Saturday, June 21, 2008

UN Carrying the EU’s Security Piss Bucket

But that doesn’t stop them from fooling themselves:

Western analysts take a dim view of UN forces: heavily reliant on Asian and African troops, they are low-tech and do not match visions of twenty-first century warriors.

Yet these are often the only forces available for trouble-spots like Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur. And so they keep on being deployed. The UN's peacekeeping budget has reached $7 billion a year, two-fifths of it paid by EU members.
And the reasons for that are quite clear. Except for the long-term entanglements that France and the UK have taken up in Africa Only the smaller EU member states commit to anything significant outside of Europe. In Afghanistan, they’ve proved more than willing to see The US, Canadians, and Dutch take the hits, and will even make preposterous claims like this:
But the EU's support for the UN is not solely financial. The European Council has mandated a series of ESDP operations to work alongside the UN, ranging from emergency military interventions (such as 2003's Operation Artemis in the eastern Congo) to smaller-scale police training missions. Outside Europe, there is currently not one ESDP operation that is not co-deployed alongside some form of UN presence.

It's hard to imagine ESDP having got anything like as far as it has without the UN as a partner. The UN and EU are the Obelix and Asterix of international security: one handling big, slow missions while the other concentrates on smaller, flexible, operations.
Which is funny that they would be able to know WHO is Asterix and WHO is Obelix, because they are only planning a few things here and there, and as far as anyone can tell the ESDP predecessors, have only made a handful of observation and monitoring style deployments outside of EUFOR in the Balkans.

The article makes them sound like General Washington’s 1st Engineers reminiscing about all of those old campaigns. In reality, it’s a PR send-up to cover for the European yearning for a “peacy” image and have a military that a culturally suicidal pacifist can be proud of, but yet has so far been dependant on forces from Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Brazil, Fiji, and the like.
So ensuring that a European sits at the top of the UN peacekeeping pyramid is not enough. As the UN's leading donor, the EU needs to investigate how to ensure that UN missions get the high-end assets, like helicopters, that it needs in a place like Darfur.

France and Britain recently suggested creating a pool of helicopters for NATO and EU missions – it should be possible to do something similar for the UN, and at lower cost.
They go on to laud the EU as the UN’s leading doner. Hardly – the members are doing up the döners, and the US with 2/3 the population of the EU covers 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget versus 41% covered by the EU states, a sum equal to the “stingy” US by population. All the while these UN deployments in Africa are being depended upon to protect Fortress Europe from the flotsam and jetsam of other people’s conflicts. The US, on the other hand doesn’t derive any such direct benefit from either “Asterix” or “Obelix”.

This Will Hurt Me More than it will Hurt You, Dear...

Didn’t they think of the impact it will have on the collective European sex-life?

The Council of Europe wants to abolish spanking
After all, why would they want to tell these hard-working students how to make a living?

And They Loved their Cherished Victims to Death Too

A study looking at 20 years of data by Keith Marsden, advisor to the World Bank looked at the alleged “greater humanity” there is to be found in the simplistic view that big government can guarantee a safety net and a great society. In fact, the bigger and more socially interventionist a government is, the progressively more poorly it serves those in need.

My study, "Big, Not Better?" (Centre for Policy Studies, 2008), looks at the performance of 20 countries over the past two decades. The first 10 have slimmer governments with revenue and expenditure levels below 40% of GDP. This group includes Australia, Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Ireland, South Korea, Latvia, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and the U.S.

I compared their records to the 10 higher-taxed, bigger-government economies: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Both groups cover a representative range of large, medium and small economies measured by their gross national incomes. The average incomes per capita of the two groups are similar ($27,046 and $30,426 respectively in 2005).

