Start at 22:47
Well Warriors, I just had the first “Weigh In Wednesday” today sponsored by the Doctor’s Diet Clinic. I have dropped 3.8 pounds the first week and I am taking all-natural supplements and not the controlled substance, appetite suppressant, though the program permits the latter, which is why there is a physician on staff. My mother, who is doing the program with me, in the same amount of time has lost 3.5 pounds and she too is thrilled. Proportionately, she has done even better than I, as 3.5 pounds comprises much more of her total body weight than 3.8 pounds comprises of mine, I assure you. “Weighing In” has a literal component, as I have above detailed, but is has a hypothetical component too.
On the Version, Michael Volpe, author of the book Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney Kafkaesque Divorce, a regular contributor, and daily listener weighed-in on how the ABC News show, 20/20, treated Michelle McDonald. Michelle MacDonald represented Sandra Grazzini-Rucki in a custody matter against her ex-husband David Rucki regarding two children, Samantha and Gianna Rucki who ran away from home during the bitter custody dispute and were gone for some two years. The subtitle of the piece run on 20/20 was Footprints in the Snow. On the Version detailing the story from the perspective of Michelle MacDonald, Michelle was taken into custody for violating the Court’s rule against taking a photograph during the proceeding. She was hand-cuffed to a wheel chair and forced to defend a client whom court personnel had sent home, telling Ms. Rucki and her witnesses Court had adjourned for the day. Michelle lost the custody case, but, after all, she was confined to a chair and forced to proceed with her client and witnesses dispersed to the four corners of the area. I guess if winning that way is satisfying to David Rucki, then…Congratulations.
On what Michael and I focused, however, was the curious decision of 20/20 and its host Elizabeth Vargas to require that Sandra Rucki provide police recorded, written proof of David Rucki’s abusing her during their marriage. What Vargas did was ask a very limited question meant to confine the answer to constraints Vargas knew would net the answer on which she was counting. All Vargas had to do was consult the public record to find out that Ms. Rucki never complained to the police, in a manner which was memorialized in writing at least, of being abused by David Rucki during the parties’ marriage. While there was ample documentation setting forth a litany of incidents of abuse, none of them fit into the box 20/20 fashioned in that they weren’t reported to the police during the parties’ marriage and memorialized in writing by the police via “report.”
I suppose what Elizabeth Vargas is saying is that all wives subjected to abuse at the hands of the husbands report the incident to the police and that the incident is further reduced to writing in official report. I suppose in all instances the police confer charges. I suppose further that event of abuse never really occurred if, let’s say, a wife be unwilling to report being abused to authorities for some silly reason like the husband is either the primary wage-earner or, at least, a substantial contributor to the household wages and the children and she would like to continue eating. Do motorists only speed if issued a citation? Is the fact the motorist has never been cited establish he has never disobeyed any rules of the road?
What Elizabeth Vargas did was a technique I commonly employed when I practiced law and one I would have undertaken had David Rucki employed me to defend him. The difference is, in those days, it would have been my function to advocate my client’s position. It is both sad and misguided that Elizabeth Vargas, as a member of the national media, thought this was her function too. What Ms. Vargas did in asking such a limited question is scope is frighteningly similar to an old sleazy, lawyer trick. “Mr. Johnson, are you still beating your wife?” There is no way for the witness to answer the question. If he is no longer beating his wife he concedes he once did and if he answers yes he is confessing. Members of our esteemed National News Media, of the ilk of Elizabeth Vargas, enjoy a much finer reputation than almost all lawyers. Wouldn’t it be just resplendent if they comported thusly?
Vargas knew exactly what she was doing in confining her question to a narrow set of circumstances which would net a response which best furthered her angle. She arrived at the interview pre-armed with the opinion Sandra Rucki was alienating the Rucki children against their father and the Judge had properly conducted the hearing in which Michelle MacDonald was forced to participate from restraint and confinement. She worked the problem in advance of her investigation and didn’t set about to expose the truth but to confirm the answer to which she had long arrived. Mark Twain once said “[t]here are laws to protect the freedom of the press’s speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.” I am afraid Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and her intrepid lawyer, Michelle MacDonald, were in need of protection from Elizabeth Vargas and 20/20 unwittingly. I am afraid Joseph Pulitzer was correct when he warned, “A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself.” Take it for what it is worth, because…
THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!
P.S. The Long Version both credits and appreciates Michael Volpe and CDN (Communities Digital News) for contributions to this blog from the story, Did 20/20 manipulate the Rucki story to hide abuse?
Apr.21, 2016 The Art of Persuasion.
Allow me first to say that if you haven’t heard Today’s Version go, tout suite, and hear the Podcast under the same title as this Blog. We covered for the second day in a row the 20/20 interview of Attorney Michelle MacDonald. What ensued was fantastic radio and completely unplanned and unscripted. That’s what makes it fun and I hope it was as fun to hear as it was in which to participate. It does cast a light on a topic I daily contemplated in my former profession as a trial lawyer and that is the most persuasive way to argue a point.
