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.