A Voice of Reason: Sane Views for a Crazy World

November 7, 2008

Studs Terkel – A Belated Farewell

Filed under: Corporatism,Culture,Democrat,History,Liberals,PoliticalScience,Politics — avoiceofreason @ 8:24 pm

A belated farewell to a person whom I have read extensively and often disagreed with as I read extensively, but for whom I always held in admiration. Farewell to author/historian Studs Terkel . 

Terkel is an important historian for the method he used.  Rather than allow his own narration to become the focal point of the narrative, he chose to allow the voices of the participants ring loud.  At times Terkel’s left of center (and he was certainly that) came to the surface in his analysis and evaluation, however, his body of work is impressive, particularly concerning The Great Depression, The Second World War (which he called “The Good War) and American Workers and the work they do.

Terkel had an edge to him and while I did not agree with his position regarding post 9-11 security measures, I do hold in respect any person who can give a heartfelt and rationale argument towards a position.  This to my mind was the most frustrating aspect of the current election campaign – the utter mindlessness of many drones rekindling memories with a mantra of “Change, change, change” and “Yes, we can”, who inability to clearly articulate a coherent arguement about why their beliefs were valid to a rational mind.  The vapidity of the masses reminds one of Orwell’s sheep bleating “Four legs good, two legs bad”.  Blind obedience and the ability to speak slogans without the benefit of an ability to coherently defend a position is dangerous to democracy whether the sheep are of conservative or liberal cloth.

Studs Terkel was no a pushover, and his interviews, writings, essays and certainly his anthology of oral histories are worthy of respect –  from whatever side of the political spectrum one finds themselves upon.  I for one will miss his voice – raspy from far too many cheap cigars – and his passion for his beliefs.   I am able to understand his perspective and find some common ground with it, even though I often rejected his conclusions. 

There is a reason why I wll miss his voice, more for the content than its tone and tenor.  As Studs wrote, “I want people to talk to one another no matter what their difference of opinion might be.”  Isn’t that concept an important fixture of self government?

May 10, 2007

What do you Value?

As I’ve been mulling over resumes, and the course of my life, interspersed with reading about how an American icon, IBM, is on the fast track to screwing over their workers, most of whom happen to be my fellow citizens, I realize that my values may be out of sync with the rest of society.

I value my family.  I take great joy and a small sense of pride in knowing that my children are decent kids.  Yeah, they have problems, but they are overall doing well.  My eldest daughter is a tremendous source of pride.  She has taken a position as a Social Studies teacher, just like her Dad.  I can’t tell you the joy that brings me, that perhaps she saw maybe something in me, that maybe nudged her towards that.

That brings on another thing I value, community.  To me it was shown when I volunteered and enlisted in the 82nd Airborne, a decision I think was one of the best I have ever made.  In that action, I feel I made a slight downpayment in the debt that I owe those members of my family, and those who served, and often sacrificed more than I was called to do, in order that I may live in a world which they may only have dreamed of.  I am a lucky man indeed to have the knowledge that I was fortunate enough to serve my country.

I think that my desire to teach and be a leader in a public school is also a part of that value of community.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel I am underpaid, and I don’t mind that either.  I also know that I put a great deal of effort into my students, and that I take a particular joy in seeing the progress they made.  Today, when I was reading their essays about how our government used ancient Rome as a model, I took a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that my love of history, and probably a deep love – although I guess it is true that “Love Hurts” – for my country has been shared with them.  I value their learning, and I value what they teach me daily.  I learn more from them than they would ever guess.  I am lucky for that.

I value community, and I think that extends from the home to the schools and churches that so many of us enjoy.  I value the happiness of my community, and hope that my neighbors feel the same way.  I value the aspect that God plays in my life. I am not so sure as what I believe as when I was a younger man, but I think that my understanding that I need for the grace that is offered to man, as a part of my life.  I like that, and admit that I am happy to say that most times, I truly understand that God calls me friend.  I value that.

I understand money, and of course it has a value.  I guess what I don’t get are those entities that value a buck more than the people that labored to make that dollar for the company.   I know things are hard, and a business has a right and the responsibility to make profits for the shareholders.  I guess it’s not in my values however, when that company still makes money, but outsource jobs from my neighbors, and yours, and sends them over to nations which are our economic rivals, who would never give something towards us to help out our economy.

I have a feeling that most who regularly read this blog would say that they value the same things.  If that’s the case, why aren’t things different?  After all there are more of them than there are of those other bastards.  I am thinking about Governor Al Smith, of the fifth ward, a son of immigrants, who rallied the day laborer and the common person of New York City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and forged a movement that was founded on that idea, that there are more little people than big people.  Maybe we just have to remember that.

I guess its a question about what we value.

May 9, 2007

“Lean” – IBM’s Plan to Screw its US Workers

A fantastic post about the unethical business practices that an American Icon, IBM, is inflicting upon its employees, and the plan to fire over 100,000 employees and replace “some” of these employess with “workers” from Communist China and India. I guess they will work with Beijing to make sure that enough prisoners are available before this plan is put into operation.

IBM is about to go through the biggest restructuring in its operations since the Gerstner days, but this time for all the wrong reasons.

