June 16, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization
(Well, that didn’t take long. Two days after Ray Keiser’s op-ed appeared in the Lincoln Journal-Star excoriating the Nebraska Commission on Children in the Courts for its secrecy, the minutes of its meetings that had been missing for almost two years miraculously appeared on its webpage. Funny how that happened.)
As I mentioned in my piece yesterday, there seems to be an unholy alliance of big money, specifically the billions in the hands of Warren Buffett’s sister Doris and his daughter Susie, and the anti-dad forces in Nebraska. The evidence is still circumstantial, but there comes a time at which that’s the only kind you need to draw some hard conclusions.
So, among other things, what we know is that Doris Buffett has long been a major supporter of domestic violence organizations. IRS filings for her Sunshine Lady Foundation show about $4.5 million in donations to domestic violence organizations in 2014 alone. Doris Buffett is a big, big fish. Of course DV organizations routinely oppose any improvements in children’s rights to access to their fathers post-divorce. They do so on the entirely specious grounds that to give fathers access is to expose children to domestic violence.
They make those claims despite the fact that it’s mothers who do the great majority of abuse and neglect of children. For years the U.S. Administration for Children and Families published data from state child protective agencies showing mothers committing about 40% of abuse and neglect of children and fathers committing about half that. A study by the Urban Institute found that 95% of children taken into care due to neglect had been neglected by their mother and about 70% of abused children had been abused by their mother.
So the typical response by DV organizations to children having meaningful relationships with their fathers is at odds with the realities of DV.
And in Nebraska, only about 5% of child custody cases even have an allegation that one parent is violent. That was revealed by the 2013 study conducted for the Commission into outcomes in Nebraska child custody cases that’s done more than anything to undermine the claims of domestic violence organizations.
But, as I never tire of saying, they’ve got their story and they’re stickin’ to it. So it’s no surprise that DV organizations continue to claim that fathers should be marginalized in their children’s lives.
But is there a Buffett connection to the anti-dad forces as well? It turns out there’s a clear one.
Recall that one of the dwindling number of social scientists who oppose equality for fathers in family courts is Dr. Robert Emery of the University of Virginia. He of course is the one the Nebraska Office of Judicial Branch Education hired to educate its family court judges about child custody despite the fact that he’d never done so before. The OJBE originally chose pro-equality researcher Dr. Linda Nielsen and then un-chose her using the demonstrably false claim of lack of funds.
Did Doris or Susie Buffett have anything to do with that decision? I don’t have any clear evidence, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that one or both of them did. The ideological agreement between the Buffetts and Emery alone seem enough to draw the conclusion, but when we add in Susie’s cozy relationship with judicial heavyweights like the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, the coincidence becomes too much to ignore. (See the Journal-Star op-ed for more on that.)
But there’s more. Over the years, Doris Buffett has been a bountiful supporter of - wait for it – Bob Emery. Indeed, the website for his Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia refers to “Buffett Fellowships” right there on the top bar on the first page and a review of her foundation’s history of contributions reveals some $325,000 going to the Center since 2003.
In a nutshell, Doris Buffett supports domestic violence organizations that routinely oppose fathers’ rights to children and children’s rights to fathers. Her foundation also supports Emery who does the same. She also seems to have been instrumental in preventing the state’s judges from being educated about the science on shared parenting by Nielsen in favor of Emery.
But there’s more. As I’ve pointed out before, Emery’s anti-dad stance is relatively new. Back in 1998, he signed on to an amicus curiae brief in a family law case that was penned by Dr. Richard Warshak. That brief summarized the science at the time on the importance of maintaining two parents in children’s lives when their parents split up and Emery, along with many others, embraced its pro-dual-parenting message.
Now he doesn’t. Now, 18 years later, he claims the science isn’t sufficient to decide whether children need their fathers or not. Then it was, now it’s not? During those 18 years, virtually all of the new science has reinforced the value of children maintaining real relationships with both parents. The very few studies questioning that conclusion have been debunked numerous times for perfectly obvious and sound reasons, but the likes of Emery and Jennifer MacIntosh keep up the pretense that there’s a real question about the matter.
So what made Robert Emery change his mind? I don’t mean to attribute base motives to the man, but it’s hard to avoid noticing that Doris Buffett’s foundation began funding his Center in 2003 and the man who endorsed Richard Warshak’s amicus brief in 1998 has been a staunch opponent of shared parenting ever since. Here’s what Doris Buffett says about herself on the Center’s website:
But Ms. Buffett doesn't simply just give away money—she always expects something in return.
As Bob Dylan famously sang, “Money doesn’t talk, it swears.” It swears particularly loudly and despicably when the abuse of children by family courts is being bought by anti-father zealots and their paid shills in academia. As yet there’s no smoking gun, but that’s what it looks like from where I sit.
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#sharedparenting, #childabuse, #childneglect, #domesticviolence, #DorisBuffett, #RobertEmery