Comprehension

August 3, 2011

Complete, absorbing, understanding. In the lay sense, we think of comprehension as understanding something. In the experiential moment–when the existential breaks through to normalcy–comprehension is a moment of fulfillment. That moment may be a flash of a new perceptual value–the AHA!–or an accumulation of experience and knowledge that deepens and broadens our intellectual grasp of a field of knowing–the Zen of it. The accumulation of knowledge is only limited by the limitations we place upon our selves. The human form–the brain, the body–was and is designed to comprehend. Compute prehensile tensions. Realize, Resolve, Comprehend.

A thought offered today for my K&K.

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Rocket Dad

July 14, 2011

“The picture we waited 30 years to complete.” Chris Bray is quoted in a Yahoo News article about side-by-side snaps of he and his Dad waiting for the first and the last shuttle missions to launch.

Chris and Kenneth Bray, STS1 to STS135

Chris and Kenneth Bray, STS1 to STS135


The photo has been viewed on Flickr over 500,000 times. “The Brays’ photo touched a chord of nostalgia in many rocket enthusiasts… melding of the personal with the historical.” And further Chris says, “The picture had a lot of significance for me and my father, but we didn’t expect that the photo would touch so many other people.”

This is the meaning, the chord of nostalgia, the music of the history, between a father and his son or daughter. There is nothing more important in a child’s life than maintaining a relationship with both parents.

For those of us who have been cut off because of divorce, separation, and unrequited animosity, the 30 year photographs are usually ones of bittersweet reunion. With all that time in-between lost to history without even a song.

Chris and his Dad are among the lucky ones who got to spend a lifetime sharing their love of the space program. “The moment has stayed with me since that day, and is one of my fondest memories and childhood experiences.”

Though my kids are nearly grown, it is never too late to hope that they will hear, within themselves, the truth about their Dad. Then, maybe, I’ll get a phone call and we can snap another photo.

Independence Days without a Dad

July 4, 2011

Among the simple pleasures of life is relaxing on Independence Day, July 4th (or its closest “observed holiday” equivalent), with your kids.

Once upon a time, I remember being on the Capitol Lawn, with the Washington Monument pointing to each and every burst of bombs in air, giving proof through the night that my family was still there. My daughter’s broad stripes, and her bright smile, gave no hint of a perilous flight, gave no hint of an injurious fight that would take away their freedoms to know their Dad.

In July 2001, I walked those lawns once more. The red glare was less bright. O’er the ramparts I watched; there was no gallant feeling. Only unending dreaming, the time and space of an abduction that had torn our children, as never before, from the love and care of their Father.

Never has there been a dawn’s early light to compare with my children’s last gleaming. Never has there been more proof through the night that their Father is still there, gallantly streaming his love.

Oh say can you see, that our star-spangled banner does yet wave. And, though I see fireworks at times, I see that my children, no more, live in the land of the free and, no more, know the home of the brave.

To those who would stand against the stars and the stripes and those who would feign to sing the Star Spangled Banner, the family is the soul of our democratic-republic. It is bigger, older, more just and more poetic than selfishness or pride. It is constitutional and a right and a privilege to join family, to be with loved ones, and to love the ones who love you.

Stand Up JOE, I wanna get closer!

Stand Up JOE, I wanna get closer!

Father’s Day, a Holiday

June 20, 2011

Wow! I wake up this Father’s Day. One kid is almost an adult and the other almost a teenager. The hugs and the heartfelt “Happy Father’s Day” greetings are sincere. I wish I could give them more, but they’re not even my kids. I have to wonder how many Dads are in the same predicament as myself.

With over half the nation divorced and so many friends I know with multiple families, it almost seems like being a Dad to your own kid is a Grace. Yes. I’m talking about the capital “G”–“Grace”; that power of heaven bestowed upon us humans that fills us with forgiveness for all the things our lives have lacked. Because a Father wants most to give the best to his own.

