Sunday, September 26, 2010

On suffering

When a man first begins to suffer in a new way, he finds it all the worse for being unfamiliar and he is further distressed by not knowing how to respond. As he learns to cope, if he learns to cope, he expands his self understanding and repertoire of appropriate reactions to this and other forms of suffering. Only in this way can it be said that suffering brings wisdom, there are no other consolations.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Theories, thoughts and questions

Strife between the sexes is a natural damper on population growth. The denser the population and the more stable the environment, the worse it gets. The thinner the population and the more threatening the surroundings, the better things get.

Manginas and white knights are just trying to get laid. As such, they're often worse than the enemy who is so obvious to them.

Some of the worst white knights on god's green earth are male judges.

Most psychologists are in it for the mind games, the power over their fellow men and women.

Lady Gaga is a parody of Madonna, and hilarious with it. "I'm bluffin' with my muffin" and "I want to take a ride on your disco stick" - how can anyone hear that an not laugh? Sorry Camille, but your mistake was to take even Madonna seriously, never mind Lady Gaga.

Why, oh why, do we give a damn. What. Actors. Think?

War is the systematic elimination of young men from the reproductive pool, serving to reduce competition amongst alpha males . It also serves to weed out weaker men (and by weaker, I mean those that get killed, not necessarily those who are less strong).

That scene in Jarhead where Peter Sarsgaard freaks out because he's ordered not to shoot an Iraqi is one of the creepiest things I've seen out of Hollywood in a long time.

Housewife / Jobhusband?

Whoever it was who came up with "the 5 stages of grief" did a real disservice for the recognition of the simple emotion of grief.

Why is "anymore" one word and "each other" two?

Under cover agents can feel that they have lost touch with their original identities. I wonder if this has happened to me over the last few years. I wonder if it happens to us all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eileen Clark, the other side of the story

A few days ago, I posted the Telegraph story on Eileen Clark to my news stream. I found it so typically one sided of them - a woman kidnaps her children, separating them from their father for 15 years and now a major paper comes to her defense once she is finally caught. The other side's story was painfully absent, despite an appearance on Dr. Phil some years ago. Today, however, that side is to be found in eloquent form in the comment section of an article in the Oxford Mail. I copy it here in its entirety because it speaks volumes about how a mother can twist the law, politics and the media to suit her own purposes regardless of what is right or legal:
"This is in regards to the story you wrote regarding Extradition worry for family as FBI puts mum on 'most wanted' list. There are always two sides to a story. I would like the chance to share the “other” side of the story. I am ready to speak out and am amazed that no one has sought out any answers from the other side of this article. I am the sister of John Clark. I was Eileen Sams Clark sister in law and I was also a bridesmaid at their wedding. The article discussed about my sister in law and my niece and nephews is a huge distorted mistruth. The picture posted in the Daily Telegraph and now in your newspaper of Eileen, Hayden and Chandler is the first time in fifteen years my brother, my parents,( Chandler, Rebekah and Hayden's grandparent's), my brother Clay and I have seen of them.

First of all, Eileen Sams Clark has been on the FBI's wanted list for kidnapping and parental interference for almost the full 15 years since her abduction of my brothers children. Extraditing an American Citizen that broke US laws should be a simple procedure. Unfortunately, it appears that my sister in law and her advisors are using a political issue to try and help her AGAIN avoid due process here in the United States. Please do not misunderstand my intentions here. This specific extradition regarding my former sister in law is not about a British Citizen being extradited to America. This specific extradition regarding Eileen Sams Clark is about a US citizen, with a 15 year warrant out for her arrest being returned to America to face consequences of her actions. Eileen entered the UK because she was fleeing justice here in the United States. She was fully aware of all charges against her. Eileen entered a foreign country in order to FLEE prosecution. I believe, in my understanding that that means she is most likely in your country without proper documentation. Charges against Eileen were dropped in 2004 because the first grand jury transcripts mysteriously "disappeared". Two months later the State of New Mexico reissued the same exact warrant for her arrest. Her story so far was only a half truth.

To this day, my brother and our family do not know why Eileen "fled" and kept the children from my brother. No one seems to ask Eileen the question that has haunted me and my family for years, “If she was so unhappy and so distraught, why didn't she just divorce my brother?" All Eileen had to do was file for divorce, share custody with my brother and everyone could have moved on in their lives.

