Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is Family Law a Masterful Scam? A Criminal Enterprise?

I thought I would reprint my response to a comment on my last post, which was on the issue of alimony reform, as I believe it deserves its own post here. Over the years, I have found some people to be so angry and bitter, after going through difficult experiences in the family law system, that they lose all sense of reality and become paranoid. I have thought about this again recently after reading my colleague, family law blogger Sam Hasler's post Paranoia and Divorce, which links to yet another very thoughtful post by British blogger Marilyn Stowe, Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster – but are you paranoid?

I have heard, read, and otherwise witnessed a surprising number of comments from prospective clients, litigants, and others, who seem truly to believe that the family law system is a corrupt, criminal enterprise. The comment below is a representative sample of that misguided belief. Following that is my response to the anonymous comment.

Anonymous said...
Reprint of blog on Boston Business Journal website in response to Lisa Van der Pool's article 9/18/09
"BBA BACKS BILL TO CAP ALIMONY" Take note. Senate bill 1616 seeks to do one thing and one thing only. That is, to keep the power to control your life, determine your future, and keep you under the jurisdiction of the courts until they feel they are done with you. Family law is a masterful scam not unlike TV wrestling. The lawyers and judges put on a great act in their pretend roles. But, the truth is they all belong to the same organization and they will never act on their own to stifle their own power to run the scam. Any legislator who doesn't act to stop it is an accessory to organized judicial crime. The Bar by seeking to give judges the power to determine alimony duration, knows that 1616 will rely on the honor of "his honor" who in the past has proven that he has no honor in the family court ring. They are all winking at each other because they know how easy it has been to pull the wool over the public's eye in the past. But when it comes to family law, "the emperor has no clothes".
Steven Ballard said...
Anonymous- most posts like yours I do not allow here. Since you make an ad hominem attack on all lawyers and judges in the family law system, rather than upon any single individual, I have allowed it to be published here, but only because it is representative of the response of so many who - though justified in being outraged - go over the top in their paranoia.

While there are very real biases and vested interests, family law is not a masterful scam or a criminal enterprise. People who are divorcing and fighting each other need to take responsibility for their own mistakes rather than simply blaming their lawyers and the system, and subscribing to inane, ridiculous conspiracy theories about lawyers and judges who are supposedly getting rich at their clients' expense.

Those who are in the legal system -especially including those within the most profitable, big law firms, firms which in fact do not even have family law sections, even as loss leaders, because they would be insufficiently lucrative -find comments such as yours to be laughable.

It's sad many people are so bitter that they actually believe this kind of conspiratorial crap. Many hate lawyers and judges so much that they can't even think straight, or examine basic facts.

One of those facts is that there are many very good people who work as divorce and family law practitioners and judges. Most of them in fact work very hard in a very difficult profession, dealing with very difficult people in contentious cases, and many of them also perform important pro bono work and public service in their communities, while generally earning modest incomes relative to others in the legal profession.

Change the law, improve the system, yes. But in your own individual cases, you should always take a good hard look in the mirror before assessing blame for problems in your own home.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Of Two Alimony Reform Bills, House Bill is Far Better

There are two competing alimony reform bills currently pending in the Massachusetts legislature: Senate Bill 1616 and House Bill 1785. The Senate bill, backed by influential members of the Boston Bar Association, essentially would preserve the status quo. It would merely add language to the statute so as to give judges the explicit ability to set a duration for alimony - i.e. to set a term of years, depending on the circumstances.

The Senate bill would indeed improve current alimony law in this limited way. But it would do far too little. In fact, the Senate bill would not be sufficient to bring Massachusetts out of the realm of the absurd. Even with the passage of this modest single reform in the Senate bill, Massachusetts would remain way outside the reasonable norms for alimony, as reflected by the laws in almost every - if not every single other - state in this country.

The House bill, on the other hand, would effect real reform that would bring Massachusetts alimony law into much closer alignment with the alimony law of other states, as it more closely reflects current conventional wisdom on alimony. The House bill would require alimony awards to reflect current economic and social realities. Thus it would be much less likely that outrageous alimony awards, which lead to illogical and unfair economic results, would continue to be regularly negotiated and ordered in our family courts.

The House bill is much more intelligent, reasoned, and has the support of the Massachusetts Alimony Reform organization. However, unlike the Senate bill, which is now backed by the Boston Bar Association, the much more sensible House bill has a broad base of support beyond the most directly affected interest groups - that is, both those interest groups that have been formed by opponents of the current law, and associations of attorneys who would be more inclined to preserve the status quo. And that is why House Bill 1785 is already cosponsored by a very diverse group of 72 legislators, "liberal" as well as "conservative."

Please read both bills (see links above), and tell your House and Senate representatives which bill you favor. For more on this, see Bar association wades into divorce law spat - Boston Business Journal.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Baucus Bullshit

Well, now we know: Baucus outlines health plan without GOP support - AP/Yahoo News. The Max Baucus Plan is awful.

Actually, the Max Baucus Plan Sucks. Well, I'd use even stronger words than that. Baucus Bullshit, I'd call it.

