Protective Mothers' Alliance International

family court abuse/corruption

Posts Tagged ‘United States

Happy 4th Hero Protective Moms- We love you

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Welcome to PMA International’s Unstoppable Mothers

Protective Mothers Alliance International (PMA) has launched Unstoppable Mothers, a powerful photo and essay project to give voice to Protective Mothers and their Children.

The photos depict the loss and grief a Protective Mother experiences when she is forcibly separated from her child(ren) due to family court injustice,  the events she missed in the life of her child or abuser quotes.

The essays, in Protective Moms’ own words, are common real life family court situations. Protective Mothers reveal the most outrageous action a judge took in their case.and/ OR, the Protective Mom shares what she has missed most about not being in her child’s life and/or the Protective Mom shares her abuser’s quotes.

How Can You Participate?

Protective mothers may send their quotes to the comment section  of our new Unstoppable Mothers blog devoted specifically to this Unstoppable Mothers Campaign.

Protective mothers may also read some earlier quotes on this site at-

All signs, quotes, and pictures will be posted on  our new Unstoppable Mothers” blog devoted specifically to this Unstoppable Mothers’ campaign

PMA International will put the Unstoppable Mother’s quote on a sign ,  an appropriate picture or an image for the project.

Some signs with quotes will be combined with missed milestone pictures taken by PMA International’s talented protective mothers, highlighting their creativity and photography skills.

Some feedback about “Unstoppable Mothers'” photo and essay project;

“Beautiful photography by talented PMA protective mothers, coupled with heartbreaking real life stories of loss in the mothers’ own words. Another stunning PMA Intl. project to raise awareness. TY Janice, Lundy and all the PMA moms!!”

“Participating in this project was very empowering and gave me hope”

“Thank you for capturing a protective mother’s powerful story through her own words and beautiful pictures .”

“Thank you for giving us moms a voice along with gorgeous visuals from talented protective mothers.”

” Powerful”

Now that we all understand how to participate and what the ground rules are for this project, Protective Mothers’ Alliance International invites you into our project; a window to our world. We ask you to brace yourselves, step slowly into our shoes,  carefully take a step , steal a tiny glimpse , and taste a tiny bite of what life is like as a protective mother. An unstoppable protective mother, enduring one of the darkest atrocities known in the history of our civilization.





Wounded Healer; The Series/ Part 2

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As protective mothers we all know how difficult holidays, birthdays and other traumatic events can be .Since holidays are just around the corner PMA International protective moms have put together some helpful tips on self care specifically tailored for these occasions

Tools to Empower You on Anniversaries of Traumatic Events;

Decide in advance who you want to see and who you don’t want to spend time with. Plan your activities so you spend the most time with people who are good for you, minimize time with people who are not loving and kind. While spending time with those who trigger you, try to remain calm, deep breathe and remember sometimes the best response is no response. Leave the room to re group if you must, have the phone number of a supportive friend to call for emotional support.

2. Have an Escape Plan
You can’t always anticipate how you’re going to feel and who’s going to say or do what triggers you. Have a self care plan for a quick getaway.

3 Take Time out
It is important to plan in advance or be prepared for much needed down times, giving you a chance to decompress. It’s best to plan these down times in advance and stick to the self care schedule as much as possible.

4 Do What feels most comfortable
It’s ok for you to say “NO” pick and choose what you want to participate in. Setting healthy boundaries in respect to others expectations is very important.

5 Pace yourself
If you feel overwhelmed , slow down. It’s better to break plans than to follow through with them while feeling overwhelmed. When you feel you are reaching your limit, pull back, give yourself some space and refuse feel guilty about it. Replace negative self talk or memories with positive loving affirmations

6 Maintain your privacy
Lovingly taking care of your emotional needs during anniversaries of traumatic events or holidays does not require you to explain Ptsd or your story to everyone you know. It’s alright to decline an invitation without giving a full explanation . Certainly share your reason with people you trust and love, but for others a simple, “NO” thank you,” is enough.

Do what feels right for you In every moment follow your intuition. Your own inner voice knows what you need, tune in and listen to it. Feel free to explore options within your community for support.