Desmond Tutu, a famous Anglican Catholic Archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, instructed “[d]on’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” I found this to be true throughout my career. More simply put by Ben Goldacre in Bad Science “[y]ou cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.” Yelling creates discourse and resentment but not thoughtful discussion. I have personally always found true intelligence is often marked by one’s ability to change a position if one or the other side makes a compelling and reasoned argument. My mind has been changed about a great number of things in my lifetime and any conviction of mine is subject to be altered if sufficiently persuaded when appropriate.
Probably one of the first things one should do in an argument is find where there is common ground and take that as the ground from which to base your thesis. Today it became obvious to me that, regarding the story 20/20 aired about the Rucki dispute, neither Cliff nor Michael Volpe (I tend to agree with Volpe on this), were going to agree about whether the ABC News story had covered the story accurately and fairly. In the interest of full disclosure both Michael Volpe and I have personal relationships and even business ties to Michelle MacDonald which results in her having credibility with us. I personally have found no reason to not put faith in what she has ever before represented to me. Cliff appears suspicious of Michelle MacDonald and what she professes; so, right there, a critical divide exists which appears to impede agreement. Blaise Pascal in his work, De l’art de persuader, which amounts to the title of this piece but in French, says “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” For both personal and business reasons Michael Volpe and I find it attractive to believe what our friend and Publisher tells us. Cliff finds being skeptical of Michelle’s representations and crediting the ABC News reporter’s integrity and honesty more attractive. I am not willing to credit the ABC News Reporter because of her profession and for whom she works anymore than Michelle should be likewise credited. I know Michelle to be honest and have enormous integrity, that’s enough for Michael Volpe and me.
Here’s what I do know. Ms. Rucki is in custody for violating an Order of the Court. This Order emanated from a proceeding in which her attorney was arrested for an offense which didn’t warrant arrest and forced to conduct the trial restrained to a wheel chair, hand-cuffed, with the hand-cuffs attached to a belt around her waist tethered to the wheel chair. The party represented by the constrained attorney was sent home by Court personnel, together with her witnesses, after being told the Court had adjourned for the day, which was untrue. With Ms. Rucki absent and unable to either defend or be heard in a meaningful way, the Court awarded custody to David Rucki. If Ms. Rucki then absconded with the children in defeat of that Order, as alleged by the charging instrument; then that Order’s coming to exist in violation of the Federal Constitution is both relevant and should have been part of the 20/20 story. ABC News omitted this from the story it took to air on its very popular news show. Between Michael Volpe, Cliff Ritter and me, though we agreed on almost nothing else, we all agreed on the contents of this paragraph. This becomes, then, the common ground from where an argument can be won.
So here it is! ABC News reported on Ms. Rucki’s being jailed for interfering with an Order which came into being in violation of her Federally protected Constitution Rights. They made Sandra Rucki look like a wanton criminal in the offing. However, Orders entered in complete defeat of a litigant’s Constitutionally protected rights either are or should be considered void ab initio; which means the custody order would have been treated as invalid from the outset or from the beginning. With respect to 20/20 and ABC News that isn’t just relevant, it’s the crux of the whole dispute. It not being included in the coverage for the viewer to at least frame the issue as to whether this was an Order which should have been ignored, owing to how it came into being, is slanted, one-sided, and partial reporting unworthy of a multiple Peabody Award winning broadcast. In my mind, it discredits the story’s complete integrity. Take it for what it is worth, because
THAT’S THE LONG VERSION!
This is about money laundering through our tax dollars!
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) as a “custody switching tactic.” Kids can definitely be turned against a parent and demonstrate alienating behaviors but PAS to switch custody is a scheme in which mothers are primarily pathologized and blamed for interfering with their children’s attachment to their fathers. The scheme is funded by fathers’ rights extremist groups who in turn are funded by federal grants.
There are many terrific and honest father`s rights groups across the U.S. that promote fairness and equality between mothers and fathers working towards the best interest of the children. Unfortunately, there are also wide spread corrupt fathers’ rights groups that pocket federal grant funds while allowing severe trauma to children.
Fathers Rights – is the term used for the federal funding used in the fraud and corruption. Fathers Manifesto Groups discovered a malicious way to take advantage of the billions handed to State Agencies and abuse and control their ex-girlfriend/spouse.
Hatred of Women a Common Theme – A number of leaders of fathers’ custody advocacy groups are clearly misogynistic and use their Internet sites to exhort men to take action against ex-wives, using hate-filled language. They are described as displaying virulent misogyny, spreading false anti-woman propaganda and applauding and even encouraging acts of domestic terrorism and extreme violence against women and children, up to and including murder.
