Archive for category Mental Illness

An Argument For The History Books

Wile E Coyote off cliff

In my opinion, you shouldn’t make shit up!

Am I being too judgmental? Am I blowing things out of proportion?

You decide.

From The Washington Post:

Conservative scholars are saying that legalizing same-sex marriage will cause 900,000 abortions.

I hate getting news about Utah from national publications. I probably missed the coverage here, but I’m so tired of being made into a laughing stock when this stuff gets out. Would I be wrong to say that contortions of reality might be encouraged by trying to get the bible to say what you want it to say.

This guy is a lawyer. Maybe he’s tried to get one too many contracts to say what he wanted them to say for the sake of winning a case. My guess is that he used to work for supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, who can make any ruling conform to his political objectives. Even Scalia wouldn’t have come up with anything THIS stupid, but “Bush vs Gore” definitely made the history books as a landmark American slump in logic.

Who are these “100 scholars of marriage”? They can’t all be from Utah.

A video rebuke:

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Now I’m Really Upset About Daylight Savings!

That’s it!

This is just crazy!

Daylight savings time is one of my pet-peeves, because it seems like a totally unnecessary annoyance in our increasingly annoying existence. Just one more thing to elevate my blood pressure. This morning, I was watching a program I like on CBS, because it’s not as angering as almost everything else you can see on the public airwaves. It’s called “CBS This Morning” and it usually features interesting stories from almost anywhere that tend to make you feel good.

If I hadn’t called my mother last night, I would have missed the first hour of the show because I wouldn’t have remembered to set my clock forward for daylight savings.

Today’s show included one of those little factoids that you sometimes get before a station break. It said that Benjamin Franklin had originally introduced the idea of daylight savings time for the purpose of saving candles.

I always understood the time was changed to make it easier for farmers somehow, but my mom, who also dislikes daylight sayings time and grew up on a farm, says the only thing it did was confuse the cattle twice a year.

Well, the candles don’t seem worried, the cattle are still confused, and so am I.

Maybe somebody in the congress can tell us why we still do this, but I, seriously, doubt it. What could he/she possibly say?

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Best Political Cartoon of the Last Forty or Fifty Years

Modern “conservatives” pull over “the thinker”.

thinker

Says it all, don’t ya think?

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Anthem For The White Cry Babies

I don’t watch them, but from the little I’ve been forced to see while at the grocery store, I’d say this includes the fake reality referred to as “The Duck Dynasty”. I don’t care if you got your creds from the Jerry Springer show or get a million, making your own country look foolish; white trash will always be what it is, and nobody will ever stop assholes from having opinions.

I hate having to write that last paragraph, because – well – I’m an old white man and I feel I’m getting blamed for turning this country into a worldwide farce, when I’ve done a lot to try and stop it.

Personally, I prefer to pay attention to attractive young people with new ideas, but instead I get these bearded, stinking, fakes who are out for a buck and getting helped by – of all things ; The Arts and Entertainment channel?

Jesus! Help us now!

The Anthem: 😀

Personally, I believe the loss of Ted Nugent’s reality show left a terrible void which had to be filled with…

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Jason Chaffetz Presides On Viral C-Span Video

I had to put this video up on OneUtah, because it’s all over the internet, might have set a record for a C-Span broadcast going viral and features one of our own. I respect the fact that representative Chaffetz didn’t try to lie, gavel or shout down Chris Van Hollen, even though he was forced to verify, multiple times, that the congressional body he was elected to, did something surreal.

Some must have seen this on C-Span and aren’t being tabulated on the YouTube site, however, the exchange between the representatives has only been posted for three days on YouTube and has already picked up over 2,500,000 viewings. Probably more then any cat video to date, but I’m not sure.

If this exchange is being played by any American television news organization, I would be stunned.

Glenden just put up a post which links to an article by Eric Idle, where he says:

If one party can shut down the government, then the social compact to rule is broken.

Actually Eric, it’s just one man. My apologizes to our long time friend, England.

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The Republican Base is the Identified Patient in our National Family System

The American right has transformed from conservative to reactionary to revanchist in an incredibly short period of time.  Today’s Republican base voters feel a toxic mix of anger, frustration, and isolation.  The general perception of America outside their communities is almost entirely negative.  They are keenly aware of themselves as the last holdouts against a rising tide of racial pluralism and cultural tolerance.  The forces at work are complex, but at the same they are the same enemies liberalism has always opposed – the forces of social order which presume that some people are ‘more equal’ than others.  Today’s Republican party has been transformed from a political party to a fundamentalist movement with all that implies about in group and out group dynamics; organized around the ideas of Constitutional purity, American exceptionalism, and traditional culture, this political fundamentalism movement is motivated by fear, anger and loss.

