Saturday, April 20, 2019

Honey-Do

It is amazing how much sexism there is when you take the time to listen. Sexism that goes unnoticed by most people.

This morning on NPR I heard a story about violence agaisnt women along the U.S. Mexican border. Certainly all violence is tragic but throughout the whole story they never once mentioned violence against men. And of course the vast majority of violence is committed against men. The reality is that in our society women's lives are viewed as more important than men's lives. It is such a fundamental mental construct that it is shared by the entire political spectrum from the most conservative to the most liberal. How many people complain that 99.99% of military deaths are male?

Similarly I heard a woman at work state that she had a weekend honey-do list for her husband. It made me cringe. How can people think it is terrible when a man says he can't cook, change a diaper, or do laundry yet it is okay for woman to not know how to use a screwdriver or hammer?

It we are going to end sexism people need to start paying attention more.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Beauty

I saw a segment on the news in the U.K. about how it is not just female actors who feel more and more that they need to be in peak physical shape to get good roles but also male actors. The whole point of the segment was to convey the non-intuitive somewhat shocking message that it isn't just women who feel pressured to look good. It made me laugh a bit because of course male actors are just as conscious of body image as are woman actors.

They did a comparison of James Bond as portrayed by Daniel Craig vs. Sean Connery.  Craig, if you did not know, is way more in shape than Connery ever was.

There is a currently popular so called fat acceptance movement. No doubt due to the our expanding collective waistlines. But if you think about it is there really any difference between being in good physical shape and say, being well groomed? In the Craig vs. Connery example, it was stated that the attractiveness of men used to be more about how confident they were and how they carried themselves rather than how ripped they were. So does than mean that we are prejudiced against men who are less confident? What about other factors such as height or tone of voice?  Would a shy, short, fat, bald man who stutters ever be selected to play James Bond? I think not despite the fact that a person has no control over any of those factors. And even for factors that one has control over such as grooming, or indeed physical fitness, do they really reflect a person's worth? No, they do not.

But let's not get to hung up on the matter. It is all about context. I have had and have many friends and  work colleges who are of varying girth, height, or other physical characteristic as well as varying levels of self-confidence and even emotional stability. It doesn't really matter all that much. But I admit that when it comes to romantic relationships, it does matter. There are people who I would not go out with because of how they look and/or act.  I think everyone is that that way. Maybe that is why successful relationships occur more often between people who are the same category. Not just physically but intellectually, emotionally and ethically as well.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Driven By Greed

Lies, fraud and driven by greed. An apt description of family court but those are the accusations against pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics which has been accused of bribing doctors and deceiving insurance companies to sell an opioid painkiller that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine. The founder of the company and its top leaders are now being tried in criminal court

There is an underlying mental construct that is the root of, for lack of a better term, evil. This evil construct causes people to seek to prove they are better than others. The expression of the construct can range from shoplifting, embezzlement, bullying, violence, discrimination, fraud, perjury, or even just being mean. Hurting others, monetarily, emotionally or physically makes such people feel superior.

The irony of course is that in seeking to prove they are better than others, they only achieve the opposite.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Civil Rights Or Criminal Justice?

There are two approaches I could take in my struggle agaisnt the injustices I have experienced from Spring and the family court system

The first is civil rights.  Is it fair that the fast majority of marital assets that are divided at the time of divorce were earned by men? Is it fair and right that men pay 98% of alimony? Is it fair that courts are more tolerant of women committing perjury than men? Is it fair that women are viewed by the courts as being the "lesser sex" and as such need to be provided for by the man?

The answer is of course no and many people would agree with that intellectually but in their hearts it just isn't an issue. Just like it isn't an issue that 99.99% of military deaths are of men or that the vast majority of victims of violence are men. We are sadly at least generation away from treating men and women as equals. Once people view the gender gap in military deaths and alimony with the same outrage they view gender pay gaps and gender discrepancies in leadership positions in industry and politics, then the civil rights approach might make sense.