At least Lou Gerstner was trying to SAVE a dying company, while the current leadership seems to be planning another ENRON manuver.

The IBM project is called LEAN and the first manifestation of LEAN was this week’s 1,300 layoffs at Global Services, which generated almost no press. Thirteen hundred layoffs from a company with more than 350,000 workers is nothing, so the yawning press reaction is not unexpected. But this week’s “job action,” as they refer to it inside IBM management, was as much as anything a rehearsal for what I understand are another 100,000+ layoffs to follow, each dribbled out until some reporter (that would be me) notices the growing trend, then dumped en masse when the jig is up, but no later than the end of this year.

LEAN is about offshoring and outsourcing at a rate never seen before at IBM. For two years Big Blue has been ramping up its operations in India and China with what I have been told is the ultimate goal of laying off at least one American worker for every overseas hire. The BIG PLAN is to continue until at least half of Global Services, or about 150,000 workers, have been cut from the U.S. division. Last week’s LEAN meetings were quite specifically to find and identify common and repetitive work now being done that could be automated or moved offshore, and to find work Global Services is doing that it should not be doing at all. This latter part is with the idea that once extraneous work is eliminated, it will be easier to move the rest offshore.

India had been used, but the workers there were not predictable. I know this for a fact, that they were also having the unmitigated gall of demanding a salary of $3000 per year. Which would be a lucrative salary in that country. The instability, the riots over the death of a movie star or Richard Gere puckering up and laying a wet one on an Indian actress did nothing to make IBM feel like India was a new home. Enter Red China. Prisoners tend not to bitch about their salaries, and knowing about movie stars is not high on the priority. So good when IBM teams up with that model of enlightenment portrayed by Beijing.

All this is supposed to happen by the end of 2007, by the way, at which point IBM will also freeze its U.S. pension plan.

All of this is well under way. My wife is a “LEAN” manager, as well as filling the managerial shoes of six other positions, which have been eliminated. No longer are people being fired for incompetence and replaced, they are simply fired for made up reasons of incompetence, and not replaced. This has been IBM standard procedure for the last ten years, but the firings are wratching up.

The point of this has nothing to do with the work itself and everything to do with the price of IBM shares. Remove at least 100,000 heads, eliminate the long-term drag of a defined-benefit pension plan, and the price of IBM shares will soar. This is exactly the kind of story Wall Street loves to hear. Palmisano and his lieutenants will retire rich. And not long after that IBM’s business will crash for reasons I explain below.

This also seems to be part of the plan, to gut and strip the company while making the stock prices boom, and then bail out.

I am told there is a broad expectation at all levels of IBM familiar with the LEAN plan that it will cause huge problems for the company. Even the executives who support this campaign most strongly expect it to go down poorly with employees and customers, alike. But in the end they don’t care, which shows that only the reaction of Wall Street matters anymore.

So we can expect round after round of layoffs, muted a bit — as they were back in the Gerstner days — by some of those same people being hired back as consultants at 75 percent of their former pay (50 percent of their former cost to the company since they won’t be getting benefits). Throw in some overtime and it won’t look bad on paper for the people, but it is also very temporary.

I am married to a “manager” at IBM and can offer firsthand effects to the practices that “Big Blue” has been employing as the first step towards this “Lean and Mean” policy.

On her account she has sixteen agents, who cover a 24 hour period. When she started managing this account she had 22 agents for a project that required, and for which the client had been promised 32 full time agents. Needless to say the client has not been overly impressed with the performance of IBM in this account.

When my wife was an agent, she typically worked a regular 40 hour week, which on occassion would have some paid overtime sprinkled in. Of course when she went into management, there was an increase in her “desk” time as well as numerous occassions where she would have to go into the field to meet with the client, but typically she worked a 55 to 60 hour week for the few months. However, since IBM has started this “Lean and Mean” policy, her responsibilities are no longer to simply manage this account. She has also taken on five other administrative positions, which have been folded into this simple “Low level manager’s account”. Typically her work week is about 70 to 75 hours per week, and 90 hour work weeks are not at all uncommon, but come about once a month. She has not worked under 70 hours a week for the past year.
She has received for all of this extra work a raise of 4% as a PBC1 – which raised her total salary slightly over 42,000/yr, which is the highest rate available for an IBM low level manager. I have been alternately infuriated and dismayed as I have watched the shabby treatment that this once proud company dispenses upon its management, particularly those that they consider the most valued.
I have also candidly stated to her she should start looking elsewhere for employment, as this behavior by her company is nothing short of exploitation, and in reality is little more than white collar indentured servitude. Now that I learn the plans of IBM to do away with jobs, even though last year their corporation turned in profits that were rather significant, but did not meet the artificially inflated projection that had been set for them, I am torn between feelings of rage and impotence.

While I fully understand the purpose of a corporation is to make a profit for itself, and its shareholders, it is disheartening when a company of IBM’s stature and tradition treats its employees as vassals, while it plans upon making fewer employees do signficantly more as they shift American jobs to Communist China.

