Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Touchy Subject

The wave of women coming out with sexual harassment allegations has led to the resignation of powerful businessmen and politicians. The issue is in the media constantly and everyone is talking about it. But they are not talking about it in the right way. It isn't a "male problem" as a student activist stated on the radio this week. Abuse and harassment are wrong no matter who commits it, male or female. Don't kid yourself - Woman are just as abusive as men. There is no difference. They commit physical abuse and emotional abuse. If you do not think so then you are living in sexist world where you believe that somehow women are the weaker sex both physically and emotionally.

I never once stuck or even came close to hitting Spring. Yet she whacked me all the time when we first started going out. I have a permanently shifted septum from her. She thought it was great fun. I was never emotionally abusive to her yet she constantly was to me. She habitually lied, was a spendthrift, and committed some of the heinous perjury imaginable during the divorce.  Yet no one calls her abusive.
In a world of equality mentally fit adults are held accountable for their actions no matter who they are. If they are not, the ones held less accountable will be discriminated against in other areas to make up for this imbalance. 
Some people get this. Pamela Anderson is one.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

How Corrupt Is America's Judicial System?


Seeker asks How Corrupt Is America's Judicial System? 

Given that half of Americans believe the judicial system is corrupt, mendacious denials that there is significant criminality perpetrated by officers of the court, including lawyers and judges, is proof of either severe incompetence or blatant corruption.

Every lawyer I dealt with in Spring's divorce suite against me acted at a minimum unethically and many committed clear criminal acts. In some cases the evidence is so overwhelming it could not possibly be any more clear. Yet the evidence was ignored by the court. Why? Because bringing up impropriety by a lawyer is threatening to a system that garners a whole lot of money from such impropriety.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Gender Equality

Sexual harassment is a real problem but I worry that some of the current discussions on it will prove to be counterproductive. Mainly because it always focuses on what men are doing wrong. This is the same issue I have always had with discussions on gender equality. If you ignore what women are doing wrong and the damage done to men because of inequality then the battle will be lost. Here are some things to think about.

  • There are certainly some men out there who think housework is women's work. But there are just as many women who believe yard work such as cutting the grass and snow shoveling is men's work. Focusing on the later will change the former faster. 
  • There has been a lot of media about not making girls hug male relatives at holiday gatherings. But I have seen nothing, zero, about boys hugging female relatives. Let's face it a lot of families are huggers. Male and female. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, in our often emotionally cold world a hug can be a great thing. 
  • I heard on the radio this morning about how bad it is when men at work put a hand on a female's shoulder. Where I work women are far more likely to initiate touching a man than vice versa. Several women I know always stand up and give me a big bear hug every time we meet. Are they in the wrong? If you really want to have a no hug policy start with women hugging men. Personally I am fine with hugging either sex as long as it is not uncomfortable for either. 
  • Which brings up a point. If it is uncomfortabe, make it clear. The person who is uncomfortable does have an obligation here. Harvey Weinstein was clearly a slime ball but women who said they were raped by him and then went on to later date and have consensual sex with him are pretty damn slimy as well. Yet such women are viewed  solely as victims. Implicit in this view is that women are inferior to men and cannot protect themselves. 
  • If you want pay equity for women, then focus on requiring women to register for the draft, become 50% of combat troops, and eliminate alimony. If you do not then you just give people a logical rational for pay inequality. 
  • Studies consistently show that in relationships women are perpetrators of abuse just a much as men. Yet almost no one talks about this.
  • Even sexual harassment is somewhat surprisingly committed by many women
  • Standards have to be the same. If it is okay for a woman to tell a man his new jeans make his butt look good then the reverse must also be okay.  Or both must not be okay. 
  • It is common for people to believe women are the weaker sex. Although in pure physical terms this may on average be true but it irrelevant in today world. A physically fit person has an advantage over a physically unfit one no matter what the gender. A trained person has an advantage over an untrained one no matter what the gender. A person with a weapon has an advantage over one without one no matter what the gender. 
  • I now pretty much hold doors open for men as much as women. But on a bus I will offer my seat to a women far more than a man. I am being sexist. Let's face it chilvery is just a nice word for sexism. I have a ways to go in this area. I have noticed some European countries men are much less likely to offer up their seat to a women. So this too is changing and in the end it will be a good thing.  
  • People like to stereotype. It bothers me just as much when people say "women" work less hard than men or that "men" do not do housework. I know lot of hard working women and I have always done the majority of housework. 
  • Many people use the terms of equality when they really mean more for me. True equality benefits everyone. It isn't about getting a bigger share of the pie. It is getting an equal share of a larger pie. 
I am an optimist. I believe that we are heading in the right direction when it comes to gender equality. I just wish the pace was quicker and the path more direct. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Scouts - Slow But Positive Change

I was a Cub Scout leader for many years. The Boy Scouts is a great organization but the one thing that always bothered me about the Boy Scouts is that it is "boy" to the exclusion of girls. People in the U.S. might be surprised but in most countries it is just Scouts and everyone is welcome.