When even the presence of my own children is denied–by any contact, by any means–hope springs in my heart that they know who I am. They know that I love them; that I would be there at the first call. They know they are biologically tied and they have a choice–in their lifetime–to say–whenever they want–“I want my Dad in my life.” As long as I breath, I will be here to answer.

And these kids who return my smile today–they’re smart–they know they hold a place for a time in the future when my own kids will step in. If we should all meet again, I would, indeed, call it a Holiday.

Could It Happen Here?

June 14, 2011

Distressing as it may sound, the remarkably impolitic idea of violating first-amendment speech has been breached. In a shot-across-the-bow article, Jennifer Van Grove, “New State Law Makes Posting Distressing Images a Crime,” shows how much some people hate free speech.

Any transmission or display of an image that “has the possibility to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to anyone who sees it” is now illegal in Tennessee. Could this be legal? Could this be Constitutional? That is; does it breach our first amendment rights? Chances are, the law will not survive its first constitutional challenge.

But, how did a bunch of lawmakers pass this bill in the middle of America? Were these elected officials unaware of the U.S. Constitution? Or–one must consider it more likely–are there powerful special interest groups who got their way?

I think we can interpret a few clues from the language that was actually passed into law.

“(a) A person commits an offense who intentionally:
(4) Communicates with another person or transmits or displays an image in a manner in which there is a reasonable expectation that the image will be viewed by the victim by [by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication] without legitimate purpose:
(A) (i) With the malicious intent to frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress; or
(ii) In a manner the defendant knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities; and
(B) As the result of the communication, the person is frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.”

WAIT… WAIT… I know this!

These are laws intended to protect victims of domestic violence. The arguments are often, not very persuasive in themselves, but they are delivered by a passionate cadre of actors. These actors are very good at playing on human emotions, particularly fear, to get their point across. They peddle a lot of bogus statistics with teary eyes and quavering lips.

The people promoting these ideas call themselves advocates protecting the innocent and, at the same time, pointing their fingers at men, husbands, soldiers, and even children who happen to be boys. They tell you that you and your daughter are the next ones who will be abused.

Fear is just one of the ways societies have given away freedoms and it is the domestic violence victim’s advocate who uses it today. Blame the fathers, the husbands and the sons. Never look in the mirror, never acknowledge that conflict is inevitable and never learn that a family can survive together. Better to tear a father from a child and tear a family apart than to let them both live and learn from imperfect lives.

These are people who will easily turn against you if you question their anti-family, militaristic feminist, serial interloper world-views.

Could it happen here; in Hawaii?

Just consider last legislative session, a proposal to change our laws to make online harassment a misdemeanor. (HB 618) would have made it a misdemeanor to use another person’s name online without permission and with “intent to harm;” a concept so broad that it could be perceived any way an offended person conceives.

So, for example, the statement of a father declaring his innocence against false allegations of abuse could be deemed an action of harassment. Simply stating facts about a bad-actor, a child abuser, and a parental alienator, could lead to jail, fines and pretty harsh consequences for someone who was simply telling the truth.

Other past failed proposals include cyber harassment laws that would have outlawed Google searches (see Penumbrook’s post on 2/14/2009). An angry ex can do a lot of damage to our constitutional freedoms. Hawaii would have been very close to creating, with this proposed law, a police state.

Yes it can happen here.

It can happen here because the people who have proposed these Constitutionally violative laws have gained a lot of traction. They walk the hallways of our Hawaiian legislature peddling their fear, veiling family-destroying ideals under the guise of protecting the vulnerable. They come back, year after year, every legislative session taking advantage of other people’s misfortunes to ply a vision of perfect control over people’s lives through the law.

Domestic violence is a serious issue. Effective programs can be developed to mitigate its harm to families and society. But, it will take a lot of will-power, a lot of education, and a lot of political fortitude to recognize where we trade the “improvement” of a punitive law at the expense of our Constitutional freedoms.