At some point one has to ask if the benefits that a company reaps from basing its business on the strength of the United States Economy, and the benefits it reaps from the infrastructure of these United States bestows upon it an inherent responsibility to act within ethical principals.

I am all for free markets. However the idea of these corporate entities sucking at the American tit of OUR tax dollars in tax breaks and other goodies, then giving the shaft to US workers, so they can outsource jobs to nations, which are our economic rivals, sort of sets me off. How about you?

May 3, 2007

Where You Stand Politically

So, you want to  know where you stand and how you can get that cool little icon like I have on my blog?

Well, just go to this site and take the quiz.  I would put no opinion if you are not sure about something.

Please post your results, and you get BIG TIME BONUS POINTS for reasonableness if you score Moderate, Conservative or Liberal!  I “hope” I have constructed a place where divergent views are allowed and where we gain from seeing each other’s perspective.  I also hope that sometimes someone will say, I see your point, or something like that.

So often politics are too personal, so maybe this would at least bring back agreeable discussion and dissent to the forefront.

I’m posting this on all topics to hopefully get maximum participation.

IF you wish to take the quiz it is here.


April 26, 2007

What is a Liberal; What is a Conservative.

This brilliant post came as a result of a discussion on Woman Honor Thyself about gay rights. I love discussions which make me think, and something that had been ticking away just came out. It was one of my replies to many of the comments of “the left says this”.

There are so many mentions of the “left” and the “right” on blogs. Since I think many would consider this a “Conservative” blog, though I’m sure many “Conservatives” would call this place a den of Marxism or radical leftism, I asked think, What exactly is the Right would be a most approproriate question.

Are you of the “right” if you are a traditional conservative in the mold of Barry Goldwater that wanted small government, few intrusions by the Federal into the state and high amounts of libertarianism thrown in?

Are you of the right when you want BIG government with HUGE intrusions of the Federal into daily life with low regard for libertarianism thrown in as shown by NCLB, The Patriot Act and “The War on Drugs”.

Are you of the left when you support such “big government” positions as shown by the three I mentioned and add The New Deal and some of The Great Society programs thrown in.


Are you of the right when you side with those who would say yes to expressions of religion in the public domain such as The Ten Commandments being on public displays, religious markers – including Wiccan due to a recent court ruling – being allowed to be put in government owned cemeteries for veterans at tax payer expenses (38 religions – now 39 are officially allowed)

Are you of the left when you feel that Wicca markers should be paid for by your tax dollars.
Are you of the Left or the Right when you contemplate the full circle that “Conservativism” has undergone when you look at the start of the GOP as a “more conservative” political organization dedicated to stopping the expansion of slavery, but shifted pretty radically left when Emancipation – was imposed on rebellious states, and then the Radical COngress of the 1860’s and 70’s were they left or right?

The terms themself are hard to monitor as being of the left/liberal or being of the right/conservative has little meaning anymore.

When I define myself as a Conservative by saying I like BIG Government with regard to The Patriot Act, NCLB, The “War on Drugs” and even other “liberal??” aspects of it such as The New Deal, Social Security, and The Great Society, I also realize that I am in favor of unions and worry about the ecology of the planet, and kind of like that the Feds stepped in and mandated civil rights in 1964 as well as intergration of public schools in 1952. Time to stop kidding myself, I don’t dislike “Big Government” so maybe I’m a lefty after all.

Maybe, what makes me self defined as a Conservative, is that I’m as HAWKISH as they come, well, except for the loonies who are to the right of me!

Such labels are impossible to uphold anymore in today’s hegemony of political stances. The question is which party puts up with diverging views better. And also, which one lines up with who you are at your core.

April 22, 2007

China Forces 61 Christian Women To Abortion

From Chinaview: Commentary will be limited on this. Some things are just too heinous to inject sanity, satire, debate or much else.

61 Christian Women Forced to Have Abortions in China
According to China Aid Association (CAA), a massive forced abortion campaign is ongoing in China’s Guangxi Province targeting Christian pregnant women. It’s reported that 61 Christian women were forced to have abortions in 2 days on April 17 and 18. Here’s China Aid Association’s reports.

41 Forced on April 17

Midland, Texas (April 17, 2007)- CAA has learned that a massive forced abortion campaign is ongoing in China’s Guangxi Province(Autonomous Region).

One Christian lady, Ms. Linrong Wei, 7 months pregnent, was dragged into the hospital from her home on April 17 at 8:45 AM (Beijing time) by 10 officials from the Population and Family Planning Commsssion in Baise City, Guangxi. Her husband Yage “James” Liang was formerly a pastor in the government-sanctioned TSPM church before he became a House church pastor a year ago.

According to eyewitnesses’ reports to CAA, 40 other preganant women was forcefully moved to the Youjiang District People’s Hospital of Baise City on the same day to perform forced abortion.

Eyewitnesses told CAA that pastor Liang’s wife was pregenant accidentally and they wanted to keep this baby because of Christian principles. Ms. Wei was injected with medicine to induce birth at 11 AM on April 17. Ms. Wei’s hospital bed number is No. 39.

Eyewitnesses report that another woman, 9 months preganent, on bed number 38 was also injected at 12 PM.