Instead I have taken a criminal justice approach. Although Spring committed perjury this is very difficult to prove as she can always just claim that is what she believed even f the kids testify they absolutely believe she knowing lied. However, her lawyer Nelly Wince is another matter. She committed numerous acts of fraud and for at least one I have unquestionable evidence. To be clear the obstacles are formidable. Crime has been institutionalized in family court. In Minnesota, complaints that lawyers violated their rules of professional conduct almost never lead to discipline of the lawyer in question unless her or she has already been convicted of a crime. The county attorney's office has stated, quite falsely, that there is no law against a lawyer knowingly lying in the courtroom.  They have also stated, again falsely, that fraud upon the court does not exist in Minnesota statutes. Fraud by lawyers is so rampant that the very people tasked with enforcing the law fail to even see it as crime.

The road to justice has been long and hard and the end is shrouded in mist. But it is the right road to be on.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Florida Tries Again

Alimony reform in Florida has a long history. Of failure. But they do keep trying. A new bill has been introduced in the Senate in the seemingly annual attempt to make alimony more fair. 

Of interest in the article cited is the persistent but quite often false notion that the only people who receive permanent alimony  are those who  have stayed, "home for years to raise children". In my case, like many others, the spouse receiving alimony was not the one who was the primary parent during the marriage. (Although I am from Minnesota not Florida, our state laws are similar) 


The problem with alimony is mostly caused by the fact that it is awarded in unpredictable and inexplicable ways. There is no consistency. The exact same situation may result in no alimony with one judge but permanent alimony from another.  In Minnesota, we used to have the same situation with child support. However there is now a formula. You can argue, and many do, that the formula needs to be improved, but at least everyone knows what it is. 

With alimony it is a black box. Judges are allowed to make awards based on how well they know the litigants or lawyers, race, religion, campaign contribution they received or even whether they happen to be hung over on the day they rule. There is zero accountability. In fact no one even keeps track of what the alimony awards are.  This creates a situation that is not only ripe for corruption but bursting with it. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Too Much Evil

At times it is hard to believe how utterly evil humans can be. In the normally very peaceful and tolerant country of New Zealand 50 people were killed by a white nationalist.

How does this happen? How does one become so filled with hate that they can randomly kill people they do not even know, people who range from ages 3 to 70?

I see an underlying common mental construct that leads to such evil actions. That construct is the believe that you are more important than anyone else. It is putting oneself above all others. This believe is a continuum that ranges from the petty such as knowingly cheating on your taxes, to people such as Spring committing perjury and Nelly Wince committing criminal fraud, all the way through to people who become so self-centered they believe they have the right to take the lives of anyone they choose. 

How do we fight such evil? We will never be able to totally prevent it but the rule of law was designed to minimize the negative impact of such tendencies. If laws are fair, enforced and understood it will stop people such as Spring, Nelly Wince and others who so flagrantly break it for personal gain. Yet, I am not sure what could have been done to prevent the shooter in New Zealand. Perhaps education or exposure to other cultures. Perhaps nothing could have been done. That is the most depressing thought.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The Male Only Draft

It wasn't that long ago that women were finally even allowed to be in military combat positions; now a federal judge has ruled that excluding women from draft registration is unconstitutional. It is about time. The male only draft was one of the few laws left on the books that is overtly discriminatory.

The case was brought by a men's rights group. I can't help but think it would have been better if a woman's rights group had taken it up at the same time as when they advocated for the right to the work in combat positions. But I'll take it - progress is progress.

We are very close to eliminating gender discrimination in the law. Now if could only eliminate it in practice. We have made progress. Law and medical schools now graduate as many, often more, women than men.  Yet we still see fewer women than men in many positions ranging from the CEOs to construction workers. Likewise we see many fewer men than women who work as nurses and elementary school teachers. And of course there are very few combat soldiers who are women. We also need to see either as many women pay alimony as men or better yet eliminate it entirely.