Unlike the Daily Telegraph article, your interview with Eileen explains that Eileen fled my brother because”she was too scared to remain in her marriage to husband John Clark when she left her New Mexico home in 1995." I cannot pretend to know what was ever truly in the mind of my sister in law. All I know is that my brother has been through a thorough background check from the FBI and the US Attorney’s office and there is no record of abuse whatsoever!

In your article, it stated, "In 2009, on the advice of lawyers, Mrs. Clark’s sons Chandler, now 23, and Hayden, 20, contacted the Santa Fe Police Department to say they were not missing, but living safely and happily with their mother in the UK." This did happen. The local police station was approached and given information. For some reason, and we truly do not know why, this police officer went into the NCIC system and took Chandler and Hayden out of the system. The person that was contacted in Santa Fe police department had NO authority to remove anyone from the NCIC (missing children) list. The officer was presented with a formal letter. He never saw or observed Chandler or Hayden. For all he knew the guy down the street could have produced the exact same information. In order to have had the kids name removed, they would have had to appear with proper documentation, to the FBI and prove they were who they said they were. Their attempt to remove their names from the list could have been resolved if they had actually contacted the actual authorities that needed to be informed. Later, through attorneys for Hayden and Chandler, it was proposed to my brother that if he were to drop the charges against Eileen, he could then have the ability to be in contact with Chandler and Hayden.

Throughout this ordeal is the consistent pattern of Eileen Sams Clark using the children as a wedge between her and my brother.

What is so painful to realize for my family is the fact that any opportunity to have a decent relationship with these three children has been taken away. None of this had to happen. Eileen Sams Clark perpetrated this chain of events. All of this could have been resolved simply.

My brother and Eileen were never formally divorced. My brother sought a divorce by abstention here in the US. That means that because Eileen was "in hiding" and could not be located, my brother had to post advertisements in the legal sections of local newspapers where he thought she might hide and post his intentions to legally divorce her because she abandoned the marriage. This took a year to legally accomplish. There was never ANY joint custody decided through a divorce at all. My brother was never sure that Eileen even knew that they were legally divorced until he confronted Eileen's father through the Dr. Phil show in 2005.

We have hoped for years of wishing to share a holiday with ALL of us together. We have always looked forward to having an opportunity to knowing my brothers children. Speaking just for myself, I would love them to meet my sons and to share pictures and videos we have of them when they were young. We are a decent law abiding family. We wish this could find an end and we might be able to reconnect with the children.

My family is like most families. We value family and the strength you get from that family.

My former sister in law has broken many laws. There are consequences for her decision to do what she did. My former sister in law has family members that are attorneys. She was and still is, fully aware of the consequences of her actions. Much of the information given to you in this article by her is inaccurate and flat out untrue.

My parents and I have remained silent all of this time with the great hope that we might be able to reunite with my brother’s children. My former sister in law has made so many false accusations that it is hard to keep them straight. Because Eileen has chosen to USE the political climate to fight extradition for wrongs she knew she perpetrated is unacceptable to my parents and me. My brother seeks to reunite and connect with his children. Unfortunately, to do that, his ex wife has to face the charges against her. Eileen is no victim here. My brother and the three children are the victims. I can only imagine the untruths she has told these three young adults. They have only had her to rely upon for all these years. Of course they will come to her defense, just as most children would. These three children were much to young to remember anything of their father when they were cruelly separated from him.

After all this time, I wish things for everyone concerned could have been different. My parents and I still would love the opportunity to reach out to these young adults and learn about their lives. We would relish the chance to share our lives with them. Their cousins would love the same opportunity as well."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Domestic Violence and the World Cup: a Myth is Born

Yet another campaign against domestic violence. Here we go again. What have they come up with this time? A string of photographs of celebrity men wearing T-shirts printed with the legend "I'm a real man" and, er, tiaras and butterfly wings and, yes, rose tinted glasses, courtesy of Cosmo, that bastion of unbiased and in-depth reporting. Sigh! Am I the only one who gets creeped out by this sort of thing?