On October 3, Democracy Corps published Inside the GOP, their findings from a series of focus group discussions with Republicans.  They identified the GOP’s three key constituencies – evangelicals, Tea Partiers and moderates and held focus groups in various cities around the country. The memo as a whole makes for depressing reading – it describes a group of Americans who see themselves as socially, culturally and political isolated, a faithful remnant fighting to restore the America they understand and value against a devious and largely victorious enemy.  The average member of the Republican base feels besieged, angry and frustrated.  Their sense of isolation within contemporary culture cannot be overstated.  Tellingly, the members of the focus groups reported that the focus group time was a unique experience of being around like-minded people: Read the rest of this entry »

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Mass Shootings and Mental Illness and Life and Death

At Freethoughtblogs, Ashley Miller wrote:

But I’m asking you–begging you, really, to not decide that Lanza had a mental illness. I’m asking you not to make “being a good person” the standard for mentally healthy.

Do not try to rationalize this away with mental illness. Stop talking about how it could have been schizophrenia, stop saying he had to have mental health issues. You do not know.

All of which is reasonable.  She expands her argument:

I don’t want them [people with mental illnesses] torn up with worry that they could be the next shooter, to isolate themselves because they ‘could be dangerous’. I don’t want their friends to worry for their lives. People with mental illness are four times as likely to be the victims of violence. They are more likely to suffer than perpetrate.

You want to care for the living? You want mental health care to be better? Stop making mental illness the scapegoat. You are causing stigma. You are making it harder. You are part of the problem. If today, seeing a therapist was free, treatment was covered as long as it was needed, do you think everyone who needed it would go? If the dominant narrative is that only ‘crazy people’  shoot schoolchildren?

I worked in a research lab developing and testing therapy for schizophrenia when I was 18, where in part, I interviewed participants and tagged along on treatment sessions. To this day, when I mention it–one of the best experiences of my studies–the common reaction is to ask about my safety. My safety from people who patiently let a teenager ask them incredibly personal questions for hours, who let me into their homes and lives. People with mental illness are not inherently dangerous. These attitudes are.

All of which I agree with.  Stigmas about mental illness often prevent people from seeking treatment.  Our mental health care system doesn’t work.  But . . .

The argument cuts both ways though.  The stigma around mental illness means people don’t seek treatment when they should so at least some folks who are mentally ill end up doing horrible things, which creates even more stigma.  Even people who have actual diagnoses often can’t get treatment.  Lots of people who should receive treatment, and get a diagnosis, don’t get it.  So Adam Lanza may well have had an undiagnosed mental illness, which means he got no treatment, simply because our mental health care system operates so poorly.  We can’t say, “Oh we was mentally ill.”  But it’s also fair to argue our system works so poorly that even if he were mentally ill, he probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed or received treatment.

For me, there’s a struggle between recognizing that clearly someone who commits a mass shooting is not in their right mind and knowing, as Ashley Miller argued, that I can’t know that they’re mentally ill.  The what ifs are vast and varied – otherwise psychologically healthy people can do extreme and even shockingly immoral things under the right circumstances.  That’s the whole point of Philip Zimbardo’s book The Lucifer Effect.  Zimbardo takes the metaphor of the bad apple and flips it around – what happens when you put a good apple into a bad barrel.  To put it more simply, someone like Adam Lanza could be entirely psychologically healthy but immersed in a situation so toxic that his moral choices are distorted by it.  People who are abused – physically and pyschologically – are affected by it.

Years ago, I was told that by a psychiatrist friend that many mental health professionals consider someone who is suicidal mentally ill by definition – wanting to your end your life is regarded as evidence of a mental illness.  Someone who commits suicide by cop or someone who guns down others then themselves, that certainly seems coherent with evidence of some sort of mental illness. And yet, even that behavior may not be evidence of authentic mental illness.  Back in the day, crowds would gather to watch lynchings and have a picnic with the kids in the shade of the tree while the victim was strung up and choking to death in its branches.

In a case like the mass shooting at Newtown, there are multiple tragedies playing out and multiple systemic failures – everything from lack of adequate gun licensing laws to a dysfunctional mental health care system to a culture which valorizes guns and redemptive violence.  In a very real sense, blaming mental illness is simplistic.  Dorothy Otnow Lewis documented the histories of many convicted felons and found that many of them were victims of severe abuse, suffered from the after effects of abuse and many had physical injuries which impaired their abilities to make decisions and predict outcomes of their actions.

By itself, if the Newtown shooter was mentally ill, by itself that’s not enough to lead to a mass killing.  Other things play a role as well.  It’s difficult for me to look at the shooter’s actions and not believe he was almost by definition mentally ill, but even if he were, that doesn’t mean he was also dangerous.