Now the Boy Scouts are allowing girls to join. Slowly though.
Starting in 2018, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender
So still basically gender apartheid but I have no doubt eventually "separate but equal" will go away and they will fully integrate.  In the United kingdom, where Scouting started (another thing most Americans probably do not know), full gender integration occurred in 1991.

I have heard many people say they should remain separate. Usually because they believe that girls are better able to develop leadership skills without boys around.  To me this seems quite sexist as the argument implicitly assumes that girls are less capable than boys.

My standard technique of swapping here helps. If you believe that it is better to have single sex Scout organizations think about this - would it be okay to single race Scouting organizations? White Scouts and Black Scouts? Most people (I hope) would say no. 

The problem is that deep down many people really do not believe in gender equality.

Gender equality means alimony is rare to non-existent and when it does happen women pay 50% of the time as opposed to the less than 2% they currently do. Equality means that 18 year old women have to register for the draft just like men do. Equality means that all positions in the military are open to women and half the combat deaths are women. Equality means that if a single man and a single woman are on a sinking ship with one seat left on the life raft it is not automatic the woman gets the seat. These are hard things to accept, even for me, but they are true.

Equality necessarily means equal responsibility. Without it, many will argue, quite logically, that men should be paid more than women. People fighting for gender equality would be a lot more effective if they advocated for equal responsibility as a first premise.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Family Court Corruption

Corruption in the family court system doesn't get a lot of press but that is changing. Stephen Krasner in the Huffington Post writes about A Broken System: Contempt Of Family Court.
"The term “Family Court” is designed to portray itself as a judicial institution that looks out for the best interest of a child — the overwhelming reality for many is the discovery that the name of the court — like the industry and players that stem from it (judges, divorce lawyers, mediators, custody evaluators and Title IV-D beneficiaries) — is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing."

At present it is quite easy to commit all sort of truly heinous actions and crimes within the family court system. The emotional power high such people receive from abusing innocents as well as the immense financial rewards come with little to no risk. This is similar to the situation that a bad cop was in a few years ago. Or people like Harvey Weinstein a few months ago. But times do change. Once the general public realizes the harm done to so many innocents including the loss of life, the massive cost to tax payers and the damage done to the economy caused by corruption within family court the situation may change very quickly.
"The institutional corruption is a more mechanical environment that many players operate within and manipulate. The individual corruption is where players are willfully engaging in unethical motives — knowingly gaming the vulnerabilities found within the courts infrastructure.
Both types of corruption operate and thrive in family court environments as well as those industries and services stemming off them."

Monday, November 13, 2017

Alimony & Taxes

One of the proposed changes to federal tax law the Republicans are considering is eliminating the tax deduction alimony payers have. This would only be on new divorces so would not affect current orders.

Most news reports on this focus on the fact people will not agree to such high payments without the ability to deduct the payments from their income taxes.  No one seems to address the fact than many people, like me, are being forced to pay alimony. I never agreed to it. I only agreed to two years of support because I did not have enough money to go to trial and as a goodwill gesture. As it turns out a pointless one. The court imposed permanent alimony on me.
“There is a difference between what is wrong and what is evil. Evil is committed when clarity is taken away from what is clearly wrong, allowing wrong to be seen as less wrong, excusable, right, or an obligatory commandment of the Lord God Almighty.
Evil is bad sold as good, wrong sold as right, injustice sold as justice. Like the coat of a virus, a thin veil of right can disguise enormous wrong and confer an ability to infect others.”
― John Hartung
The other, more interesting, thing no one points out is that the whole reason this is even an issue is because alimony costs the government money.  Billions of dollars of money. Money other taxpayers have to make up for. And this is just the direct cost. The vast majority of people who receive alimony are purposefully underemployed because it is a lot easier to get a check for doing no or little work than have to work. The cost to the government and our economy due to underemployment is many factors larger than the direct costs of alimony.