It would cost $856 billion, but some $500 billion of that cost would be paid out of cuts to Medicare. The plan, which would have no public option, would do next to nothing to cut costs, next to nothing to provide competition or otherwise to reduce stealing and killing by the health insurance mafia. In place of the old Kennedy bill, which would have cost much less, at about $600 billion, and which would have had a public option, the "Democrat" Max Baucus has been crafting this crap for the health insurance industry.

And that industry is the only entity that should be happy with it. In fact the industry is directly responsible for it. It comes as little surprise to me that it was actually a former vice president of WellPoint, now working for Baucus, who penned this Bullshit. See The Max Baucus WellPoint/Liz Fowler Plan

Under this plan, in a manner similar to that of the Massachusetts system ushered in by Mitt Romney, the middle class would be forced to buy health insurance from the health insurance mafia - if ineligible for employer-sponsored health insurance - or it would be financially penalized. Far from being "socialistic" this legislation would force individuals to pay too much for crappy coverage directly to the health insurance mafia. It would be like a tax requiring citizens to pay money not to the government, but to a private racket.

Meanwhile, we should expect this same health insurance racket to continue paying out only between 55 to 80 percent of the money it collects from us in premiums to pay claims, while in constrast, the supposedly inefficient government Medicare and Medicaid programs pay out around 95 percent of their funds for actual medical care. The health insurance racket, with the help of its lackeys in Congress, wants us to allow it to keep sucking up 20 to 45 percent of our money for administrative costs and profits, while doing nothing effective to bring overall medical costs down.

Well, I did not expect much more from our Congress. If this passes, in anything like the present form, we will have a "Democratic" bill that truly sucks, and the Republicans will later easily be able to show that it sucks, and then blame the "left" for wasting money on a program that screws the middle class yet again and does nothing to solve any problems. Not enough people will notice that it was the health insurance mafia that brought all this about. Instead they will believe the health insurance racket's propaganda, through the voice of the Republican Party, that it is the "left's" fault.

Machiavelli must be smiling.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Huffington Post on Health Care

More good stuff on the health insurance racket's attempt to prevent even the first step towards its own demise can be found in some recent articles in the Huffington Post. I have my doubts about the emasculated reform legislation that is pending, and am still quite angry that our supposed liberal, alleged representatives in Congress have refused to fight hard for a single-payer system, but if the currently pending health care reform bill, with a true public option, ever sees the light of day, there would indeed be a sliver of hope that eventually we will all have the single-payer system we need, and the health insurance racket would thus end up every bit as dead as the many patients who are now its daily victims.

It is interesting that a majority of doctors support a public option. Majority Of Doctors Back Public Option: New England Journal Of Medicine Study. Makes sense. And to that I say: Why can't we just take it one step further with a single-payer plan. We can't we just pay our doctors for care? Why do we have to pay the health insurance mafia as well?

Economist Dean Baker has predictably intelligent comments on the big government "conservatives" who serve the interests of the health insurance racket while pretending to do otherwise. Dean Baker: The Public Plan Option and the Big Government Conservatives

And finally, although not so recent (this one's from June) here's the following article, about the health insurance mafia. It's an oldie but goodie: Bob Cesca: The Health Insurance Mafia Deserves a Good Screwing

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Health Insurers Have Won Again - Of Course

Well, it seems pretty clear that the health-care "reform" bill will be a joke. Even if it were to have a public option, it would still be a joke, but without one, there will continue to be little to no hope that after several decades of struggle, paralleling the career of our late Senator Ted Kennedy, the good people of this country will ever have a humane and decent health care system.

Of course what we have needed for a long time is a single-payer system, privately delivered - by some of the best medical providers in the world - but publicly financed. It has been very interesting, and ironic, to see that some of the most vociferous supporters of the health insurance racket are in fact older individuals on medicare. All we need is to expand medicare to cover everyone - thus eliminating the waste, greed and inefficiency of the health insurance racket - and then we could join the ranks of the other rich, and not-so-rich, countries, that have long ago created humane health care systems.

But the writing was on the wall a long time ago. In early August, Business Week already reported that The Health Insurers Have Already Won ("The Health Insurers Have Already Won; How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit").

Our supposedly liberal Congressional "leaders" from Massachusetts, which has not a single Republican in Congress, were complete wimps and sounded like it when they wimped out on the issue of a single-payer system. "We don't have the votes," they said, in explaining why they would use their own votes, and clout, in a way to insure that we don't have the votes. Pathetic. Shame on you, Kerry, Frank et al. Your "efforts" should be chronicled in "Profiles in Cowardice."

With "liberal leaders" like these pretending to fight the cause for us, it is no wonder that we the people will once again lose to the health insurance racket, which continues to control Congress, along with all the other corporate lobbies. Whatever shitty bill is eventually passed will simply change our course in an insignificant manner, and the big problems will remain. We will continue to be plagued with an insane health insurance racket and the US will continue to be a place where barbaric social and economic inequality and injustice for the benefit of the rich will be the norm. Brave New Films tells the sad story:

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.