Most governments have reduced their top tax rates and spending-to-GDP ratios over the last decade or so, according to data published by the OECD, IMF and World Bank. But slimmer governments have done so at a faster pace, and to significantly lower levels. Their highest tax rate on personal income fell to a group average of 30% in 2006 from 36% in 1996. Top corporate rates were lowered to an average of 22% from 30%. Their average ratio of total government outlays to GDP fell to 31.6% in 2007, from an average peak level during the previous two decades of 40.4%
Oddly enough, the left calls the eternal expansion of that form of failure “progressive”.
Slimmer-government countries also delivered more rapid social progress in some areas. They have, on average, higher annual employment growth rates (1.7% compared to 0.9% from 1995-2005). Their youth unemployment rates have been lower for both males and females since 2000. The discretionary income of households rose faster in the first group. This allowed their real consumption to increase by 4.1% annually from 2000-2005, up from 2.8% in 1990-2000. In the bigger-government group, the growth of household consumption has slowed to a 1.3% average annual rate, from 2.1% during the 1990-2000 period.

Faster economic growth in the first group also generated a more rapid increase in government revenue, despite (or rather, because of, supply-siders suggest) lower overall tax burdens.

Slimmer-government countries seem to have made better use of their smaller health resources. Total spending on health programs reached 9.5% of GDP in the bigger government group in 2004, 1.6 percentage points above the average in the slimmer-government group. Yet slimmer-government countries have raised their average life expectancy at birth at a faster pacer since 1990, reaching an average level of 78 years in 2005, just one year below the average for bigger spenders. Average life expectancy is now 80 years in Singapore, although government and private health programs combined cost only 3.7% of its GDP.

Finally, spending by bigger governments on social benefits (such as unemployment and disability benefits, housing allowances and state pensions) was higher (20.3% of GDP in 2006) than that of slimmer governments (9.6%). But these transfers do not appear to have resulted in greater equality in the distribution of income. The Gini index measuring income distribution is similar for both groups.
The irony of the left’s world view is that the model required taxing the poor rather heavily, and the actual handouts amount to sums of very little value when you consider all of the was the framework itself scares the very people who would employ and provide affordable services to the lowest earners off of their shores.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Same Thing, Really

It looks like they really miss the good old days... Of heroic, monumental sculptures of Lenin, the lone Red Army soldier, and the Collective Farmer...

Constructing a Plain of Chaos

Writing in The American Thinker, Soren Kern reflects on Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty vote and the motives behind EUvium in general:

One of the main objectives of the virtually unreadable treaty is to turn the EU into a "global geopolitical actor" that can counterbalance the United States on the world stage. To achieve this, European elites say the EU needs to speak with "one voice" in international affairs. In this context, the new treaty is designed to create the job position of (an unelected) European president as well as a powerful European foreign minister. It would also establish a European diplomatic corps with European embassies and a European army.

As many observers of European politics know, democracy does not come easy on a continent where European elites view themselves as an aristocracy entitled to rule over the ignorant masses. Indeed, the entire European social welfare state has been built upon the unspoken quid pro quo of "bread and circuses" (ie, the cradle-to-grave nanny state) for the general populace, in exchange for their loyal submission to the political and intellectual classes.
It’s not that they shouldn’t be a super-state, it’s that they aren’t by any means prepared or disposed to the meaning and responsibilities of it. Case in point is the very forced looking nature of all of the stage-managed “historic steps,” conferences, and such, each named in a near Soviet manner for one city or another as if the continent were already a coherent realm or huge metropolitan plain. It isn’t – the EU’s disposition is akin to a thousand unexploded bomblets of unwanted public opinion about the overly complex, indirect, and bureaucratic to the point of always seeming to be hiding something.
Thus it should come as no big surprise that the word ‘No' does not exist in the European political lexicon. After voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitution (of which the Lisbon Treaty is an almost exact replica) in 2005, European elites famously advised the miscreants to keep voting until they come up with the right answer.\
I take these rejections for what they are: rather than fearful rejection people wanting clear rights and transparency.

We’re Still Teaching the Dorks Something after 219 Years

The EU doesn’t seem to have the population believing that there is a need for separation of powers, or limits to centralized power. Must be an old instinct of theirs’, but the Irish, Dutch, and French “Nyet” votes all shared one message: everything that way too X, Y, or Z about the notion of the EU has to do with the loss of control over too many features of their daily lives, and displayed a sort of disproportionality in what powers really need to be über-national.