Alimony affects everyone. Unless you are receiving alimony you are paying for it.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Trying To Get A Lawyer

As mentioned before I have a plan, or at least the outline of a plan, to go back to court.  So I decided to get a lawyer. It is not so easy. Everyone, at least all lawyers, tell you never, never be your own lawyer in court. What they do not tell you is that it can be very difficult if not impossible to get a lawyer to represent you. There is a certain sad logic to why I am having trouble finding a lawyer to represent me. My case involves criminal actions by many people but especially the opposing lawyer, Nelly Wince. I suspect there is an unwritten rule that divorce attorneys never take on a case that involves  misconduct by a colleague. Also, in my case there is clear evidence that the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board acted in a criminal manner to cover up Nelly Wince's  actions. I have found that even the Board's own statistics show that they very, very rarely  take action against a lawyer and in almost all cases where they do, it is only after the lawyer has been convicted of a crime. They have been able to show me a single example of acting against a lawyer for knowingly lying in family court. Not one. Ever. No doubt, virtually all lawyers and certainly all divorce lawyers in my county know that lying in family court is the norm. The ethical rules, by the way, clearly state not only that lawyers must at all times tell the truth but must inform the court if they know their client is not telling the truth. Not many lawyers would be willing to go after the very body the disciplines lawyers.

This is how corrupt systems grow and survive.

The end result is that even with the absolutely unquestionable evidence I have, I so far have been unable to get a lawyer.

Apparently it is the same in Canada

You may ask why I do not get a lawyer outside of family law since my case is more about criminal actions at this point. Well there a a Catch-22. Unfortunately, lawyers who take on cases agaisnt other lawyers and organizations such as the ACLU do not take divorce cases. 

The good news is that I now further understand the reality of what I am facing.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

It Is Not Just Men

The revelations about Harvey Weinstein are certainly both wrong and repugnant, but I do worry that many people seem to believe that only males can be the perpetrators of sexual harassment.  For example, a radio show I heard the other day was on why men abuse power, not why people abuse power.

Scientific American, which is pretty much the epitome of unbiased fact based knowledge, reports on a CDC study that surprisingly found that men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn“In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
― Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThe Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956
This is similar to the widespread believe that men are more likely than women to commit violence in a relationship when if fact they are are equally likely to. (Given that I have a permanently shifted septum, which causes me no end of grief, from a blow by my ex-wife, I am perhaps in a better position than most to understand this.)

The reality is that women are no worse and no better than men. Believing otherwise is just prejudice. Much like people used to believe than homosexuals were sexual predators and that blacks were more violent that whites. Or that women do not deserve the vote because they are mentally inferior to men.  The road to justice is long.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Philosophy of Lou Holtz

The famous football coach Lou Holtz is well known not only for his coaching skills but for his philosophy and wit. The University of Minnesota was among the many teams he coached.  I am not sure who put this together but obviously it was someone who likes Lou a lot and dislikes Florida's alimony laws just as much. I am in the same camp.


Other Lou Holtz quotes I like:

Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. 
Lou Holtz


I think life is a matter of choices and that wherever we are, good or bad, is because of choices we make. 
Lou Holtz

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Harvey Weinstein - Hope in the Midst of Ugly

The recent revelations of the ugly and bizarre behavior of the famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein are somewhat surreal. It is hard to believe a paunchy man in is 60s would ask a woman in her 20s to watch him shower as several women have reported he did. The number of woman accusing him of sexual harassment and even rape is staggering. The evidence is overwhelming. The strangest part is that the accusers seemingly came forward all at once. But that is not really true. For decades there have been complaints against Weinstein. So why did this all come out now? Several reasons:

  • Many women who complained or threatened to complain were paid off. To get the money,  they agreed to keep quite and withdrawal any complaints. 
  • Other women just let it go. We are talking Hollywood after all. 
  • Some women, mind boggingly, actually started going out with Weinstein and even had consensual sex with him after they were raped. 
  • Other women did go public and accuse Weinstein of wrongdoing. However their complaints never quite got the public's attention. 
It is this last point that gives me hope. 

Maybe just maybe the day will come where people understand that Nelly Wince, the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and many others like them routinely commit crimes within the legal system. Crimes that hurt the innocent, precipitate violence, and lead to many deaths. Maybe someday justice will be served. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What To Do?

As my kids get older and justice (actually ending injustice as real justice is near impossible) seems distant and unlikely, my thoughts keep turning to forcing the issue as I have discussed before.

The situation I am in is just unbelievable. So many people have not only committed crimes against me but they committed them openly. I have all the evidence anyone could ask for but it does me no good.

