Category: Mental Health


Truer words were never spoken……..

Source: Media Matters| David Brock

TRANSCRIPT:

BROCK: This morning you released a video condemning your critics for highlighting the danger posed by the Right’s stoking of anti-government anger and violence. You attacked those who, like me, are concerned that irresponsible rhetoric could motivate troubled people to do the unthinkable. In your video you accused your critics of engaging in “blood libel” and inciting violence simply by speaking out against it.

I agree with you that the “monstrous act of criminality” committed this past weekend in Arizona stands on its own and that we as Americans are better than mindless finger-pointing in the tragedy’s wake. I also endorse your purported desire to “peacefully engage in the great debates of our time.”

Since early 2009, when the Right ratcheted up its attacks on President Obama and progressive policies, I have warned about the very real dangers of extreme anti-government rhetoric. Last October, I said on national television that the use of violent imagery creates a climate of fear, suspicion and paranoia that could lead to another Oklahoma City.

During the culture wars of the 1990s, right-wing extremists killed 168 people in Oklahoma City and terrorized hundreds of others in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park and at abortion clinics in the South.

On May 6, 1995, after the bombing, President Clinton said, “There is nothing patriotic about hating your government or pretending you can hate your government but love your country.”

This fall I was especially concerned with three assassination attempts directly linked to your ally and fellow Fox News contributor Glenn Beck.

Soon after, Beck poisoned Nancy Pelosi in effigy on his set, a man threatened to firebomb Pelosi’s San Francisco residence. The man’s mother said her son got all his ideas from Fox News.

In March, Senator Patty Murray received a death threat after voting to reform our nation’s health care system. The potential assassin said she had a target on her back and it would only take one bullet to accomplish his objective. Charles Wilson was arrested and convicted for repeatedly threatening to kill Murray. During the sentencing phase of his trial, Wilson’s cousin submitted a memo to the court arguing for leniency.

The cousin wrote:

“What happened later with Charlie is something I think I can understand. He became basically housebound due to illness and his small world became even smaller. His brother got him a computer and he was able to stay connected with family. And he watched television and found Glenn Beck…I found Glenn Beck about the same time that Charlie did and I understand how his fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck’s persuasive personality…While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out against a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy.”

Finally, in a jailhouse interview this summer, California gunman Byron Williams said he was inspired by Beck — whom he called his “schoolteacher on TV” — to try to assassinate the staff of a liberal philanthropic foundation in San Francisco.

When I publicly called on you to use your leadership position to tone down the rhetoric of Beck, Tea Party leaders and other right-wing radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, I also noted your use of phrases on the campaign trail such as “Don’t Retreat, Instead RELOAD.”

In response to my request, you made a deliberate decision to align yourself with Beck — you went on his radio show and said “I stand with you, Glenn” — and took no responsibility for your own words and actions.

Congresswoman Giffords, who is clinging to life in an Arizona hospital as I speak, did have something to say about your actions.

GIFFORDS (video clip): For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is, the way she has it depicted has the cross-hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that action.

Gabby voted for the three cornerstones of the Obama Presidency: the economic stimulus program, the health care legislation, and caps on carbon emissions. She opposed the draconian Arizona law aimed at illegal immigrants. Her opponent Jesse Kelly was a Tea Party extremist who said things like “we’re going to show them what a mob looks like.” Karl Rove and his allies ran hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV commercials to elect him and defeat Gabby.

In your video, you predictably blame the media for libeling you. My view is you and your right-wing conspirators have gotten off easy. Most in the press dismiss the import of your words as careless constructions or run-of-the mill political phrases, presuming you do not understand or mean what you say and do.

But I know what you do. We are just off a campaign cycle in which you and the Republican candidates you supported raised the prospect of armed revolt if Washington did not change its ways. Much of your message centered — like the Tea Party moniker itself — on imagery of armed revolution and existential clashes in which the freedom of our country is at stake. This is a lie.