Limiting the scope of Brussels’ power, i.e. Justice, Defense, International Policy, Borders, interstate trade, money supply..., and an absolute separation of those supernational functions from those of the states are the basis around which people can develop a sense of trust for the European project. But the very idea of something that simple and elegant – a kind of Confederation seems impossible for them to accept. It could be a kind of closeted megalomania that can’t understand why EVERTHING isn’t standardized and centralized, it could be that the imbalance in the size of populations of the members states makes it uninviting, or it just could seem too “new world”.

Rightly, the majorities in these referenda did not appear to trust in the integrity of those to whom their sovereignty was to be evolved up to. I wouldn’t trust them either.

Take it away, Nosemonkey.

That old bogeyman of “the United States of Europe” is still all too often based on a misunderstanding. Working together but independent, independent but united is not an impossible dream - it has been done before. The flaw of the European project has always been in attempting to create - artificially and on too short a timescale - something that in America evolved more organically. And not just in America - almost all countries with a history of more than a couple of hundred years were once divided,

Thursday, June 19, 2008

France Reluctant to Expose Themselves in Southern Afghanistan

Exerpt: 16-JUN-2008 - By Adrien Jaulmes, Le Figaro’s special correspondent in Kabul

Three days after the daring attack on the prison in Kandahar by the Taliban, which released last Friday over 1 000 prisoners, 400 of them, Afghan units stationed in the Kabul area were put on alert. They should be transported by air to Kandahar, to reinforce the Afghan troops and contingents from NATO that give hunting escaped in provinces near open rebellion against the central government.

Some of these battalions, or Kandaks, are supervised by French detachments. Called OMLTs (acronym for Operational Mentoring & Liaison Teams), these detachments provide advise, tactics, logistical support, and liaison, particularly with the air support of the coalition. They participate in operations conducted by the Afghan army against the Taliban. Last April, the French as OMLT stakeholders launched an operation against insurgents in the Alasay valley in the province of Kapissa, north-east of Kabul.

Yesterday, the 1st Kandak, the 201st Corps of the Afghan army was deployed without notice to Kandahar. His OMLT, composed of some fifty officers and NCOs of the Foreign Legion, should logically be deployed with the unit in Afghanistan that it supports.

But this sudden departure takes Paris court. While some logistical issues remain unresolved, especially on armored vehicles, which must be transported by road, the hesitation is mainly political. Deploying the French Kandahar OMLT means joining one of the most deadly theater of conflict which is one that looks increasingly to a stalemate without a foreseeable end.

The french commitment in Afghanistan has long been considered somewhat ambiguous by some allies of NATO. Present in the Kabul area since 2002, the French battalion has always remained confined in a relatively clear mission: to ensure the safety of the capital and its environs, [in order] to enable the Afghan government to gradually take up control of the country.

The European World View Finds another Enemy

Populist movements are a threat not because they raise the issue of direct democracy, but because they advocate nationalist mobilisation based on xenophobia, writes Antony Todorov. Given the failure of the leftist projects of the twentieth century, it is telling that far-right populism is more anti-democratic in the new democracies of central and eastern Europe than in western Europe. Is populism identical to the crisis of democracy or rather a symptom of it?
It’s a specious argument that assumes that people left uncrushed will show themselves to be nothing but wife-beaters, racists, and chainsaw-wielding embarrassments to them in diplomatic dinner parties while chatting with the Burmese, Zimbabwean, or Venezuelan 3rd Secretary.