The plan my thoughts keep coalescing around involve a petition to the court asking for an immediate end to alimony. In not granted, then once my kids are on their own, which will be a few years, I will quit my job and take an highly public stance against the people who have committed crimes agaisnt me. This may include:

  • Protests at the court house and offices of the guilty individuals. If arrested I would refuse to eat and go back to protesting once released from jail. With enough media attention I might even be able to get the ACLU involved.
  • A vigorous media campaign, social and traditional, where I would name names and provide details.  Although I am not sure I would use Spring's real name. 
  • If all else fails, go on a hunger strike until alimony is ended and, because I would have basically become unemployable, significant restitution is make. 
If I have to die then I die. It is better to die for a good cause than live as a victim. It is better to give your life to make the world better and help others than live cowardly. 

I really do not make a good victim. 

And deep down, I feel quite guilty that I have not taken forceful enough action to change a system that operates in such a corrupt manner. Unlike most others, I have evidence. Really good unquestionable evidence. People are suffering. Someone has to step up to the plate. Someone has to do the right thing. 

My next step is to find a lawyer. If I cannot fine an ethical one who would want to work on the case, I will be forced to work pro se. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Too Much Evil

It is hard to understand why someone would decide to kill as many innocent people as possible as Stephen Paddock did last night in Las Vegas. It is horrific and evil. We will likely never know Paddock's exact motivation but it is clear that the ability to kill a large number of innocents gave him a sense of power.  Although Spring, Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly, the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and others whose crimes I have documented here did not directly kill people, their actions, along with others like them, certainly cause many deaths and injuries. It is disheartening that there are so many people who so willingly act in such evil ways.

The unbridled lust for power is the common root of evil. Our legal system should be a check on that lust not an example of it.

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. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Domestic Violence Shelter Opens - For Men

Despite the fact that one in three men experience domestic violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, virtually all domestic violence shelters are for women and children only. Battered men and their children are often subject of overt scorn when they try to reach out for help.

Not so much true in Texas anymore as the state recently opened its first battered shelter for men.
Men and women perpetrate violence at roughly the same rates, yet there are far fewer resources to help men, according to Emily Douglas, an associate professor of social work at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. She’s one of a few academics in the country to study male domestic violence victims.
The reality of our society is that when women hit men it is funny whereas when men hit women it is a crime. I lived this. I never thought I was a victim of violence. I still can't quite get my head around it. But it is true that Spring was often violent. It is true that she hit me so hard once that I now have a shifted septum which is causing me all sorts of issues. Does that make me a victim of violence. You decide.

An image search of "domestic violence against men" is quite enlightening.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

More on a Hunger Strike

To continue my last post, if I were to go on a hunger strike I am sure many would make untrue assumptions. I'll dispel a few here.

I am unhappy and or depressed - This is far from the truth. I love life. Unhappy people do not have as many things they want to do in life as I do.
I am lonely - Untrue as well. I am in a great relationship with a girl that I have been with for 6 years now. I also have many friends.
I am seeking revenge - Confucius said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” I fully understand this. I am not mad at the individuals that committed crimes and acted unethically. I am unhappy with them but there will always be people that are like that. What I find intolerable is that our institutions have acted criminally and unethically. Martin Luther King did not seek revenge against individuals, he sought to change government institutions. I am on the same path.
I am making a mountain out of a mole hill - I am sure Martin Luther King and all who fought for justice have been accused of the same. To those who believe this I say, "try walking in my shoes."
I am just seeking publicity - On the contrary, I am publicity shy. Unfortunately my avoidance of publicity has resulted in no progress for me or others like me.
Going on a hunger strike is just an empty threat -  If I went on one it would be with the full intent of dying. I think the odds are it would not have any impact unless I die. I admit to being scared of not being able to complete it as death by starvation is one of the most painful and difficult ways to die there is.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What If...

Hunger strikes, which I have written about before, are perhaps the ultimate non-violent tool a powerless victim has. In essence, it turns the table on the oppressor because it removes the threat of further oppression being carried out. There is simply not much you can do to hurt a person starving themselves to death.

Historically hunger strikes have been most effective when the person being oppressed is a victim of government injustice, especially when that government purports to be a just one.

Famous examples of hunger strikes where people died are the British and American suffragette movements as well as the Indian independence movement. Hunger strikes have been particularity popular in Ireland where there is a long history of hunger strikes going back to ancient times. According to David Beresford, author of Ten Men Dead, “Troscadh” or “Cealachan” was a hunger strike on the door step of an offender. Allowing a person to die on your door step was considered to be shameful for the offender. Hunger strikers fasted in an attempt to receive payment for a debt or in protest for a perceived wrong.

