Saturday, June 25, 2011

My take on the Thomas Ball case

If you don't know the story by now, Thomas Ball is the New Hampshire man who set himself on fire on the courthouse steps and left a 15-page note outlining the abusive family court system and his reasons for killing himself. Many of you have emailed or commented about this case (thanks very much) here and I think his story is an important one in understanding the psychological and physical damage that the law is inflicting on men in this country. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Ball's statement that I think makes some very salient points:
I am due in court the end of the month. The ex-wife lawyer wants me jailed for back child support. The amount ranges from $2,200. to $3,000. depending on who you ask. Not big money after being separated over ten years and unemployed for the last two. But I do owe it. If I show up for court without the money and the lawyer say jail, then the judge will have the bailiff take me into custody. There really are no surprises on how the system works once you know how it actually works. And it does not work anything like they taught you in high school history or civics class.

I could have made a phone call or two and borrowed the money. But I am done being bullied for being a man. I cannot believe these people in Washington are so stupid to think they can govern Americans with an iron fist. Twenty-five years ago, the federal government declared war on men. It is time now to see how committed they are to their cause. It is time, boys, to give them a taste of war.

I saw over at Antifeminist tech blog that some are trying to cover up this story, while others, such as man-hater Amanda Marcotte said that Bell's goal was to use his fiery death to "make his ex-wife's life a living hell." This twisted "analysis" is hardly worthy of a response, but I will say that if Ball wanted to make his ex's life a living hell, killing himself was not the answer. The ex may not have even given a damn.

Rather, it seems that Ball was using his extreme way of committing suicide to make a more important point than revenge against an ex--that is much too simplistic and reductionist. Instead, it seems to me that he was trying to highlight the hypocrisy of a government that professed to be against oppression and discrimination but succeeded in neither when it comes to the male gender.

His statement is not the ramblings of a madman, it is the mission of a warrior in some sense. He was fighting for his rights and for yours, if you are male. He was trying to bring some urgency to the male plight in this country, one that no one appreciates or cares about until they are engaged in the battle of the courts. If you want to understand more about how men's rights are being stripped by family courts, take a look at Stephen Baskerville's book Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family.

Mr. Ball's death should serve as a wake-up call to the men and their supporters in this country to continue to fight for equal rights in the area of marriage and family law.

Update: Commenter and blogger Assistant Village Idiot writes to Glenn:
I deal with that agency all the time, though not the children's services - I have for 30 years. They are entirely reasonable people who make adjustments and accommodations for people who don't like them or are suspicious of them all the time. Hell, they are a mental health center, so most of their clients are difficult and suspicious. They are not some Orwellian controlling agency. Ball decided that being pissy and proving that he was right about one incident ten years ago was more important than seeing his daughter. He's no victim.

Family courts may indeed be prejudiced against fathers - I hear that, but I don't know. I've certainly dealt with many cases of NH courts ruling in favor of fathers in custody disputes, though, and I don't see a massive trend here. It pays to remember that MFS cannot tell its side of the story because of confidentiality, and that some pathological people hide by trying to tie themselves to legitimate causes. Wolves hide in sheep's clothing, because it doesn't do any good to hide in wolves' clothing, does it?

This has not been my experience in the family courts. I have seen men denied custody, charged for domestic violence for the "crime" of spanking or slapping a child, and denied child support enforcement. It may be different in New Hampshire.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

How a hobby grew into a $100M business

I am reading a new book by CD Baby creator Derek Sivers entitled Anything You Want. The book boasts "40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur." And indeed, Sivers is one of a new breed. He chronicles his own experience going from starting up CD Baby to help his friends sell their CDs online to turning it into the largest seller of independent music on the web.

Sivers has some rather unorthodox advice that frankly, looks refreshing. When his company grew to fifty employees, business-to business services told him he needed an "official review plan, sensitivity training, Terms and Conditions postings, and all this corporate crap." He said "no" to all of it. His advice? "As your business grows, never let the leeches sucker you into all that stuff they pretend you need."

He talks about the strength of many little customers and suggests you design your business to have "NO big clients, just lots of little ones. When you build your business on serving thousands of customers, not dozens, you don't have to worry about any one customer leaving or making special demands."

Overall, this seems to be a great little book if you are an entrepreneur with your own business or aspiring to be one.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

John Hawkins interviews Ann Coulter about her new book, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America. I have read part of the book and I must say that Coulter has some fascinating points about mass psychology and how it is used to incite mobs.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

USNews.com: "One fifth of all men of prime working age are not getting up and going to work."

While this number may be accurate, I wonder how many men are actually just working "off the books?" This seems pretty common--and I would guess that as the burdens on employers go up, more and more people will be joining the underground economy.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't get married in Massachusetts unless you make less than your future wife.

Forget the The First Wives Club, now it's the second wives (and higher earning women) who are upset. From the The Boston Herald (via Instapundit):
Scanlon notes that current law, originally enacted to protect less-skilled women from being left destitute by husbands who walk out, reflects antiquated notions of a woman’s ability to earn a living in the 21st century.

Today, welfare laws reflect current expectations of self-sufficiency, allowing able-bodied persons to receive public support only temporarily. Yet, under Massachusetts divorce law, first spouses can collect alimony for life (even after the payer has retired) regardless of the duration of the marriage.

Thus, a man who earns more than his former spouse of less than five years may be forced to pay lifetime alimony, even if the ex is an educated 30-something fully capable of supporting herself.


It looks like the law may be changed but only because women might suffer from it as they may have to pay (gasp!) hundreds of dollars a week to an ex-husband like one woman in the story. A man mentioned in the story had to pay his ex $39,000 per year but somehow the only problem with that was that the second wife had to chip in when the law said her income had to be counted when the man was laid off. Yes, it's unfair that the second wife has to pay, but notice that when it was just the man, no one cared--maybe not even the man himself.

Now that these alimony laws are starting to affect women--both second wives and first wives who make more than their husbands, most likely the law will change. When men alone are being harmed, no such luck. If you want to protect yourself and see the law change, only marry a woman in MA who makes more than you. If divorced, sue for alimony. You just might get hundreds of dollars a week.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!