The world is
a bad place
A bad place
A terrible place to live
Oh but I don’t wanna die …
See answer here.
The world is
a bad place
A bad place
A terrible place to live
Oh but I don’t wanna die …
See answer here.
This has go to be the mother of all metaphors: Congress gives a standing ovation to the DC cops who ASSASSINATED an unarmed ’emotionally disturbed’ woman who was driving ‘erratically’ with a baby on board.
Our nation has been driven by our militarized police (by military policy), to a state of PANIC at the sight of any ERRATIC behavior from the public (our elected rats’ own erratic and perverse behaviors doesn’t instill fear and loathing, it instills only poverty and repression. See PS at end of post.). This is the same as the public being trained by the cops to be in FEAR AND TERROR of ANY emotionally disturbed people.
The PATHETIC show in DC of people been TOLD BY THE POLICE to run like hell because someone was driving erratically is truly offensive.
The only good thing emanating from this sad event is that it PUT THE FEAR in the hearts of our ELECTED RATS. We should take note of that.
The MISINFORMATION fed to the public in the first hours of this and every incident like this, is shaped to instill fear and loathing of mentally ill people.
It just so happen that
y to initial media reports that Carey had somehow tried to breach sensitive White House property, the checkpoint was a temporary “outer perimeter” fence, making it quite possible that Carey was confused and frightened as to why she was being stopped in the first place. The temporary checkpoint may have been part of a drill that was running simultaneously.”
People, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the new laws in the drawing table to deprive of their civil rights ANYONE with a history of psychiatric ‘treatment’. The media is making sure that events that in the recent past wouldn’t have been recorded by them are now blown out of proportion. For what purpose? Do I need to tell you?
We know that the NSA is SPYING on ALL Americans, so when you hear somebody talking ‘paranoid’ talk about been spied on by the government, PLEASE, DON’T CALL 911! It may be true!
So, finally, the mathematical formula here is:
mentally ill person = ritual killer = terror, and terrorists can only be controlled with indefinite imprisonment and more ‘medication’.
PS: if you are offended by my use of adjectives to describe our elected rats, I’m sorry you are still not offended by their betrayal and backstabbing the working class.
I just watched Obama’s press conference at the G20. He said so much…by implying; in other words, not directly.
1. At no point did he say that Syria posses a direct, not even indirect threat to the US. It was all about “protecting the international community”. That’s because Syria doesn’t pose a threat to the US, unless, suddenly, we find ourselves ‘attacked’ here with chemical weapons by some patsy. It’s the ONLY way he can get the people of the US to support his war. So, be wary of any false flags.
2. At no point did he say there was evidence about who did the attack. It was all “we are very sure” Assad did it. As Kerry said, “it’s undeniable”. “Sure” and “undeniable” are arguments with no evidence. They are worthless in a debate and shouldn’t be the excuse a war.
3. He said that the representatives of other nations agreed that “use of chemical weapons is a crime”. No one on this planet would disagree with that. But that doesn’t mean those reps are saying they agree with bombing Syria now.
4. Obama said he doesn’t need the UN to act. This is because he can’t say to the UN that Syria is a threat to the US. He has no excuse for the US to attack Syria, as Bush2 had to attack Iraq.
The US has never asked for permission to do its will around the globe. That’s why it’s an imperialist nation: it is not tied by international rules.
That’s why he just said here that “I was elected to end wars”. Somehow he feels that he is the president of the planet, elected by the world. I have heard tyrants make ego-maniacal excuses for their actions, but this one takes the cake.
The USA has no excuse to attack Syria, especially on its own. Just now he said that this attack is “unpopular” because “it seems distant.” That means that we, the US, are not threatened by Syria. That statement by him, “it seems distant”, is the smoking gun that Syria has nothing to do with us to justify spending trillions in an attack, killing millions of Syrian and a few thousand Americans.
The Noble Peace Medal-ed president is looking for excuses to force peace by waging war on the people of Syria. That peace medal has gone to his head, he thinks now, like De Caprio in Titanic, that he is the king of the world.
Keep the lies coming!
That’s in the NY Times. This is here, at the Citywide:
1. They admit they can’t avert REAL attacks; but they can ‘avert’ FAKE attacks made by ENTRAPMENT to mentally ill people and then send them for life to be tortured in our prisons.
2. They keep the tyrannical laws to spy and harass the regular citizen even though they can’t “avert” attacks. That’s the working definition of tyranny.
3. Even though they had follow those guys in Boston for MONTHS and “could not avert” the attacks, they continue to spy on your AMAZON online shopping for pressure cookers, and send the FBI and SWAT team to terrorize you with questions about why are you buying a pressure cooker and “what the hell is quinoa”. You gotta read the article about the pressure-cooker-New York ‘terrorist’. It’s truly MINDLESS. The FBI didn’t know what quinoa is and why that woman needed a pressure cooker for that. They thought quinoa is some kind of explosive!!
Today, our only heroes are Snowden and Bradley Manning. They have given their freedom and lives for US.
What are we going do now with that gift?
Today is the day when the US government, run by that peddler of ‘hope’ for big corporations, president BO, will send a message to YOU.
I’s NOT about that Hero of humanity,Bradley Manning.
