A fugitive people within a nation is tyranny.

Posts tagged ‘job loss’

Child Support Tyrants Want You Sick or Dead

we the peopleAs you’re reading this, consider the tyranny of the current child support regime in the United States and other modernized countries. Of course, these tyrants are also trying to finger you as they seek to take away any presumption of civil rights and any due process that a human being should have. That is the world we are living in. Only you can begin to change it, by banding together…
By Dr. Mercola

gas canAnxiety over a project at work… a marital spat… financial trouble… health problems… the list of potential stressors is endless, but wherever your stress is coming from, it likely starts in your head.

An inkling of worry might soon grow into an avalanche of anxiety. It might keep you up at night, your mind racing with potential “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios. Worse still, if the problem is ongoing, your stressed-out state may become your new normal — extra stress hormones, inflammation, and all.

While beneficial if you’re actually in imminent danger, that heightened state of stress – the one that makes your survival more likely in the event of an attack, for instance – is damaging over time.

The thoughts in your head are only the beginning or, perhaps more aptly, are the wheels that set the harmful mechanism known as chronic stress into motion – and, once spinning, it’s very easy to spiral out of control. As reported in Science News:

“Stress research gained traction with a master stroke of health science called the Whitehall Study, in which British researchers showed that stressed workers were suffering ill effects.

Scientists have since described how a stressed brain triggers rampant hormone release, which leads to imbalanced immunity and long-term physical wear and tear. Those effects take a toll quite apart from the anxiety and other psychological challenges that stressed individuals
deal with day to day.”

Stress: It’s Not Just in Your Head

empty-pockets-robbed-court-orderYou know the saying “when it rains, it pours”? This is a good description of chronic stress in your body, because it makes virtually everything harder. The term psychological stress is, in fact, misleading, because no stress is solely psychological… it’s not all in your head.

Let’s say you lose your job or are struggling from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from abuse you suffered as a child. Excess stress hormones are released, including cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Your stress response becomes imbalanced; it’s not shutting off.

Your immune system suffers as a result, and epigenetic changes are rapidly occurring. The stress is triggering systemic low-grade inflammation, and suddenly your blood pressure is up, your asthma is flaring, and you keep getting colds.

That cut on your leg just doesn’t seem to want to heal, and your skin is a mess. You’re having trouble sleeping and, on an emotional level, you feel like you’re nearing burnout.

Stress is very much like a snowball rolling down a mountain, gaining momentum, gaining speed and growing until suddenly it crashes. That crash, unfortunately, is often at the expense of your health.

Stress Increases Heart Attack Risk by 21-Fold

tombstonePolice officers clearly face amplified stress on the job, and researchers found they were 21 times more likely to die of a heart attack during an altercation than during routine activities. This isn’t entirely surprising until you compare it to heart-attack risk during physical training, which increased only seven fold.

The difference in physical exertion between the two circumstances likely doesn’t account for the increased risk… it’s the level of stress being experienced that sends heart attack risk through the roof.

More heart attacks and other cardiovascular events also occur on Mondays than any other day of the week. This “Monday cardiac phenomenon” has been recognized for some time, and has long been believed to be related to work stress.

During moments of high stress, your body releases hormones such as norepinephrine, which the researchers believe can cause the dispersal of bacterial biofilms from the walls of your arteries. This dispersal can allow plaque deposits to suddenly break loose, thereby triggering a heart attack.

Stress contributes to heart disease in other ways as well. Besides norepinephrine, your body also releases other stress hormones that prepare your body to either fight or flee. One such stress hormone is cortisol.

When stress becomes chronic, your immune system becomes increasingly desensitized to cortisol, and since inflammation is partly regulated by this hormone, this decreased sensitivity heightens the inflammatory response and allows inflammation to get out of control. Chronic inflammation is a hallmark not only of heart disease but many chronic diseases.

Stress Linked to Diabetes & a Dozen Other Serious Consequences

homelessPeople who grow up in poor socioeconomic conditions have higher levels of inflammatory markers, including interleukin-6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP). They’re also twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as adults, a risk researchers say is partly due to the elevated inflammation.