Tennessee crossed that line. Is Hawaii next?

Rain’s Dad is his Sunshine

June 7, 2011

Dale Price is a stay-at-home Dad with an artificial leg. His claim to fame–besides nurturing a family who enjoys life–is waving at the bus.. umm.. daily.. uhh.. in costumes.

As Dale’s notoriety grows, so do the naysayers. Most people scoff at the idea when a man stays home. It’s a common misconception that a man cannot take care of his children and even more stereotypical that a father does nothing more than provide a stoic, if not abusive, role model for his son to follow.

Not so with Rain Price’s Dad (yup, his name is Rain). And, not so with millions of loving and caring Dad’s across the globe. Dale’s wife, Rochelle, chimes in: “Dale: is now a stay at home dad, actively parenting our three kids. He’s a pretty decent mechanic, landscaper, housekeeper, trophy husband (complete with a kickstand), and an amazing dad.”

There are no limits to love, life, and laughter when a family has this kind of magic. A nod to Yahoo News where I first found this story.

Trusting Our Legislature

May 11, 2011

A big round of applause to our legislators and a small acknowledgement to the Star Bulletin for (retrospectively) covering important changes (and no-changes) to our laws. The May 8, 2011 article Abercrombie obstructed, Lawmakers rejected the governor’s tax proposals by Derrick DePledge, includes a well-organized synopsis of laws passed and failed in Hawaii’s recent legislative session.

While the article focused on major wins and misses, like approved budget balancing excise taxes and the failed pension taxes, the B4 local Sunday supplement listed all measures presented before the legislature in easy to follow categories such as government, business/taxes and education. While hindsight is 20-20, this list of bills–passed and failed–is very instructive of what goes on, mostly, behind doors that are not accessible to you or me.

In this article, I want to highlight three bills that are particularly important to me. Primarily, I want to highlight these bills because it shows that certain people will stop at nothing to turn our Democracy into a police state.

Online Harassment

Under the header Consumer Protection/Labor one of the failed measures includes a proposal to change our laws to make online harassment a misdemeanor. Often these laws are aimed at online bullying, such as cyber-bullying or on-line cat-fights between high-school acquaintances, our current law (HRS §711-1106, et. seq.) conforms with a number of other states that have updated their laws to deal with electronic communications. According to an article posted by KITV News, the New Law Makes Texts, Online Harassment Illegal violators face one year in prison and / or a $2,000 fine.

The new proposal (HB 618) would have made it a misdemeanor to use–GET THIS–another person’s name online without permission and with the intent to harm. The concept of “intent to harm” is not described and could be perceived in any way the offended person conceives. To compound the injury, it would have made repeat offenses a third-degree felony.

So, for example, when my ex-wife was championing cyber harassment laws that would outlaw Google searches (see Penumbrook’s post on 2/14/2009), simply writing about a bad-actor, a child abuser, a parental alienator, and generally not a good person, could have been twisted to make me, a father declaring his innocence, into a bad person.

Wait… We only need to look at the 2/22/11 testimony in favor of this legislation, to discover where this was headed. Not to mention anything that may implicate my ex, but one commenter speaks with authority about being the target of stalkers–“both in movies and in real-life.” Stalking movies are not high on my list of must-see entertainment and, personally, I would question the motive of anyone for whom they are.

I understand that kids have a tough time these days, but an angry ex can do a lot more damage to our economy than the hormonal infused excess of youth. Hawaii would have been very close to creating, with this proposed law, a police state.

Expanding Ex-Parte TROs

Under the topic of LAW ENFORCEMENT, a proposal to expand the immediacy of Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) failed. SB 1054 would have expanded Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 586-4, to allow an ex-parte TRO for a person who is not physically present in the State of Hawaii. The provision would have allowed for a TRO when the applicant applied by telephone, radio or other means of electronic communication.

