Sunday, September 17, 2017

Observation

As I do most years, last Sunday I rode the Saint Paul Classic bike tour. During the ride, I noticed that when people rode tandem bikes it was always, without exception, a man in front and a woman in back. This got me thinking.

I'll admit that if S and I rode a tandem bike I would feel a bit odd riding in the rear. Emotionally not intellectually. I suspect nearly everyone, men and women, would feel the same. But it is still wrong. Just as wrong as my post-college roommate who never let his girlfriend drive despite the fact that she was an excellent driver and they often took her car.

Why is it wrong? Ask yourself this?  Is it uncomfortable to see a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? Not for me but for many it is. But I cannot be so smug because, as I say, it would be a bit uncomfortable for me to ride in the back of a tandem bike. (not that I would ever ride one as in general they seem strange to me) If it is uncomfortable to see a woman in front on a tandem bike, isn't that the same mental construct as being uncomfortable seeing a woman as CEO of a company or leader of a country? It is a long journey.

Many years ago, I stated that we would not see the light at the end of the tunnel for ending discrimination agaisnt blacks until we regularly saw mixed race couples in advertisements. Ditto for discrimination agaisnt gays. And today, I am happy to say, it is not uncommon to see mixed race and same sex couples. No doubt, we still have a ways to go but the path is clear.

I have also noticed that in the United States, hotel maids are almost always women. But in Europe this is not the case. Another area where we need to make some progress.

My mother was a nurse. Back then nearly almost all nurses were women and most doctors were men. Now the mix of graduates coming out if medical (and law, and dental) schools is pretty much equal between men and women.

And of course the fact that 98+ percent of the time men are the ones who pay alimony is another example of unfairness. 

The important thing, the thing most people do not do, is think about these things. To reflect. That is what makes us human. That is how positive change happens.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Acting Morally Is Acting in Your Self-Interest

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, said that the best economic benefit for all can usually be accomplished when individuals act in their own self-interest.

Economist Milton Friedman has argued that greed and self-interest are universal human traits. Furthermore, he argued that people pursuing their self-interest is way people escape grinding poverty.

Acting in one's self-interest can be thought of as the very foundation of capitalism.

However, people often mistakenly assume self-interest to mean solely economic self-interest. But it is not all about money.  People also act to preserve their reputation as a morally good person as a new study shows.  In fact, most people would choose death rather than live with a reputation as a child molester. 70% would rather have a hand amputated rather than be labeled a Neo-Nazi.

Maintaining or improving your moral reputation is the core reason people act ethically, especially when dealing with strangers.

This makes me wonder if not using real name, for the most part, on this site as been an error on my part. Nelly Wince is a lawyer who commits horrible crimes and gets away with them. She hurts innocents including children. This is not my opinion, I have clear evidence. Ditto for county attorney Bennie Sonsang as well as many others.

I have been reluctant to name names for several reasons including my being a person who simply does not like to make a fuss but mostly to protect my children. However, the children are now adults and will soon be off on their own. And the last threads of hope that the justice system will act in a just rather than corrupt manner are fraying fast.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Innocent But Sentenced

The major issue I have with Spring's divorce of me is not her particular actions. Although she committed horrible perjury and her actions during both the marriage and divorce are reprehensible to a high degree, she is just one person doing bad things.

More important is fixing bad alimony laws. These statutes, especially in Minnesota, are incredibly unjust, arbitrary and outdated. They hurt not only the innocent but even the guilty such as Spring and Nelly Wince because they encourage and reward behavior that in the long run ends up being detrimental not only to society but themselves as well. I would never trade the knowledge of having done what they did for any amount of money. Alimony laws need to be reformed. I fully support the efforts of such organizations as Minnesota Alimony Reform to do so. This is much more important than the bad actions of  any one person.

Yet even more important is the fact that the legal system in Minnesota not only tolerates but rewards clear criminal actions. Not as a one-off but as part of the normal way of operating. This is called institutional corruption and it is widespread, pervasive and completely illegal under current laws. This is a serious. It undermines the fundamental foundation of our civilization - that we live in a just society.

And to reiterate what I have stated before, not everyone involved in the legal system or family law is bad. Certainly there are many fine lawyers, judges  and other professionals acting ethically and doing the best they can. However, as a whole the level of corruption is high and has become so common people tolerate it without even thinking about it much. My goal, more than anything, is to get people to think about their actions.