But wait, the caption under the second photo says this: "Research has shown that big sporting events such as the World Cup can result in increased rates of domestic violence. During the 2006 World Cup, reports of domestic abuse increased by nearly a third (30%) on England match days." That's a new one, but it does sound sort of familiar. Ah yes, that "noble lie" of the bloody massacre of American womanhood every Superbowl Sunday (yes folks, that's a link).

Poking around a bit, I find the World Cup version has got around a bit already. The numbers are mostly between 25% and that "nearly a third" from the Telegraph, but the BBC goes as far to say that the Greater Manchester Police think it could be as much as 1000% (yes three zeroes) as it tells us about a poster campaign (football shirt with "strikeher" written on the back, geddit? Oh never mind) with a photo of yet another celebrity, but they got the year wrong: 1996, which wasn't even a world cup year. They get the year right and are a bit less hyperbolic in an earlier article but Auntie Beeb wants to be very sure that all you nasty boys will behave on match days, the white knights in their uniforms and wigs are just lining up to teach you a lesson.

A Google News search shows up a whole slew of local papers singing the same tune and, what's this? They're a pretty serious bunch, and they're at it too. (But how carefully can they check up on the 100+ articles a day they publish?) They even quote a (female) professor who studies domestic violence. Then it must be true, right?

Well, not quite. But like all the best lies, there is a thread of truth. Maybe. Well, in fact, I don't know, and I'll bet no-one else does either.

I found the "Home Office report" they're all getting this from. Not on the Home Office website. I tried, but, well, it's not apparently designed to give you anything really useful. I found it here (pdf) , on a website dedicated to tackling domestic violence in the LBGT community, of all places. It's called "Lessons Learned from the Domestic Violence Enforcement Campaigns 2006", and it's appalling. In fact, it's embarrassing. If this is the quality of "research" that was put out by the Labour government, well let's just say that the Tories and Lib-Dems can't do any worse.

It's signed by ex-MP Vernon Coaker and ex-Attorney General Patricia (Baroness) Scotland. Well, at least they're gone. But of course we can be sure they didn't actually write it. Whoever did write it knows how to handle typesetting software, but otherwise that's about it. But anyway, what did they do? They carried out two data collection exercises involving 46 and 56 "basic command units" (BCU) spread around the country. Remember those numbers, we'll come back to them. I'm guessing that a BCU is jargon for a police district. Each exercise is called a "Domestic Violence Enforcement Campaign" or DVEC (no, they didn't go around forcing people to commit domestic violence, be quiet at the back). These doubtless expensive campaigns appear to be justified on the basis of one short academic article finding a link between sports events and domestic violence (you can read it here, the registration's free -but I ask you, since when did Brits start calling football soccer?). The two data collection periods are called DVEC 1, which took place over February and March, and DVEC World Cup, which took place over June 2006 to coincide with the beautiful games. Note that the first was twice as long as the second, another important number.

They're careful to make sure we know what they mean by domestic violence, and they're pretty inclusive:
Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 or over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.
Yup, there are those words "psychological" and "emotional". Look at her sideways and you're a perp. Look at her sideways twice and you're a repeat offender. Ah, but I misrepresent them, this is regardless of gender. (Yeah, sure.)

There's a lot of blurb, but eventually you'll get to section 9 where the meat starts to appear. But what's this? Figure 9.1 charts the number of incidents recorded per 1,000 population in DVEC 1 in each BCU. But, er, the range of numbers goes from 100 to 700. Per 1,000. That's as much as 10% to 70% of every man, woman and child in the district. That can't be right. Even if they're all repeat offenders, with a guess at once incident per month, and they mean per 1,000 potential perps married men, then that's still as many as 35% of them were naughty over those two months. I don't buy it.

Then there are Figures 9.4 and 9.5 showing the number of offences, broken down by type, recorded in DVEC 1 and DVEC World Cup. The distributions look about the same but again, look at the ranges of data. DVEC 1 goes up to 4,000, DVEC world cup goes up to 1,200. DVEC 1 was twice as long as DVEC World Cup, and used 46 versus 56 BCUs. It's pretty easy, but I'll do the math for you: that means approximately 44 ABH (actual bodily harm) incidents per month per BCU in DVEC 1 and 21 incidents per month per BCU in DVEC World Cup, and the other incident types follow similar proportions. Uh-oh. Do you see what I see? The rate of incidents during the World Cup period is about half of that of the control period. Well well well, perhaps the World Cup is actually good for controlling domestic violence!