In addition, this proposal would have allowed that “A temporary restraining order may be issued when the applicant is not physically present if the court is satisfied that exigent circumstances exist sufficient to excuse the failure of the applicant to appear personally and that sufficient grounds for granting the application have been shown.”

Therefore, a deranged mother would have been able to abduct her children to another state or country and file an ex-parte TRO against her husband. I’m experiencing some Deja-vu!

In testimony against this bill, the Public Defender of the State of Hawaii stated, “We have a serious concern that such a procedure, if established, would result in abuse of the TRO process.”

From my personal experience, such a provision would (understating my opinion) not help matters. It is not unexpected that my ex-wife would have filed testimony in support of this bill. What is surprising is that bills like this are not subject to a higher level of unbiased media scrutiny.

Even strident voices, such as Veronika Geronimo, speaking for the HSCDAV cautions that “domestic violence abusers often pose as victims and abuse the TRO process. Abusers have been known to file false claims not because of fear of personal safety, but to exclude the victim from the home or prohibit contact with their children.”

Media Shield Law

Finally, kudos to our State Legislators who saw fit–in a one-newspaper town–to continue the strong Media Shield Laws required for a true democracy to exist. HB 1376 SD1 “extends for two years a law protecting journalists from the compelled disclosure of sources or unpublished information by state legislative, executive or judicial authority.”

Even after years, some people are still hopeful that new information will come to light in several open murder cases. In my Sept, 13, 2009 article I wrote about “Big Island Police Open Murder Investigation,” Jason Adam’s case is still unresolved and his killer is still at large.

Jason still has advocates. I trust that someday his killer will be brought to justice. I have only this website and a naive trust in a mostly hidden legislative process that, someday, could take away my right to free speech. I am innocent. My children are victims.

For more information, visit my web site at LiveBeatDad.com.

When Fear Guides Law

May 2, 2011

Hawaii is about to give away more of our freedoms and constitutional rights; “Bill to protect victims of abuse nears OK,” Gordon Pang, 05/02/2011, Star Advertiser. By the sheer number of Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) filed, Hawaiians are sending out a loud and clear message that our families are in trouble. What insanity could convince a lawmaker to make it easier to tear families apart?

Family courts are already secret. No outsiders are allowed to measure the justice or corruption inside these walls. A billion-dollar victim’s advocacy industry profits from breaking up families. Now, Hawaii legislators are entertaining HB 968, a bill that will make it easier to serve and implement a TRO. Support for this bill is support for fear on the slippery slope to a police state.

TROs are issued by filing an ex-parte petition to the court–a guilty-decision–without the person charged knowing that a judicial hearing was held. These orders are widely known to be used–and abused:
* In separation proceedings to terminate relationships,
* In child custody matters to prevent children from seeing their parents, and
* In divorce to gain an upper-hand through mostly unsubstantiated allegations of domestic violence.

These orders are already known to increase the incidence of domestic violence. They are a judicial sledgehammer used by one party to address family problems. This bill exacerbates the emotional trauma of a family break-up. The accuser gets a guilt-free ride, no intervention is required to save the family and the accused becomes hunted by law.

TROs circumvent the accused’s right of constitutional due process and the right to know of the crime of which they have been accused. The accused cannot even simply stay away from the accuser but immediately loses all rights automatically taken away by the TROs.

Hawaii laws dictate that a person served with a TRO is guaranteed a speedy trial, usually within three weeks, in order to safeguard his constitutional rights. With the expansion of days from 90 to 180, a temporary order is now semi-permanent. A speedy trial is no longer necessary. It is one step away from no trial at all.

In Hawai’i, a person need only have fear to obtain a TRO. Instructional classes for accusers are held at least once per week in many locations around the Islands. The accuser is coached to say and write words and phrases that will ensure a TRO is granted. The accused is often not even made aware of the law until after a TRO is served. In Hawai’i, TROs are weapons of choice for abusive spouses.