You and Beck and Limbaugh pander to the margin of the margins, employing whatever words win you contributions or ratings, the consequences be damned.

Promoting anti-government extremism is your business. Without it you are nothing. And you know it.

Instead of posting videos in the dark of night, I challenge you to have the peaceful debate you say you want — with me — at the time and place and in the venue of your choosing.

Governor Palin, at this time of national mourning, you owe the American people a more honest explanation of your words and actions than the one you issued today.

Maybe then you could stop dwelling over your own PR troubles and join me in trying to prevent such a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

Watch Out: The World Bank Is Quietly Funding a Massive Corporate Water Grab

Source: By Scott Thill | AlterNet
Posted on November 2, 2010, Printed on November 3, 2010
 

Billions have been spent allowing corporations to profit from public water sources even though water privatization has been an epic failure in Latin America, Southeast Asia, North America, Africa and everywhere else it’s been tried. But don’t tell that to controversial loan-sharks at the World Bank. Last month, its private-sector funding arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) quietly dropped a cool 100 million euros ($139 million US) on Veolia Voda, the Eastern European subsidiary of Veolia, the world’s largest private water corporation. Its latest target? Privatization of Eastern Europe’s water resources.

“Veolia has made it clear that their business model is based on maximizing profits, not long-term investment,” Joby Gelbspan, senior program coordinator for private-sector watchdog Corporate Accountability International, told AlterNet. “Both the World Bank and the transnational water companies like Veolia have clearly acknowledged they don’t want to invest in the infrastructure necessary to improve water access in Eastern Europe. That’s why this 100 million euro investment in Veolia Voda by the World Bank’s private investment arm over the summer is so alarming. It’s further evidence that the World Bank remains committed to water privatization, despite all evidence that this approach will not solve the world’s water crisis.”

All the evidence Veolia needs that water grabs are doomed exercises can be found in its birthplace of France, more popularly known as the heartland of water privatization. In June, the municipal administration of Paris reclaimed the City of Light’s water services from both of its homegrown multinationals Veolia and Suez, after a torrent of controversy. That’s just one of 40 re-municipilazations in France alone, which can be added to those in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and more in hopes of painting a not-so-pretty picture: Water privatization is ultimately both a horrific concept and a failed project.

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Image Credit | AP Photo | Matt Rourke

 

Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay. 

 And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it. 

 Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable. 

 For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test developed by mesothelioma doctors like thoracic surgeon Dr. David Sugarbaker. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit. 

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not. 

Source: By Dave Edwards & Sahil Kapur | RawStory

Comedian and political commentator Bill Maher said Wednesday that President Obama’s insistence on courting Republican votes on his legislative priorities has weakened his presidency and the outcome of health care reform.

“I think the biggest mistake that he has made in his first year was to put bipartisanship ahead of fixing the country,” Maher declared Wednesday on MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann.

He said Obama should have “come  in with all the energy from the election and saying, you know what, we’re in a crisis mode, I won this election by a sizable mandate — here’s what we’re going to do; if you don’t like it, Republicans, you can suck on it.”

The host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher has for months skewered Democrats on his show as too timid and lacking the courage to fight for their beliefs. Last summer he famously said, “We don’t have a left and a right party anymore” because “Democrats have moved the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital.”

“They should have started with single payer,” he told guest host Lawrence O’Donnell. “It’s the one program that makes sense, but okay, we live in a country that doesn’t make sense… If they had started from that, then the fall-back compromise position would have at least been the public option,” Maher said, assailing Democrats for their ostensibly poor negotiation skills.

“I think [Democrats] wussied out on standing up [for] the things that were actually going to be cost-cutting,” said the controversial but popular comedian.

But he added that “a quarter-loaf is better than none” and the current package, while flawed and unlikely to save much money, will save lives and is worth passing.