Know Your life has a purpose, Your voice matters. You are stronger than you think. You can heal and move on towards a healed, happy and productive life.

PMA International loves and supports you and your precious children.

Stay tune for Part 3

MURDERED SENATOR Nancy Schaefer “The Unlimited Power of Child Protective Services”PART 2

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Ten years ago today I was living in California, and  actively in the middle of the fight of my life. This fight was about my  continuing to be a devoted, loving mother to my beautiful, awesome biological  children. My life was stressful beyond belief. I was at the point of seeing the” writing on the wall.” I knew  I was about to lose my precious children simply because my ex was ruthless enough to take them away from me combined with the fact that he had plenty of money to do so.  Evil merged with wealth is a nasty combination to be around.I was down to a whisper of myself , as I could not eat due to fear and stress. Some people deal with intense stress by drinking, sleeping or by doing drugs. That is not me, but  I needed to keep my mind busy so I went back to school. While in school, I did not have to think about what I knew was the horror of my  future; Life without my precious children.

Thankfully,school kept me so busy that all I could do is think about the next assignment , next test. I knew it was a quick fix solution, but I simply did not know what else to do. I was in panic/ survival mode.

September 11th 2001 found me  taking an anthropology course and  on my way to class. The radio was tuned to my favorite station, hosted by   silly D.J’s who have pulled fake news stunts before that were edgy and sometimes  funny.  They came on the air and reported  that a plane crashed into the twin towers in NYC. I was appalled and thought to myself ;  now they’ve gone too far. I was upset that they would joke about such a potential event and  I do not find that type of humor funny. As I ran to class I sat down and waited for my professor. She walked in with a sick , pale look on her face and announced to us that class was cancelled due to the tragedy of the World Trade Center . I was shocked and concerned. I know many dear friends and family all living around the area. I immediately left to drive home and for the next 24 hours I was glued to the phone  making sure everyone close to me was safe.

Thankfully all my close friends and family were fine. A dear childhood friend’s husband was meant to go to work in  the WTC that day but miraculously stayed home since he was sick.

As I watched the events reenacted on TV along with the rest of the country , my heart was breaking. NYC is my favorite city in the world. The people of NYC have always received a bad rap, in my opinion. My experiences with New Yorkers – being born and raised less than one hour away-is quite different from what the media portrays. I have lived in different places enough now to gain perspective about the people of NYC. In my mind they are the warmest, kindest people around. They understand the value of teamwork and are always ready to help a tourist who looks lost with quick directions and a welcoming smile. Yes they can be blunt and honest to a fault, but I prefer to know where things stand than be in the presence of someone too ” politically correct ” to tell it like it is. I love the people of NYC and everything about that city. To me it is the greatest city in the world. To have this type of tragedy be fall this strong , vibrant place and its wonderful people paralleled my life at the time, so I felt a deep kinship for several reasons.

Just like in the WTC event, a major event in my life shattered my soul . My motherhood, my  very heart and soul was being violently destroyed . There was nothing I could do to protect myself as the perpetrator was a terrorist. He did not play by the rules of common decency . Honesty was not in his repertoire and “take no prisoners” was his philosophy. Like all terrorists he did not act alone in his plans but he  is  ultimately responsible for the execution as it was his dime funding the mission. A well thought out premeditated plan of destruction using terrorist tactics was playing out in my life and all I could do was watch helplessly. The very core of my being was violently crashing, burning and falling down into a wreckage of dust with tiny shattered pieces of heart, soul, flesh and bone mixed in. Just as in the 9/11 disaster , my personal disaster was intended for total destruction of me along with my  life, and the evil mission was very successful indeed. But what the terrorists could not foresee or plan in the WTC situation was the strength and tenacity of the wonderful   people of NYC . My personal terrorist did not foresee this of me either.

One of my favorite childhood holiday shows comes to mind;” How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” That mean evil Grinch was determined to steal the  sweet, peace-loving citizen’s of Whoville’s Christmas. He was very successful, so Christmas morning that year resulted in all the Whos waking up and greeting  a Christmas   lacking in  trees, presents, food ect.

What did they do in the face of such hate and destruction? They joined hands and sung  songs of hope , peace,  love and inspiration.

