Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Lauren Clark Way

Lauren Clark in a move somewhat like Riley North in the movie Peppermint but sans the violence went public, very public when she was assaulted, fondled and robbed  by an attacker while she was out for a run in Washington, D.C.

Clark likely only escaped being raped because she fought back.

The assistant, Jayro Cruz, was caught and confessed. Despite Cruz's history of sexual assaults he as sentence to only 10 days in jail and these were worked around his schedule as a rising chef in the restaurant world. Cruz repeatedly violated his prohibition yet received no further punishment.

Clark eventually took to contacting the restaurant he worked at and passed out flyers. If she couldn't get justice from the court she was going to make sure everyone knew who Cruz was and what he had done.  Way to go!

I have often thought of taking the same path. The lawyers, judges and others who have acted unethically and quite often criminally in my case have caused so much pain to so many that it is truly tragic they have only got away with their actions but have financially benefited from them. The court seems incapable of acting in a just manner. So maybe they way to proceed is to quit using pseudonyms and start using the real names of the guilty.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Like I Always Say...

Like I always say, if you want to know if an action is inappropriate swap the gender/race/national origin/gender preference and see if you think the same way.

The comedian/actor Amy Schumer thinks it is hilarious that in college she took advantage of a drunk male student. By advantage I mean sexual advantage. If the genders were reversed pretty much everyone would call it rape. Actually it is pretty clearly legally rape but we unfortunately do not live in a society that has equal rights for men and women.

Maybe the student Schumer took advantage of should sue Schumer for all the money she has made using the story in her comedy routine. Maybe Schumer should never work in entertainment again. Maybe she should go to jail.

Maybe she should hook up with Harvey Weinstein given how much they seem to have in common.

It is pretty disgusting and disheartening to learn that a person who complains about being treated in a discriminatory manner doesn't  actually care about what is right. They just want to be the abuser not the victim. 

Sadly this is no surprise to me given that the LPRB predominately operates in a manner exactly opposite to its purpose - they protect lawyers from the consequences of their criminal and unethical actions rather than censure them for such actions. Or for that matter the entire family justice system which  rather than operating to ensure justice is instead itself rife with criminal and unethical activity.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

MLK Day

I attended an MLK Day event the night before the holiday which was filled with music from around the world and presentations on those who, like Martin Luther King, seek justice through non-violent means. It was quite moving.

It is my belief that the root cause of racist, criminal and violent thinking and actions is a common mental construct that puts the self above others. It is a lack of compassion and empathy. It is a belief that I am better than you and that my group however defined - nationality, skin color, economic status - is better than yours.

A compassionate and empathetic person does not view skin color any differently than hair color. A compassionate and empathetic person does not view someone with less wealth as less worthy.

During the slavery period in the United States, the poorest white person in the south took comfort in knowing that it least he or she was not black. Such thinking is a coping mechanism to make one feel better about oneself.

Wouldn't it be nice if the way everyone felt better about themselves was because they were more compassionate, empathetic and nice? That is the dream.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Peppermint

On a long business flight last week I watched the movie Peppermint. It was an interesting movie to watch, especially for me. In the movie three members of a drug gang murder the husband and daughter of Riley North, played by Jennifer Garner. North is able to identify the killers; however, they are able to escape prosecution due to the workings of corrupt judges, lawyers and law enforcement personnel. I can relate.

North disappears for 5 years and then on the anniversary of her husband and daughter's deaths, the three killers are found murdered. Guess who did it? She then moves on to the judge. And then up the drug gang to the leader. She leaves an impressive trail of dead bad guys.

The story reminded me a lot of the The Count of Monte Cristo in that she used the tools of her oppressors against them.

The movie was enjoyable but disturbing as well. Even through the corruption I see and in many cases have experienced first hand in the legal system, if not overtly as bad as is depicted in the movie, results just as much pain, suffering and death. Yet I would never go down the path of violence. One, it is not in my nature. Two, violence, even when done against an evil person, tends to increase violence  in general. But most importantly, eliminating a few bad people is a small fix. What I want to see, is the corruption eliminated so that others in the future do not have to suffer as I and so many others have. Unfortunately there will always be some bad people. Our legal and law enforcement system is suppose to minimize the harm such people can do. When these systems themselves because criminally corrupt, they act like a metastasizing cancer vastly increasing crime and suffering throughout society.

Although I do admit that I hope people like Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly, the members of the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and all the others who acted unethically or criminally agaisnt me and my kids see Peppermint and wonder if one day someone they hurt will see the movie and come for them. They do not need to worry about me, as I say I do not have a violent nature, but it isn't like I am their only victim.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Life Sentence - Florida's Alimony Problem Documentary

Florida has been trying for years to reform alimony. Twice bills have passed the legislature only to be vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. The all volunteer Florida Family Law Reform PAC has released a new video detailing the dire need for reform. It is well worth a watching. 