I am of Irish heritage.

A hunger strikes is also far more effective than suicide which is an "easy and quick" and usually ineffective protest. A hunger strike is a slow, painful and publicly visible protest. It is methodical. If the protest is just, it is embarrassing to the oppressor. Not giving in to just demands is considered by most to be the moral equivalent of murder. The cause of a suicide, on the other hand, can be explained away as the person is gone and cannot refute it. You can say the person was unstable or regretful or heartbroken. You can make up anything you want.  In addition, suicides are so common we have become desensitized to them.  In 2014 there were 42,773 suicides in the United States. The murder rate was "only" 14,249. It is very hard to determine exactly how many of these suicides were precipitated by injustice and criminal actions in the legal system but clearly it is many every day. Furthermore, this doesn't even count those whose lives have been so devastated that they end up dying through neglect of health and safety.

A "what if" has been going through my mind lately.

What if I petitioned the court for the immediate end of alimony payments. What if I stated that if alimony is not immediately ended then at some point, probably when the kids are done with school and launched on their own, I will quite my job and go on a very public hunger strike.

Some considerations:

  • The hunger strike could not be an idle threat. I would not go on it with the full intent to be on it until death.  
  • I realize how difficult hunger strikes are. I have had a few colonoscopies (I started early as my mother had colon cancer) so I know what it is like to go a few days without food. I have also on own gone on quite a few one or two day fasts or drastic reductions in food just to see how I handle it.  I have done a large amount of research on hunger strikes. 
  • The court might deny my initial request and then when I go on a hunger strike order an end to alimony. However, because I would need to quit my job to go on a hunger strike and likely become unemployable after, my demands once a hunger strike started would be greater than before. It would not just be an end to alimony but would include the return of funds lost due to criminal action and prosecution against those who have clearly committed crimes - a large number of people and organizations. 
  • I am not naturally a publicity seeking person. However, to make a hunger strike effective I would have to go full in on both social and traditional media. This would include things such as daily YouTube videos. I would also seek to involve legal organization such as the ACLU. Hopefully, this would generate widespread national and international attention but even if it didn't, I would die knowing that my death could well be the spark that gets the fire going. Hope is the ground all those who see justice stand upon.
  • Once the hunger strike started I would publicly name the names of the guilty with the exception of my ex-wife Spring. I would not name her to protect the children. Also, I believe Spring is in many ways quite proud of the fact that she was able to criminally take so much money from me. Virtually all criminals think stealing proves they are smarter than the victim. 
  • In many ways a hunger strike would be liberating. A part of me feels guilty because I have to an extent allowed myself to be a victim. Every day I work for the benefit of criminals. I have been reluctant to go public and name names because I know I would be sued. And given my experience with corruption in the legal system, I would very likely just be further victimized. Sure, I have this site, have written to law enforcement including the FBI, talked to many lawyers including law school professors, contacted the media and lawmakers but the injustice continues. Maybe I need to step it up. 
  • Many people would say he worst thing you can do is threaten the court. My response is that I am in the right. I have done nothing wrong. I have been unjustly treated by the legal system. Besides I do not view explaining the consequences of refusing to end further injustice as a threat to anyone other than the unethical and criminal.  
  • I am not a big believer in fate; however, I do believe that everyone has an obligation to act morally in whatever situation life puts them in. In Germany during the mid-1930s it was very unpopular to defend Jews. But some did and many who did died for doing so. Today it may be unpopular to protest injustice in the court system. If it takes my death to highlight just how bad it is then that would be a worthwhile death. 
  • I realize just how devastating my death from going on a hunger strike would be for my children and the girl I have been with for the last six years or so. However, what kind of person would I be to not do everything I can to fight injustice?  Especially when the injustice is so damaging to so many. Living a moral life is not always easy but it is better than not doing so. 


Keep in mind that injustice in the court system is not just in family court. It isn't like the judges and lawyers who commit crimes in family court are not also involved in cases outside of family court. In addition, like a metastasizing cancer, they infect others in the legal system who learn that criminal activity can be quite rewarding. 

The people and entities I have absolute evidence of criminal activity against are Spring's lawyer Nelly Wince, the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board and the County Attorney's office. Spring committed perjury but in a way that is deniable. My lawyers lied to me but it is their word against mine. Judge Mearly committed immoral actions but unfortunately Minnesota law allows judges to do so without consequence.  

