Sunday, June 26, 2005

Please indulge me in a rant

Notice of advisement- The use of the terms: "worthless whore", "useless bitch" and "scum sucking leech" are used in generic terms only. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, except for Skippy's ex-wife, is purely unintentional. The terms are applicable to Skippy's ex- wife however, and may apply to yours as well.

Definition of a Military Divorce: That is where you pay a former spouse not to live with you, for the rest of your natural life, regardless of fault, merit, remarriage, or individual circumstances. Remember this definition, there will be a quiz at the end.

Watching the current news on American TV about what's going on in Congress, prompts me to ask a pertinent question. When are those scumbags going to do any real work? I realize that guys like Dick Durbin have a lot on their minds what with stirring up a hornets nest with stupid comments, passing stupid amendments about flag burning, and other such nonsense, but they have yet to do anything that has real value for me. Namely, doing something about the Uniformed Serviceman's Former Spouse Protection Act- like repealing it!

Never heard of it you say? That's probably true unless you have been through a divorce in a community property state. In a nutshell, the USFSPA was a law passed in response to a Supreme Court ruling in a case known as McCarty vs McCarty. In 1981 the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that military retirement/retainer is not subject to division in state divorce proceedings.

This is one decision that the Supreme Court got right. Let's listen to Harry Blackmun writing for the majority:

Moreover, the application of community property principles to military retired pay threatens grave harm to "clear and substantial" [453 U.S. 210, 211] federal interests. Thus, the community property division of retired pay, by reducing the amounts that Congress has determined are necessary for the retired member, has the potential to frustrate the congressional objective of providing for the retired service member. In addition, such a division has the potential to interfere with the congressional goals of having the military retirement system serve as an inducement for enlistment and re-enlistment and as an encouragement to orderly promotion and a youthful military."

Immediately the next year former congresswoman Pat Schroeder ( useless whore-CO) sponsored the USFSPA. What the law did was to make it legal for the family courts to do, that which the Supreme Court had said was unconstitutional, divide military retirement as property. I won't bore you with all the details of the law, which can be found here and here. Suffice it to say that the purpose of the law is to screw deserving individuals such as myself out of hard earned military retirement, in order to allow a scum sucking leech the opportunity to receive a monthly stipend for life. Or looked at another way:

This is actually a true story!

At the time the law was passed, the military was predominately male. Thus the law is written with men in mind. Pat Schroeder had hearings and brought in a horde of women, complaining about how their former military spouses had left them with nothing, so that they could divorce them and get a "trophy wife". They all cried about how poor they were. The law passed the Congress easily. There is a book you can read, Divorce and the Military which tells the whole shameful story in great detail. There is also a good summary of this flawed approach to law making here. If you read the link you will see how Pat Schroeder reneged on every one of the promises she made in drafting it and that even then, wise folks had severe misgivings about the wisdom of such a law.

Basically, the law has two serious flaws. It treats retired retainer pay as property, making it divisible for the rest of the servicemembers life. Thus if the servicemember has to pay long term alimony, ( which generally happens in a community property state when the marriage is longer than 10 years) the ex-spouse gets a raise when the service member retires. If she remarries the alimony will stop, but the retirement payments go on and on. If military retirement were treated as income, then the ex's share would have to be figured into her income, thus forcing a reduction / elimination of alimony in many cases.

As discussed here, USFSPA creates a form of permanent alimony that continues for the life of the former spouse, even after remarriage. No other federal retirement plan continues payments to a former spouse upon their remarriage. In addition, many state courts are ordering that the military member designate the former spouse as the beneficiary through the Survivor Benefit Plan so that they will continue to receive payments after the member dies. ( I know about this one from personal experience. The judge did not even listen to the fact that no legal precedent requires insurance of a retirement stipend). Since only one beneficiary can be named, this leaves the member's current spouse unprotected and unable to receive that benefit. When a former spouse dies, the payments revert back to the retiree who earned it until the retiree dies. At that point, the benefit payments cease altogether. If it were property, it could be passed on to future generations.

Secondly, it pays the percentage of retirement based on the pay scale the member retired at, rather than the rank the member got divorced at. The cartoon above pretty well sums that up.