That enemy is “direct democracy” which is code for “actually paying attention to the public.” Couched in a miasma of people discrediting each other with the broad-brush of populism and anti-populism, it’s been reduced to this in the zeitgeist: they are so far gone and simplistic, that democracy itself has become a left-right issue with the left, after all this time trying to conceal (or at least obscure) it’s proclivities for central planning and control.
Above all, populism is defined as a strategy that gives priority to the need for direct contact between the elite and the people, without the mediation of institutions. This implies that populist strategies question one of the main characteristics of modern democracy, or at least of modern democracy as defined by Tocqueville. Tocqueville speaks of the "intermediary bodies" (the aristocracy in Europe, political associations in America) that serve as a mediator between the citizens and the government, ultimately keeping the power of the executive within acceptable limits and preventing it from becoming tyrannical.
This school of thought seemes to prefer the unelected corporate-shakedown, bribe and donation-driven entities in the form of NGOs and lobbyists, over the actual institutional pillars of democracy: in the case of the US, that’s the Supreme Court and the Legislature.

Sorry, but they have NOT come a long way, Baby...

More interesting yet, is that the article referenced came before the Irish No vote on the Lisbon Treaty, because it supports the view that entertained later by the yak-arati about the Irish being some kind of simple yet charming cave dwelling people. In fact a personal inventory needs to be taken by that same humorless class of critics, because what they were after was the same sort of popular mandate that the likes of those Todorov cites argue against for what seems like no reason other than the kind of yearning for politesse.

Putting the Government Into America's Living Rooms (and Bedrooms and Bathrooms and Toilets and…)

(Thank ya, Val)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Hard to Note Omission

So just who was it who committed torture? AP wants you to play Where’s Waldo? Elsewhere EUROSOC notes that extra special laziness that j-school types call “reflection”.

We know times are hard at the Independent, but we didn't think they'd be passing off month-old blog postings as front page stories.
Today's Indie boasts an interview with singer Tom Waits, conducted by Waits himself. It's very entertaining; Waits is always good value. Except that this interview has been on Tom Waits' own website since May 20.

They’re Generally Toasted by Lunchtime

Funny, doesn’t poaching them release heat into the atmosphere?

Football: France Vs. Italy

Yesterday, France's national soccer team fought Italy's football champions.

The Tao of Lefty

Mr Obama’s approach will be popular in Europe
No shit, Sherlock.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wow, man. You’re so Progressive

When not beating dead horses, "radicalism" means nothing, if not kicking the dead in the nuts.

Elsewhere: the New York Crank channels my ex-girlfriend.

The Same Answer to Everything

Even with potential for starvation in the third world, they parrot the same old lame fake terroirism that props up “state champion” industries.

France has launched a political campaign to restore food protectionism at the heart of Europe’s agriculture policy as food riots erupt in poor countries and global leaders give warning of the dire consequences of soaring grain prices.

At a high-level EU agriculture meeting in Luxembourg, Michel Barnier, the French Agriculture Minister, called on Europe to establish a food security plan and to resist further cuts in Europe’s agriculture budget.

Mr Barnier said that the EU should not bow to pressure from the World Trade Organisation to reduce further its agricultural subsidies but instead should increase aid to farmers in developing countries.
I don’t know how someone could say that with a straight face.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels said that the Commission believed higher food prices would stimulate farming output.

“Our policy is to liberate production,” said one Commission source.
So liberate it, already! Stop trying to set prices. The only way you’d ever be prompted to say something like that in the face of high world market prices is if you were engaging in de-facto controlling of output, subsidies and prices in a fashion reminiscent of the soviets.

Elsewhere “standards” are invoked to keep trying to tax the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft (but not SAP, SAGE, Dassault Systems, or Business Objects) honest from competing on their patch.

The crime in there eyes is, of course, not enough creativity in couching your trade barriers from view.

Priorities Established

If the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were a Junta, what country would they be running?

In a move that has left many Netherlanders wondering what the government is smoking, coffee shops are being lumped together with restaurants, bars and cafes, which are being forced to lose the ashtrays. Ironically, customers will still be able to buy hash or pot, roll it and smoke it at more than 700 approved shops. But starting the first of next month, those joints must contain pure marijuana only. People wishing to mix tobacco in, as is the continental custom, must go outside.
And to think that they won’t even respect what’s left of their cultural traditions.

They paved the terroir, and put up a parking lot.