But we still haven't got to the bottom of the myth yet. That's to be found in Figure 9.6 and Table 9.1 below it. Nice and neatly we have laid out what are claimed to be the "Number of recorded incidents on each major match day of the World Cup Finals against the average number on the same weekday recorded during DVEC 1 where BCUs recorded activity in both campaigns". Now read carefully here, they say "where BCUs recorded activity in both campaigns", that presumably that only regions who collected data in each campaign were included which means that the 46:56 ratio doesn't matter.

But let's look at the chart, which does seem to show that the incident rate is higher on match days, especially when it is considered that the overall incident rate in DVEC 1 is supposedly twice that of DVEC World Cup. But wait. There are two Sundays in there, and they are different for DVEC World Cup and DVEC 1. But that can't be right. The legend says these are the average numbers on the same weekday. They should be the same! But they're different, by about a factor of 2.5. Now isn't that odd? What does this chart mean?

My confusion becomes deeper still when I go to Figure 9.7 and Table 9.2. The legends are exactly the same, but all the numbers are different! The range of numbers of incidents is half as much as the previous figure and the difference between the two Sundays is now a factor of almost 3!

Which of these two charts are we to believe? And what are we to make of the numbers for Sunday? THE DATA DON'T MAKE ANY SENSE! Well, frankly, I don't think I'm going to believe any of it and the raw data isn't available to check. If anyone finds it, do let me know, I'd love to do a proper analysis and see if we've got anything more than a bunch of made up numbers for political purposes. This is an important issue, and the authors of this rubbish ought to be ashamed of themselves.

To polish things off, I'll quote the conclusion:
"The data collected during the World Cup DVEC is supportive of the previous research linking major sporting events to increases in violent crime and in this case domestic violence. Major sporting events do not cause DV, as perpetrators are responsible for their actions, but the levels of alcohol consumption linked to the highly charged emotional nature of those events seems to increase the prevalence of such incidents."
Well, if cause-and-effect is a real phenomenon, and if you can link major sporting events to increases in domestic violence, then I'm afraid you would actually have to say that the former do indeed cause the latter, but it is not at all clear that they have linked major sporting events to DV. What they have done is create a snow job of misinformation. If the link is present in the original data, we really have no idea at all. Of course, that doesn't stop the media from going all loopy over bogus numbers and pumping the misandry for all it's worth.

There you have it, gentlemen, a new DV myth in the making. Enjoy your World Cup.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

He Said, She Said

A pair of articles in the Times today illustrate a lot of the shallow thinking which pervades modern divorce and perpetuate its many problems. About halfway through writing my commentary, I suddenly became aware that the two unrelated divorces concerned could very easily be the same divorce seen from the two poles.

He Said

In Divorce and separation: a man's view, Fiona Macdonald-Smith "talks to" Steve Davies, author of a handbook for divorced fathers. "Talks to" is the newspaper's phrasing, I guess that "interview" is too pretentious or something, but the article is entirely presented in his first-person, with no quotes and no indication that his words are passing through a woman's mental filter unless you read the blurb at the end. But we shouldn't be surprised as these days men cannot speak for themselves and must do so through a woman, especially in the mainstream media.

Indeed, this may go a good way to explaining "his" very first sentence:
"The trouble with men is that we don’t talk."
The article starts with an apparently self-delivered put down for men. Sigh. Listen, girls, hasn't it ever occurred to you that there are very good reasons for this, and quite possibly not the standard canard that men are supposed to tough out difficulty in silence? We are a gender that likes to fix things when they go wrong, not immediately get all emotionally incontinent. Talking, for us, is often an exercise in collaborative problem solving. If nothing can be done, then bellyaching achieves little more than the partial venting of emotion. You might think that's the best way to go about it, but we have other ways too, such as sports and getting slammed with our mates, or, God help us, thinking. We don't like insoluble problems, we like to fix things, so even listening to our friends complain about your behavior towards us makes us want to help him shake it off and deal with it, i.e. take action, not endlessly theorize about your motivations and emotions. The inability to act makes us all uncomfortable. Learn that.

