent? Denials of passports because of mortgage defaults? It's a bit ironic that a nation which historically has been a refuge for the destitute seeking a new start could become one big debtors' prison with the combination of provisions like the Passport Denial Program, oppressive bankruptcy laws and a failing economy.
Given present foreshadowing, it is likely hyperbole NOT. Why? "Bank of America" and even "JP Morgan" already play in the Entitlement Cookie Jar as contractors serving the noted Federally Funded Racketeering activities for the "Extortions" via alleged "Best Interests of Children." Where motives for profit and anything goes, there may appear to be No End in Sight.

Mr. Matt Welch certainly lends a Remarkable and Valuable opinion.
If you've read this far, you must -- by law -- leave a comment. Or I'll seize your passport.
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