Monday, June 16, 2008

InBev: All You Brewskis are Belong to Us

Belgican über-corporate brewer InBev tried to buy out Budweiser. Bud teases them for a while. Budweiser then tries to make itself into a poison pill by bidding on Mexican brewer Modelo. A mega-corp from a continent that has anti-corporatism as a universal home truth gets the kind of $70/share Dirty Sanchez they take such delight in seeing their big corporate behemoths give to any foreign entity, so long as any feature of that country’s culture wouldn’t make it on the cover of National Geographic. In other words “fashionably poor” and immediately recognizable as pitiable wogs of one kind or another.

Since Le Monde cartoonists and various other overgrown adolescents on the people-powered anti-corporate continent take such great joy in their own monopolistic instincts “taking over” American assets, I though this would be a good time to wish them: have a nice day!

Forever Young Adolescent

Middle aged Euro-men should stick to cow tipping, don’t you think?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Plantu Prefers Terrorists

Caption: Ongoing torture at Guantanamo

Detainee being forced to watch President Bush on TV: Stop! I can’t take it anymore!

His “Americans”, stunned: “Oh! It looks like he only has a few months left”
With the usual arrogance, he wants to believe that Americans don’t know when the President’s term ends, and that his presidency it is entirely bound-up with “Le Gitmo” of Plantu’s wet dreams. In reality, they’re having a hard time getting rid of these detainees. The European citizens among them are not wanted, and the US is unwilling to release most of the remainder because they would go to states that actually torture prisoners, and do it indiscriminately.

Finally, One of Them Who Will Look You in the Eye

And actually put your change in your hand instead of dropping it on the grocery bagging trough. Meet one supermarket cashier with an actual work ethic, who “tells all” in a society where the customers of common, daily goods are such that customer service is generally pointless and thankless.

But there is precious little return for these efforts. Many customers treat la caissière as though she was not there, staring past her and failing to say hello back, according to Mrs Sam. When they do speak, it is often with condescension or anger. “It's not a majority who are impolite but it's not far off,” Mrs Sam said. “They are often very vulgar. They are fed up with being there and they take it out on us.” Insults fly as staff refuse people with 11 items at the ten-items-or-less checkout.

Then there are the mothers who point at the checkout worker and say to their child: “You see, darling, if you don't work hard at school, you'll become a caissière like the lady.” Mrs Sam tells them that she had five years of university education.
I know you’ve probably heard the gripe about Americans having as one of their interminable list of flaws the terrible sine of “being too friendly”. Try asking Mrs. Sam if that’s such a bad thing.

Oh, and she blogs too. Give it up for your hard-working cashiers, folks!

Even Che's Birthdate Is a Lie

Les festivités à Rosario coïncident avec la date officielle de la naissance du Che. En fait, il est né le 14 mai 1928, selon les confidences de sa mère, Celia de la Serna. Appartenant à une famille de l'aristocratie, Celia avait déclaré Ernesto un mois après sa naissance pour cacher qu'elle s'était mariée enceinte.

Happy Father's Day

(This post is based on a previous one, entitled Witch Hunts in Contemporary America)

We thought that feminism was all (or mostly) about "date rape and sexual harassment" and the like, and we believed (or at least hoped) that perhaps the term "feminazis" was slightly exaggerated, finding the gals (and their male allies) slightly inoffensive and amusing; and so it is highly distressing to find our society has been warped and hamstrung for the past 30 years by related, if unrecognized, hysterics — with the government and the law on the side of the feminists (i.e., the statists and the state interventionists). What is double maddening (as we can read in the second and third next-to-last paragraphs) is how the bleeding-hearted liberals deliberately (if unconsciously (?)) create poverty and add ever more people to the ranks of the poor.