Just to be clear I am not a person who wants to die. I love life. I could live a thousand lives and not accomplish the things I want to that I could list out right now. But one of the most important things in life is that you cannot just live for yourself. You have to help others. I have always tried to do that. Now that I have personal experience, knowledge and evidence of injustice and crimes that cause devastation and death for thousands of people every year, how can I not do all in my power to change that?

As I say this is a "what if" idea but even just thinking about it is quite liberating. Because it gives me an option. As my other options evaporate this one may well end up being the best or even only one left. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Good and Bad

I make great pains to avoid categorizing groups as good or bad. Not all men, women, legislators, lawyers, prosecutors or judges are bad. In fact, I literally cringe when people are judged based on their being a member of a particular group.

Many people, men and women, categorize activity by gender. There isn't any activity that is traditional women's work that I do not do. I have always done laundry (in fact, I actually taught Spring how to do it!), I changed the kids diapers and was arguable the primary parent (although the court ruled parenting was joint) and I like to cook. Last week I sewed a button on a pair of shorts. I would be downright embarrassed to even think that a particular activity was "woman's work".

I like women who are the same. Unless disabled everyone should be able to cut the grass and shovel the snow. Everyone should be able to do financial planning. Everyone should be educated.

Many in situations similar to mine become "anti" - they are anti-women, anti-men, anti-lawyers, anti-government. This is a bad path. It is the basis for prejudice and discrimination.

Indeed I would go one further. You can really only judge actions. I can state categorically that Spring committed perjury and her lawyer, Nelly Wince lied in court, broke her ethical oath and committed fraud. What I cannot do is judge actions they have taken where I do not have solid evidence or first hand knowledge. I will admit this is hard. I can only make an educated guess. For example, has Nelly Wince done good things in life? Probably. Has she committed crimes I am unaware of? Probably.

Many assume that I am anti-lawyer. That could not be further from the truth. My grandfather and my father were lawyers. I grew up reading legal magazines. Dinner table talk was often about legal matters.  As a result the easiest class I ever had in college was Business Law. The first time I met a state senator, who is a lawyer,  to discuss my case and alimony reform, he stated, "the last person you probably want to speak to is a lawyer." I felt bad because that was far from the truth. Lawyers, good lawyers, are absolutely key to reform. Anytime you have criminal activity and corruption, it is the good people within the organization that are the most important to weeding out the bad players. Granted it often takes an outside entity or pubic outrage to get the ball rolling but true reform requires good people on the inside.

There are good divorce lawyers. In New Jersey, Jeralyn Lawrence was recently installed as Treasurer of NJ Chapter of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. From what I can tell she is indeed a good lawyer. She has worked extensively on reforming divorce in the state. It is nice to see that she will have a more prominent platform to push for justice.

It is not really quite this bad:

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon

I have written before about Killers of the Flower Moon, the book by David Grann about crimes, including hundreds of murders, of Osage Indians in Oklahoma. The Osage had been repeatedly forced off their land, finally ending on up "worthless" land in Oklahoma. However, the land turned out to be on top of a huge oil field that for a time made the Osage one of the wealthiest people in the world.

I finished the book last week. Not only is it well written and researched but the story is just incredible. But maybe not as incredible to me as to others. Bad people have not gone away, they just find new victims.
They are the faction. O conspiracy,
Shamest thou to show thy dangerous brow by night
When evils are most free? O, then by day
Where wilt thou find a cavern dark enough
To mask thy monstrous visage? Seek none, conspiracy.
Hide it in smiles and affability.
Shakespeare - Julies Cesar Act 3, Scene 1
The parallels to my experience, and I believe my experience was typical, with the divorce industry are stunning:

  • The crimes in both cases were committed for power and money
  • The money was systematically extracted in as many ways as possible. With the Osage, it was often by marrying into an Osage family, inflating prices, fraud, insurance scams and murder. With the divorce industry it is through dishonest marriage, inflated prices and billable hours, extra services, dragging on negotiations, fraud and driving people to suicide
  • The criminals maintained respectability. They were the leading figures in society and included lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. 
  • Widespread conspiracy was standard operating procedure in both cases. 
  • Both men and women committed the crimes. 
It is quite dis-heartrending that such evil not only exists in our society but openly and proudly exists. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

When Governments Oppress

I have become a fretter. Actually I have been that way for many years now. I quite often wake up at night and fret about my situation for a few hours. Specifically, I fret about the fact I am required to work for the rest of my life to pay people as a reward for criminal actions. In many cases, unquestionably criminal actions.