It’s about YOU staying in your place, that big prison called ‘the US society’.
It’s NOT about ‘treason’ to the USA.
It’s about YOU daring to endanger the Goose that lays the golden egg of war profits to Exxon and Halliburton and Wall Street and other war mongering vultures who selected BO to serve them. They fed YOU the Kool Aid (propaganda), you swallowed it by the gallons, and now you are starting to throw it up. Too late. The empty suit is about to leave his job unscathed. Just like the previous empty suit who went on to write books and open a ‘library’, aka know as a ‘cellar’.
Our Hero did his part with the courage, bravery and selflessness typical of those few souls that on-and-off appear in history to show us the path, to shout to us with their SACRIFICE ‘don’t surrender to injustice, get up, GET UP and fight.’
So, what are we gonna do? Allow BO to send him to one of these chambers of torture called ‘prisons for civilians’ or military prison?
This is the connection:
For years many people have been denouncing the appalling conditions in prisons: That prisons are big psych ‘hospitals’ where we put the mentally ill to continue experimenting on them. That prisons are rat labs for the military and the ‘psych’ industry where they practice and test torture techniques and ‘psych meds’. Prisons are where we send our political dissidents to be tortured.
The problem is: those political dissidents you support go to the same place as those you don’t support. You can’t have it both ways.
That’s were our Hero Bradley Manning is going to be sent to by that so-called president who every Tuesday sits comfy and soils that presidential chair, used by JFK, to pour over the ‘kill list’.
Can you picture him, sitting there in the Oval office, going over the list of names given to him by the NSA and the CIA and other shadow federal agencies, putting a check mark on the names of those people he decides must be assassinated with drones, no habeas corpus, no questions asked to the ‘commander in chief’, because he declared them, by the omniscient power of the presidency, that they are ‘terrorists’? Our Heroes, Bradley Manning, Assange and, now, Snowden have been in that list for a quite a while.
BO is the master of double speak: he said he was going to ‘protect’ whistle blowers, but, typically, he did the opposite with the “Whistle Blower Protection Act”. It’s like the NDAA Act, you know, for your protection he needs to strip you of your right to dissent.
If not for those humans we know are been torture daily in our prisons, then for our Hero, Bradly Manning, do something to stop the torture in prisons.
Go to Hunger Strike Solidarity and see how can you help.
Thanks to the people who have been demonstrating publicly in defense of our Hero Bradley Manning.
I will be seeing you soon after the ‘verdict’.
This is breaking news in the NY Times. Cuomo Agrees to Plan for Housing Mentally Ill, Ending Legal Battle
This is an agreement to ´right´the wrongs committed by many NYS adult homes providers and that NYS judge that made that appalling decision in the case DIA v NYS-OMH etc in April last year. This agreement is a step forwards towards moving the people in those ‘homes’ of horrors to the community.
Am I personally happy and satisfied with this? I don’t go jumping with joy without first taking a quick glance to the text of the so-call ‘agreements’ and new laws to ‘protect’ people with disabilities of all kind. Why? Because one thing are the sound bites we get in the media about how great a new law is, another is the TEXT and the IMPLEMENTATION.
Now, with this agreement, everybody relaxes and forget about it. Just like with the Justice Center, we will assume that the government is looking to protect us. Nothing happens unless you threaten the government. Not even this agreement, the result of years of court battle with the state.
OK. I will NOT sour your joy. IT IS A STEP in the right direction.
Suffice it say that the agreement WARNS those Adult Homes providers previously caught abusing the mentally ill that they should not interfere with their residents in this process of moving them out, or they ‘will be punished’. Adult Homes are going to lose $$ and they want to keep their houses of horror filled. That there is a NEED for a warning to them should tell you a LOT. (See page 8, part 4 in the agreement.)
First quick notes:
From “definitions” (pages 4 and 5):
1. You have to be 65 years old or under to qualify for the benefit of the agreement.
2. The agreement MAY take 4 or 5 years to be completed. If you are 62 now and you HAVEN’T been relocated within the next two years, you may not qualify anymore. Or at least the agreement doesn’t clarify that. This is a question that those of you in Adult Homes (AH) MUST ask the people involved in this agreement.
3. As usual, the agreement applies to AH that are LICENSED, per Social Services Law Article 7. If you are in an unlicensed one, you may have problem qualifying for the agreement. YOU MUST SEEK CLARIFICATION ABOUT THIS.
4. AH with LESS than 80 beds do not qualify for the agreement. It (“transitional AH”) has to have 80+ beds AND a “mental health census” of 25%. If you are in a small AH, you may want to confirm that it qualifies for the agreement.
5. “Impacted” AH are those in NYC with 120 beds or more AND a mental health “census” of 25% of the population of the AH.
MENTAL HEALTH STATUS: Not so fast baby.
To qualify, a mental health evaluation to measure your level of functioning will be implemented. This is where the ENACTING may go astray, leaving people who are not dysfunctional ‘enough’.
1. Must have a mental diagnosis based on THE MOST RECENT DSM book. I would say, tread with caution here.
2. Excluded from the agreement are people with developmental disabilities, mental illness due to brain damage, and “SOCIAL CONDITION”. I’m as lost as you are on that last one. Looks like a loophole to keep people in. Must check the DSM bible for clarification.