Just read what Stephen Baskerville reports from the trenches (emphasis in bold mine) in Taken Into Custody (The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family):
…the ideologues who control organized feminism today have found that the penal apparatus provides an effective instrument for waging gender warfare on the most personal level, institutionalizing feminist ideology within private life, and criminalizing individual men (and sometimes women) who fail to measure up to the feminist ideal of ideologically correct behavior in their private lives…

Child custody is not the only area where feminists have discovered they can commandeer the criminal justice system to punish ideologically incorrect private behavior, and certainly it is not the best known. Their agenda in more politically salient issues such as date rape and sexual harassment has commanded far more media and scholarly attention (where it is frequently characterized as "totalitarian"). "Feminism today, in its erasure of the boundaries between public and private, is writing a new chapter in the dystopian tradition of surveillance and unfreedom," observes Daphne Patai, "… whereby one's every gesture, every thought, is exposed to the judgment of one's fellow citizens."

Yet while the trends are connected, the intrusive tendencies of law governing sexual harassment or date rape are minor compared to the invasiveness government-enforced feminism has already realized in family law. Yet this receives no comparable scrutiny from critics of feminism, let alone from the mainstream media or civil libertarians. As recently as 1996 a scholarly critique of "feminine jurisprudence" did not address family law at all. Nevertheless, we were warned then that "through the use of civil rather than criminal law for purposes of censorship, and under the guise of legislating equality, large areas of speech are becoming per se illegal, unbeknownst to the majority of Americans."

Ostensibly scientific feminist scholarship is similarly revealing. Fathers trying to see their children following unproven accusations is described as "further violence" and the "threat of kidnapping"; simply responding to court proceedings is described as "violence." One highly influential feminist scholar claims to have examined 100,000 cases where women "reported" that "the batterer threatened to kidnap their children," "batterers had threatened legal custody action," and "the battering man used court-ordered visitation as an occasion to continue verbal and emotional abuse of the woman." This is not violence; it is fathers trying to recover their children through the same legal process by which their children were removed and which, in most cases, they themselves did not initiate.

What we confront here is a bureaucratic machine of a kind that has never before been seen in the United States or the other English-speaking democracies. … The implications reach far beyond fathers and even beyond the family itself, for forcibly severing the intimate bond between parents and their children threatens the liberties of all of us. "The right to one's own children … is perhaps the most basic individual right," writes Susan Shell, "so basic we hardly think of it." By establishing a private sphere of life from which the state is excluded, family bonds also serve as the foundation of a free society. "No known society treats the question of who may properly call a child his or her own as simply … a matter to be decided entirely politically as one might distribute land or wealth," Shell continues.

To understand what is at work here, it is necessary to examine and discard some legal jargon that serves more to obfuscate than to illuminate. Foremost is the term "custody," which I have adopted in my title. Common sense notions of young children needing their mother — along with the mistaken belief that fathers are behind the dissolution of most marriages — lead many people to accept the overwhelming bias towards mothers in custody decisions. But it is important to understand that "custody" is not the right to parent one's children; it is the power to prevent someone else from parenting his children and to marshal the penal apparatus — courts, police, and jails — to ensure he stays away from them. [Similarly, it would be more correct to speak of plundered pops than deadbeat dads.]

…Contrary to popular belief (and centuries of common-law precedent), child support today has nothing to do with fathers abandoning their children, reneging on their marital vows, of even agreeing to a divorce. It is automatically assessed on all non-custodial parents, even those divorced over their objections and who lose their children through no legal fault or agreement of their own. It is an entitlement, in short, for all divorcing mothers

child support is no longer primarily a method for requiring men to take responsibility for the offspring they have sired and then abandoned, as most people are led to believe. Overwhelmingly it is now a regime whereby "a father is forced to finance the filching of his own children."

…Ironically, the one thing that cannot be debated in the court is legal guilt or innocence — such as violating the marriage contract or leveling false accusations. For to admit the most rudimentary notions of justice would be to undermine the logic of the proceeding.

In the jargon of family law, faithfully parroted by the media and academia, this father has "lost custody," a simple and harmless enough sounding formulation of events, so common as to be mundane. But this jargon disguises far-reaching implications. In plain English, this father's unauthorized association with his own children is now a crime.

the media will go to any lengths to avoid admitting that we are in a massive epidemic of government-sponsored child stealing. So pervasive is the demonization of fathers today that fathers themselves share in it even after they have become its victims. "It is typical for a man to believe … the media myth of the Evil Male," writes Robert Seidenberg. "While he knows that he is a great father himself, he thinks everybody else is a deadbeat dad."