- 95% of sexual molestation of girls and 90% of sexual molestation of boys are by
- 70% of abusive fathers are the winners in custody fights.
- ”The Parental Alienation Syndrome theory” is used almost exclusively against women.
- Statements by Dr. Richard Gardner “…pedophilia is an accepted practice by billions of people” “…our society’s response to it is ‘excessively moralistic and punitive.” “…there is a certain amount of pedophilia in all of us.” “a mother’s hysterics [to child molestation]…will contribute to the child’s feeling that a heinous crime has been committed.”
- The “true” victims according to PAS: Fathers are “victims of mothers’ viciousness and vindictiveness.” Judges are “manipulated by mothers.”
- Sub-conclusion: 94-98.5% of sexual abuse allegations made by either children or their mothers are true
- In this largest national study to examine intentionally false allegations, CIS-98 found Deliberate false allegations mostly by fathers
Fathers Rights and THEIR Corrupt Judicial Cronies
A short history of how judges set up a secret system to rig cases for men The Liz Library
Fathers’ Rights activists have made themselves well known. While they have been successful as promoting themselves as underdogs fighting for equal parenting in a society and legal system which is rigged for women, a closer look at their history, their leaders, their literature and web sites shows a very different story. Not only are they directly affiliated with a secretive group of judges who handle much of their case litigation, but they are also affiliated with published incest promoters – Gardner, Underwager and Farrell.
Many of them, especially their leaders, are very bad-dads who are out to beat the system and destroy the mother of their children because her legal rights and the child’s natural bond with their own mother, threaten his need to have the advantage, and especially to evade financial obligations and abuse charges. While their public chatter is about being disenfranchised by a system which places little to no value on the father-child relationship, their private activities and discussion show that they have been very successful in changing state custody laws in their to their advantage, and changing custody and support orders in their own cases to their advantage. Many of these purported underdogs have sole custody and receive child support. The sociopathy of this movement has had a very profound affect not only at its victims, but also on government policy and programs which is tilting toward an official policy of rejecting family violence and abuse complaints as vengeful acts by “bitter” ex-spouse, and eliminating post-divorce financial obligations for women.
AFCC: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts The AFCC has many state chapters which conduct conferences, seminars and workshops on their “latest” practices for handling divorce, custody and related family & children litigation. Most of the identified AFCC professional members routinely practice anti-woman, pro-abuser father PAS tactics against mothers who complain of child abuse by the father. Most have a documented history of rubber-stamping every mother as an mentally unstable alienator who is the cause of all the problem and unfit to be around her children. Of course, they know the truth of what they are really doing – is to trump up reasons to make the mother look bad so they can justify recommending sole custody a father accused of domestic violence, child abuse or support delinquencies.
Fathers’ Custody Advocacy Groups’ Main Strategies
The Push for Joint Custody: The fathers’ custody activists claim that both legal and physical joint custody is in the best interest of the child. But it is no coincidence that joint custody drastically reduces the father’s child support payments and other financial obligations (health insurance, day care, etc.).
Efforts to make joint custody presumptive by state statute are ongoing around the country for this very reason. In reality, after joint custody is agreed to or ordered by the court, many mothers often have the child or children most of the time, while the reduced child support payment from the father negatively impacts the mother’s ability to support the child or children.
Additionally, in many families where the parents are married, time spent with and provision of daily care of the children are not evenly shared by the two parents while they are together. There is no reason to impose a presumption of joint legal and physical custody on families when they have not previously chosen this arrangement for themselves.The Use of an Accusation of “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS) as an Offense or Defense in Court: Fathers are urged by some fathers’ custody activists to say the mother is alienating the child from the father and harming the child’s mental health. The fathers hire mental health professionals or others not well qualified who will testify (frequently for a substantial fee) that the mothers are alienating the children. In many cases, the fathers are abusive to the mothers and/or the children, or are using the children to harass or control the mother – leading the children to not want to visit the father. The accusation is most often used to deflect charges of abuse made by the protective mother.
More on Fathers Rights local groups: While they try to appear as independent people united at the grass roots to fight individual injustices – they are in reality cogs in a highly organization national scheme to recruit male litigants into the AFCC-CRC organized litigation racket. The men are used to keep the case litigation as active as possible so each court hearing can be billed to federal HHS-ACF program funds.
We all need to have the basic understanding of the federal funding as it really is the heart of the entire system. It’s important to analyze the situation in the courts and come to some conclusions about cause and effect — not just that the effects are really devastating.
The best interests of the child is one safe, secure home, no shifts like cattle mid-week or bi-weekly or seasonally, unless all wish them to go. The best father, once divorced, paves the way to his family’s door with good behavior, with kindness, and generosity. Not the good behavior, kindness and generosity mandated by a court—for that is meaningless.
List of various resources on family law issues. See http://www.thelizlibrary.org/
20/20 Suppression of Truth