For it was never about the presents , food or trees.

It was about something a terrorist be it,  the Grinch, WTC, or my personal one, could never understand, or embrace. For my personal situation it was never about piece of paper saying I no longer have custody of my children.

I AM their mother. They came out of MY body, and I love them with every fiber of my being. No one , and certainly no piece of paper could  ever deny that truth. The love I pour out to my children is sincere, real and heals all wounds and misunderstandings. Love is stronger than any well thought out or well moneyed plan, birthed from hate  and vindictiveness could ever be.

Just like the people of NYC who have since cleaned up the rubble and rebuilt their lives, Just like the Who down in Whoville, on Christmas morning who rose up and joined together in songs of love and peace, I am moving forward with faith and love. Just like the people of NYC will not let this single event define them..nether will I. Although we all wish 9/ 11 did not happen,  we mourn the loss of lives and celebrate the heroes, the strong wonderful people of NYC will go on, to  rebuild, and be strong survivors…So will I.

In addition, I have a new mission which was birthed from the  debris of my intended destruction ; To help all the mothers and children dealing with  family court terrorists worldwide make change happen, through peace and persistence. I have confidence that through  our strength , love  and  through the tenacity of the strong  survivors that we are, we can work together as a team to make family court terrorism obsolete.


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Youth in Court Need Attorneys Who Represents Their Interests Fairly, Strongly

By Alanna Krause

From the San Francisco Daily Journal, Monday July 17, 2000.

Hundreds of years of legal history have lead the United States to implement a system that

ensures that every party in a legal proceeding gets a voice. We rest assured that, unlike

in other nations, we can not be incarcerated without our day in court, lawyer by our side. What a country we live in: so civilized, so well thought out. God Bless America.

But there is a forgotten minority that is not afforded these basic rights. They are not criminals

or foreign aliens. In contrast, they are a group we all hold dear – one innocent and well meaning, with no hidden agendas or twisted motives – children.

Instead of actually being represented, children get their “best interests” represented by adults.

We children have no choice and no recourse when those adults have their own agendas.

A case in point? Mine.

My parents separated when I was 5 years old, sparking a custody battle that lasted nine years.

I never doubted that I wanted to be with my mother. My father Marshall Krause, is an abuser,

and living with him was a mental and physical hell and definitely not in my best interests.

Yet, in Marin Family Court, that seemed to be irrelevant. My family court experience consisted

of lawyers, judges, evaluators and social workers who turned their backs on their consciences and their professional oaths. They’re worked contrary to not only my best interests, but to my health and safety.

My father, a wealthy and well-connected lawyer, used his influence and money to manipulate

the system. And he didn’t work alone. The court-appointed evaluator, Edward Oklan, M.D.,

fell under his spell and ignored my reports of my father’s abuse of drugs and of me.

The lawyer appointed to represent my “best interests” Sandra Acevedo, spent her

allotted time with me parroting my father’s words, attempting to convince me that

I really wanted to live with him. She ignored my reports of abuse. And the therapist

my father made me see, Lana Clark, LCSW, was far from objective – she was sleeping with him.

The judge, Sylvia Shapiro-Pritchard, an admitted long-time friend of my father’s,

rubberstamped any order my father requested. I wrote the judge letters, called her

office and did everything I could to make myself heard. She ignored my pleas. I had no rights.

I couldn’t replace my lawyer with one who would speak for me nor could I speak for

myself in court. I couldn’t cross-examine the court evaluators or therapists and

their claims were thus untouchable. I felt like I was witnessing the proceedings from the wrong side of soundproof glass.

My mother tried her best, but she was a David facing Goliath – except in my story,

she didn’t even have a sling. After years of valiant struggle gaining nothing but legal fees,

she had to let go and put her life back together in the hopes that someday I could get out on my own.

While living with my father, I did what I could to survive. I made nine reports to

Child Protective Services and several calls to the police over the years, to no avail. They would always tell me that unless I had witnesses or bruises, they couldn’t substantiate my claims of abuse. Finally, one day my father threw me into a stone wall at school and a teacher called Child Protective Services.