As I have often argued, the belief that somehow this corruption is limited to family court is false. The same corrupt officials who operate in family court also operated in other areas. And colleges who see just how rewarding and risk free it is to operate illegally become tempted to do the same. The cancer metastasizes.

I heard a segment on This American Life about Carl King, a man who was clearly innocent but still convicted of murder, It took 21 years and the persistence of one person to finally clear his name. The story highlights just how bad our justice system can be. What happened to Mr. King is incredulous. It is hard to understand just how unjustly he was treated by the legal system.  I should qualify that by saying that for most people the story is incredulous. It does not surprise me at all.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Intelligence, Education and Morality

I arrived home at about 6:30 last night from a business trip and decided to go for run. I generally prefer to run in the morning but the forecast accurately said there would be rain this morning.

As is often the case, I get pensive on my runs. This time my thoughts were on intelligence, educational and morality.

Intelligence may be best described as the ability to change your mind.

Education is the foundation of intelligence. By education I include not only formal education but far more importantly lifelong continuous and wide-ranging learning. (wide-ranging is critical)

Morality is the ability to empathize with others.  By the way, if you think morality is exclusive to humans you have never seen a nature show of elephants taking care of each other or owned a dog.

I'll hazard to guess that morality is correlated to an extent with education. But only to an extent. If you are widely read, you experience many points of view and learn to empathize with them. On the other hand, it may be that you are widely read because you empathize with others. At any rate, there are many people who lack a good education but are quite moral. Education alone does not make you moral. But it can help.

When I was in college I believed a lot of things that turned out not to be true.  These included:

  • If you run a mile a day you can eat whatever you want. (try it)
  • If you do not eat fat you will not be fat. (fat, at least healthy fat, is actually good for you) 
  • A daily multivitamin will make you healthy. (evidence shows it is more likely harmful
  • Massive doses of vitamin C as advocated my two time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, will make you live longer. (it doesn't

A few years ago I got on the probiotic bus. I eat yogurt, natural sauerkraut and drink kefir and kombucha. Until recently I made my own water kefir. Although I still take in a lot of probiotics because I like the taste, the evidence shows that it does little if any good. Clearly probiotics are not a panacea for good health.

Now I am not genius but I do try consciously not to be inflexible in my thinking. New knowledge and facts should always be taken into account.

Sadly, I think it is quite common for people to be rigid in their beliefs. Worse, many people actually become more rigid in their beliefs when presented with evidence that contradicts their beliefs. Just look at our current political polarization.

I have struggled to understand how the clear and really unquestionable evidence of fraud and other crimes have been so ignored in Spring's divorce of me. Not just by the court by the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and the county attorney among others.

But I should not have been surprised.When you show evidence of crime and immorality in an organization, people associated with that organization often feel attacked and react by ignoring reality and going on the attack themselves. Just like individuals have a rigidity of thought so do organizations, which after all, are made up of individuals. Few have the moral fiber to take the facts into account and react in a just manner. We see this over and over. Nixon's crime was not that he broke into the Watergate hotel, it was that he conspired to cover it up.

So what can I do? Possibly the only thing I can do is escalate the exposure to the point where they fear the consequences enough to change their stance.  Nixon ultimately resigned as he judged it better than impeachment. It may be that the court will end alimony rather than allow me to starve to death and the exposure it would necessarily bring to the corrupt practices so widely tolerated, and indeed rewarded, within the legal system. Maybe.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Insidiousness of Supremacy Attitudes

With the recent rise in white supremacist rallies, I cannot help but comment on the harmful and surprisingly pervasive attitudes that lead people to believe that the group they belong, whether that be based on gender, nationality, religion, race, or any other grouping, is superior to others.

I would like to say it is hard to believe that there are people out there that really believe the color of your skin make you superior but obviously there are. Perhaps even more prevalent is the believe that your religion is so superior to others that it is good to drive a car into innocent people to prove so. Ironically, the same method used in the Charlottesville attack. Humans are both a wonderful and terrible species.

Although there are probably more white supremacists out there than I think, I suspect it is a small minority. But underlying discriminatory attitudes are quite prevalent, albeit often in subtle ways.