A person who makes an allegation that they are a victim is an “alleged victim.” No court can make a proper determination whether that person is an actual victim without due process. Yet, with a TRO, an angry wife can have her husband and her children’s father jailed for being in his own home. Before he knows what hit him, he will be guilty of a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Police officer’s themselves are most at risk. Under a TRO, the accused can be put into jail for owning a gun. For these husbands and fathers–found guilty and jailed without due process–their careers are over and their problems have just begun.

By allowing fear to guide our law, our lawmakers are ready to toughen laws that are used to destroy families. They are about to escalate factors that increase violence among family members. They are about to increase costs for our police and judiciary when every other legislative decision is based on the fiscal austerity of our time. When fear guides law, we all pay.

Solutions to the problem could be based on keeping families together. Require spouses and intimate partners to obtain mediation and / or therapy before obtaining a TRO. Send all parties to anger-management therapy and the Kids First program before permitting a TRO. Require clear and convincing evidence–not just fear–for an individual to obtain an ex-parte TRO. Open family court to the public to measure the effect of policy against families and reveal the true cost to our state.

We can succumb to fear and make our laws more punitive. We will destroy more lives and leave more children without the love and nurturing care a family can provide. OR, we can get to the root of the problem reducing the need for TROs with family education and reconciliation. My hope is that our legislators will begin fixing the broken system we have.

Ma, come mai, non mi scrivi

April 28, 2011

Sometimes, I believe that words are universal like a painting viewed under the light of a candle or a symphony while I strain to listen for the cello. There is no comparison between those who will and do communicate and those who, for whatever reason, do not. Our word is our life and the blood that runs through our veins. Like our blood, our word circulates among our community and keeps the body alive. In moments contemplating the meaning of words, I experience my own contribution to the community and I wonder whether the meaning will ever be understood by the two, very most important people in my life. I’ll call this an anti-mother’s day. “But, how is it, you never write?” I understand. I just hope you can grown and come into your own understanding. Then we can talk. Maybe I’ll even answer a question with conviction.

Sheild Laws Protect Democracy

April 22, 2011

The Star Advertiser reports that Hawaii’s Shield Law has been voted out of committee to be extended for two years through 2013.

Shield laws protect journalists from requirements to disclose sources of unpublished information. The “word on the street” gets a voice.

Currently scheduled to expire in June 2011, the measure, HB 1376 SD71 is an extension of a temporary measure that mirrors permanent measures in “Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia [that] have a permanent shield law,” according to Jeff Portnoy, Esq.. Portnoy says the law is stronger because it protects online bloggers.

Media outlets such as The Associated Press, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, West Hawaii Today, The Garden Island, Hawaii News Now, KITV, Honolulu Civil Beat, Hawaii Business and Hawaiireporter.com have submitted testimony in support.

As of 4/21/2011, , “The House Conference Managers recommend to agree to the Senate Amendments. The votes were as follows: 3 Ayes: Representative(s) Keith-Agaran, B. Oshiro, Thielen; Ayes” with no reservations, noes or excused.

Over 1.3 million Hawaiian residents live their lives, paying taxes and expecting the best from our government. There are a few who don’t like these rules. When they get noisy, Hawaii taxpayers shell-out for injustices.

I don’t advocate domestic violence. I have never committed domestic violence. Yet unregistered and badly regulated groups such as certain domestic violence victims advocates have become an industry unto themselves. They exert control over the judiciary and people like me and my children suffer, intolerably, the destruction of our families.

Word on the street is that our Social Services industry is rife with people who are not capable of performing their duties in the “best interests of the children” or of their families. Truth may be that there are a few bad apples spoiling the mead.

This bill is not about defunding necessary human services so badly needed in our State. So many people on the street need these services. This bill is about protecting the word on the street so that our Representatives and Senators, who have been mislead by an organized few, can separate the wheat from the chaff and hear the truth in what we, the people, are saying.