He’s never said as much, but my father panicked. He had worked so hard to build a delicate set of lies and twisted truths to present himself as the well-meaning parent whose “unstable” ex-wife had given his troubled daughter “alienating parent syndrome,” resulting in abuse “delusions.” The truth was his worst fear.

Acting quickly, he had my therapist, his lover, suddenly decide I was dangerously

troubled and needed to be locked up. So I, an 11-year-old straight-A student who

had never tried sex, drugs or alcohol, nor ever been in a fight, found myself in an

out-of-state lockdown facility with 17-year-old drug-dealing gang-banging street kids. I was beaten up, taunted and was blocked from communicating with the outside world. I was forced into therapy where they tried to brainwash me into believing my mother was insane, that my father’s drug use didn’t exist and that the abuse my father inflicted on me was all in my head.

When I realized the truth was getting me nowhere, I lied and parroted back their words. It took me 6 months to convince them I was “cured.” Holding onto the truth was the hardest thing I have ever done.

After my release, my father, thankfully, shipped me out to a nice boarding school. My two years there were my best years since my mother and I were separated. When I went back to live with him at age 13, I couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing I’d never find justice in Marin, I ran away, hoping to find a judicious jurisdiction elsewhere. I ended up in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Juvenile Court took my case and placed me in a safe home. Court investigators and evaluators found my mother to be a fit parent and my father to be dangerous. My father hired an expensive lawyer and tried to play his old tricks, but the judge had none of it. Full custody was awarded to my mother, and visitation with my father was left at my discretion.

In Los Angeles, I was a party in my case, whereas in Marin, I was only leverage in my parent’s battle. Los Angeles was heaven.

The practice of trying to ascertain what is in a child’s best interest exists because minors supposedly cannot speak for themselves. Yet at 11, I could speak for myself. I had a mind and a set of opinions, but no one seemed to care. The judge denied my right to legal representation, especially when the court-appointed lawyer wouldn’t speak my truth. Granted, there is no guarantee that hearing me would have inspired the judge to untwist her motives and unclench her hold on personal allegiances and biases, but who knows? At least it would have been in the court record.

My right as an American is to have legal representation in court proceedings, but when my lawyer wouldn’t speak for me, I was allowed no voice.

No American should be locked up without a trial in front of a jury of peers, or some sort of legal equivalent, but it happens to minors all the time. We have an elaborate system to keep innocent adults out of jail, but no system to prevent the false imprisonment of youth in mental hospitals and discipline institutions.

Children are not parties in divorce proceedings – we are property to be divided. Yet children are people too. As citizens, we must be afforded our human and legal rights. And when those adults who are supposed to speak for us fail, we need some recourse.