The comedian said he was baffled that it’s acceptable for up to forty thousand people to die every year due to an inadequate medical system. “Can you imagine if that many people were dying in Iraq or Afghanistan — or a terrorist attack?” he asked.

Arguing that Democrats should have framed the debate to warn people who are satisfied with their health insurance that their premiums would surge, Maher alleged that “Democrats need to use fear the way the Republicans use fear.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday also critiqued the White House for not being forceful enough on health care and wasting months trying fruitlessly to recruit Republican support. Acknowledging Obama’s more aggressive posture in recent weeks, Sanders said the president has “finally got that message.”

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast March 10, 2010.

Over the weekend the N&O reported that Gov. Perdue wasn’t happy with the state’s probation and parole system, yet her budget cuts continue to target the state’s most basic, necessary services. Doesn’t she realize her actions have a trickle down effect? It’s time we face the facts, Perdue is putting the state in a very vulnerable place, with the burden of a costly future.

Gov. Bev Perdue said Sunday that fixing the state’s probation system remains high on her to-do list.

“I am not happy with where probation and parole, our state’s system, is today,” Perdue said Sunday. “I am happier than I was at this time last year. … It was a wreck.”

Perdue was responding to a report in The News & Observer that one of the probation system’s chief problems has worsened in the past year: 141 street-level positions for probation officers are vacant – up 32 from a year ago.

“It was a wreck”? Sorry but this is a simple case of the pot calling the kettle black. The number of state programs that ARE a wreck, due to ole’ Bev policies and budget cuts has grown exponentially. Moreover, as long as she and the state legislators continue with business as usual things will only get worse, much worse.

One example that comes to mind is Perdue’s narrow-minded, slash and burn approach to the state’s Mental Health system. Studies have shown repeatedly that mental illness and Crime go hand in hand.  A Harvard study in 2009, showed that nearly “Two thirds of prisoners nationwide with a mental illness were off treatment at the time of their arrest”. The study also found that “under-treatment of mental illness contributes to crime and incarceration”.

The study, published today online in the American Journal of Public Health, found that about a quarter of inmates nationwide had a history of chronic mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar illness and depression. Researchers analyzed data collected in 2002 and 2004 from local, state and federal correctional facilities.

Now, consider the recent case where a mother camped out at Wake County’s Crisis and Assessment Unit to make sure her son got the mental health treatment he needed. However, her 13-year-old son didn’t arrive at the unit with his mother, he arrived at the unit in the back of a squad car because he had assaulted his mother and his brother.  But wait, if that isn’t bad enough. 

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I have been reading Rob Brezsney (Free Will Astrology) for years. Today I ran across a great piece on him, in which he discusses his book Pronoia, being shot in the rear yet being lucky enough to have a 24 page poem “save his ass” and a “sacred totem” outside his bathroom window. If you don’t know him or his work, you should get to know him. I promise his horoscopes will leave you with that WTF, head-scratching feeling for hours. Consider mine for the coming week.

A reader calling herself Rebellioness collaborated with me to come up with five revolutionized approaches to the art of rebellion. I present them here for your use, as they identify the kinds of behavior that will be most nurturing for you to cultivate in the coming weeks. 1. Experimenting with uppity, mischievous optimism. 2. Invoking insurrectionary levels of wildly interesting generosity. 3. Indulging in an insolent refusal to be chronically fearful. 4. Pursuing a cheeky ambition to be as wide-awake as a dissident young messiah. 5. Bringing reckless levels of creative intelligence to all expressions of love.

See what I mean? But I do like the sound of  “experimenting with uppity, mischievous optimism” and hell who knows, I might just be good at it.

 
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Image: Dees | Rense

 Source: River Daughter

There’s so much going on in the USA that warrants attention these days that it’s hard to know where to start.  But, since I’m an economist I’m going to start here.

“There are families not eating at the end of the month,” said Stephen Quinn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Wal-Mart Stores, and “literally lining up at midnight” at Wal-Mart stores waiting to buy food when paychecks or government checks land in their accounts.

