Thursday, October 20, 2005


While our country focuses on the war abroad, many of our soldiers fight personal battles here at home—or more accurately, can’t fight. They are losing their families and getting little help from an administration that claims to “support the troops” while doing nothing to protect the parental rights of the fathers it sent into combat.

All the services are facing a severe drop in recruitment, and additional recruiters, stepped-up advertising, and bigger bonuses have not reversed the trend. The media points to the war itself, but the shortfall also coincides with a dramatic rise in military divorces, which the Army reports have nearly doubled since 2001. “We’ve seen nothing like this before,” says Col. Glen Bloomstrom, a chaplain who oversees family-support programs. “It indicates the amount of stress on couples, on families, as the Army conducts the global war on terrorism.” It indicates much more than stress. “There most certainly is a relationship between current recruiting problems and an increase in military divorces,” says Capt. Gene Thomas Gomulka, a retired Navy chaplain and writer on military marriage.

Muffled by feminist orthodoxy, the Army and media are not disclosing the facts behind these divorces or publicizing the threat they pose to preparedness. The important points are these: the divorces are almost all initiated by wives, the servicemen usually lose their children—which for many is their main incentive for serving their country—and finally, they often become liable to criminal prosecution for child support that is impossible for them to pay.

Laws protecting active-duty servicemen against legal actions are ignored by family courts. Deployed servicemen have virtually no protection against unilaterally initiated divorce proceedings that permanently separate them from their children without any show of wrongdoing. Child kidnapping laws likewise do not protect them from having their children relocated, even to foreign countries, while they cannot be present to defend their parental rights. When they return, they have no necessary right to see their children—and can be arrested for trying to do so—who often join the ranks of the permanently fatherless.

The Lansing State Journal recently reported on Joe McNeilly, a National Guardsman who “would still have his son if he hadn’t been deployed,” according to Maj. Dawn Dancer, public-affairs officer for the Michigan National Guard. Invoking the correct legal buzzwords, the mother and her lawyer claimed he lost custody not because of his deployment but because of his “parenting skills.” Yet his parenting skills were clearly defined in terms of his deployment. The court attested that it stripped him of custody because his wife was the “day-to-day caretaker and decision maker in the child’s life” while McNeilly was deployed. His alleged parental deficiencies also proceeded apparently from his duties as a soldier. “My client is making sure to turn off the TV when the news reports deaths in Iraq,” the mother’s lawyer said, “and (McNeilly) was engaging in behaviors that brought fear.” In other words, he was fighting a war

Even more astounding, vicariously divorced servicemen can be criminally prosecuted for child-support arrearages that are almost impossible not to accrue while they are on duty. Reservists are hit particularly hard because their child-support burdens are based on their civilian pay and do not decrease when their income decreases. Because reservists are often mobilized with little notice, few get modifications before they leave, and modifications are almost never granted anyway. They cannot get relief when they return because federal law prohibits retroactive reductions for any reason. Once arrearages reach $5,000, the soldier becomes a felon and subject to imprisonment.

More here


The Leftist British elite hate their own working class while they jealously protect Muslims

What do you reckon the reaction would be if spy aircraft tracked the movement of suspicious-looking Muslim youths, just in case these "potential terrorists" do something illegal?

Strangely, I have not heard anybody complain about the German authorities' plan to use a squadron of Awacs, Nato's military spy planes, "to follow football fans around Germany" and spot potential hooligans during next summer's World Cup. This is the latest in an extraordinary battery of measures that governments have deployed against the minor problem of fat men misbehaving at football matches. When it comes to football hooliganism, fashionable concerns about human rights fly out of the window.

Judges and opposition politicians object loudly to the Government's draconian proposal to detain terrorism suspects for weeks without charge. Nobody seems to mind when police ask the courts to issue a football banning order taking away a British citizen's passport without charge or trial. There are more than 3,000 FBOs in force, and will be many more before next summer as a joint Home Office/police chiefs body enforces a new "zero tolerance" policy on minor offences.

When two men objected that their six-year football banning orders infringed human rights laws, the courts ruled that such "very firm measures were justified to confront the various sickening ills of football violence". It seems strange that these "very firm measures" are deemed more legitimate than draconian anti-terror laws. After all, the "various sickening ills of football violence" do not include suicide bombings.