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

Power, sex and conventional wisdom Bernd Debusmann

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Would there be fewer sex scandals if the world were run by women? The question comes to mind in the wake of scandals that involve two powerful men, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and came to light almost simultaneously. Strauss-Kahn resigned as head of the International Monetary Fund four days after being arrested in New York for allegedly trying to rape a hotel maid. Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, admitted having fathered a child with a woman on his household staff. The two cases are in a different league – Strauss-Kahn is accused of a violent crime, while Schwarzenegger betrayed his wife, Maria Shriver, who stood by him when he campaigned for the governorship under a cloud of accusations that he had groped women during his rise to action movie superstardom. One of the first public comments on the Schwarzenegger affair came from a prominent woman, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who suggested it showed that the United States needed more female politicians. “Another guy guv admits 2 cheating on his wife. Maybe we need more women governors. Guys: keep ur pants zipped,” she tweeted. The message reflects conventional wisdom – men are more prone to sexual misbehavior and adultery than women. “I’m confident predicting there would be fewer sex scandals if women were in power,” former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers wrote in her 2008 book “Why Women Should Rule the World.” Such predictions are based in large part on the long list of men caught up in scandal at the pinnacle of power, both in politics and business, by adulterous affairs, sexual harassment or rape. Women barely figure in recent history. One of the rare cases: Iris Robinson, a married member of the Northern Ireland parliament whose affair with a teenage boy came to light last year. In Taiwan, a decade ago, a Taipei city councilwoman, Chu Mei-Feng, left politics after the leak of a video showing her having sex with her married lover. All this pales in comparison with Bill Clinton having sex with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, or Elliot Spitzer cavorting with $4,000 prostitutes when he was governor of New York and pushing a crusade against prostitution. And there is no female equivalent to Italian President Silvio Berlusconi, whose frequent involvement in sex scandals has so enraged Italy’s women that hundreds of thousands of them came out in protest rallies in Rome and other cities demanding that he resign for having disgraced Italy. Does this mean that women are morally superior, as some contend, or better able to control their libidos, or less likely to be caught because they are better liars, as an online commentator on the website Jezebel suggested? POWER, NOT GENDER A study by Dutch researchers comes to a different conclusion – power, not gender, is the main driver of infidelity. “Power … increases infidelity among women as it does among men,” according to the study, by a team from the universities of Tilburg and Groningen. Its findings suggest that “women in high-power positions are as likely to engage in infidelity than men.” The Dutch researchers arrived at their conclusion by analyzing anonymous responses to an online questionnaire from more than 1,500 readers of Intermediair, a weekly magazine aimed at professionals, just under half of them women. According to the study, due to be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association of Psychological Science, the reason why high-powered women rarely feature as protagonists in sex scandals is straightforward. “There simply aren’t as many women in positions of power as their male counterparts,” according to the study’s lead author, Joris Lammers of the University of Tilburg. Case in point: the U.S. House of Representatives, where female members account for just 17 percent of the 435 seats. Of the 100 U.S. Senators, just 17 are women. The numbers are even worse in the corporate world, at the CEO level. Women run just 15 of the Fortune 500 companies, the biggest U.S. corporations. These numbers are forecast to change, and so are behaviors now thought typical of men. “As more and more women are in greater positions of power and considered equal to men,” says Lammers, “familiar assumptions about their behavior may also change (and) lead to increased negative behaviors that in the past have been more common among men.” Until that happens, one has to look back into history to find women who used their power to help satisfy outsize sexual appetites. Their most famous representative is Catherine the Great, the 18th century Empress of Russia, said to have had so many lovers that miniature portraits of them covered the walls of her bedroom. Her lust was so legendary that when she died, rumors spread through Russia ascribing her death to an attempt at having sex with a stallion. Historians dismiss this as a myth. (You can contact the author at Debusmann@Reuters)

Priest Pedophilia? Blame it on Woodstock In Christianity, Faiths, Roman Catholicism on May 19, 2011 Truth2Power

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Lost in the Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal and the Newt Gingrich political incorrectness implosion earlier this week was the bombshell release of a $1.8M study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Their conclusion as to why there was a wave of priest pedophilia in the Roman Catholic Church?  Blame it on Woodstock.

Yes, those socially tumultuous sixties and seventies, not the fact that pedophiles, particularly those with a penchant for little boys, could line up for the only gig outside of Disneyworld that put a smorgasbord of children under their control.  Maybe they should have asked the Walt Disney Co. how they do their evaluations and screenings.

The study, “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2002,” launched in 2006, was conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and funded, in part by the Justice Department. It is the follow-up to a preliminary report that the law school released in 2004.  It found that it was those wild and weird 1960′s and ’70s that set loose the wave of pedophilia in the American Roman Catholic Church, not celibacy nor the homosexual priests.  In fact, pedophilia actually dropped as more self-admitted homosexuals in the survey group donned the robes.

The study also told us that there was no way to determine a candidate for the priesthood who might be a pedophile. Pedophiles in the clergy who abused minors had no “psychological characteristics,” “developmental histories” or other mental disorders, the study found.

“It deflects responsibility from the bishops and puts it on to a sociological problem,” Robert M. Hoatson, priest and Road to Recovery founder told the New York Times.

It’s also a lot of Papal bull…

The problem of pedophiles in the priesthood stretches back centuries, in every corner of the globe. The explosion of cases here in the United States came from increased awareness, not the allegedly looser morals of a period in U.S. history.  There are cases filed against priests and the church on every continent other than perhaps Antarctica, and only possibly because molesting baby penguins is bestiality, not pedophilia.