People who suffered child abuse also tend to have higher levels of chronic inflammation, as do those who act as caregivers for loved ones. As reported in Science News:

“Scientists are now digging deeper, sorting through changes in gene activity that underlie inflammation and receptor shutdown. For example, childhood stress might get embedded in immune cells called macrophages through epigenetic changes — alterations that affect the activity levels of genes without changing the underlying
DNA.

Psychologist Gregory Miller of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., suggests that these changes can endow the macrophages with pro-inflammatory tendencies that later foster chronic diseases.”

Prolonged stress can also damage your brain cells and make you lose the capacity to remember things. The brain cells of stressed rats are dramatically smaller, especially in the area of their hippocampus, which is the seat of learning and memory.

Stress disrupts your neuroendocrine and immune systems and appears to trigger a degenerative process in your brain that can result in Alzheimer’s disease. Stress-induced weight gain is also real and typically involves an increase in belly fat, which is the most dangerous fat for your body to accumulate, and increases your cardiovascular risk.

Stress alters the way fat is deposited because of the specific hormones and other chemicals your body produces when you’re stressed. Stress clearly affects virtually your whole body, but according to neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky in the documentary Stress: Portrait of a Killer, the following are the most common health conditions that are
caused by or worsened by stress:

Cardiovascular disease
Hypertension
Depression
Anxiety
Sexual Dysfunction
Infertility and Irregular Cycles
Frequent Colds
Insomnia and Fatigue
Trouble Concentrating
Memory Loss
Appetite Changes
Digestive Problems

Stress Can Cause Stomach Disorders

chronic-stressDigestive problems made Dr. Sapolsky’s list above, which makes sense because the stress response causes a number of detrimental events in your gut, including:

Decreased nutrient absorption

Decreased oxygenation to your gut

As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism

Decreased enzymatic output in your gut – as much as 20,000-fold!
To put it simply, chronic stress (and other negative emotions like anger, anxiety and sadness) can trigger symptoms and full-blown disease in your gut.

As Harvard researchers explain:

“Psychology combines with physical factors to cause pain and other bowel symptoms. Psychosocial factors influence the actual physiology of the gut, as well as symptoms. In other words, stress (or depression or other psychological factors) can affect movement and contractions of the GI tract, cause inflammation, or make you more susceptible to infection. In addition, research suggests that some people with functional GI disorders perceive pain more acutely than other people do because their brains do not properly regulate pain signals from the GI tract. Stress can make the existing pain seem even worse.”

Interestingly, the connection works both ways, meaning that while stress can cause gut problems, gut problems can also wreak havoc on your emotions. The Harvard researchers continue:

“This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore, a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or the product of anxiety, stress, or depression. That’s because the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) system are intimately connected — so intimately that they should be viewed as one system.”

Stress Changes Immune Response and Cell Behavior

baby moneyStress is implicated in cancer, not so much as a cause of cancer but because it seems to fuel its growth (or interfere with processes that might otherwise slow it down). For instance, the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine encourage the growth of blood vessels that help prostate tumors to grow. Meanwhile, in women with pelvic growths (who were awaiting tests to see if the growths were cancerous or benign), those with good social support (and presumably therefore less stress) had more immune attack cells directed at the masses, Science News reported.

Stress has also been shown to increase the likelihood of cancer spreading, or metastasis, which is a major cause of cancer death, by 30-fold. Chronic stress also leads to disrupted cortisol signaling. In the case of excess cortisol exposure, some cell receptors become muted, including receptors on immune cells. This is one reason why people under stress are about twice as likely to develop a cold after exposure to a cold virus, compared to non-stressed people.

Factors That Make Stress Worse

Dr. Sapolsky explains that you are more vulnerable to stress if the following factors are true:

You feel like you have no control

You’re not getting any predictive information
(how bad the challenge is going to be, how long it will go on, etc.)