One Church leader in that area who has visited Ms. Wei told CAA that these so-called ‘illegal pregnant women” were treated so bad that they were just forced to lay down on the very simple beds in the hospital corridor before the injections were done.

The family planning officials told relatives of the women that their babies will be born and most likely die within 24 hours.

2o Christian Women Forced to Have Abortions on April 18

Midland, Texas (April 18, 2007)- The Massive forced abortion campaign continues in Guangxi province. After 41 women were forced to have abortions on April 17, CAA has learned that the Youjiang District People’s Hospital of Baise City performed forced abortions for at least 20 more pregnant women on April 18.

Eyewitnesses report to CAA that at around 5:00pm on April 18, more than 20 more pregnant women were transported into the same hospital by the Family Planning officials. Within 30 minutes, about 10 of them were injected forcefully for an abortion.

This means within last 24 hours, at least 61 babies were killed with forced abortions.

At Bed number 37, Ms. He Caigan was 9 months pregnant. Officials injected her baby’s head and 20 minutes later, her baby stopped moving and died.

About 6am on April 18(BJ time), pastor James Liang’s wife Ms Wei Linrong gave birth to a boy, but he was dead because of the injection. She received three doses of injection-one is to induce the birth and the other two to kill the baby in the womb.

After China Aid reported the forced abortion, many PSB were seen surrounding the section of the hospital where these women are held.

What can be said to such barbarous acts. Remember what you support when you save a couple of bucks to buy Chinese goods. Please pass this post around, while I have no doubt that the commercial interests our nation has with China will preclude Congress from any action, even a whisper of this on the House or Senate floor, perhaps awareness could be raised. I am posting this on all political tags, and who knows, maybe a candidate will have the guts to mention this horrific practice and make this an issue.

Playing at God at the Risk of Pissing the Real One Off

My wife and I had a conversation on the way to an Easter Sunday family gathering. I had hinted at it, and I out and out said it. What do you think about adopting a child.

The reaction was stone cold silence. We had discussed children in the past, it had met the same reaction. I accept this, and I think that a part of it is a reaction to hitting middle age. My children are 23, 21, 18,17 and 16. I don’t feel that I am wanting a child because I recognize I am on the back nine of life. There are other reasons for desiring the experience of a child with my wife, and us raising that child together. I guess I’ll have to hint that grandkids would be a nice idea, once my children find potential spouses to satisfy this yearning. By the way an hour or so of holding one of my many grand nieces/nephews took the edge off, and hearing them cry really helped.

My wife is an adoptee, and I by proxy have become interested and hopefully empathetic to her issues concerning not knowing her birth mother, and the mounds of red tape that she goes through trying to even get her non-identifying information. However, in truth, I’ll never know how she feels, and candidly I am thankful that I won’t.

Another issue she has, and I have learned many other adoptee children have is what I call the I’m mad at you, my birth mom and everyone syndrome. Even though her adoptive parents did their best and loved her, and she had the “pool and the pony” so typical of adopted children’s experiences, she was deemed ungrateful; some times I think – in moments of non empathy, she’s earned it. Many people simply will never understand, and I think I have begun to do so, that sense of the missing piece that leads to so many adopted children growing up, and being “ungrateful”. Trust me, there are times when she gets on that roll, and when it happens, she’s no fun to live with.

However, there are a group of children, many now who are growing up, who have an even more viable reason to be “ungrateful”, and I refer to the generation growing among us, the test tube generation. Think about what these kids go through. Am I person or am I a human/dell project put together from only the best parts that a catalogue of prospective mothers and fathers could buy. I mean, I think EVERY child wants to believe that they were conceived from some concept of love ( I know some aren’t).

However, I can’t imagine the mixed emotions that these sci-fi children must feel. Even a social faux pas in the back of a Chevy on a hot July night, has to be BLISS considering the research and marketing that goes into these type of “parental” choices. So, adopted kids, move over on the ungrateful bandwagon, cause, there’s a new bunch of kids in town, and these kids aren’t in the same ballpark, they’re not in the same f***ing sport, to quote Pulp Fiction.

They have issues that Freud in his wildest dreams couldn’t have fathomed. Q: Tell me about your mother. A. She was picked from a catalogue for her GPA, skin tone and facial structure and also was D&D free (not dungeons and dragons for any geeks who may be stopping by). Freud is rolling over in his grave, and cursing himself that he didn’t think and have some part of him saved, so he could be cloned, because these kids, well, let’s just say that why do I overeat and seem to be stuck in the oral phase, just got bumped by a whole other bunch of issues.

Consider your average John and Jane Q “Can’t Have a Kid”. I know many don’t fit the profile, but a hell of a lot do. They marry, say in their 20’s or lately early 30’s. They both have a career, and they really want to keep that career and have a kid when they have it all. So, the biological clock starts to tick away and if they are lucky they have a child. Of course the “fact” that children born by mothers after a certain year have a much higher chance of developing issues, including miscarriage, and also learning disabilities, down’s syndrome and other minor inconveniences, won’t stand in the way of too close to middle age to have a kid from “having it all”. Then you have the others that waited a bit too long. Or they find out that John’s sperm count is lower than President Bush’s approval ratings, or that Jane’s womb has become as welcoming as the Serengetti Plains during drought season. Now, rational people suck it up and move on, and consider other options, like adoption.