3. “Must have a SUBSTANTIAL FUNCTIONAL disability WITHIN the PREVIOUS 24 MONTHS before the date of the agreement.” Do you know what a “substantial” functioning disability means? I suggest you look it up if you want to get out of there. Plus, it is ‘within’ the last 24 months of the agreement. Better check it out how that may affect you too.
4. Who will determine your disability, your substantial functional levels that will ALLOW them to put you in a supported housing?
So don’t assume that you automatically qualify to be relocated out of the AH just because you are there.
“PERSON-CENTERED PLAN”. Where have I heard that before??
Right, those of us in Supported Housing (SH) are struggling with “person centered support”. Welcome to our struggle. But, I will NOT deny that chances are that, if you make it to a SH, you may be better off than there. Just don’t come here thinking ‘wow, I made it. I’m out of danger’. Nope.
Now, I couldn’t find the dates for the agreement. If any of you find that info, please, forward it. It’s important to you, if you are in one of those homes, because of the transition schedules. You don’t want to be left out.
My take about this:
1. This is a good step forward.
2. ALL THESE PEOPLE who are coming to the community are going to face the reality of what we have here: SH is over 80% unlicensed. This means, you have NO LEGAL PROTECTIONS there. People centered treatment does not exist. It’s a craps shoot.
3. the ‘culture of abuse’ that exists in those AH will relocate in the community, following our new ‘freed’ peers, with those workers who will get jobs from there to here.
4. TODAY MORE THAN EVER we need to ORGANIZE our people. For ‘people centered ‘ services we NEED TO BUILD THOSE CABs.
5. Never has the state given ANYTHING without a fight. The NYS WILL BE crying ‘BROKE’ to avoid completing this agreement and creating housing for them. If you want to trust them 100% despite what history shows us, fine.
This is my first reaction to the agreement. Sorry if I sour your joy. I doubt it, though.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FORMER DIA.
Welcome And good luck for those of you moving here to the community ‘with us’.
Like we used to say in the ’60s: the struggle continues.
In this song, famous Chilean folk singer-author of the 1950-60s, Violeta Parra muses on how hard live has become for her. (The song is interpreted by her sister, Isabel Parra.) Instead of engaging in sociological or existential commentary about the pain of living, she simply describes how mother nature has, apparently, decided to withhold from her the things that she needs the most.
As we know that she eventually ended up committing suicide,the last verse in this poem is not just kind of funny. It’s a door to her mood and consciousness, sort of an announcement of what was to come. I guess it’s all about ‘context’; the end of the poem makes sense when we learn that she was contemplating taking her own life.
She also wrote one of the most beautiful odes to life and living I have ever heard, Gracias a la Vida, just before taking her life. It was a good-bye song that moves even the rocks. I’ll upload after this one.
Thanks to Antonio Fidel for uploading and translating.
This book was written (in Spanish) by a good friend of mine who happens to live with a mental disability. Maya, as those who know her lovingly call her, is Chilean and in her book she recounts the tortured (literally) story of her days fighting the Pinochet dictatorship after the US-lead coup d’etat to Salvador Allende. Magdalena lived in NYC until a few years ago when she decided to move back to her beloved nation to write her memoirs.
I must add that her ‘mental disability’ is, in my view, a direct result of the torture of which she was victim during those days. She struggles every day, not only with the illness, but with the memory of those events.
I invite the Spanish readers to buy a copy of her well-written memories. It’s impactfull and touching. She’s working on a translation.
By from Editorial Forja. If you have any questions about how to get the book, leave a message.
More nueva trova of the 1960s. This one is particularly relevant to today’s news about the plans to eliminate food stamps for the poor. Translation (the best I could do):
The grass in the paths/ the travelers tread over/2x
and the working woman is tread over by four scoundrels of the kind that have money.
Is it the tomato’s fault/if it is peacefully in its vine/2x
and four sons of a bitch come and put it in a can and send it to Caracas?
The misters who own the mine/bought themselves a weight scale/2x
to weight the money that every week they steal from the poor worker.
When will god in heaven allow/the omelet to be flipped over/2x
flip over the omelet so that the poor can eat bread and the wealthy eat shit.
How OMH violates the SAFE ACT and threatens our civil rights in the process:
OMH [ILLEGAL] GUIDELINES:
Section 9.46 – Report of names made by mental health professionals:
· “Information can ONLY BE USED to determine whether a gun license should be revoked or to deny a request for a gun license.”
Subdivision (j) of section 7.09 of the MHL:
· Information can only be used for background check of person attempting to purchase a firearm.
NOTE: All names in report go to FBI.
· “will also review each 9.46 report to determine whether to direct an emergency “removal” and transport to a hospital for a psychiatric examination and possible admission.”
Meaning: OMH will pick up ALL and EACH person in the report, which can only be used for background check, to involuntarily committing them to psych hospital.
The Act states who is allowed to report a person and when:
· “Only physicians, psychologists, registered nurses, and licensed clinical social workers allowed to make reports during the course of their direct and current treatmentto the person.”
OMH allows “designated” clerk or IT technician to report a person:
· if he/she “has reason to believe that the patient is subject to SAFE Act reporting requirements”.