The growth of this machinery has been accompanied by a huge propaganda campaign that has served to justify punitive measures against citizens who are not convicted of any crime. "is there a species on the planet who is more unjustly maligned than fathers?" writes columnist Naomi Lakritz. "Fathers are abusers, bullies, deadbeats, molesters, and all-around sexist clods who have a lot of gall wanting a relationship with their children once the intital moment of conception is over."

… "The overwhelming majority of so-called 'dead-beat dads' are just judicially created," says [an] attorney. "Why all this talk about so-called 'deadbeat dads'? Because there is a lot of money to be made through that myth." … Contrary to highly publicized but inaccurate figures on the cost of divorce to women, peer-reviewed economic research concluded that "it is the non-custodial parent, usually the father, who suffers the most [from divorce]."

…The December 1999 issue of Government Executive, a trade journal that describes itself as "government's business magazine" representing public and private bureaucracies, ran a cover story that blared out, "Where's Dad? HHS is leading a forceful change to make deadbeat parents pay up." … Strikingly, the article never addressed its own question, the most likely answer being that Dad is being kept away by the government.

…"We're ratcheting up the pressure on these deadbeats," Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano tells the New York Post, which allows its pages to be used to publicly "shame" citizens who have been convicted of no crime by publishing their photograph. Were these citizens wanted for murder, they would be described as "suspects," but the government and media have already convicted them.

…social scientists have found that as much as 95 percent of fathers having no unemployment problems for the previous five years pay their ordered child support regularly, and that 81 percent paid in full and on time. Columnist Kathleen Parker concluded that "the 'deadbeat dad' is an egregious exaggeration, a caricature of a few desperate men who for various reasons — sometimes pretty good ones — fail to hand over their paycheck, assuming they have one." Deborah Simmons of the Washington Times observes that "there is scant evidence that crackdowns … serve any purpose other than to increase the bank accounts of those special-interest groups pushing enforcement."

…The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement and its state affiliates now maintain an army of some 60,000 enforcement agents (13 times that of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which has about 4,600 agents worldwide) … What may be most striking about this police mobilization is that the initiative has come entirely from government officials. No public outcry ever preceded these measures, nor did any public perception of such a problem exist until government officials began saying they did … Needless to say, the voices of pursued parents are seldom heard amid the chorus of condemnation. The bipartisan certainty of their guilt is sufficient to set aside their right to trial and declare them public enemies by general acclaim. Yet there is reason to believe that this problem is largely an optical illusion and that what is being portrayed as irresponsible fathers is in reality a massive abuse of government power.

What is taking place here should be made very clear: Citizens who are completely innocent of any legal wrongdoing and simply minding their own business — not seeking any litigation and neither convicted nor accused of any legal infraction, criminal or civil — are ordered into court and told to write checks to officials of the court or they will be summarily arrested and jailed. Judges also order citizens to sell their houses and other property and turn proceeds over to lawyers and other cronies they never hired. Summoning legally unimpeachable citizens to court and forcing them to empty their bank accounts to people they have neither hired for services they have requested nor received on threat of physical punishment is what most people would call a protection racket. Were any other public officials to use their position of public trust to coerce money out of private citizens, they would likely face indictment. Yet family court judges do this as a matter of routine. This is by far the clearest example I have ever encountered in my professional research of what we political scientists term a "kleptocracy," or government by thieves.

The regime of involuntary divorce, forcible removal of children, coerced child support, and knowingly false accusations is now warping our entire legal system, undermining and overturning principles of common law that have protected individual rights for centuries. The presumption of innocence has been inverted

…It is always tempting to dismiss such violations as aberrations, the result of excess by a few overzealous officials, since civil and human rights are violated be every government, even in democracies. Yet considered in the light of constitutional principle, the destruction of ancient protections is clearly systematic with the nation's family courts and endemic to a governmental regime whose very existence is predicated and dependent on the power to remove children from their parents. Far from simple violations of particular constitutional clauses, these practices and powers are undermining constitutional government in its most fundamental principles. The power to take children from their parents for no reason is arbitrary government at its most intrusive, since it invades and obliterates all of private life. Yet we have created a governmental machinery that exists for no other purpose.

