Thursday, September 11, 2008

A is for Alienation

By now most people have heard about the Parental Alienation saga between Alec Baldwin and his Ex-Wife, Kim Basinger.

The New Yorker recently did a profile piece on Alec Baldwin that included a few paragraphs regarding his views on He and Basinger's divorce and her campaign to alienate their daughter from him. Baldwin offers some particularly good insight on the topic:

In 2002, after a period of improvised custody-sharing, Basinger and Baldwin entered litigation—Basinger now equipped with a lawyer whose name evokes, in Baldwin, a desire to find an insult that outperforms all earlier insults he has thrown at the man. In various venues and, eventually, in open court, the parties argued about Baldwin’s access to his daughter. Baldwin has many complaints about the family-law system, and some record of this is in “A Promise to Ourselves,” his forthcoming book, but his primary focus is what he regards as a simple injustice: he hoped to have a reasonable share of his daughter’s time, and his ex-wife and her representatives were able to thwart him, in various ways, for years, in part by reference to behavior traits—or failings—that had not disbarred him from fatherhood when he was married. (So, for example, in 2002 Baldwin agreed to attend a course of twelve anger-management sessions. At the time, he was shooting “Second Nature,” in London. He remembers standing on the street after the last session “and just sobbing that they had put this enormous obstacle in my way and I had succeeded.”) When I asked Baldwin if he could have made the process smoother or quicker, he bristled: “That’s where the thing gets twisted around to where the persistence of the father to want to have enforcement of his parental rights is viewed as abusive and aggressive—pathological behavior. ‘All of our problems would go away if you would just back off. Why can’t you just back off? You’ll see the kid when I tell you that you can see the kid.’ ”

Some mental-health professionals employ the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to describe a condition in children damaged by one parent’s propaganda about the other. (It’s not formally recognized as a psychiatric disorder.) But “parental alienation” is also used in a looser, less clinical way—as Baldwin uses it—to refer to the mere daily flow of parental undermining. “Parental alienation is about people who narcissistically project their whole reality onto a child: ‘I don’t need you, so the child doesn’t need you,’ ” he said. “And what you ultimately realize is the clock that they’ve been running out is childhood itself. The kid goes from five to six to eight. Kids have school, they have friends; the next thing—my daughter is twelve. They have no use for either of their parents when they’re twelve. And you’ve missed everything. You’ve gotten only these little time-lapse things. The goal of the alienating parent is to kill contiguous time. People need reliability. They need regularity. And I’ve been a victim of a campaign to kill all that. You wind up being more an uncle than a father.” Sometimes, in order to have lunch with Ireland, Baldwin flew to California in the morning and flew back overnight, to be at a rehearsal the next day.

Baldwin did keep working after the breakup...

...But he says that he was distracted, in his professional life, by the struggle over his daughter. “Think I’m walking stiffly?” Baldwin asked me not long ago. “Yeah, there’s a hundred-and-twenty-pound actress on my back.”

“I used to be so upset,” he said. “I used to be consumed. It ate me alive.”

The high profile nature of this case offers us excellent insight into the family court system.

In short, the very nature of a man and a father, wanting desperately to spend time with his own children, is used against him as "proof" that he is "controlling" and "abusive."

I've never been a Baldwin fan, and his highly partisan, Pro-Democrat slant and outspoken take on political issues prior to his divorce saga have not endeared him to many folks. But I am curious to see if he somehow manages to make the connection between the severe injustice he's suffered at the hands of the very divorce laws that are part and parcel to the Democrat agenda.

Wonder if he ever connects Joe Biden and his anti-male/anti-father/anti-family legislation with the type of injustice he himself has been subjected to by an unscrupulous woman using all of the resources created by such legislation in the first place?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

M is for Men, and Millionaires

Saw a news item from The Star Ledger at NJ.Com, and just immediately, immediately felt the hot breath of institutionalized misandry... ... Let's start with the title:

Judge dismisses millionaire's suit against his former wife

Now, in the case in question, we have a severely alienating former wife (how severe? try claiming to your kids that your ex has hired a hit-man to kill you), who has traveled across state and country lines to hide herself and his children in a friendly venue.

What venue did she choose? Three guesses, and the first two don't count:

New Jersey.
New Jersey.

and the one that counts:

New Jersey.

But what is the headline? It is about this RETIREE man's 'millions', not about the kidnapper's flight across borders, her lies, or her choice of venue.