Meaning: Any report made by these unauthorized reporters constitutes FALSE reporting, penalized by the SAFE ACT.
Gov. Cuomo’ stated that the purpose of the law is to check the background of people who are trying to buy a gun:
· ” The SAFE Act stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks”.
Based on reports to NYS Senate, OMH directs psych hospital directors to automatically report ALL adults and children on admission or discharge. As a consequence:
· the names of 6K psych patients, including 11 years old children, who are not applying for gun permit, are now in the report for background check.
FYI: 11 years old children cannot buy guns, especially if hospitalized. Hello!
Note: Once your name has incorrectly or illegally reported to the system, you are stuck. There are NO mechanism for a person to get the name out. Just as with the ‘no-fly list’, where you can’t get the government to delete the name of a child incorrectly put in the list.
The ONLY protections are for the PROVIDERS. They are EXEMPT from the consequences to a person of incorrectly, illegally, intentional reporting his/her name.
Why we stand against the SAFE ACT
We want our state and our nation to address the causes of the current nation-wide wave of violence effectively and with fair policies.
But, it is unfair to point at people with mental disabilities as the cause of all that violence and as a threat to ‘national security’. We are none of those. The statistics show that we are more likely to suffer the violence inherent in the prejudice against people with all types of disabilities, than to dish it out.
The SAFE Act was passed in 20 minutes late at night and right after the horrific Boston shooting last year. Clearly, it was intended as a quick placebo for a terrified society demanding action from politicians to control what it incorrectly perceives as the source of the wave of violence: guns and mental illness.
So, we must repudiate any policy that scapegoats us in the interest of political gains for our current elected officials of both parties at both the state and national levels.
The SAFE Act is not a law; it is a witch-hunt and ‘saves’ no one.
The SAFE Act is being used to limit the civil rights of, not only the ‘persistent and chronically mentally ill’, but of anyone who may seek mental health services for the first time. (See Side by side: SAFE Act and OMH.) The names reported per the SAFE Act mandate goes to the FBI, and from there they quietly seep up to Department of Homeland Security list of ‘possible terrorists’. In the ‘land of the free’, being in that list is terrifying in itself.
The causes of violence in a society are deep and complicated. But this much we can say: the government and its bureaucratic agencies inflict violence on the population in a form that passes as ‘lawful’ and ‘for your own good’, in the form of POLITICAL violence. Daily police brutality, violation to personal integrity by police searching your body to protect you from the ‘terrorists’, 911 calls for the police to pick up an EDP (’emotionally disturbed person’) usually ends with the EDP being killed by the police…this is a system out of control.
See next how OMH is violating the SAFE ACT to grab power to limit our civil rights.
“The Constitution “is not living, but dead.” With these words Associate Justice Scalia sums up how he believes we should think about the Constitution — a way…”
A “dead Constitution” equals a dead USA, or at least its people. Corporations are doing excellent, thank you right-wing SCOTUS and the ‘liberals’ who stray out of the path here and there. [I wrote this on my NSA-programmed computer.]
[“Supremes gut voting rights act” heading from Huffington Post.]
Posted by Anonymous.
Children 11 years old automatically placed in the gun registry, all people admitted to inpatient psych hospitals and all people DISCHARGED from psych hospitals, all their names in the registry AUTOMATICALLY…sorry but it is NOT in fascist Germany. Is it the Office of Mental Health (OMH)? We must act against this outrage, but keep reading.
According to testimony of a Mr. Wolkenbreit, counsel to the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Inc. and other mental health providers and civil libertarians at a state Assembly committee hearing about the mental health provisions of the NY SAFE Act (watch the video at the end of this post):
1) Everybody already admitted, even before the passing of the Safe Act, and everybody admitted to a psych hospital after its passing have been placed in the gun registry, AND at DISCHARGE TOO:
“the state took the position that ALL persons admitted to a state psychiatric hospital met the criteria of 9.46 simply by virtue of their admission...”
“based on POTENTIAL risk standards, hospital administration or counsel have RECOMMENDED or REQUIRED that ALL persons admitted with mental illness diagnosis be reported…”
“because of amount of reports [received], DCJS is forced to accept them as VALID.”
“OMH wants reporting on discharge and admission…[this is] beyond the scope or reasonable or useful”. Mr. Stein
2) names of all CHILDREN 11 YEARS OLD and up are been put in the registry automatically, and the absurd reason to include their names:
“OMH is requiring ALL mental health hospitals to report admissions of ALL 11 years old children or older…”
“because it is possible that a 16 years old be admitted to the military with parental consent and be discharged at 16 years old and apply for a gun permit“
Based on that ‘reasoning’, it is impossible not to sense paranoia in the attitude of OMH’s administrators who ordered these procedures. They are now engaged in predicting the future: let’s ‘convict’ 11 years old kids NOW since surely they (boys and girls) will be enrolled in the army and surely will come out as ‘terrorists’. Geez!
3) I mentioned in this blog, when the gun law was passed, that the gun law is NOT a mandate to gun sellers to do a background check. A Mr. Stein (lawyer, I think) came to a similar conclusion during the hearing:
” Safe Act looks like a mandate but it isn’t…it is not an ‘authorization’ nor a ‘mandate’…[because it doesn’t have] mandate language like 33.13″
“it is NOT a mandate because it doesn’t have a ‘must’, [there are] no penalties.”