The part of the study that I can agree with: If you’re gay or celibate, that doesn’t make you any more likely to abuse children than a straight person.

The problems with the rest of the study are huge. The Times reported:

“Known occurrences of sexual abuse of minors by priests rose sharply during those decades, the report found, and the problem grew worse when the church’s hierarchy responded by showing more care for the perpetrators than the victims.”

Known occurrences are the key problem.  Bishops under-reported figures. A grand jury in Philadelphia unearthed dozens of cases which the Bishop in the City of Brotherly Love tasked with uncovering cases of abuse by priests in his diocese did not even know about.

Ending the hypocrisy of celibacy is not the answer to this particular problem.  Pedophiles that are already not obeying their vows aren’t likely to worry much about that, and they don’t date adult women much.

Neither is using the pedophilia as a wedge issue to drive gay priests out of the Church, as many homophobic Catholics would like to do.

The one thing that the gang from the moral accountability biz has not got around to doing, even with this report, is being morally accountable. There is a word that this report should have invoked frequently: Screening.

Clergy are in a position of authority and “ultimate” power. For those who believe in the faith and in their flavor of God, they are the agents and gatekeepers of the superhighway to Heaven. No child, fearing the call of the nuns that they will burn in Hell for failing to obey, is going to resist.   The priesthood is pedophile paradise.

You have to go through extensive background checks to work in most other jobs with children. Not so the Roman Catholic priesthood.  Hear the voices calling you, show up at a church, and a clergy-starved church is probably glad to see you.

The Roman Catholic Church really has needed to do for decades is to own up to its own poor screening practices. While no process will ever weed out 100% of pedophiles in any organization, extensive background checks, and cross-checks with evolving public protections like the Megan’s Law list, would have been proactive responses over the decades. Today, psych fitness screenings should be a must as well. The position is too powerful.

The Catholic sin-check, the confessional, is a generations out-of-date non-starter because the priests hearing confessions can only suggest curatives and absolve those confessing with minimal repentance.

The problem could solve itself at the Papal level.  If  Benedict XVI would issue a bull stating that priests will not be absolved for sins like pedophilia, perhaps it might give a moment of pause.

Don’t count on it though. This Pope has been one of the biggest obstructionist ostriches in the Church, even before his ascension.   Then Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 sent out a confidential letter telling Bishops to hold inquiries behind close doors and seal records for up to 10 years.  The Guardian in the U.K. reports:

“The letter, ‘concerning very grave sins’, was sent from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that once presided over the Inquisition and was overseen by Ratzinger.”

The report does not account for the numerous priests who were dispatched from the U.S. to countries where they would not be extraditable.

Other than restating the obvious, this five year, $1.8 broom has not swept pedophiles out of the church.  It seems to be a very expensive attempt to sweep the pedophilia issue under the Catholic Church’s already bumpy rug rather than achieve some real accountability.

Blaming the social conditions of the 1960′s and 1970′s? My modified hippy take:

Make progress, not excuses.

Peace, man.

My shiny two.

Schwarzenegger, DSK, and Gingrich: Do We Have Psychopaths Misruling Our World?Maverick Media / By Greg Guma

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The serial misbehavior of these men was rationalized and excused for years, but it demonstrates a perpetual problem: ruling class impunity.

In recent days the political news has been like an episode of some TV drama about high-level corruption – call it Criminal Minds meets The West Wing. The head of the International Monetary Fund – the global financial organization that sets terms for development aid — was jailed in New York for allegedly assaulting a housemaid sexually at his hotel. Meanwhile, in California news broke that the state’s movie-star governor – known as both the Terminator and the Gropinator – fathered a love-child almost a decade ago and it didn’t come out until he was about to leave office.

Then, of course, there’s the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, a poster child for bad behavior, launched last week with a series of disastrous missteps and rationalizations.

What the three men have in common, aside from wielding more influence than they can handle or deserve, is that their serial misbehavior went unchecked for years. In fact, it was rationalized as mere exuberance, frequently excused in “exceptional” people, when it actually demonstrated something else – ruling class impunity.

