Saturday, March 28, 2020

Beauty and Madness

Religions get their start as stories. Stories that offer an explanation, however fantastical, for what goes on in this world. Unfortunately, for some these stories are taken literally. Many people believe the Bible (or Quran, the Tanakh and the Talmud, the Vedas/the Upanishads, etc.) is the literal truth offering strained explanations for inconsistencies such as "an eye for an eye" and "turn the other cheek".

An even more fundamental basis of religion, however, is the reconciliation of good vs. evil. Our reality seems to be a absurd coexistence of the two. For every act of kindness, there is one of evil. For every element of beauty there, is one of madness.

For every person who soothes another, there is a bully taunting a classmate. For every great work of art, there is someone who wants it all destroyed.

It amazes me how difficult it is to find a lawyer who is willing to sue Nelly Wince. The evidence is clear and absolute. My case is just. Success would have enormous consequences and clearly would lead to a more just society for all.

Yet lawyers are not only reluctant but scared to go up agaisnt a well entrenched and profitable system of corruption and crime. 40 years ago if a police officer in many if not most part of our country were to murder in cold blood a black man no one would do anything about it. Certainly not the police. Today if a lawyer commits clear fraud upon the court, it is not only ignored but rewarded. Most lawyers turn a blind eye. This madness needs to change.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Alimony In The Time Of Pandemic

Coronavirus. A lot can change in a week during a pandemic. I work for a company especially hard hit by the coronavirus although, to be fair, many companies such as restaurants and bars have it worse. My best hope is that over the next several years my income will be half or less of what it was last year. In the next month or two I will have to go on an unpaid leave of absence. Hopefully temporary but the situation is changing rapidly. I suspect my future income will never even come close to what it was last year.

Alimony of course does not change. It just becomes an even bigger portion of my income. I am not even sure I can go to court and ask for it to be reduced as the court is closed for all but the most serious issues. Unfortunately, the criminal actions committed by Spring and Nelly Wince are viewed as the norm in the best of times let alone now. I hardly think the court will care about my plight. Heck, if past experience holds, they would probably increase my alimony.

Sometimes I fantasize that maybe once we come out of this pandemic, crimes committed in family court will no longer be tolerated and that people like Spring who have led such self-serving lives never having been self-supporting and never having used a dime of their income for their own children will no longer be able to live such evil lives. It won't happen of course, at least not in my lifetime.

Ironically. I probably am at high risk of dying if I do get coronavirus. Not just because of my age and gender, but also because of the fact that I have had a persistent throat irritation due to Spring hitting me in the face and causing my septum to shift when we were younger. She did it in "fun".  I have been scoped several times and have tried all sorts of medications but nothing worked so it has been something I just have to live with.

If I do become seriously ill from the virus, I'll try to skip getting the ventilator. Those should be saved for people who have a future.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Emma Johnson - Why Alimony Hurts Gender Equality

Emma Johnson, who often writes on gender issues, explains why alimony hurts gender equality. I am in complete agreement. Alimony provides money to a women at the expense of all women. Indeed, most women who receive alimony can rightly be viewed as traitors to their gender. These women do for more to promote gender inequality than men.


Johnson writes:

  • Alimony keeps women dependent on men
  • When women are dependent on men, the pay gap and wealth gap persists
  • Alimony keeps men and women stuck in traditional gender roles
  • Alimony increases post-divorce conflict and makes co-parenting difficult
  • An end to alimony would help marriages avoid divorce

Fact: Per U.S. Census data, 97% of alimony recipients are women.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Will I Ever Retire?

Will I ever retire? it seems doubtful. S, who retired last year, took me to a two night retirement seminar that concluded this week. She had gone before but wanted me to attend with her. At one level I found it interesting as I have an educational background in finance, but it was also quite painful.

When they discussed calculating how much money you need each year in retirement, I had to add well over $30,000 to account for alimony. When they went through how much money and assents you have, I thought about how due to divorce and the fact that Spring never contributed anything to family finances while married (nor ever used a dime of her income for the children ether during or after the marriage) how little I have.

I have had lots of friends retiree lately and everyone keeps asking me what my date is. I usually joke along the lines that the only retirement I will have is a "natural' one.

The only real option I have is recovery of monies lost. Although I have absolute evidence of crime, it seems to be a  sisyphean quest. In a just legal system that abides by the rule of law, there is no question that I would be able to recover everything I lost due to the crimes committed agaisnt me. But our legal system is not just and family court at least does not abide by the rule of law. The fact is that family court is a cesspool of crime. Indeed, in family court crime has become the normal way of working.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

More on Family Court Corruption

Stephen Louis Krasner again fights the good battle with his pen in Family Court Turns Blind Eye to Legal Abuse — Allowing Unethical Tactics to Play Out which discuses the insidious nature of corruption that all too often viewed as the norm in family court.
One of the big problems many parents and others have when encountering abuses of power by judges, lawyers and other players is they have nowhere to go for recourse or help — with every place they turn not wanting involvement or referring them elsewhere. Which begs the question as to where one looks for help and answers in having these institutions and players held accountable?