3) And, as I have been saying ALL along in this blog, Ms. Haroules of the NY Civil Liberties Union said that these laws:
“protect the providers, not the recipients.”
She also said, paraphrasing, that the way in which this gun law was passed, without input from consumers, made a mockery of the legislative process and the system. I said that too before.
That is in a nut shell what transpired in that hearing. In my view, this ought to be in the mainstream media. OMH has, once again, betrayed the people it is mandated to protect.
The political consequences of all this hanky panky with the gun law is hard to ignore. It is like a virus running across the US: dossiers being made of every citizen, classified in this or that category, all by a nation gripped by paranoia.
I have left out comments about stigma and repression and other problems, mostly because I’m focusing here on the political aspect of the issue: the power of the government to control our lives and the police state. I have mentioned all this in other posts. So…
We shall overcome, it will take time, but we shall overcome.
The only way to bring OMH to ‘task’ is by consumers regaining their collective voice and marching in front of OMH with their denunciations: CLEAN THAT REGISTRY! TAKE ALL THOSE NAME OUT!
That’s what the Citywide Mental Health Project is planning to do.The Tea Party and gun lovers had their rally this past weekend in Albany against this registry and law. Over a thousand people attended. WHAT ABOUT US?!
If you are interested in helping us organize a rally in front of OMH, contact us at:
This is quite a metaphor for people with disabilities. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Author: Zealous Creatives
For more animations by those people go : http://www.zealouscreative.com
Wow! This is ‘snafu’ in all its glory.
One thing at play here: The seemingly ‘purposely’ releasing of private information about, apparently, ALL people committed voluntarily or not in our psych hospitals. I expect that there will be an investigation into this seemingly wide-spread contagion of forgetfulness about patients privacy rights. This is serious, though.
RELEASING THE LIST OF PSYCHIATRIC IN-PATIENTS
If this doesn’t have ‘conspiracy’ written all over it, its definition must be reviewed.
a) “More than nine out of ten reports so far have come from hospitals or state psychiatric centers — including hundreds [how many hundreds?]of reports filed in a single day in late April by state psychiatric hospitals. [“hundreds’ “in a single day” is too much for it to be a ‘mistake’.]
b) “Yet some reports, testified Wolkenbreit, are being filed by someone other than the mental health provider seeing the patient, and many appear to be computer generated, based on existing patient files.[If only mental health providers can file, who violated the rule and why?]
c) “Benjamin Rosen, a spokesperson for the state Office of Mental Health, acknowledged in an email statement that this spring many [how many is “many”?] psychiatric patients [not in-patients included?] were automatically referred [by who?]to county officials.”
d) “From March 16, 2013 to May 6, 2013, while OMH was building a reporting portal for state psychiatric hospitals [hmm], reports were initiated [from where and by whom?] based on admissions to state psychiatric hospitals [all people admitted from March 16 to May 6? From All psych hospitals?], although mental health professionals had the ability to prevent reports from being forwarded for those persons who did not meet NY SAFE Act criteria,” said Rosen,…[who are they who did not prevent the reports from being forwarded?]
e) “In many cases [again, how many?] mental health providers listed on the documents, when contacted by community services directors for review, either said that they had not filed the reports… according to Wolkenbreit.”
So, WHO filed the reports and why? Is the DCS or OMH investigating these ‘false’ reports of people “who did not meet the Safe Act criteria”? Did the psych hospitals receive orders from anyone, in the hospitals or by someone in OMH, to file the reports en mass? What are the chances that all those people working at state psych hospitals could have, at unison almost, made the same mistake of breaking a privacy law they ought to know by heart? How come other institutions, private, did not commit the ‘mistake’?
Did the Department of Community Services forwarded ALL of the names in the report to the NYPD?
“Of the 6,000 reports that have been filed, 11 have been acted upon,” testified Jed Wolkenbreit, counsel to the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors, Inc., citing figures from the state Office of Mental Health.
What does “acted upon” means? That 11 were forwarded to the NYPD or to the Department of Criminal Justice? How many, if any, were sent to the NYPD or to the DCJ?
This is a debacle. This is beyond stigma and violations to HIPPA. Evidently HIPPA is there to protect privacy. It’s PRIVACY and rights that are at stake here.
I’m sure that the NYPD is happy if this ‘error’ provided them with info about who is in mental treatment. The surveillance state has being feverish at work trying to compile a data base of EVERYBODY officially diagnosed as mentally ill. Sure, it’s to ‘protect’ you from yourself and others.
With stigma or without it, our police wants to have a dossier of everyone whom it considers a threat to the establishment, a ‘potential terrorist’. It’s our collective liberty what is at stake here. We, as people with disabilities, are just ONE of the many groups being labeled for ‘security’ purposes.
Everyone ought to stand by us in this debacle. It will happen to you next.
Comment by Lourdes C.
“An administrative agency does not have the power to change the plain meaning of the law and make a disaster happen and that’s what’s happened here.” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton on the IRS’ interpretation of the words “exclusively” and “primarily” in the statue. May 23, 2013
This is relevant to the issue of how NY State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) and other mental health agencies have ‘interpreted’ the mandate given to them by both the state and federal governments to protect the mentally ill from abuses and bad quality of services.