Predictably, Davies' interviewer reports that his primary source of advice on how to deal with the situation comes from his mum. The temptation to launch into snide comments about being a mummy's boy is strong, but here I'll give you this, you do sympathize well and a mother is unlikely to put her son down. Plus she's a pretty good line into the tortuous female psyche that often surfaces under these circumstances.
"If there had been no children ... [involved] ... it would have been a clean break. But when you have children, it means your relationship has to continue."
Actually, no. When you have children, you have to continue the relationship, she doesn't. Most of the time, she's got the kids anyway. If she doesn't want to make any effort at continuing the relationship "for the sake of the kids" there is precious little to stop her. Indeed, if she really wants to terminate contact between you and your children as well as with herself, it is in her best interest to create as much trouble as possible. Why? Because the divorce industry's benighted attitude towards conflict in a divorce involving children is to insulate them from it as much as possible. This means cutting your contact. The more conflict she creates, the less you see of your children. Really, check it out. If you think some women won't do this, grow up, ask around.

Of course, this leads into Davies' interviewer's next line: "I would say to any divorced man, don’t get angry." I can't argue with that, because male anger is viewed as something pathological, even when it is entirely and magnificently justified. The people in the court do not live in the same world as us. Male emotion is to be repressed or it will be used against him, no matter how great the provocation. Her? She is expected to emote like there's no tomorrow at every possible opportunity. If she gets upset, everyone will start looking for someone to blame. That's you.

We're advised to keep a diary "it may be useful in court". Yes, it might, but it probably won't. She is expected to behave completely irrationally. Recording this and telling the court is really just annoyingly irrelevant, most of the time. But what the hey, keep a diary if it makes you feel better.

In any article about divorce, we've got to find space for the claim that life afterwards is just marvelous, everything is just great and this is no exception: "it's a fantastic life. You can devote yourself entirely to your kids when you have them — and have quality time for yourself." It might have a silver lining, guys, but it's still a cloud. We find out about that in the next paragraph: "Eventually I sent her an e-mail, saying: 'I give up. I’ll see Lauren when you want me to see her.'" And with that he abdicates any possible authority he might have regarding her (not his) daughter and any hope of a natural parental relationship with her. He becomes forced to bend over backwards to make sure he's available when her mother feels like letting them see each other and to never do anything which might threaten his severely compromised relationship his daughter. He becomes no more than a favored uncle, or a slightly masculine girlfriend (he describes her relationship with her as "fabulous"!).

Then there's

She Said

in which Justine Picardie favors us with her opinions on: "Divorce and separation: a woman's view". No intervening interviewer here. And no problems with limited self expression either, as her article is three times the length of his, even though each paragraph could quite easily be reduced to a single sentence. The first, for example, boils down to her shock at the divorce. The second paragraph condenses to "there's a lot of it about", and includes an obligatory and irrelevant celebrity culture reference. One divorcing Hollywood couple does not a social trend make. But in case we're led to think that she doesn't understand the logical fallacy of argument from anecdote, she's quick to discuss the statistics. Er, well, she refers to them anyway. Oh, OK, she rubbishes government statistics as "notoriously unreliable" which are apparently "like habitual philanderers". Geddit? Oh never mind.

The particular government statistic she cares about is an apparent drop in the frequency of divorce, but completely fails to observe the accompanying drop in the incidence of marriage, but never mind.

Eventually, we get to the kids, assuming you've been able to wade this far through all the emoting (all the while remembering that it is supposed to be men's weakness to avoid). Of course, there is no mention of the need to work to maintain a good relationship with them. That is a given. But to give her her due, I have to recognize her claimed desire to have them understand that their absent father still loves them, even if it does segue into a stream of weepy tales about how devastated she is, albeit without direct reference to the culprit.

(Don't miss the obligatory comment on how she has to work to pay the mortgage. No parallel comment on child support. If he wasn't paying, I'm sure there would be, and if he is it is important that it not be recognized just to make sure where our sympathies should lie.)

Really, though, sarcasm aside, I can relate to her general state and how it must have disrupted her life. I have and continue to feel my own pain at what I am going through, but as a man I have long since recognized the pointlessness of expressing it. My sympathy drops to a new low, however, when I come across "the anecdotal consensus is that more women in their 40s are being abandoned by their husbands", which is nothing more than gossip dignified by its presence in a national newspaper. Perhaps she needs to be reminded of the very real fact that the majority of divorces are now initiated by women (at a ratio of 2:1 in the US, I'm not sure about the UK).