Ask yourself: Is it possible that these were isolated lapses in judgment? In other words, was this the only time Dominique Strauss-Kahn went after the help, or the only instance of Arnold Schwarzenegger cheating on his wife and exploiting those beneath him? Not too likely. And it’s surely not the only time Gingrich has excused his own bad behavior as a side effect of patriotism – while simultaneously trashing the basic humanity of a political opponent.

If these are patterns, why are millions so fascinated, often even seduced, by people whose behavior actually points to pathology? Perhaps we are wired to be attracted by psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, people so focused on their own central role in whatever takes place that the rest of us are sucked into their reality.

Think about entering a portal and emerging into the head of Donald Trump. What could that level of self-absorption be like? Begin by imagining a complete lack of empathy, one of the tell-tale signs of the psychopath.

Is Trump a psychopath? Well, he does score well on a 20 item checklist. And are there more psychopaths around us than we think? Not just serial killers and the violent type, but successful, powerful psychopaths who will do anything to win and affect our lives in profound ways?

The checklist, a way to help identify potential psychopaths among us, was developed by Bob Hare, a prison psychologist who conducted remarkable experiments and eventually codified his findings. Jon Ronson has provides an excellent history and analysis in his new book,The Psychopath Test.

Here’s the basic list, a collection of tendencies and an analytical tool to spot those who might be functioning psychopaths. The last two items relate specifically to criminals, but you don’t have to be caught to have “criminal versatility.” Keep in mind that having mild tendencies doesn’t make you a psychopath. But a high score – more than 30 on Hare’s 40 point scale – should be a warning sign. Personally, I give Trump and Gingrich high marks:

1.Glibness, superficial charm
2.Grandiose sense of self-worth
3.Need for stimulation, proneness to boredom
4.Pathological lying
5.Conning, manipulative
6.Lack of remorse or guilt
7.Shallow affect
8.Callous, lack of empathy
9.Parasitic lifestyle
10.Poor behavioral control
11.Promiscuous sexual behavior
12.Early behavior problems
13.Lack of realistic long-term goals
16.Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17.Many short-term marital relationships
18.Juvenile delinquency
19.Revocation of conditional release
20.Criminal versatility

In his book, Ronson follows the trail of research about psychopaths, gets to know a few, and sees how they have affected society. For example, he tracks down Toto Constant, former leader of Haitian death squads backed by the CIA, who was given asylum in the US but restricted to Queens. Although the guy was basically in hiding, he still thought he was beloved in Haiti (#2), took no responsibility for his crimes (#16), and badly imitated strong emotions. Since psychopaths don’t experience emotions that same as other people (#7), they often compensate through imitation. But not all are excellent actors. Constant even thought he would someday be called back to “help” Haiti again (#13).

Psychopaths could be the reason the world seems so screwed up. If so, humanity’s tragic flaw may be that a few bad apples – people whose amygdalas don’t fire the right signals to their central nervous systems – really can spoil the whole barrel. Prime examples include the corporate psychopaths who trashed capitalism a few years back. To dig into that group check out Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work, by Bob Hare and Paul Babiak. Examining these financial terrorists, you might well conclude that the conspiracy theory about shape-shifting lizards who secretly rule the world isn’t so far off. After all, psychopaths are often social shape-shifters.

So, the question is: Do psychopaths run the country and maybe the world? Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a strong candidate. Among recent presidents Nixon, Bush 2 and Clinton could qualify. The masters of the universe at places like Goldman Sachs are solid choices. And it only takes a few to destabilize a financial system, poison a community or destroy a business. Yet some studies suggest that, percentage-wise, there are more potential psychopaths among CEOs, directors and supervisors than in the general population, or even in prisons.

Who hasn’t known a business type who was borderline, a mercurial tyrant subject to fits of rage and impulsive acts? Or followed a public figure who was charming but also irresponsible, manipulative and self-aggrandizing? The tell-tale signs of the psychopath are often ignored or excused.

In his book, Ronson recalls a meeting with businessman Al Dunlop, a ruthless executive famous for his apparent joy in firing people. Together they go through Hare’s psychopath checklist and Dunlop simply redefines many of the traits as aspects of leadership. Impulsiveness becomes quick analysis. Grandiose sense of self-worth? Absolutely, you have to believe in yourself, says Dunlop. Manipulative? Hey, that’s just leadership. Inability to feel deep emotions? Emotions are mostly nonsense, he says. And not feeling remorse frees you up to do great things.