You might assume that I am most angry with my es-wife Spring but, oddly, that is not the case. In fact, I barely think about her. Sure she committed perjury, fraud and financially abandoned her kids. Worse, actually, she uses them as pawns to get money from me. If she was single she would be in jail for child abandonment. But she is who she is. She has never had much of a moral compass and I obviously failed in all my attempts to steer her onto a better path.

You may also think that what I fret over are the outdated, unfair and, ironically, demeaning to women, alimony laws. I do a bit but not as much as you think. Clearly the laws need to change and I have expended no small amount of effort on trying to get them changed. But in the end, there is a legislative process, albeit a frustratingly slow process, which can get the laws changed.

But what I fret over most is government corruption. Nelly Wince, an officer of the court, was able to unquestionably commit very serious crimes and get away with them. Judge Mearly, The Lawyers Professionally Responsibility Board (LPRB) and the country attorney's office all conspired to protect her. And clearly their actions are not unusual - this is the way the system works. It is blatantly and deeply corrupt.

Such corruption has a wide ranging effect. It isn't like judges, the LPRB and the county attorney limit their corruption to family court. Furthermore, everyone who sees such corruption loses respect for the law.  When the government is corrupt it encourages people to commit crimes. And not just the direct victims of corruption but everyone who sees it. It is truly a threat to our country and society. Just laws and the just enforcement of those laws are the foundation of our society. When that foundation is shaken through government corruption, society suffers.

When governments become the oppressors, it can be opposed via violence or non-violent methods.

Violence can take many forms. The United States was founded by people who took up arms against their government. Others decide to take direct action against the wrongdoers. Other still, commit violence agaisnt themselves.

An example of the latter is the recent suicide of Dr. Jan Nemec, a well know cardiologist and professor who was ordered by a judge from Minnesota to pay nearly half his salary to his ex-wife. In his daughter's words, "he saw an injustice that he could not tolerate".

Then there is the non-violent path. The path I align with.

Non-violent protest can take many forms. Divorce Corp is probably the most well know organization fighting corruption within the divorce system.

Individuals can also contribute to fighting corruption and crime on their own. This is the path I follow. I write this blog, I write the media, I write legislators and government officials. I've written the FBI. Sadly nothing has seemed to work very well. The forces of evil are strong.

But there is another option. One that has been used successfully in situations analogous to mine. A hunger strike. In the early days of the suffragette movement, many women in both the United Kingdom and the Unites States went on huger strikes. Many died. In the Indian independence movement hunger strikes were widely used. Ireland has a long history of using huger strike to protest injustice.

A hunger strike is powerful because it takes away the weapons of the oppressor. After all, what can they do to the victim that could be worse? Oppression always has an element of power. A hunger striker takes that power away. However, it should be noted that anyone going on a hunger strike must be willing to die on it. Idle threats will only backfire.

I'll comment more on hunger strikes in the future.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Modest Progress in Massachusetts

Massachusetts was the leader in alimony reform when it passed comprehensive Alimony Reform Action of 2011 however there has been a series of attempt to misinterpret legislative intent and subvert the law since then.  A new bill is now going through the legislative process to fix the this.

On recent bright spot is a recent Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that durational limits to certain alimony agreements that predate The Act is not unconstitutional. A sorely needed ray of hope on what is in Minnesota a gloomy day both on the weather front as well as the reform front.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Why We Lie

The current issue of national Geographic's cover story is Why We Lie, which given how many people have lied to me during Spring's divorce suit against me is quite interesting.

I suspect that in many, if not most divorces, lying is rampant. Normally the person lying is one of the litigants (petitioner or defendant) and is often done at the encouragement of their lawyer. I am pretty sure Nelly Wince encouraged Spring to commit perjury and certainly Jon Wurst  encouraged me to, although  I declined to do so.

What is a bit usual with my situation is that Nelly Wince unquestionably lied in court. Normally lawyers are a bit more careful than that. Furthermore, the county attorney's office directly lied to me as well, telling me there is no law in the state against lawyers lying in court and stating that the term "Fraud Upon the Court" is not found in Minnesota statues.  Unbelievably sloppy. But probably both Nelly Wince and the county attorney's office knew that in the end it did not really matter as no one was going to take action against them.

Other entities such as Judge Mearly and the Lawyers Office of Professional Responsibility rather than lying just ignored reality and failed to do their job. They were more careful.

The National Geographic article has a nice graphic on why people lie:


Certainly Spring lied for economic advantage and power over me. And probably for malicious reasons as well. Nor would I discount pathological reasons given her history of lying often for no discernible reason.