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Republicans Uncover A UN Plot to Conquer the US Using Bike Paths

You may not have caught the passage in the Texas GOP platform:

United Nations Agenda 21 -The Republican Party of Texas should expose all United Nations Agenda 21 treaty policies and its supporting organizations, agreements and contracts. We oppose implementation of the UN Agenda 21 Program which was adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992 purporting to promote a comprehensive program of sustainable development projects, nationally, regionally and locally. We oppose the influence, promotion and implementation of nongovernmental organizations, metropolitan and/or regional planning organizations, Councils of Government, and International Council for Local Environmental initiatives and the use of American (Texas) citizen’s taxes to promote these programs.

On the American right, paranoia about the UN is old hat.  Whether it’s imaginary schemes to take over America using UN treaties or steal our children by imagining they have rights, the UN is a favorite bogeyman.  So what is this sinister Agenda 21?

Jim Galloway:

 Agenda 21 is also known as the“Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,” and was adopted in 1992 at a conference in Brazil.

In most languages, the report is a vacuous U.N. document that declares the need for a “sustainable” world environment.

Okay so?

But to a certain segment of those who speak Republican, it is a secret declaration of war.

At the state GOP convention in Columbus last month, delegates overwhelmingly condemned Agenda 21 as an attempt to “outlaw private property and redistribute wealth.”

At a debate in Paulding County two weeks ago, state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, criticized Republican challenger Bill Carruth for labeling Agenda 21 a mere “conspiracy theory.”

“It’s not a conspiracy. This is the real McCoy,” said Heath, in dead earnest. “Their vision is to essentially conquer the world through limiting everything we do, incrementally taking our liberties away from us.”

Revolution through rezoning and land-use restrictions, in other words. In these circles, “sustainability” is no longer a friendly word.

Hat tip to Ed Kilgore.  Agenda 21 is apparently cropping up in Republican platforms all over the country (I’m afraid to read Utah’s!).  Let’s review.  20 years ago, a bunch of delegates at a UN conference adopted a largely boilerplate document in favor of sustainability.  I doubt any one has given it much thought since then.  Now, tea baggers all the country are worried that the UN is behind a sinister plot to take over the US using bike paths and zoning ordinances.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

 

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It’s Just a Cartoon, Right?

The best animations I’ve ever seen have come from an international site called Futureshorts.com.

Disquieting media to say the least, but you may recall that some of the most horrifying stories ever told in books were for children.

This one is from Germany, where people might know something about the ill effects of unbridled capitalism:

Has a good ending which points here, but I don’t speak German even though I’m half German. I DO know that Germans are innovators in green energy. We could have been, but that’s the way things go.

Don’t know where this one’s from, but sleep well:

Update: Just happened on this tonight. Could self-bridled capitalism be taking root? Take a look at this video and visit the site of this business. I don’t think Willie Nelson would have offered his services if this weren’t real:

There is a long history of greedy businesses catering to our green sensitivities – BP comes to mind -, but I’m certainly going to check this out.

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The background aspect of gun control

Today, there was an officer near Virginia Tech who was shot and killed by a gunman while hours later, there was another dead body near VT. As we all know, Virginia Tech was the college where the deadliest one man massacre in the US took place. In regards to the recent shooting, it’s hard to ignore the massacre that took place in 2007 and see what we learned from it. What did we learn? A few things. For one, multiple clips are bad. That was the biggest issue and states like Utah ignore that lesson. But the issue about gun control is an issue that has been done to death, but there is one issue that everyone ignores. The advocates at the NRA ignore it, the people who are for gun control ignore it, everyone ignores it and it may be the single most important topic in gun control: Mental Health.

 

In a society where killing sprees are common, it’s surprising that the issue of mental health is never brought on the table. Seung-Hui Cho was someone who was considered insane. His psychological profile spans from threats, to counselors who viewed him as a threat to the public. Then four years later, a guy named Jared Loughner went on a shooting spree. What was the difference? Surprisingly not a lot. Both used a 9x19mm round, both were semi-auto-pistols, both had no intention of living, but more importantly, both bought guns legally, both passed a background check and both were insane. Now it’s kind of contradicting what gun advocates say. They say that guns should only be in the hands of law-abiding citizens and yet when I propose the idea of a sturdier background check, they are not too thrilled with that idea. But when we live in a society where civilians can have guns, then it’s important to make sure that guns do not end up in the hands of people who are mentally unstable or willing to use the weapon to hurt the innocent. The most important similarity between Loughner and Seung-Hui is that both had warning signs of their instability and yet they both passed a background check to get a concealed weapon that neither should have had in possession.

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GOP Frontrunner Newt Gingrich is a Lying, Racist, Adulter Pig: Why Republicans Suck!

This guy is seriously a sick pig. More disgusting is that he leads the 2012 Republican presidential candidates. His recent statements about poor kids are factually untrue.

Fuck Leroy Newton Gingrich.

Fuck Newt

Fuck Newt

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Bill Maher on Beating the Rich with a Stick

What can be said about Bill Maher but that he is the truthsayer of our time.

Bonus: The Reason Why Liberals Don’t Like Bachmann & Palin

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