I discussed this problem in my post When is ‘minimum’ the same as ‘high’? When NYS OMH says so. I wrote it in February this year. There, I exposed how OMH changed the words “high quality of services” mandated by the state mental health law, to make the providers accountable only to ‘minimum’ levels of care. Mrs. Norton has validated the point I made there.
I am NOT supporting ANY politician of ANY of the two parties nor supporting ANY position in favor or against this IRS ‘controversy’. I use this controversy in this post ONLY as an example to ILLUSTRATE problems of statutory law in OMH’s regulations. These are my opinions and do not represent the opinions of other people who are part of the grass-roots group called The Citywide Mental Health Project. End of disclaimer.
THE BACKGROUND: Statutory vs. Regulatory laws and powers
The big issue and controversy is this: statutory law vs. regulatory laws. It’s about the process of making laws and how administrative agencies enact those laws.
1. Law-makers, whether state or Congressional (senate included), pass a law about any issue, be it mental health or IRS etc. It is called STATUTORY law because it is created by elected officials, not by a court or judge.
2. The law-makers delegate the enacting of the law to the commissioner of the administrative agency in charge of the issue for which the law was passed.
3. They give a BLUE PRINT to the agency which tells the agency what GOALS the REGULATIONS it creates must achieve. The statutory law is a MANDATE to the agency. The regulation is to enact the mandate but carries the force of law and the backing of the police powers to enforce the regulation.
4. The law-makers give the commissioner of the agency DISCRETIONARY POWERS to enact the mandate. This means that the law-makers don’t care what regulations the agency creates, only that the MANDATE is enacted LEGALLY. The agency can create ANY regulation with ANY language as long as the PURPOSE of the regulation is to achieve the MANDATE.
5. But the DISCRETIONARY powers are LIMITED. The commissioner of the agency can pass any regulation as long as it is LEGAL and doesn’t violate the ‘spirit‘ of the mandate nor state or federal laws.
6. This means that an administrative agency is a LAW-MAKING body: Because it MUST pass REGULATIONS to bring the MANDATE into life, an administrative agency is considered a ‘law making’ system.
7. But the COMMISSIONERS of these administrative agencies with ‘law-making’ functions are NOT elected. STATUTORY law makers (meaning those we elect to state senate and assemblies and Congress) are, supposedly, accountable to us. Commissioners ARE NOT accountable to us, they are so only to state and federal law-makers.
All of the above is what is called POLICY-MAKING SYSTEM. This is important because:
Because of all of this, there is a thing called FEEDBACK built into that policy decision-making system. It is there so that we can INFLUENCE those COMMISSIONERS into enacting or correcting REGULATIONS that had the unintended outcome of HURTING the people who was supposed to be protected by the regulations.
WORDS HAVE MEANING AND ‘FEELINGS’
OK. That was the background. Now, Mrs. Norton did exactly what I did in my document about OMH”s Supported Housing rules: she put the mandate and the agency’s rules side by side to illustrate how the agency DISTORTED the meaning of the mandate. The following is from MSNBC (bold and link by me):
The distortion of words in the mandates by these agencies have the consequence of stripping the SPIRIT out of the law, the PURPOSE FOR WHICH the statutory MANDATE was created in the first place.
There is always a ‘context‘ behind every law. Judges refer to them in many cases, they look at the ‘history of the statute” because words without context have no importance nor usefulness. That’s why writing policy and statutes is an ‘art’: there are specific rules about how to write them.
It is an art to prevent that the meaning of “exclusively” be INTERPRETED as “primarily”, two words with DIFFERENT meanings. One, ‘exclusively’, CLOSES the door to anything that is NOT contained in the ‘universe’ described in the law. The other, “primarily” has a TENTATIVE meaning, it leaves the door open for things not envisioned and even EXCLUDED in the original description. “Exclusively” says ‘no way Jose’ to anything outside the boundaries; the other, “primarily”, says ‘yeah right, whatever’. One says “men only club’, the other says ‘primarily men only club’. Go figure. Bad examples? I think they are grrreat!
I stand by my claim that OMH’s so-called licensing rules violate state and federal mandates. The problem is that, once these agencies write their rules, it is as if they were written in stone.
Remember how difficult it was to remove the administrative rule that ordered Black people and other minorities to seat in the back of the bus in the South?
Just because it is a law or rule or written in stone doesn’t make it right nor are we obligated to obey unjust rules.
At the invitation of Mr. Stephen Freeman, CEO of the YAI, I made a presentation at their YAI International Conference here in NYC on May 7. The topic I chose, of course, was what I call the ‘culture of abuse’ in the NY state mental health system. I thank Mr. Freeman for inviting our group to the conference. Personally, this was my first experience participating in an activity of this importance. It was a learning experience for me, and a pleasant one too.
What follows is the material I handed out (revised) in the presentation. It is also in word format in the ‘our documents’ tab on the top of the page.
THE CULTURE OF ABUSE
The Citywide Mental Health Project is a recently created New York City grassroots group of consumers of mental health services and their supporters. Our work is focused on:
a) stamping-out the culture of abuse and mistreatment that exists like a tattoo in the body of our state’s mental health system (MHS), and
b) Opening a public discussion about how this culture of abuse is enabled and legalized by the regulatory policies enacted by our state’s mental health agencies.