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Cost of Raising a Child

How much it costs to raise a child is directly, or at least should be directly, related to how much child support should be paid.

A study from the University of California (pay-walled unfortunately) from a few years back discusses just how difficult it is to determine what the cost truly is.

Personally I am in favor of child support even in cases where it is unfair to the payer as long as it benefits the children. Unfortunately, often child support money is taken by the parent receiving it and does not benefit the child or children.

In my case, I would estimate that 80-90% of the child support I paid did not benefit the children. Custody was joint but they were spending the majority of time with me. I was paying for all their health costs and providing them with an allowance.

An illustrative example is that when Spring on just a couple occasions paid for flowers that one of the boys would give his date for a dance (normally I paid all such expenses) she tried to make me pay for them. She simply could not tolerate that such an expense could come out of all the child support and alimony that she was receiving.

And of course in her whole life she never used a dime of her earned income to benefit the children.

It makes me sick just thinking about it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Family Court Corruption

I ran across Family Court Corruption — Lawyer and Judge Whistleblowers, a great article on Medium by Steven Louis Krasner, which discusses why corruption in the courtroom is so tolerated.
Hurdles to address areas of professional misconduct are many times insurmountable — due to many of the entities designed to investigate having been proven to be ineffective and shielded by a cumbersome process that filters out legitimate cases of wrongdoing.
Ultimately this creates a system where abuses of power and authority prosper at the expense of parents and children while sustaining an industry where profits appear to come before people.
As I have mentioned many times, the American Bar Association’s model rules for professional conduct, which most states have enacted, are extremely well written. They are just not followed much. It is rather like countries that have a great constitution and well written laws but are ruled by a dictator.

Corruption is in fact a type of crime where the criminals maintain a facade of being law abiding and ethical. Legal corruption is perhaps the most pernicious form of corruption because it subverts the very mechanism created to enforce the law and ensure justice. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Alimony Reform In Florida (Yet Again)

In the seemingly annual effort to enact alimony reform in Florida, once of the few states like Minnesota that allow for permanent alimony,  Florida Rep. Alex Andrade, who is sponsoring the 2020 reform bill, makes a compelling case for reform.
Lifetime alimony has created a culture of dependency; one ex-spouse can rely on another for monthly support until death. In 2020, our laws should focus on encouraging long-term self-sufficiency. 
Divorce is hard enough already. Contentious and expensive alimony battles only make matters worse, especially for children. 
The time is right to modernize Florida’s alimony laws and make the system fairer for families.
The idea that a person can leave a marriage and the other person is required by law o pay a massive amount of money to the them for the rest of the payers life is simply bizarre. Especially, as in my case, when the person receiving alimony was not the primary parent, a vocational evaluation determined they could make just as much money as the person paying, and they never contributed anything to marital assets, yet took more than half of them. To add insult to injury the person receiving alimony committed clear criminal actions.

It is simply wrong.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Alimony in Australia

In Australia 97% Of Divorcing Parents Avoid Court. Why?
One surely is that lawyers cost too much, so why involve them when the couple can sort things out for themselves free of charge?  Plus, at least some lawyers thrive by exacerbating the inter-parental conflict that already exists during divorce.  That makes feelings more conflicted and costs higher.
Which makes total sense. Unfortunately, it does not make the same sense in the United States because in the United States the financial "rewards" that can be obtained in family court are much higher. Let me explain. In Australia there is no such thing as lifetime alimony (alimony is technically called spousal support in Australia just like it is in Minnesota) and always rehabilitative even when awarded. And it it is rarely if ever given for more than two years. Think about it - the legal costs are just not worth the hassle or time. Nor is there an incentive to commit perjury and make false accusations like in the United States.

Too bad I was not born in Australia.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Facts

A fact is a thing that is know or proven to be true. However, people can disagree on facts. This can be for three reasons:


  1. Legitimate disagreement - sometimes one person may believe the evidence is strong enough for something to be called a fact, whereas others are more cautions. For example, some scientists accepted as a fact the existence of black holes before others.  
  2. Lack of information - If a receiver in a football game makes an amazing catch right on the out-of-bounds line one person may state he was in while another states he was out. However if, for example, the replay clearly shows he was out now both side will, or at least should, conclude he was out.  
  3. Partisanship - in this case facts do not matter. A person will state, and sometimes actually believe through self-delusion, that their opinion or desire is correct no matter what the facts are. 
In the book Killers of the Flower Moon, there is murder that was ruled to be a suicide. The victim, a member of the Osage people, was shot from behind in a manner that made it impossible that it was self-inflicted. Yet, the corner ruled it to be a suicide and law enforcement agreed. Facts in this case did not matter as the coroner, law enforcement and the government were all in cahoots to steal as much money from the Osage as possible. Committing homicide was just a tool for them. 