But no, not John and Jane, they MUST have their biology pass on, and the hell with the fact they didn’t wait. So, they try, and maybe they succeed. Or, maybe they don’t, but they want to have a “wee wittle baby of their dreams”, so they don’t adopt a child, and honestly the miles of red tape and the Tony Soprano mentality of some “adoption agencies”, and I trust these groups about as much as I would Bill Clinton at a sorority dance, make them decide to purchase a child piece by piece, just like a Dell it is custom made. They rent a woman’s uterus, purchase her egg and a man’s sperm, and instant family!

This leads them to find Mr. Perfect Sperm and Ms. Wonderful Egg, kinda of a scary hi tech Barbie and Ken search, I mean Who wants an ugly-stupid kid?

Certainly, not Jennalee Ryan, and yes she’s a real person, so maybe she’s out there reading;  she runs a Dell/baby company, and justifies it, and yes, that above link are her words. Jane, “people” like you, make me in favor of retroactive abortion rights – well after the third trimester. You remind me of… Josef, not MARY and Joseph you sci-fi facist, Josef Mengele.

Gandhi once said, “Science without Humanity” is a social sin.

If this offends you, remember that all people deserve to at least believe they were welcomed, and wanted, but putting together a “human being” from a list of vendors was warned to mankind as early as Mary Shelly in Frankenstein. Life is the life of life, wrote Pascal. I think that means you take what life gives you with grace, and don’t play God. If you try to, you’re likely to piss the real one off.

If you are concerned about this issue of mass marketing human beings, please consider this site.

Because Children have Rights. We all do.

April 17, 2007

Your Ideal Candidate

Found this site which allows you to measure your candidates positions by some positions which are important to you.  No surprise here, although I did not like all the options which were either or options, so on a few questions I clicked neither, as I would be “in between” polar positions on some issues.

A big shocker, Rudy wins, followed by McCain and then Hunter, who still has “no chance” to win.  Interestingly Fred Thompson and of all people John Edwards come in fairly close to each other, which helps me understand why I can tolerate Edwards more than most of the Dem field.  Pretty much this is a fairly accurate reflection of me, and Lord I hope most Americans.

Hope you guys see this and POST your results here!!!!!

1.  Theoretical Ideal Candidate   (100%)
2.  Rudolph Giuliani   (65%)  Click here for info
3.  John McCain   (64%)  Click here for info
4.  Duncan Hunter   (62%)  Click here for info
5.  Fred Thompson   (56%)  Click here for info
6.  John Edwards   (55%)  Click here for info
7.  Sam Brownback   (54%)  Click here for info
8.  Joseph Biden   (51%)  Click here for info
9.  Al Gore   (50%)  Click here for info
10.  Hillary Clinton   (49%)  Click here for info
11.  Newt Gingrich   (48%)  Click here for info
12.  Chuck Hagel   (46%)  Click here for info
13.  Tom Tancredo   (45%)  Click here for info
14.  Mitt Romney   (43%)  Click here for info
15.  Jim Gilmore   (40%)  Click here for info
16.  Wesley Clark   (39%)  Click here for info
17.  Barack Obama   (38%)  Click here for info
18.  Mike Huckabee   (35%)  Click here for info
19.  Christopher Dodd   (35%)  Click here for info
20.  Dennis Kucinich   (29%)  Click here for info
21.  Bill Richardson   (23%)  Click here for info
22.  Ron Paul   (22%)  Click here for info
23.  Tommy Thompson   (21%)  Click here for info
24.  Elaine Brown   (20%)  Click here for info
25.  Mike Gravel   (8%)  Click here for info
26.  Kent McManigal

April 16, 2007

Stephanie’s Case: There is What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and the Law

A 17 year old girl, Stephanie Bennet (the family is PLEADING for the public to know about this case) recently has been involved in a case where she was coerced into surrendering her baby to an overzealous adoption agency, who had 15,000 reasons to be “concerned”. That’s adoption agency codespeech for their profit margin on human trafficking. This case has boiled over to three separate counties, each of course having their own rules regarding adoption law. so of course this case is wrapped so tightly in red tape, that it would make the most officious government toadie smile in delight at the impossible task of untangling the mess, but what the hell, it’s only a child of 17 who has had her child taken away by some of the slickest sales people to come down the pike since the “Snake oil” salespeople of legend. Is that a coincidence that the adoption agency foresaw as a contingency plan, I think so.

I’m a father of 44, and I have three daughters (23, 21 and 16), and this article kind of hits me at home, because it could be my daugther thrown into this mess. In a way it is my daughter, it’s everyone’s daughter, and that is the only way to change a societal view is to see this child, Stephanie as your own.

Consider this your daughter’s timeline.

11/05/06 – Stephanie found that she is pregnant and hid it from her parents until 3 weeks prior to delivery. She is tall, this is a first pregnancy and the popular baggy clothes worn by young people made that possible.