Among the steps Wal-Mart is taking to address the changes in shopping habits, Mr. Quinn listed an overhaul of the retailer’s private-label brand, Great Value, which is promoted in commercials describing how families can fix dinners with Great Value products “for less than $2 a serving.”

The really sad thing about this blurb is that I got it from the Media & Advertising section of the NY Times. It did not come from the op-ed page, it did not come from the business section nor the politics section.  It’s there because Walmart is having to work on its product mix to reflect hunger in those families living below the poverty living in one of the richest countries in the world –The United States–and I am deeply ashamed as a citizen of that country to read this anywhere STILL after all these years.

There’s been an academic discussion about the disconnect between what some of our nation’s statistics tell us is going on and the reality on the ground.  There was a conference this weekend to talk about re-working the way the nation calculates its GDP.  This is extremely important.  Because of globalization, we are most likely over stating our performance in way that is throwing off our policy targets.  We are losing per capita income from the lowest to middle quintiles and we are hemorrhaging well-paying jobs for our most vulnerable citizens.  They are not able to get enough to live on and they are not wealthy enough to buy health care insurance or to pay premium taxes to feed an already over-bloated, costly, and inefficient industry.

A widening gap between data and reality is distorting the government’s picture of the country’s economic health, overstating growth and productivity in ways that could affect the political debate on issues like trade, wages and job creation.

The shortcomings of the data-gathering system came through loud and clear here Friday and Saturday at a first-of-its-kind gathering of economists from academia and government determined to come up with a more accurate statistical picture.

The fundamental shortcoming is in the way imports are accounted for. A carburetor bought for $50 in China as a component of an American-made car, for example, more often than not shows up in the statistics as if it were the American-made version valued at, say, $100. The failure to distinguish adequately between what is made in America and what is made abroad falsely inflates the gross domestic product, which sums up all value added within the country.

American workers lose their jobs when carburetors they once made are imported instead. The federal data notices the decline in employment but fails to revalue the carburetors or even pinpoint that they are foreign-made. Because it seems as if $100 carburetors are being produced but fewer workers are needed to do so, productivity falsely rises — in the national statistics.

The most interesting thing about this is that the argument is that our workers supposedly have become increasingly more productive over the last decade or so. What we might be measuring are impacts from trade instead.  This goes a long way in explaining why the returns on labor (MRP or marginal revenue product) and the returns on capital are becoming so disparate.

The statistical distortions can be significant. At worst, the gross domestic product would have risen at only a 3.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter instead of the 3.5 percent actually reported, according to some experts at the conference. The same gap applies to productivity. And the spread is growing as imports do.

That may help to explain why the recovery from the 2001 recession was a jobless one for many months and why the recovery from this recession is likely to generate few jobs for many months.

In addition, more detailed import data would help to explain wage inequality, by linking some low wages more accurately to particular industries exposed to import competition.

On another front, many argue that labor productivity is rising faster than the pay of workers who made the greater productivity possible. That argument would be watered down if more accurate data showed that productivity had been overstated.

Just as more and more working class families fall into the cracks, we also have the latest sham of health care where families now struggling to make ends meet with face a tax if they don’t buy health insurance from overpriced insurance industry plans.  Let me point you back to a piece in Politico for this beauty.

Page 29, sentence one of the bill introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont) says: “The consequence for not maintaining insurance would be an excise tax.”

And the rest of the bill is clear that the Finance Committee does, in fact, consider it a tax: “The excise tax would be assessed through the tax code and applied as an additional amount of Federal tax owed.”

The bill requires every American, with few exceptions, to carry health insurance. To enforce this individual mandate, the Senate Finance Committee created the excise tax as a penalty for people who don’t have insurance – and it can run as much as $3,800 a year per family.

The House bill also refers to the penalties for not carrying insurance as a tax. It calls for a “tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage” and amends the tax code to implement it.