In my case, the evidence against Nelly Wince could not be more factual.  It cannot be legitimately refuted. It was ignored by Judge Mearly and the Lawyers Office of Professional Responsibility. The county attorney's office stated that the evidence did not matter because there is no law in Minnesota against lawyers lying and the term "fraud upon the court" does not exist in Minnesota statures. Both statements are clearly, even obviously, false. Why do all these people ignore or deny the facts? Same as with Killers of the Flower Moon. Money. A just family law system doesn't generate nearly as much money for those in the divorce industry as an unjust one.  And although those involved are not as likely to commit murder directly, they are responsible for far more murders and deaths than the perpetrators of crimes in Killers of the Flower Moon. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Bombshell

Recently I was in a hotel on a business trip in which S joined me. The TV was on playing Bombshell. The story depicts the sexual intimidation of Fox reporter Gretchen Carlson and others by Fox News chief Roger Ailes.  The intimidation included unwanted touching and asking the women to twirl so he could leer at their figures.

I could not watch the movie. Not because I do not sympathize with the women or because I believe Ailes is anything but a depraved sick person. I could not watch it for relative reasons.

Let me explain. Imagine you are walking down the street with a friend when a mugger appears. Your friend is punched in the arm and you are shot in the stomach and knee. The mugger flees and and crowd gathers around your friend offering sympathy and help. No one pays any attention to you. An ambulance quickly arrives, the paramedics jump out and assist your friend who is then taken to the hospital. You are left alone on the street. You drag yourself home, stitch your wounds and go back to work the next day. The knee injury makes you a cripple for the rest of your life. In the ensuing weeks, the media is all over what happened to your friend. Lawyers line up to help and eventually your friend receives millions in compensation. Everyone talks about how awful the experience was for your friend.  If you ever ask, What about me?" they say you just need to get over it and accept what happened.

That may sound unrealistic but how different is it from my experience? Not much.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Women Warriors

Probably the most prevalent sexist notion is that women are not fighters. Up until recently women were excluded by the draft and the only reason that changed is because a men's rights group sued to have it changed on the grounds of that it was discriminatory. Women's organizations lost forever a golden opportunity to show they believe in equality and not just putting women on top.

The idea that women cannot fight and should not be soldiers is patently ridiculous. Often is is said that women because they bear children should not be in the military. Well no one is arguing that women who are pregnant should be on the front line but likewise no one is arguing then men, who experience 70-89% of all sudden heart attacks, should be sent into battle while having a coronary. 

It is also argued the men are more fit for the military because they are on average physical stronger. Yet is is also true that women on average have greater physical endurance than men and endurance is probably a greater benefit in the military than raw strength. But the key phrase "on average" negates the whole argument as the average person does not join the military.

Historically there have been many women warriors. The Scythian culture was probably the best know given that even Plato knew and wrote about it. But my guess is that women fought far more than most people assume in ancient times. Our modern sexist ideas make any such evidence of women warriors easily dismissed as a one off (I'm looking at you Joan of Ark!) or simply ignored.

Nearly all combat death is the United States have been men. There is one shelter for battered men in the country vs. thousands for women despite the evidence that women are just as violent in relationships as men. Sexism hurts men just as much if not more than it hurts women.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

The Reality of Lifetime Alimony

From Oregon Alimony Reform comes real stories of the reality of lifetime alimony.

People always seem to underestimate just how unjust and unfair alimony awards are. Indeed in all but extreme circumstances, alimony is pretty sexist given that it is the man who pays 97+% of the time. Often the argument is that the woman stayed at home and raised the kids so therefore deserves alimony for her sacrifice. Firstly, that is in many cases like mine, simply not true. Secondly, why should a person continue to receive money post marriage for a career choice made during the marriage? Thirdly, if the court wants to reward a person for having less income during the marriage why do they not account for that at the time of the divorce?  Or does the court believe that women are unable to handle money so they need an income stream from a man rather than be responsible for a lump sum? Alternatively, maybe it isn't sexist at all. Maybe they court just wants to make sure that divorce stretches out as long as possible to maximize the amount of money flowing to the lawyers. I don't know which is worse.

It is hard not to be cynical.

One person on the Oregon Alimony Reform site wrote:
I was divorced in 2008 and we split our retirement funds 50/50, yet I have to pay indefinite alimony. I just don’t get it. When I retire I will probably have $2000/month from Social Security and $2000/month from my retirement fund. My ex-wife will probably be in the same situation. So I give her $2050/month and she has $6050/month total and I have $1950. Where is the fairness in that?
My wife ran a successful software consultancy business for several years, but just before we divorced she re-trained as a teacher. Our earning capacities are similar, but I have to pay to “support her in the lifestyle to which she is accustomed”, even though her full time income is sufficient for her to live a comfortable lifestyle and she could easily earn significantly more that she is earning today.