What 17 year old wouldn’t do the same. She made a choice, which took tremendous courage and told her parents and delivered the child.

4/17/06 – Stephanie delivered Baby Evelyn Joann Bennett and named her for her Great Grandmother and her Grandmother and her Mother. The plan is that, with her family’s support, Stephanie will raise the baby.

In a world where families are so often fragmented and where typically young people fritter away their responsibilities, Stephanie shows character. Yes, she had sex, most of you reading probably did when you were 17 also, or wished to have done so. She maybe exercised poor judgement; and there’s a pile of stones for you to throw if you are without sin to toss at mother and child.

Stephanie’s parents are not wealthy people and Stephanie and Evelyn go on Medicaid. This is an example of Title I monies being well spent. This won’t likely be for a lifetime, but to see her and the child through the understandable tough patches. Those who are pro-life had better understand that responsibility for society doesn’t end with the child being born. If you want young, unwed mothers not to opt for abortion, be willing to support her with tax dollars, and not just from private charity.

4/06 – Stephanie told her parents that the father was a school friend, with whom she had never had sex. She was desperately trying to protect her family. She lied to her parents because she was afraid of the real father who had been making serious and repeated threats against her family. Stephanie attempted to protect them from him and what he would do to her family, to her and to Baby Evelyn.

I don’t know the details yet about “daddy” but odds are he’s either married and most likely facing a statutory rape charge, but I’m just guessing here. If either is true, I hope he ends up on one of those MSNBC shows about life in prison, or that HBO brings the series “Oz” back to life, and he’s prisoner #305985 – child rapist pig.

9/07/06 – After 5 months of repeated and serious threats to her family’s health and safety and emotional abuse from the putative father of her child, Stephanie approached Thomas Saltsman, a Guidance Counselor, at Glenoak High School. Stephanie originally went to discuss a schedule change, but mentioned adoption. As soon as Stephanie mentioned adoption, Mr. Saltsman turned, got a brochure from his desk for A Child’s Waiting Adoption Agency and arranged a meeting for the next day in his office.

Now, I work in the public schools, and hope to become an administrator. I am going to be poring over my school law text book later on about this case, because my question is “What the hell is a member of the school doing discussing adoption or abortion or anything else of that nature without the consent of a PARENT or a LEGAL Guardian.”

9/8/06 – Stephanie signed the initial paperwork that began the process. Mr. Saltsman signed as witness, in his office, at the high school, this was the ONLY meeting between Stephanie and the agency people, until the agency worker came to take Baby Evelyn on 9/12/06. There was no counseling nor protection offered to Stephanie. An attorney was present, as Stephanie’s “independent counsel”, but she also handled adoptions for A Child’s Waiting Adoption Agency on a regular basis.

Again, am I missing something here? Where are the parents? Why has the school opted to play a parental role in this situation. Now, Stephanie has to be asked what is going through her mind, but this is all the more reason to not allow MINORS to enter into contracts, such as adoption AND abortion without parental notification and consent. The “independent counsel” is a laugh, and this child abduction agency will hopefully be investigated, and even more hopefully, and this is wishful thinking due to the obvious political patronage they enjoy, will be the alleged child-rapist’s new cellmates in the soon to be showing MSNBC Prison Diary, or even better in the reairing of “Oz” as new guests of “Em City”.

9/12/07 – As a policy, Medicaid demands the name of a father, or they require DNA testing on any possible ones. The young man that Stephanie claimed was the father in order to protect her family’s safety from the real father went to have his DNA tested. Stephanie was to bring Evelyn in for her test to see if they matched, but Stephanie never came. She had already run away, as directed by the agency rep in the school guidance counselor’s office, to avoid the DNA testing. The involvement of a father in the proceedings would complicate things for the agency. Proven fathers have rights that require protection. DNA evidence is proof of paternity. No proof and there are only putative fathers, who legally need not be consulted. Evelyn was not tested, as she had already been taken from her mother by the agency.

This information was the inspiration for an earlier post of “What About Daddy“. In this case it may be some individual that is lower than whale feces, but as a policy, this is about as odious as they come. Doesn’t the biological father of this child have not only the responsibility but the right to be a part of his child once born? In my 44 years, I have never heard of such unethical behavior by the self-righteous child abduction industry. I am typically a sane and controlled man, but these people get my ire up to as Samuel Jackson’s character’s level in Pulp Fiction said – and I’ll delete the expletives – “I’m a Mushroom Cloud Laying Mother******” Again, I know the law, and they may say this is legal, or at least in some counties, but I see some pretty shady deals here, and would love to prosecute these saccharine Mother Theresa’s.

9/12/06 – Stephanie and Evelyn ran away (at the agency’s suggestion, in the Guidance Counselor’s office, to Carrol County where Stephanie’s parents could not interfere). Also the last time Stephanie saw baby Evelyn. The agency rep came to this place and picked up baby Evelyn.

Is there any point in commenting? What do you expect from pigs but grunts?

10/2/06 – Judy and Ranza Bennett got temporary custody of Baby Evelyn; went to the agency in Copley Township in Summit County accompanied by Copley Police. Agency told the police that they had spoken to the 17-year-old but told her that they could not do business with her while she was a minor and that neither child was at the agency.