In the inevitable upbeat finish, we learn that she has many divorcee friends whose lives have begun again "as well as sustaining the deep bonds of parenthood" and for all this statement's gender neutrality and from its content, I have a deep suspicion that there are not many fathers amongst those friends. She believes that upon divorce is when it is discovered "what it might mean to be a grown woman, rather than a longstanding wife". Implication: being a longstanding wife is not compatible with being a grown woman? Conclusion: divorce is painful, but worthwhile?

I agree with her that divorce is a terrible thing, especially when you are the one being divorced rather than the one doing it. But in the face of the grotesque advantages that women and mothers now possess when placed in that situation, I can only see all the breast beating which constitutes the vast majority of this article as so much manipulation and show for the crowd.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Two books

I have just finished reading two books: Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" and Alec Baldwin's "A Promise to Ourselves".

"The Road" is surrounded by a great deal of hype, and I am not entirely sure why. It is a depressing tale, set against a backdrop of a standard post-apocalyptic world remarkable only for the implausible proposition that everything is dead except for a few humans surviving on cannibalism or whatever they can scavenge from the remains of our extinct civilization. In such a world, the only realistic future for anyone, including the two protagonists, is death by murder or starvation. (Nevertheless, McCarthy ultimately takes the easy, Hollywood-conscious way out and leaves us with a shred of hope cutting against the grain of everything that goes before. Oh well, such is the state of literary integrity.)

I started reading "The Road" during a lazy afternoon at a friend's house. He warned me to be careful, or I'd be hooked and indeed, I took it home with me and finished it that night. It is a page turner, of the kind that drags you along despite it's apparent bleakness.

Why is it so popular? I don't really know. It is certainly well written, but it is so depressing, even with the ending and it's dose of artificial sweetener, that it is hard to see what attracts the fans apart from a base and all too common human need to spectate upon the pain of others.

But it does have one thing that is painfully rare in our culture and that is a careful and honest portrayal of a relationship between a man and his small son which is not tainted by the threat of violence, actual violence or sexual perversion. The man's need to protect his son, his anguish that he may ultimately be unable to and the child's vulnerability are palpable. This alone may account for the book's popularity. We are so starved for the truth that we will take it even against the most desperate and despairing of backgrounds, perhaps even especially so. As such, I am happy to entertain the idea that all the hype, for once, reflects something important going on in the collective unconscious. I haven't seen the movie yet, so here's to hoping I feel the same about that and also, if I am right, other authors, screenwriters and journalists will start to notice too.

Alec Baldwin paints a picture of a different kind of apocalypse, that of the American family courts. To the cognoscenti of that bottomless mire of human failure, there are few surprises in "A Promise to Ourselves", but to the many of his fans reading it, and perhaps a few curious others (especially those ghoulishly looking for further detail on that phone call), there might be some enlightenment as to the ongoing mess the courts are making of families the world over. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, the book is missing something.

Baldwin is clearly walking a line. He knows that trashing his ex is likely to achieve the exact opposite of bringing her into line and won't help anyone else either. Nevertheless, the few facts sprinkled through the book paint an adequate picture for anyone with half a brain. Basinger is clearly one twisted woman, and perhaps even likes it that way, enjoying watching Baldwin squirm under the magnifying glass heat of the family court, regardless of the consequences for her daughter.

As Baldwin puts it himself, in possibly the strongest statement of the entire book: "Now we see, incontrovertibly, that the mother's hatred of the father is greater than her love for the child."

And that's the problem, this is the strongest statement in the book, and it needs so much more than that. The systematic removal of fathers from their children's lives while simultaneously forcing the father to tear himself to pieces trying to get near them or blame him because he doesn't is of such astonishing cruelty that true passion is needed to express it. But passion is too easily translated into anger by Baldwin's enemies, he knows that, so he daren't say anything too strong.

There are times when getting angry is entirely appropriate, it should be understood as the right response to the insult that is family court and the weasels that profit from it instead of diagnostic of a pathology in the insulted parent. Only the truly pathological can make that outrageous claim, and they are in charge.