You feel you have no way out

You interpret things as getting worse

You have no “shoulder to cry on”
(e.g., lack of social affiliation or support)

People at the top of the social pyramid feel a greater sense of control because they are the ones who call the shots, as well as typically having more social connections and resources at their disposal. This results in less stress, which over the long run translates to lower rates of disease. Stress is also closely related to the experience of pleasure, related to the binding of dopamine to pleasure receptors in your brain. People of lower socioeconomic status appear to derive less pleasure from their lives. Perhaps this is why laughter therapy is so effective at relieving stress.

On the brighter side, positive emotions like happiness, hope, and optimism also prompt changes in your body’s cells, even triggering the release of feel-good brain chemicals. While you can create happiness artificially (and temporarily) by taking drugs or drinking alcohol, for instance, the same endorphin and dopamine high can be achieved via healthy habits like exercise, laughter, hugging and kissing, sex, or bonding with your child. If you’re wondering just how powerful and effective this can be, a 10-second hug a day can lead to biochemical and physiological reactions in your body

Lower Heart Disease Risk
Stress Reduction
Fight Fatigue
Boost Immune System
Fight Infections
Ease Depression

———

Are you getting the point? Tyrants are shortening your life.

overthrow

Anniversary of Bradley Amendment Continues Child Support Discussion

by Killeen Gonzalez

May 5, 2011, marks the 25th anniversary of the controversial Bradley Amendment. In 1986, the Bradley Amendment was enacted into federal law as an amendment to Title IV of the Social Security Act thanks to the likes of then-Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley.

What is the Bradley Amendment?

The Bradley Amendment is a series of laws that were designed to prohibit non-custodial parents from having their child support arrears reduced or eliminated regardless of the circumstances. In addition, the amendment allowed child support enforcement workers to disregard changes in a non-custodial parent’s circumstances like job loss, incarceration, military service or physical disability in certain instances.

Furthermore, it gave the same workers the ability to pursue legal remedies against the non-custodial parent the moment a payment was missed without having to first go through a quasi-judicial or judicial proceeding. These legal remedies included asset seizure, un-expiring property liens, driver’s license suspension, professional license suspension, suspension of voting privileges and incarceration.

Why is the Bradley Amendment Controversial?

Opponents believe that, in part, by granting such capabilities to child support workers, the Bradley Amendment effectively disregarded the non-custodial parent’s constitutional rights of due process and equal protection as well as disregarded the unconstitutionality of what equates to nothing more than a “debtors’ prison.”

The rights of due process and equal protection were given to Americans after the Civil War as part of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although 14th Amendment violations are most often cited by social advocacy groups, arguments have also been made that the Bradley Amendment violates the fifth, eight, ninth and 10th amendments as well.

Due process essentially ensures that all Americans are entitled to be heard in their own defense, have a right to legal representation even if they cannot afford a lawyer on their own, have a right to a fair and public trial with a jury of one’s peers and property taken by the government may only be done for public purposes and the government must reimburse that person the fair market value for that property.

The right of equal protection goes hand in hand with the right to due process and is designed to keep states from unfairly applying its laws to individuals under their jurisdiction. In this case, opponents of the Bradley Amendment believe that the laws are unfairly applied against the poor.

According to the Southern Center for Human Rights, in the state of Georgia alone there are over 500 non-custodial parents who are incarcerated over failure to pay child support. Of those non-custodial parents currently incarcerated, the majority were not given legal representation and are considered indigent.

The group’s website also cites that 70 percent of outstanding child support debt in this nation is owed by non-custodial parents who make less than $10,000 a year. According to the federal government’s poverty guidelines for 2011, an individual making $10,890 or less a year in most states is considered poor. This gives credence to the argument that the Bradley Amendment unjustly targets people living at or below poverty level.

Furthermore, another item that has been called into question related to the Bradley Amendment and the child support system as a whole is the money trail associated with child support enforcement. What many people may not realize is that not all money collected by child support enforcement workers goes to the custodial parent; some of it goes to the state and federal government to pay welfare debts.