I’m done commenting…

10/16/06 – Judy and Ranza notified by Canton police that they were to appear in court on 10/17/06. Not informed as to why.

10/17/06 – Went to court, still no information as to reason. Stephanie appeared accompanied by A Child’s Waiting. Court placed Stephanie into a Respite Home due to allegations of abuse made against Judy and Ranza Bennett by the putative father who had been making the threats against Stephanie and her family, which stated that there was neglect and abuse against both Evelyn and Stephanie. A case worker came to their home to investigate the charges of abuse.

10/18/06 – Stephanie ran away from the Respite Home and called a friend, who called the caseworker who advises him to take Stephanie to Family Court. While in court, Stephanie tells the judge that she wants to return home to her parents and her sister. The Lawyer for Child Protection told the Judge that there was no sign of neglect or abuse in the home. Evelyn’s pediatrician stated that he had no concern about Evelyn being in the home.

10/18/06 – Stephanie then told her parents who the father actually was (there is no more information about the father available beyond this as yet, as charges are pending and any information leaked could jeopardize their case).Attempted to find an attorney who could handle the case and would work for payments that could come later, for Stephanie and the baby.

Dec. 31, 2006 – Rick Armon’s article appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal. His original article is no longer available on the website.

Early January, 2007 – Sandy Young called the Bennett family to offer help. They said that they could use it.

Jan of 07-. Hired Paul Reiners to defend Stephanie. He agreed to work on a pro bono basis, unless they won the case. In that event, they would owe him standard fees.

1-19-07 – The first time Stephanie went to court in Summit Co. with Mr.Reiners, and was not allowed in the court room. Paul Reiners came out of the court room and told Stephanie that the Magistrate, Diana Stevenson, had put a gag order on all parties involved in the case.

2/2/07 – Judge in Stark Co. ruled that the custody order of Ranza and Judy Bennett was no longer in effect; That another court had precedence.

02/03/07 Canton grandparents’ adoption motion denied

2-21-07 – Stephanie went back to court in Summit Co, where she is still fighting for the return of her daughter Evelyn. This date was to determine if the Surrender could be overturned. The judge was to rule on this matter on March 27, 2007. The briefs were to have been turned in on the 23rd and she would rule several days later. Paul Reiners had said that he would have several witnesses subpoenaed including the putative father. He also had indicated that he would depose Joe Soll to testify to the effects of the coercion, the loss of her daughter, the psychological impact of the threats and the emotional abuse that Stephanie had been subjected to. He did none of the above.

March of 07 – Fired Paul Reiners

March of 07 – hired Jennifer Lowry, who obtained a continuance on the ruling by the judge and obtained the court transcripts. She could find no evidence of any gag order on any party to the case. She still prefers to have Stephanie remain silent, as a matter of choice, and to protect her, but her parents and the attorney are not so bound.

April 07 – Obtained copies of the complaint filed against the agency in the matter of Stephanie Bennett by her mother. The agency was found to be not in compliance in numerous areas. A copy of the findings is attached. So far, no actions have been taken against the agency by the state, despite being out of compliance.

April 9, 2007 – Meeting with Jennifer Lowry. She was excited about the Bennetts having a copy of the complaint. Also has started to plan a reunification.

If you read this, thank you. Stephanie and her parents deserve it, and if you’re ever in this hell on earth, so would you.

April 13, 2007

Russia and Guatamala Join China on Adoption Scams, OOPS, Bans

I’m not an expert on adoption, but when something smells like crap and has maggots all over it, I know that there is a garbage heap around. Guess what friends, adoption policies reek pretty badly right now.

Well, two gret peoples, the Chinese – who are models of humanity and the enligtenment of the spirit of man – just ask any Tibetan, and the Russians – who seem to miss the good ole’ days of Stalin – and if you think I’m kidding you should read their news – have been joined by a third, that country of forwardness, Guatamala, in making adoptions of the children that were until about 24 hours ago about as special to them, as the $4.95 Blue Plate Special at La Greasy Spoon’s Diner is to the editor of Gourmet Magazine. Now, here’s the question class, Guess which three countries were the top three in popularity with those in the United States for adoptions; you got it, China, Russia, and Guatamala.

China has put some rather strict restrictions for adopting children from their country. Before I go much further, I will risk the ire of Adoptees, Parents who wish to adopt and the political machine that is funded by adoption agencies, and state at the very start, I “know” that adoption means many things to many people, but is run by some of the most corrupt agencies, with the most obscene practices to procure children – yeah, I said procure – and then bid them off to the highest bidder. Banking on the despair that many adults feel from either a sense of unfulfillment due to not being able to have a child, or the laudable concern which makes adults jump through the hoops of these corrupt governmental agencies at home and abroad, and the equally corrupt for profit business that adoption has become.