I have to ask what it is wrong with this country?  It seems to pushing its poor to the brink of destruction during a time of when its also funding (through direct funds and also extremely low interest rates) arbitrage profits for the already rich at places like Goldman Sachs.   We might as well just call them all Princes and call ourselves the new corporate serfs because we’re going to be paying for our indentured status for some time under what’s going on right now. We’re tithing for the benefit of huge financial institutions be they investment bankers, insurance, or mortgage brokers.   They’ve become the residents of the neoGothic cathedrals of the 21st century dark ages of America.  We’re back to ‘Still Hungry in America’ and this is ever so wrong.

Oh, meanwhile, via CNN breaking news:

The Dow hits 10,170 in intraday trading, its highest level in more than a year.

Image: Mike Lake | NiceMike.com

N.C. prosecutors decry erosion of the state’s mental health services

Source: By Michael Biesecker |  McClatchy Newspapers

North Carolina’s prosecutors say they are increasingly concerned about the erosion of state services for people with mental illness who are accused of crimes.

In a letter sent last month to Gov. Bev Perdue and her secretary of Health and Human Services, Lanier Cansler, the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys said its members are worried by a lack of available beds in the forensic unit at Central Regional Hospital in Butner. Evaluations are performed there to determine whether defendants are competent to stand trial.

The pre-trial evaluations have long been done at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, but the unit is set to move to Butner early next year.

“As North Carolina’s mental health system has evolved over the last decade, we have seen an alarming trend; forensic bed space has been significantly reduced, while the demand for pre-trial forensic beds has been increasing,” said the Oct. 19 letter, signed by 27 of the state’s elected prosecutors. “We feel that if this trend is not reversed, the criminal justice system, criminal defendants, and our citizens will suffer the consequences.”

Though the letter was sent more than two weeks ago, conference director Peg Dorer said Wednesday the group has not received any response from Perdue or her administration.

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An attorney and a stripper in a graveyard? Who’d a thunk it, just in time for Halloween kitties and did I mention I an truly beginning to be concerned about our neighbors, south of the border? But, I quess you could say the attorney and the stripper were paying each other respect ……the Viagra and sex toys came along for the ride, “just in case.”

A deputy assistant attorney general who said he was on his lunch break when an officer found him with a stripper and sex toys in his sport utility vehicle has been fired, his boss said Wednesday.

Roland Corning, 66, a former state legislator, was in a secluded part of a downtown cemetery when an officer spotted him Monday, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

As the officer approached, Corning sped off, then pulled over a few blocks away. He and the 18-year-old woman with him, an employee of the Platinum Plus Gentleman’s Club, gave conflicting stories about what they were doing in the cemetery, Officer Michael Wines wrote in his report, though he did not elaborate.

Corning gave Wines a badge showing he worked for the state Attorney General’s Office. Wines, whose wife also works there, called her to make sure Corning was telling the truth.

He then searched the SUV, where he found a Viagra pill and several sex toys, items Corning said he always kept with him, “just in case,” according to the report.

Read the entire story at Raw Story

Here’s part of the recent scoop from the Huffington Post regarding the continued push by Senate Democrats for a viable Public Option

President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan “triggered” into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks.

The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama’s presidential campaign. The man who ran on the “Audacity of Hope” has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up.

“The leadership understands that pushing for a public option is a somewhat risky strategy, but we may be within striking distance. A signal from the president could be enough to put us over the top,” said one Senate Democratic leadership aide. Such pleading is exceedingly rare on Capitol Hill and comes only after Senate leaders exhausted every effort to encourage Obama to engage.

Obama continues to disappoint supporters on this issue and I would say a strong benchmark/ trigger  for the passage of the Public Option has already been met. With, 47 million without Health insurance, people losing their coverage daily and the loss of life due to no healthcare. What else would Obama like to see to justify the Public Option, the bodies of the uninsured?

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