Moreover, the state receives matching federal funds. Those matching funds then go, in part, to pay the salaries of the child support workers, as well as the law enforcement and legal representatives who assist them in collection efforts.

In addition, once a person is incarcerated, some prisons charge fines and fees to the inmates for such things as room, board and medical costs. Such was the case in Clinch County, Georgia, where detainees at the Clinch County Jail were unlawfully charged $18 a day for room and board regardless of whether they were later found innocent and released. A civil class action lawsuit was eventually filed on behalf of those detainees; the judge ruled that the sheriff had to return all illegal fees.

Challenges to the Bradley Amendment, Past and Present

Since its inception, the constitutionality of the Bradley Amendment, and child support in general, have been repeatedly called into question throughout the nation. Early cases in point include one from the Massachusetts District Court, one from Florida’s Sixth Judicial Court as well as the case of Michelle Sweat, which was heard in Georgia by Superior Court Judge C. Diane Perkins in February 2002. The judges in each of those cases found aspects of child support laws to be unconstitutional.

From 2004 through 2006, there were moves made on behalf of the American people to get both the courts and the U.S. Congress to repeal the Bradley Amendment entirely on the basis that it is unconstitutional. The case was ultimately dismissed in February 2006. That, however, was not the end of the discussion by any means.

In July 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and Sen. Evan Bayh came under fire for their introduction of the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2007, which was also seen as unconstitutional by some groups. The introduction of the act revived the earlier arguments against the Bradley Amendment, which brings us to the most recent challenge made to the constitutionality of the law.

On March 22, the Southern Center for Human Rights filed a civil rights class action lawsuit on behalf of six non-custodial parents from several Georgia counties. At this time, the case is still pending.

Sources:

Congressional Research, “The Bradley Amendment: Prohibition against Retroactive Modification of Child Support Arrearages” Congressional Research

Associated Press “Parents Sue Ga. Over child support jail time” The Augusta Chronicle

The Law Office of the Southern Center for Human Rights, “Debtor’s Prison” Southern Center for Human Rights

The Law Office of Southern Center for Human Rights, “Georgia Deprives Children as Indigent Parents Languish in Debtor’s Jail for Inability to Pay Child support” Southern Center for Human Rights

William Akins, “Why Georgia’s Child Support Laws are Unconstitutional” Georgia Bar Journal

Cornell University Law School, “Equal Protection” Cornell University Law School

E Manning, “Obama Attacks Constitutional Rights of Non-Custodial Parents” Newsvine.com

Center for Law and Social Policy, “Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Family Act of 2007” Center for Law and Social Policy

Christine Vestal, “Child Support Enforcement Takes a Hit” Stateline.org

U.S. Department Health and Human Services, “The 2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines” ASPE.hhs.gov

Phyllis Schlafly, “Repeal the Bradley Amendment” Restoring America

Alliance for Non-Custodial Parent’s Rights, “U.S. District Court of MA Civil Docket” ANCPR.com

Divorcenet “The Bradley Amendment: How Does it Affect Men’s Child Support” Divorcenet.com

The Bradley Amendment Debacle

Income lapses or loss of job are costly for any father because of a federal law known as the Bradley Amendment. The amendment, named for former Sen. Bill Bradley, New Jersey Democrat, establishes that once a child-support obligation has been established, it can’t be retroactively reduced or forgiven by a judge. The amendment was enacted in 1986 to stop parents from running up huge child-support debts and getting a sympathetic judge to erase them..

Even now, the unintended consequences of the Bradley Amendment have become clear and a growing number of people are calling for the law to be repealed or at least modified.

According to the reformers, the Bradley Amendment:

* All but ensures that any parent who has a dip in cash flow will be buried under a debt that cannot be legally escaped.

* Helps chase poor men into illegal activities or the underground economy, away from “mainstream” jobs and their children.

Reformers are having some success arguing their case on Capitol Hill, but admit that their battle is uphill: Members of Congress are loath to do anything that might be seen as going soft on child-support enforcement.