…But what may be most insidious — because it undermines the material foundations of constitutional government — is when systematic means are mobilized to finance unconstitutional government operations. Like any system of accountable government, the divorce regime can only be sustained so long as it can be paid for. This is the effect of the system of child support, coerced on pain of incarceration whose children have been seized by the courts literally through "no fault" of their own.

…The federal funding also supplies an added incentive to make guidelines as onerous as possible and to squeeze every dollar from every parent available (as well as to turn as many parents as possible into payers by providing financial incentives for mothers to divorce)…

Perhaps most destructive is that this federal funding is subsidizing middle-class divorce and fatherless children. "While the new measures resulted in virtually no measurable improvement in the lives of impoverished single-mother families,' [Robert] Seidenberg points out, "it did create a windfall of income for middle-class and upper-middle-class divorced women." Misleadingly promoted as a measure to help poor children whose mostly young and unmarried fathers had allegedly abandoned them, the new laws ended up as a means to plunder middle-aged and middle-class fathers who had done no such thing and whose children were taken from them through literally "no fault" or agreement of their own. Empirical evidence indicates that this is precisely the effect. Economist Robert Willis calculates that child-support levels vastly exceeding the cost of raising children creates "an incentive for divorce by the custodial mother. His analysis indicates that only between one-fifth and one-third of child-support payments are actually used for the children; the rest is profit for the custodial parent. "We believe that this recent entitlement," write two other scholars, "… has led to the destruction of families by creating financial incentives to divorce [and] the prevention of families by creating financial incentives not to marry upon conceiving a child."

This simply extends well-established findings that increased welfare payments result in increased divorce. In this case, however, a dimension of law enforcement is added, which effectively becomes a system of federal divorce enforcement … In other words, a mother can simply escape the uncertainties, vicissitudes, and compromises inherent to life shared with a working husband by divorcing, whereupon she acquires the police as a private collection agency who will force him, at gunpoint if necessary, to pay her the family income that she then controls alone.

…The pursuit of these fathers by armed federal agents has now reached the dimensions of a national witch hunt, by far the most extensive this country has ever seen … A look at the government machinery reveals that it was created not in response to claims of widespread nonpayment but before them, and that it was less a response to "deadbeat dads" than a mechanism to create them.

Men who are truly intent on abandoning their progeny have little difficulty in disappearing; it is fathers who want to see their children who allow themselves to be snared. This may reveal the cruelest and most cynical side of the child-support machine: its willingness to use a father's love for his children to plunder and destroy him.…

To the question of why so many ejected fathers are unemployed or penurious, this is not to difficult to answer once one understands how the courts operate. Once the children are separated from their father, neither the courts nor the bureaucracy has much incentive to ensure his continued solvency — indeed, a solvent father is a threat — so they can happily reduce him to penury. After all, a fresh supply of fathers is constantly being brought into the system. The myopia was starkly illustrated during periodic controversies over whether to give child support priority over other debts in bankruptcy proceedings, when noone stops to ask the obvious question of why so many allegedly well-heeled "deadbeats" were going through bankruptcy in the first place…

To what extent child support is responsible for the very poverty it is claimed to alleviate is unclear. It has long been known that the vast majority of the homeless are male. Widespread anecdotal evidence suggests that family courts may be partially responsible for their plight.

Do these questions matter? Yes, they do matter, because in these questions lies the difference between a father who is pursued because he has abandoned his children and a father who is pursued because he refuses to abandon his children. Courts exist to dispense justice against those who violate the law or agreements. When they abandon this role to become a "social service delivery system" it is much more likely that the justice and penal systems will be perverted to persecute the innocent.