Hello! First of all - it is misandrous to look at a case of kidnapping and alienation, and make the title about the supposedly deep pockets of one of the parties. If the woman had millions (and if we look at the settlement, it seems she does) we wouldn't be mentioning those in the title (and we don't).

Second of all - it is misandrous to look at a retiree, and call him a millionaire. If I were at retirement age, and had a house to my name and the assets necessary to keep me in some form of comfort for the rest of my life (kind of the definition of 'retirement') I would be... ...A MILLIONAIRE... (oooh-aaaah). Houses here in NJ, and also in many parts of Canada easily go for half a million, and that is just for your generic, middle-of-the-road house. So there is half your mil there. Now just look at what our putative millionaire needs to make it through the rest of his life. Imagine he lives 10 years. 50K x 10 years = another half million. And that isn't a rich lifestyle, or even allowing for inflation. And would they be mentioning these 'millions' if we were talking about a woman? No, we'd be talking about the man who stole his children and fled across state and international borders.

Third of all, it is particularly misandrous to look at a man in court, and particularly pick up on his net worth. Men go to work, they earn money. It's what they do. You might as well make a big deal about a seagull flying, or a mole burrowing. But apparently men with money, men earning money, men working to earn money, and men trying to keep the money they earned are all wrong/evil, and so that becomes the headline, not the Canadian kidnapper with the 11-odd million in Canadian Dollars who fled to the US/New Jersey.

The article gives us some background, so the writer (Margaret McHugh) did her homework, thank you very much, and perhaps we can blame the editor for the misandrous title.

But the article also reminds us of how much we have lost:

"New Jersey law simply does not allow recovery for the causes of action Segal asserts," [judge] Rand wrote, citing the 1935 Heart Balm Act that abolished causes of action for alienation of affection.

Nowadays, a man can be divorced without cause, and without recourse, and becomes subject to the theft of his children, half his assets or more, his future income, plus (of course) child support, and he cannot, under any circumstances, raise the behaviors/actions of his ex-wife in court and hope to win compensation.

The bias fairly drips from Judge Rand's pen:

Even if the Heart Balm Act didn't govern, Rand wrote he would have thrown out Segal's civil case anyhow because Segal failed to show Lynch's actions rose to the level of intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

"If Segal has become emotionally estranged from E.S. and W.S., it is, to a large degree, the result of his own actions and not because Lynch 'intentionally and maliciously' poisoned their relationship," Rand wrote in the 29-page decision.


Rand criticized Segal for continuing "to file highly-publicized, vindictive and baseless lawsuits against the children's mother."

Let's see - claiming to your children that their own father hired a hit man to kill you? Running across state and national boundaries to hide so that a private investigator must be paid to even find you and the children you abducted? Nope, no reason to assume anyone was harmed there. No basis, no basis at all.

And part of the article is about how the husband filed the suit in an unusual court - but no wonder:

Last month, Family Court Judge Thomas Weisenbeck dismissed Segal's attempt to cut her spousal support, saying Segal made the same unsuccessful arguments in Canadian courts, and he ordered him to pay her $7,000 legal tab.

The husband already has seen what FAMILY courts in NJ do at some length. You go to court, and pay the wife's tab AND yours, so you can lose.

Finally, way, way down in the article we see:

In 2005, a Canadian court awarded Lynch $11.1 million (estimated at $10.3 million in U.S. dollars) in spousal and child support. She received two properties that Segal contends grew in value and are worth far more than her award.

Interesting. We call the husband a 'millionaire' in the title of the article, but did we bother to look at the (stolen) net worth of the wife?

Finally, it might be worth noting that Segal never married Lynch.

That's right.

She stole his children, and 11.1 Million Canadian Dollars, plus legal fees, all for being a 'Common Law Wife'. Segal lived with Lynch for five years in Toronto.

That's right: five years of 'unmarried life' = 11.1 Million Canadian Dollars, plus the right to steal your children.

And here is what far too many men try to deny - not marrying your partner does not protect you from anythnig. The state has made any kind of long, middle, and even short term relationship with a woman a very dangerous proposition for men.

No wonder the marriage rate is in the can, and older women might as well try and piss up a rope as try and get hitched. No man with an ounce of fiscal sense is likely to gamble that this wife might not change her mind on a whim, and turn his 'golden years' into years of slavery, while stealing his kids.

And a big shout out of 'Congrats' to New Jersey for being the international venue of choice for alienating moms.

Well Done, Well Done Slytherin, I mean, New Jersey!

My best to you in your struggles.