Why the focus on abuse and not on any other of the many problems in the system, like funding cuts?
1. Because, as we speak, the culture of abuse is inflicting, with impunity, horrific abuses, mistreatment and humiliation upon many of us, people with all types of disabilities, in some programs and residences where we go seeking mental health services, not abuse. People have actually been killed in the hands of callous providers of ‘mental health services’.
2. Because the mental health agencies have made it a taboo in our community the discussion of the problem of ‘institutionalized abuse’. This taboo denies credibility to the victims of these abuses and mistreatment who come forward to tell their experiences.
3. Because this public silence dis-empowers us, it denies us the right to self-advocate to protect our physical and mental integrity, our personal, civil and human rights, and literally for our lives. It still rings true what was said in the 1980s: “silence = death”.
Yes, services and funds are needed, but must we suffer harm and humiliation, or die in order to get them in the programs? Our community is doing an excellent work at addressing the other problems. The problem of the culture of abuse needs to become a priority too, exposed as part of a broken system that wants to hide the fact that it has killed people and continues to threaten our lives with its indifference to our pleas for fairness in treatment.
Are people with disabilities more vulnerable to abuses and mistreatment than other groups of people in our society?
Yes. Our own state legislature stated it clearly in the beginning of its new Protection of people with Special Needs Act passed last year:
“they are vulnerable because of their reliance on professional caregivers
to help them overcome physical, cognitive and other challenges.”
The Citywide Mental Health Project believes to eliminate this culture of abuse we need to start by breaking the taboo.
Apart from The Citywide Mental Health Project speaking up about this, there is neither public conversation nor outrage in our community about the following outrageous facts:
Fact #1: For nearly ten years (2003-2012) the NY Times have been writing about abuses and corruption in our mental health system, culminating with their investigative series ‘Abused and Used’. Those abuses took place in both licensed and unlicensed facilities run for the state by both non-for-profit and for-profit providers. In other words, the abuses are embedded in the mental health system. We have found no reports or investigations by the NY state about those articles.
Fact #2: In response to the articles, the Federal Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities investigated and concluded in her December 2011 report about the NY State’s protection and advocacy (P&A) system that:
Fact #3: The state agencies mandated to protect people with disabilities, ignored all those years theirs and their families pleas for help, even as the abuses were being made public. Yet, all agencies reported, and continue to report in their ‘evaluation’ of quality of services and other reports, that “90%” of consumers are ‘happy’ with services and with the “multiple layers of protection”, even in facilities where abuses are rampant.
Fact #4: State agencies like the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Department of Health (DOH) appears frequently in court as co-defendant with abusive providers, or defending them.
Our governor confirmed indirectly that the culture of abuse has continued 40 years after Willowbrook by saying the following as he celebrated the creation (in response to the federal report) of the new NY State Protection of People with Special Needs Act:
“New Yorkers with disabilities and special needs for too long have not had the protections and justice they deserve.”
Who else but the state and the state’s courts could have denied them that protection and justice to which they have a right?
 http://www.naswnyc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=301 See OMH, page 1, last paragraph.
Explaining the taboo: money, but of course!
Taboo: a social custom that does not allow people to talk about matters that are considered embarrassing or offensive to others for fear of retaliation or punishment.
It is the state of NY who would be embarrassed if its citizens started to discuss publicly how it continues to abuse its people with disabilities years after Willowbrook.
Legally enabling abuse
The New York State’s constitution obligates the state to protect its people with disabilities, and the federal government also mandates it to do so as a condition to receive their funds. The state created its mental health agencies to carry out that obligation. But these agencies have failed miserably, decade after decade, to comply with their obligations.
In what could be considered a violation to the NYS mandate to license all providers of mental health services, the Office of Mental Health (OMH) have passed regulations to un-license (de-regulate) more than half of all the providers. It does it to relive the agency of its oversight and monitoring duties. OMH has also passed regulations reducing the providers’ accountability for their bad quality of services by legally eliminating the standards of care: from ‘high’, as mandated by the NYS mental health laws, to ‘minimum’ standards.
And here it is:
These agencies distribute the federal and state funds to all non-for-profit “care givers” as payment for their services. Who dares, at the risk of losing their funds or jobs, to speak up publicly to denounce these agencies as enablers of the abuse in which some callous providers engage, and sometimes as complicit with them? Mr. Jeffrey Monsour, for one, dares.
The taboo in our community to discuss the culture of abuse is the result of the fear of losing funds, jobs and prestige.
To be fair to many of our state legislators and some good judges in our courts, they cannot keep up trying to patch up the holes that these agencies continue to put in the intentions behind much good legislation. It is in the implementation by these agencies where the problems start.
 As above.
Outcomes from the culture of abuse
“People with developmental disabilities [PDD] and their families were excluded from the state’s P&A board; no efforts were made to reach out to them.”Disempowerment through exclusion
Social exclusion is a process that leaves individuals or entire communities (like the disabilities community) systematically blocked from exercising their rights, from opportunities and from consistent access to resources. Healthcare, civic engagement, democratic participation and due process are considered ‘resources’. These are normally available to members of society and are the key to social integration.
