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An Army Without Ammunition? by James Hays 

  A recent posting in Transitions (Living in a car after false DV charges Jul-Oct. 2010) was from a father who had been subjected to the injustices of family court and the removal of his children from his control and the plunder of his assets had the individual proclaiming his intent to fight the injustices he has suffered. Now, I don't want to belittle what he has suffered and his dedication to fighting injustice (I too suffered these injustices and proclaimed my intent to right the right the wrongs of the anti-family court system).  But is this what our army of advocacy and reform is primarily made of?  

    In any adversarial contest the side which will gain the advantage is the one with more resources.  Manpower with necessary supplies to continue towards the objectives is key.  Unfortunately, it is in this area at the Mens/Fathers Rights movement has fallen short.  We have relied on an unfunded army made up of wounded, bankrupt and demoralized soldiers to do battle.  We send these gallant individuals into the fray against insurmountable odds often with undefined objectives only to see them fall to the wayside, beaten and bruised, dead to the movement.  

    I know this from my personal experience in my 15 years of advocacy .  But what seems to stick in my mind is the 50 year old plus men I came across in the 1990's who had "the stare" as they would relay their stories to me, and almost to a man ending with "I wish I had done more".  Today they are all 70 plus with little life left if not already gone and I am that 50 plus man with "the stare".  What I wish they had said to me was; young man (that's all you guys under 40) remember that this is going to be a lifelong battle against injustice.  First, take care of yourself and your children and get out of the courts!  Second, rebuild yourself and your assets.  While you are getting your emotional and financial strength back you can join in some battles but don't kill yourself in the process.  Once you are whole we need you to step up and do battle.

    And that is my advice to "Living in a car" and those who have just learned and suffered the abuses of this system.  But I am not ending there.  I am calling on each and every "50 plus" person who has suffered the injustices of this system to donate 10 hours a month to end the injustice.  The donation can be either financial and participation, or both.  First, join an organization and give them money each and every year.  Second, attend a conference (or at least register if you can't attend) or buy  a couple of books every year (Farrell, Baskerville, etc.).  Third, participate in a campaign for political change.  Instead of trying to end injustice in one year recognize it is a lifelong battle.  10 hours a month and you'll never end up saying, "I wish I had done more".  


Relief in the Land of Oz by Jay Hamilton

  Let me see if I can follow the yellow brick road of common sense as the NYS legislature (wizards) in Albany (Oz) see it.  For the honor of working hard and purchasing a piece of land I get the honor of paying exorbitant amounts of money, well above what I can produce from the land, to Oz.  Of course the wizards don't want it to appear as if they are gouging me of my income and forcing me into labor to earn dollars for Oz so the wizards direct the taxes be paid but make other layers of government, the lollipop guild, collect on behalf of them. of Oz.  

     The wizards mandate what schools, a horse of a different color, will provide but let local scarecrows speak for them.  Wizards tax me on the "value" of my property.  Ironically the system of the scarecrows has increasing cost per student correlating to lower levels of achievement.  The wizards give me a "vote" on this but their idea of local control in the land of Oz is that you hold the vote on an obscure day away from the normal election day so that the scarecrow who benefit from the tax can advocate for a yes vote.  And in Oz, if you vote no on the school budget you end up with a mandated budget higher then the scarecrow proposed.  

     Next up the wizards, dressed like Glinda, devise a shell game whereby they come to my "rescue" in the form of a shining "Star" tax relief where I am relieved of this burdensome tax by a gift from Oz.  It starts small but declines each and every year.  And now they devise scheme where I am offered relief of the burden they placed upon me if I give them a broom stick proving my income is under $500,000.  All of us working stiffs have so many $500,000 broom sticks it justifies giving up our privacy and provide my income tax return to the local lollipop guild assessor to prevent a broom stick from slipping by untaxed.  What a deal, I can get my own money back in exchange for my privacy. 

     Of course as the tax man, the wizards of Oz, lollipop guilds and scarecrows have a vested interest in obtaining my private income information for to continue to tax me at these usurious rates they need to know how much is coming in. 

     The wizards behind the curtain think I haven't noticed but I have figured out that the wizards took my money from me for Oz and then tell me how they are advocating for me as they give back a pittance of my money or spend it on their projects which are "good for me".   Maybe it is my own fault, I should be paying attention to the man behind the curtain.  One can only wonder what good the wizards of Oz will do for us next?


Blame the Legislature by Jay Hamilton  Troy Record 03-04-2011

      I have to give credit where credit is due and hand it to the New York State Legislature for their side step of blame for our current fiscal mess here in New York state. Citizen backlash for excessive spending and pork barrel politics is coming and the New York State Legislature sidestepped the blame and conveniently dropped it squarely in the laps of New York state government workers. Given the level of blame and outright disdain, if not hatred, one would think that the rank and file had free rain in the treasury and were running amuck with chests of booty and treasure like a bunch of pirates.
     Lost in all of this was the fact that labor is required to negotiate for their benefits, in the case of state government workers, that is with the governor’s office. Now the current occupant of that position, I am sure, would be quick to point out he wasn't in that position when the booty was distributed. Of course, the New York State Legislature is part of this process and if they don't pass legislation (pay bills) then the money wouldn't be spent. In other words the governor’s office and the New York State Legislature both authorized the expenditures.
     Now correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it the job of the unions to obtain the most for their members that they can? And isn't it the responsibility of the governor’s office and the New York State Legislature as employers to make sure they hold those costs in line? I know, we can fault the unions for contributing to and advocating for politicians who once elected pay back the unions for their loyal support. But when I look at the New York State Board of Elections website I see that businesses and corporations also give freely to candidates, Republican and Democrat alike. So too do rich people, conservative and liberal. So how is it that they don't all balance themselves out?
     Perhaps it is because they all have one thing in common, they all want something from the elected "representative" of the people. And the best way for the politicians to pander to the special interest groups is to pay them all! Unfortunately, it is the people who have to pay the bill for the decisions of the governor and Legislature. If the unions are set aside do we really expect that another special interest won't come along and fill the void? That the governor and Legislature would stop spending? Obviously it is we the people who haven't been properly represented. And the fault for the fiscal mess we are in isn't a union or a special interest group, it is the politician who allowed the special interest group too much influence.
     So, should I be mad at the people who did what they were supposed to (the unions) or the people who didn't (politicians)? So maybe instead of blaming worker I'll blame the boss. Maybe we should give credit where credit is due and hold the New York State Legislature accountable?