The difference is that "potential football hooligans" tend to be white working-class men. And most judges, human rights lawyers, liberal journalists and MPs tend to despise those whom they see as white trash every bit as much as the Government does. "Chav scum" are the one minority it is legitimate to give a good kicking to.

The authorities' target is not just a few violent boneheads but the whole "drinking culture" of proletarian excess that accompanies big tournaments. A "football hooliganism expert" from the Netherlands, where they put suspected hooligans under house arrest during matches, this week told BBC radio of his fears about England fans, having watched them at the World Cup qualifier against Wales in Cardiff. "They were drinking without shirts on, they don 't integrate with the local supporters, they hate some people from other countries and refer to the war, and it doesn't make a nice relaxing atmosphere." How long before shirtless drinking is made a banning offence? Although anybody who thinks that the World Cup should be played in "a nice relaxing atmosphere" does seem like a candidate for house arrest for the duration of the tournament.

The other people who seem to believe that the white working class are all braindead lager-soaked soccer hooligans who deserve all that they get are, of course, Muslim extremists. Where do they get their ideas from?



Nobody wants to be fat. Nobody wants anybody else to be fat. Politicians and medical professionals would like to see everybody un-fat. And still we get fatter. On my Marxist days, I like to think of this as a groundswell of subversive collective action - a playfully ironic protest in which we destroy consumerism by consuming so much that we cost more to keep alive than we'll ever make. The coolest thing is that even children are involved. Who said you could be too young for politics? But on other days, I have to concede that it's probably just because we eat too much by accident.

Deirdre Hutton, chairwoman of Britain's Food Standards Agency, has delineated how these accidents happen. We eat too much processed food - most at risk are teenage girls, male city workers, "people in poorer communities" (when did it become inappropriate to say "poor people"?) and the over-50s. Her first hurdle is to harry packaged-food manufacturers into making food healthier, or at least flagging up in big red letters how unhealthy it is.

Burger King told her where to stick it. (They want their customers to "take responsibility for their own health" - how sweet. It makes me feel like they really respect me. Now I fancy a Whopper Junior.) Others will be more co-operative, I feel sure, but this is a pointless battle. Processed food is sugar, salt and fat-loaded because it doesn't taste nice otherwise; it's been sitting around too long. Anyone who's tried to have some fun with a two-day-old roast potato can vouch for this. Healthy processed food will always taste like self-denial; to get people eating well without feeling hard done by, they need fresh food.

How do you achieve this? Well, "male city workers" are time-poor - to get them eating nutritious hotpots nightly, you need to supply them with some help: a wife, for instance, or - not wishing to gender-bias this - a good friend to stay at home and stew while they work. In other words, you'd need to reverse a trend of the past 50 years and bring back the doubly occupied single-income unit. That would be tricky, no?

"People in poor communities" are more straightforward - they would eat better if they had more money, thereby a) having more time for home-cooking, since they don't have to work so hard; and b) not having to shop exclusively in Iceland. How do you make the poor less poor? With redistributive taxation. How amazingly unfashionable; I feel I've just offered you a spam sandwich.

To return to teenagers, they tend to be either undereating or overeating, largely for psychological reasons. You could reverse this by outlawing cultural images in which an unattainable body shape is presented as the norm, and strengthening their sense of self so that it extended beyond sexual objectification. That sounds hard as well.

It is so far unclear why the over-50s should be eating badly, but let's imagine that the erosion of the family unit has left people isolated, and home-cooking is an activity people rarely undertake alone (one famous British TV chef once wrote a book called One is Fun!; you'd be amazed how offended people are to receive it as a gift). The answer would be to repeal all divorce laws so that people had to stay together, and somehow to reverse the trend wherein youth is idolised and older people, feeling disfranchised, eat more biscuits. It's an idea, but I don't fancy your chances.

Obesity, in the end, is a function of social progress. To blame fat-loaded food is like blaming Bill Gates for the people who email you when you'd rather they stopped in for a coffee. To try to reverse it with well-meant advice is like telling a Viking warrior to chill out about his masculinity. I say we bring back rationing. It might sound extreme, but given the alternatives, it also sounds surprisingly manageable.


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