Reformers say, they have a powerful incentive for change in the way the Bradley Amendment keeps impoverished fathers trapped in child-support debt. Never mind the fact that the Bradley Amendment is unconstitutional. The Congress isn’t concerned with that reality, nor is any presidential administration. In this case, the ends justify the means. This years’ electorial candidates have simply ignored the problem. They are more concerned with “hot issues”.

The Bradley Amendment has often worked as intended by Congress, by locking in arrears while the system doggedly pursues wily, wealthy parents ducking their obligations, like Hillary Clinton’s brother. However, even he hasn’t paid his tab.

Some big catches have included a New York plastic surgeon who owed $172,000, a professional athlete who owed $76,000 and a yacht company owner who owed $50,000, according to a recent article in Government Executive magazine.

The child-support system is celebrated when it bags deadbeats like these.

But there’s less applause when the system applies the same tough rules and penalties on people like the shaggy-haired man who recently stood in handcuffs before a Maryland Circuit Court judge.

The shaggy-haired man told the judge he lived with his mother and was too disabled to work. He had just spent two weeks in jail for not paying his $10-a-week child support. His total debt was $42,788.

The judge ordered the man to pay $75 a week toward his debt.

But even at that rate, observed a lawyer, “it will take that guy 80 years to pay it off.”

Several child-support advocacy groups say that, despite these pitiful cases, the Bradley Amendment should be maintained because it serves a need.

“We supported the Bradley Amendment when it passed, because it stopped a judge in State B from wiping out [the debt from] an order passed by a judge in State A,” says Geraldine Jensen, president of the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.

“We still need it because 40 percent of cases are interstate, and we still only have 20 percent of people paying” their full support, says Ms. Jensen. Ms. Jensen seems to forget that bad legislation doesn’t work. Keeping that legislation with a 20% success rate is simply bad management with the pretense of doing something good. There is no logic behind the insistence of the process.

Despite the Bradley Amendment’s hold on accrued debts, and a new array of enforcement tactics, the child-support system still collects less than half of what is owed. A lot of this debt is owed by “dead-broke dads,” “turnip dads” or “beat-dead dads,” say scholars and advocacy groups. Naturally, nobody seems to object to calling men by derogatory names. Try calling a woman an equivalent and you are likely to hear about it. In fact, let’s just make up names as we go along.

The concept of “turnip” dads are those who earn less than $130 a week and would be impoverished themselves if they paid support, says Ford Foundation Project Officer Ronald B. Mincy. Mr. Mincy and Elaine J. Sorensen estimate that between 16 percent and 33 percent of fathers are “turnips.”

The concept of “beat-dead dads” are the ones who have child-support orders set so high that “any hiccup in cash flow” quickly results in thousands of dollars of arrears, says Ron Henry, a lawyer active in the Children’ s Rights Council and Men’s Health Network.

“The Bradley amendment [says] once an arrearage is accrued, it exists forever. You cannot waive it. You cannot modify it. Too bad, sucker,” says Mr. Henry, who says the law should be repealed. The child-support system, in theory allows parents to change the amount of their child-support payments. However, the system has all kinds of obstacles built in to prevent such an action. The system hates change and works against such change until a child reaches emancipation.

A major reason many child-support orders are set at high amounts and grow so fast is because they are set without the paying parent in the courtroom, say experts. The Los Angeles Times reported last fall that “roughly 70 percent” of fathers “are not in court when paternity is established and their monthly obligations set.” The same Los Angeles Times story said that local law enforcement records showed that “on average, more than 350 men a month are incorrectly named as fathers.”

The Bradley Amendment ensures that even if the court makes a mistake, “you can never get out of it,” says Mike Ewing, a leader of the Virginia Fatherhood Initiative in Norfolk, who knows several men who are paying support even though DNA tests proved they weren’t the children’s father.

The fun never ends and nobody questions the legality of any of it. You should. The Bradley Amendment and support enforcement are unconstitutional. Politics doesn’t enter into the equation. Check this out and discover the truth for yourself.

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