For example, federal laws mandate that the board of the state’s protection and advocacy system be composed in its majority of people with disabilities and their families. This right gives these people the opportunity for ‘civic engagement’, to take part in the decision-making process about how the state is to protect them. But the state denied these people this opportunity when it purposely excluded them from the board, as we saw in the federal report, denying them the right to protect their interests.
The result of this exclusion from participating in our state’s mental health system is always disempowerment and alienation of the people with disabilities. Is the ADA and Olmstead still alive? If the answer is ‘yes’, then it seems as if the state has violated both. With the doors closed on them, the state escapes scrutiny and, as a domino effect, the whole system falls into lawlessness. But you don’t have to see it; it’s all behind the curtain of ‘lack of information’.
We, The Citywide Mental Health Project, believe that our ‘disabilities’ do not come from whatever illness we may have. They come from a mental health system that perpetuates with its own actions the stigma that people with physical or mental illnesses are inferior people who must be excluded from participation in the democratic process, denying them the right to protect their interests. This must change.
The opposite of ‘exclusion’ is ‘inclusion’: let’s get in!
The evidence that we are excluded from the system and its P&A is there. It shows that this exclusion is at the root of our two main problems: been abused and lack of voice in the system. We need to be included in order to change all of this. But included to do what and where?
We want to have a voice in the programs we attend so that we can protect ourselves from unprofessional practices passed as ‘quality of services’. We want to do the following in our programs through our Self-Advocates groups or Consumers Advisory Boards (CABs):
Policy-making in action
1. Give feedback about the quality of the services we are receiving from the program.
In organizing their own feedback process, the Self-Advocates will learn the real meaning of programmatic requirements such as “quality of services”, “compliance with regulations”, and other important terms.
2. Review an existing grievance procedure or develop one if none is in place in the program:
In reviewing the grievance procedures, the Self-Advocates will have the opportunity to learn important information about their rights and how to make them count.
All of the above describes exactly what ‘policy-making’ is all about. All of that and more is what the various laws invite us to do. The only barriers on the Self-Advocate’s path to learn to do this are: that people underestimate our capacity to learn how to be an active citizen, and that our mental health system does not want us to take part in this process. ‘Accountability’ is a term despised by the agencies and by some providers, but it is in our interest to learn to hold them up to it.
You CAN learn this and more. Your Self-Advocate group can prepare a plan to self-train each other on how to monitor and evaluate the services you receive. You will need to work with other groups and professional advocates who can help you prepare your self-training about policy and the feedback process.
Self-Advocates learn and keep updated by sharing information in their group, and at their own pace. But learn they do!
Look people, you should appreciate and thank our sold-out ‘law makers’ for NOT passing the law.
First, it should be clear by now that the description ‘law makers‘ applied to our Congress is an anachronism. Keep up with the times, people! Congress should be known as ‘ROBBANRA‘, the Congressional ROBBANRA. Yeap, that’s more like it.
And…what was that? What is ROBBANRA?. Oh, I forgot to ‘splain’. It means the ‘Rubber-stampers of bankers, billionaires and the NRA’.
As I was saying, be thankful. Congress could had, after all, PASSED a bill more appropriately named THE BILL OF LIES ABOUT GUN-CONTROL. Like our NY State Gun Control Law.
It would have been filled, like ours, with, not only loopholes, but with concessions and fictional ‘mandates’. And with provisions to control YOU, mental health consumers, or even users of the banking industry instead of the gun industry because, as we know, many bills passed by ROBBANRA (and many states also) are an opportunity to slide-in controls on issues un-related to the bill been discussed.
Like ours here in NY, where the gun bill was used to amend the Assisted Out Patient Treatment (AOT) law, extending the time a person can be held involuntarily and giving psychiatrists and RN nurses (for they now can commit people without approval of a psychiatrist) the power to guess when a person will flip and then commit him or her. AOT was not part of the gun-control discussion.
But that was not the only misrepresentation of the bill.
BIG ‘NY STATE GUN CONTROL BILL’ LIE
Our Congress could have passed a law with all the goodies for the NRA and then tell you that YOU WON. Like in NY State, because one thing is what they TELL you, another is what the new law says.
In NY State, people were told that the new gun law mandates gun sellers to do background checks before selling guns. A LIE.
The bill’s Art 39, Section 898, sub 2 it clearly says that doing a criminal background check is a CHOICE, not a mandate for the seller :
2. Before any sale, exchange or disposal pursuant to this article, a national instant criminal background check must be completed by a dealer WHO CONSENTS TO CONDUCT SUCH A CHECK, (caps by me)
I couldn’t find other ways to highlight that qualifier. That’s the masterful art of writing laws: use ‘must’ to give the impression that a mandate was stated, but then add the loophole ‘consent’ which is actually the only thing that matters in that line. ‘If you CONSENT to do it, you MUST do it right’ or else don’t do it.
I have to laugh.
You see. By Congress not passing the gun control bill, you were spared lies, fictional mandates and loopholes…but then, you would have go on living happily thinking that something positive was done.
Oh, well. Don’t worry, our Congressional ROBBANRA will give you more peace of mind with bills like the Homeland Security Law.