Nelly Wince lied for economic and personal advantage. She believes that "winning" in court even if through criminal means will be good for her career. Sadly she is probably correct.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Troublemaker

This week I read Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini. This is not a book I would have naturally picked up but it was selected by my book club, albeit without my vote. I had never heard of Leah Remini nor the sitcoms she had been in and although I knew a bit about the cult-religion of Scientology I did not have a huge interest in it. Nor was I impressed with the book once it arrived with its glossy photo of the author on the cover and, in a picture section, a photo or her at the Colosseum in Rome which she describes as "boring".

One of the things I love about my book club is that I read books I would not normally choose to read. Despite my initial impression, Troublemaker turned out to be an incredible compelling work.

Remini was raised in Scientology which is probably the most mis-named religion in the world. "Science" is just a Latin work for "knowledge" yet Scientology eschews education of all types.

Troublemaker is a memoir of Remini's life growing up in the world of Scientology and Hollywood with her ascendance in both. Eventfully, however, she was able to see Scientology for the controlling cult and criminal organization it is and break free. With Troublemaker she became an advocate against Scientology. She currently hosts A&E's Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath which is in its second season.

The book itself is self-deprecating almost to the point of being self-glamorizing. It is funny and often poignant. It is a world completely different from mine. But maybe not so different. Remini was in a controlling cult, I was married to a controlling person. Each time I wondered why Remini put up with Scientology I imaged others wondering why I put up with Spring. Scientology was Remini's religion and it was hard for her to leave. Spring was my wife and I had no interest in leaving her. To her credit, Remini was able to leave. I, of course, was not. Spring left me only because it allowed her to become even more controlling.

Some of the phrases used by Scientology officials were identical to ones that Spring and her lawyer used against me. That was bit unnerving.

Remini had the courage to go public for what she believes in. I have an incredible amount of respect for that. For my part,  I have hedged. I write this blog, I write legislators and the media, I post on the internet and I advocate for alimony reform. But my name is not public. I tell myself it is to protect my children but in truth that is only part of it. I fear that if I go public, I will be punished by a legal system where truth is no protection from people willing to hurt you. I fear I will end up in a worse position. Yet, my thoughts are changing on this. At some point they will no longer be able to hurt me because I will have nothing left they can take away. And even if they find a way to further hurt me, is it right that I allow such injustices to continue? Do I not owe society and my children my best effort in making the world a better place?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Not Just Me

As I have stated before, people have a hard time believing the situation I am in. Many are surprised that lifetime alimony or even any alimony still exists. When I tell them that I am required to pay Spring alimony until the day I die despite the fact that the custody evaluator ruled she was not the primary parent, a vocational evaluation that determined she could earn just as much money as me, the fact that she left me, good evidence of crime on her part and absolute evidence of crime by her lawyer not to mention all the assets and money she took as part of the divorce as well as the fact that she has never provided a dime for the kids and, despite joint custody, that they spend most most of their time with me, the response I get is typically, "how is that possible?"

The next false assumption is that my case is somehow unique. It isn't. Unfortunately, no one really knows how many people are in similar situations because there simply are no good statistics.

The Minnesota Alimony Reform site has a nightmare stories section where people can post their experiences. A recent posting by a woman demonstrates pretty clearly that I am not alone.
My husband had a stroke in November 2015 and was paying $13,000 a month to his ex-wife from his divorce in 2002. A year before his stroke (2014) the judge clearly saw the injustice from the divorce and reduced his ex-wife’s alimony to $5800 a month. She quit her $100,000+/year job a few months before the divorce so she could get a substantial amount of alimony for life. Finally, after paying well over $1,000,000 to her since 2002, the reduction to $5800 a month was a great relief, but after years of working many more hours than he would have, had he not needed to pay $13,000 a month in alimony, he suffered a stroke in November of 2015. Believe it or not, his ex-wife has now appealed the reduction in support, even after he suffered a stroke less than a year after the reduction in spousal maintenance. Now we have to not only go back and fight the appeal, but we have to go through the legal process of an additional reduction based on his inability to work any longer. He is 65 years old and unable to work, but she still wants $13,000 a month, which was never intended to be a lifetime amount. She has hardly worked a day since the divorce and basically became entitled and chose to remain unemployed even after the children graduated from high school in 2008. It is as though she still expects the alimony to be paid to her forever and has chosen to live as though it is welfare. My husband did not miss a payment in over 15 years of alimony and now, after having a stroke, we have to fight this for our own survival. It is truly unbelievable.