Newt Gingrich would likely have a similar response if confronted with his own psychopathic tendencies. At the moment, he is engaging in a standard strategy – claiming redemption and re-inventing himself. In his case it’s an epic rationalization that may not work.

It is widely agreed that Newt is an opportunist and a scoundrel. But that clearly doesn’t disqualify him from becoming president. Warren Harding, the Ohio senator who became president in 1920, carried on a 15-year affair both before and during his presidency. The “other woman,” Nan Britton, gave birth to a son.

This was shortly after the end of World War I. People were disillusioned with Woodrow Wilson, and Democrats deserted the party to give Harding the biggest landslide in US history, 60 percent of the vote. That year Eugene Debs, who was in federal prison, got his best turnout, a million votes. Less than three years later, in the middle of a “goodwill” tour,” Harding dropped dead suddenly in San Francisco. He was replaced in August 1923 by Calvin Coolidge, a native Vermonter and Massachusetts governor who had been picked for vice-president in the original smoke-filled room.

Some people said Harding had been poisoned by his wife, Florence DeWolfe, a cold, snobbish banker’s daughter known as The Duchess. Rumors spread that she was trying to avoid disgrace, possibly even Harding’s impeachment. The administration had become notoriously corrupt. The Duchess fed the rumors by refusing to allow an autopsy.

It remains a mystery to this day. But Harding provided his own epitaph in advance. “I am not fit for this office and never should have been here,” he once admitted. That self-awareness suggests, despite his shortcomings, that at least he wasn’t a psychopath.

The point: if Warren Harding could become president, why not Newt Gingrich or someone equally disturbed? Just think of the future scandals and all the pathological behavior we would get to witness. Bad behavior is, after all, catnip for millions of information consumers. Can they ever really get enough?

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 22, 2011 at 5:05 am

Stay-At-Home-Dads On The Rise? Not So Fast…MS. MAGAZINE BLOG June 20, 2010 by Elizabeth Black ·

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Stay-at-home dads are all the rage in the media since this rotten economy has forced many unemployed men back in the ranks of the homestead. Judging from the plethora of Father’s Day articles celebrating stay-at-home-dads, you would think that dads across the United States are turning into Mr. Mom at an unprecedented rate.

From a profile in Michigan’s Lansing State Journal:

[For Chris Singer], raising Tessa–who has huge, Gerber-baby blue eyes, adorably chubby legs and a smile that could melt the hardest of hearts–is mission one. That means nights without sleep, trips to the library and zoo, loads of diapers, bottles, burp cloths and the conviction that he’s doing the right thing right now.

From columnist Jeff Gillenkirk in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The number of stay-at-home dads rose nearly 60 percent between 2003 and 2008 and is expected to keep rising as the economy and family roles continue to change.

Don’t be fooled. These feel-good stories are trotted out for Father’s Day, but the reality is not so rosy. It’s true enough that the tide of layoffs has hit men harder than women. But bona fide primary caregiving fathers are still rare, and a man doesn’t automatically become a primary caregiver of the children simply because he’s unemployed or underemployed. The horrid worldwide economy has simply created a larger number of unemployed/underemployed men who aren’t picking up the slack at home.

In The New York Times, author Catherine Rampell describes the more complex reality:

On average, employed women devote much more time to child care and housework than employed men do, according to recent data from the government’s American Time Use Survey analyzed by two economists, Alan B. Krueger and Andreas Mueller.

When women are unemployed and looking for a job, the time they spend daily taking care of children nearly doubles. Unemployed men’s child care duties, by contrast, are virtually identical to those of their working counterparts, and they instead spend more time sleeping, watching TV and looking for a job, along with other domestic activities.

So despite media fantasies, men getting laid off means that many moms are now acting as both the primary caregiver and primary wage earner. Slacker dads, get up off your duffs and do the right thing by supporting the mothers of your children both financially and in the homestead.

Written by protectivemothersallianceinternational

May 19, 2011 at 12:10 am

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