My kids were in Cub Scouts and I was a den leader. It was a great experience but it always bugged me that the group was part of the Boy Scouts. Sure there is an apartheid like Girl Scout organization but it should be just Scouts. After all what if it were WASP Boys Scouts? I made sure my kids understood my view on this.

I once saw a segment on the news about a computer coding camp for girls. One of the girls, probably no more than 10 years old, stated that "Girls are better than boys" which put a big smile on the reporter's face. I cringed. The way I like to examine whether an action or attitude is discriminatory is quite simple - just substitute out one group for the other and see if you still agree. In other words, reverse the argument. If it was a boy stating, "Boys are better than girls" there would have been an uproar.

I had an augment in the 1990s with my former in-laws about Russia. They said that Russians were evil. Not the government but the people. All of them. It was impossible to convince them otherwise.

As I have mentioned before, it is comedy when a woman strikes a man but horrific when a man strikes a woman. Yet we know that women commit 50% of the violent acts in relationships.

People are still upset that women are now allowed in combat positions in the military, As well as homosexuals. And I suppose there are still those who would like to go back to a segregated military. Make america great again, huh?

The Black Lives Matter movement is strong in Minnesota. In many ways I agree with their goals but I really wish they called themselves All Lives Matter.

98+ percent of alimony is paid for by men. What is the justification other than women are so inferior to men that they must be taken care of by a man?

To reduce violence and make our planet a better place to live for all, we must reduce all forms of discrimination.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Diversity in Tech

Google's firing of James Damore due to his memo claiming that the lack of gender diversity in tech is due to biological differences has generated quite a lot of media.

My take:

Mr. Damore is correct in that there are biological difference between men and women. Just like there are biological differences between people with brown hair and black hair, black skin and white skin, short people and tall people and so forth. In fact, there are biological differences between any two given humans. We are all unique. What Damore fails to understand is the significance of those differences. His mistake is jumping to an unwarranted conclusion.

Because women are underrepresented in tech, he believes the reason is due to biological differences. There is zero scientific evidence for this. It would like saying that because male politicians tend to be taller than average, there is a biological reason that tall men succeed in politics.  The reason it helps to be tall in politics or a man in tech is not due to biology but due to culture. In our society, tall men tend to be stronger and looked up to so they get more opportunity to lead. Likewise men tend to be encouraged more in sciences related to the tech industry.

But the nice thing about culture is that it can change. Nearly 50% of medical school graduates are now women (and doctors have just as much hard science as people in the tech industry) and the majorly of law school graduates are women. Not too long ago that would have been unthinkable. No doubt there were many James Damores claiming that women just weren't biologically fitted to be doctors or lawyers.

Many years ago Spring argued with me about a woman being president. She claimed it would be wrong and I said that was ridiculous. She got steaming mad. Such was my surreal marriage.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pseudo-planning

Almost 30 years ago I started working as a programmer at the company I am still with. Ironically, the first computer class I had in college was my last semester, but I had picked up enough in the five years after college to at least get me in the door as a programmer. My starting salary was about $19,000/year.

Back then we often used what is called pseudo-code which is basically an outline of the program done on paper before you start keying the code in. I am dating myself - Things have come a long way.

Expanding on my hunger strike posts, here is a pseudo-plan for how it would work.