Over the years there have been several attempts to reform the law, even as simple as making the relatively minor change of making the retirement payments stop on remarriage. None of these attempts to reform the law has passed. This has happened for two reasons: a) DOD REFUSES to stand up and be counted by voicing opposition to the law even though it screws over male and female alike and b) the ex spouses have a pretty slick lobby in place, epitomized by a woman named Doris N. Mozley .

Doris N. Mozley and a group of greedy women just like her have made it their life's mission to oppose any change to this one sided and unfair law. Ms Mozley in particular has taken it upon herself to try and be the lead crusader in the fight to ensure that former military spouses have the definitive legal edge in divorce and the division of military retired pay. Now never mind that it has been well over 20 plus years since here divorce. And before you feel to sorry for her, remember that she is a successful lawyer practicing outside Richmond Virginia. So she is not hurting for money.

The other villain in this failure to do the right thing is DOD itself. At critical junctures, when some well placed words of support from the Department of Defense might have swayed Congressional votes, DOD and its personnel representative Dr David Chu remained silent. Now for anyone who has observed Dr Chu over the years, this should not be suprising. When it comes to taking care of servicemembers and especially veterans and retirees, Dr Chu consistently votes no. A quick look at Dr Chu's career provides some insight:

Some readers may not be familiar with the workings of Dr. David S. C. Chu or his role within the Department of Defense (DoD). He is a product of the Ivy League, earning his Doctorate in Economics from Yale in 1972. He was commissioned and served two years in the Army, including a tour of duty with the Office of the Comptroller, Headquarters, and 1st Logistical Command, in Vietnam. From that point on he has been in and out of government, accruing more than 18 years of federal service. He was named to his current position on June 1, 2001.

Since taking his current DoD post, David Chu has served as the designated "attack dog" for the administration. He has testified before Congress, given speeches and written articles for the media on numerous occasions. If the topic relates to veterans' issues, retired military personnel or military dependents benefits his approach has repeatedly been negative. In fact, some of his public comments have actually displayed disdain for those who, in the past, served their country with honor. He has been particularly vicious in arguing against expenditures for veteran and retiree health care. At the same time it should be noted he will receive a federal pension and medical benefits when he retires from federal service. Some say these are even more generous benefits than are awarded to military retirees. (Certainly if Dr Chu gets divorced he won't have to fork over 50% of his federal retirement if his spouse remarries.---my comment).

In the current interation DOD has opposed HR 1111, a bill sponsored by Rep. Cass Ballenger (NC). The legislation would amend the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) so its provisions would offer more than token protection to military retirees undergoing divorce proceedings. Currently, the law favors the former spouse who, despite DOD’s assertion, has an open door to a service member’s retired pay before the member earns that rightFurthermorere DOD filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that was brought against Dr Chu's boss Donald Rumsfeld. The motion was upheld by the District Court.

Its important to note that this is not men's or a woman's issue. With the increased service of women in the Armed Forces, there are plenty of horror stories of women who have been equally screwed over by this very bad law. DOD has been given plenty of ammunition to support reform, even by their own personnel. They consistently refuse to look at the facts. In that regard I join Molten Eagle and his scorn for lawyers, particularly those in DOD who have taken up the devil's work of making specious arguments against reforming the USFSPA. This should be a no brainer , it costs them no more money than they are already paying, and shows that they are sticking up for the service member when it counts. ( Male or Female). However as is so often the case, DOD refuses to grow a spine and stand up to the feminist lobby. So the hidden message comes across, DOD cares more for the welfare of a former spouse than it does for the well being of service members. This comes in spite of the fact that military divorce rates are rising, thanks to the war, OPTEMPO and other factors.

So for now the injustice continues. Every month totally undeserving men and women (including my scum sucking leech of an ex-wife) receive from DFAS their monthly welfare check, thanks to a very bad law passed by the US Congress.

Hell, even OJ gets all of his retirement checks. Then again he did not divorce Nicole.....HMM. Better not go there and just close this little discourse now.

But hey, I'm not bitter or anything..........



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