China has numerous children that need to be adopted, particularly female children. In part due to the draconian policies set forth by their 0 growth mandate. One could argue, and probably correctly, that allowing these children to be born is better than the forced abortions which take place daily, many by placing an injection of fermaldehyde in the brain of the newborn as it passes through the birth canal. In light of China’s barbaric treatment of these unwanted pregnancies, and with the equal disregard to civil liberties, particularly in Tibet, they typically portray, it is hard to understand some of the requirements that were put into play concerning adoption. Some of them are understandable, but the age issue of any parent being over 50 is a bit of a stretch, considering the average life expectancy in America is 75 for males and 78 for females. Of course gay couples can’t adopt, but don’t feel bad, the overweight, and even those with facial scars can be eliminated from the pool. Besides, what do you expect from a government that has made the repression of its own people, and many of their new people – former sovereign states, about as fine an art as the sad history of man has known.

Russia’s entry into this foray is puzzling, particularly when one considers the extreme duress that children who are adopted from this lovely corner of the world encounter due to the typical lack of basic care, the high degree of unreported serious medical deficiencies of these children, and the high amount of these children who demonstrate the most severe disassociative disorders of all adopted children, and make no mistake, through NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, adopted children go through hell on earth in many instances. Another disturbing trend in Russia is the growing number of black market mothers who are being systematically raped and then having the offspring shipped off to couples in the US with few questions asked, and a large amount of dollars passing hands. The fact remains, that couples in the US will do almost anything for any baby, and many seemingly will do quite a bit more for a “white” baby, regardless of how many questions don’t need to be asked. This is not to blame the prospective parents, unless they are doing something unethical, as their hurt and need are the fuel to corrupt fire that burns so brightly. Russia, must be trying to compete with China, darned, they’re so competitive with each other, in winning the bad boys of history award. Hey, you have to be good at something, so if repression doesn’t work out for the #1 spot, why not repression with policy corruption thrown in. It’s sure to be a winner!

Guatamala, one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, has seen a bumper crop of adopted children, and yes, again the metaphor was purposeful, head to the US in recent years. And when a couple in the US holds that bundle of joy, they should remember that:

About 4,700 Guatemalans, mostly babies 1 year old or younger, were adopted by U.S. families last year — compared to about 3,800 in 2005.

Critics say the process is fraught with anomalies. Among them: some cases of birth mothers being pressured to give up their babies for cash; growing numbers of falsified birth certificates; reports of outright baby thefts; and even deaths from lack of care while children were in private orphanages awaiting adoption.

Opponents also complain that there is little judicial oversight and that lawyers known as ”notaries,” acting as baby brokers, charge up to $30,000 per child.

So, some change was coming, and probably is overdue. It would be good if Guatamala followed international guidelines promoted by International organizations such as The Hague, as President Bush pointed out in his recent visit to this poverty stricken country. However, this is a cash industry, to a nation that is desparately poor, and its clients are equally as desparate. Do you think that the brokers involved don’t know this? Of course not, they are the reincarnation of Mother Theresa. Sorry, not all of us fell off the watermelon truck.

Not to be outdone by the despots, crooks and other bottom feeders of the world, the adoption many of the adoption agencies here in the “Good Ole USA” put their own odor to this pile of wreaking trash. This is typified by the coercion which is typically applied to young mothers or expectant mothers in the US. To my knowledge, abortion and adoption are the only contracts that a minor can enter into without the consent of the parent. Something is diabollically wrong with both of these matters, as they are concerning one of the most primal rights of a human being, the right to reproduce. This is not a polemic against abortion or adoption, but do you think that a 16 year old girl in either of the situations who feels forced into one of these Sophie’s choices needs to have the guidance of an adult that loves her? For one minute, I will not believe that the vast majority of adoption agents – that can typically secure over $35,000 for a white American born child have the “best interests of the mother or child in mind” when they offer “counselling” often without parental notification. Their hands are covered in dirt and they also reek of garbage. The practices used are coercive at the least, and criminal at the worst. Yet, the same thing goes on daily. Abortions for girls under the age of 18 multiply to the tune of nearly 4,000,000 in the same time span that has seen slightly over 3,000 servicemen die in the Middle East. I’m not saying the two are equivalent – as I don’t believe an embryo is a human being – I just love pissing off the left and the right – but I will say that someone is profitting, and it’s not the kids by the abortion industry. The same charge can be levied to the self proclaimed saints of the adoption industry. This is a big business worth well over 1.4 Billion dollars a year. That’s Billion with a B, and not to sound like Professor Harold Hill but B is the first letter in Bull****.

Meanwhile, red tape and having 50 states having their own rules, indeed many states have various rules by county, keeps young children who are American by birth unable to be adopted. Again, I don’t feel adoption is a panacae, and trust me, I know this to be the truth, but one step to simplify the process would be to have consistent rules, and probably the one agency with enough clout to make it stick are the Feds, but those who know me, know that I’m an odd type of Republican in that I don’t knee-jerk and say Government is the problem. In some areas, where the private sector, and foreign governments are about as ethically pure as Ted Haggert playing a visit to a local massage parlor, it may be time for an agency without economic interest to end the madness.

Hopefully someone will read this post, and even offer a comment of rage or even better voice agreement. It’s time for some sanity in this most feckless and the chattel world of human trafficking, err, adoption.

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