Petition to the court:
  • Ask the court to, at a minimum, immediately end alimony. State that the court has three options: 1) correct past injustices, 2) end further injustice, or 3) continue to add to injustice. Option 2 is the minimum I will accept. Option 1 would be nice but the odds of the court ruling in a way that is fully just are slim to none. 
  • State that alimony was ordered despite the fact that the custody evlauator ruled Spring was not the primary parent, the vocational evaluator ordered she could make as much money as me, her breaking several court orders including the order to negotiate by a certain date, good evidence of her committing perjury, unquestionable evidence of her lawyer lying in court and thus committing fraud and fraud upon the court, as well the fact that she has never once during the marriage or after used a single dime of her income for the benefit of the children. 
  • Point out that even though joint custody was ordered, the children have spent far more time with me. Note that, despite this I have tried very hard to ensure the children do not become totally alienated from their mother. I have gone so far s to buy mother's day cards for them. 
  • Point out that we were not married until I was 30 and Spring was a few months shy of 30. 
  • Point out that criminal actions by Spring and her lawyer have cost me approximately one million dollars since the divorce. 
  • Point out the damage done to not only the children but to Spring as well due to the court's ruling. If Spring had been required to be self-supporting and contributor to her children's upbringing she would be a lot happier person today. At some level she must know just how awful her actions were and how much they hurt the children. I would hope so anyway. 
  • Point out that despite evidence of the highest evidentiary quality possible, the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board did not take action against Nelly Wince. They did not even address the charges but simply whitewashed the matter. An appeal was likewise denied. Such inaction on their part is, unfortunately, normal.
  • Point out that when I contacted the county attorney's office I was told there is no law against a lawyer lying in court and that fraud upon the court does not existent in Minnesota statures. Both statements are easily shown to be false. 
  • Point out that I have contacted the FBI but have not heard from them. 
  • Point out that I have done everything I was supposed to. I followed the process. However, the level of corruption within the court system is so high it has been impossible for me to receive even a semblance of justice. 
  • Refer the court to Flowers of the Killer Moon as an example of how bad corruption can be. 
  • Refer the court to Divorce Corp and the stories on Minnesota Alimony Reform's website for current examples as to just how bad and how widespread legal corruption is. 
  • State that every day people die due to unjust court decisions and criminal actions committed in family court. This includes multiple daily suicides by the victims of injustice, including affected children, as well as deaths caused by self destructive behavior and violent actions committed out of desperation.  
  • Point out that corruption in the court affects all aspects of society. When people see that some are rewarded for crimes and protected from punishment they see no reason not to commit crimes as well. Point out the monetary cost as well. This includes direct costs as well as lost taxes and GDP due to people like Spring being voluntarily underemployed, reduced overall taxes due to alimony, and increased social security costs. 
  • State that if alimony is not ended immediately then it is my intent, once the children are on their own, to quit my job and go a very public hunger strike.  
  • I would publicly name the names of the guilty with the exception of Spring. 
  • Because I would essentially become unemployable, I would require more than ending alimony to end the hunger strike. This may include restitution of moneys lost to criminal actions and/or criminal charges being brought agaisnt the guilty.
  • I would use every media outlet possible to publicize my hunger strike. I may even precede it with protests at the court and Nelly Wince's office. I would be arrested, not eat in jail, be released and go right back down to protest. This alone would likely generate wide media coverage. 
  • I would engage the Minnesota ACLU. 
  • State that although I would hope the guilty would not take direct violent action to silence me, I would be a fool not to prepare for this given my experience. Therefore I have prepared documentation and placed it with with safe sources. I have already done this actually. 
Many people will tell you the worst thing you can do is threaten or even appear to threaten the court, which some would perceive my actions to be. This is probably true. Organizations, especially ones where corruption is tolerated, generally double down on criminality when someone points out that are acting agaisnt the law. But really - what other option do I have? My hope is that I can reach out to the moral people within the legal system. If the guilty feel threatened with exposure that is a good thing.

In many ways I think the time has come where I am just done. I am tired of being a victim. I am tired of working 60 hour weeks with no end in sight. In the past I have put up with it to protect the children but as they become older that time is ending.

I am not the type that gives up hope. My hope is that my death would mean something. It would help others. It would help society. History has shown that often such actions are necessary.

Note that I am not even requiring that that court rule justly. Justice would be full restitution and the guilty being prosecuted. It would also mean making significant structural changes to our legal system to prevent future injustices. What I am asking for is at least the immediate end to alimony. I am asking for an end to further injustice. However to be clear, I have no intent of giving up working for justice.  If alimony is ended I will still fight for justice. I would still write, I would still  meet with legislators, I would continue to work to make sure what happened me does not happen to others. But, I would not go public with names or perform protests that would likely get me arrested or sued. 

However,  given my experience with the court, I would be foolish to expect them to end alimony so I would be fully prepared for and expect to die. But I would die knowing I was helping others.  And knowing that I was going to die would give me a freedom of action that you just cannot have otherwise.

I do not have a death wish. I love life. I am in a great relationship. But there are causes that are worth dying for. I cannot escape the fact people are unjustly victimized and die every day because of corruption in our legal system. I not only know this but have as perfect evidence as one can hope for. It would be wrong, even immoral, not to take action even is it costs me my life.