Life Sentence - Florida's Alimony Problem Documentary


As an extra bonus, at a manager conference last week we were shown the following video which is actually an ad for a Danish television station. It is possibly the best best diversity training you will ever have. Like many people from work, I have shared it with my kids.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Equality Is Good And It Is Good For Everyone

In discussing the movie RBG, which I wrote about in my last post,  I am always surprised and a little disappointed how many people define equality as better for them rather than better for everyone. Equality is not a zero sum issue. Equality helps everyone.

Many people view gender inequality as only hurting women. They seems unable or unwilling to admit that the very same inequality is the reason that only men are drafted, virtually all deaths in the military are men and nearly all alimony is paid for by men. That doesn't sound like such a good deal for men to me.  Or how about the classic line when a ship is sinking, you know it - women and children first. Are men's lives somehow less valuable than women's?

The benefits of equality actually go much deeper. Although I no longer have direct reports at work when I did, some of my best people were women. If the pool to select from was limited to only men, it would have negatively impacted my career because much of my success was dependent on the performance of the people I hired.

Equality is good and it is good for everyone.

Clearly there is discrimination against women. I would love to see half our politicians to be women and half of executives, indeed all workers, be women. I also want to see half of housework and child caring to be done by men. And I want to see half of yard work to be done by women. I want half of combat soldiers to be women. Currently half of new doctors are women which is great. But lets also see half of nurses be men. I want alimony to be paid by women half the time or better yet have it eliminated entirely as the whole basis of alimony is that women are unable to take care of themselves.

Expanding beyond gender I would like to see equality for all races and sexual orientation. Every profession should reflect the demographics of society.

The path to achieving equality and justice for all is not to solely focus on the impact of inequality for one group. It is to recognize that all inequality is unjust.

Monday, December 31, 2018

RBG

I saw the movie RBG yesterday on a flight. This prompted me to write up a mini-review which appears below. I also plan to send the review to both Justice Ginsburg and  NPR's Nina Totenberg who also appears in the film.

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RBG

I watched the movie RBG on long plane flight earlier this week. The movie is a documentary about the life and work of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It was quite enjoyable, often funny, and at times touching. Yet it was marred by a few irritations and lost opportunities.

First off let me state that I am a fan of Justice Ginsburg. I do not believe I have ever disagreed with one of her rulings or dissents. The movie details her tireless efforts to promote equality. Mostly for women but in one case having to do with a widower suing social security to get the same benefits that a widow would have, for men as well.

Now for the irritations. The first and most grating is when Justice Ginsburg jokes, at least I hope she joked, that the correct number to women for the Supreme Court to have is nine. If true this would mean that Justice Ginsburg does not believe in equality but rather wants discrimination to favor women. I am confident she did not mean this but it is a very poor joke because it gives those who do not believe in equality a reason to dismiss out of hand all of Justice Ginsburg's efforts promoting equality. If it irritates me, a very socially liberal person, imagine the reaction of an ardent Trump supporter.

The second irritation is that Justice Ginsburg claims that discrimination invariably hurts women. The implication being that discrimination only benefits men.  This is a common yet mistaken view that in the end harms efforts to promotes equality. Let me explain.

When Justice Ginsburg went to law school, very few of her classmates were women. This was clearly discriminatory. Yet at the same time and even today, only men are drafted into the military (one of the few legal gender discriminations left) and upwards of 99% of all military combat deaths are men.  Only eight of the 58,300 U.S. soldier names who died in service written on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. are women.

I would love to see 50% of CEOs be women. But that will be near impossible to achieve unless 50% of combat deaths are women as well.

Alimony is another area where, although legally gender neutral, is in practice discriminatory as upwards of 98% of payors are men.  I have first hand knowledge of this. Despite the fact that my ex-wife left me, a custody evaluation determined that parenting during the marriage was joint, a vocational evaluation determined that she could make just as much money as me, joint custody after the marriage (although the kids predominantly lived with me) along with absolute evidence of major fraud by my ex-wife’s lawyer, I am burdened with paying massive alimony until the day I die. I can never retire nor remarry as that would burden my new wife with paying alimony to my ex-wife should I become disabled or otherwise unable to work. Furthermore, my ex-wife has never used a dime of her income for the children.

I would suggest that it is far less effective to advocate for equal opportunity for women than it is to advocate for equal opportunity and responsibility for all. Opportunity and responsibility are inseparable.